No one notices, but off to the far left, near the top of this blog site is a little box headlined “80s Video of the Week,” with a key line printed from the week’s song. It’s just a fun little thing I do, carefully handpicking a video from the most diversely prolific period in music. That MTV was around to embellish it all is icing on the cake.
For reasons that will soon be obvious, I’ll take the liberty today of pointing out the artist from last week and this week – the first 80s Video “two-fer” we’ve featured on Lairig Marketing. The band was “The Call,” a name so common it always made me wonder how no one else had ever laid claim to it. The Call, however, was anything but common.
Launching in the teeth of the New Wave era of Flock of Seagulls and Duran Duran, these guys didn’t fit the mold. A singular rock band sound was made even more distinct by the songwriting and vocal talents of The Call’s frontman, Michael Been.
This week’s video – The Walls Came Down – is a striking example. This was no “Girls on Film,” but MTV gave the band some decent air play until the mid-80s, at which time both MTV and the 80s music world in general went into the shitter. The Call continued pounding out albums, seven in all in the 1980s, but ended up mostly in the “critically acclaimed” category.
But unlike a lot of other critically acclaimed artists who ended up with nothing, things turned out OK for Michael Been and The Call. They made acquaintance with the likes of Peter Gabriel, Bono, Garth Hudson of The Band, Martin Scorcese, screenwriter Paul Schrader, and Harry Dean Stanton.
And as is so often true with serious artists, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Michael Been begot Robert Levon Been (is the middle name another “The Band” tribute?), who currently fronts a rock band called “Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.”
Messages of sympathy have come from fans far and wide on the Web, proving that Michael Been and The Call made their mark. In a short period of creativity, where they ran counter to what was most popular at the time, they set a blueprint for future musicians, who hope to answer the Call to Artistry.