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On the Record: Reader in search of Tough Love album

On the Record: Reader in search of Tough Love album

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Q: Where can I find a CD by the ’80s all-female band from Chicago, Tough Love, that includes the song, “Red Lights the Sky”?

Bradford Brady and John Maron

Bradford Brady and John Maron write the weekly On The Record column.

A: From what we have been able to determine, Tough Love was one of the early all-female hard rock bands of the early ’80s. They adopted the “warrior woman” stage persona, which did get the attention of some major industry folks, including producer Phil Bonanno, who produced Survivor’s megahit, “Eye of the Tiger.” He produced an EP for Tough Love that includes the songs “Romantic Fever” and “Dizzy.”

Soon after, Robin Zander of Cheap Trick and Bonanno produced the single “Red Lights the Sky,” which was included on the Silver Fin Records “Chicago Class of ’85” compilation album (#SF 1515). You can find copies of the LP for sale on (

The lineup features vocalist Nancy Davis, bassist Deanna Rose, drummer Leslee Kaye, and guitarists/vocalists Berni Poplolex and Gerre Edinger. The song was written by Tom Orsi, who himself is a musician, and multi-Emmy nominated audio post sound designer.

Q: Can you tell me about the monument on the cover of “Who’s Next” by the Who? What is it?

A: The “monument” is a concrete slab protruding out of the ground at the mines near Easington Colliery in northern England. Opened in 1899, the mines were the site of a massive explosion that killed over 80 men in 1951.

Photographer Ethan Russell originally told the band members to act out a scene from the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” in which apes approach a mysterious monolith. During the photo shoot, Pete Townshend relieved himself on the slab, thus providing the idea for what would be the photo used for the album cover. The concrete slabs are used to keep the grounds from shifting.

Q: I recently saw the movie “Get Smart,” and it reminded of the old Toto song “99.” I’ve heard that it’s about Agent 99, and I’ve also heard that it isn’t. Which is right?

A: For many years, it has been suggested “99,” Toto’s Top 40 hit from 1980, is about “Get Smart’s” Agent 99. However, for all those people who subscribe to this theory, we regretfully must resort to using one of Maxwell Smart’s famous catch-phrases: “You missed it by that much!”

Toto’s song is based instead on a 1971 movie called “THX 1138.” The movie is famous for being George Lucas’ first feature-length film. In the futuristic movie, people have numbers rather than names. It is based on a short film that Lucas made while he was college student in 1967.

In the video for the song, the members of Toto dress in white outfits against a white background similar to some scenes in the movie. Also, if “THX” seems familiar to you, Lucas chose that as the name for THX Ltd., the company he founded in 1983 that sets the quality assurance standards for high fidelity audio/visual reproduction for movie theaters, video games and gaming consoles and car audio systems.

According to Wikipedia, Lucas named the company after his audio engineer, Tomlinson Holman, who worked to ensure the soundtrack for “Return of the Jedi” was accurately reproduced. The “X” stands for “experiment” but is also an homage to Lucas’ first film.

What’s the name of that song? Where are they now? What does that lyric mean? Send your questions about songs, albums, and the musicians who make them to Bradford Brady and John Maron are freelance music writers based in Raleigh, N.C.

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