Dear fans of seemingly terrible but maybe brilliant teen angst films,
Today I will dissect the soundtrack from 1982's The Last American Virgin. Even if you haven't seen the movie, it would be easy to write off as just another one of the early 80s teen sexploitation movies. It has a couple of interesting twists, though, that made it one that stayed on my radar for the past 40 years. I won't spoil it here, though, that's for sure. I hate it when someone gives away too much about a film I haven't seen.
One of the great things about the film, though, is the soundtrack. The music supervisor of The Last American Virgin did a fucking bang up job. It was Paula Erickson's first music supervisor credit, according to IMDB, but she also did Barfly and a bunch of other lesser known films including Gor and Gor II. (The name "Gor" is only important to me because of a little fib that Jeff and I made up in the 80s about a skater named "Gor" and also because we have a Pinky song called "Gor and the Chowderheads" that is about that skater.)
Erickson gets a nod here due to the awesome placement of music throughout the film. To be honest, I'm not exactly sure how that side of things really works, but I'm guessing she had a say in it. Who knows. Maybe I'm just blowing smoke here. Either way, she did a good picking the songs to fit the mood of the film.
I picked the soundtrack at Zia Records a few years ago. I have a thing for soundtracks. They are great for DJ-ing and you can usually find them for less than $10. Often they have multiple songs that will fit a number of different moods and grooves, too. Being a fan of the movie makes it even better for me and with The Last American Virgin, it was the best of both worlds.
There are ten tracks on the LP. Five on each side. Columbia released my copy, but there are versions on CBS and Polydor, too. Track one is by Tommy Tutone. You remember him, right? "Jenny, Jenny...Who can I turn to?" Yep, that's right. "867-5309" was Tommy Tutone.
Unfortunately, his track on The Last American Virgin soundtrack is utterly forgettable. Maybe instantaneously forgettable would be a better way of putting it, but it's also not the worst track on the album. Think Romantics meets "867-5309" and you have "Teenage Angel Eyes."
If you made it through the video, you got to see a bunch of random shots from the film. That is the same gal (Diane Franklin) from Better Off Dead and a few other recognizable character actors, but most of the main characters didn't do a whole lot of other things that would be easily remembered or recognized. Anyway, this song kind of sucks and chances are very good I will never play it.
Track two is not a favorite of mine, but it might be the most recognizable. The Police check in here with "De Do Do Do De Da Da Da" which can also be found on their Zenyatta Mondatta record (1980). It's a fine song, I suppose. I'm not the biggest Police fan, to be honest, but I don't hate this one as much as some of their other stuff. I particularly loathe the slow Police songs, but that's another blog.
I have to wonder if the Police had any regrets about their song being in this film. I'm sure they were paid for it pretty handsomely, but still. Considering where they went and how much the critics hated The Last American Virgin when it came out, there might have been some regrets. Either way, the song works well in the film and that's what is important here. I think the only Police songs I own on vinyl are part of soundtracks.
Up next is my second favorite song on the album, Devo's "Whip It" which also came onto the scene in 1980. This must've been a great score for Erickson, but again, I'm not certain the band probably remembers this placement fondly. Oh, the acting...
It's still a great song, though, and something I would bust out during just about any DJ set.
Phil Seymour's "When I Find You" is track four and it is a terrible song. Just awful. The kind of throw away song that probably was enjoyed by people that have terrible taste in music. It's really just bad 80s schlock. There are no redeeming qualities here. Watch the video at your own peril.
Luckily, though, the last track on side one is a keeper. Oingo Boingo's "Better Luck Next Time" was used to perfection in the movie and is just a really good song. While I like Oingo Boingo to an extent, I wouldn't say I am fan, but I would listen to their catalog three times before I would listen to the Police catalog once, if that says anything. "Better Luck Next Time" is something I would definitely spin, though.
This clip is a two-fer. It starts off with "Better Luck Next Time" and morphs into Quincy Jones' "Just Once" (James Ingram vocal) which is not on the soundtrack. Quincy was way too smart for that.
The B side is almost all killer, though. It starts off with my favorite song on the record. "Are You Ready for the Sex Girls" (1981) by Gleaming Spires. The guys in Gleaming Spires were part of the Mael brothers band, Sparks, as well, which makes it even cooler, and the song has a very Sparks feel to it. Check it out:
The Cars chime in next with "Since You're Gone" (1981). This is a classic and, again, what a great score for a movie with (if you've been watching the videos) strong elements of heart break happening. It's downplayed quite a bit during the film, but still a great thing to have for any DJ gig. Who doesn't like the Cars?
Good slap at the end of this one and dig the pocket protector:
The Cars appear in the film another time, too, but only "Since You're Gone" is on the record.
Track three on side B is a staple for any early 80s teen movie: The Waitresses' "I Know What Boys Like." (1980) I couldn't find the clip from the film but it is such a good song that I will add it anyway.
If only they would have kept the record going strong for the fourth track on side B. "Airwaves" by The Fortune Band is just fucking terrible. Maybe worse than the Phil Seymour (who apparently is dead, so RIP) song. I'm not sure. They are both never going to be played while I DJ unless I feel like punishing the crowd. It could happen. I have been known to punish the occasional listener.
I'm not sure when this pile of crap turned up. The first album by this band came out in 1978, but this song is not on it. The opening guitar riff is super 80s and very reminiscent of the opening of Bonnie Hayes "Girls Like Me" which was featured in 1983's Valley Girl (another soundtrack I have to get into at some point).
It goes against my better judgment, but here is the video:
And finally, we have U2's "I Will Follow" from 1980. I forget sometimes how much I liked U2 in those days. They were such a good band and just right there on the edge of cool. I haven't gone back and listened to Under A Blood Red Sky for a long time, but I'm guessing I would enjoy it if I did. I had a cassette that I wore out.
I couldn't find a video of where it was used in the film, but someone made this fun compilation of scenes from the film set to an interesting version of the song:
So there you have it. The Last American Virgin Soundtrack has some good, bad, and ugly stuff, but the good stuff is really good and fun for a party. Until next time...