Thursday, February 2, 2023

1983 Singles - # 19 Wall Of Voodoo


I still have a great fondness for Wall of Voodoo and Stannard Ridgeway and when you talk about either, you need to talk about Mexican Radio, It was their own near hit  It might as well have been an actual  hit, it made such a mark when it came out on IRS Records in 1983, even though the only actual charts it featured on were probably independent ones.

IRS were a kind of a halfway house label. Not wholly independent, so able to get their records into high street shops while still coming across a cool and not overly corporate. Wall of Voodoo, just like R.E.M., Oingo Boingo, The Go Gos and The Beat were just made for such a set up. Imagine a world that is cool where cool records feature on the radio all day. Where you don't have to pretend to like the latest Phil Collins or Sting songs.

Mexican Radio would have got maximum play in such a world. MTV which was just setting up was obliged to feature it heavily as it didn't have a huge number of promos to feature. So we got Stannard singing out of the corner of his mouth as if he was Daffy Duck and weird 'found' lyrics that hinted at another parallel world more attractive than our own with a strange, heady atmosphere that almost seemed to prefigure Twin Peaks and Breaking Bad. 

They played the song all the time at the go to club in town for students when I went to university and found my people. It was a song that told me I would need to move away from the beaten path to find the things I really loved. I had this feeling again and again during 1983 and the years that followed. 

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