I’ve previously acknowledged my fascination for what I consider the secret history of rock ‘n’ roll. When I deploy that term I’m usually thinking of the multitude of bands that created music just as interesting and engaging as the stuff that wound up in the canon of classic rock, but were somehow left behind. There are other facets to that crazy diamond. For example, there are those bands that are the true one-hit wonders, registering a single song deeply into the public consciousness without some much as a glimmer of follow-up success. “Pop Musik,” officially the second single from the group M, made it all the way to the top of the Billboard charts, in 1979 (landing there in between Herb Alpert’s “Rise” and the Eagles’ “Heartache Tonight,” to put the crazy variety of the era into perspective). While Robin Scott, the main creative force behind the group, had a few other U.K. hits, both under the name M and on his own, there was never so much as another tremor of interest in the States, even as “Pop Musik” remained one of those tracks perpetually revisited by radio for years to come.
Of course, there existed a whole other batch of songs past the album opener on New York – London – Paris -Munich, M’s debut album. While I wouldn’t argue any of them provides evidence of musical genius cruelly unrecognized, there are plenty that are interesting and engaging, just as likely to have snared attention as the track that became ubiquitous. “That’s the Way the Money Goes” does sound like a hit single, I’ll admit. But it offers a strange melding of reggae rhythm, electronic agitation, and jazzy slink. It at least inspires some curiosity. And, good gravy, it’s better than “Heartache Tonight.” Late nineteen-seventies radio programmers could have done worse. And did!
Listen or download –> M, “That’s the Way the Money Goes”
(Disclaimer: As far as I can tell, any M album that contains this song is out of print, at least as a physical release that can obtained through your favorite local, independently-owned record store. Surely “Pop Musik” can be procured from a kajillion and one compilations, but I strongly suspect “That’s the Way the Money Goes” has never been so curated. With that in mind, I shared the song here, wholeheartedly believing that doing so impedes no fair commerce for the artist or the proprietor of the previously mentioned shop. I will gladly and promptly remove the audio file from my little corner of the digital world if asked to do so by any individual or entity with due authority to make such a request.)