MUSICAL FLASHBACK INCLUDES HOT '80s BANDS THE HUMAN LEAGUE, PSYCHEDELIC FURS, AND ABC, PLUS BOWL'S FIRST-EVER '80s SING-ALONG
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2006, AT 7:30 PM
Sponsor is Sunset Marquis Hotels and Villas Concert; 104.3 KBIG is media sponsor
The new oldies are so '80s! Step into the past at "Totally '80s at the Hollywood Bowl," a musical flashback headlined by three of the era's hottest hit bands - The Human League, Psychedelic Furs, and ABC - on Saturday, September 23, 2006 at 7:30 p.m. Capping the fever is the Bowl's first-ever '80s Sing-Along Karaoke, with lyrics projected onto the amphitheater's jumbo screens. Headbands, shoulder pads, Swatches, rattails, mullets, and legwarmers are optional.
The Human League, an English synth-pop band David Bowie once called "the future of music," wedded pop with avant-garde electronic music to produce hit after hit in the 80s, including "Don't You Want Me," "Fascination," "Human," and "Mirror Man." Original member Phillip Oakey, on lead vocals and synthesizers, keeps it burning with back up vocalists Joanne Catherall and Susanne Sulley. Continuing to pump out new material, the band's 2001 release, Secrets, has garnered both critical and popular acclaim.
British alt-rock pioneers, the Psychedelic Furs, proclaimed one music critic, "straddled punk and new wave like a spiky-haired colossus, blending the swaggering oomph of the Clash with the moody atmospherics of the Cure and the Smiths." The group, which first toured the US with the Talking Heads, has built a seminal catalogue that includes such iconic songs as "Pretty In Pink" (the inspiration for John Hughes classic brat-pack film of the same name), "Love My Way," "Heaven," and "The Ghost In You."
With front man Martin Fry decked out in gold and platinum lame suits, ABC is steeped in pop flamboyance and rock swagger, and its recordings are considered national treasures. Its debut album, Lexicon of Love, shot to #1 in 1982, and during the 1980s, the group compiled 11 Top 40 hit singles. In 2005, Universal Music issued remastered versions of the group's five PolyGram albums, complete with previously unreleased tracks, providing plenty of fresh fodder for fans old and new.
An electronic music pioneer, THE HUMAN LEAGUE was formed in Sheffield, England at the height of punk by computer operators Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh. Inspired by the likes of Kraftwerk, Roxy Music and disco producer Giorgio Moroder, they recruited Martyn's school friend Philip Oakey as lead singer and local art student Adrian Wright to handle slides and other visuals. The group was swiftly signed by the influential indie label Fast Product to release its seminal debut single "Being Boiled" in 1978 and was then snapped up by Virgin, for whom it produced two groundbreaking albums, Reproduction (1979) and Travelogue (1980). Martyn and Ian then left to form Heaven 17 with Glenn Gregory, leaving Philip and Adrian to famously recruit teenagers Joanne Catherall and Susanne Sulley (now known as Susan Ann Gayle) after spotting them dancing at Sheffield's Crazy Daisy club. With additional recruits Ian Burden and Jo Callis on synthesizers, they recorded the five-million-selling album Dare in 1981, which spawned worldwide hits such as "Don't You Want Me" and "Love Action," and effectively introduced synthesizers into the US mainstream. This was followed by Love And Dancing, a remix album (credited to the League Unlimited Orchestra), which had a tremendous impact on dance and remix culture. The group followed Dare with Hysteria (1984). For its next album, Crash (1986), US R&B producers were drafted and the single "Human" provided them with a second US #1. After the Greatest Hits compilation (1988), the group returned with Romantic? (1990), then bounced back into the UK Top 10 in 1995 with Tell Me When and the album Octopus (East West). In 2001, the band released the critically acclaimed Secrets album.
Anyone tuning in to top 40 radio in the '80s will recall the PSYCHEDELIC FURS, even though it was never really a "top 40" band. Typically their music featured trippy, articulate grooves punctuated with scorching guitars, whirling effects and synthesizers. Formed in 1978 in London, the Psychedelic Furs created '60s psychedelic-infused, punk-inspired rock. With the release of Forever Now and the single "Love My Way," the band got airplay on college radio and MTV as early as 1982. In 1984, it scored a hit in the UK with Heaven. Three years later, it cracked the top 30 in the States with "Heartbreak Beat." But the band will be best remembered for a song that didn't become a hit until four years after it was originally recorded. '80s film director-extraordinaire John Hughes wrote a script around the group's 1981 song "Pretty In Pink." An '80s brat-pack classic, the film stars Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer, James Spader and Andrew McCarthy. The Furs contributed a rerecording of the song for the soundtrack, which also featured INXS, OMD, New Order, the Smiths, Suzanne Vega and Echo and the Bunnymen. The updated version of "Pretty In Pink" provided the band the much-sought-after name recognition they continue to enjoy today.
With the release of Look of Love; The Very Best of ABC, the band ABC celebrates its return to the recording studio and to high-publicity performance. ABC is one of those groups that come along once a decade to effect a paradigm shift in the way music is heard and made, one of those groups who move the music forward, alert us to the possibilities of strange combinations, employ radical ideas, yet never confuses arrogance with ambition. Imagine a band from the alternative/indie sector whose idea of a dream version of pop music includes the metallic foreboding of Iggy Pop and the symphonic magnificence of Earth Wind & Fire; imagine the savagery of The Sex Pistols barely concealed beneath the surface of a Chic sophistication. ABC was and is that band. They took that idea and made it happen across the hit parades of several continents. This is why ABC was praised to the skies in the '80s, and why they are still loved to this day. Their recordings are national treasures. First was The Lexicon Of Love (1982), a sensational debut with its brass constructions and guitar ravishments, Anne Dudley's shivers of strings and Trevor Horn's epic bombast transforming the drum beats into epochal bomb blasts. The self-immolating exercise in hard rock style/anti-style that was Beauty Stab (1983) came next. How To Be A Zillionaire (1985) surfed the wave of innovation in the arena of electronic rhythms. The shiny neo-soul of Alphabet City (1987) positioned ABC, musically and ideological, somewhere between Motown and ZTT, Philly and Ze. The next phase of ABC featured Up (1989) and Abracadabra (1991). Skyscraping (1997) might have provided a fine coda to the ABC story if only Martin Fry didn't have behind that famous blonde fringe of his a brain load of new songs and new ideas. On a roll, he wrote two new songs, "Peace And Tranquility" and "Blame," his finest compositions since the glory days, and oversaw the ABC retrospective The Look Of Love: The Very Best Of ABC. Now Martin Fry's time has come - again. "People are yearning for flamboyance," he considers. "If they want that, they call me. That's what I do. I've got to walk it like I talk it. I'm confident about what ABC achieved, that I defined something. That's why I want to keep making records."
One of the largest natural amphitheaters in the world, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000, the HOLLYWOOD BOWL has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since its official opening in 1922, and in 1991 gave its name to the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, a resident ensemble that has filled a special niche in the musical life of Southern California. The 2004 season introduced audiences to a revitalized Hollywood Bowl, featuring a newly-constructed shell and stage and the addition of four stadium screens enhancing stage views in the venue. To this day, $1 buys a seat at the top of the Bowl for many of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's concerts. While the Bowl is best known for its sizzling summer nights, during the day California's youngest patrons enjoy "SummerSounds: Music for Kids at the Hollywood Bowl," the Southland's most popular summer arts festival for children, now in its 38th season. Attendance figures over the past several decades have soared: in 1980 the Bowl first topped the half-million mark and close to one million admissions have been recorded. In February 2006, the Hollywood Bowl was named Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue for the second year in a row at the 17th Annual Pollstar Concert Industry Awards; the Bowl's summer music festival has become as much a part of a Southern California summer as beaches and barbecues, the Dodgers, and Disneyland.
EDITORS PLEASE NOTE:
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2006, AT 7:30 P.M.
HOLLYWOOD BOWL, 2301 N. Highland Ave. in Hollywood
TOTALLY '80S HOLLYWOOD BOWL
THE HUMAN LEAGUE
Sponsored by Sunset Marquis Hotel and Villas
Tickets ($5 - $111) are on sale now online at HollywoodBowl.com, at the Hollywood Bowl Box Office, by calling Ticketmaster at 213.480.3232, or at all Ticketmaster outlets (Robinsons May, Tower Records and Ritmo Latino locations). Groups of 12 or more may be eligible for a 20% discount, subject to availability; call 323.850.2050 for further details. For general information or to request a brochure, call 323.850.2000.
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Adam Crane, 213.972.3034; Libby Huebner, 562.799.6055; For photos: 213.972.3034