Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Leftovers: Large Numbers—A Million Miles Away

The Plimsouls: A Million Miles Away

I’m kind of surprised that no one has ever written about this song on Star Maker Machine. Although someone did write about a different song with the same title.

This is one of those songs that you had to have heard, many times, if you listened to the kind of radio in the 1980s that I suspect most writers on this site, past and present, listened to. It is simply a great example of power pop, a genre that I love, and which I have written about often. (Strangely, while writing this, I’m listening to King Crimson’s Larks’ Tongue in Aspic, about as far away from power pop as you can get). It often appears on lists of best power pop songs, sometimes in the top position, and on other lists of great 80s songs.

The Plimsouls were essentially a one-hit wonder band led by Peter Case. Case had previously been in another short-lived band, The Nerves, with Jack Lee and Paul Collins, who are best known as the original performers of “Hanging On The Telephone,” before breaking up. Lee, who wrote “Telephone,” is mostly remembered as a songwriter. Collins went on to form The Beat, sometimes known as Paul Collins’ Beat, to distinguish them from the band known in America as the English Beat. And Case, after the Plimsouls, embarked on a solo career, mostly in the Americana area. Despite the generally lack of commercial success for these bands, they are considered to be influential in the new wave/power pop world.

“A Million Miles Away,” for all of its inherent quality, would probably have been ignored if it hadn’t been featured prominently in the iconic 80s movie, Valley Girl, in which the band appeared, playing the song, and another, in a bar.

Luckily, it wasn't.

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