Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sheena Easton: Sorceress Of Scotland

Out of the depths of Scotland, there rose an alien being. The villagers gathered around and marveled at her ghoulish gaze. What should they call this strange creature? "We shall call her ... Sheena Easton."

Easton's first and probably biggest hit was originally going to be called "9 To 5," but to avoid confusion with Dolly Parton's extremely recent release, the record label re-named the song "Morning Train (Nine To Five)." As Wikipedia says, "While Parton's song features an empowered (if challenged) working woman, Easton's song features a passive, love-struck woman waiting around at home all day for her lover to return to her." In other words, Sheena's song is kind of stupid. It could have been written for a '30s musical, and not one of the good ones. Yeah, I liked it as a kid, but at this time in my life I find the song relatively annoying, especially its ridiculous bridge: "When he steps off that train, I'm makin' a fool, a fight/Work all day to earn his pay, so we can play all niii-hight!"

I'm more fond of her James Bond theme, "For Your Eyes Only." If there's such a thing as an Aerobic Rock Ballad, "For Your Eyes Only" is it. When I hear the opening, I feel like I'm walking into some sort of space ship holiday resort. When I used to hear this song on The '80s Tape, I couldn't help but make a little gesture with my fingers every time the extra high synthesizer notes followed the initial notes, bathed in a gigantic vat of echo. I always laughed hysterically at the particularly drawn out employment of these notes at the very end of the song (unfortunately cut off in this clip).

"For Your Eyes Only" may be, along with "Live and Let Die" or "Nobody Does It Better," the most memorable James Bond theme. It was unique in one other way. From Wikipedia:
Easton is the only artist to be seen singing the theme song to a Bond movie during its opening titles, as Maurice Binder liked Easton's appearance and decided to add her to the credits.[5] Her seductive appearance in these clips was, according to Roger Moore, more sexy than any of the Bond girls, although Easton herself states that the filming process was very unglamorous.[6][7]
Hey, Sheena, when you get a compliment from James Bond, you take it.

Easton's greatest contribution to Aerobic Rock, however, would have to be "Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair)."

Sheena's voice has just the right amount of high-pitched whininess to it, and, as with "For Your Eyes Only," the piano player excels at making dramatic and well-timed entrances. The melody of the verse may owe a little something to ABBA's "Lay All Your Love On Me," but ABBA probably didn't mind. Hell, ABBA were Aerobic Rock before there was even Aerobic Rock. Sheena's just paying her respects.


Herr Zrbo said...

Well, until you posted this I actually did think that Morning Train was from a 30's musical, not something from the 80's. You learn something new every day, huh?

Little Earl said...

Here's a clip of "Telefone" from Solid Gold. No Solid Gold dancers, unfortunately, but we do get plenty of spotlights and dry ice.