Bookended by Cats was named after Milo and Otis. They are the short, orange, and furry brothers who, upon entering our lives in 2003, often bookended us on our couch. And who are we? We're a geek couple living in PA. We love music, movies, TV, comics, books, and comic cons. And, from time to time, we'll share our thoughts on these nerdy things.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Friday 80s Flashback for March 22, 2024

[Good Talk] -- The Go-Go's were the first all-female band to top the Billboard album charts by writing their own songs and playing their own instruments. Yes, folks, there were several "girl groups" with writing and playing chops before The Go-Gos, but none of them cranked out hits quite like these ladies. And 40 years ago this week, they released their third studio album, Talk Show (1984), which peaked at #18 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Although the album was critically well-received, it was a commercial disappointment. Maybe it was the slight change in style, or it could have been the clutter of half-realized songs (as AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine claims). Whatever caused its lack of sales, Talk Show still has its gems.

Well, "Head Over Heels," the first single from this studio album, definitely qualifies as a pop gem. This track peaked at #11 on the US Billboard Hot 100, the best showing of the three singles. But it wasn't enough to help this album keep pace with their prior two efforts, even with its boost from MTV where the music video peaked at #3. I have a special fondness for this music video because I love the 60s aesthetic they're pulling with the band performing on that multi-color set. (And, aside from the instruments, no audio equipment is shown! No amps, cords, mics, etc.)

The second single, "Turn to You," had a solid hook. And the band performed it on that bastion of 80s popular music, the Solid Gold TV show. However, the song barely cracked the top 40, peaking at a mere #32 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. But don't let that lackluster charting performance fool you: This is a great song! (Also, I'm all but certain that I saw that episode of Solid Gold; did you?)

There was a third single, and it was titled "Yes or No." But I don't recall ever hearing it let alone thinking much of it. So, if I had to select a third gem from Talk Show, I would go with "I'm the Only One." It's the lead off track for Side B of the album, and it honestly should have been a single! In my opinion, it's at least on par with "Head Over Heels." It's a fully realized song with hook, attitude, and tremendous energy. You can check out a direct recording (which is also in the embedded playlist below), or view this live footage from Greek Theatre (August, 1984), but I'm kind of obsessed with this rehearsal footage from a 1984 cable TV special.

Sadly, Talk Show marked the last time the original Go-Go's lineup would record an album together ... until 2001. 

So, cue up the embedded playlist below, and let me know your fave tracks!

FlashbackTalk Show (March 19, 1984)

And that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

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