Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday Party - 黃鐘 [Huang Chung]




Jeremy Ryder and Nick Feldman form the nucleus of Wang Chung, and neither are known as Wang nor Chung. Ryder replied to an add Feldman placed about starting a band in 1977, and the two started out on a road to fame and fortune. First they formed a band named The Intellektuals, then moved on to 57 men. Then they settled on Huang Chung, along with drummer Darren Costin. For reasons I am sure only known to themselves, they chose to rename themselves. Jeremy Ryder was "Jack Hues", Nick Feldman was "Nick DeSpig", and Darren Costin was "Darren Darwin." Later on, both Feldman and Costin reclaimed their names, but Ryder continued on with Jack Hues.



In 1982, the band was signed to Arista Records, and changed their name to Wang Chung, thought to be at the suggestion of the label because it was easier to pronounce. Ah, those record execs are so clever. The '82 release of the album Huang Chung, It sold little, and was released by One Way Records in conjuncture with Arista. This lead to the band leaving Arista and signing with Geffen. In 1984 they released Points On The Curve, which made it to #30 on the US album charts. The 2nd single made it's way to #38 on the US singles chart, #16 on the US rock chart, and #1 on the dance chart. Don't Let Go started the ball rolling.



The third single, Dance Hall Days, fared even better, hitting #16 on the US single, #8 on US rock, and #1 on the US Dance chart. Truthfully, this was my introduction to the group, watching this video on MTV. It pretty much defines the sound - layered and textured, a combination of pop and a more atmospheric, ambient sound.



The group was contacted directly by director William Friedkin to work on the soundtrack of an upcoming movie, To Live And Die In LA. They worked on the project, a rather atmospheric collection lead by the single of the same name, which scored #41 on the US single chart.



In 1986, they released Mosaic, and the first single, Everybody Have Fun Tonight, for which they are most widely known. The album was certified Gold, and the single made it to #2 on both the US and Canadian singles chart. The video was directly by Godley & Creme, who were always on the cutting edge, as they were with this video.



The next single also made it into the Top 10, topping out at #9 on the US singles chart. Let's Go is an odd track, more pop than most of their songs, seemingly intended more for sports arenas than their usual moody songs.



After another album that was not very successful in sales, and by 1990, the band called it a day. They went their separate ways throughout the 90s, although Feldman and Hues reunited briefly for a greatest hits collection and supporting tour in 1997. There have been a few more tours since. For more information about Wang Chung, check out their official website here.

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