Graham Parker

Graham Parker
Today's selection is a collaboration with the music newsletter On Repeat by Kevin Alexander. We both love '80s new wave deep cuts, so we'll each be sharing and writing about the same song today (like we did last Friday). Check out what Kevin has to say about today's tune.

Today on Ecléctico you're listening to "Devil's Sidewalk" by Graham Parker, an English singer, musician, and songwriter.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Today's song, from 1980, chronicles those good intentions in 1) the lyrics and 2) the production.

1) Throughout the song, our aimless and carefree hero unknowingly finds himself in a series of capers. No matter where he goes, the devil's sidewalk is the pavement beneath his shoes, leading nowhere, where nothing makes sense. He's going with the flow, seeking the heat, but coming up cold. Is it a dream, the other side of life, hell?

2) "Devil's Sidewalk" is the second track on Parker's album The Up Escalator. It was produced by Jimmy Iovine, who, at the time, was also producing records for Tom Petty, Patti Smith, Dire Straits, and Bruce Springsteen. Big names, big sounds, big reach. The intention was to build Parker up to those heights, but he didn't make it. What Parker and Iovine did make was a record that muscled the former's songwriting into spaces and dimensions that were there all along, waiting for the sound to work its way in. Hell yeah.

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