Adventures Through The Mines Of Mellow Gold 30

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Here’s a question, everybody: how did we get this far in Adventures Through The Mines Of Mellow Gold – #30! – without covering Pablo Cruise? I intend to remedy this right now!

Pablo Cruise – Love Will Find A Way (download)

Honestly, I don’t know why you guys read what I write: up until ten minutes ago, I thought Pablo Cruise was a dude. I thought he hung out with Dr. Hook and traded pirate wuss stories.

Pablo: You’re a doctor, right?
Hook: Yarrr!
Pablo: (pulls down his pants) Does this look infected to you?
Hook: Yarrr! That be the Chancroid!
Pablo: The Chancroid?
Hook: It’s a sexually transmitted disease caused by the fastidious Gram-negative streptobacillus Haemophilus ducreyi.
Pablo: Excuse me?
Hook: (pause) uhhh, I mean…YARRRR! Those be fearsome barnacles on your crow’s nest! Tell me, matey, have ye engaged in sexual intercourse of late?
Pablo: No! Never! In my life! That’s why it’s so confusing!

No, it turns out that Pablo Cruise is a whole gaggle of wusses who, as a collective group, turn 35 next year. That’s right: you’ve been groovin’ to The Cruise since 1973. (If you recall feeling some sort of emotional loss between 1985 and 2004, it’s because the band broke up during this period. They’re back together now, but we’ll talk about that a little later.) In ’73, The Cruise formed in San Francisco, and was picked up by A&M (way to go, Herb Alpert!). Their first two albums didn’t produce any hits. It’s not hard to figure out why; if you were just browsing in the record store, would you have picked up this album?


“Hmm…new band I’ve never heard of…gorilla on the cover…sure, that’ll get my hard-earned cash!”

And would you have been interested enough to purchase their second album?


And in the great Awkward Male Rockers Sitting Around Naked Competition, Pablo Cruise takes a narrow lead over Orleans!

Their third album, A Place In The Sun, was released in ’77 and included their first hit, “Whatcha Gonna Do.” Not coincidentally, it was the first to include their awesome (and I say this without a trace of irony) logo:

Original bassist Bud Cockrell left after A Place In The Sun, replaced by Bruce Day from Santana. With Day, the band recorded their most successful album, Worlds Away, which featured three hits in the Hot 100, including the one we’re discussing today.

And who the hell was Pablo Cruise, anyway? When asked the question, the band would respond “He’s the one in the middle” and chuckle to themselves. After that joke got old (approximately 30 seconds after its creation), the band would respond seriously: “Pablo represents an honest, real, down to earth individual; and Cruise depicts his fun loving and easy going attitude towards life.” Don’t believe this story, folks. The story I heard backstage at last summer’s free Pablo Cruise/Poco/Firefall/Ambrosia/Sneaker/Orleans/Gino Vannelli concert was that the lead singer named his left nut “Pablo” and his right nut “Cruise.” (How did I find this out? Someone came up to me and asked if I’d like to go “sing backstage with Pablo Cruise.” Let’s just say that a duet of “A Place In The Sun” was not what they were talking about. I’ll never be the same.) (…and there goes my readership!)

As if it wasn’t obvious enough in their name, Pablo Cruise was all about the musical smooth sailing – and they managed to achieve that goal without all of their songs sounding exactly alike. A number of them would probably qualify for Mellow Gold status, especially “Whatcha Gonna Do” and “Cool Love.” We’ll probably hit ’em up at some point, but today, it’s all about “Love Will Find A Way.” Instrumentally, the song’s fantastic: when the keyboard and the bass are the most prominent instruments in the mix, you know you’re in mellow territory. The keyboard pretty much echoes the lead vocal, and the bass, while repetitive, is doing most of the heavy lifting in this song. The guitar provides the lead lines, but no rhythm. Yeah, I would have preferred those lead lines to be covered by a saxophone, but I can live with the guitar; it gives the song a bite that’s missing from most Mellow songs (not that it’s a bad thing, mind you). I bet “Love Will Find A Way” would have found a perfect home on Rockin’ Easy. And maybe I’m crazy, but those backing vocals sound even a little Motown-esque. Pablo Cruise had soul!

Question for you: does this song remind you of anything? The minute I heard the bassline, I thought of “Bitch” by the Stones, but then the first verse immediately reminded me of another, perhaps more popular song. Any thoughts? I put together a little mashup to illustrate what instantly jumped into my head.

[audio:http://www.wwmmd.net/tunes/inline/lovejump.mp3]

Hey, wait a minute…I think I just figured out Pablo Cruise’s secret identity! As mentioned above, the album was produced by Bill Schnee, who went on to work as engineer and producer on albums for Whitney Houston, Steely Dan and Huey Lewis and The News – and hmmm, he also remixed “Neutron Dance”…that’s suspicious.

I really can’t make too much fun of these lyrics; they’re not pathetic in the slightest. They don’t suck up to an uninterested woman, they don’t end with someone breaking down in tears, and I’m not even convinced they’re being sung to a woman. What the hell is going on here? Maybe this is the difference between Yacht Rock and Mellow Gold: Yacht Rock is all about the smooth, but not necessarily about the wussy, and vice versa for Mellow Gold. I must be reading too much into this, but at this very moment, Pablo Cruise is making me question everything I know about music.

Hang on…I think I have it! Pablo Cruise were mellow mentors. You see, they were smooth cats who had been around the block, and their purpose was to help guide other wusses. Think about it: when Dan Hill is crying over the loss of his woman, Pablo Cruise is are is there, reassuring him that “love will find a way.” When Paul Davis is mistakenly believing that his cool night’s going to find him love, The Cruise is are is there to ask him, “whatcha gonna do when she says goodbye?” The late ’70s and early ’80s wimps owe their gratitude to Pablo Cruise. They’re like the senior class of Mellow Gold: they’ve been there, done that, have the tear-soaked hankie. They’re going to help the freshman class realize that the mellow lifestyle could very easily lead to heartbreak. Pablo Cruise, we are in your debt!

Of course, Pablo Cruise very quickly became the kids that graduated, but still hung around in the parking lot. Sure, after the success of Worlds Away, Pablo Cruise released a few more successful albums, featuring singles such as “I Want You Tonight” (also mellow!), “Slip Away,” and others that I’m sure you’ll mention in the comments. However, they also adapted their sound to fit in with the disco trend, a move that disappointed many of their fans. As new wave took over the early ’80s, Pablo Cruise just couldn’t fit in, and in 1985, they finally threw in the mellow towel.

Don’t be too sad, friends: for starters, we can take comfort in the way that The Cruise smoothly rocked their audiences back in ’78.

[youtube]5QknZ-o8mbo[/youtube]

And not only that, in 2004, three of the original members reunited, and you can still find them touring today! (Well, not today. Today, they’re probably working their day jobs.) But you can find out all the information you need by heading over to the official Pablo Cruise website, with exciting features such as:

Photos from the Alameda County Fair!

Illiterate discography! (“Love Will Find Away” and my personal favorite, “Your Out To Loose.”)

Unexplainable, underwater-ish sound clip!

Merchandise! This is all well and good, but this is the shirt I want, and it’s not for sale. I don’t care that a girl’s wearing it; I would TOTALLY wear a yellow shirt with the Pablo Cruise logo on it.

And that brings us to the end of another week of Adventures Through The Mines Of Mellow Gold! Stay gentle and see you next time!

  • jb

    I don’t know why I remember this, but back in the day I recall reading that the name “Pablo Cruise” was meant to express a combination of “everyman commonality and strong fluid motion.”

    It was the 70s. People said shit like that.

  • Pablo Cruise neatly provides the missing link between Jimmy Buffett’s southern-fried (in more ways than chicken) ‘chill-out’ music and Sammy And The Waboritas’ ‘drink this and chillax’ ethos. In other words, bloody apathetic, the whole lot of ’em. Bugger all. DwD

  • Awesome song, Jason. totally remind’s me of driving with my  fro’d-up dad in his green Impala. I do think "Cool Love" is way cheesier, and "Whatcha Gonna Do" is Rick James in comparison to this. Bassline of death on that one. Hey, nomination for an upcoming Mellow Gold: Ray Parker Jr.’s "You Cant Change That". I was listening to my "soul hits of the 70s" cds in the car, when this came on, and didn’t realize how much of a stalker-crazy love anthem that sugar nugget was. Just sayin’….ciao2stepcub

  • Awesome song, Jason. totally remind’s me of driving with my  fro’d-up dad in his green Impala.

    It doesn’t get any more mellow than that!  Thanks, Ernie!

  • Your mashups are absolute genius.

  • woofpop

    The mashup is perfect.
     

  • woofpop

    Another aspect to Pablo Cruise was that their track "Zero To Sixty In Five" (from the awkward naked album) was the theme song for the montage for every episode of Battle Of the Network Stars  – the instrumental piano and guitar piece that was playing when you would see the slow motion agony of a sweating Gabriel Kaplan- led ABC team losing the epic tug-of war to Pernell Roberts and the titanic CBS gang..
    Or.. was I the only one who was watching that??

  • Very nice breakdown of the Mellow Gold High School social class structure!  Nice mash-up too; I never would’ve put those two songs together.  I used to like "Love Will Find a Way" when I was younger.  I realized recently that I don’t anymore.  But maybe I’ll come around again.

    Ernie, great call on "You Can’t Change That."  That really is Mellow Gold Soul, with lyrics like "You can change your telephone number / And you can change your address too / But you can’t stop me from loving you, no / You can’t change that …"  RAY PARKER JR. & RAYDIO WILL FIND YOU, LADY!!!!  You think the Witness Protection Program can keep them away from you?  Think again.  The Raydio boys have powerful friends.

  • Your memory made me laugh, Woofpop, even though I never saw Battle of the Network Stars or just can’t remember it from my early years.  I think Bravo tried to revive that show a few years ago with reality-TV stars, but it didn’t last.

  • woofpop

    Nothing beat the satin jumpsuits and drenched feathered hair on all of your favorite stars as they valiantly struggled  around Pepperdine University in various competitions – with voice overs by Howard Cosell. Quality viewing for all…

  • I remember Cheap Seats on ESPN Classic doing Mystery Science Theater-type commentary on Battle of the Network Stars back in ’04 or ’05.

    Jason, I forgot to mention that as a proofreader I got a good, nerdy laugh out of your "illiterate discography" comment.  I proofed a Boston band’s Web site in ’05 for free, hoping it might lead to other work because you never know, but a few months after I cleaned up all their typos and confusing verbiage, they changed all the copy without warning.  I didn’t offer to proof their site a second time.  (Fuck you too, Steven Tyler!)

  • It may not be on "Rockin’ Easy," but it’s on Easy Rock.  (Which is seriously the Mellow Gold Nuggets.  You want the double CD version if you can find it.)  Actually, I hear a lot of fake Stax in this song – the chorus is like Booker T and the MGs on some serious downers.

  • I think I’ve covered, in some form or another, about 16 of the songs on there, and many of them are slated for review in the coming months.  That’s frightening.

  • Pete

    I wish I had seen that episode of Cheap Seats. A friend of mine sent me a really funny episode where they commentated over a spelling bee. And did 70s women ever get turned on by those "awkward nude covers"? Such a curiosity 30 years later…

  • As for me, there’s nothing really memorable about the Pablo Cruise song other than the surprisingly cool backing vocals. However, I now can’t get the Pointer Sister’s "Jump" out of my head.
     
    Also, I think that this is more Yacht Rock than Mellow Gold. Yes, one can overlap with the other, but you just know when something is specifically one or the other. And I feel that Koko (God rest his soul!) would definitely say this number was sailing the seas of smooth.
     

  • Oh, one more thought. Does anything say "My music career is over" quite like the phrase "County Fair Tour"? Only "Time – Life Infomercial Host" signifies greater decrepitude.DwD

  • BD

    Hey — Weird Al was on the County Fair circuit, and now he has his most successful album ever. Seriously.<br><br>I have a vague and possibly incorrect memory of some TV special in which Pablo Cruise was billed as some sort of "wild men of rock" group. They even had something along the lines of "lock up your daughters — it’s Pablo Cruise!" I guess they were oblivious to the fact that these guys had about as much in common with Led Zeppelin as Spinal Tap had with Four Jacks and a Jill.

  • Bob

    As far as the great “Awkward Male Rockers Sitting Around Naked Competition” goes, don’t forget Grand Funk Railroad’s inside sleeve photo from their “We’re An American Band” Album. It still gives me nightmares.

    The only (grainy) picture I could find is at this link:

    http://wap.parrette.net/GFR_WEB/GFR_ALBUMS/index.html

    Enjoy!

  • Jeremy

    Look up mellow gold in the dictionary and there is a picture of the Pablo Cruise logo

  • Jhensy

    Pablo Cruise and their logo made me think they all wore tropical shirts, white pants, goatees and Chuck Mangione hats.

  • woofpop

    Hey, I did that logo as a graphic arts screen print project in 10th grade. I got an "A" on it..
     

  • I really, really want to believe you.

  • Dave P

    The Pablo Cruise coffee mug looks awesome! I’m seriously thinking of buying it… what the hell is wrong with me?

    http://pablocruise.com/shop/images/bluehaolmug.jpg

  • Thanks for the Cruise.Anecdotal (and possibly apocryphal) story:In the late 70’s Lorne Michaels was losing power over his massively successful show Saturday Night Live, to the stars he had created. After Chevy and then Belushi and Ayckroyd jumped ship, he had to coddle Bill Murray just to keep his lone male superstar happy.Murray wanted Pablo Cruise to be the musical guest one week. Michaels relented and the world was foisted the cruise on a national level.

  • Dave P, I understand you perfectly. What a great conversation starter, and a wonderful opportunity to introduce your friends to Pablo Cruise. I think it’s redeeming that you’re only thinking of buying it.

  • David

    Musical chest hair.

  • Stephen

    DwD–Roger Daltrey did a Time-Life infomercial. I wouldn’t say his career was over, but I would say, who the hell is his agent and why is this man still employed by Daltrey?I actually like this song a lot. This is one of the better ones taken from the mines.Also, I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who literally searches through the mines of used CD stores looking for an amazing mellow gold comp. Mike’s "Easy Rock" collection may very well be the Holy Grail of these collections.

  • Stephen, I stand corrected, but only slightly. Have you seen Air Supply doing the Time-Life Soft Rock Collection? I believe our friend Kurt would sum the thing up thusly – gayr.

  • I did NOT need to see Pablo Cruise sitting around naked…There is no way I’m gonna click on that Grand Funk Railroad link above either!

  • The Air Supply infomercial was on again last night on Ion Television, after “The Wonder Years.” It must air in the 10/9c slot on that channel at least twice a week.

    Allen, Pablo Cruise was never on “SNL,” but I like your rumor all the same. According to the “SNL” book I got for Christmas back in ’86, “[Murray] was constantly negotiating [in the ’79-’80 season], saying he’d do a part he didn’t want to do if Lorne let him do another Nick the Lounge Singer sketch, or that he wouldn’t go on if Lorne didn’t book one of his favorite bands.” I thought the book had said that Delbert McClinton was one of those musical guests that Murray forced on Michaels, but my memory was wrong.

    Chicago and Andrew Gold WERE musical guests during the ’79-’80 season (and David Sanborn appeared with James Taylor and Paul Simon), but I can’t see Murray forcing Chicago on Michaels unless he was (a) homesick and (b) misinformed about the band’s allegiance to his quasi-hometown. Desmond Child & Rouge were the musical guest on “SNL” on 12/22/79 — can we consider that one to be Murray’s fault? The book I have, Doug Hill and Jeff Weingrad’s “Saturday Night: A Backstage History of ‘Saturday Night Live,'” says that Murray’s prima donna behavior through the first half of the ’79-’80 season was partly due to the time he was spending with Hunter S. Thompson while preparing for and filming the movie “Where the Buffalo Roam.” Murray tried to become Thompson, and we’ve all read what a sweetheart Thompson was.

  • …Robert Cass with the smackdown!

  • woofpop

    Nice one Robert! I totally remember Andrew Gold on SNL – he did his song "Kiss This One Goodbye" which is a really rocking song, actually – good, punchy power-pop. It was one of the last shows of the original cast, as I recall. And, Andrew Gold was a guest (playing guitar and tabla (!)) on Pablo Cruise’s Lifeline… Good thing they didn’t ask him to be on the cover…..

  • THE last show featuring the original cast, in fact — May 24, 1980.

    And no real smackdown intended, of course. Just offering facts where I can.

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  • Musicradio

    Wow…all these useless comments about a great band. I just added "Whatcha Gonna Do" to my laptop computer yesterday.

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  • damn all these beautiful gir. Eka Kolour.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe I’m totally crazy but wasn’t “Love Will Find A Way” by Pablo Cruise in the soundtrack to an 80’s maybe 90’s movie?