More Of MisenPOPic!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Out There!: Shake For The Sheik/Walking Thru Walls/I'll Be There by The Escape Club

I'm spent after writing that extensive Chiller Theatre Experience #2 article last night. I got some more little ditties in the work for tomorrow. But I'm trying to put all of my old Out There! articles up to refresh your memories unitl I'm down to zero and have to start writing new ones. And oh I have so many left to write about!!! Here's a piece about one of the biggest bands of the 80's who faded into obscurity, but left us with one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard, "I'll Be There!. If you take anything away from this article, be sure to play the last video to understand what I mean when I say it's one of the best songs that you might not even know about.

We all remember the Escape Club, don't we? Back in 1988, none of us could escape The Escape Club and their smash hit, Wild Wild West. Wild Wild West hit the top of the charts, and was supposed to lift the band to further acclaim. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen! Yet, the Escape Club would become popular for another song at the end of their brief career. But I’ll get to that in a little bit. Wild Wild West was on pop radio every fifteen minutes, and the video was in heavy rotation on MTV. One of MTV’s legendary and best-known videos, it featured these strange combo arms and legs (without a crotch) getting down to the beat. Twenty years later, and I still haven’t gotten those flopping arms out of my head! The Escape Club consisted of a singer who could maybe pass as Bono’s younger brother (Trevor Steel),“Booger Presley” on the lead guitar (John Holliday-doesn’t he look like Booger from Revenge Of The Nerds? If not, how about Eric Bogosian?), the rasta-haired bassist (Johnni Christo) and the quiet Steven Seagal inspired pony-tailed drummer with no personality (Milan Zekavica). You know what? Even twenty years later, the song still hasn’t aged one bit.

Following up on Wild Wild West, The Escape Club released their second single, Shake For The Sheik Sheik climbed all the way up to #28 on the Billboard charts, but I remember it topping the MTV Top 20 Video charts for a few weeks. Shake For The Sheik was a fun little song, and could still be relevant in today’s world. Perhaps when Barrack Obama and Joe Biden sit down with the Arabs to discuss nuclear weapons and peace with Israel, they can begin their speech by playing this song and doing a dance routine of “shaking for the sheiks”?

Sticking with the alliteration theme (Hmm, I still remember some things I learned in high school), The Escape Club’s third single was titled Walking Through Walls. The song went to #81 on the charts, and again the Escape Club surprised me with another fun and catchy song. If you like the first two singles, you’ll love this one. I’ve tried to download the entire album with limited results to see if the other tunes on the album are as good as the single. When I do a search on a P2P network which will remain nameless, all I get are the three singles aforementioned.

To follow up on the success of the first album, The Escape Club released their second album on Atlantic Records, Dollars & Sex, in 1991. The first single, Call It Poison, was a disaster not even cracking the Top 40. I understand why it tanked, the song didn’t really recapture the formula of their previous hits. Atlantic Records would turn their focus to other projects, and the Escape Club soon became an afterthought. But not until a second single was released perhaps to see if the band still had some appeal. That song was a beautiful ballad titled “I’ll Be There”.

Supposedly, the radio stations were getting tons of requests for this song to the surprise of Atlantic Records. I’ll Be There, which was inspired by the Ghost movie of 1990, hit #8 and made sure The Escape Club wouldn’t be known as a one-hit wonder. It was little too late as the band had disbanded for good in 1992. The Escape Club band members should be happy they are still collecting royalties on a terrific song as they sit in their cubicles in a London business complex selling life insurance!!!! On a personal note, I’ll Be There is one of my Top 40 songs of all time. It’s five minutes of pure bliss, and a great song to inspire you if you miss a friend or are simply having a bad day. I’ll Be There still pops up every now and then on local radio, although the callers who request the song never know the artist that sings it or that it’s the same band who three years earlier were all over the charts with Wild Wild West. I actually almost used it for my wedding, but I already had the band learning enough new songs to play for me so I refrained. Watch this video below, and don’t tell me this song isn’t amazing? If the Escape Club ever decide to reunite, I am so there!!!

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