Saturday, February 21, 2009


You've got one hit wonders. Think Boston. Sniff'n the Tears. The Motors. The New Radicals. Rupert Holmes. Elvin Frikkin Bishop.

And then you have two hit wonders. Two big hits, spaced not that far apart, and then nothing. One such a band was The Shirts. From what I heard this Brooklyn outfit was never much of a success in the States, but I remember well how for a brief period in the late seventies they were HUGE in the Low Countries, and then especially in The Netherlands. They formed in 1975 and comprised at some point no less than nine musicians. Initially a cover band, in 1975 they performed at CBGB, the famous Country, Blue Grass and Blues music club in Bleecker Street, Manhattan, where a producer found them. The founders were Robert Racioppo and Artie Lamonica, the lead singer Annie Golden. From their first album, The Shirts (1978), was drawn their first single, Tell me your plans. Hit no. 2, Laugh and Walk Away, came from the subsequent album, Streetlight Shine (1979). And that was it. The success that they enjoyed in Europe, however briefly, eluded them in their home country, and their third album, Inner Sleeve (1980) was basically a deadborn, with only 10,000 LP's pressed. The Shirts split the year after and its members pursued various solo careers, with Golden having a degree of success in the film industry and on stage. Curiously, most members of the group, with the notable exception of Golden, reformed in 2003, and in 2006 they released Only the dead know Brooklyn - to the best of my knowledge, without any significant hit on it. Life's weird and can be sad and unfair. The magic touch can blossom further or simply flicker. Now and then it flickers twice, like with The Shirts. Maybe it's better to let old matters rest. For one member of The Shirts, singer and guitarist Ron Ardito, that has come out rather literally, since unfortunately, in 2008 he died from cancer.

Well... as for me, I will forever be grateful to these guys, as I am for all good music. Thirty years after the Outlaw Mike Nerd Era, when he sported thick glasses and uncool trousers and was hopelessly out of sync with life, I was overjoyed when yesterday I stumbled upon Youtube videos of both singles. Don't know how it is or will be with you, but the following sounds bring back fond memories.

I admit that the videos suck, especially the latter one, but then you have to remember that at the time Carter was POTUS. Splains all.


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