Psychedelic Furs singer Richard Butler turns 57 today, June 5th, 2014, and we at DM wish him a very happy birthday!
The Psychedelic Furs made a deft transition in the ‘80s, from spiky (but highly appealing) sax-enhanced post-punk to a pop sound that made them darlings of MTV and even mainstream radio. Their self-titled debut album is as strong a statement of purpose as you’ll ever hear from a new band, and their second, Talk Talk Talk, is absolutely essential, as it’s the home of the fantastic song “Dumb Waiters.” (That album also provided the theme song and title for a John Hughes movie with the wrong ending, dammit.)
After their third LP, Forever Now (which featured Turtles/Zappa singers Flo & Eddie on backup vox and Todd Rundgren on synths), their music became increasingly polished and more broadly appealing, though still of high quality—their 1988 single “All That Money Wants” is among the finest songs they ever made. They disbanded in 1991, whereupon Butler and his guitarist brother Tim formed the band Love Spit Love, who released two kinda decent albums in the ‘90s. The Furs have since been resurrected as a touring act, but not a recording one. All of Richard Butler’s newer songs have been released under his solo imprimatur. And it’s really good stuff, I recommend seeing him on tour if you haven’t yet.
Here’s some great footage of the Furs on that amazing Spanish TV show La Edad de Oro, from 1984. It’s broken up into a playlist so you can skip around between songs.