Blue Angel

Contributions by Kat Dee

Blue Angel Page.jpg



Cyndi Lauper: Singer
John Turi: Sax and Keyboards
Arthur "Rockin' A" Neilson: Guitars
Johnny "Bullet" Morelli: Drums
Lee Brovitz: Bass


From the opening chords of their self-titled debut album, Blue Angel come across as a band firmly committed to the eternal verities of '50's rock 'n' roll, as well as being solidly entrenched in the modernism of the '80's. With roots in the songwriting team of John Turi and Cyndi Lauper, Blue Angel offers a wide variety of  musical styles, from honking sax, courtesy of Mr. Turi; the hard-edged, blues based guitar riffs of Arthur  Neilson, to the impressive range of Ms. Lauper's eclectic vocals. This is one group that effortlessly updates the elements of '50's rock 'n' roll and merges present day, music into a potpourri of sounds so uniquely its own-- Blue Angel.

A veteran performer on many of the singles from which Blue Angel got their initial inspiration, John Turi saw Cyndi perform on a friend's recommendation. After meeting, they realized the potential for a long-lasting, satisfying musical partnership. Turi and Lauper concentrated on songwriting while looking for members with which to form a band. Assembling a few musicians, Blue Angel was scheduled to play Trax when, two hours prior to the performance, their drummer quit. On a tip, Turi called Johnny "Bullet" Morelli to fill in. Bullet, a former Tuff Dart, was also looking for a band to call home. Considering the time he had to prepare himself with Blue Angel's material, Bullet fit in so well that the band offered him a permanent position in between encores. Realizing the sound of the band was not yet what Lauper and Turi intended, they went in search of a new guitarist and bassist.

Cyndi, John and Bullet hunted the New York clubs, looking and listening to the available talent. They liked what they saw one night at Trax in Arthur "Rockin' A" Neilson. "Rockin' A's" old rock ‘n' roll and blues licks so impressed the three that they approached him after the show to join the fledgling band. Arthur listened to the original compositions Lauper and Turi had on tape, followed his ears and joined up.

All that was needed was the bassist. Turi had once played the Boston club circuit years back and knew Lee Brovitz, a bassist whose style was very close to his own. The pair had lost touch when Turi returned to New York; however, Brovitz was who John had in his mind to fill the slot. Answering a "Musicians Wanted" ad in the Village Voice, Brovitz unknowingly set up an appointment with Bullet to audition at the loft that evening. In walked Lee and the remaining auditions were cancelled as Blue Angel was complete.


Cyndi discovered singing at the earliest possible age and began writing songs at 10. Show tunes were her first introduction to music. "I used to sing for the old ladies on the streets and they'd give me quarters," reflects Cyndi. "I'd sing tunes from The King And I. first doing the Deborah Kerr part and then singing the Thai kids' lines. My mother would always make me return the quarters."

Through a mishap of misplaced tapes, Blue Angel came to the attention of Allman Brothers manager Steve Massarskv, who immediately knew Blue Angel would have to be his next venture and became the band's manager. Massarsky signed Blue Angel to Polydor Records and retained veteran producer/engineer Roy Halee (Simon & Garfunkel, The Yardbirds, Willie Nile and the Roches, among others) to produce the group's debut.

Of Halee, Turi says, "He didn't walk into the studio and try to change our basic sound. He listened to us and encouraged the flow of ideas from within the group, making us all feel very comfortable in the studio."

As a totally collaborative unit, Blue Angel equals the sum of its different influences. Their individual tastes range from Phil Spector and Frankie Lymon's "doo-wop" (favored by Cyndi) to the Chicago R & B so dear to "Rockin A." Turi’s smokey, evocative sax-playing gives the songs much of their distinctive coloring. While the group was weaned on vintage rock ‘n' roll, they emerge with a sound that is nevertheless thoroughly up-to-date.

The name Blue Angel may come from Roy Orbison's song released in the ‘50's, but the band's expressionism recalls Von Sternberg'sfilm classic with Marlene Dietrich in the ‘30's. Taken together, Blue Angel is a band for the ‘80's-- the total sum of the abilities of its five talented members.




blue-angel-uslpa (1).jpg



1. Maybe He'll Know
2. I Had A Love
3. Fade
4. Anna Blue
5. Can't Blame Me
6. Late
7. Cut Out
8. Take A Chance
9. Just The Other Day
10. I'm Gonna Be Strong
11. Lorraine
12. Everybody's Got An Angel

Produced & engineered by: Roy Halee
Assistant Engineer: Lincoln Y. Clapp
Recorded at: Media Sound, N.Y.C.
Mastered at: Sterling Sound by Creg Calbi
Mixed at: Kingdom Sound Studios, Syosset, L.I.
Management: Steven J. Massarsky for Guiding Light Management, Inc.
Photography: Benno Friedman
Design: Stephanie Zuras (AGI)
Art Direction: Bob Heimall (AGI)

All songs © 1980 TuLarue Music (ASCAP) except:
Cut out © 1959 Mole Hole Music/Bug Music. (BMI) Administered by The Bug Music Group.
I'm Gonna Be Strong (c) 1963 Screen Gems-EMI Music, Inc. (BMI)




7" (Spain 1980) - Polydor 2095 349
A-side: Late: 2.53
B-side: Just The Other Day: 2.42



7" (Holland 1980) - Polydor 2095 316
7" (Holland 1984) - Polydor 2095 316
7" (UK 1984) - Polydor POSP 212
A-side: I'm Gonna Be Strong: 2.50
B-side: Just The Other Day: 2.42


7" (Germany) - Polydor 2095 324
7" (Italy Promo 1980) - Polydor 2095 324
A-side: I'm Gonna Be Strong: 2.50
B-side: Maybe He'll Know: 3.54


7" (Australia 1984) - Polydor 2095 328
7" (UK 1984) - Polydor 2095 316
A-side: I'm Gonna Be Strong: 2.50
B-side: Anna Blue: 3.57 



7" (UK 1980) - Polydor POSP 241
A-side: I Had A Love: 2.47
B-side: Can't Blame Me 2.37


7" (Holland 1980) - Polydor 2095 348
A-side: I Had A Love: 2.47
B-side: Fade: 2.45

7" (Australia 1980) - Polydor 2095 383
A-side: I Had A Love: 2.47
B-side: Just The Other Day: 2.42

7" (US 1980) - Polydor PD2149
A-side: I Had A Love: 2.47
B-side: Take A Chance: 2.36

7" (US White label promo 1980) - Polydor PD2149
A-side: I Had A Love: 2.47
B-side: I Had A Love: 2.47

7" (US test pressing) - Polydor PDI 5274/79
A-side: I Had A Love: 2.46
B-side: Take A Chance: 2.36



February 22

Rathskeller/Hofstra U - Hemstead, NY

Good Rats


February 24

Detroits - Portchester, NY



February 25

Toad's Place - New Haven, CT

Edgar Winter


March 1

Diplomat Hotel - New York, NY

The Specials


March 2

Fast Lane - Asbury Park, NJ

Iggy Pop


March 8

Trax - New York, NY


March 9

The 80's - New York, NY



March 13

Hot Club - Philadelphia, PA


March 14

Club 57 - New York, NY



April 8

Rutgers Univ. - New Brunswick, NJ



April 10

Hot Club - Philadelphia, PA



April 17

Speaks - Island Park, NY

Billy Falcon


April 19

St. Regis Hotel -New York, NY


May 3

Univ. of Massachusetts - Amherst, MA


September 26

Stage West - W. Hartford, CT


September 27

My Fathers Place - Old Roslyn, NY


September 28

Center Stage - E. Providence, RI

Psychadelic Furs


October 3

Emerald City - Cherry Hill, NJ

Split Enz


October 8

Red Creek Inn - Rochester, NY

The Kings


October 9

Stage 1 - Buffalo, NY



October 11

Paradise - Boston, MA

Split Enz


October 12

Stage West - W. Hartford, CT

Split Enz


October 17

Good Times Cafe - Poughkeepsie, NY

Steve Forbert


October 18

Hullabaloo - Albany, NY

Nervous Eaters


October 21

Ritz - New York, NY



October 25

Center Stage - E. Providence, RI



October 31

Syracuse Univ. - Syracuse, NY



November 3

Molly B's - Erie, PA



November 4

The Agora - Cleveland, Ohio



November 12

Cellar Door - Washington DC



November 13

My Fathers Place - Old Roslyn, NY



November 14

Trax - New York, NY

4 out of 5 Doctors


November 20

Hilversum/Heerlen, Germany

Recorded shows for tv & radio


November 21

Hamburg, Germany

Joe Jackson


November 22

Hanover, Germany

Joe Jackson


November 23

Berlin, Germany

Joe Jackson


November 26

Cologne, Germany

Joe Jackson


November 27

Frankfurt, Germany

Joe Jackson


November 28

Munich, Germany

Recording of tv show, Rock Pop


December 7

Keystone - Palo Alto, CA

The Inmates


December 8

Old Waldorf - San Francisco, CA

The Inmates


December 10

Roxy - Los Angeles, CA

The Inmates


December 11

Roxy - Los Angeles, CA

The Inmates


December 20

Paramount - Staten Island, NY



December 26

Malibu - Lido Beach, LI, NY



December 27

Mr. C's - Lowell, MA



December 28

Emerald City - Cherry Hill, NJ

The Busboys


December 29

Center Stage - E. Providence, RI

Co-Headline/Mink DeVille


December 31

Ritz - New York, NY

King Creole



January 9

Camouflage - Bayside, NY



January 10

Rock Away Park - Rockaway, NJ



January 21

Creations - West Orange, NJ



January 23

Privates - New York, NY



January 28

Legz - Long Island, NY



February 3

Triangle Theatre - Rochester, NY

Co-Headline/Tom Robinson


February 4

Stage One - Buffalo, NY



February 6

Molly B's - Erie, PA



February 14

Privates - New York, NY



February 13*

Univ. of Pennsylvania



February 21

Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ



February 27

Seton Hall, S. Orange, NJ



April 23

The Bayou - Washington DC



April 24

Cellar Door - Washington DC



August 14

The Fast Lane - Asbury Park, NJ



August 22

Estadio Hiram Bithorn - San Juan, PR

Peter Frampton


August 30

Coliseo Pachin Vicens - San Juan, PR


* canceled


Billboard Album Review

Blue Angel
Producer(s): Roy Halee
Polydor PD16300

Originally reviewed for week ending 10/18/80

Many bands are trying to re-create the past but few new outfits bring back the early 1960s as effectively as this quintet. Fronted by the soaring voice of Cyndi Lauper, the band plays a mixture of primitive but lighthearted rock and rockabilly that is guaranteed to start the feet moving. However, this isn't just a dance band as there are a couple of well done ballads ("I'm Gonna Be Strong," "I Had A Love"). The saxophone work of John Turi sizzles and the other instrumentation is uniformly excellent. Like Chryssie Hynde and Deborah Harry, Lauper possesses the vocal ability to make her stand out. Best cuts: "Maybe He'll Know," "I Had A Love," "I'm Gonna Be Strong," "Lorraine," "Fade."


Rock: Blue Angel Quintet Features Cyndi Lauper
New York Times, Sunday, October 26, 1980 by Robert Palmer

On the cover of their first album, Blue Angel looked like yet another slick, shallow power-pop band, but looks can be deceiving. At the Ritz on Tuesday, the quintet accomplished the rather unlikely feat of making early 60's surf music and trash-rock clichés sound not just fresh, but positively invigorating.

The focus of the group is Cyndi Lauper, who has a marvelous, piercing voice that sounds like a cross between Ronnie Spector and Little Eva. Unlike Pat Benatar and a few other gifted singers who have jumped on what they have mistakenly perceived as a new-wave bandwagon, Miss Lauper is a natural and, at her best, a riveting rock-and-roll performer. She is all flailing limbs and blond hair; her acrobatic dancing is matched only by her spectacular singing.

The band is a little spotty instrumentally, but Arthur Neilson is a fine aggressive guitarist in a Chuck Berry-through-surf-music vein, and John Turi, who co-composes the band's material with Miss Lauper, plays gritty tenor saxophone as well as keyboards. The initially skeptical crowd at the Ritz warmed to Blue Angel quickly, and no wonder. This is a high-energy band with some irresistible melodies and an exceptional lead vocalist; they are not profound, but they sure are lots of fun.



Review of the October 21, 1980 show at The Ritz
Clubs: a punk & pop-rock week by Ed Naha

The nicest thing about the New York rock club circuit is that you never know exactly what's going to happen. Last Tuesday, for instance, The Ritz offered a contrast in styles by coupling New York's Blue Angel dance band with England's low, mean, crude, vile and proud of it Stranglers.

Blue Angel proved the night's most delightful surprise. A five-piece rock outfit with its roots firmly mired in 1950s sock hop danceability, Blue Angel turned in a toe-tapping performance. Led by constantly kinetic vocalist Cyndi Lauper, the band twisted effortlessly from originals like Maybe He'll Know and Cut Out to an incredible update of the ancient Gene Pitney angst anthem I'm Gonna Be Strong.


The Hartford Courant - Friday September 26, 1980
Blue Angel Singer Lauds Value of Vocal Coaching
By Colin McEnroe

Rock and rollers of the Sixties grew up listening to vocalists like Grace Slick, Al Stewart and Janis Joplin, performers who threw themselves into their work without regard to the physical consequences.

Cyndi Lauper, lead singer for Blue Angel, told Live Sounds Thursday she thinks a lot of young people got the wrong idea about how to become a great singer.

"You hear Al Stewart, and he sounds great with that raspy voice," she said. "I'd love to sound like Al Stewart. The point is, though, that because of Al Stewart and the way he is, a lot of kids think you have to smoke cigarettes all the time and drink a lot to get a great rock and roll voice. They don't realize that you can put a rasp in your voice and take it out again, go high, go low, so a belt voice, whatever, if you're trained right."

Ms. Lauper, who will perform with her band-mates at Stage West in West Hartford tonight, was a victim of the same mythology.

"When I first started, I didn't take care of myself, because, you know, it's rock and roll, so you just go out there and scream your brains out every night and figure you voice'll come back the next day," she said. "People think that because it's rock and roll, you can go without sleep, you can go without food, you can eat lots of sugar and you'll be okay."

Ms. Lauper wasn't okay after a while.

"I lost my voice, I lost my health, I felt terrible, and had to quit," she said. "I saw a doctor who told me to go into country and western singing. No kidding! I used to walk around New York crying all day. It was awful."

Ms. Lauper wound up doing something that a lot of rock singers scorn. She began studying under a vocal therapist.

"The lady I go to only works with rock and roll singers, and she taught me a lot," Ms. Lauper said. "I work very hard to take care of my voice. I do my exercises, I warm up, I warm down."

Ms. Lauper sings with a hard-hitting Fifties-style rock and roll band. Blue Angel has its first album out on the Polydor label, a testament to Ms. Lauper's improved vocal style.

"The point is, now I can go do four sets and scream all night if I want to, and come back the next day and sound fine," she said. "If I sound hoarse, I know what to do about that too."

It should be added that many major rock and roll singers have, in recent years, acknowledged the value of voice coaching. Even a celebrated pyrotechnician like Kenny Loggins credits a voice coach on his album jackets, and New Wave songstress Pat Benatar admits that her years of operatic training have improved her range and power.

"And now that I know that to listen for, when I hear some like (Heart lead singer) Ann Wilson, I know I am hearing a trained voice. She doesn't say anything about it, and that's her business, and it's fine. But you can hear it." Ms. Lauper said.

Ms. Lauper believes rock stars have to learn to take care of their voices and their bodies in order to perform better and longer.

"You remember how it was in the Sixties. They just said, 'Get out there and do it. Don't worry about tomorrow. If you drop dead we'll sell more of your albums.' People were dropping like flies," she said. "When I'm on the road I have more fun than just about anywhere else. I love the environment, and I laugh all day long. But why can't you be like "The Rose" and not be self-destructive?"

Ms. Lauper and her colleagues named their band after the Roy Orbison song and the Josef von Sternberg film of the same name. She and saxophonist/keyboardist John Turi co-compose the group's material. Turi first heard her sing with a New York City bar band and thought she sounded like Leslie Gore.

"The only Leslie Gore sing I ever heard was 'Walk Around the Christmas Tree,'" she said.

The other members are guitarist Arthur "Rockin' A" Neilson, bassist Lee Brovitz and drummer Johnny "Bullet" Morelli, formerly of the Tuff Darts.

Saturday November 15, 1980
Forgotten Era of rock
by Wayne Robins

The years from 1958 through 1963--between the time Elvis Presley went into the Army, and the rise of the Beatles--has been the most slighted era of rock. Almost every other phase has been revived, recycled or expanded upon. But the period that was once wrongly synonymous with the first "death of rock" rumblings has until now been ignored or overlooked.

But now there's a feature film, "The Idolmaker," that deals with that pop zone, and, if you can believe it, the Peppermint Lounge will be reopening soon in the same sleazy midtown locale that was the home of the era's comsuming dance fad, the twist. More important, there is a group called Blue Angel, which fondly revitalizes the music of that time with an effortless contemporary touch.

The group, who lead singer, Cyndi Lauper, and two other members originally hailed from Queen, performed an appealing set at My Father's Place in Roslyn Thursday night that was taped for eventual broadcast on WLIR-FM. The band--John Turi (keyboard and sax), Lee Brovitz (bass), Johnny Morelli (drums) and Arthur Neilson (guitar) played with an easygoing swing that was both proficiant and natural. Perhaps it helped that Turi once toured with local 1950s idols Johnny Maestro and the Crests, while Morelli is a former member of Tuff Darts, one of the first and best 1950s-rooted punk bands. So the band was loyal to the roots of their music without indulging in contrived revivalism.

The focus of the band is Lauper, the flamboyant blonde lead singer. On stage her relentless hip-swinging and earnest singing brought to mind a number of combinations. With her ponytail, tight pants and tank top, she could have been one of "The 'K' Girls," one of disc jockey Murray the K's troupe sloe-eyed Rockettes that used to be part of his repertory company for early 1960s concerts at the Brooklyn Fox theater.

At another point, she seemed like a cross between Shelly Fabares and Charo. (That connection was reinforced by Lauper's T-shirt emblazoned with the title of Fabares' hit, "Johnny Angel"). At other times, singing a version of the torchy Gene Pitney hit "I'm Gonna Be Strong." Lauper looked like a teen exploitation movie version of Marlene Dietrich. "Blue Angel" indeed, with Frankie Avalon in the Emil Jannings role.

Most of the band's songs written by Lauper and Turi with a wry affection for the music of the cusp between the 1950s and 1960s. Even the contemporary touches fit their point of view perfectly, so that the reggae beat of "Just The Other Day" had as much to do with Bobby Vee as it did with Bob Marley. The band's encore of Presley's "All Shook Up" seemed slightly out of place; something like the Royal Teens' "Short Shorts" might have been more in keeping with the band's attitude, so accurately spelled out earlier in the set with an exquisite version of Connie Francis' "Lipstick On Your Collar."


Phoenix October 20, 1980
Blue Angel
By Frank Jude Boccio


Polydor has just released the debut album of a band called Blue Angel. The cover, a garishly tacky affair, lulled me into expecting either a '50s rivalist sound, or a cheap imitation of The B-52s. While the "pop" music of the '50s and early '60s is the primary influence, this is definitely a post-punk version of that earlier revival sound as epitomized by Ruben and The Jets.

"Maybe He'll Know" begins the L.P. with a classic modified blues riff, featuring a choppy rhythmic bass line, tenor sax growling and a "cheesy" organ sound. Cyndi Lauper's vocals are souful and impressive. Many of the songs, especially the ballads like "I Had A Love" are introduced by those "simplistic" piano triplets that Frank Zappa so used to love.

"Anna Blue" is a sentimental covering of the same subject Pati Smith covers in "Piss Factory." Ironically, Lauper even sounds a bit like Smith circa Horses. A bluesy sax solo takes it back to the main motif--a rhythmic anticipation which drops a beat while Lauper tops off the vocal line. "Can't Blame Me" is a neat "pop" song with yet another rousing sax bridge, this time reminiscent of the Dave Clark Five sound on Return. The side ends with a 16 bar Jerry Lee type blues-rocker --- a lover's answer to "Chantilly Lace."

Side 2 features two covers. The 1959 instrumental "Cut Out" (King/Mack) is in the tradition of rock instrumentals. Popularized by bands like the Dave Clark Five and the Ventures, and which The RayBeats now work within. The other cover is the maudlin "I'm Gonna Be Strong," a song I can remember my sister playing on the "victrola" back in 1963. Featured in this song is a cheerful steel drum solo.

Actually not a bad collection of party-music-dance pop. They're probably a fun band to see at a dance club. So there Pat, who says I don't like to have fun.