Amoeba's What's In My Bag Series: Dave Stewart Vinyl Lover Extraordinaire

Yes, it's that time once again kids, time for another episode of Amoeba's What's In My Bag Series. This time, I'm happy to feature Dave Stewart who just happens to choose all vinyl for his bag, and it's all good. Dave of course was one half of The Eurythmics, and a very talented producer, songwriter and solo artist in his own right. He has produced records for some of the most talented and popular artists in the world, and continues to do so to this day.

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I don't have much in the way of Eurythmics albums available in my shop, but there is this one:

Eurythmics - Touch 

Stay tuned for more posts involving this series, and be sure to check out previous Amoeba posts featuring their brilliant What's In My Bag Series, and also my Celebrities and Vinyl tag.

80's Bands Better Than Their Top 40 Hits: The Divinyls

It is with a very heavy heart that I write this today. Christina Amphlett, the shining frontwoman for The Divinyls has passed away today after a long battle with MS and breast cancer. There are precious few bands that have influenced me as much as The Divinyls have, and still do after more than 30 years--and I'm not just saying that. "Elsie" is one of three specific songs that will be played at my funeral. It defined me as a teenager, and as a young adult who realized she was different than most, and The Divinyls always made me proud of that realization.

Christina was always so beautiful, such a force. Her voice was blissfully different and sometimes unusual, which made me fall in love with her all the more. She made no apologies about her sexual nature, and her confidence as a woman. Which, to my young and impressionable eyes, made her a goddess who few could match.

Seemingly by accident, (though perhaps now I think it's fate) The Divinyls were my very first concert ever. Back when MTV played real music videos of bands you had never seen or heard of before, I can still recall the first time I saw and heard "Boys In Town" and I was HOOKED. The 'Desperate' album rarely left my Walkman, and today it still remains firmly ensconced high on the top 10 albums list of my life. 'Only U' was featured of course in Sixteen Candles, and "Only Lonely" and 'Science Fiction' are kick ass tracks. But all of The Divinyls music is great, I truly cannot think of any songs I don't like. But 'Desperate' was in my life for so many years, the songs have become like family members to me.

Next came 'What A Life' and with it, 10 more songs of "Pleasure and Pain", not only the side one track one of the album, but a perfect description of the Divinyls sound. 'Dear Diary' is the postscript to "Elsie" (in my mind) and Christina sings with such passion, loneliness and heartache, it's impossible not to shed a tear or two. And indeed I have shed many a tear over the years between those two songs alone. 'Heart Telegraph' is another favorite on this album, but again, SOLID.

Life went on, and "Temperamental" fell into my lap, albeit a bit later than it's 1988 release. "Back to the Wall" is one of the shining tracks here, (featured in Nightmare on Elm Street 4 too!) and definitely one of my top 10 Divinyls songs ever. 'Punxsie' is a lovely, rhythmic song, and 'Dance of Love' is the perfect side-ender. This is one solid album despite band member changes, but Mark McEntee and Christina have always been the driving duo behind the group, their sound never falters. EVER.

Then the Divinyls hit the "big time" with 'I Touch Myself' on their 4th album simply self titled. This is indeed a very strong album, as all of them are, but perhaps there is a hint of maturing in it. "Need A Lover'" is, by itself, a shining highlight, and if 'I'm On Your Side' doesn't break your heart, well then I can't help you. This album is where the masses became aware of the Divinyls, and sadly think this is all they have to offer. Well, I'm here to tell you, if this is the only album you're familiar with by the Divinyls, you've missed out on the very best parts, and I highly recommend you at least give the previous 3 albums a try. Nuff said.

Fast forward a few years, and "Underworld" is the 5th and final full album released by the Divinyls. I have much less familiarity with this one because I didn't discover it until 5 years after it's release (life gets in the way, don't it?) and sadly, I sold all of my CD collection before ripping this to my hard drive. It's also the only Divinyls album to not be released on vinyl (sad face) but indeed worth it's lofty price on Amazon.

And, if you simply must just go for 'the hits', there is of course an 'essential' collection of which consists of half of the "Desperate' album, half of "What A Life" and 4 tracks from 'Temperamental'. It's great, in a pinch of course, but trust me, get the whole albums. You won't be sorry.

RIP Christina, beautiful lady, shining star. You will be sorely missed. Now I have to go shed a few more tears....