This summer, ’80s music fans will get a very special gift: the very first Replay America tour, celebrating the biggest stars and hits from the ’80s. The tour kicks off at Ruth Eckerd Hall on July 5. Replay America 2014 will feature performances by The Go Go’s, Patty Smyth of Scandal, The Motels featuring Martha Davis and Naked Eyes featuring Pete Byrne. This is the first time in the United States that these revered artists will share a stage and perform the biggest hits of the iconic era.
The 1980s was a near-mythical age of skinny ties, pastel-colored jackets, torn sweatshirts, parachute pants, industrial strength makeup for both genders and chemically fried, oversized asymmetrical hairstyles. Guitars were out, synthpop was in. It was a decade of greed and decadence and neon overkill. MTV actually played music videos, as if that’s what MTV stood for.
While those who lived through the era may look back in shame at their questionable fashion choices, much of the music evokes a certain pop nostalgia that is irrepressible.
Replay America seeks to tap into that longing for yesteryear with a solid lineup of acts that will recreate the 1980s – at least for one evening.
At the top of the bill is The Go-Go’s.
The Go-Go's were the most popular all-female band to emerge from the punk/new wave explosion of the late '70s and early '80s, becoming one of the first commercially successful female groups that wasn't controlled by male producers or managers.
While their hit singles were bright, energetic new wave pop, the group was actually an integral part of the Californian punk scene.
That’s right: The Go-Go’s played punk rock.
Of course, as their biography at Primary Wave Music explains, their rougher edges were ironed out by the time they recorded their first album, 1981's “Beauty and the Beat.”
That album put forth the band’s signature single, “We Got the Beat.” The song proved to be a huge club hit in Europe. Eventually, it caught on in America.
“Beauty and the Beat” climbed to the top of the Billboard 200 chart, reaching the No. 1 spot where it stayed for six consecutive weeks. The album is considered by many to be the cornerstone of American new wave.
The band formed in 1978 – originally calling themselves The Misfits. The lineup featured Belinda Carlisle on vocals, Jane Wiedlin on guitar and vocals, Charlotte Caffey on lead guitar and keyboards, Margot Olaverra on bass and Elissa Bello on drums. Bello was replaced by Gina Schock in 1979. That year, the band recorded a demo and supported the British ska revival group Madness in both Los Angeles and England.
The Go-Go's spent half of 1980 touring England, earning a sizable following and releasing "We Got the Beat" on Stiff Records. An import copy of "We Got the Beat" became an underground club hit in the United States, which meant the band was popular enough to sell out concerts, yet they had a difficult time landing a record contract.
At the end of 1980, bassist Olaverra became ill and had to stop performing. Enter Kathy Valentine, a guitarist who had never played bass before. Early in 1981, The Go-Go's signed with IRS Records. “Beauty and the Beat” followed in the summer of 1981, becoming one of the surprise hits of the year.
In addition to “We Got the Beat,” the album also features the hit “Our Lips Are Sealed.”
The Go-Go’s followed up with a second album, “Vacation,” in 1982; and a third, “Talk Show,” in 1984. These albums spawned hits such as “Vacation,” “Head Over Heels” and “Turn to You.”
The band broke up in 1985. They have reunited several times over the years, beginning in 1990, for benefit concerts as well as full-blown headlining tours.
The band currently features members Belinda Carlisle, Charlotte Caffey, Gina Schock and Jane Wiedlin.
Patty Smyth of Scandal
Patty Smyth of Scandal will join the Replay America tour.
According to the band’s official website, Smyth was only 15 years old when she played her first gig at New York’s Folk City.
She spent the next few years honing her craft, performing short musical sets at Catch A Rising Star in between then-unknown comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Paul Reiser, Larry David and Chris Rock. Playing music didn’t earn enough of a paycheck to pay her bills, so Smyth found herself waitressing to make ends meet. That job led to a chance meeting with Zack Smith – a fellow musician who would soon ask her to front his band, Scandal.
Scandal’s initial lineup featured Smith and Smyth along with Keith Mack on guitar, Benjy King on keyboards, Ivan Elias on bass and Frankie LaRocka on drums. In 1982, the group burst onto the scene with the self-titled debut EP that showcased the hit single “Goodbye to You.” The band transformed the hit single into a No. 1 MTV video.
The EP also included the hits “Love’s Got a Line on You” and “Win Some, Lose Some.” The group’s first full-length album, “The Warrior,” released in 1984, climbed into the Top 20 on the sales chart, eventually earning RIAA-certified platinum status, with more than a million in sales.
Martha Davis & The Motels
The first incarnation of The Motels emerged in 1971 in Berkeley, California. Relocating to Los Angeles in 1975 in search of success, they became a fixture in the local band scene. A demo, which was declined by Warner Bros. Records, did earn the band an offer from Capitol Records – but the group disbanded in 1977.
Martha Davis decided to reform the band in 1978, and tapped Jeff Jourad as lead guitarist. The two auditioned musicians to cultivate just the right sound and, in 1979, The Motels signed with Capitol Records.
The band recorded six records for Capitol, according to a biography provided by Paradise Artists. Their self-titled debut was met with positive critical reviews in 1979. Though it languished in America for some time, it exploded in Australia on the strength of the No. 2 pop single, “Total Control” – a song that was later covered by Tina Turner for the “We Are The World” album.
In 1981, the band’s sophomore effort, “Careful,” entered the Top 50. Then, in 1982, The Motels released “All Four One” featuring the smash single “Only The Lonely.” That hit rocketed into the
Top 10 and immediately propelled the album to gold status.
The group dominated the music scene and was voted Best Performance for “Only The Lonely” at the 1982 American Music Awards. In 1983, the “Little Robbers” album went gold due to the Top 10 single "Suddenly Last Summer," as well as their Top 40 hit "Remember The Nights."
In 1985, the “Shock” album yielded the Top 20 hit “Shame” and 1987 saw the release of Martha’s first solo effort, “Policy.”
Naked Eyes featuring Pete Byrne
Naked Eyes featuring original vocalist Pete Byrne rounds out the bill.
This new wave band rose to prominence in the early 1980s and is known largely for its memorable singles, including a cover of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David standard "Always Something There To Remind Me." Naked Eyes also scored hits with "Promises, Promises," "When the Lights Go Out" and "(What) In the Name of Love."
According to Upward Booking Agency, in 2005, Byrne put a band together to play some Naked Eyes shows. He’s been touring regularly ever since. In 2007, Naked Eyes released “Fumbling with the Covers,” an acoustic album, which consisted of covers of Bob Dylan, The Beatles and Elvis Costello songs, along with Naked Eyes, hits. In the summer of 2008, Naked Eyes completed a U.S. tour along with Belinda Carlisle, ABC and The Human League.