Have you ever heard of Suzanne Fellini? Chances are if your under the age of 55, you probably have not. However, in 1980 Suzanne Fellini released a great rock record that featured a cutting edge new wave song entitled “Love On The Phone.” The song received a great deal of airplay on album oriented rock radio and was well known among fans of rock music. If you were into music in 1980, you knew the song. However, Suzanne Fellini only released that one album and then disappeared from the business.
The album was never issued on CD and so there was never any reason for the record company to promote the singer ever again. Its sad, but true(sorry Metallica) one great new wave rock record and then it was all over. We won’t get into why she disappeared because we really don’t know. There are many rumors, but we won’t speculate. What we will talk about is how great the record was and why you should take a listen to her music.
If one wanted to define the epitome of what new wave sounded like, than the song “Love On The Phone,” would be the choice pick. It was a song that featured a punk/new wave vocal sound and raucous guitar line that screamed NEW WAVE. Suzanne Fellini’s vocals on the track oozed all that we loved about new wave, the chirpy almost robot like voice, infused with a silly yet somewhat sexual vocal inflection that was undeniably addictive. Long before cell phones, and personnel computers, people used to actually talk to each other on the telephone. Suzanne Fellini’s hit is a reminder. and a view into old pre-technology rituals. If you have never heard the song, below is lip synced version off the record from the only known televised performance available.
The album Suzanne Fellini was released on Casablanca Records in 1980. The label has a long history of partnerships and mergers with many music and film industry giants. It was a diverse label best remembered for the signing of Donna Summer and the success the label had with many of their disco artists. The label had also been the home of the rock band Kiss and other diverse musical acts such as,The Godz, Cher, The Village People, T.Rex and Buddy Miles.
The Suzanne Fellini album featured an abundance of great tracks starting with the album’s opening track “Double Take.” The song’s opening bass and drum groove resonated with a perfect new wave feel that was similar rhythmically to The Pretenders “Mystery Achievement,” which was also released around the same time.
The Suzanne Fellini album had a feel to it much like the underrated Linda Ronstadt Record Mad Love that came out about the same time. Ronstadt who had been notably the most successful female artist of the 1970’s singing song songs bathed in pop county melodies and arrangements shocked the world with her new wave album. However it really represented the popular sound at the turn of the decade. Even Billy Joel released a record called Glass Houses that showcased songs like “Sometimes A Fantasy,” that mimicked the new wave trend at the start of the 80s decade.
The Suzanne Fellini album contained many great tracks. One of our favorites was the album’s side two opening track. The song “Permanent Damage,” was a preview of the 80’s big sounding productions that would soon infiltrate the rock arena. A heavily produced track that featured the song’s melodic chorus in the intro, big sounding guitars, a sweet strong melodic hook and the perfectly placed guitar solo all surrounded by Fellini’s sugary but aggressive vocals.
The Suzanne Fellini album contained ten tracks. According to the liner notes. it was recorded and mixed at New York City’s The Power Station recording studio. The album was produced by Steve Burgh. All arrangements were attributed to keyboardist Jeff Waxman. Suzanne Fellini received writing credit on all the album’s songs along with Jeff Waxman, Enid Futterman, Jhanna Deneroff and Das.
While the album was never released on CD and the vinyl record has been out of print for close to forty years, the good news is that the album is available as a digital download from Casablanca Records on the Band Camp website for only seven dollars. If interested, use the link below to take you to the download site.
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