Thursday, May 26, 2011

Forgotten Music Thursday: Dragon - Body and the Beat (1984)

With the unofficial start of summer looming on the near horizon the time to break out good summer music is upon us.

Few CDs scream summer to me the way most of the albums Dragon released in the eighties do.  I'd argue that no other band captured the overall atmosphere and spirit of summer in musical form the way Dragon did. 

In 1979 after firing vocalist Marc Hunter and trying to continue without him Dragon split up and Marc Hunter released a couple of solo albums (Fiji Bitter and Big City Talk).  In the early 80s Dragon decided to have another go at it.  They updated their sound a bit and capitalized on the success of Hunter's Big City Talk album and single as the springboard to catapult them back onto the Aussie charts after a four year absence with the single Rain
Rain was so successful the band headed back to the studio to record a full album leaving enough space to include their latest hit... The Body and the Beat was born.  Before even opening the LP, CD, or cassette sleeve the album cover suggests opening the windows to let the summer breeze flow through. 

From the first bars of their hit single Rain through to the closing bars of Fool  Dragon gives the listener a full on blast of that summer breeze.  The album is further augmented by hits like Cry and Magic.  But capturing the overall vibe of summer the best is Cool Down.  You can see the heat shimmering off the pavement, the hot sun beating down on you, the sweat forming in droplets on your forehead.  This song so perfectly captures the heat of summer that even on the coldest days of winter listening to this song makes me want to crank the AC.

The upbeat vibe of Promises (So Far Away) captures the magic and fun of summer nights and further establishes the whole summer vibe of the album:
The moon is a sunlight
It shines in the night

While it sounds dated today the title track, The Body & the Beat is a fun song with Todd Hunter's solid bass chops taking center stage.  The truth is, there's not really a bad track on the album-- there are good ones and great ones.  If you can find this classic Aussie gem GET IT save it for a hot summer day, roll down the windows, turn up the volume and enjoy the soundtrack of summer in full force.

Related Links & Media

Dragon (Australian Archives write-up)
Dragon O Zambezi (1978) review
Marc Hunter Communication (1985) review
Dragon (official website)
Dragon (wikipedia entry)
Dragon ( - Download their out of print albums in mp3 format


Tender Heart Bear said...

You are right the songs you have on here are really good. I never heard of this band until now. I really enjoyed listening to them. Thank you!

Todd Mason said...

Yeah, my knowledge of Oz music is very hit and miss...the Divinyls and Midnight Oil and Men at Work were a lot of what comes to mind, and all those folks were active three decades ago (hey, the Easybeats!). Thanks for the pointer!

Perplexio said...

THB: Glad you enjoyed them. I've only been into them since about 2009 or so. But they've really grown on me.

Todd: I'm an Oztraphile in that I go out of my way to immerse myself in Australian culture, music, literature, & etc. Many of the Aussie bands I listen to are largely unknown outside the US. Original bass player, Todd Hunter, reformed Dragon in 2006 but he's the only remaining original member of the band.

Charlie said...

Unfortunately, after listening to these songs intently, I found them to be typical 80s synthesized affairs. There is a lot of great Aussie music, much of which I've discovered through this blog, but for me, this stuff just doesn't hold my interest. It's not that the songs and the musicianship are poor it's just that synths suck all life out of rock 'n roll.

Anonymous said...

A nice review and a favourite album of mine as a teen. Promises is a great song but I think you have misheard the lyric! It goes, "The moon is a satellite" which I believe is referencing Lou Reed's "Satellite of Love" from the 70s.