Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Songoftheday 11/8/16 - The glamour boys swear they are a diva, the glamour boys have it all under control...


"Glamour Boys" - Living Colour
from the album Vivid (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #31 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 3

Today's song of the day comes from the hard rock band Living Colour, who had become the first all African-American group of that genre to have a major pop hit with their top-10 single "Cult Of Personality" in the spring of 1989. Their follow-up single, "Open Letter (To A Landlord)", reached #11 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart, but stalled down at #82 on the pop Hot 100 in the U.S. Perhaps in the waning Reagan-into-Bush I years, this was a bit too cerebral and angry for "mainstream radio". The third release from the set, though, brought a little bit a fun back into their message with "Glamour Boys". Written by guitarist Vernon Reid and produced by Mick Jagger, the bouncy rock screed on materialism had a lite Caribbean-style beat more akin to the ska-punk of Madness and the Jam than the metal of Jovi and Leppard, and a fun video that got MTV and radio back on board...


"Glamour Boys" became Living Colour's second and so-far last top-40 pop hit in October of 1989. The record also climbed to #26 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart. Internationally, the song went up to #14 in New Zealand, matched its American success of #31 in the Netherlands, and was a minor hit in the UK at #83. The single was nominated for a Grammy for Best Group/Duo Rock vocal in 1990, losing to the Traveling Wilburys.

That same year, the band released their sophomore album, Time's Up, which was a greatly underrated masterpiece, even surpassing the promise of their debut. However, pop radio was in a period of "dumbing down" with grunge and gangsta rap, so while it still was a success at rock stations, mainstream airwaves turned cold. The first single, "Type", reached the top-10 on both the Mainstream (#5) and Modern (#3) rock charts. That was followed by loose and funky "Love Rears Its Ugly Head", which not only got to #8 on the Modern Rock list, but became their first (and biggest) to reach the top-40 in the UK at #12, and even got to #10 in Australia. Another track from the album, "Elvis Is Dead", was their sole appearance on Billboard's Dance Club Play chart at #18. In 1993, with their third album Stain, Living Colour came back into the Mainstream Rock top ten for the last time with "Leave It Alone" (#4), which also was their most recent British top-40 stint at #34. The follow-up, "Nothingness", was their most recent trip to the rock chart in America at #17. They split before being able to complete a fourth studio album, but eventually got back together at the turn of the century, and have since released two more albums, with another on the way. No matter, they remain one of the most important groups in both rock and African-American music.

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Here's Living Colour live in Denmark in 1989...



...and again in 2009 on their reunion...


and finally, a performance of 2007 which had them "mashing up" the song with the Temptations' "Papa Was a Rolling Stone"...


Up tomorrow: Goth-metal legend makes a lethal comeback.

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