Friday, March 25, 2016

Friday 80s Flashback for March 25, 2016

[Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm] -- I'm not certain how many music fans would consider Joni Mitchell an 80s artist. I'm not even sure I do. Still, about a quarter of her singles were released in that decade. And her 13th studio album, Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm, was released this week in 1988. Chalk Mark has the usual Mitchell hallmarks -- a lament about commercialism, (anti-)war messages, and a lovesong. Some of the MIDI-esque strains and 80s percussion may make the record sound dated, but only to the most jaded of ears. Why is that? Because on each song, words and music are woven together with Mitchell's distinctive, lyrical voice. Speaking of voices, this record is interesting for its roster of guest artists, particularly guest vocalists. Mitchell duets with Peter Gabriel, Willie Nelson, and Billy Idol among others. Not many hits on this record, but the album did well nonetheless, peaking at #23 in Canada, #45 on the US Billboard 200, and #26 in the UK.

I'll bet you're wondering about those duets I mentioned, right? Well, read and hear more about them after the break. 

Flashback #1"People talk to tell you something | Or to take up space."

Track 1, side 1 of Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm has Joni Mitchell singing with Peter Gabriel on "My Secret Place." This was also the first single off the album, released in March 1988. It reached the top 100 in Canada, but didn't chart in the US. The music video, however, did manage some steady rotation on VH-1. 

Flashback #2"lyric."

The third single off Chalk Mark was a reworking of "Cool Water" with Willie Nelson. Originally penned by Bob Nolan in 1936, this song first hit the music charts in 1948 with a recording by Vaughn Monroe and The Sons of the Pioneers. It must have been covered at least 20 times since then, and Mitchell's version isn't even the most recent. And, though critically well received, this revisited cowboy classic barely charted.  

Flashback #3"Anytime I want | I can make you my dancin' clown."

The award for most unlikely artist combo on Chalk Mark must go to the song, "Dancin' Clown," which features guest vocals from both Tom Petty and ... Billy Idol! It wasn't released as a single per se, but there is a music video for it. Come watch Joni Mitchell dancing around her kitchen. It will do you a world of good. I promise. 

Once again, I remind you that the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, 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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