Friday, August 26, 2022

"Fire Woman" by The Cult

Song#:  3912
Date:  05/27/1989
Debut:  84
Peak:  46
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Hard Rock, Glam Metal

Pop Bits:  The beginnings of this band go back to 1981 when English singer/songwriter Ian Astbury formed a group called Southern Death Cult. They stayed together for less than two years and were only able to issue out a sole single during that time. After SDC split, Astbury then went on to for a new band called Death Cult with guitarist Billy Duffy. They would begin performing in '83 and issue out a self-titled indie LP. The following year they fully signed on with Beggars Banquet (their EP had been on the label's offshoot imprint Situation Two). The band would alter their name to just The Cult and issue out a full-length debut album titled Dreamtime. The band's mix of post-punk goth rock gained attention and the LP went to #21 in the UK. However, it would be their next LP, 1985's Love, that would prove to be their breakthrough. The album would hit #4 in the UK and spawn three Top 30 hits including the #15 "She Sells Sanctuary." In the US, the LP would gain an audience and reach #87. For their next effort, '87's Electric, the band wanted to move away from their goth roots toward hard rock/glam rock. After a false start, they secured Rick Ruben who then produced the final version of the LP. Electric would match the results of their previous album in the UK getting to #4. In the US, rock radio support for the single "Love Removal Machine" (#15 Rock) helped the album get to #38 and become a gold seller (later platinum). For their fourth LP Sonic Temple, the band would work with producer Bob Rock. It would end up being their biggest album in both the UK and the US. This first single would get to #15 in the UK. In the States, it would be a hit at Modern Rock (#2) and Rock (#4). That action helped the single get on the Pop chart where it got near the Top 40 mark. The song's success helped the album get to #10 and it would become a platinum seller.

ReduxReview:  I remember this song just leaping out of my car stereo speakers and smackin' me upside the head. I was like - what the hell is this? It was big, loud, hooky, and right up my alley. The production was great and I liked Astbury's Jim Morrison-ish vocals. I went out and got the CD and played this song quite a bit. While the balance of the album was hit 'n' miss, it did have a few solid tracks. However, this massive blast of radio/arena-ready rock certainly made a statement.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Lead singer/songwriter Ian Astbury stated in an interview that hearing the song "The End" by The Door in the film Apocalypse Now was like having "a religious experience." That song was the album-ending track on the band's highly influential 1967 #2 self-titled debut album. Little did Astbury know at the time that he would years later front a band that consisted of two former members of The Doors. In 2002, Astbury would become the lead singer for The Doors of the 21st Century, a band put together by Doors members Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger. Astbury would front the band for seven years. Due to legal issues, the band would go through a couple of name changes including D21C and Riders on the Storm. Also on board during the first year of the band was Police drummer Stewart Copeland. After Astbury left the band, it would eventually become known as Manzarek-Krieger and would continue to perform with other musicians and singers through to Manzarek's death in 2013.


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