80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ Martha & The Muffins

MMa Even if I had never heard their music before, a band with the name “Martha & The Muffins” would pique my interest enough to listen. The ironic thing is, the name was only supposed to be temporary, but ended up lasting for pretty much the lifetime of the band.

Formed in 1977 in Toronto by two Ontario College of Art students David Millar and Mark Gane, the band debuted at a Halloween party. The initial line-up included Martha Johnson (keyboards) Carl Finkle (bass) and Tim Gane (drums). As the band struggled to hit their mark, they went through several personnel changes. Millar left in ’78 to become the band’s sound engineer shortly after Andy Haas (saxophone) signed on.

 Martha & The Muffins’ first LP release was called Metro Music and spawned a hit single, “Echo Beach.” From this point on, the line-up of the band was in constant flux, often relying on guest musicians to fill in. One benefit of all the changes was bringing the band into contact with Daniel Lanois who was to become a production legend in his own right. He worked out a deal with the band’s record label and became the band’s producer. It was a successful match all around.MMb

 Through all of the personnel changes (and even a later name change to M+M), Martha & The Muffins/M+M provided solid, post-punk music fringed with just the right amount of synthesizer and sax, giving listeners a wide range of instrumentation, rhythms, and lyrics to keep interest strong. Their one smash hit, “White Stations/Black Stations” from the Mystery Walk album was an anti-racism song written in reaction to a radio stations refusing to play a song about a mixed-race romance. It stormed the charts in a big way in both Canada and the US. Ironically, some stations refused to play it, but it soared nonetheless.

I have been lucky to be exposed to Martha & The Muffins/M+M through both David Marsden and Ed-FM. They are clearly a gifted band who contributed enormously to the landscape of 80’s New Wave and post-punk music.

 “Echo Beach” (dubbed over live footage) via YouTube user Barsopen 1970:

 “Danseparc” via YouTube user Whuntmore:

 “Women Around The World At Work” via YouTube user axelspeak:

“Black Stations White Stations” via YouTube user Whuntmore:

 

Purchase Martha & The Muffins/ M+M music.  

 80’s Discography

mm1Metro Music (1979)

MM2Trance and Dance (1980)

MM3This is the Ice Age (1981)

  

 

 

 

 

 

MM4Danseparc (1983, credited to Martha and the Muffins/M + M)

MM5Mystery Walk (1984, credited to M + M)

MM6The World is a Ball (1985, credited to M + M)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MM7Far Away In Time (1987) – compilation

Advertisements

14 thoughts on “80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ Martha & The Muffins

  1. Well I had to laugh when I saw Martha & the Muffins on here. Echo Beach is one of the staples on a Spirit of the Radio CD I made for myself. I am pleased to say that my 4 year old daughter knows nearly all the words to that song. We have a local sports pub that we go to on the weekend for lunch and quite often they will have the retro 80’s station on the satellite. There was gentleman sitting at the bar (he had been in a band in his younger years he said)and he nearly fell off his bar stool when Echo Beach came on the radio and my daughter stood up and started dancing and singing to the song. It was all he could do to spit out ” Does she, how does she, who’s daughter is this and is she singing the words to this song? I don’t believe it.” I informed him that yes she does know the words and that he should also see her sing Nyet Nyet Soviet by BB Gabor..lol She is going to be so Stuck in the 80’s.

    Has Dave played any Moxy Fruvous for you yet on his show. Great funny little band from Toronto. I believe they started out as buskers there. Not the synth pop sort of stuff but comical and worth a listen all the same.

    Cheers,

    moe

    Like

  2. Pingback: 80's Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ bands ~ Martha … | Canada today

  3. Hey! Long time no see. 😀

    “Echo Beach” was among my favorite tracks from the early 80’s. I would like to second all of your recommendations. This is a band that is well worth checking out and is even better than their singles would suggest.

    Like

  4. ((((Joey))))

    Sometimes life just gets in the way, eh? Thank you for your comment. Glad to hear you enjoy Martha & The Muffins/M+M. More spectacular music to come from our northern neighbors.

    All the best to you and have a great week! Now that things have settled down a bit here, I’ll be over to Teatro Triste del Clown to get caught up.

    Hugs,
    MissP
    xo

    Like

  5. Hey ((((Moe)))))
    That’s a great story about your daughter – you are doing a wonderful job of molding her music tastes 🙂 ! Thank you for sharing.

    I did a search for Moxy Fruvous on RalphD’s playlist from 2003 going forward and there is nothing there, so the answer is “no.” If they did anything in the 80’s it’s quite possible Ed-FM will have them in his stash. He’s due to return to Tuesday nights on the 21st. Sorry I missed you last week – had to leave the chat room early both nights because I had a lot going on.

    Thanks again for sharing and have a great week!

    Cheers,
    MissP
    xo

    Like

  6. Hi there,

    Google up King of Spain and also Baby loves a bunch of Authors for a little taste of Moxy Fruvous. You should be able to find a youtube for them. I think they are actually a 90’s band but I first heard them on CFNY years and years ago. There are a few novelty songs I have heard over the years. Detachable Penis by King Missile and Doug’s Lament by Nine Big Dogs to name a couple.

    As for my daughter, she is also a head banger and is currently hugely attracted to Alexisonfire – Young Cardinals…lol She also loves classical music and asks her dad to put on the “Little Enstein” cd is the car. She heard the music on the tv show so she assumed the classical music sampler we have is from her cartoon show….lol

    Her other favourite 80’s songs are Circular Impression by the Extras (yes I know she should not be listening to it but she does think they are saying “circles are precious” so I figure what the heck!) Take the Skinheads Bowling by Camper Van Beethoven – she thinks it is a song about our bald headed friend Mike and last but not least she loves They Might Be Giants – Istanbul, not Constantinople. I am grooming her for the remake of “Name That Tune”..haha. I don’t claim that she will get the names right but she will certainly know the tune! One more because I am proud Mama. She likes the song I Eat Cannibals because she thinks they are singing “I Eat Campbellos”. Her name is Campbell and she thinks it is a song for her!

    See you in the theatre.

    moe

    Like

  7. Heya (((Moe)))

    Thanks for the heads up on discovering some new (for me) music.

    Your daughter sounds like just my kind of person. My daughter is quite a bit older now and lives in DC, but I remember when she was 4. She also gave me a serious appreciation of “Grunge” music from the 90’s because that’s what she was into during High School.

    I’ll be compiling the lists tonight and tomorrow night in RalphD’s absence, along with soccerfan. I may not be in chat tonight (because it’s a work night) but definitely will be there Friday night.

    All the best,
    MissP
    xo

    Like

  8. Great post MissP, I have always loved this band. Ironically I used to see Mark Gane occasionally walking on the boardwalk in the beaches area of Toronto.

    Cheers

    Ed

    Like

  9. Hi (((((Ed)))))

    I really began to take notice of Martha & The Muffins from various songs that you have played on your show. I also learned they went by M+M for a time from information you shared on one of your shows. This should just reaffirm the notion that learning can be entertaining! 🙂

    All the best,
    MissP
    xo

    Like

  10. Hi — great informative post. I did a new wave music show at my college radio station in 1983-84 and was exposed to tons of new music (lots of 12″ singles) sent in by the labels. I remember Martha & The Muffins well… even think I have a couple old 12″ in my old record crates.

    Like

  11. Hi Greg – thank you for your comment. I’ll bet you have some *great* stuff in your old record crates. Oh, to be a fly on the wall…:-)

    All the best,
    MissP
    xo

    Like

  12. Jian Ghomeshi and Murray Foster of Moxy Fruvous had a band in the 80s called “Tall New buildings” and there is a 45 and 12″ single released.

    Like

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s