Thursday, March 22, 2012

'80s Country Gets Juicy

OK, first of all, her name's Juice. Imagine listening to the terrific music of Sauce Parton, or Soda Rogers. Newton could also give Joni Mitchell a run for her money in the lanky, gaunt female singer sweepstakes.

Juice Newton had two huge pop crossover hits in 1981. I'm not sure if people realized that they were both fairly straightforward cover versions of other peoples' songs. Listeners in the '80s were probably not that picky.

"Angel Of The Morning," a depiction of a one-night stand cloaked in memorable metaphor, was originally a hit for Merrilee Rush in 1968.

Since then, I'm fairly sure that every single female singer under the sun has attempted a cover of "Angel Of The Morning": Olivia Newton-John, Dusty Springfield, ABBA, The Pretenders, Nina Simone, Bonnie Tyler ... at one point I think they were giving away covers of "Angel Of The Morning" with people's breakfast cereal. But none of those other versions quite have that special Juice Newton "power ballad" magic.

"Queen Of Hearts" was a 1979 hit for rockabilly revivalist (and frequent Nick Lowe buddy) Dave Edmunds in the UK.

Newton might as well have just erased the vocal track from Edmunds' version, because she barely changed a thing.

So, fine, Juice Newton wasn't the most blindingly original singer. But she picked good material and she didn't fuck it up. Easier said than done. Besides, her name was Juice. Apparently it's better for your career than being called "The Juice." I wonder if she named any of her children Isaac, or Fig. Fig would have been good.


Herr Zrbo said...

She has a really weird look on her face in that 'Angel' video, is she perhaps a juice zombie?

And once again, your post reminds me of sitting at the pool at Cutter listening to Queen of Hearts from the Billboard Top Hits of 1982(?) CD

Little Earl said...

It was the Billboard Top Hits of 1981. At this rate, I'll probably end up posting on every single song from that CD. Although I don't have too much to say about "Jessie's Girl."

If the Cutter pool could talk ... what stories would it tell?

And yes, Juice Newton is going to kill you!