Thursday, July 26, 2007

Wendy & Lisa: Really quite good

I finally got round to watching last year's TV sensation Heroes when it debuted on BBC2 last night, and it looks very good indeed.

In one of the best-written opening episodes of a multi-character TV drama I've seen in a long time, every individual had room to breathe and establish their personality tics without the whole thing seeming crammed in or forced. My only fear is that it'll end up being another Lost - with tons of cliffhangers and no actual plot.

I really, really hate Lost.

Anyway, for me, the very best moment of Heroes' opening episode was right at the start - when it revealed that Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman's had composed the score. For those of you who don't know, Wendy & Lisa were the mainstays of Prince's band, The Revolution, back when he was proper good (1980-86, fact fans). Not only did they have brilliantly ridiculous hair but, without them, there'd be no Kiss, no Raspberry Beret and no Purple Rain.

Prince, renowned for his prolific work rate, developed a working practice whereby he would record the basic tracks of a song and leave Wendy & Lisa to polish them off. Their influence can probably be heard most strongly on the psychedlic pop of the Parade album, and on fan favourite Sometimes It Snows In April in particular.

After Prince disbanded the Revolution, Wendy & Lisa went off as a solo act, releasing two average albums and one stonkingly brilliant one in the late 80s and early 90s. They never achieved mainstream success but, in my teens, I was more into them than the purple midget himself. The acoustic rock of their third album, Eroica (named after Beethoven's 3rd Symphony, don'tchaknow?) is still worth hunting down now, 17 years after its release.

Unfortunately, there ain't much Wendy & Lisa material to be found on the web - but here are a couple of choice youtube snippets.

Strung Out - acoustic performance of 1990 single

Kiss - Prince dances around Wendy, who desperately tries not to laugh

Heroes - behind-the-scenes look at composing the theme tune

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