Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Song of the Day: 'Take It to the Next Wave' by Jane Aire & the Belvederes

So you can add Jane Aire to the "How Did I Not Know About This?" files. Since writing about Rachel Sweet last week, I've learned that there was an entire New Wave scene of female artists in the Akron, Ohio, area who were not named Chrissie Hynde. Like the Great Pretender, some of them -- Jane, Rachel Patty Donahue and Marti Jones (from nearby Canton) -- found greater success in the U.K. than in their native land, often with the help of producer Liam Sternberg, who made his fortune by writing "Walk Like an Egyptian." (More on that later in the week. Akron also gave us the Dead Boys, Pere Ubu, Devo, Tin Huey, the Rubber City Rebels and the Bizarros.)

According to AllMusic, Jane Aire and the Belvederes (b. Jane Ashley, Dec. 2, 1956) recorded initially for "The Akron Compilation" LP in 1978 and became the first of the featured artists to release a single, "Yankee Wheels." Sternberg used a band called the Edge as both session musicians and tour band but renamed them the Belvederes (after a type of turret-like building). The Edge comprised former Damned guitarist Lu Edmunds (later in Athletico Spizz 80, the Mekons and PiL), respected session players Gavin Povey and Glyn Havard on keyboards and bass, respectively, plus drummer Jon Moss, who played with numerous punk bands including London and the Damned before finding fame with Culture Club. 

After the single for Stiff Records -- which also released an early version of "We Got the Beat" by the Go-Go's in the U.K. -- Aire was signed to Virgin Records to record a self-titled album that included today's Song of the Day and  featured the above musicians plus Chris Payne (trombone), Ray Warleigh (saxophone) and backing singers Rachel Sweet and Kirsty MacColl. (Swoon!)

After marrying Pete Briquette the Boomtown Rats in 1980 and assembling a new bunch of Belvederes in Paul Cutler (guitar), Ian Curnon (keyboards), Sam Hartley (bass), Dave Ashley (drums) and former Deaf School saxophonist Ian Ritchie, Aire returned to Stiff to make a further single -- a version of Dusty Springfield’s "I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten" -- in 1982 but as far as I can tell has been largely inactive since then. (Please correct me if I'm wrong!)

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