Thursday, June 19, 2014


It seemed like Dan Hill was going to be a a huge, huge star when "Sometimes When We Touch" became the achy-breaky ballad of 1977. The music was co-written by the legendary Barry Mann. And yet, the follow-up album, 1978's "Frozen in the Night" went nowhere, and few except ardent fans are familiar with his late 80's albums. Known primarily in Canada now, he's 60 and rather suave-looking. He no longer resembles, well, a Cro-Magnon. It might have been pictures like THIS, that led romantic teenage girls to look elsewhere for a wall pin-up:

Oh well. Most everyone who took a photo in 1978 regrets it now! The title track is no "Sometimes When We Touch." Again, with musical help from Barry Mann, "Frozen in the Night" seems more like some creepy Harry Chapin cautionary tale. You remember Harry singing about depressing bar pick-ups, women who put cigarette burns in their skin, mail-order brides and such? Well, here's a grim tale about an older man picking up Little Slut Lost.

The purple prose describes a few details: "Her dress was as black as the night was hot. Her eyes so green they could kill you...her brown skin young but aging fast." Her name? "Call me anything you want makes no difference anyway." And once they get into bed…"You know what I'm after. I don't wanna hurt no one…" And sounding like a page from an overbaked romance writer's novel: "and the moon shone down so softly in mock defiance."

All of this is sung like Meatloaf after eating some bad meatloaf. The 1978 production values are no different than what you'd get on a pretentious Hall & Oates album. About the only cliche that was missed is that there's not an actual siren blaring during the "a siren screamed just a bit too late" line.

Like "Indiana Wants Me," this thing is a kind of perverse, guilty pleasure. We sure don't care too much about either of these losers.

While the rest of the album is just sorry, strangle-voiced mewling about sensitive love scenes, I guess most DJ's played the first track, were turned off, and didn't bother to search for another track that might be a hit. They just went back to flogging "Sometimes When We Touch" to death. It took a full decade before Hill scored another hit ("Can't We Try", a duet with Vonda Shepard). He still performs, and has written a book about his childhood. And his two protagonists remain "Frozen" on a slab of out of print vinyl.

Dirty Losers Get Hot and then Cool It Frozen in the Night

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