Wednesday, April 4, 2012

National Walking Day

The American Heart Association has dubbed the first Wednesday in April National Walking Day. And I'm just cynical enough to wonder how the first Thursday in April compares to other days in terms of reported heart attacks.

It makes a nice excuse to use this cute picture from the site, though. Lots o' stuff on trails and walking there.

But wasn't there an 80's song--"Walkin' in LA, Nobody Walks in LA" ? Yes, and it was by Misssing Persons, a band that originated in Los Angeles. It sounded an awful lot like their other 80s hit, "Words" or possibly the two songs are just mixed up in my head. But is there a blog post in here somewhere?

Searching for the phrase "Missing Persons" in the LAT is not the best approach (gee, did you know that in 1924, the LA County Sherifff handled 500 missing persons cases and found about 450 of the missing?) but I did find this. Robert Hilburn, the Time's pop music critic for 35 years, went to a Missing Persons concert at the Long Beach Arena on New Year's Eve in 1983. He called them a "dumb band."

For those who remember the 80s fondly, here's what he said:

"It's not that Missing Persons is horrible. We're not talking Sammy Hagar or Judas Priest here. But the quintet, which is the hottest pop attraction to come out of Los Angeles sine the Go-Go's, is trying so hard to get to the top that it sacrifices some occasionally interesting pop instincts for a trendy, lightweight mentality."

Occasionally interesting? Wow, talk about damning with faint praise.

"The band buried all hints of warmth and charm beneath lead singer Dale Bozzio's tacky Cher (pre-Altman)-meets-Wendy O. Williams Stance."  Hilburn did seem to like the lyrics of the songs, oddly enough. He just disliked the people who performed them, I guess.

The best part of the 1983 review is the b&w picture of Dale Bozzio. Hilburn says her hair was pink, but she seems to be wearing the same bra as in this pr photo at left.

No one under 40 is gonna get Hilburn's allusions.Today, she would be called GaGa-esque, rather than Cher (pre-Altman).  And I'm far from the first to make that comparison.

Bozzio's still touring, and Robert Hilburn is on the radio and online. He wrote a book about his years as a critic: Corn Flakes with John Lennon: And Other Tales from a Rock 'n' Roll Life (Hardcover)I haven't read it, but it sounds wildly interesting and it got great reviews.

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