Album: Metro Music, 1979
Justification: This date is significant to me for a couple of reasons, so to celebrate, I’m going to ignore it completely and talk about Martha & the Muffins. Who are still around, amazing though that may sound. The Canadian combo have been recording pretty consistently (with a few breaks) ever since this album emerged in 1979 – although they changed the name to M+M there for a while, possibly during the whole Atkins Diet fad. Boom! Take that, carbohydrates!
The Muffins have changed line up many times, but have always been built around the core of Martha Johnson and Mark Gane (who subsequently became a couple and have at least one daughter, incidentally). This song was written by Gane, based on his memories of a holiday at Sunnyside Beach on Lake Ontario and was a standard at pretty much every school disco I can remember.
That’s all well and good, but what’s perhaps a more interesting story is that of the cute-as-a-button keyboardist Martha Ladly – that’s her in the freeze frame above. She moved to the UK and had a bit of a solo career (and was in the Associates for a while, of all things), but it was as an artist that she really made her mark. In fact, there’s a decent chance that your own record collection has some of her in it: she supposedly named OMD‘s Architecture and Morality album, her ‘Factus 8′ painting is the sleeve to New Order‘s 1981-1982 EP (their second disc, the one with ‘Procession’ and ‘Everything’s Gone Green’ on it – for a while she and Peter Saville, Factory’s designer, were a couple), worked with Roxy Music and Robert Palmer, and was employed by Peter Gabriel with his Real World Design studio for over a decade, and she’s an associate professor at the Ontario College of Art & Design these days. Now that, friends, is a career.
Anyway: ‘Echo Beach’ was a huge Juno-winning success in the band’s homeland and also went top five in the UK, Australia and a bunch of other countries who would also never hear of the band again. But if you’re a Canadian band and you’re going to have a single worldwide hit, it may as well be utterly amazing – isn’t that right, Men Without Hats?
SONG YOU SHOULD HAVE REDISCOVERED THIS TIME IN 2010: It’s been decades, and still the Sugarcubes’ debut single ‘Birthday’ sounds impossibly odd.
SONG YOU SHOULD HAVE REDISCOVERED THIS TIME IN 2011: Joe Jackson’s glorious why-can’t-we-just-get-along ballad ‘Real Men’.
AND HERE’S THE LAST FIVE…