Thursday, April 22, 2021

"Under the Milky Way" by The Church

Song#:  3471
Date:  04/09/1988
Debut:  91
Peak:  24
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Alternative Rock

Pop Bits:  This Australian band first started to form in 1980. They quickly got signed to EMI Parlophone and issued out a debut album titled Of Skins and Heart the following year. It did well in Australia and their follow up LP, 1982's The Blurred Crusade would break into the Top 10. Two more albums along with three EPs were less successful, which prompted EMI to drop the band. In the US, the band was more or less a fringe cult group, but that changed when they got signed by Clive Davis' Arista Records. It gave The Church the opportunity to record their fifth album in L.A. The completed work, titled Starfish, was issued out and this first single released. It became a solid hit at Rock reaching #2. The song then crossed over to Pop where it peaked inside the Top 30. In turn, the album would make it to #41. It became an alt rock favorite that continued to sell over time and nearly five years after its release, it would go gold. The LP's second single, "Reptile," wouldn't make the Pop chart, but would get to #27 Rock. Their 1990 follow-up album, Gold Afternoon Fix, wasn't as successful, but did provide the #11 Rock/#1 Alt Rock track "Metropolis." Arista had signed the band to a four-album deal so the band provided two more LPs that didn't make much of an impression. The Church would continue to record and tour over the years, but this lone single to make the US Pop chart would be their peak moment in the spotlight.

ReduxReview:  This is one of those songs that certainly provided a mood. There was a casual, dark eeriness to the track that made it perfect for when you are driving around on a hot summer night in the country with the windows down. The song had an atmospheric, breezy coolness that was unforgettable. It was a beautiful track and I was hoping it would go Top 10. I bought the album hoping there were other great songs like this one, but I ended up discovering that The Church were not necessarily my cup o' tea. Regardless, this hit quickly became an 80s alt rock classic.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  Although the band's second album, The Blurred Crusade, was successful in Australia, their US label, Capitol, didn't like it. They refused to release it as-is and wanted the band to record some songs that had more hit potential. Apparently, they were asked to record something that might be similar to another Aussie Capitol artist, the Little River Band. Obviously, that group and The Church were miles apart as far as sound or even genre, but The Church went into the studio to record a few more songs. Capitol still didn't like what came from those sessions and decided to just drop the band. The extra tracks that were recorded were assembled into an EP titled Sing-Songs and released in Australia where it charted. The band then didn't have a US label for their next two albums. For their fourth LP, 1985's Heyday, they were picked up by Warner Bros. for US distribution. It became their first album to chart in the US, but its low #146 peak didn't excite the label. The Church was then dropped by Warner and then by EMI in Australia. Luckily, Clive Davis and Arista came calling and it resulted in their most overall successful LP.


1 comment:

  1. I got 10/10 and became one of my favorite 1980s alt-rock hits ever for this one-hit wonder on Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 chart!

    I didn't believe that it was also I think this one of the college rock hits of the late 1980s when it was peaked. Also other bands I knew that belonged to college rock bands: REM and another fellow one-hit wonder Love and Rockets. I didn't expected that college rock genre came from college campuses' radio stations which peaked during the late 1980s.