Monday, January 28, 2008

Whatever happened to Baby Jane?

I was born in the wrong generation. If you've seen the movie Dazed and Confused or if you've ever watched That 70's Show, that was my calling. As Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton famously sang, "those were the days." I, on the other hand, was a teenager in the 90's. It wasn't bad enough that my pre-teen days in the 80's were plagued with Billy Ocean and Boy George in heavy rotation. And need I remind you of the great artists who failed miserably in the 80's and 90's for hopelessly trying to embrace the synth and blasphemous electronic percussion -- Bob Dylan and Pete Townshend to name a few. Others, like Peter Gabriel and Don Henley, found their way permanently into our parents' cd collections. But at least the 80's had personality -- rat tails, cocaine, neon clothing and Jheri curls. The 90's consisted of a lost generation recovering from the rebellion and excesses of the Reagan years. We weren't sure if we liked C+C Music Factory or Metallica, Yo! Mtv Raps or Headbanger's Ball, Soundgarden or Savage Garden. It was a hodgepodge of randomness. We truly were the generation of "teen angst" -- and for good reason.

However, as much as I hate to admit it, I occasionally peruse the 90's channel on Music Choice -- for nostalgic purposes, of course. Anyway, this weekend a song came on I hadn't heard since oh, 8th grade? The song was "Don't Want To Fall In Love" by Jane Child. Damn catchy song. You remember her -- crazy spiked hair, nose ring attached to her earring. Coming back now? I distinctly remember an old friend from junior high who was particularly obsessed with her -- so much so, that he decided to grace her portrait on his Bar Mitzvah t-shirt! Yet, all that time, I knew nothing of this mysterious woman (I'm certain I was too consumed with the Use Your Illusion albums at the time, for good reason).

Nonetheless, some 18 years later, and thanks to what else, cable tv and the internet, I learned a little something about the now 40-year old Ms. Child: In her early years, then known as Jane Hyslop, she was taught violin by her parents who were classically-trained musicians. At fifteen, she dropped out of Canada's prestigious Royal Conservatory of Music to join a rock band and move to the States. She was signed for her array of talents, specifically her ability to songwrite and produce, which I gather was quite rare amongst the 90's pop scene (she was probably similar to an Alicia Keys-type for her time). Unfortunately for her, she only had one major hit and after her brief time in the spotlight, Child moved into the world of production and movie soundtracks. Notably, her only real hit, "Don't Want To Fall In Love," was held out of the #1 spot on Billboard's Hot 100 only by Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U."

So there you have it -- I grew up with Jane Child and my mom grew up with Pink Floyd. Go figure...

Sources: Wikipedia and The Canadian Pop Encyclopedia

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