Song of the Week – Sleep That Burns, Be-Bop Deluxe

Ignored           Obscured            Restored

Have you ever heard of the ‘70s rock band, Be-Bop Deluxe?  Have you ever heard Be-Bop Deluxe?

The British band released five excellent studio albums of obscure progressive rock, helmed by songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist extraordinaire, Bill Nelson.

Many consider the third album, Sunburst Finish, to be their best album, I included.  (All of their first three albums make references to guitar terminology – Axe Victim, using the slang, axe, for a guitar; Futurama, a brand of mid-priced guitars popular in England in the late ‘50s/early ‘60s; and Sunburst Finish, a recognizable style of finish very popular on Fender Stratocasters and Gibson Les Pauls.)  It also had a provocative cover with a silhouetted, naked woman.  I’m surprised it wasn’t banned like similar covers for records by Roxy Music and Golden Earring.

“Sleep That Burns”, from Sunburst, captures what Be-Bop Deluxe was all about.

The song opens with galloping hard rock, goes to a middle section with a Latin feel, then returns to climax with a screaming guitar solo.

Lyrically, the song describes an anxiety filled night of insomnia:

The night winds are howling…
Seducing the trees,
I wake in a cold sweat
With the sheets ‘round my knees

I lay in the darkness
With visionless eyes…
Exhausted and reeling…
All heartbeats and sighs…

But the sleep still burns,
Got a sleep that burns all night

Sunburst also marked the debut credit for the successful producer, John Leckie (XTX, Radiohead).

If you find Sunburst Finish to be of interest, you can dig deeper and watch the 45 minute documentary, The Making of Sunburst Finish, on YouTube.

Enjoy… until next week.