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Digging Your Scene

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"Digging Your Scene"
A blue background featuring the silhouetted face of lead singer Dr. Robert, along with the title and respective artist(s) of the song.
Single by The Blow Monkeys
from the album Animal Magic
A-side "I Backed a Winner (In You)"
B-side
  • "Digging Your Scene" (Short)
  • "Digging Your Scene" (Longer)
Released February 1986
Format
Recorded 1985–1986
Genre
Length 4:13
Label
Songwriter(s) Dr. Robert
Producer(s)
The Blow Monkeys singles chronology
"Forbidden Fruit"
(1985)
"Digging Your Scene"
(1986)
"Wicked Ways"
(1986)

"Forbidden Fruit"
(1985)
"Digging Your Scene"
(1986)
"Wicked Ways"
(1986)
Music video
"Digging Your Scene” on YouTube

"Digging Your Scene" is a song recorded by English band The Blow Monkeys for their second studio album, Animal Magic (1986). The single was released in February 1986 as the second one from the parent record. It was written by lead singer Dr. Robert (Robert Howard), while Howard, Peter Wilson, and Adam Moesley produced it. Musically a pop, soul, and jazz song, "Digging Your Scene" discusses the hatred and disgust that is associated with individuals who have HIV and AIDS. Several media professionals felt the song's subject matter would be the subject of criticism.

The single was widely praised by music critics, with several agreeing it would succeed as a radio single. Others appreciated the mainstream feel and quirkiness of the production. It was also a commercially successful single, peaking at number 10 in New Zealand and at number 14 in the United States. "Digging Your Scene" reached number 12 in the United Kingdom, becoming their highest peaking single at the time. A music video for "Digging Your Scene" was released in May 1986 at a music festival in Switzerland. The song has since been included on various compilation and greatest hits albums, including Choices – The Singles Collection in 1989 and Digging Your Scene: The Best of The Blow Monkeys in 2008.

American band Ivy recorded a cover of "Digging Your Scene" for their third studio album, Long Distance (2000). It was also included on their fourth studio album Guestroom (2002), which is a collection of covers. A CD single of the song was released on 27 May 2002, although it was sent to modern rock radio for airplay one year prior. Their rendition was praised for lead singer Dominique Durand's performance, with several critics declaring it a highlight in their catalogue.

Composition and lyrics[edit]

The lead singer appearing live in concert in 2014.
Dr. Robert performing with The Blow Monkeys live in 2014.

A pop, soul, and jazz song with influence from European and British music,[1][2] The Blow Monkeys discuss the hatred and criticism of individuals who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Tommy Marx from PopMatters claimed that the intrigue and hatred behind the single prompted its success in becoming "a major hit".[2] Dr. Robert, the singer of "Digging Your Scene", additionally sings about life as a homosexual, where he worries, "Tell me why I'm digging your scene / I know I'll die, baby"; Barry Walters from Spin later compared the lyrical themes on The Blow Monkeys' third studio album, She Was Only a Grocer's Daughter (1987), to "Digging Your Scene". He wrote, "Dr. Robert loves camp, so it's difficult to determine if he's bi or just British."[3] Writer Colin Larkin thought similarly, stating in his book The Encyclopedia of Popular Music that "Digging Your Scene" was "one of the earliest songs about AIDS".[4] Music researcher Michael Anderson agreed, declaring the "backlash" would "court controversy".[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Gary Berkowitz, a programmer from Billboard, predicted that the song's sound would appeal to the Top 40 crowd,[6] and similarly, author Martin Charles Strong described it as a destined hit.[7] AllMusic's William Cooper took a liking to "Digging Your Scene" for being engaging,[8] while Keith Tuber, a columnist for Orange Coast, felt it stood out on Animal Magic before calling it a "good [...] quirky '60s-English-invasion-sounding song".[9] Regarding its legacy, Walters from Spin claimed that the single "transformed Dr. Robert from a klutzy cult novelty to a mainstream face in his homeland".[3]

Chart performance[edit]

"Digging Your Scene" is one of The Blow Monkey's most commercially successful singles. In the United Kingdom, the recording peaked at number 12, becoming the group's second-highest peaking single, behind "It Doesn't Have to Be This Way", which peaked at number five in January 1987.[10] On the United States' Billboard Hot 100, it entered at number 89 for the week ending 3 May 1986, becoming the issue's fifth-highest entry.[11] The song continued increasing its position on the chart before reaching its peak position of number 14 on 2 August of the same year.[12] The following week, the single decreased its position to number 21.[13] "Digging Your Scene" consistently escalated down the Hot 100 until 6 September 1986 when its position was at number 99, the final mark before departing.[14] It also peaked at number 16 on the Hot 100 Airplay, a component chart for the Billboard Hot 100.[15] The United States remix reached the number seven mark on the Dance Club Songs chart, which was formerly called the Hot Dance/Disco chart.[16] On its 13th week on Canada's official charts, compiled by RPM, "Digging Your Scene" peaked at number 19, also the group's highest entry in that respective country.[17] In Australia and New Zealand, it peaked at numbers 16 and 10, respectively,[18][19] while in Germany and the Netherlands, it peaked at numbers 25 and 23, respectively.[20][21]

Music video[edit]

The official music video for "Digging Your Scene" was released in 1986. It features the band members performing the single at a show in front of a large group of individuals. Other scenes show Dr. Robert sitting with the audience at tables and backup dancers wearing striped attire. The video was featured and debuted at the first International Music & Media Conference that took place in Montreux, Switzerland between 7-10 May 1986.[22] It also received heavy rotation on MTV's lineup of music videos in mid 1986.[23]

Promotion and use in media[edit]

"Digging Your Scene" was included on the British compilation album Hits 4, released on 17 March 1986 as a collection of singles in the United Kingdom.[24] The Blow Monkeys also included it in several of their greatest hits albums, including Choices – The Singles Collection (1989),[25] Best Selection (1994),[26] The Best of Blow Monkeys (1994),[27] For the Record (1996),[28] Blow Monkeys the Masters (1997),[29] Complete Singles (2000),[30] and their final collection Digging Your Scene: The Best of The Blow Monkeys (2008).[31] The band also created a lullaby children's version of "Digging Your Scene" for Atomic Lullabies: Very Best of The Blow Monkeys (1999).[32] Japanese group Paris Match covered it for their 2007 album, Our Favourite Pop, in dedication to Our Favourite Shop, a 1985 album by The Style Council.[33] "Digging Your Scene" was mentioned in Marc Spitz's novel How Soon Is Never?, where the protagonist Joe Green recalls listening to it on the radio with his girlfriend, Jennifer.[34]

Track listings and formats[edit]

Personnel[edit]

The Blow Monkeys[edit]

  • Dr. Robert: Lead vocals, Guitar
  • Mick Anker: Bass guitar
  • Neville Henry: Tenor Saxophone
  • Tony Kiley: Drums

Additional Musicians[edit]

  • Peter Wilson: Keyboards, String arrangements
  • Luís Jardim: Percussion
  • Axel Kroll: Drum programming
  • Dixie Peach, Morris Michael: Backing vocals

Charts[edit]

Chart (1986) Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[18] 16
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[17] 19
Germany (Official German Charts)[20] 25
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[21] 23
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[19] 10
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[10] 12
US Billboard Hot 100[44] 14
US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[16] 7

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
United Kingdom[42][45] February 1986 12" RCA
Various[35] 18 May 1986 All other formats

Ivy version[edit]

"Digging Your Scene"
Single by Ivy
from the album Long Distance and Guestroom
Released 27 May 2002
Format CD
Recorded 2000
Length 3:40
Label Imperial
Songwriter(s) Dr. Robert
Producer(s)
Ivy singles chronology
"Edge of the Ocean"
(2001)
"Digging Your Scene"
(2002)
"Thinking About You"
(2005)

"Edge of the Ocean"
(2001)
"Digging Your Scene"
(2002)
"Thinking About You"
(2005)

Background and development[edit]

American band Ivy recorded a cover of "Digging Your Scene" for their third studio album, Long Distance (2000). It was first distributed to modern rock radio for airplay in June 2001, coinciding with the release of the aforementioned album.[46] However, it was released for a second time as a CD single on 27 May 2002 by Imperial Records, exclusively in Japan, becoming the lead single for Guestroom (2002).[47] Their rendition was produced by band members Adam Schlesinger and Andy Chase.[48] Ivy's cover was used on the science fiction television series Roswell, on the November 2001 episode "To Have and to Hold".[49]

Lead singer Dominique Durand sings "Digging Your Scene" in "her usual deadpan elegance", according to Rolling Stone's Rob Sheffield, especially when she coos lines like, "I'm like a boy among men".[50] Billboard's Michael Paoletta referred to Ivy's twist on the recording as "dizzying".[51]

Critical reception[edit]

Tom Topkoff from Hybrid Magazine lauded Ivy's version, writing, "Durand's treatment seems so natural...if you didn't know the original, you'd think it was written with her vocals in mind".[52] Michaelangelo Matos of the Minneapolis' City Pages was also fond of the cover, calling it "giddy without putting a mask on the experience that went into getting it made".[53] CMJ New Music Monthly's Ken Scrudato claimed that their cover proved that Ivy is "painfully hip".[54] Heather Phares, an editor for AllMusic, called the track a highlight on Long Distance due to its "superior songwriting", although she found it to be "an ironic move".[55] Sheffield of Rolling Stone was positive, claiming that Durand "end[s] Long Distance on an enigmatic, seductive and wildly appropriate note" with "Digging Your Scene".[50] Regarding its inclusion on Guestroom, Noel Dix from Exclaim! remarked that on the album, the best tracks were ones that are already "familiar to Ivy fans", alluding to the fact that their cover had been previously released; he also stated that the best thing about their rendition was the "joyful infection" it induces.[56]

Track listing[edit]

CD single[47][57]
No.TitleLength
1."Digging Your Scene"3:40

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
United States[46] June 2001 Modern rock radio Nettwerk
Japan[57] 27 May 2002 CD Imperial

References[edit]

  1. ^ DiCesare 2014, p. 143
  2. ^ a b Marx, Tommy (18 June 2009). "One Hit Wonder: The Blow Monkeys". PopMatters. Archived from the original on 1 January 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Walters, Barry (June 1987). "Spins: The Blow Monkeys". Spin. SPIN Media LLC. 3 (3): 30. ISSN 0886-3032. Retrieved 30 December 2016. 
  4. ^ Anderson 2013, p. 18
  5. ^ Berkowitz, Gary (17 May 1986). "Out of the Box". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 98 (20): 10. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 30 December 2016. 
  6. ^ Strong 2002, p. 263
  7. ^ Cooper, William. "The Blow Monkeys – Animal Magic". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 6 January 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2016. 
  8. ^ Tuber, Keith (October 1986). "Lightning Strikes from Japan". Orange Coast. Emmis Communications. 12 (10): 195. ISSN 0279-0483. Retrieved 30 December 2016. 
  9. ^ a b "Blow Monkeys: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  10. ^ "The Hot 100 – The Week Of May 3, 1986". Billboard. 3 May 1986. Archived from the original on 9 November 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2016. 
  11. ^ "The Hot 100 – The Week Of August 2, 1986". Billboard. 2 August 1986. Archived from the original on 9 November 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2016. 
  12. ^ "The Hot 100 – The Week Of August 9, 1986". Billboard. 9 August 1986. Archived from the original on 6 November 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2016. 
  13. ^ "The Hot 100 – The Week Of September 6, 1986". Billboard. 6 September 1986. Archived from the original on 28 January 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2016. 
  14. ^ "Hot 100 Sales & Airplay". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 98 (30): 69. 26 July 1986. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 30 December 2016. 
  15. ^ a b "The Blow Monkeys Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  16. ^ a b "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0716." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  17. ^ a b "Hits of the World: Australia". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 99 (25): 61. 21 June 1986. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 30 December 2016. 
  18. ^ a b "Charts.nz – The Blow Monkeys – Digging Your Scene". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  19. ^ a b "Musicline.de – Blow Monkeys Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Archived from the original on 31 December 2016. Retrieved 30 December 2016. 
  20. ^ a b "Dutchcharts.nl – The Blow Monkeys – Digging Your Scene" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  21. ^ "A Major International Event Is Coming Into Focus". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 98 (17): 64. 26 April 1986. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 30 December 2016. 
  22. ^ "MTV Programming". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 98 (24): 59. 14 June 1986. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 30 December 2016. 
  23. ^ Hits 4 (liner notes). Various artists. CBS. 1986. HITS 4. 
  24. ^ Choices – The Singles Collection (liner notes). The Blow Monkeys. RCA. 1989. 7 4321 13707 2. 
  25. ^ Best Selection (liner notes). The Blow Monkeys. RCA. 1994. BVCP-2604. 
  26. ^ The Best of Blow Monkeys (liner notes). The Blow Monkeys. BMG. 1994. 74321183262. 
  27. ^ For the Record (liner notes). The Blow Monkeys. Camden Deluxe. 1996. 74321 393342. 
  28. ^ Blow Monkeys the Masters (liner notes). The Blow Monkeys. Eagle. 1997. 
  29. ^ Complete Singles (liner notes). The Blow Monkeys. BMG, RCA. 2000. BVCM-37114, 74321-75219-2. 
  30. ^ Digging Your Scene: The Best of The Blow Monkeys (liner notes). The Blow Monkeys. Music Club Deluxe. 2008. MCDLX079. 
  31. ^ Atomic Lullabies: Very Best of The Blow Monkeys (liner notes). The Blow Monkeys. Camden Deluxe. 1999. 74321 698822. 
  32. ^ Our Favourite Pop (liner notes). Paris Match. Victor. 2007. VICL62248. 
  33. ^ Spitz 2010, p. 138
  34. ^ a b "Digging Your Scene" (12" maxi single). The Blow Monkeys. RCA. 1986. PT 40600. 
  35. ^ "Digging Your Scene" (7" single). The Blow Monkeys. RCA. 1986. PB 40599. 
  36. ^ "Digging Your Scene" (12" single). The Blow Monkeys. RCA. 1986. RPS-1027. 
  37. ^ "Digging Your Scene" (10" remix single). The Blow Monkeys. RCA. 1986. PT 40602. 
  38. ^ "Digging Your Scene" (12" promotional single). The Blow Monkeys. RCA. 1986. PT 40544. 
  39. ^ "Digging Your Scene" (12" remix single). The Blow Monkeys. RCA. 1986. PT 40544. 
  40. ^ "Digging Your Scene" (7" promotional single). The Blow Monkeys. RCA. 1986. JB-14325. 
  41. ^ a b "Digging Your Scene" (12" promotional single). The Blow Monkeys. RCA. 1986. PW-14327. 
  42. ^ "Digging Your Scene" (12" single). The Blow Monkeys. RCA. 1986. JR-14326. 
  43. ^ "The Blow Monkeys Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  44. ^ Binnie 2014, p. 55
  45. ^ a b Cohen, Jonathan (7 July 2001). "Despite Calamities, Nettwerk's Ivy Gets Lift From Far East". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 113 (27): 20. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 30 December 2016. 
  46. ^ a b "The Band Ivy: Discog". The Band Ivy. Archived from the original on 15 April 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2016. 
  47. ^ Long Distance (liner notes). Ivy. Nettwerk. 2000. 0 6700 30218 2 1. 
  48. ^ Burnett 2002, p. 266
  49. ^ a b Sheffield, Rob (16 August 2001). "Ivy Long Distance". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 22 June 2002. Retrieved 31 December 2016. 
  50. ^ Paoletta, Michael (21 July 2001). "Reviews & Previews: Albums". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 113 (29): 20. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 30 December 2016. 
  51. ^ Topkoff, Tom. "Ivy – Long Distance". Hybrid Magazine. Archived from the original on 11 January 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2016. 
  52. ^ Matos, Michaelangelo (15 August 2001). "Ivy: Long Distance". City Pages. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2016. 
  53. ^ Scrudato, Ken (November 2002). "Reviews". CMJ New Music Monthly. CMJ Network, Inc. 107: 67. ISSN 1074-6978. Retrieved 30 December 2016. 
  54. ^ Bogdanov, Woodstra & Erlewine 2002, p. 566
  55. ^ Dix, Noel (1 January 2006). "Ivy – Guestroom". Exclaim!. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 31 December 2016. 
  56. ^ a b "Digging Your Scene" (Liner notes / CD single). Ivy. Imperial. 2002. 5037703313927. 

Works cited

  • Anderson, Michael (2013). The Ultimate 80's Music Book. Lulu.com. ISBN 1409209040. 
  • Binnie, Steve (27 November 2014). The Sound of the Crowd – a Discography of the '80s (third ed.). Lulu.com. ISBN 1326073583. 
  • Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2002). All Music Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul (illustrated ed.). Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 9780879306533. 
  • Burnett, Robyn (2002). Crash Into Me: The World of Roswell (illustrated ed.). ECW Press. ISBN 1550225391. 
  • DiCesare, Christopher (2014). Surviving Evidence: Memoir of an Extreme Haunting Survivor. Lulu.com. ISBN 1365576957. 
  • Larkin, Colin (27 May 2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0857125958. 
  • Spitz, Mark (5 May 2010). How Soon Is Never?. Crowd/Archetype. ISBN 0307531163. 
  • Strong, Martin Charles (2002). The Great Scots Musicography: The Complete Guide to Scotland's Music Makers (illustrated ed.). Birlinn, Limited. ISBN 1841830410. 

External links[edit]