|Recording Artist:||Black 'N Blue|
Jaime St. James
|Date Written:||March 1985 / Vancouver, Canada|
|Albums:||Without Love (1985)
One Night Only - Live (1988)
Ultimate Collection (2001)
Jaime St. James: vocals
Tommy Thayer: guitar
Jeff Warner: guitar
Patrick Young: bass
Pete Holmes: drums
Produced by Bruce Fairbairn. Recorded by Bob Rock at Little Mountain Sound Studios, Vancouver.
"Black 'N Blue" were signed to Geffen Records by A&R legend John Kalodner. John hired my friend Bruce Fairbairn to produce the album. Bruce put me together with Tommy and Jaime.
In a June 2001 interview John Kalodner was asked: "Of all the bands you've signed, what band didn't have the success you'd thought they should have?". His answer? -- "Black 'N Blue".
I was surprised on September 16, 2005 to discover that legendary music industry blogger Bob Lesetz had devoted most of an article to "Miss Mystery" ...
"Melody. That’s missing from the hit parade today. Rap is about the hook. And punk, that’s about the riff. What if you had music with hooks, riffs and MELODIES? THEN you’d have hair band music.
So I’m navigating the backwoods of Sherman Oaks. If you can say such a thing. I’m frazzled to the point where I’m lost. My brain’s still somewhere in Burbank. And I hear this CONCOCTION!
Well the first time that I saw you
You were runnin’ with the wrong crowd
With your head up in a dark cloud
Can’t you SEE IT? On MTV circa…BEFORE REAL WORLD! There’s a smoke machine, some girl with big hair is off in the distance. As the lead singer sings these lines, as he walks over to her. We didn’t know what we were doing. Videos had a bit of story, and a bit of performance. And the twain met somewhere. This was before Blues Traveler basically wasn’t even in their own video, because they weren’t good-looking enough. This was before the productions were slick. This was when directors who couldn’t get arrested in movies rented cameras and filmed essentially on a whim. And we were HOOKED!
Oh, it peaked in ‘86 with "Slippery When Wet". With the "Wanted Dead Or Alive" video. They should have ended performance videos after that one. There’s never been a better one.
And then, when that band sold so many records everybody imitated them and killed the genre. Which brings us to today, when hair metal is a joke. Almost an unmentionable. Nobody USES the word "disco", but it’s all over the airwaves. But I bet most teenagers have never heard most hair band music.
And I’ve never heard Black ‘n Blue’s "Miss Mystery".
That’s why we have satellite radio. To ENRICH OUR LIVES! To turn us on to things that are right in front of our faces. That’s the major label pradigm…RESTRICT ACCESS! They say it’s the opposite, that they WANT people to play their music, but this is untrue. THEY support Top Forty radio. They’re not interested in any outlet that doesn’t have a PLETHORA of listeners. They don’t want satellite radio to play too many tracks by the same artist in a row. They don’t want internet radio they don’t control.
I mean I’ve GOT a Black ‘n Blue CD. Universal sent it. I figured one day I’d play it.
It would take me HOURS to find it now. So I just went to P2P. Didn’t find "Miss Mystery" instantly, but finally I got it. Hell, I wrote the title down while listening in my car. That’s how much I needed it.
And I’ve got to tell you, when it first came through my computer, it wasn’t the same. Really, "Miss Mystery" is CAR music. When you’re pissed off, or elated, or just lost, having worked so hard you don’t know which end is up.
But, as the MP3 unfolded I realized this just WASN’T trash. There WAS magic here.
The band is defunct. It has no website. Not even a fan tribute site.
I looked it up on allmusic. They talked about all the albums the band had made that had not broken through. It was no help.
And then I googled the lyrics.
I didn’t find them. But I found this strange link. To JIM VALLANCE’S site.
God, unless you lived through the eighties you might not know who Vallance was/is. He co-wrote all those legendary Bryan Adams hits. Turns out HE co-wrote "Miss Mystery". And that it was produced by…Bruce Fairbairn.
Does Bruce Fairbairn belong in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame?
Yes, he does. Alongside Mutt Lange. This guy lifted genre music to LEGENDARY music. It’s Fairbairn who produced "Slippery When Wet". And who brought Aerosmith back from the dead. Think of Bruce’s early work with Loverboy. Not a major act. But listen to "Turn Me Loose"! There’s an urgency. The track is as big as Canada.
Come on, Miss Mystery
Here I am, what’s left of me
Some day, Miss Mystery
You’re gonna find out what you meant to me
Classic eighties song plot. Boy meets girl. And she leaves him reeling. Funny, despite all their stardom, these stars were misfits, who were using music to get EVERYTHING! Money, fame and sex. That’s the game. It doesn’t last long. The public loses interest. The dope kills you. YOU lose interest when you realize that it’s not out there, but inside, that being a star doesn’t solve all your problems.
Of course, this is the OLD stars. The MUSICIANS! Not the NEW stars. The FACES! Groomed by handlers to be famous. These new people revel in the exposure, they’re comfortable with it. But the real musicians. They’re outsiders. ALL creative people are outsiders. Living in their heads. But hating their loneliness. They create for connection, but when they get it they don’t know what to do with it. They STILL can’t fit in.
It’s a conundrum.
But it’s not only the life of the musicians, it’s the life of the FANS!
To stay home all afternoon and listen to records you’ve GOT to be a social misfit. It’s these misfits that are the heart of the business. The people who NEED the music to get by. The casual buyer…to him the music is an accessory, that can be discarded as easily as last year’s purse. But try to get a vinyl junkie to part with ONE record. To these people…they’re searching for a HIT! Like DOPE ADDICTS! They keep flipping the stations, keep reading, just looking for something that will feed their jones.
Today I found it. The sun was almost completely down. I was mentally bedraggled. But when I heard Black ‘n Blue’s "Miss Mystery" that mood disappeared, I was in RELIGIOUS REVERIE!
Take a listen. See if it works for you. Listen to the extended sample on Jim Vallance’s site."