There are many musical acts who I find personally uncompelling but whose life stories are fabulously bizarre and hard to ignore. The chances of me getting home from a hard day at the factory and putting on an Eric Clapton record are slim. So why have I spent the last two weeks obsessed with his 1987 hit "Behind The Mask"?
In this inexplicable outing, the white blues guitar legend covers a Japanese synth-pop instrumental, not a hundred miles removed from the sort of music you'd get when a C64 game was loading off a cassette. He adds some of his mega fog-horn vocals, puts on some vast shoulderpads and unleashes.
I love this song and particularly this video. It's a vision of a world as far removed from the modern musical landscape as the Beatles were from ragtime jazz. The anointed kings of the new CD format, Phil Collins, Elton John and Mark Knopfler, join Slowhand to rip it up then presumably drink money juice backstage.
Growing up in the eighties, these guys were like the Easter Island heads, they were monolithic. They were old men playing a young man's game and it's hard to imagine that there will ever be "legacy" acts, 20-year unit-shifters like these again. Part of me thinks this is for the best and that we never want to see a 48 year old Julian Casablancas and a fat, heavily bearded Jack White squeezing out a mod-ish, late period hit together in 2026. Part of me wants nothing more.
BONUS: Here's the original "Behind The Mask" by Yellow Magic Orchestra. Beep beep bip!