Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Music Box: Aztec Camera

 Best known for songs like "Oblivious" and a cheeky cover of Van Halen's "Jump," some might be surprised to know that Roddy Frame's biggest single -- by far -- was "Somewhere in My Heart," the third single off his "band" Aztec Camera's glossy 1987 album, "Love." When the song hit the Top 10 on the British charts in early 1988, no one could have possibly seen it coming. Despite an obvious attempt to be more commercial -- a handful of big-name hitmakers were brought on board to produce with eyes on the American market -- the album's first UK single, "Deep & Wide & Tall," stalled at No. 79 and its followup, "How Men Are," peaked at No. 25. (No singles charted in America and the album died at No. 193.) But when the "Hail Mary" single "Somewhere in My Heart" was shipped to stores -- promoted with this stylish black & white video with Roddy in full greaser mode -- it was an instant sensation, rocketing to No. 3, making it the group's biggest single since the re-release of "Oblivious" hit No. 18 in 1983. Riding on the single's success, the album also eked into the No. 10 spot, and fourth single, "Working in a Goldmine" was released, hitting No. 31. (Hoping to cash in on the success, "Deep & Wide & Tall" was reissued, but fared only slightly better the second time around hitting No. 55.) I hadn't heard "Somewhere in My Heart" in a quite a while until recently, and it was at that moment that I realized that Lita Ford's "Kiss Me Deadly" -- which came out the year after -- is to this song what Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" is to Madonna's "Express Yourself." Have a listen and let me know if you agree!

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