Tuesday, February 19, 2019

"Pretty in Pink" by The Psychedelic Furs

Song#:  2684
Date:  04/12/1986
Debut:  90
Peak:  41
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Alternative Rock, New Wave, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  The Furs had been slowly breaking through in the US with their first three album and along the way they nearly cracked the Pop Top 40 with the single "Love My Way" (1982, #44). Yet it would be a track from their second album, Talk Talk Talk, that would help spawn a movie and get them near the Top 40 again. Film producer/writer John Hughes was inspired to write a screenplay based on the title of one of the LP's tracks, "Pretty in Pink." Apparently, he had become aware of the song thank to Molly Ringwald, who had previously starred in two Hughes films, Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club. The song had been issued out as a single in 1981, but it failed to chart in the US (it got to #43 in the UK). Since the tune was basically Hughes' muse, it seemed logical to use the song in the film. But instead of using the original track, the Furs agreed to record a new version of the song specifically for the film and its associated soundtrack. Working with producer Chris Kimsey, the band adjusted the tune to make it a bit more pop/commercial friendly. It would be issued out as the soundtrack album's second single and would just barely miss the Pop Top 40 peaking at the dreaded #41 spot. Still, it was the band's best showing to-date and thanks to the movie and its soundtrack, the Furs jumped into the mainstream.

ReduxReview:  I don't remember hearing this version of the song back in the day. I later got familiar with the original version and I guess didn't realize that the one on the soundtrack was different. That's probably because I didn't own the soundtrack and over the years any compilation by the band contained the original version. It seems the only place they put the song out was on the soundtrack, as a single, and as a bonus track on the European CD version of their next album Midnight to Midnight. I'm not sure why that is, but I guess they just wanted folks to know the original and skip the movie version (or there were rights issues involved). It's kind of too bad because the slicker update is pretty cool. I think it sounds very polished and radio-ready without taking away from the spirit of the song. I do kind of prefer the grittiness of the original, but this remake is just as satisfying. Either way you can't go wrong.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  While the title may have been inspiration for Hughes, the song's actual lyrics had nothing in common with the movie. In fact they were a bit more grim than the teenage rom-com. The song talks about a girl, Caroline, who thinks its cool to sleep around with various guys and she also thinks it makes other people like her. The truth though is they don't and in the end everyone is just using her. That dark tale is nothing like the film's innocent high school prom Duckie vs. Blane storyline. Yet the song got so tied to the film that folks didn't really pay attention to the actual lyrics and just applied their own feeling/meaning to it based on the movie. In the end it probably didn't matter and it was most likely a good thing Hughes didn't write a film that had Molly Ringwald giving it up to all the guys. That probably would have been an R-rated fiasco.


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