Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Forgotten Classic Video of the Week

For your viewing pleasure this week, I'm serving up a little Lone Justice with the hit single "Ways to Be Wicked," from their self-titled 1985 debut. Although this is one of my favorite songs from the '80s by one of my favorite underrated bands, I'm sending this one out to Chelene, who recently asked whatever happened to Maria McKee and mentioned this song. Check it out and read on for more...

The first time I saw this video, I just fell in love with Maria - strictly in a Robert Smith why-can't-I-be-you sort of way. I just thought she was so darn pretty, had the most perfect hair and, of course, one hell of a voice. She helped me to not get too caught up in my obsession with Nancy Wilson's oversized blazer-over-bustier look, which I was never brave enough to try in public anyway, by making me wish that I was cool enough to cultivate her Varsity jacket-over-flowy dress and tennis shoes look. Maria only stuck it out with Lone Justice for two studio albums, both of which I own, before striking out on her own in 1989.

So, here's the scoop for Chelene and anyone else who's interested. My gal Maria's solo career is still rolling along. She's certainly not a household name, but she's never compromised her musical integrity and still has a devoted following. While some of her solo work has been a bit too mellow for me, I would recommend the excellent You Gotta Sin to Get Saved to anyone. Whatever kind of music you like can be found on the record - rock, country, folk, pop, soul and even a bit of gospel. It really doesn't matter what Maria sings though, because her soaring, theatrical voice will just knock you down. Her last record, Peddlin' Dreams, was filled with very sparse, acoustic numbers that showcased her gorgeous vocals, but from what I've heard of Late December, the new CD just released in April, it seems that Maria is bringing back a little more of the soul that made You Gotta Sin to Get Saved such a treat.


chelene said...

Beckeye, you rock, thanks! I love that song. She always reminded me a little of Stevie Nicks (another huge favorite). I have to check and see if Maria's on iTunes.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Somehow I managed to miss this entirely in my mis-spent youth. Well done, you, even if you're not Robert Smith.

Bubs said...

Awesome! You just named MizBubs' favorite band of the mid-80's. She had their logo stenciled on the back of her biker jacket back then, and it's now worn by our daughter.

Good times!

Writeprocrastinator said...

Great, now "Shelter" is stuck in my head...

...and fortunately/unfortunately, it's the Taylor Dane version. Though I love Miss McKee's version just a little more.

Johnny Yen said...

I love her and loved Lone Justice. You probably remember that she had a song on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. Her songs have been covered by a bunch of people.

"A Good Heart," which Feargal Sharkey (former singer for the Undertones, early punk guys) covered, was a big hit in the UK, smaller hit here.

X. Dell said...

(1) It's a blast to see this video style. Looking at all the really slick, overproduced stuff (that I find somewhat portentious, but mostly boring) we see on anywhere else but Empty Vee, I really miss this style, this look--even the hair.

(2) I assume you're referring to the Nancy Wilson from Seattle, not the one from Columbus?

LoraLoo said...

Holy crap! I forgot all about Lone Justice! I so wished I could pull off that look too, way back then...

cube said...

Good job. I like McKee's sound.

Turnbaby said...

Further evidence you and I have some sort of cultural kismet thing. I ADORE her and was fortunate enough to see them in concert. My god I wore that first album out.

I LOVE this song!!

Another favorite is "Wait Til We Get Home".


Gary said...

I'm might be wrong but isn't there some songs missing from that play list. Like Dixie Storm?

BeckEye said...

Chelene - Thanks, I also roll. Stevie is one of my favorites as well. They both have the vibrato thing going on and write interesting lyrics, but Stevie's voice is ultra-unique.

Barbara - Why can't I be Robert Smith? I'm wearing the fuzzy suit!

Bubs - That's so cool. Was the jacket fringed? Please tell me it was.

WP - To repurpose a Taylor Dane-ism, "tell it to my hand." There's no way her version could even come close to Maria's!

Johnny - Yeah, I love that song from Pulp Fiction. She's like a female John Hiatt...well-known in the industry (and people who just don't listen to Top 40) and often covered but not a household name.

X.Dell - I'm not sure I know of a Nancy Wilson from Columbus! But yes, I'm talking about Ms. Wilson of Heart.

Loraloo - Glad I could remind you!

Cube - Yeah, she's fab.

Turnbaby - Ah! I never got to see them live. I had a tape of them on the MTV New Year's Eve special, and I can't remember what year it was, but it must've been 1986. I have no idea what happened to that tape.

Gary - "Dixie Storms" was actually on their second record, Shelter.

Molie said...

I loved this song, she has such a great voice. I taped it from the radio back when, and I never really knew who sang it. I'll have to check more of her work.

An80sNut said...

The more that I think about the song after seeing the video again, I have to think that right now it would be considered Country/Pop.

Dale said...

I loved that song too and have heard Maria's name crop up over the years. I always wanted more success for her but I'm glad that she's stayed true to herself! A Good Heart was a decent cover too by Feargal as Johnny mentioned.

Malcolm: said...

This was and still is a helluva tune! I featured it on one of my shows last year as part of segment I used to do called "The Greatest Miss of the Week". This is where I would play singles that I thought were great, but didn't set the charts on fire.

I seem to remember that when Lone Justice first came out, MTV propped them fairly heavily. Mark Goodman said that Maria's sound reminded him of Stevie Nicks...no argument there.


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