The Eighties Club
The Politics and Pop Culture of the 1980s
Featured Song/Artist
"Sledgehammer"
Peter Gabriel

Written by Peter Gabriel
So (Virgin, 1986)


You could have a steam train
if you'd just lay down your tracks
you could have an aeroplane flying
if you bring your blue sky back
All you do is call me
I'll be anything you need

You could have a big dipper
going up and down, all around the bends
you could have a bumper car, bumping
the amusement never ends

I want to be your sledgehammer
why don't you call my name
oh let me be your sledgehammer
this will be my testimony

Show me 'round your fruitcage
'cause I will be your honey bee
open up your fruitcage
where the fruit is as sweet as can be

I want to be your sledgehammer
why don't you call my name
you'd better call the sledgehammer
put your mind at rest
I'm going to be-the sledgehammer
this can be my testimony
I'm your sledgehammer
let there be no doubt about it
Sledge sledge sledgehammer

I've kicked the habit
shed my skin
this is the new stuff
I go dancing in, we go dancing in
oh won't you show for me
and I will show for you
show for me, I will show for you
yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I do mean you
only you
you've been coming through
going to build that power
build, build up that power, hey
I've been feeding the rhythm
I've been feeding the rhythm
going to feel that power, build in you
come on, come on, help me do
yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, you
I've been feeding the rhythm
I've been feeding the rhythm
it's what we're doing, doing
all day and night

Born 5.13.50 in Cobham, Surrey, Gabriel attended the Charterhouse School in Godalming, Surrey with Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford; these schoolmates formed the band Genesis in 1966, which Gabriel departed in 1976 at the conclusion of the Lamb Lies Down tour. It took him two years to release his debut solo (and the first of four self-titled) albums, which made it to UK# 7 and US# 38. Gabriel topped off 1977 by being arrested in Germany on suspicion that he was a member of the Baader-Meinhof gang. The following year, his second album, also entitled Peter Gabriel, reached UK# 10. In 1980 he had his first Top 10 single, "Games Without Frontiers" (UK# 4). That year saw the release of his third album, which included "Biko", a song protesting the death of South African activist Steve Biko.
During the Eighties, Gabriel launched the World of Music Arts & Dance Festival in Somerset, which showcased culture and music from around the globe.He also released the fourth Peter Gabriel album (1982), featuring the single "Shock the Monkey", which peaked at UK# 58 and US# 29, as well as a live album that made the Top 10 in the UK. But it was in 1986, with the album So and the single "Sledgehammer", that Gabriel enjoyed his greatest commercial success. The album, featuring the likes of Kate Bush, Stewart Copeland, Nile Rodgers and Jim Kerr (of Simple Minds), soared to UK# 1in May of that year. (IN 1996, the RIAA would certify five million units sold.) "Sledgehammer" topped the US chart for a week in July. The following year, Gabriel won Best British Male Artist and Best British Music Video (for "Sledgehammer") at the  6th Annual BRIT Awards. So produced several other hits as well, including a ballad duet with Kate Bush entitled "Don't Give Up" (UK# 9) and "Big Time" (US# 8, UK# 13). In September 1987, "Sledgehammer" ruled at the 4th Annual MTV Video Music Awards, winning Best Video, Best Male Video, Best Concept Video, Best Overall Performance, Best Special Effects Best Art Direction, Best Editing, Best Direction and Most Experimental. (The acclaimed video involved claymation and innovative stop-motion techniques.) During the decade, Gabriel was also active in humanitarian causes; he performed in two Amnesty International tours along with U2, Sting, Bryan Adams, Tracy Chapman and Bruce Springsteen (among others) as well as an anti-apartheid concert or two.
In the 1990s, Gabriel continued to be met with critical acclaim and commercial success; his album Us, featuring a truly global array of talent and released on Gabriel's own Real World label, peaked at UK# 2 and was certified platinum by the RIAA in 1992. He won a Best Producer BRIT award and a Best Music Video (Short Form) Grammy for the Top 10 single "Steam". His Witness program, started in 1992, provided video equipment to human rights activists around the world.


The Glamorous Life" 
Sheila E

Written by Sheila E.
The Glamorous Life (Warner Bros., 1984)


She wears a long fur coat of mink
Even in the summer time
Everybody knows from the coy little wink
The girl's got a lot on her mind

She's got big thoughts, big dreams
And a big brown Mercedes sedan
What I think this girl,
She really wants is to be in love with a man

(chorus)
She wants to lead the glamorous life
She don't need a man's touch
She wants to lead the glamorous life
Without love it ain't much

She saw him standing in the section marked
If you have to ask you can't afford it lingerie
She threw him bread and said make me scream
In the dark what could he say

Boys with small talk and small minds
Really don't impress me in bed
She said I need a man's man baby
Diamonds and furs
Love would only conquer my head

She wants to lead the glamorous life
She don't need a man's touch
She wants to lead the glamorous life
Without love it ain't much

They made haste in the brown sedan
They drove to 55 Secret street
They made love and by the seventh wave
She knew she had a problem
She thought real love is real scary
Money only pays the rent
Love is forever that's all your life
Love is heaven sent it's glamorous

She wants to lead the glamorous life
She don't need a man's touch
She wants to lead the glamorous life
Without love it ain't much
It ain't much

Sheila Escovedo was born 12 December 1957 in Oakland, CA. Her father was famed conguero Pete "Coke" Escovedo who played for, among others, Santana. At the age of 14 she was asked to join a band; even though her father didn't want her to get into the music business, Sheila borrowed a set of drums and joined up. (Her brothers Juan and Peter Michael are also in the music industry.) She performed with her father's Latin jazz-fusion band, Azteca, and recorded two albums with her father. By the age of 17 had performed with such stars as Marvin Gaye, Herbie Hancock, Patti LaBelle, Stevie Nicks and Lionel Richie and Diana Ross. Prince recruited her to sing backup on "Erotic City," the B-side of the hit single "Let's Go Crazy" and helped her get a record contract with Warner Bros. "The Glamorous Life," from the debut album by the same name, was a Top Ten hit, earning numerous Grammy and American Music Award nominations. The video, which Sheila directed, won MTV's Best Video Award. After a SRO tour of the United States and Europe, Sheila signed on as opening act for Prince's Purple Rain Tour. Her second album, Romance 1600 (produced on Prince's Paisley Park label; Prince provided guitar, bass and vocals work on the album) produced the hit single, "Love Bizarre," (US# 11) and Sheila embarked on another successful tour. "Hold Me," was the single from her third album, Sheila E. In 1987, she joined Prince's band for the Sign O' the Times Tour. Four years later her fourth album, Sex Cymbal, failed to chart. In recent years, Sheila (briefly) led the band on Magic Johnson's late-night talk show, released a new album, The Writes of Passage (2000), and toured with Ringo Starr (2002).


"Kyrie" 
Mr. Mister

Written by Richard Page, Steve George, John Lang
Welcome to the Real World (RCA, 1985)


Kyrie Eleison....
Kyrie Eleison...
Kyrie...

The wind blows hard against this mountainside
Across the sea into my soul
It reaches in to where I cannot hide
Setting my feet upon the road

My heart old, it holds my memories
My body burns a gem like flame
And somewhere between my soul and soft machine
Is where I find myself again

Kyrie Eleison down the road that I must travel
Kyrie Eleison through the darkness of the night
Kyrie Eleison where I go when will you follow
Kyrie Eleison on a highway in the light.

When I was young I thought of growing old
Of what my life would mean to me
Would I have followed down my chosen road?
I only wished what I could be.

Kyrie Eleison down the road that I must travel
Kyrie Eleison through the darkness of the night
Kyrie Eleison where I go when will you follow
Kyrie Eleison on a highway in the light.

Woh oh oh, woh oh oh, woh oh ho....

Kyrie Eleison down the road that I must travel
Kyrie Eleison through the darkness of the night
Kyrie Eleison where I go when will you follow
Kyrie Eleison on a highway in the light.

Richard Page (1953) and Steve George (1955) both grew up in Phoenix, AZ. They were high school classmates and sang in the Phoenix Boys Choir (which Page's mother directed). George started playing keyboard for a local group, and when the lead singer departed, Page replaced him. The band played a gig in Las Vegas, but soon thereafter Page left to attend San Diego's School of Performing Arts. George and the band moved to Los Angeles to play the local circuit there. Later, he and Page and Page's cousin John Lang teamed up to form a new band called Pages and try their hand at songwriting. Signed by Epic Records, they cut two albums (and a third for Columbia Records), but success eluded them, and they went to work as session players while writing songs for the likes of Michael Jackson, the Pointer Sisters, Rick Springfield, and Kenny Loggins. In 1982, Page and George formed Mr. Mister. Steve Farris (1957, Fremont, NE) came aboard as guitarist, while Pat Mastelotto (1955, Chico, CA) became the drummer. (Page played bass.) Playing a showcase at S.I.R. Studios in the spring of 1982, the band was signed by RCA. Their first single, "Hunters of the Night," stalled at US# 57. Though he was asked to replace Bobby Kimball as lead singer for Toto, and then to take over for Chicago's Peter Cetera, Page stuck with Mr. Mister.
The band readily admitted that their first album, I Wear the Face, was calculated to produce a Top 40 hit. It didn't work, and they were determined to fill their second album, Welcome to the Real World, with songs that were closer to the heart and had some artistic merit. Although RCA was reluctant to release "Broken Wings" as the album's first single, the band persisted. The song was out for several months before it even made the charts. And then it soared to # 1 (# 8 in the UK). The band toured with Don Henley, Heart and Tina Turner, and the exposure boosted sales. "Kyrie" went to the top of the singles chart three months later (March 1986). Kyrie eleison translated means "Lord have mercy." "It's a prayer, basically," explained Page. "I get a lot of power from meditation, from being still and realizing that what I'm doing is insignificant compared to the universe. That's what the song is all about." The parent album also went to # 1, and would eventually sell 10 million copies. A third single, "Is It Love," climbed to US # 8 and was featured on the soundtrack of the movie Stakeout. Mr. Mister was nominated for a Grammy (Best Pop Group Vocals, "Broken Wings") and launched their first headline tour in late 1986.
Work on a third album was delayed when Pat Mastelotto developed severe back problems and could not play. Go On... was finally released in September 1987. The single "Something Real" peaked at US# 29. A clash of egos between Page and Farris resulted in the departure of the latter in 1988. A fourth album was never released; RCA had been bought by BMG Ariola, and the new executives deemed the band's new material too experimental. Unable to drum up interest from another label, Mr. Mister disbanded.Page continued to do session work and write songs, and in the 1990s formed a new band, 3rd Matinee, which was short-lived, and produced a solo album for Blue Thumb Records.