HUNG UMBRELLAS: AN ODE AND INVESTIGATION INTO ‘80S POP SENSATIONS THE WEATHER GIRLS
A column from the upcoming 'Elements Issue'
It is a common fault of men not to reckon on storms in fair weather
Hi, hi we’re your Weather girls, Ah-huh, and have we got news for you…
THE CREPUSCULAR RAYS
It was the late ‘70s when we started. We’re in San Francisco where everyone is still feeling free, dancing and flying their freak flags. Degage. There was no shaming us, not when we got big and boney asses alike hustling across laminated wood roller-rink floors with our gospel wails and muscled sequined wardrobes. Holler’n. Our optical density, it was a way for a woman to be comfortable with who she was, to embrace her sexuality, as they would say “loud and proud.” Shout out to Pee Wee Ellis. It was all live, big-time. You have to remember this is more than half a decade before Prince Markie Dee, Kool Rock-Ski, and Big Buff Love gave us All You Can Eat (1985). Them boys were fun but they didn’t have the conjuring soul power of our ample auricular abracadabra. We were Two Tons o’ Fun and we meant it. Bump and touch. We could make people move—that’s what was going to take us to the top.
You tell ‘em Sylvester!
Get ready, all you lonely girls, and leave those umbrellas at home…
SOME SURFACE PRESSURE
Paul Jabara & Friends (1983)—that’s when it happened for us, being friends and all. That man, pure floorcraft, and that’s where The Weather Girls took over. It was that song, everyone knows it, everyone was at the club all lathered up and here we were, breaking through with a meteorological report that would “rip the roof off.” For us it was real heat. Hallelujah. So naturally the album was called Success (1983), and it was. Shout out to Paul Shaffer. It was empowerment. And that video, oh yes, you all know that video. A happening. Those soft-toed landing hunks in boots and high socks clinging to taunt calves in open trench coats, bare-chested but speedo’d, falling like hard throbbing drops of lust in a little ole’ cardboard city of endless desire. Plashes. It would never be big enough to hold all that wanting, all that gushing expressive energy, all that new dawned decade’s over indulgence in. Quiver, ouvert. Kind of summed up the whole scene once all was said and done.
Here’s to you Gene Anthony Ray!
‘Cause tonight for the first time, just about half-past ten…
AN ABSORPTION LINE
Underneath the proverbial discotheque’s acrylic-domed awning spreading our upheld arms in exultation, we were going to be more than just one Hi-NRG wonder. I know you heard us in Easy Money (1983), and we did Letterman too. Fouette. Some love for Patrick Cowley. They had us do the mandatory Christmas wish song and while it went well enough, it apparently doesn’t really snow men. A narrowing of the frequency range. There were moments we missed our News of the World days, just shouting good clean praise to the heavens. We did the mandatory “our love is the greatest” song but while the heavy was there, the hot not so much. A saturation of output. Yeah, we did Big Girls Don’t Cry, and at the time there was no reason to. Sure, that skinny tart with one name starting taking over and the younger people just started Breakin,’ but we had just dropped Megatonnage, The Best of the Two Tons (1985).
Katrin Quinol, no you didn’t!
I’m gonna go out to run, and let myself get absolutely soaking wet…
ULTIMATELY ASTRONOMICAL TWILIGHT
Like most in our position, we didn’t really see the end coming until it was there. But there it was, staring us in the face. How about some love to the Clark Sisters? The self-titled album put our total at five, but like the sweat from your Hypercolor bandeau, we eventually cooled the wallets at the record labels. Big business. Who was MIAIRIRIS anyway? Music was a television product now—damn videos doing us in after all. Models turned mouthpieces. It was 1988 and Manero’s thrusting syncopated strut was more than a decade old now. Oh Tony! What was Todd Terry’s project anyhow? À terre. Thing is, we need not be eulogized; they are still out in the club under strobe and fog, allowing themselves to be free, waiting on the forecast.
It’s raining men, hallelujah; it’s raining men, every specimen…
[Editor’s Note: Martha Wash went on to sing backup vocals for numerous dance hits by the likes of Black Box and C+C Music Factory. Izora Rhodes took the Weather Girls name to Germany before passing away in 2004.]
Written by Francis N. Parrilli