Blythe is humouring my need for a little bit of nostalgia for this week’s Musical A to Z post.
We have arrived at the letter P and for me, the choice was easy. P is for: Pump up the Volume.
While this works for so much musical fun, before we get into the meat of why just these words make me smile, how about a little one hit wonderful with MARRS?
1. Pump up the Volume – MARRS (1987)
I was ten when this came out. And it was this version of the song that a friend put on a mixed tape for me along with some other very cool 80s music. It was when I was just getting into popular music, just starting to choose music for myself. Hearing this song brings me back to then. I must admit, it was this song – and not the other main attraction of a certain movie – that made me rush out in 1990 to see:
After that, I spent a few years obsessed with both Christian Slater and the idea of pirate radio. Twenty-four years later, I still own the movie and the soundtrack. The movie is starting to look a bit dated, but the soundtrack is still pretty awesome. So for the balance of this post? I give you music from and inspired by my musical discoveries within this film. But first? Yeah – here’s some more pictures from the film.
Okay, with that out of my system, first up? Here’s the main theme from the movie:
This is the Concrete Blonde cover of Leonard Cohen’s 1988 song. Slater’s character in the film (Mark Hunter) uses it as his radio show’s theme song. He uses the Cohen version, but the Concrete Blonde one – featured at the end of the film – is the one that made it on the soundtrack. While I love the cover, buying the soundtrack and not getting the Cohen version actually caused me to go out and purchase Leonard Cohen music and learn about him – which I think was a double musical win for me. He has so many beautifully poetic songs.
But moving away from poetic, perhaps it is now time to:
So here was another musical education moment for me. The cover of this 1968 MC5 song on the album is from Bad Brains with Henry Rollins, but I’ve always had a Guns N’ Roses thing, so when I found Slash performing it, I knew I was using that one for the post. Here he is performing the song with Wayne Kramer from MC5.
So the deal with Kick Out the Jams? As far as I can figure, it’s sort of where punk music began. Oh – and everyone has covered it: Pearl Jam, Blue Oyster Cult, Rage Against the Machine, Presidents of the United States of America… Really, it got to the point on You Tube that I just started randomly Googling bands AND “Kick out the Jams”. It was a fun evening in cyberspace.
Next, it’s time to get to some of the most important stuff of any teen movie: first loves. Here’s the song Slater plays for Mathis’ character because, well, despite running a pirate radio station, he’s shy.
4. Why Can’t I Fall In Love – Ivan Neville (1990)
I just think it’s a sexy song. As for this video, honestly I couldn’t find out much about it, but was rather excited to see another of my wonder year heart throbs featured (even though I was always more team Dylan). If anyone knows what the Jason Priestley clips above are from, please let me know. On quick search, I couldn’t figure it out. And I was a bit … wiki done after my Kick Out the Jams Googlefest.
Finally, to end today, I’ll give you my second favourite from the soundtrack (after Everybody Knows):
This song plays in the background as Slater’s character struggles with whether to continue the show after things start to get complicated. I’ve always loved this version of the song. And it’s yet another song on the album that has made me sound “with it” as recently as earlier this year when a coworker told me he was taking time off to catch a concert including the Pixies. Did I ever sound cool when I knew who they were ;). Thank you Pump up the Volume for such a great musical education.
So that’s it for my musical musings for this week. Are there any soundtracks from your formative years that influenced your musical tastes? Let me know about them in the comments. Until next time, talk hard, the truth is a virus, eat your cereal with a fork, do your homework in the dark and Pump up the Volume!