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Cocaine’s A Helluva Drug: Godley & Creme on Top Of The Pops, 1981


 
OK, so this instalment of Cocaine’s... might not have the epic freak-out-ish-ness of last week’s John Cale performance, but to me this sums up the spirit of the cocaine age perfectly.

Godley & Creme were once part of 10CC, of course, and video directors of quite some renown in the 1980s, but they also delivered a string of haunting, emotional electro pop hits like this one, a tale of tragic spousal abuse as overheard on a commuter train.

What that has to do with sliding down a fake window while clenching your fists is anyone’s guess. But, like I said, cocaine’s a helluva drug.

This performance is epically camp, and was undoubtedly inspired by some of the finest marching powder. Kevin Godley tosses his mullet and gurns as if trapped in a lost Douglas Sirk classic, while all around bright shiny lights create a vaseline-heavy haze that will have you checking your eyeballs for cataracts. The tune is rather lovely, with synths that sound more like vintage 60s electronica than early 80s electro, but I can just hear the producer now, frothing at the mouth and screaming that what this needs is “MORE DRAMA!!!”

Godley & Creme “Under Your Thumb” Top Of The Pops, 1981:
 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Cocaine’s a Helluva Drug: John Cale’s Rockpalast freak out, 1984


 
The first in an intermittent series of posts showcasing the most coked-out music performances of recent times, that are still available for the public to see via the magic of the internet.

Cocaine’s A Helluva Drug kicks off with this frankly terrifying clip of John Cale tearing up floorboards at the German Rockpalast festival in 1984, as he rips through Elvis’ “Heartbreak Hotel” on the piano.

The madness begins at 4:40, and it is preceded in this clip by a relatively sober Cale performing the same track at the same festival one year earlier, which gives great context for just how fucked up he is the following year. Apparently most of the crowd the second time round were waiting for London’s white-funk homeboys Level 42.

For the record, Cale’s interpretation of this classic is simply astounding, delivered here in a stripped down, chilling arrangement showcasing Cale’s delicious butter-from-the-gutter growl.

This is neither a warning nor an endorsement. It simply IS.

John Cale “Heartbreak Hotel” (Live at Rockpalast 1983 & 1984)
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment