You'd think that in this confusing and troubled age of AIDS, calling a song "I Want Your Sex" doesn't reflect wise commercial instincts (though maybe it does). And some radio stations are choosing not to air Wham! singer George Michael's hot new Columbia single, off the sound track of the hot new summer film "Beverly Hills Cop II."
Michael's ego is as big as his teeth are bright, and 20 years after "Sgt. Pepper" made the world safe for concept albums, he's suggesting that his ode to orderly one-night stands is the first concept single. The "Monogamy Mix" (available on 12-inch or CD) is set up in three musically distinct parts that, according to Michael, "reflect the three stages of a relationship, three different approaches to asking someone to sleep with you."
The first part, "Lust," is "electronic and synthesized ... aggressive and impatient." The second section, "Brass in Love," is done with "unsynthesized natural instruments" and is "less aggressive, explaining more about the relationship." The final section, "A Last Request," is "a smoocher done with a flugelhorn" and deals with night's end, when "you want to know if you've gained the other person's trust."
"Sex is natural, sex is fun," the song goes, "sex is best when it's one on one ... " (like basketball, apparently). And though the T-shirt campaign suggests we "Explore Monogamy," the message is certainly garbled by the media -- a typically slick and orgiastic George Michael production for the single, and its slick and steamy video (in which, Michael is proud to say, his video partner is not a "mere actress hired for the day" but his "real-life girlfriend, Kathy Jeung!")
If all this pop pretentiousness sounds like a bad Prince parody, it's still causing quite a commotion. The BBC has relegated the single to post-9 p.m. play; MTV has banned the video in its current form; and some radio stations, wary of the recent FCC crackdown on "blue radio," have tried to play the song editing out the "Sex," which apparently didn't work (though a good promotion man could have worked up a doozy of a contest).
According to Billboard, one program director boasted that his deejays would advocate "safe-sex practices when they play it," while another said his station will just announce it as "the new George Michael single" in order not to call attention to the fact that it's playing it. The two local stations most likely to air a new Michael single, Q-107 and WAVA, are doing just that.
'So Strong': Standing Tall Most of the stations that rush to air "I Want Your Sex" will probably overlook "So Strong," an emotionally cathartic antiapartheid anthem that's just been released on Chrysalis. The song was written by Labi Siffre, an Englishman of African and Jamaican parents who had several minor hits in the mid-'70s. While watching a news program in London, Siffre was struck by news footage of a white South African soldier shooting at black children, laughing while he pulled the trigger. He wrote what is essentially an update on "We Shall Overcome" and offered it to several well-known artists who, moved by the eloquence of the song, encouraged Siffre to sing it himself, though he hadn't recorded in 10 years. Glyn Johns' production is beautifully understated, and the song, which speaks about the strength at the heart of all struggles for freedom and human rights, is commercially, as well as morally, attractive. "So Strong" belongs on the airwaves, but so far only black stations have picked up on it.
Spoofing the Bangles Hit George Michael's song title is positively innocent compared with "Walk With an Erection," the Swinging Erudites' parody of the Bangles' No. 1 hit "Walk Like an Egyptian." Ironically, when the original song's publisher refused to grant a license to the Boston group (because of the spoof's lyrics, which are decidedly on the randy side), the group's label, Airwave, turned to Washington and the federal Copyright Office. The office issued a license under a 1976 fair use and parody statute, and the 12-inch single has been getting some airplay (including here in the heart of FCC country) and garnering some sales.
Welcome Home Concert Tickets Tickets for the Welcome Home Concert at RFK Stadium go on sale today at all TicketCenter locations, $35 for the infield, $20 for the rest. Apparently efforts to enlist corporate support in buying tickets for Vietnam veterans and their families met with very little success, at least partly because of the lateness of the project in relation to corporate giving and fiscal budgets. Richie Havens has been added to the lineup, and more acts should be announced next week.
The Prince concerts, tentatively scheduled for August, have now been moved back to October or November.
Memorial for Wilbur Little Wilbur Little, an internationally renowned bassist who grew up in Washington and played here for many years, died of a heart attack May 4 in Amsterdam, where he had lived most of the last decade. He was 59. A veteran of the J.J. Johnson Quintet and Elvin Jones Quartet, Little was most recently a member of the Archie Shepp Quartet; in Washington he had played with many jazz stalwarts, including Ellsworth Gibson and George Brown. He also recorded two albums at the North Sea Jazz Festival with his high school mate, saxophonist Buck Hill, and two other local favorites, pianist Reuben Brown and drummer Billy Hart. A memorial celebration, open to the public, will be held Sunday at 7 p.m. at Shiloh Family Life Center, 1510 Ninth Street NW.
Megadeath-Defying Victory A battle to the def: Megadeth has won a temporary victory over Megadeath. The two heavy metal bands have been fighting for the right to the name in a Los Angeles courtroom (naturally). Both bands claim first right to the name, but M'deth (at the Bayou last week with Overkill and the Necros) has been more successful than M'death and thus won temporary rights to it. Ironically, M'deth's album title "Peace Sells ... But Who's Buying?" is echoed in one of M'death's song titles, "War Is a Dying Business" -- which apparently isn't the case with entertainment law.