The Human Mall
:: Robert Hazard - Escalator Of Life ::
If you lived in Philadelphia during the 1980's, you couldn't escape this song. Every rock radio station in Philly embraced Robert Hazard and played "Escalator of Life" at least twenty times a day during the early eighties, and it still had life into the nineties. Listening to it today, I was reminded that my early teen mornings usually consisted of WMMR radio blasting this song while I dumped copious amounts of Studio Line Gel onto my head in a frustrated attempt to "spike" my cowlick cursed hair. I still love this song today, its got a good new wave Bowie-meets-Numan feel to it. Anyway, I'm not sure many folks outside of the Philly area know of him or the song, so I'm posting it here.
Hazard was pretty well-known for a few years, playing consistently in Philly with backing band, The Heroes, before borrowing some money from relatives and putting out this self-produced/released, untitled, 5-song EP in 1982. Within a year, it sold about 50,000 copies locally. It also contained another local hit, "Change Reaction", as well as a really cool, new wave version of Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind." RCA signed them, re-released the EP and they even toured for a bit with U2. Their 1984 debut LP, Wings of Thorn, wasn't a flop but it wasn't a hit either. RCA dumped them. As disappointing as that may have seemed at the time, Hazard ended up doing pretty well: Cindi Lauper covered a song that he wrote in 1979, but had only existed on a demo tape and was never released, called, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." You may have heard that song once or a thousand times. So, ironically, Robert Hazard didn't get to perform on his biggest radio hit.
Note from Tony: I heard this once in the mid 80's on a friend's mixtape, and for about fifteen years I thought it was by The Psychedelic Furs. I sure wasted a lot of time looking for the Furs album it was on.