Obscure 80s #4: Jane’s Getting Serious by Jon Astley. No, please don’t mistake Jon for the completely unrelated (and now infamous) Rick Astley. There’s no comparison, thank god. ‘Jane’s Getting Serious’ was Jon Astley’s only marginal hit, but it was quirky enough to stay in my consciousness, and his almost-exclusive use of Fairlight CMI tech to create music was cutting edge for the time. Now, of course, it sounds pretty mechanical, as do most Fairlight-dominated records. The song also features a guest guitar solo from Eric Clapton, who Astley worked with as a producer. It’s nice to have famous friends (Pete Townshend was his brother-in-law), but it still won’t get you beyond two albums if you don’t have any sales.
Obscure 80s #2: Men Without Shame by Phantom, Rocker and Slick. Mention The Stray Cats and you’ll invariably invoke Brian Setzer’s name first, but there were three guys in Stray Cats. Sadly, Phantom and Rocker got and get very little love. Back in the 80s, they formed a band with premiere guitarist Earl Slick, and while the album isn’t jaw-dropping, it did produce this fantastic song that doesn’t sound dated in the slightest. Enjoy.