Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday 80s Flashback for August 14, 2015

Vixen: the 1988 album (L) and the animated DC Comics hero (R)

[Tale of Two Vixens] -- This week's Flashback post has its roots in a Matt Moore (@Guerrillascribe) tweet about belting out a tune by 80s girl-glam-metal, Vixen, because he was working on a podcast about the DC Comics character of the same name. Realizing Moore was speaking my dual languages of comics and 80s music, and always liking internet-induced synchronicity, I decided to feature Vixen's only 80s record in the Flashback while linking back to Moore's podcast. So, be certain to stop by the Comic Book Noob podcast (site | episode) and learn all about the Vixen who was supposed to be DC's first African female to star in her own series (and who will be on television this fall). Then, return here to read and hear more about the all-female glam-metal band that debuted in the late 80s!

Flashback #1"lyric

If you stopped by Comic Book Noob, you probably caught a taste, just a small taste, of "Edge of a Broken Heart." This is not the Bon Jovi song from 1987, but rather the 1988 debut single from 80s glam girls, Vixen. Not only did Bon Jovi and Vixen release similarly titled songs just a year apart, but Vixen has been referred to as "a female Bon Jovi" (according to their bio on I'm not sure I see it, but I leave you to be the judge:

You tell me: Is Vixen (L) a female version of Bon Jovi (R)?

There is a Wikipedia entry that says Vixen was formed in 1973 by guitarist Jan Kuehnemund, who passed away in 2013., however, cites the founding of Vixen in the year 1981. Either way, that would date Vixen's founding earlier than Bon Jovi's (which was 1983). However, Bon Jovi released their debut album four years earlier than Vixen. This, and the fact that I can't find any similarities in studio personal for their recordings, also brings into question that "female Bon Jovi" remark. So, we'll dismiss it and recognize Vixen as artists with their own right.

Vixen has been active since 1981 (or 1973) with two breaks: 1991 to 1997, and 1998 to 2001. They've had numerous personnel in the band over the years, but the foursome that recorded the debut album is considered the "classic" lineup with Janet Gardner (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Jan Kuehnemund (lead guitar, backing vocals), Share Pedersen (bass, backing vocals), and Roxy Petrucci (drums, backing vocals). It is also the lineup that appears in Penelope Spheeris' film, The Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years (1988).

Back to Vixen's debut album, the first single off their self-titled debut was their signature hit, "Edge of a Broken Heart." Written by Richard Marx (quite the hit-maker in the late 80s to early 90s, remember him?) and Fee Waybill (lead singer and songwriter of The Tubes). "Edge of a Broken Heart" peaked at #26 on the Billboard Hot 100. The music video's MTV exposure helped boost sales of the album -- it was the #41 album on The Billboard 200, and #66 on the UK's Album Chart.

A second single ("Cryin'") peaked at #22, but it's not anywhere near as well known as Vixen's debut single. And the remainder of the record features rather predictable riffs and lyrics -- like much of the late 80s hair metal output. Does that make Vixen a bad record? Not at all. It is certainly far from the worst released in the latter part of the decade, and I would say it probably ranks among the more fun of the hard-partying discs. In fact, let's put the full album here so you can experience how much fun it is. I'm serious: This is good weekend music for a summer weekend!

For your reference, here are the individual track links:
1. Edge of a Broken Heart 00:00
2. I Want You to Rock Me 04:23
3. Cryin' 07:54
4. American Dream 11:25
5. Desperate 15:41
6. One Night Alone 19:55
7. Hell Raisers 23:46
8. Love Made Me 28:16
9. Waiting 31:16
10. Cruisin 34:25
11. Charmed Life 38:49

Bonus Track:
12. Give It Away 42:55

Well, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the archives. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!

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