Friday, November 17, 2006
Sharon O'Neill Is Choice!
New Zealand might have nice mountains and a Prime Minister with a gay husband, but as far as music goes it can not lay claim to many 1980s pop icons. I guess there are those dull Finn brothers, but they never did much for me. Jenny Morris had one smashing album, "Body & Soul", but everything went downhill from there. That leaves us with Dave "Slice Of Heaven" Dobbyn and this lady, the brilliant Sharon O'Neill. Sharon O'Neill was the queen of Kiwi pop for the first half of the 1980s, releasing pop gem after pop gem. Ms O'Neill is best known in Australia for "Maxine", which I always interpreted as a response song to "Roxanne" by The Police, but all of her albums from the early 1980s are crammed full of pop gems. My favourite Sharon anthem is "Losing You", a killer track that oscillates between a full blown power ballad and upbeat pop-rock.
Unfortunately, a "disagreement" with her record company pretty much ended Sharon's career as a hitmaking force. Sharon did come back with two excellent albums but could never quite regain the momentum she had lost. Her last album was released in 1990 and apart from the occasional concert, Sharon has been pretty much missing in action. That is, until recently when she started touring Australia with fellow fabulous 80s has-been, Leo Sayer! I couldn't resist that double bill and was blown away by Sharon's performance. This woman needs to launch a comeback and show dreary cunts like Missy Higgins that the term "female singer/songwriter" does exclusively involve hiding behind an instrument and groaning about having your period.
If you enjoy what you hear try to find any one of the following albums: "Sharon O'Neill", "Words", "Maybe" and "Foreign Affairs". Sharon's later albums include "Danced In The Fire" and "Edge Of Winter". A number of Sharon's recordings are almost impossible to find (I've been trying to get my hands on her "Smash Palace" soundtrack for years) but her first few albums turn up regularly on Australian Ebay. At the very least, you should find one of her many compilation albums.