Songs From The Darkside

Even my street looks spooky.

Has the waning daylight made you want to stay in your bed until Spring?  Well, The Nest has just what you need to kiss your Seasonal Affective Disorder goodbye!  It’s Monday, and that’s the day we turn back the clock way more than just one hour to find another song that’s spent too much time hibernating in that giant cave of lost hits we like to call the Dusty Vinyl Archive!  DJ Scratchy’s gonna keep the musical heat wave going right on through winter, while the Sponkies search for that ubiquitous light jacket.  It’s time for six more weeks of summer….

The pop music world back in my heyday was loaded with a lot of talented musicians who shared my childhood nickname.  Billy Joel, Billy Ocean, Billy Idol, Billy Vera…. and today’s featured artist.

High school talent show – 1978

That would be Billy Squier, a name who should be known to any fan of classic rock and 80’s music.  Squier had a short lived, but very influential peak from 1981-84 when he helped bring the burgeoning genre of arena rock into the brave new world of MTV.  Squier had a major hangup with the politics of being a famous rocker, leading to two of his best remembered songs “The Stroke” (which is not about masturbation, we swear) and “Everybody Wants You.”  While I especially like the latter song, it’s this very underrated Squier cut that’s my favorite…

“In The Dark” was the follow-up single to “The Stroke” in 1981, and while it just cracked the Top 40 chart at #35, it made it to #7 on the Rock Tracks chart which is where Squier’s music particularly dominated.  “Dark” is a much more synth driven song than most of Billy’s other early hits, which is probably why I like it so much.

Needs more keyboard!

After the success of his albums Don’t Say No and Emotions in Motion, Squier seemed like his future was only going to get brighter when he released Signs of Life in 1984.  The album’s first single, “Rock Me Tonite” was doing well… in fact, it’s Squier’s biggest hit ever, peaking at #15.  Squier’s label, Capitol Records, reserved a date on MTV for the big, hyped world premiere of the music video for the song…..

Hoo boy….

Yeah, dance in your pink tank top there, girly man….

Squier wasn’t gender-bending Dee Snider or flamboyant pretty boy George Michael, and in the mid-80’s, it wasn’t considered cool to look gay… so when millions of MTV viewers saw him prancing around a bedroom with satin sheets and a pink tank top, it almost immediately killed his serious rocker image.  He went from playing sold out shows to half-empty arenas, while most of his hard rock contemporaries simultaneously facepalmed over their mascara painted eyes.  Billy Squier’s high flying career never recovered from that one disastrous music video which he should’ve kept “in the dark.”

Come back on Halloween for another lost hit that’s sure to be a treat!


About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
This entry was posted in Dusty Vinyl Archive and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Songs From The Darkside

  1. Ah yes, the fall of Billy Squire all due to his video showing the world he didn’t know how to dance and sing at the same time. Too bad, he’s a massive talent both vocally and on the guitar.

    • Agreed! And since Rock Me Tonite came around right when I first discovered MTV and music videos, the pink tank top guy was always my image of Squier until I discovered the earlier songs years later. Poor guy. I remember Pat Benatar also took a lot of flak for Love is a Battlefield because rockers weren’t supposed to DANCE!

      • I know, I love a lot of his songs and then BAM, one pink tank top and bad dance video later and he disappeared. Yes Pat Benatar went through the same thing, but she seemed to recover.

  2. Juliette says:

    That video was seriously unfortunate. That said, “In The Dark” is my favorite Billy Squire song. Thank you for featuring it. I’m listening while the sun comes up. Have a fun week and keep those pesky squirrels in line.

  3. It was a pretty awful video I must admit BUT it did rock musically.


  4. Truth be told some of us fans could have cared less if he could dance. It was that guitar riffing and that voice that made you love him. I think his perfectionism and short-temper with some producers did as much to put him on the outs as anything.

  5. Interesting. Didn’t know it wasn’t cool to look gay in the 80s

Jabber Away...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s