Missing Persons 1980-1986: Legacy


Missing Persons poster by Glen Wexler[from Wikipedia] Missing Persons is an American band who plays a blend of New Wave and Pop rock. The band was founded in 1980 in Los Angeles by guitarist Warren Cuccurullo, vocalist Dale Bozzio, and drummer Terry Bozzio. They went on to add bassist Patrick O'Hearn and keyboardist Chuck Wild. Dale's quirky voice and heavy makeup made the band a favorite on MTV in the early 1980s. Her revealing outfits played a pivotal role in moving the culture of music videos towards that of overt sexual exhibitionism.

Dale and Terry Bozzio met while working with Frank Zappa, and they married in 1979. Cuccurullo encountered the pair while contributing to the Zappa album Joe's Garage. O'Hearn was also a former member of Zappa's touring band, and Chuck Wild had played with a variety of bands before joining.

In 1980 the band made its first record, a 4-song EP entitled Missing Persons, in Zappa's brand-new Utility Muffin Research Kitchen studios; the recording was financed by Cuccurullo's father. The band toured, promoted the EP, appeared in the movie Lunch Wagon, and became a must-see band among the Los Angeles live music crowd. "Mental Hopscotch" was a #1 record on local radio station KROQ-FM, and the self-promoted EP sold 7,000 copies.

Two years of hard work led up to a signing with Capitol Records in 1982. With label support, the re-released EP sold another 250,000 units, and the new full-length album Spring Session M (an anagram of "Missing Persons") went gold.

The singles "Mental Hopscotch", "Surrender Your Heart" (1984), "Destination Unknown," "Words," "Walking in L.A.," and "Windows" met with varying success, especially in the local markets of Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. The visual effects used in the music video for "Words" were unusual for the time, making it popular on the fledgling cable TV channel MTV.
Missing Persons appeared at a three-day Southern California concert known as the US Festival in May 1983, along with Berlin, David Bowie, The Pretenders, U2, and several other performers.

Although the band gained new attention by heavy play on MTV and FM rock-radio with the striking music video for "Surrender Your Heart" that was designed by Peter Max, the experimental album Rhyme & Reason (1984) was not a great success, and Capitol was not happy about the direction the band was taking. The band followed up with the more conventional Color In Your Life in June 1986, but during the short-lived promotional tour, increasing tensions between Terry and Dale Bozzio led to the end of the tour, the couple's marriage, and the band.


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