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Michaels, Hilly - 1980 Calling All Girls
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on March 02 2008, In 1980 Articles , 6 Comments , 2557 Reads , Print

ARTIST: Michaels, Hilly
ALBUM: Calling All Girls
LABEL: Warner Bros
YEAR: 1980


LINEUP: Hilly Michaels - lead and background vocals, guitars, drums, percussion, synthesizer * Dan Hartman - bass, guitars, keyboards, autoharp, background vocals * Billy Cross - guitars, background vocals * Jimmy McAllister, G.E. Smith, Davey Johnstone - guitars * Tom Mandel, Morgan Walker - keyboards * Greg Hawkes - synthesizer * George Young - saxophone * Ellen Foley, Lorna Luft, Ellen Bernfeld, Liza Minnelli, Karla de Vito, Patrick Linfer-Lau, Joey Mauri - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Calling All Girls * 02 Teenage Days * 03 Shake It And Dance * 04 Gemini * 05 U.S Male * 06 Without You * 07 Turn Me On Your Radio * 08 Close Encounters * 09 Devotion * 10 Something On Your Mind

WEBLINKS: www.hillymichaels.net

Frizzy haired Hilly Michaels had it going on back in the late 70's with all sorts of session and live performances under his belt as a drummer in demand. A host of colourful musical characters from Ian Hunter and Sparks to Broadway superstar Liza Minnelli called on Michaels for his services, but by 1980 the off the wall drummer had plans of his own for a solo career and 'Calling All Girls' was the result. Critically acclaimed, but selling poorly at the time, the record is now widely considered a power pop/new wave classic, a tale as old as time and true of so many albums released back in the day.

The Songs
'The Cars on speed' is how many describe this album and that's not far from the truth. Produced by Roy Thomas Baker with The Cars Greg Hawkes, Davey Johnstone from Elton John's band, Dan Hartman, Ellen Foley and Karla de Vito making guest appearances along with 'Saturday Night Live' guitarist G.E. Smith, Liza Minnelli and even her half-sister Lorna Luft contributing, you just know this is going to be one wild record! The title track is classic new wave and the video for the song was a major hit in the infancy of MTV when they actually played music. Following this delightful track is just one creative pop tune after another with no let up in quality. Hard to pick a favourite, but on side one the ELO influenced 'Gemini' is a standout and 'U.S Male' sounds like Queen and Sparks crashing their way into 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show' soundtrack! Fun stuff and side two is chock full of aural delights with even more imagination running through Michaels candy coloured song craft. From the Meatloaf styled 'Without You' to the non-stop Cheap Trick power rocker 'Turn Me On Your Radio' and the Beach Boys/First Class inspired 'Devotion', Hilly Michaels captured sounds and smells of the height of power pop circa 1979/1980, shook it up, zapped it with skinny tie ingenuity and made it his own.

In Summary
Criminally never on CD, 'Calling All Girls' is still and absolutely a prerequisite in any serious power pop collection. Michaels' 1981 follow up 'Lumia' was a more straightforward rock album that had it's moments but didn't come close to the off beat brilliance of his debut. I wonder where he is now and what kind of wonderful musical madness he's created since.

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#1 | jefflynnefan on March 02 2008 04:12:53
Hmm, lot's of talent on this cd. I haven't heard it. G.E. Smith was guitarist for Hall and Oates as well.
#2 | vinyldinosaurus on March 06 2008 02:54:23
Awesome video! Gotta find this record.
#3 | trillion1999 on October 14 2011 07:58:47
Would love to see both those gems released on CD.music
#4 | gdazegod on October 22 2011 09:04:13
Perhaps a contender for Wounded Bird to reissue, as a 2Fer with the 1981 album 'Lumia'. These are both Warners Bros releases, so Wounded Bird shouldn't have any issue accessing them.
#5 | Eric on October 22 2011 09:19:36
Power pop fans have been clamouring for Hilly CD reissues for years.
#6 | gdazegod on November 05 2011 17:51:42
YouTube Video
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