Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Divinyls -- "I Touch Myself" (1991)

I don't want anybody else
When I think about you
I touch myself
I don't want anybody else
Oh no, oh no, oh no

Did you know who the bass player on this record is?  None other than Randy Jackson.  (Yes, that Randy Jackson . . . the American Idol dude!)

Randy Jackson and his craps-themed bass guitar

And guess who directed the music video (which was filmed at a convent in Pasadena, California, and banned from Australian TV)?  Michael Bay, who went on to direct movies like Bad Boys, The Rock, Armageddon, Coyote Ugly, Pearl Harbor, and Transformers -- altogether his movies have grossed over three billion dollars worldwide.

This is one of the reasons I enjoy doing this blog so much -- all the odd little serendipitous facts that pop up.  (The other reasons are the money and the babes, of course.  Plus all the free samples from companies begging me to review and endorse their products.)

Before we move on, here's a brief montage of scenes from Michael Bay's movies:

And here's a famous Victoria's Secret television commercial that Bay directed.  (Of course it has helicopters!)

OK, OK, here's the Coyote Ugly trailer.  (No helicopters, but Maria Bello is silly!)

Except for "I Touch Myself," the Divinyls are a pretty forgettable band.  They formed in 1980 and issued five albums before breaking up in 1996.  Lead singer Christina Amphlett was pretty hot, especially when she performed in a very short schoolgirl uniform.

"I Touch Myself" is really the only Divinyls record to make much of a splash outside in the non-"Down Under" countries of the world.  But the Divinyls were quite successful in their native Australia.  Their song, "Science Fiction," was named as one of the top 30 Australian songs of all time in 2001.  But that's kind of like saying I was one of the 30 best athletes to ever live on my block -- semi-big fish, very small pond.

I will admit that the #1 song on that list -- "Friday On My Mind," by the Easybeats -- was a great song.  But when #3 is "Beds Are Burning," by Midnight Oil, you can imagine what the rest of the list is like.  And how in the world did they leave off "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport"?

Here's what Carl Wiser of Songfacts had to say about "I Touch Myself":

This one was written by the songwriting team of Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, who are the same guys who brought us Madonna's "Like A Virgin" and Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors."  Yes, these very emotional and sometimes sensual hits were written by guys.

Christina Amphlett got a rare glimpse of Billy Steinberg's notebook where he accumulated titles and song ideas.  The one she picked was "I Touch Myself," which happened to be the one Billy liked best, especially the opening line: "I love myself, I want you to love me."

When I spoke with Billy, he told me, "It's not an obvious start to finish j*ck off song."   [Click here to read Carl's very interesting interview of Billy Steinberg.]  "Listen to the lyrics and you'll hear that there's more to it."  

As Billy explained: "The verse was much more sort of poetic and kind of meaningful.  It says, 'I love myself, I want you to love me, when I feel down I want you above me, I search myself, I want you to find me, I forget myself, I want you to remind me.' Those words I think are very strong."

There's a certain trade-off to making a record like this.  It was a big hit in not only Australia (where it took the #1 spot away from Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby"), but also the US, UK, and Canada.  But how would you like to be a musician for most of your life and be remembered by 99.9% of the world only for a song about touching yourself?
Here's the official music video by the Divinyls:

Here's a link to use the buy the song from iTunes:

I Touch Myself - Divinyls

Here's a link to use to buy it from Amazon:

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