Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bad Boys Blue -- "Lovers In The Sand" (1988)

Admittedly, if you live in the US, there's a microscopic chance you've ever heard of Bad Boys Blue. And with a corny name like that, I don't blame you if you didn't want to hear about them. However, it took knowing another music fanatic to stumble across the band that never made it on these shores.



From the late 80's through the early 90's, I made weekly Saturday morning pilgrimages to the Sam Ash Music store on Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills to check out new keyboard and recording equipment and shoot the breeze with the sales people. One of them, Leck, seemed very attuned to a lot synth-based dance and pop music coming out of Europe but not making a dent here and made mix tapes of them for me. One tape in 1990 contained four or five songs from Bad Boys Blue.

Bad Boys Blue could definitely be filed under Europop, which was the style of music pretty much created and pioneered by ABBA. With the definite emphasis on "pop," the genre has simple chord structures, insanely hooky melodies, fluffy arrangements, bubblegum lyrics, a slightly corny feel, and dance beats leaning towards disco, all in a compact 3 or four minute song. Throughout the 80's, the style gravitated from live instruments to synthesizers and drum machines.

The closest well known group that veered into Bad Boys Blue's wheelhouse was Erasure in its 80's heyday, with songs like "Stop," "Chains of Love," "Chorus" and "Star." Bad Boys Blue is like crossing Depeche Mode with the Archies.

While all the Bad Boys Blue songs on the tape were absolutely enjoyable, the one that kept sticking in my head was "Lovers In The Sand." How many times have you heard a song and wondered why it never became a huge smash? This was a perfect example and probably a bid for the group to make it in the US.

Opening with a radio DJ from "KLW in sunny California" raving about "temperatures around 30 degrees Centigrade (!!)," a powerful drum machine beat revs up and the song launches right into the chorus hook.

Now this is a super hook, folks, the kind that songwriters kill for, played high on a bell-like synth. And for some street cred, a little vocal scratching action ("Lovers, lovers!"). Big simple chords, sexy-ish background vocals from all three Boys ("Now all I wanna do... is just to be with you!"). Lots of little percussion sounds playing 16ths, big gated snare drum on the quarter beat, and a wonderful airy reverb around it all.

To love this song, you have to have some appreciation of bubblegum music and big quasi-corny hooks.


I didn't want emotions, did not dare
Cause I've lost too many love affairs.
I was in the mood to have some fun
Somewhere in the sun.
I blame it on the southern summer nights,
When I lost my heart at first sight.
Now all I wanna do
Is just to be with you.

Lovers in the sand

Walking hand in hand
And dreaming of the last night

We shared.

Lovers in the sand

Deep in love again

And now that I have found you I know
I'll never let you go.



If there was any support behind this song in the US, if there was any real justice, these guys would be on VH1 "Big 80's" video programs for years.

So here they are, Bad Boys Blue with their "Lovers In The Sand" video.


1 comment:

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