This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song #500 and going until I reach Song #1. When you see the song title listed as something like: Song #XXX (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song #xxx (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.
KTOM: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Honourable Mention Song #17: Lost Weekend by Lloyd Cole and the Commotions.
When I first went to university in Toronto, I stayed in a residence called Neill-Wycik College which was a co-ed, co-operative apartment complex. Each apartment housed from between 4-6 people. During my first year, one of the young women in my apartment was named Lisa Weinstein. She was a year younger than me and a year behind me in the same Radio and Television Arts Programme at Ryerson University. Lisa was a lovely, bubbly person and we got along just fine. But, the ace that Lisa had tucked up her sleeve was that she had a connection to the entertainment industry. Her father was a man named Les Weinstein. He was an entertainment manager. His biggest client, at the time, was the legendary Canadian group, The Irish Rovers. Mr. Weinstein, as I called him, went on to represent many fledgling young stars at a record label called Nettwork Records, including an unknown young singer named Sarah McLachlan. Anyway, the point of this story is that, every once and awhile, Lisa would bring home promotional material that we could have….posters, t-shirts, etc.,…..and, even better, we would sometimes be invited to attend TV tapings of live shows; especially, when The Irish Rovers had their own show. Those times were always fun because being on those sets was like being given a behind-the-scenes tour of how TV shows were actually made. It was like holding a secret that no one else had. And, as we know, secrets can be fun.
The same holds true for my pal, Erin Thompson. Erin lives in the same town that my wife and I do but, she was originally from across the pond, in England. Erin spent her teen years in a place called Buckinghamshire or, Bucks, as the locals call it. Bucks in about a hour and a half northwest of London and, for the interest of my daughter, Leah, it is about halfway between Bletchley Park and Oxford. Anyway, Erin was in Buckinghamshire in the early-mid 1980s, just as the music scene in the UK was exploding with New Wave, Alternative and Punk music. Bands such as The Cure, Depeche Mode, Yaz, The Smiths, The Clash and many more were all bursting forth and producing some of the best music the world has ever heard. But, the funny thing about being at the epi-centre of such a scene is that, for many young people, that scene played out in basements and bedrooms, as opposed to night clubs and concert halls. It was during those teenage years, in the privacy of their own bedroom space, that many were introduced to these new and exciting singers and bands. For Erin, she had a friend “on the inside” like I did. A girlfriend whose father worked in the music business and who had access to demo tapes that were submitted for the label’s consideration. It was with her girlfriend that Erin first heard a demo tape produced by an unknown group at the time called, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions. I wasn’t there to witness any dancing, giggling or dreaming that went on when “Lost Weekend” poured forth from those bedroom speakers but, that jangle-Pop sound must have made an impact because, when I asked for Honourable Mention submissions, it was “Lost Weekend” by Lloyd Cole and the Commotions that came my way.
In our conversations about this song, Erin asked if it was ok by me that Lloyd Cole and the Commotions never ended up becoming “the next big thing”. Of course it was. The pure mathematics behind reaching the top means that only a very small percentage of acts make it to the top, as defined by record sales, Gold records, awards and the like. Most singers and bands….even those who manage to crack the Top Forty, as Lloyd Cole and the Commotions did five times….have their moment in the national spotlight and then go back to the smaller towns and cities that they came from and become legends back there. For me, the measure of creative success has never been about awards and sales figures….says the guy who has never sold anything to anyone. Instead, my measure of creative success has always been in how my words make others feel. When any of you comment on a post of mine that my words made you think or moved you and gave you a laugh then, I feel as though I have done my job and am a success. The same thinking applies to musicians. If Lloyd Cole’s only success in the business was fuelling the dreams of a teenage girl from Bucks then, he created something monumental, too. For, at the end of the day, music is a very personal endeavour; both, for the listener and for the musician. Good music is music that touches your heart and your mind. End of discussion. With that criteria as our metric, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions were a success.
Lloyd Cole and the Commotions formed in Glasgow, Scotland in 1982. They stayed together long enough to record and release four albums. Of the songs that charted, “Lost Weekend” was the biggest charting song, reaching into the Top Twenty. Lloyd Cole, himself, was a handsome, young man, with good hair and eyes that seemed to twinkle as he sang. The band played a form of Pop that will appear familiar and fun and, certainly, dance-worthy by teenage girls in their private bedroom shrines. Teenage dreams have fuelled many a band’s fortunes over the years and, as such, there is much validity to those dreams and the dreamers who dream them. Those were the days when Hope was free of charge and anything was possible in a future that was yet to be written. Erin wrote one of my favourite comments during this entire countdown journey when she replied to one of my posts with the line that we seem to share a similar taste in music; one that, if we had known each other back in the day, would have seen us sharing headphones as we walked. For music is creativity best enjoyed in the company of a kindred spirit and, as such, I would have happily have shared my headphones with you, Erin. Listening together as we walked would be akin to sharing a musical secret and, as we know, sometimes having a secret to share is fun.
So, thank you, Erin, for nominating such a fun, boppy song for us all to listen to and enjoy. Thanks, as well, for all of your stories and comments given throughout the course of this countdown. Your input was always welcomed and most appreciated by me. For everyone else, here are Lloyd Cole and the Commotions with “Lost Weekend”. Enjoy.
The link to the video for the song, “Lost Weekend” by Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, can be found here.
The link to the official website for Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, can be found here.