“Good Clean Fun” by Bonnie Hayes is an overlooked rock/pop/new wave masterpiece from 1982

In 1982, a California band called Bonnie Hayes with the Wild Combo released an album called Good Clean Fun. Despite being a stunningly fantastic album of rock, pop, and new wave, the album was largely ignored in most of the country. It did get exposure on college radio stations, as well as  on some local California stations, and two of its songs were used in the 1983 movie Valley Girl (which is, in my opinion, the best and most intelligent of all of the 80s teen movies). But the album, being released on the independent Slash Records label, never got the kind of attention that it deserved. It’s so osbscure that it wasn’t even released on CD until 2007.

The All Music Guide said of the album:

“First and foremost, the songs on Good Clean Fun are almost embarrassingly catchy. The first two tracks, ‘Girls Like Me’ and ‘Shelly’s Boyfriend,’ are three-minute classics with more vocal and musical hooks than many whole albums. While the other eight tracks are slightly less immediate, every single one of them has a catchy chorus or appealing riff that imprints itself in the listener’s memory. Aside from the musical heft of the album, Hayes is an acute lyricist with a knack for both clever Elvis Costello-style wordplay and vividly realistic imagery. ‘Shelly’s Boyfriend’ is a sympathetic portrait of the frustrations of teenage love, but the immediacy of the lyrics lifts it above similar tunes. Other songs, like ‘Inside Doubt’ and ‘Separating,’ deal with more complex emotions without losing the power pop bounce that makes the album so instantly appealing. Good Clean Fun works brilliantly on every level, and only Slash Records’ limited distribution muscle — and possibly the unfortunately cheesy cover art — kept it from being a hit. As it stands, Good Clean Fun is a neglected ’80s pop masterpiece.”

Here’s the cover art:

Here are the first two songs from the album:

“Girls Like Me”

“Shelley’s Boyfriend”

August 12, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Music.

One Comment

  1. Pat replied:

    I was the music librarian for TM Programming (major radio syndication company) when this came out. I loved it and contacted the record rep to say so, and we talked about it off and on for several weeks. Did my part to get it out to radio. Sadly, if I had to list all the great albums that were sadly ignored by radio programmers during that period, it would take more space than the Internet has.

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