Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs/Facebook
Matthew Sweet and Bangles singer/guitarist Susanna Hoffs may have made their way to mainstream success in the '80s and '90s, but as their third duo album of covers makes clear, a pure power-pop heart still beats inside both of them. Under the Covers Vol. 3 is filled with Hoffs and Sweet's versions of tunes from the '80s alt-pop realm, reaching into everything from The English Beat's "Save It For Later" to the Smiths' "How Soon Is Now," but two of the best tunes on the album are among the least widely known: the surging, mysterious-sounding "The Bulrushes" by The Bongos, and the poignantly poptastic "Big Brown Eyes" by The dB's.
Both bands became known as spearheads of the Hoboken scene of the early '80s, becoming cult heroes and college-radio mainstays, but neither made it out of the '80s alive. The new millennium tells a different story, though: The dB's released the excellent reunion album Falling Off the Sky in 2012, and the band's two singer/songwriters, Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, are getting set for December dates performing their classic 1991 duo album, Mavericks. Holsapple, who wrote and sang "Big Brown Eyes," says, "I am flattered and extremely grateful that Susanna and Matthew would even consider recording one of my songs for their album. Their version is just splendid. Now I have something cool to recommend to people for stocking stuffers this year!"
The Bongos, who have been playing some reunion shows of their own recently, have finally unleashed their long-shelved third album, Phantom Train, recorded in '86 but never released until this year. "'The Bulrushes' was one of the first songs I wrote for The Bongos," recalls frontman Richard Barone. "The lyrics were inspired equally by a Kabbalistic Tree of Life diagram hanging on our apartment wall in Hoboken and a copy of my first grade primer Fun With Dick and Jane that I had lying around. I had been listening to The Seeds and started strumming a major/minor two-chord progression, kinda combining it with a dance beat like we were hearing in the clubs. I was so excited to hear the band play it when we got together the next day, and I've been playing it ever since." Of the new version, Barone remarks, "Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs have a rare gift of being able to grab a song and make it their own while capturing its true essence and spirit. That takes a lot of smarts and some awesome chops, of which they have both in spades. I am thrilled they included 'The Bulrushes' in their latest collection. It totally rocks and I love it!"
The veteran actor celebrates the landmark on Saturday (26Mar11), just four days after his longtime friend reached the milestone.
Nimoy, like Shatner, shot to fame in the 1960s TV series in his career-defining role as Spock, which he last reprised in 2009 for a brief cameo appearance in J. J. Abrams' film Star Trek, alongside Zachary Quinto as a younger version of his pointy-eared character.
We now celebrate Nimoy's long running career and hope that he can 'live long and prosper' in his 80s.
Wenn has compiled 10 fascinating facts to remember Nimoy's achievements.
- Nimoy has written two autobiographies - I Am Not Spock (1977) and I Am Spock (1995), both in reference to his famous Star Trek character.
- He served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army in the 1950s, alongside actor Ken Berry and famed architect Frank Gehry.
- Nimoy went on to play an Army sergeant in the 1954 sci-fi film Them!
- The actor has been married twice and is father to two children. His current wife, actress Susan Bay, is a cousin to Transformers director Michael Bay.
- Nimoy voiced the character of Galvatron in 1986's The Transformers: The Movie, based on the popular kids' action figure range and TV show.
- Nimoy worked as a singer following the success of Star Trek, releasing five albums.
- He stepped behind the camera in 1985 to direct a music video for The Bangles. The Going Down To Liverpool promo also featured a brief cameo appearance from the actor, whose son Adam went to college with the band's lead singer Susanna Hoffs.
- Nimoy studied photography at the University of California, and in 2000 he announced his retirement from Hollywood to concentrate on his work behind the camera. He later returned to showbusiness.
- He is a keen poet and has published many of his works, including a collection called A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life in 2002.
- He has remained close friends with William Shatner since their Star Trek days and he acted as best man at Shatner's third wedding in 1997.