Say Cheese! Make love to the camera! Smile! Watch the birdie! Hold still! I’m taking a selfie!
Photographs can capture a moment in time just like any memorable song can. Working hard in his darkroom, guest shutterbug Chris Rooney has edited the most lyrical snapshots from this photogenic mixtape.
(To listen to this or any of our other playlists via Spotify, click here.)
Duran Duran, “Girls On Film” (1981)
“…Lipstick cherry all over the lens as she’s falling…”
Japan, “Gentlemen Take Polaroids” (1980)
“…Gentlemen take polaroids / They fall in love they fall in love… Just a foreign town with a foreign mind / Why is everything so cut and dried?…”
Aztec Camera, “Oblivious” (1983)
“…They’re calling all the shots / They call and say they phoned / They’ll call us lonely when we’re really just alone / And like a funny film, it’s kinda cute
They bought the bullets and there’s no one left to shoot…”
The Cure,“Pictures Of You” (1990)
“…I’ve been looking so long at these pictures of you / That I almost believe that they’re real…”
Bucks Fizz, “My Camera Never Lies” (1982)
“…My camera never lies / So I’ll put you in the picture and cut it down to size…”
A Flock of Seagulls, “Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)” (1982)
“…If I had a photograph of you / Or something to remind me / I wouldn’t spend my life just wishing…”
The Speedies, “Let Me Take Your Photo” (1979)
“…I went and colored all my hair / Let me take your photo / So my snapshot won’t be there / Let me take your photo / I don’t wanna see no Polaroid, no! / Let me take your photo / Because I just might get annoyed…”
The Lotus Eaters, “The First Picture Of You” (1983)
“…The first picture of you / The first picture of summer / Seeing the flowers scream their joy…”
Mission of Burma, “This Is Not A Photograph” (1981)
“…This is just a perpendicular line to the grain / This is not a photograph…”
Blondie, “Picture This” (1978)
“…All I want is a photo in my wallet / A small remembrance of something more solid…”
Depeche Mode, “Photographic” (1981)
“…I take pictures / Photographic pictures / Bright light, dark room / Bright light, dark room…”
The Fixx, “Cameras In Paris” (1982)
“… There’s cameras in Paris / Some papers are missing / Exposure’s automatic…”
Siouxsie And The Banshees, “Red Light” (1980)
“…That Kodak whore winking / ‘Til the aperture shuts / Too much exposure…”
The Buggles, “I Am A Camera” (1981)
“…There by the waterside / Here where the lens is wide / You and me by the sea…”
Another week, another mixtape. Mark your calendars as Chris Rooney takes you on a musical journey through the seven days of the week right through the weekend.
The Bolshoi, “Sunday Morning” (1986)
Growing up it was either sleep in late or off to church bright and early Sunday morning. By the look of things, someone still has a grudge with their strict religious upbringing and doesn’t want to revisit those Sunday mornings.
Morrissey, “Everyday Is Like Sunday” (1988)
Boredom naturally comes on a Sunday when everything is closed, stuck at seasonal destination when its off-season or simply growing up in a small town with no vitality left in it. Etch a postcard, “How I dearly wish I was not here”. In many American states, Sunday blue laws still exist that prohibit businesses such as car dealerships from being open, abstain alcohol sales, bar horse racing and prevent hunting because of lingering puritan beliefs. At least Morrissey can get behind that ban on hunting.
U2, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” (1983)
U2’s overtly political, yet nonpartisan, protest song reflects upon Sunday, January 30, 1972 when British troops fired upon Northern Irish unarmed civilians, killing 14. Other musicians such as Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Black Sabbath and Stiff Little Fingers all wrote songs in response to the events of that day prior to U2’s concert anthem.
New Order, “Blue Monday” (1983)
How does it feel to be treated like this on the first day of the work week? Bernard Sumner lackadaisical delivery sums it up perfectly what it is like to start a Monday morning.
The Bangles, “Manic Monday” (1986)
You’re not fooling us Prince penning The Bangles’ breakthrough hit under the name “Christopher”. We know all about the period of time when you were the artist formerly known as Prince using that unpronounceable symbol, but surely “Christopher” is your 9-to-5 worker bee alter ego who has a regular desk job and run-of-the-mill worries like the rest of us.
Boomtown Rats, “I Don’t Like Mondays” (1979)
Why so much disdain for this day in particular? Five years later after wanting to shoot the whole day down, Bob Geldof must gotten over it as he chose to release his big musical creation, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” on a Monday.
Duran Duran, “New Moon on Monday” (1984)
Monday is almost over and the nighttime darkness is the ideal cover for the boys of Duran Duran to stage an underground rebellion (complete with lit torches and perfectly coiffed hair) on a society run by an oppressive militaristic regime.
‘Til Tuesday, “Voices Carry” (1985)
Ah, quiet little Tuesday. Never drawing attention to itself stuck between the beginning and the middle of the work week until ‘Til Tuesday’s Aimee Mann just couldn’t take it anymore of her douchebag boyfriend and stood up for herself during the most opportune moment at Carnegie Hall. Makes you think that she was holding out for the great acoustics to make her point and dump the a-hole.
Fisherspooner, “Wednesday” (2005)
It’s Hump Day and here to ride that cresting wave in the week is Fisherspooner’s sexy electroclash single that combines a ‘80s new wave sound influenced by Gary Numan, Kraftwerk and early Pet Shop Boys with modern electronica.
Pet Shop Boys, “Thursday” (2013)
Despite having to the chance to coordinate the release their 54th (yes, 54th!) single on the same day that the song references, The Pet Shop Boys chose instead to debut it on a Monday.
David Bowie, “Thursday’s Child” (1999)
“Thursday’s Child has far to go”, so says the 19th century nursery rhyme that is supposed to tell a child’s character or future based on the day he or she was born. Bowie, in case you were wondering, was born on a Wednesday.
The Cure, “Friday I’m In Love” (1992)
Disheveled hair, badly applied lipstick and untied high-top sneakers can mean only one thing – it’s Casual Friday for Robert Smith!
The Specials, “Friday Night, Saturday Morning” (1981)
Forget the oh-so-pleasant expression “Thank God It’s Friday”. The Brits and the Aussies have a term for the last day of the workday that tops that by a mile – POETS Day, which stands for “Piss Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday”. The Specials’ weekend ritual encapsulates that vibe to a tee with lines like “Out of bed at eight am / Out my head by half past ten / Out with mates and dates and friends / That’s what I do at weekends / I can’t talk and I can’t walk / But I know where I’m going to go / I’m going watch my money go / At the Locarno, no”.
David Bowie, “Drive-In Saturday” (1973)
It seems like Saturdays were more wild and crazy in the 1970s compared to the 1980s. Think about it. You had the birth of Saturday Night Live, the blockbuster Saturday Night Fever igniting the disco craze, Elton John sang “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” and the tartan teen sensations, The Bay City Rollers were shouting out, “S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night!”
The Cure, “10:15 Saturday Night” (1979)
It’s damn near impossible to get a plumber late on a Saturday night, much less all-day Sunday if your kitchen sink tap drips drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip. Better luck ringing him up on Monday.
Étienne Daho “Week-end à Rome” (1984)
The French, including their very own pop star Étienne Daho, have a thing about not messing with their culture and language. Yet they have adopted the English word, “weekend”, by adding a little French twist with a hyphen in the middle. In the 1990s, the English electronic pop group Saint Etienne teamed up with Daho and had one of their biggest hits with a reworked English version of the song called “He’s On The Phone”.
Lloyd Cole & Commotions, “Lost Weekend” (1985)
True story. I’m on my honeymoon seeing the sights of Europe and I caught the worst cold possible. The last few days we spent in Amsterdam. I’m relaxing in our hotel room trying to feel better when I suddenly hear Lloyd Cole singing on the TV, “…it took a lost weekend in a hotel in Amsterdam, double pnuemonia in a single room and the sickest joke was the price of the medicine…”
Our friend Chris Rooney remembers SNL as a new wave-friendly playground…
If you weren’t lucky enough to have cable television in the early 1980s — or a cable provider that offered MTV showing round-the-clock music videos or TBS SuperStation, which had Nighttracks that did so to a lesser degree — then your chances to see your favorite new wave acts on the Big Three Networks (NBC, ABC and CBS) were pretty slim.
NBC aired The Midnight Special from 1972 to 1981. The 90-minute concert program followed the Friday night edition of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, but the show was pretty thin when it came to introducing upcoming post-punk or new wave acts. The time slot was later replaced with Friday Night Videos (1983-2000), NBC’s answer to the by-then-popular MTV.
ABC’s Saturday Night Live sketch comedy knockoff show, Fridays was shortlived (1980-1982), but it did showcase acts like The Boomtown Rats, The Cars, Devo, The Jam, The Pretenders, The Plasmatics, Split Endz and The Tubes. Meanwhile, Solid Gold, that weekly music countdown was a syndicated show usually found on minor or independent TV channels. However, performers on the show had to lip synch their songs.
The stalwart through this whole era leading up to the present is Saturday Night Live. Created in 1975, each week between various live comedy sketches, a music guest, either a solo act or a band, performed one or two songs live. Due to the shows edgy humor and younger demographic, big named acts rolled through the doors of Studio 8H at 30 Rockefeller Center to perform to a nationwide audience. Unlike NBC’s other big late night franchise, The Tonight Show, SNL stayed up with the times and featured many hot acts.
For many American teens, SNL was — and is — a way to see their favorite artists play live on stage. The rising popularity of the home VCR allowed one to record the show to watch later since the musical guest usually didn’t go on until well past midnight. Being a live television show for the last 40 years, SNL has always courted controversy and not just from its Not-Ready-For-Primetime cast. Whether it was Elvis Costello intentionally changing his choice of song 30 seconds into his performance, or Sinéad O’Connor ripping up a photo of the pope, or a really drunk Replacements mouthing obscenities while playing, the studio heads always have had to keep one finger on the five-second delay button.
NBC Universal’s tight rein on the broadcasts make it hard (read: impossible) to post and find online many of the musical guest performances during the late 1970s and early 80s — acts like Devo, Duran Duran, the Go-Go’s, Sparks, Men At Work, Joe Jackson, Squeeze, Denys Midnight Runners, The Motels — the list goes on and on.. But I *was* able to find one postable performance. Enjoy:
David Bowie, “The Man Who Sold the World, December 15, 1979 (Season 5, Episode 7)