Released today in 1982: Hot In The City

Chrysalis CHS2625

Chrysalis CHS2625

Hot In The City: the single so good, they released it twice. It was Billy Idol’s first solo hit in 1982, but was far more successful in the US than it was here on its first issue; when re-mixed in 1987 it made the Top 40 here as it had done in the US five years earlier. A new video was filmed for the ’87 version, which, like several other Idol promotional clips of the 1980s, featured his partner Perri Lister in a controversial (for the time) segment. In the Hot In The City clip she is tied to a cross and hoisted into shot, which MTV took exception to. They also hadn’t been happy about Idol placing a bloodied ring on her finger in the White Wedding video a couple of years earlier (the sequence was her idea) and had that scene cut from broadcasts.

Lister herself had a career in the pop charts throughout the 1980s. She was a backing vocalist for several acts, including Idol (most notably the ‘les yeux sans visage’ refrain on Eyes Without A Face), but it was her performances throughout the decade as a “video vixen”, as she once described herself on her MySpace profile, that found her constantly in demand. She had started out in the late ‘70s as a member of risque dance troupe/pop act Hot Gossip, regularly appearing on TV on shows like ‘The Kenny Everrett Television Show’. By the ‘80s, she was one of the original ‘Blitz Kids’ and this, together with her experience of dancing and performing as part of Hot Gossip, put her in the right place at the right time when music videos started to take off. In additional to various spots on Idol hits, she turned up in all sorts of promotional clips: there was an early appearance on Sparks’ 1980 hit When I’m With You; she danced topless in Duran Duran’s The Chauffeur (yet another sequence banned on MTV); she was the one playing the harp in Def Leppard’s Foolin’.

She also starred in videos where she was a primary artist in 1986, having teamed up with Adriana Kaegi and Cheryl Poirier to form Boomerang, a sort of spin-off from Kid Creole and The Coconuts. The Coconuts (I had thought in the early days the name referred to Kid Creole/August Darnell’s band of musicians, rather than the trio of girl singers providing vocal backing, but by 1983 the girls had released an album of their own under the name) changed line-up several times, ‘Mama Coconut’ Kaegi being the only constant member in the first half of the 1980s. Poirier and Lister both featured on the second Kid Creole album Fresh Fruit In Foreign Places in 1981 but although Lister remained for the follow-up Tropical Gangsters, it was Taryn Hagey who appeared on the album cover with Kaegi and Poirier; these three promoted The Coconuts’ debut album Don’t Take My Coconuts although Lister again provided vocals on at least half the tracks. Hagey left The Coconuts in 1984 and the others had also stood down by the middle of the decade. Boomerang’s album and the singles taken from it didn’t see release in the UK but videos were made and shown in America; the group disbanded after a couple of years.

NEW SINGLES on sale from Aug. 13
1982
AZTEC CAMERA (Roddy Frame) Pillar To Post (Rough Trade RT112)
HAIRCUT ONE HUNDRED Nobody’s Fool (Arista CLIP4)
Billy IDOL Hot In The City (Chrysalis CHS2625)
SOFT CELL What! (Some Bizarre BZS11)

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