So many of the artists and bands featured in this series have been named “one-hit” wonders. Although this title may hold up from a statistical viewpoint, in many instances the artist/band did indeed have more than one “hit” (maybe just not a top-10 chart topper), and/or ultimately produced a much better body of work than the declared “hit.”
The Nails falls into the latter category. Formed in the mid-seventies in Boulder, CO, the group originally started out with Marc Campbell (vocals), George Kaufman (bassist, RIP 2009), Douglas Guthrie (saxophone), Mike Ratti followed by Dennis McDermott (drums), Dave Kaufman (keyboards), and Steve O’Rourke (guitar).
The Nails languished on the club circuit for several years before moving to New York. There, they recorded an EP in 1981 that contained the song they are most well-known for: “88 Lines About 44 Women.” Even though it contains unmistakable (and hilarious) double-entendres, “88 Lines” enjoyed widespread airplay, bringing the band well-deserved attention.
The problem is, The Nails have other New Wave gems that most of us have never heard. Thanks to airplay on such obscure-80’s focused shows as Ed-FM’s Retrospect , and David Marsden’s twice-a-week broadcast on 94.9 The Rock, some incredibly great Nails songs have surfaced. Ed-FM’s show has aired such nuggets as “Home of the Brave (Apocalyptic Bepop),” “Juanita Juanita,” “Hotel For Women,” “Things You Left Behind,” and “ Every Time I Touch You.” David Marsden keeps the infamous “88 Lines” alive, more importantly, fueling the band’s memory.
The band recorded three albums, only two of which were released in the 80’s. The third album, “Corpus Christi, decorated a shelf for 5 years before finally seeing the light of day in 1993. Fortunately, these collections are still in print and can be found here.
Again, the lesson here is if you loved a song that a band/ artist was noted for, or even if you think of a solid group/ artist that has been deemed a “one-hit wonder,” dig a little further. Chances are, there are songs that received no promotion for a multitude of reasons (corporate hubris), and that outshine the ones that were in heavy rotation.
“Home Of The Brave” via YouTube user dak8844:
“Let It All Hang Out” via YouTube user NormN354:
“Things You Left Behind” via YouTube user disident666:
“88 Lines About 44 Women” via YouTube user Fronic: