As a considerable fan of two of the finest new wave-tinged hard rockers of the early '80s - I'm speaking of the lovely and talented Patty Smyth and Pat Benatar, of course - I only wish I'd had the chance to hear more from Holly Beth Vincent either back in the day or over the years. Her short-lived band Holly & the Italians released some pretty solid music that deftly bridged the gap between '70s punk and the already shifty '80s evolution of that form. Blessed with plenty of attitude and obvious if unconventional good looks (the best kind, if you ask me), Vincent wrote one of the best PG kiss-off songs in the history of rock in "Tell That Girl to Shut Up," which unfortunately only got a decent measure of attention in 1988 when Transvision Vamp covered the tune to mild success.
Still, "Miles Away" does a crisp and thorough job of spotlighting the way mainstream rock, at its best, could sound circa 1981, a period that harbors more than its share of genre-bending, heavy guitar pop classics. Taking the best from Suzi Quatro, the all-female hard rock band Girlschool, and Joan Jett (and not responsible in the least for Vixen), Vincent was an important transitional rock artist during a volatile pop music period who deserved (and deserves) far more credit than she's ever received for making early-'80s rock exciting and original.
- Sample or download "Miles Away" here.
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- Top 7 Pat Benatar Songs of the '80s
Album Cover Image Courtesy of Virgin Records