Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

Friday Forgotten Song: Kyrie by Mr. Mister

Recently, author Joseph Maddrey concluded a wonderful set of articles with his final entry of a quite splendid southwestern trip he undertook and cataloged. His Four Corners Tour series looked, both pictorially and historically, at some decidedly beautiful locations in that region (a number of which were utilized in some classic and iconic films). It’s a worthy piece and I highly recommend it to my readers. What was almost as interesting was his inclusion at article’s end of a memorable music video from the distinct period of big hair and padded shoulders that was the ’80s.

Mike and the Mechanics’ Silent Running being that song. Likewise, Joe nailed the catchy nature of that track with his reply to my comment on how well he concluded his series so stylishly:

“Mark my words: That song will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day!”

So true. While I’m older, and thus shaped musically by the earlier decades of the ’60s and ’70s, I never will be immune to the unmistakable tunes of that period (as my blogging colleague Sci-Fi Fanatic knows only too well). Too much happened, both in the country and personally. Given the vagaries of the universe, I’ve tilted back toward the ’80s of late. Just last Saturday, the good folk over at Warner Archive started carrying (by way of the MGM Limited Collection) the rare Sho Kosugi Ninja classic from that era, Pray for Death, in their online store.

So I thought to end this week by trying to return the favor to my friends Joe and SFF alike with, hopefully, an equally definitive and haunting track from that same decade. I choose for this Kyrie by the quartet which was a “product of the L.A. session-musician community” known as Mr. Mister.

Some things to keep in mind about this song, the second by Mr. Mister to hit #1 in the US (the first being “Broken Wings“), care of Songfacts: “Kyrie Eleison” is Greek for “Lord, have mercy.” It is used as a prayer in both Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox services. Greek was the original language of the New Testament and it was later translated in to Latin. When this was a hit, very few people listening to Top 40 radio had any idea that they were singing.

Lord Have Mercy, Down the Road that I must travel!” The religious significance was mostly lost (Jeff of Charleston, SC offered up that info). The group wrote this while they were on tour with Adam Ant, a year before they recorded it.

When the song debuted (by the way, only a month after Silent Running was released, Joe) in December 1985, my world to that point was undergoing its own seismic shift. The seeds that would break up my penultimate girlfriend of the time, she-whose-name-must-not-be-spoken, and I were well planted by then. Though it didn’t seem like it at the time, that ultimately was a good thing. Songs such as this made the segue somehow bearable. Still, this track, with its initially slow ramp up, manages to unleash a contagious high energy with good style.

And it was a testament to that Eighties fashion of rebounding back. Its steady drumbeat and keyboard rhythms, accompanied by strong electric guitar strums, along with its telltale vocals and tight chorus, brought out some of the best, or at least well-known, aspects of the infectious pop song-manship department for that musical epoch. I think it was just too hard not to bob your head or tap a toe when this one let loose.

This album was the high water mark for the group’s popularity in the ’80s. Whether you buy into Kyrie‘s underlying religious tone or not, a certain breakthrough sci-fi film (one with its own underlying messianic bent) seemed to make that connection. Even if their eras were very different, why else the next decade over did the character of Morpheus greet the newly freed Neo, early on in The Matrix, with the title of the song’s source album as dialogue, “Welcome to the real world.”? Hmm… I wonder.

Anyway, it’s a song that I don’t think should or hopefully won’t be forgotten anytime soon. No matter how, it embodied the decade, like Joe’s pick and those that Sci-fi Fanatic periodically highlights. So, gentlemen, make sure to you comb out that mullet just right, and please, be sure to turn up your collar when you give it a listen ;-). A happy and tuneful weekend to you all.

Kyrie eleison
Kyrie eleison
Kyrie

The wind blows hard against this mountain side
Across the sea into my soul
It reaches into where I cannot hide
Setting my feet upon the road

My heart is old, it holds my memories
My body burns a gemlike flame
Somewhere between the soul and soft machine
Is where I find myself again

Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel
Kyrie eleison, through the darkness of the night
Kyrie eleison, where I'm going, will you follow?
Kyrie eleison, on a highway in the light

When I was young I thought of growing old
Of what my life would mean to me
Would I have followed down my chosen road
Or only wished what I could be

Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel
Kyrie eleison, through the darkness of the night
Kyrie eleison, where I'm going, will you follow?
Kyrie eleison, on a highway in the light
(rinse and repeat to the end)
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12 Responses to “Friday Forgotten Song: Kyrie by Mr. Mister”

  1. Joe

    I have to admit that Mr. Mister made an impression on me too — though it was “Broken Wings” more than “Kyrie.” I tend to assume that my love of certain 80s pop standards is due to personal nostalgia, but you make a good point about the “contagious high energy” of so much music during that decade. I’m suddenly feeling inclined to make a mix tape (another nostalgia-inducing cultural throwback) about Reagan’s “morning in America,” with the appropriate twinge of darkness, of course…

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • le0pard13

      Glad to hear you remember this song and the group, Joe. I can see why your nostalgia for the era would be a personal one. Ah, the mix tape. I recall them (plus, making them) well. I think yours would be spot on as you have that time rightly judged. Thanks for much for your comment (and the Trail Mix), my friend.

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  2. nevertooearlymp

    Thanks for posting this. It really helped wake me up this morning!

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    Reply
  3. The Sci-Fi Fanatic

    I really enjoyed that Mr. Mister recording. Believe it or not Rick Springfield has recently covered Broken Wings in a faithful and decent version.

    The recording that followed opened with great expectations by the band. Go On… I think it was called. The lead track “Something Real ….” was pretty solid too.

    Richard Page has gone on to a handful of solo efforts but so it goes…. tough to recapture the glory days. I still love IS IT LOVE from Welcome To The Real Word. Great track.

    I enjoyed this post as well as Joe’s. I think that first Mike & The Mechanics CD was a nice little classic with Paul Carrack on leads with that OTHER Paul Young.

    ALways love the 80s stuff. Thanks for the nod too L13. Best, sff

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    Reply
    • le0pard13

      Really? Good old Rick Springfield recently covered ‘Broken Wings’? Wow. I need to give that a listen. I barely remember ‘Go On…’ I do, though, ‘Something Real’. It funny how and what we’re drawn to in music sometimes.

      I kinda lost track of Richard Page over the years. And you right, of course, that recapturing glory is a tough get. Joe’s selection of that Mike and the Mechanics song really sent me back. All it takes is a song, though.

      Thanks, as always, for your music acumen, SFF. It’s welcome here, my friend.

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      Reply
  4. ruth

    Hi Michael, I’ve never heard of this version before but I grew up Catholic so yeah, definitely familiar w/ Kyrie Eleison used in church 🙂

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    Reply
    • le0pard13

      It’s kinda hard to believe the song ‘Kyrie’ is now 27 years old now. I guess I try not to remember how many years have passed since ;-). Thanks, Ruth.

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      Reply
  5. Marianne

    I am so glad you wrote this. I’d never understood the song, thinking it was the name of a girl (I’m ashamed to admit). Knowing the full meaning makes it a much more beautiful song.

    Like

    Reply
    • le0pard13

      When I first heard this tune, I ,like you, didn’t understand it. It was much, much later before I looked it up and picked up on its meaning. Thanks, Marianne.

      Like

      Reply

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