Articles Comments

» 1980s, Pop » So Alive – Love and Rockets

So Alive – Love and Rockets

Twenty-one years ago today (August 5, 1989), the biggest hit by Love and Rockets peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. That song was the classic alternative pop song titled “So Alive.” If you followed Love and Rockets (and their preceding band Bauhaus) in the 1980s, the last place you expected them to appear was the Top 40. But the planets aligned and songwriter Daniel Ash finally nailed his one and only top 40 hit.

Love and Rockets formed from the remnants of Bauhaus in 1985 when Peter Murphy left for a widely diverse and sometimes successful solo career (his 1990 hit “Cuts You Up” reached #55 on the Billboard Hot 100 but was a number 1 smash on the Modern Rock charts). Former Bauhaus members include Daniel Ash (guitars, saxophone, and vocals), David J (bass and vocals) and Kevin Haskins (drums and synthesizers).

Although Peter Murphy is known in some circles as “The Godfather of Goth” for his work with Bauhaus (Robert Smith of The Cure might disagree: Listen to 10:15 Saturday Night to hear The Cure’s early take on gloom and doom), his bandmates traded in their dismal dirges for more sunny fare. Their first minor hit was a cover of “Ball of Confusion” by The Temptations (later covered by Duran Duran) and their 1987 record Earth, Sun, Moon had an almost folky sound with its big hit, “No New Tale to Tell.”

Although the band toured through 1989 to support their surprise hit, they were burned out and went on hiatus for two years before returning to the studio and recording an electronic-sounding album that record company RCA hated. As you might expect, the label wanted “So Alive” part II. Another alternative one-hit wonder wasn’t in the works.

Listen to “So Alive”

So Alive - Love and Rockets

Love and Rockets and Bauhaus have reformed and reunited many times. In a June 2009 interview, Ash clearly stated he has no plans to play with Love and Rockets again.

“We’ve worked together since 1980. I really want to work with new people, I’m sure everybody feels the same.”

Are they finished for good or do they have another hit on their hands? Time will tell. Any artists that can drop an enduring gloom-fest in “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” and then follow up years later with the cheery “So Alive” get high style points in MY book.

Listen to So Alive by Love and Rockets

Listen to Bela Lugosi’s Dead by Bauhaus

Buy So Alive by Love and Rockets

Written by

I'm an obsessive music collector, cataloger, commenter and trivia nut. Sometimes I'm even a listener. One-hit wonders have always been a guilty pleasure.

Filed under: 1980s, Pop · Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

8 Responses to "So Alive – Love and Rockets"

  1. Matt Thurston says:

    The Bauhaus Family Tree is one of my favorites in rock-in-roll history. Peter Murphy, David J, and Daniel Ash were all prolific songwriters (and all had great voices). They’ve recorded and performed in a variety of solo and band incarnations over the past three decades. L&R had some great albums, but seemed to vacillate between courting mainstream commercial appeal (like “So Alive”), and courting the more esoteric, alternative, gothic crowd. As such, their style kind of changes from album to album. My favorite is probably the largely acoustic-sounding Earth Sun Moon, while Express reminds me most of my high-school record-collecting years.

  2. Michael Waterman says:

    Matt,

    I knew you were a big fan of these guys. As I was writing the post I thought “Matt should be writing this one.” Whenever you’re ready. I’ve been listening to “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” almost daily for two weeks now. So open, airy and ominous.

  3. Matt Thurston says:

    Yeah, I think Bela Lugosi’s Dead holds up pretty well. Love the minimalist bass line. And such an evocative song title. Had the song title and lyrics been about, say, a car, would it be the goth classic it remains today?

  4. Michael Waterman says:

    Good point. It’s like “Ceremony” by New Order. It doesn’t matter what the lyrics are about…the sound is so eerie and reverby you continue to listen.

  5. anthony says:

    One Hit Wonder? What the hell are you talking about? Love and Rockets are one of the most influential bands to come out of the 80’s. They have no business being on a site called One Hit Wonders.

  6. Michael Waterman says:

    Anthony,

    Thanks for the email. I’m a fan of Love and Rockets, but they only charted one song in the Billboard Top 40. They charted many songs on many other charts (Modern Rock, Album Oriented Rock, etc.) but “So Alive” is their big hit.

    Here is a link to Love and Rocket’s discography and singles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_and_Rockets_discography#Singles
    Michael

  7. Lee says:

    One hit wonder? Yikes! How about “No New Tale to Tell”, “Ball of Confusion” or “All in My Mind”?
    If you’re basing this on Billboard Top 40, then perhaps that should be included in the title of this site.

  8. Michael Waterman says:

    Thanks for your comment. I do use the Billboard Top 40 as the criteria. You can read more about what makes a one-hit wonder here: http://toponehitwonders.com/whats-a-one-hit-wonder/

    Love and Rockets are a great band. Calling them a one-hit wonder doesn’t demean the band. It just makes the point that they only had a single Top 40 hit in America. That’s all. I hope you’ll continue to read and comment.
    Michael

Leave a Reply