Thursday, June 13, 2019

Soundtrack Week: Valley Girl

Here's another movie from my youth with stellar songs featured, many of which never made it onto the soundtrack. Here's the short version. In 1983, to promote 'Valley Girl,' there was a tiny six-song EP put out by Roadshow Records. That's the one pictured above. You got Josie Cotton, the Plimsouls, Sparks and Bonnie Hayes with the Wild Combo. Actually, that's not bad. At least the bands that physically appeared in the movie, the Plimsouls and Josie Cotton, made the cut.

Later that year, Epic put out a nine-song version of the soundtrack that was pulled almost immediately due to legal problems for using Culture Club's "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" In 1984, Columbia offshoot Avatar Communications gave it a shot with the same songs sans Culture Club. At any rate, with about 40 songs being used in the film, these are paltry attempts to say the least.

In 1994, Rhino released a 15-song collection, followed by a 16-song second volume a year later. The label dug deep. The Plimsouls and Josie Cotton each got a trio of songs, and it was great see B-squad acts with important songs in the movie, such as the Flirts, Felony, Payola$ and Pat Travers' Black Pearl, take their rightful places on the soundtrack. The downside, and it's a biggie, was no artwork from the film was used. Calling these album covers cheesy was an understatement.

It would take 20 more years beyond the Rhino releases, but a label finally got it right... almost. I'll get to that "almost" in a sec. Japanese label Nippon (which is Japanese for Japan, silly name), went the double-album route with a 25-song collection on either black or white vinyl. They used the artwork from that original EP too. Obviously, songs were missing, but it was a pretty good roundup. The problem was the label hadn't crossed all of their Ts on the paperwork. Once again, 'Valley Girl' was quickly pulled over legal tangles with the use of some of the songs. You can't even buy a copy on Discogs. Bummer. To the max. There may be even more versions of this soundtrack not mentioned here, such as promos, etc., but you get the idea. Lots of swings and misses.

A quick word on the film. Awesome. Totally awesome. I still pull out my VHS copy to this day. When one thinks of the use of a song by the Psychedelic Furs in an '80s movie, that awful sax-laden remake of a once great song, "Pretty in Pink," is the first to spring in the minds of most. Not me. Set to the music of "Love My Way," I think this is one of the most romantic scenes ever.

So many songs to choose from today. I'll go with the two bands that show up in the film. Hollywood vs. the Valley. Sleazy club vs. prim prom. Peter Case looks so cool during "A Million Miles Away" in this clip.

Josie Cotton
Johnny, Are You Queer?
He Could Be the One
School is In

The Plimsouls
A Million Miles Away
Everywhere at Once
Oldest Story in the World


C said...

Great to be reminded of the brilliant Plimsouls number 'A Million Miles Away' which is one of those perfect power pop songs for me. I first stumbled across the Plimsouls when delving back into the history of 'Hanging On The Telephone' and discovering the Nerves with their original version. Then from the Nerves to the Plimsouls... But I've never seen this film!

Brian said...

C, don't want to oversell the movie, but you should see it. Clichés abound, sure, but it has a sort of Romeo and Juliet thing going. Lovers from opposite sides of the track with friends and family doing what they can to keep them apart... all set in Hollywood and the Valley. It's sweet and funny. That's a fine path you took to find the Plimsouls. I lost track of Peter Case before the turn of the century and feel bad about that.