Tuesday, February 14, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Martha and the Muffins

Artist:Martha and the Muffins
Song:Echo Beach
Album:Then Again: A Retrospective

This New Wave classic by the Canadian band Martha and the Muffins was not only a big hit in Canada but in England. They had additional success in the 80s when they changed their name to M + M. The band was formed in Toronto in 1977 by Ontario College of Art students David Millar and Mark Gane. Millar recruited Martha Johnson to play keyboards and she brought her friend Carl Finkle to play bass. Gane's brother Tim Gane played drums. Martha was lead singer when they played their first shows at the OCA. The name Martha and the Muffins was supposed to be a counterpoint to some of the aggressive names used by other punk bands. They added sax player Andy Haas and Millar left to be the band's audio engineer. Martha Ladly replaced him. She knew the Ganes in high school. They released a single independently and then signed with Virgin's Dindisc label. They recorded their debut album Metro Music in England with producer Mike Howlett formerly of the group Gong. Echo Beach reached #5 on the Canadian Singles chart and #10 on the British Singles chart. Today it's considered a New Wave classic. There is no Echo Beach in Toronto. The song is about Gane daydreaming about going to Toronto's Sunnyside Beach while working a very boring job. The word Sunnyside wouldn't have worked in the song. Their next two albums didn't do as well and members were leaving anyway so Virgin dropped them. So at this point the band was Mark Gane, Martha Johnson, Jocelyne Lanois and Nick Kent. Jocelyne is the sister of producer Daniel Lanois and he produced the third album. They signed with RCA's Current label and Gane changed the group name to M + M. After the 1983 album Danseparc, M + M became the duo of Gane and Johnson. They used session musicians on the 1984 album Mystery Walk and had success with the single Black Stations/White Stations especially on the dance chart. They recorded one more album and moved to England in 1987. You can get all of their hits on this EMI Canada comp. The group has reunited occasionally and released new albums in 1992 and 2008. Martha Johnson recorded an album of children's music and the duo have worked on film music. Here's the video for Echo Beach by Martha and the Muffins.

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