Wednesday, February 20, 2019

"Somebody Somewhere" by Platinum Blonde

Song#:  2685
Date:  04/12/1986
Debut:  89
Peak:  82
Weeks:  5
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  This Toronto trio that featured British-born vocalist/bassist Mark Holmes first got their feet wet as a Police cover band in the late 70s. While honing their chops in clubs, the band began to work on their own music and in 1980 they issued out an indie single under the name Platinum Blonde. Nothing much came from it and eventually Holmes' bandmates got frustrated and took off. Holmes found two replacements and the new trio made a home demo of songs that they forwarded to producer David Tickle, who had success producing Split Enz. Tickle liked what he heard and quickly ushered the band into a studio to formally record an EP. It got picked up by CBS Records and pushed out in 1983 along with a single titled "Doesn't Really Matter." The tune got to #31 in Canada and it helped the EP sell well. CBS then wanted to flesh out the EP into a full album. Standing in the Dark became the band's debut LP. Thanks to three additional charting singles, the album became a big seller and it would earn the band three Juno nominations including for Breakthrough Group. For their follow-up LP, Alien Shores, the trio became a quartet with the addition of a keyboardist and adopted a more commercial rock sound. The album's first single, "Crying Over You," became a #1 hit in Canada. A second single also made the Top 10. Meanwhile across the border, no one was paying much attention to the band. That changed a bit when this third single managed to crack the US Pop chart. It wouldn't hang around for long, but at least they were able to grab a charting single. It would be their only one to chart in the US. The song did better in Canada reaching #23. Three more Juno nods would come there way.

ReduxReview:  This is an odd song. It has a British new wave feel to it (Psychedelic Furs?), thanks in part to Holmes vocals. It's quite a bit different from the rock tunes that first got them on the Canadian charts (although their #8 Canadian hit from the album "Situation Critical" sounds like it could have been a rejected Duran Duran song.) I guess I was expecting something more along the lines of arena rock with this one so it was a bit of a surprise. It's an interesting tune with a nice chorus and it sounds like it could have been one of those songs included on a John Hughes movie soundtrack. It's also not what I expected from four glam rock looking guys with massively teased platinum blonde hair. I don't think the tune was strong enough to be a Top 40 contender, but a little extra promo push might have driven it up the chart further.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Lending a hand on the Alien Shores album was fellow Canadian Alex Lifeson, guitarist for Rush. He would perform guitar solos on a couple of songs including the #1 hit "Crying Over You." Later in 1993, Lifeson may have given a shout-out to the band as a track on Rush's album Counterparts was titled "Alien Shore."  2) The success of Alien Shores set them up well for their next effort that would be titled Contact. The guys went for broke using several producers (including Bernard Edwards of Power Station fame) and pumped out songs in varying styles in hopes of securing bigger hits and a wider audience. It didn't really work out. The title track would get to #13 in Canada, but further singles fared worse and virtually no one in the States paid attention. Label issues and internal struggles followed and by 1988 the band was done. After some personnel changes, the band reformed as just The Blondes and put out an album in 1990 to little notice.


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