Saturday, March 29, 2014

Geffen Records: Ways To Be Wicked

Our final look at Geffen Records takes us back to 1985 self-titled album by the cowpunk band Lone Justice. I remember listening to the cassette version of this LP quite often in my car back then. Lone Justice was formed in 1982 by vocalist Maria McKee and guitarist Ryan Hedgecock. In a short time, they became the darlings of the musical elite and well known and established artists were attending their shows in Los Angeles.

One of those was Linda Ronstadt who alerted David Geffen about their talent, and Lone Justice was signed to Geffen Records. When in town, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers frequented their shows as well. Additionally, Petty and Mike Campbell contributed their composition “Ways to be Wicked” to cut for their debut album. To round out their involvement, Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench and guitarist Mick Campbell added their respective talents to record.

Although “Ways to be Wicked” was their second single, it performed as their first. Geffen initially released “Sweet, Sweet Baby (I’m Falling); however, the company pulled the single in deference to “Ways to be Wicked” in April 1985. In June, Geffen rereleased “Sweet, Baby, Baby” a second time in June 1985.

While I loved it, “Ways to be Wicked” did not perform to anyone’s expectations – the label’s, the band’s, or even mine. What I thought was a great song with a lot of grit, the public felt otherwise. “Ways to be Wicked” peaked on the Hot 100 at 71 and on the album charts at #29. For our final look at Geffen Records, “Ways to be Wicked” serves as our Saturday Bubbling Under Feature.

Art Promoff & the author; 1985 Pop Music Survey Convention in Atlanta
As I close out our look at Geffen Records, I wish to dedicate this entire past week to my friend Art Promoff. During the greater portion of my time in popular music radio, Art was the National Promotions Director for Geffen. Not only was he a business associate, he was a friend. Tragically two days before Art’s 45th birthday in 1996, he passed away. The world lost a man who loved music and life. Art, we all miss you.

No comments:

Post a Comment