What's New Year's Eve got (that The Producers don't got)?
This Saturday night your choices to watch the network's New Years Eve countdown shows include events hosted by Ryan Seacrest (ABC), Carson Daly (NBC) and Pitbull (Fox). Most of us still Stuck In The '80s will probably take a pass and remember when MTV hosted the Rockin' New Years Eve Ball that featured bands that really knew how to party like The Producers.
Last year MTV decided to pull the plug on their New Years Eve Show as interest waned and more money could be made by running a marathon of Ridiculousness - MTV's version of America's Funniest Home Videos. It's just as well since current incarnations could never approach the raw, alcohol-fueled partying of the early days of MTV Rock N Roll Ball. There is very little information on what happened during the first party in 1981 as the fledgling network was still in very few homes but by Dec. 31, 1982, MTV was gaining momentum and so were their New Years Eve parties.
On that night, four bands played in NYC including The Producers, Jack Mack and the Heart Attack, A Flock Of Seagulls and the newest band on the scene - some lads from England called Duran Duran. There is some great footage on the iInternet from that night with the MTV VJ's interviewing a very drunk Simon LeBon and Nick Rhodes as they slurred that they had just finished recording a song called Is There Something I Should Know? Duran Duran was so new on the American scene that they were the opening act that night and coincidently (or not) it also happened to be the first week that the band hit the U.S. singles chart as Hungry Like The Wolf made its debut on the Top 100.
The Producers were a favorite of MTV those first few years of its existence, so much so that they were the featured middle band on 1982's Rock N Roll Ball. In the early days of Lost and Found we profiled their delicious She Sheila, so it's about time we featured the new wave band from Atlanta again with another favorite called What He's Got? that only made it to No. 108 on the singles chart in the fall of 1981. The video for What He's Got? (from the Youtube files of Dave "The Maestro" Morrison) is a performance video that was typical of the early days of MTV and aside from the humorous facial expressions of keyboardist Wayne Famous, lacks the imagination and budget that bands like Duran Duran put into their videos, which can partially explain the future of both bands.
Unfortunately, New Year's Eve in 1982 was the apex for The Producers as it took until 1985 to release their next album and by that time power pop was a niche genre and the Duran Duran's of the world and their big budget adventurous videos passed them by. One year later, the look and feel of 1983's Rockin' New Years Eve Ball was different as MTV exploded and a smaller band like The Producers couldn't make the bill anymore with bigger selling acts like Billy Idol being featured.