The inside story of Concrete Blonde's "Joey"
Welcome to Forgotten Videos. Well, for some forgotten, for others just filed away, and for others still, a totally brand-new discovery. Whichever category you fall into, each week we'll feature a video that's possibly been collecting dust when what it really deserves is a fresh look. Or vice versa…. We're not here to judge, we just want to take you on a little trip down memory lane. Yep, you'll remember when hair was really that big, when drums were that up front in the mix, when video was young(er) and so were you.
The story of a love affair torn apart by alcoholism serves as the theme for Concrete Blonde's heart-wrenching "Joey." The video illustrates this love triangle in the truest sense, spotlighting frontwoman Johnette Napolitano performing for an audience of one in a dark, dungeonesque bar. The lone member of the crowd could only be Napolitano's lovesick lover…who's only sick for the bottle of alcohol from which he can't avert his eyes. But what Napolitano leaves behind is anything but bitter: "But if it's love you're looking for/Then I can give a little more/And if you're somewhere drunk and passed out on the floor/Oh, Joey, I'm not angry anymore…."
While the inspiration behind "Joey" has never been officially revealed (some speculate it could be about Joey Ramone or Wall Of Voodoo's Marc Moreland, with whom Napolitano later played in the band Pretty & Twisted) — the track was the band's most successful single, peaking at No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Formed in Los Angeles in the early '80s by bassist Napolitano and guitarist James Mankey, the duo originally called themselves Dream 6 until fellow I.R.S. Records labelmate Michael Stipe of R.E.M. suggested they change their name to Concrete Blonde. With a group of songs almost entirely written by Napolitano and Mankey, they released their self-titled debut with drummer Harry Rushakoff in 1987, followed by Free (1989) and Bloodletting (1990), which featured "Joey" and cracked the Top 50 on the Billboard 200. Concrete Blonde released several more albums, including Billboard 200 charters Walking In London and Mexican Moon before officially disbanding in 2006. Napolitano released her first proper solo effort, Scarred, in 2007. Three years later, Concrete Blonde regrouped for several performances in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the release of Bloodletting.
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