Thirty years ago, in the latter half of 1988, the Saints released Prodigal Son in the U.S. In the official count, Prodigal Son was the eighth full-length studio album by the Australian band, but it was already fully understood that the whole endeavor was really just a creative outlet for lead singer and guitarist Chris Bailey. A little more than a decade earlier, the Saints released “(I’m) Stranded,” one of the best loved relative obscurities of the punk rock explosion. Only Bailey remained from the lineup that recorded the seminal single. He was joined by a constantly shifting crew of sidemen as he kept churning out music that essentially demonstrated how fevered punk agitation could agreeably mellow into expertly crafted rock ‘n’ roll.
Woefully unschooled in most of pop music history that feel outside the myopic, stodgy taste of Jann Wenner’s Rolling Stone, I didn’t know any of that when I sat in my college radio station’s air chair and flipped through the updated inventory of new releases. I simply saw an oddly arty cover and a set of song titles that certainly felt right. And when I dropped the needle on the album’s first track, “Grain of Sand,” I was hooked. Much as I was enlivened by the avalanche of new, distinctive music at the radio station, it helped when I found material that sounded just close enough to the album rock that had been more prevalent in my high school years.
A song like “Grain of Sand” was a perfect gateway. I could imagine it slotted in between Robert Plant and Van Halen on the commercial stations, but I could also feel superior because I knew those sellout deejays weren’t playing it. But I was. And I played it over and over again.
Listen or download —> The Saints, “Grain of Sand”
(Disclaimer: I believe Prodigal Son to be out of print and therefore unavailable in a physical format that can procured from your favorite local, independently owned record store in a manner that compensates both the proprietor of said shop and the original artist. The track is shared in this space at this time with that understanding. It is also shared as an encouragement to go out and buy some new music. Those record stores are counting on holiday business, and music is a fabulous gift — and an even better reward to give yourself for all your holiday spirit. I believe I’ve placed this song here in accordance with the legal principle of fair use, but I will gladly and promptly remove it 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.)