Years ago, while studying in Singapore, a half-dozen of us took off to Thailand for a stretch.
During the last few days of the junket, several of us were verging on cashed, including me and my buddy Vince. To maximize our minimal funds and thus afford passage back to Singapore, we put into effect a plan to not eat before sunset each day.
(any similarities to an observance of Ramadan would have ended hours earlier at the pool’s bar)
We were at that bar late one afternoon, having a pint as the sun edged toward the horizon and anticipating grabbing some dinner. Several nights earlier our group had discovered a pizza place not far from the beach.
Babylon Pizza could have been located in the States. Open to the street, it was filled with wooden tables, checked tablecloths, and lots of brick. They served the only good pizza we had eaten in six months.
The impending feast caused the conversation between Vince and I to become about Thanksgiving. We sat at the bar, stomachs growling, ticking off the dishes that made the holiday a glorious one. One of us would describe an item in detail as the other nodded in agreement, struggling not to drool.
We reached the conclusion, though, that as wonderful as Thanksgiving might be, the best meal of the day was later, often after everyone had gone to bed and the house was still. It would then be into the kitchen to pile a plate high with leftovers from the fridge.
And, this year, I invoked that tradition. With Paloma and the animals slumbering, I shuffled out to the kitchen and prepared a late-night feast.
As I topped it all off with some gravy, I paused and raised the ladle in a toast to Vince before heading into the living room and settling in to watch Gonzaga and Clemson in some holiday hoops tournament.
It was the perfect ending to a lovely day.
Here are four songs by bands who had success as leftovers following the departure of well-known lead singers…
Genesis – Follow You, Follow Me
from …And Then There Were Three… (1978)
The first Top 40 hit for Genesis in the States, Follow You, Follow Me came after Peter Gabriel’s exit and the reduction of the band to a trio, an incarnation that would have considerable commercial success in the ensuing decade. I imagine it caused considerable angst for the long-time fans of the progressive act.
Follow You, Follow Me is a song that I’ve always adored. It’s mysterious, distinctive, and hypnotic.
Van Halen – Why Can’t This Be Love
from 5150 (1986)
Music fans can (have and will) argue about the quality of the Sammy Hagar-led version of Van Halen as opposed to the output of the band’s music when fronted by David Lee Roth, but there’s little denying that the band’s second act garnered them a more mainstream audience and sold a lot of albums.
The pulsating Why Can’t This Be Love served as Van Hagar’s introduction to the world when it hit radio in early 1986.
Marillion – Easter
from Seasons End (1989)
I actually grabbed a copy of Marillion’s Seasons End while on that trip to Thailand, completely unaware that lead singer Fish had left the progressive band until I read the liner notes.
Fish’s departure would have received little mention or been of much interest in the States where Marillion had little more than a cult following. I had only become aware of Marillion from the scant airplay of their song Kayleigh in 1985 and seeing the band open for Rush at the time.
With new lead singer Steve Hogarth, Marillion continued to have success in their native UK into the ’90s including having a hit with the lovely, elegiac Easter.
10,000 Maniacs – More Than This
from Love Among the Ruins (1997)
As a college student in the latter half of the ’80s, I was quite familiar with alternative folk rockers 10,0000 Maniacs who were darlings of the burgeoning college rock scene. Mainstream success eluded the band until issuing their MTV Unplugged set in 1993 and scoring a hit with a cover of the Patti Smith/Bruce Springsteen composition Because The Night.
When lead singer Natalie Merchant set out on a solo career, 10,000 Maniacs tagged Mary Ramsey, who had played violin and viola as well as adding backing vocals on MTV Unplugged, as their new vocalist.
As Merchant was selling millions with her solo debut Tigerlily, easily eclipsing the commercial fortunes of her former band, 10,000 Maniacs notched a second Top 40 hit in the States as Ramsey gave voice to the band’s version of Roxy Music’s More Than This.