Monday, November 10, 2008

Calling All Girls

Hilly MichaelsHilly Michaels is an American drummer and musician, best known9if at all) for playing drums with Sparks in the 70's and his two solo albums from the early 80's, Calling All Girls (1980) and Lumia (1981). Calling All Girls is one of the most overtly over-the-top power pop/new wave records of the era, a cult classic, if you could appreciate it for what it was -- musical junk food that wasn't going to break any new molds. The album was produced by Roy Thomas Baker, and it featured Hilly on guitar, drums and vocals. Hilly also wrote all the songs, including Shake It And Dance, which became a huge hit in both Australia and France and was featured on the soundtrack of the film Die Laughing. Another song from the album, the very Sparks-sounding Something On Your Mind appeared on the soundtrack to the movie Caddyshack. The album could be described as The Cars on speed (Cars keyboardist Greg Hawkes even puts in an appearance). A motley cast of musicians played on the album, including Liza Minelli, her stepsister Lorna Luft, actor-singer Ellen Foley, former bandmate "Saturday Night Live" guitarist G.E. Smith, Elton John guitarist Davey Johnstone and rocker Dan Hartman.

But it was the title song that drew all the attention, a big budget MTV style video to promote Hilly's single "Calling All Girls". It was a landmark, breakthrough video in the industry. Hilly Michaels' "Calling All Girls" video was all over MTV back in the days when MTV's programmers didn't have a lot to choose from and were occasionally forced to show decent material. Every power pop trick in the book is compacted into this three-minute song: the "Calling All Girls" chorus sounds like a police bulletin, the half a key jump for the final verse and chorus, police siren wailing at the end. A lost classic album that is so out of print. Another album on my wish list of reissues.

Calling All Girls
Shake it and Dance
Buy It...Oh wait you can't

I'm going to be away from home for a few days so my next post won't be coming for a few days. Just wanted to give a heads up in case someone thought I'd disappeared.