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“Breakfast Club… How Screwed over Can You Get?”

This is a post about a band called Breakfast Club. But don’t get me wrong, I love the movie too. Anyway, the band Breakfast Club was based in New York and formed in the late ’70s, hence contributing toward proof that punk was in no way the vital style in late-’70s Manhattan [1]. When Madonna first moved to New York to begin her musical career, she requested that her manager take her to the Talking Heads gig that was happening in town that night. She was also a big fan of Breakfast Club, as I read I think in a Madonna biography Like an Icon, the author’s name of which is currently escaping me.

On Spotify, Breakfast Club’s sole release stands alone in all its ragged glory — the group of friendly-looking black chaps sitting around some sort of celestial breakfast table in the sky type of doohickie, a perfect self-titled debut not unlike Bad Brains, Tom Tom Club [2] and The Stone Roses. The album came out in 1987 which, yes, is two years after the movie The Breakfast Club spread its rosy fingers across the sky. So yeah, let’s do the math — that’s three months for these opportunistic poseurs Breakfast Club to get a record deal, three months to procure a studio and a contract, three months to record, three months to mix, and another year to get it through the red tape of the record label and organize the (lack of) promotion behind it. They were just another trendy’ 80s group trying to cash in on the cinematic locust swarm.

That’s not the way it is, of course, as this band had been around and paid their dues, and their mode of funk rock is busy, synth-laden and rhythmically verbose like a record by Prince, Michael Jackson, Madonna or Whitney Houston, and somehow even has a way of coming across just as COOL, or, potentially popular within prom spin-the-bottle sessions, or whatever, which I guess this style should be, truth be told. Let’s chalk it up, I guess, to the Reaganomics of the 1980s, a time so barren and inadequate in mainstream music [3] that it created a veritable explosion of the underground as a platform for musical distribution, whether it was hip-hop, techno, house, punk rock, noise rock or whatever. That is, it took for the release of that movie, which probably actually ripped off THEIR name in the first place, for them to get a record deal, when they’d been a vital pub band already for five plus years on the New York scene and “Right on Track” is rhythmic, fun and infectious enough to have been a #1 hit, a movie soundtrack denizen and a permanent staple of our everyday lives, with the proper promotion. 

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[1] But Talking Heads were the most prominent band of that movement! Well, yeah, my point exactly! 

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[2] Speaking of which, this is probably the “group” in the ’80s with which I’d most closely associate Breakfast Club, producing as they did a heady assessment of funk rock up to the speed of Michael Jackson and new wave and hence braced for 1980s popularity. 

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[3] I heard this lecture in college on how there were really only four big stars in music in the ’80s — Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna and Bruce Springsteen, and everything else was pretty much a second-class citizen in terms of marketing and overall emphasis they’d get from the record companies. When you think about it, too, all of these stars had a sort of aesthetic “shtick” about them, whereby they were relying on some appearance-related manifestation rather than solely their music. 

85 thoughts on ““Breakfast Club… How Screwed over Can You Get?”

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