bill bodkin looks at a lost UK classic…
Lost Songs contributors Brent Johnson and Jason Stives often take the space of this column to uncover some hidden gems from across the pond. However, there’s one UK gem that when I mention it to people they stare at me blankly like I made the whole thing up.
The song is “Place Your Hands” by the UK band REEF.
The reason I submit this song to this week’s Lost Songs is because of the revival of alternative rock radio in the tri-state area. 101.9, formerly the Matt Pinfield-fronted RXP, has finally ditched its yearlong FM News format and returned to the alt rock format. It’s been received with great enthusiasm from locals and it has opened my eyes to new music from bands that I’ve never listened to like The Lumineers, Imagine Dragons and more.
And this reminds me of the summer of 1997 when I started delving into the world of alt rock (thanks to 92.3 K-Rock) after being a staunch metal and hardcore fan for nearly a year. One of the songs that captured my attention away from the crunchy riffs and deep bass grooves I had been obsessed with was REEF’s “Place Your Hands.”
The howling bombastic vocals of Gary Stringer, the anthemic near gospel chorus, the jangly rock chords, woof…this is just magic. It’s one of those songs that really hits you in the that part of your soul that makes you want to stand up and loose yourself in a full freak out dance.
And let’s kid ourselves, this song was everywhere. It was on alt-rock radio in heavy rotation, the video was constantly on MTV. And the band itself was insanely popular, they even opened up for The Rolling Stones. You can’t open for a band any more iconic than that.
But strangely, very few people remember this song. On the occasion when I play it someone will go “Oh yeah, I vaguely remember that song.” But when you mentioned the name REEF, without playing the song, people will more likely think about the line of surf-inspired clothing than a mid-90s UK alt rock band.
“Place Your Hands” is truly a lost song…and one I believe that a lot of you will definitely fall in love with if you give it a spin!