It’s Pearl Harbour Day

Rockabilly style icon Pearl Harbour in her home full of vintage swag

Rockabilly style icon Pearl Harbour in her home full of vintage swag

Since it’s December 7th, thoughts turn to Pearl Harbour. No…not that one! The femme rockabilly artist who started her career in New Wave before finding her true voice a year later. I first heard Pearl Harbor + The Explosions in 1979 on WPRK-FM at the dawn on my college radio consciousness. Their boppy tune, “Driving'” seemed to get a lot of airplay there, but frankly, it did little for me. I was looking for a little more sauce with my music.

Warner Brothers | US | LP | 1980 | BSK 3404

Warner Brothers | US | LP | 1980 | BSK 3404

Pearl Harbor + The Explosions: Pearl Harbor + The Explosions US LP [1980]

  1. Drivin’
  2. You Got It (Release It)
  3. Don’t Come Back
  4. Keep Going
  5. Shut Up And Dance
  6. The Big One
  7. So Much For Love
  8. Get A Grip On Yourself
  9. Up And Over

I got it the next year [1980] when PH+TE suddenly imploded, leaving Pearl Harbour free to move to England, marry Paul Simonon of The Clash, and issue her debut solo album the very same year! In late 1980, I was listening to either WUSF-FM since I was able to occasionally receive their [90 miles away] signal when late night conditions were right. I heard a rip roaring rockabilly chanteuse sinking her teeth into the song “Rough Kids,” which was originally by Kilburn + the High Roads, from whence came Mr. Ian Dury. It was great, greasy rockabilly with a joyous feel. Now this was something that I would buy.

Warner Brothers Records | US | LP | 1980 BSK 3515

Warner Brothers Records | US | LP | 1980 BSK 3515

Pearl Harbour: Don’t Follow Me, I’m Lost Too US LP [1980]

  1. Alone In The Dark
  2. Fujiyama Mama
  3. Everybodys Boring But My Baby
  4. You’re In Trouble Again
  5. Do Your Homework
  6. Cowboys & Indians
  7. Losing To You
  8. Filipino Baby
  9. Lets Go Upstairs
  10. Rough Kids
  11. Out With The Girls
  12. Heaven Is Gonna Be Empty
  13. At The Dentist

I have owned this marvelous record ever since it was released, but the cover reveals almost nothing about it, other than Mickey Gallagher [keyboardist for The Blockheads] was charged with producing it all. The fizzing cocktail of twanging guitars and helpful servings of slapback echo ensured that I can look at this album today and remember almost all of its 13 songs. After this one, Ms. Harbour seemed to vanish into the ether as just critics and not the “loving public” took this disc to their collective bosom. I saw nothing after this, so some time in the early 90s I saw a copy of the Explosions album in the used bins, and bought a copy. On principle. I’ve yet to hear it, though.

Would that there was a shiny silver disc of this, but there’s not. Sure, sure. There is a DL but I’d sooner digitize my LP. But it’s a brief disc. Any bonus tracks out there?

Warner Brothers Records | GER | 7" | 1980 | K 17741

Warner Brothers Records | GER | 7″ | 1980 | K 17741

Pearl Harbour: Fujiyama Mama GER 7″ [1980]

  1. Fujiyama Mama
  2. Nerves

Yep! “Nerves” on the B-side of the UK/GER “Fujiyama Mama” single.

Warner Brothers Records | UK | 7" | 1980 | K17781

Warner Brothers Records | UK | 7″ | 1980 | K17781

Pearl Harbour: Cowboys + Indians UK 7″ [1980]

  1. Cowboys + Indians
  2. You’ve Got Me All Wrong

Holy Toledo! Here’s another B-side I just found out about today… and scope that cover! After this, things get thin on the ground.

Test Pressings | UK | 7" | 1983 | TP6

Test Pressings | UK | 7″ | 1983 | TP6

Pearl Harbour: Voodoo Voodoo UK 7″ [1983]

  1. Voodoo Voodoo
  2. You Don’t Fool Me

There were a few other singles, but all of their tracks were on the third Pearl Harbour album, recorded in Japan [and released there first] in 1983/1984 with Japanese band The Mods backing her up. I’ve heard not a note of this, but I’d give it a chance!

Island Records | UK | LP | 1984 | ILPS 9824

Island Records | UK | LP | 1984 | ILPS 9824

Pearl Harbour: Pearls Galore UK LP [1984]

  1. Killer Joe
  2. He Ain’t So Bad
  3. Flirt
  4. Spanish Bop
  5. Nerves
  6. Get Outta Here
  7. Out In The Streets
  8. Please Come Home
  9. Run Rhythm Run
  10. Hula Love

Several tracks here [2, 10] were singles, but I’m betting that the version of “Nerves” here was a re-recording with the producer of this opus, none other than girl group mainstay Richard Gottherer! Now I really want to hear this. After this dalliance with Island Records… crickets until 1995!

Shattered Records | US | CD | 1995 | B000001MF1

Shattered Records | US | CD | 1995 | B000001MF1

Pearl Harbour: Here Comes Trouble US CD [1995]

  1. Trouble
  2. Hot Rod
  3. I Wish I Were You
  4. King Tut’s Tomb
  5. Dream Car
  6. Once A Night
  7. You’ve Got My Number
  8. Have Love Will Travel
  9. Idolize Me
  10. Get Tough On You
  11. House Of Love
  12. I Miss You
  13. Crash The Party

And that was all she wrote for Ms. Pearl Harbour. All the more reason for me to track the rest of it down. “Don’t Follow Me, I’m Lost Too” is the best album never released on Stiff Records, and it really shoulda/woulda/coulda been on that label at the exact moment that the label had stupidly let Kirsty MacColl slip through their fingers. As if to correct their grievous error.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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2 Responses to It’s Pearl Harbour Day

  1. Echorich says:

    Love Pearl. She let friends of mine into the DJ booth one night at Bond’s during The Clash Marathon when things got a bit out of control and she was always really approachable whenever I saw her around NYC. Such an underrated singer and star!

    Like

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