Thursday, March 27, 2014

Geffen Records: A Million Miles Away

Although formed in 1978 and having recorded for two nationally distributed labels (Planet and Geffen), the band would only have one near miss: “A Million Miles Away.” In fact its appearance in the movie “Valley Girl” and its subsequent popularity spurred the band to rerecord “A Million Miles Away” for their only album on Geffen – “Everywhere but Once.”

Not only am I featuring the song as part of my series on Geffen Records it is also my Thursday Repeats and Threepeats selection, as “A Million Miles Away” was originally released on the independent label Shaky City Records in 1982. The single was issued in both 7 and 12 inch versions.

The popularity of “A Million Miles Away” intensified as the song was included in the movie “Valley Girl” where the band appears to be playing it live. Because of this attention, The Plimsouls rerecorded it for inclusion on “Everywhere but Once.” Released in 1983, “A Million Miles Away” placed at the #11 spot on the album radio charts; however, it failed to generate much interest from the mainstream public. Its dismal peak during the summer of ‘83 was at #82 on the Hot 100 chart.

I loved this song and played it as an album cut at WCIR in Beckley, WV; however, it failed to gain any momentum in our market. Prior to disbanding, the band released one further single: “Oldest Story in the World.” By 1984, front man Peter Case was a solo artist and his excellent debut album was also released by Geffen. These two albums were the sum total of Case’s and The Plimsouls’ contributions to David Geffen’s empire.

The Plimsouls’ sound probably had many influences, but one that comes to mind when listening to “A Million Miles Away” is The Byrds. The 12-string electric guitar and the licks that sound like Roger McGuinn’s work are a dead giveaway. Chances are you’ve never heard this cut by The Plimsouls, and if you had, it’s been nearly like “A Million Miles Away.”

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