Not necessarily the best year for music. The explosions of 1987 (The Joshua Tree, Appetite for Destruction, Sign O’ the Times, um, Whitesnake) were fading in the rear view mirror, and the explosions of 1991 (Nevermind, Badmotorfinger, The Black Album, um, C&C Music Factory) weren’t even being primed yet.
But there was this one album with the lengthy & slightly weird title – Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D’Arby – which definitely made an impression at my high school. The first single, “Wishing Well”, dropped like a bomb – I remember everyone being knocked out by this incredible voice that just came out of nowhere.
But being a music snob who turned his nose up at the Top 40, I managed to resist the charms of The Hardline…until the third single came out. “Sign Your Name” just KILLED me. Slow, slinky, brooding, mysterious. How could you sign someone’s heart? What was he using, a Sharpie? And what the hell were the verses all about? Why do they make the rain in a room?
I loved it so much I had to actually own it, so I grabbed my learner’s permit & my dad’s ’68 Volvo and lurched (initially the stickshift & I were not friends) down to the Record Factory on Lighthouse, in New Monterey, and bought the single. This single:
Years later, I heard it on the radio again and felt a vibe there that I hadn’t quite picked up on as a teenager. Something a little…heavier, which inspired me to plug in my Strat, dime the volume controls on my amp, and…well, push that play button up there to check out the results.
Were you a fan of this song when it was released, or do you have similar stories about absolutely HAVING to buy something you heard on the radio? Would love to hear about it below in the comments!
P.S. Are you digging these covers, or would you like to be getting more Radio Nowhere originals? Or something else? Again, let me know in the comments…