Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

“Happy Hunting Ground”: Astoundingly, the Band is Not English

Indiscreet, the fifth (Tony Visconti-produced) album by Los Angeles band, Sparks, was released in October 1975 on Island Records, who issued two singles from the album – neither of them including, oddly, the winsomely rocking, “Happy Hunting Ground”:

Trevor White:    Guitar

Dinky Diamond: Drums

Ian Hampton:     Bass

Ron Mael:          Keyboards

Russel Mael:     Vocals

Sparks Indiscreet LP

The previous year, Sparks had hit it big in the UK with #2 hit, “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Two of Us” from Kimono My House.  1979’s “The Number One Song in Heaven” was another UK smash, while 1980’s “When I’m With You” would go on to top the French charts.  Sparks, in fact, would only crack the Billboard Top 100 with 1982’s “I Predict” (#60) and 1983’s “Cool Places” with Jane Wiedlin (#49).

Sparks would later enjoy success on the German charts with 1994’s Gratuitous Sax and Violins album, featuring hit singles, “When Do I Get To Sing My Way?” and “When I Kiss You (I Hear Charlie Parker Playing).”   In the wake of 2002’s lauded, “genre-defying opus” Lil Beethoven, Morrissey – as curator of the 2004 Meltdown Festival – would invite Sparks to perform.  Consequently or not, 2006’s Hello Young Lovers and 2008’s Exotic Creatures of the Deep enjoyed commercial success on the UK charts.

It’s an Old Story:   Worshipped Abroad, Tolerated at Home

In recent years, Sparks has been quite active, as Wiki reports:

“In October 2012, Ron and Russell performed for the first time ever as a duo, with no band.  The 18-city European tour titled ‘Two Hands, One Mouth’ began in Lithuania and followed in Latvia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, the UK and Ireland.  The final UK concert of the tour was at the sold-out Barbican Centre in London.  The tour then took the group to Japan with concerts in Tokyo and Osaka in January 2013.  In April 2013, the show was presented for the first time in the US with two performances at the Coachella Festival.  A short US tour followed [including a stop at DC’s 9:30 Club on October, 27, 2013].”

Sparks Indiscreet 8-track

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