Thursday, 2 July 2015

A to Z of the 80s - U is for That Time 'Featuring' Just Meant Singing

And The Greatest Feature Of Them All
by Jo Michelmore

There's a thing about the 80s that sadly seems to have been forgotten in more recent times. It's because every second song on the radio at the moment seems to be a song featuring someone else. I mean seriously, does everyone have to sing with everyone else? Gone are the days fans got excited about their two favourite superstars singing together, or even better, someone vs someone else, now almost everyone seems to be featuring everyone else in a desperate bid for sales. It's either A) two incredibly average pop stars singing together

or B) one of our favourite pop stars and someone we've never heard of before. Or even better, option C) two people we've never heard of who suddenly feature each other. How does that work? In the 80s,  things were a little different. Artists kept to themselves for the most part, and when they did sing together, they just sang together. None of this 'featuring' malarkey to promote some up and coming 'career' (read: 15 minutes of spotify fame). You know what they did in the 80s? Stuck 'and' in between two artists names and bam, you had yourself a duet.

Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes featured each other in 82 on 'Up Where We Belong'. Please note Joe's effort to dress up and the audience member with her back to the stage at 1:07. Turn around lady! They're behind you!

Even better, they didn't do things by halves in the 80s. Imagine the fights to 'headline' rather than 'feature' if this song was recorded now. 44(!) artists made up USA For Africa and Michael Jackson refused to even be in the studio at the same time. It'd be like Jay-Z's long forgotten star studded Tidal launch without Jay-Z showing up (which he probably shouldn't have bothered to anyway...but that's another post). Please note poor old Kim Carnes, who at 2:59 got only two words to herself, while Cyndi desperately tried to control herself in the background. I'll always love you Cyndi.

Which brings us to one of my all time favourite duets, which could never ever have been a 'featuring' track, because, oh I'm not even going to explain. David Bowie. Queen. You figure it out. Or go listen to Wiz featuring Poo-th or Poo-th featuring Wiz featuring Trainor featuring Legend featuring Bieber featuring Skrillex featuring Lunchmoney and everyone else we've never heard of that wants to get in on the featuring and leave me to my superstar 80s moment alone. Please note everything from 2:37 onward, featuring two of the greatest musicians, ever. And that's how I like to use the word featuring. End.

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