We said Smokie first, puppet show second.
August 20, 2006 10:24 AM   Subscribe

Maybe you heard the song Living Next Door to Alice long ago and never gave it another thought. But crappy glam rock band Smokie is still making the world rock, they have been milking that song ever since, and are quite popular in a lot of non-English speaking parts of the world - "We said Smokie first, puppet show second."
posted by Meatbomb (16 comments total)
This is Smokie, not just a band but a complete, a unique, and a very, very distinctive sound.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:26 AM on August 20, 2006

Alice? Who the fuck is Alice?

This song is a real crowd pleaser in Germany. Every run-down dive of a Kneipe has a Smokie CD in the Jukebox. Usually next to Heino or Marianne Rosenberg.
posted by chillmost at 10:35 AM on August 20, 2006

When I moved to Thailand in the mid-90s this song was inescapable. It wasn't until some friends from the US came to visit that I realized it wasn't actually hit all over the world.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:38 AM on August 20, 2006

Big in SA too, mainly amongst the middle age Afrikaner set. They toured here twice.
posted by PenDevil at 11:11 AM on August 20, 2006

There's a large Smokie mural in Ulan Baatar, Mongolia.
posted by the cuban at 11:23 AM on August 20, 2006

There's a large Smokie mural in Ulan Baatar, Mongolia.

I was sure you were kidding, but sure enough:
Behind the stage the bar also has a bizarre mural dedicated to the ageing western rockers Smokie. Even though their appeal may well be diminishing in the west Smokie are still big news in Mongolia, thanks mainly to the fact that they were the first band from the west to play in Ulaan Baatar after the collapse of Communism. It never failed to surprise me whenever I talked music with my Mongolian friends, who were all adamant that Smokie were true living legends.

The world is amazing.

Never heard of Smokie before this post. So I checked out Midnight Lady on youTube. This is the kind of 70's/80's ish Euro swoony crooner, soft-sexy rock style that is enjoyed especially in other countries than the US.

It is interesting what American bands are liked around the world and seem to become trendy or a long term staple abroad. The Eagles album "Hotel California" (YouTube live 1974 performance) was pretty much a dance anthem for young Tibetans living in Northern India for decades.

There are, of course, some amazing European performers whose music hasn't made it in America but who I am crazy about, such as Pino Daniele. In this vid he's the one wearing the cap.
posted by nickyskye at 11:29 AM on August 20, 2006

derail: I'd love to hear what people who travelled found they liked in pop bands in other countries, which might not be known generally in America.
posted by nickyskye at 11:43 AM on August 20, 2006

...pop bands in other countries, which might not be known generally in America.

These are really the exceptions, aren't they? When I first started travelling I was surprised to find American music everywhere. I had just kind of assumed that everyone would have their own music.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:52 AM on August 20, 2006

Wasn't their lead singer the guy who had the big duet with Fonzie's girlfriend?
posted by evilcolonel at 12:04 PM on August 20, 2006

I thought I was pretty versed in English glam bands, but somehow Smokie escaped me. Are they worth hearing now, or did you have be there?

evilcolonel asked "Wasn't their lead singer the guy who had the big duet with Fonzie's girlfriend?"

I believe that Leather Tuscadero was the younger sister (or neice) of Fonzie's short term girlfriend, Pinky Tuscadero.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 12:39 PM on August 20, 2006

Actually StickyCarpet I found the opposite, that there are cool local bands but they just don't get known in America. Like the finnnish band Loituma.

Now on YouTube there are tons of videos of obscure stuff but hard to know what to look for if I don't know the names.

Like here's a snappy Tibetan disco vid with Tibetan dancers under prayer flags.

India has amazing pop bands and singers. Huge variety from the slick Bluffmaster Bollywood MTV style to the whole bhangra thing, Punjabi hip hop. And these days pretty much everybody knows about West African and South African pop.

Malaysian/Indo-Fijian singer Tanita Tikaram had some excellent albums and songs, like Twist in My Sobriety, which is brilliant. Her Euro pop If Ever. Yodelling Song. Sheila Chandra.

I'm gaga for gamelan, so I also like the old trad local music. Here's a 2004 battle of the bands vid, gamelan style.
posted by nickyskye at 12:54 PM on August 20, 2006

*Finnish band
posted by nickyskye at 2:12 PM on August 20, 2006

Good lord - Suzie Quatro is Sherilyn Fenn's aunt. Where are the cold showers when you really, really need them?
posted by Sparx at 3:23 PM on August 20, 2006

This is funny. I was in a bar (that we later found out was a gay bar...although I don't know why it was considered that, it just looked like a tacky boring pub) called NASA in Bangalore, India in 1996 and the whole crowd was singing along to this song and doing the whole "WHO THE FUCK IS ALICE!" thing. It seemed really strange and kind of nerdy and I had never heard this song and haven't since. I guess this was a real trend outside of North America.
posted by chococat at 3:52 PM on August 20, 2006

wow, Things have changed. There's a gay bar in Bangalore? Sure enough. Seems like the journalist didn't get it was a gay bar. Apparently the space program NASA has some things cooking in Bangalore (and this guy resents it).

Awful joke: Lahore, Bangkok, Bangalore, Mysore.

Had to hear what this Who the fuck is Alice thing was about.
posted by nickyskye at 5:58 PM on August 20, 2006

Hah! Never thought anyone else had ever heard of that song. And I always thought it was called Who the Fuck is Alice, which might be why I could never find it anywhere.
Thanks for this- so random.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 6:22 AM on August 21, 2006

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