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You Think Nothing’s Perfect? Listen To This Headpins Song

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And you know what?  Although I hate rock videos, I can’t avoid praising this one along with the song it promotes.  Because, dammit, The Headpins’ “Just One More Time” – song and video – comes as close to hard-rock perfection as we mortals deserve.

Let’s start with Ab Bryant’s hair.  How many times, when I was in my early twenties and playing in bands, did I take the inner sleeve from Chilliwack’s 1981 album Wanna Be A Star to the hair salon and ask the stylist to make me look like Ab Bryant?  It just never worked out.  But I could play bass like him, a little, especially what he played in the deliberately straight-ahead Headpins. (True fans will also recall his tenure with beloved Canadian rock heroes Prism, where he also played rhythm guitar.)

The Rest Of The Band

Both Ab and Brian MacLeod were vacationing from the majestic Chilliwack when they formed The Headpins; they added definitive drummer Bernie Aubin and the final, magical ingredient, rock goddess Darby Mills, and they had – literally, if a bit figuratively – rock-and-roll gold.  They racked up a string of hits with their first few albums, including “Turn It Loud,” “Don’t It Make Ya Feel,” and “Mine, All Mine.” But their indisputably greatest song was the second album’s “Just One More Time.”

Perfection? Really?

I don’t use that word lightly, but the song approaches it, and the video’s not far behind, cheesy though it might seem to some younger viewers.  The lyrics are encapsulated in the song’s title: the narrator (let’s call her “Darby”) is willing to give up her guy to a clearly inferior successor – but only if she can first have him, you guessed it, one more time.  Darby Mills absolutely sells the sentiment through her vocals, and she actually captures that same sentiment even within the artificial confines of a rock video, especially when she grabs the guy by his new-wave hair.  (Looking at the video now, you  will wonder why she was ever interested in this nebbish, but, hey, skinny ties were “in.”)

The Sequel

I’m sure you know that the wonderful Brian “Too Loud” MacLeod died very young from cancer in 1992. It was a tremendous loss to rock fans; what he had brought to Chilliwack and The Headpins was irreplaceable.  But a version of The Headpins, with the terrific Darby Mills still fronting it, forges on; and those delightful straight-ahead rock songs can’t be gainsaid.  The best of them all, though, and one of hard rock’s greatest songs ever, remains the sexy, soulful, stainless-steel “Just One More Time.”


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