Believe it or not, this year marks the 30th anniversary of the Norwegian band a-ha taking on America and temporarily becoming one of the biggest bands on our shores as a result of their debut album, Hunting High and Low, which earned them a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with its first single, “Take on Me.”
Oh, right, and you might remember the song’s video, too, what with it being utterly iconic and all:
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We’ve got quite the trifecta of albums being reissued on 180-gram vinyl this week, and even though none of them sound a thing like each other, we can assure you that they’re all quite good in their own right.
Morcheeba, Big Calm: A little bit rock, a little bit dance, and a little bit trip-hop (among various other styles), the music of Morcheeba has always fought an uphill battle in the US, where mainstream audiences have a tendency to prefer their artists to start out sounding a particular way and just kind of stay there. In their native UK, however, they’ve got a strong following that’s netted them several hit records, and if there’s one of their efforts that’s considered to be their signature album, it’s this one, which features the hit singles “Part of the Process,” “Let Me See,” “Shoulder Holster,” and “Blindfold.”
Given how prominent he’s been in recent years – and particularly so at present, what with a new album (No Pier Pressure) and a new movie about his life (Love and Mercy) – it’s sometimes amazing to recall that there was once a time when Brian Wilson was a virtual recluse. It’s true, though: when Wilson released his self-titled debut in 1988, many were staggered by the fact that he was able to successfully make music at all, let alone produce such a wonderful album.
Granted, in retrospect, the Brian Wilson album was made in the midst of Wilson’s time under the care of notorious therapist Eugene Landy, so it’s hard not to wonder what the end result of the effort might’ve been if Landy hadn’t been involved in the recording process. Still, if you’re a longtime fan of Wilson’s work, you can’t deny that the results were wonderful.
Given his lengthy career, it would be disingenuous to suggest that Jeff Beck has never released a classic live album in his time – in fact, he’s had several, the most successful of which have been 1977’s Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group Live and 2008’s Live at Ronnie Scott’s – but they’re few enough and far enough between that the release of a new one is always worthy of celebration.
In other words, it’s time to celebrate, because Live + is here.