Saturday, March 30, 2019

"Fire with Fire" by Wild Blue

Song#:  2723
Date:  05/17/1986
Debut:  89
Peak:  71
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Rock, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  This Chicago-based band featuring lead singer Renee Varo caught the attention of Chrysalis Records who signed them sometime in '85. At the time, the band was unaware that the label's real interest was in Varo and they sent her and the band's keyboardist Joe Zanona (both were the main co-writers of the band's songs) to London to record some tracks for an album with session musicians. They returned to L.A. and finished up the recordings with the band's guitarist Frank Barbalace. They also recorded the song "Fire with Fire," which was written specifically for an upcoming film of the same name. Chas Sandford, who co-wrote John Waite's "Missing You," wrote and produced the track. It would be included on the band's upcoming debut album No More Jinx, which sported a cover that only featured Varo and Zanona. Due to Chrysalis' meddling with the band, their bassist and drummer took off and had to be replaced. When the dust settled, the album was completed and the theme song to the Fire with Fire film got issued out as the band's first single. The tune made it to the Pop chart, but only stayed for a few weeks before disappearing. A second single, "International Language of Dance," failed to chart and that doomed the album. Unhappy with their Chrysalis experience, the band left the label and signed on with the CBS affiliated label Pasha. They recorded an album under the new name of Primitive Prayer, but the LP got shelved and that result finally brought an end to the band.

ReduxReview:  This is all total speculation from me, but my guess is that Chrysalis might have asked Pat Benatar to record this song (she was on that label) and after she declined they sought out Wild blue due to Renee Varo's voice, which has some similarities to Benatar's. Maybe not, but seems logical. This resides in the same community of hit songs by Benatar, Scandal, T'Pau, etc. It's a pretty good commercial rocker and Varo sells it quite well, but it just couldn't find an audience. Sandford's production is also solid. It's a shame this didn't catch on as the band's debut album had a couple of nice tracks that could have been single-worthy. Interesting find.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) When the band began they performed under the name Jinx and apparently had that name when they got signed to Chrysalis. However, they later found out that another performer had been using that name for many years and didn't want to part with it, so the band was forced to make a change. They then became Wild Blue. For the title of their debut album, they decided to pay a sort of tribute to their old name by calling it No More Jinx, which also described their new situation - they were no longer Jinx.  2) The romantic drama Fire with Fire starred Virginia Madsen and Craig Sheffer as a pair of young lovers on the run. She was a student at a Catholic girls school while he was forced to be at an honor probation camp. They meet, fall for each other, and then run away together to escape their parents, the school, the camp, and the law. The plot was based on an actual event that happened. It was then chronicled by writer Sharon Boorstin in a 1978 New West magazine article titled "Something's Coming, Something Good." The movie was not a critical or box office success. The original title of the film was Captive Hearts, but then after this song was written, producers decided to change the movie's title to match the song's title.


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