Monday, June 08, 2020

Song of the Day: 'Kiss and Tell' by the Breakfast Club

Finally got around to watching "Madonna and the Breakfast Club," Guy Guido's breathtaking look at the Material Girl's path to stardom now streaming on Amazon Prime. The documentary features rare audio and photos dating back to her late 1970s arrival in New York -- WHO recorded phone calls in 1979??? -- interspersed with present-day interviews with the XY principals and re-enactments brought to life by Jamie Auld, whose stunning resemblance to Ms. Ciccone has to be seen to be believed. (Most of us are familiar with the Pretenders and Benatar-esque songs that eventually were released on "Pre-Madonna," but this is filled with songs from way before then, including her earliest and punkiest songwriting efforts.) Unlike past biopics and the stories we've been fed for decades, this film portrays Madonna as a fiercely determined but caring person rather than the cold-hearted maneating user of lore. And given that ex-boyfriend/bandmate Dan Gilroy, ex-roommate/bandmate Ed Gilroy and ex-bandmate (and unrequited love interest) Gary Burke were all interviewed at length and spoke highly of her as a person and an artist, it leads me to believe this is probably the fairest depiction yet. (And lest you think Bray's absence from the film means anything, he's has nothing but KIND THINGS to say about his former flame and collaborator. He was probably too busy getting nominated for a Tony for "The Color Purple.") 

Although considered just a one-hit wonder of sorts now, it was also nice reliving that the band that gave Madonna her first break -- Dan helped her learn the drums and guitar before she tired of being a backup player and formed Emmy with Detroit pal Stephen Bray -- had its moment after she left. With Bray joining the fold (sort of in her drumming absence), the Breakfast Club had a huge Top 10 hit in "Right on Track." And their cover of "Expressway to Your Heart" and today's song of the day, "Kiss and Tell" -- the album's most romantic number -- were also in heavy rotation back in the day. Don't want to spoil the film for you. But suffice to say Madonna was happy for their success, too. 

P.S. It's not entirely clear to me why, but the after receiving a Grammy nomination for best new artist -- ironic for a band that formed in 1979 -- and a successful debut album, the Breakfast Club's sophomore album was shelved and the group broke up. (A cover of the Beatles' "Drive My Car" was their last effort, recorded for the Corey(2) vehicle "License to Drive" soundtrack in 1988.) In 2016, however, tracks from the unreleased effort were released as an EP fittingly called "Percolate." Struck me as cute when I saw on the credits that Niki Haris had sang backup, making it a complete Madonna U affair!

Looks like sensitive Gary Burke had exited the club by this point.

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