Bodeans – Only Love

Another band that missed the masses but were a hit on college radio in the 80s.

Only Love was released in 1986. The Bodeans opened up for U2 on their Joshua Tree tour and you would think they would have broken through a little more than they did.

This song was on the album “Outside Looking In” their second album released in 1987.  Their first album “Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams” was released in 1986 and it lead to a full-page profile in Time Magazine. The story, written by  critic Jay Cocks, quotes Llanas as saying, “We were a big fish in a little pond. Now we’re little fish in a big pond. You’re a local band until you get a record contract, then all of a sudden Bruce Springsteen is your competition.”

In 1977 Sophomores Sam Llanas and Kurt Neumann meet in study hall at Waukesha South High School and bond over a shared love of music. The two later end up playing music together. In 1980 At Neumann’s urging, Llanas dropped out of college to pursue music full-time. The group pursues gigs at small bars, clubs, dances and events. Llanas comes up with the name, Da BoDeans.

Llanas and Neumann added drummer Guy Hoffman (Oil Tasters, Confidentials, later the Violent Femmes) and bass player Bob Griffin (The Agents) to fill out their sound in 1983.

Their first album was referred to as cowpunk, rockabilly, roots-rock, revivalist rock, and as a synthesis of the a Rolling Stones and the Everly Brothers. Band member Sammy Lianas made more modest claims for the group, telling Cosmopolitan columnist Michael Segell, “I’d describe us as a band that writes a lot of good songs in different styles and plays most of them pretty well… . Our biggest influence was mid-sixties radio.

The band was still touring as of 2019 but Kurt Neumann is the only original member left.

Only Love

See you walking down the street now every day
Pushing by the people as you make your way
You’re walking proud now, baby
You got your head held high
Want you to know that this whole world
Sees your heart cry
Now see how hard you try
To make yourself believe

It’s only love
It’s only love
It’s only love
It’s only love

Maybe love shouldn’t have to be so hard to take
Shouldn’t have to feel that love
Until your poor heart breaks
So why you tell yourself
You know there’s no one else
Then it ain’t worth the waiting anymore
Don’t you wonder if there’s such a thing

It’s only love
It’s only love
It’s only love
It’s only love

You better look in there
Believe it, even if it’s too hard to
Someone who’s been waiting
Oh, baby, just for you and love
It’s only love

If I could, I’d take you, baby, in my arms
Take away all love’s blame
And all love’s scars
Maybe we could ride away
Till we get so far away
And then I couldn’t see us coming back again
Well show me what you think of it
Show me what you need

It’s only love
It’s only love
It’s only love
It’s only love
It’s only love
It’s only love
It’s only love
It’s only love

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

116 thoughts on “Bodeans – Only Love”

  1. This band is one I heard of back then, but never got to hear their music. I do like their sound. It’s funny, but what I remember now is their appearance on a short-lived tv series I liked back in the mid-late 90s, called Relativity. The main characters went to a BoDeans concert.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like Springsteen until the Tunnel of Love album in 87-88…after that I haven’t listened to much.

      Like

  2. Another band I remember the name of more than the music, though I did hear them infrequently on the alt station in the 80s. Not bad at all though I guess they weren’t all that memorable or different… but that garage rock -by – way- of- rockabilly sound just didn’t seem to catch on very well. when I saw U2, they had Lone Justice opening, they were good, but also fizzled out quickly.
    The guy has a good point about the big fish/little pond thing… in some ways being signed to something like IRS back then might have been ideal… big enough to get into stores across the country (as opposed to being on a totally indie label maybe run out of your corner record shop) but still small enough that they’re really going to devote their attention to you , whereas CBS or Warner might not if you’re not seen as being a sure bet to sell multi-millions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lone Justice…I still don’t understand that…I was writing a post on them last night. If I controlled the eighties…completely…Maria McKee would be huge…much more than that other blonde singer of the decade…lol

      You are right about the record companies…something like that can make all the difference.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yea she has it all…I wish I could see her live.

        She isn’t a lot of things.

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      2. I was watching some video of her the other night on YouTube – she definitely had the stage presence and charisma to be huge

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You want to feel bad? Go see Ringo Starr…he was 72 and all over the damn place. I thought about it the whole time…I could NOT imagine my 72 year old grandpa doing that!

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      4. I’d agree with the 1940s thing. Ken is a testament to that, even with his damn vices. Big Ag and Big Tech hadn’t contaminated the food supply back then. There *was* rationing but, the food was still cleaner. English genes? I suppose.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Geffen went after her band. They tried their best to separate her from the other members. They wanted to turn her into a “star” and she had other ideas. Mainstreaming conflicts with vision and talent. Look at the fight Taylor Swift had.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yea they changed their music….I’ll be posting one of those songs but yea it wasn’t as good.

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      3. I saw in your list that you did Ways to be Wicked (a Tom Petty/Mike Campbell piece…#71 on the Hot 100) and I Found Love (McKee in collaboration with Springsteen’s Van Zandt…which only charted in the UK @ #45). You doing Shelter (McKee-Van Zandt…#47 on the Hot 100) or Sweet, Sweet Baby (McKee, Van Zandt & Benmont Tench…#73 on the Hot 100)?

        Liked by 2 people

      4. I wonder if part of the problem was they were given all these great songs from others and weren’t given the chance to write their own and develop more slowly as songwriters and performers.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. That was probably part of it. It’s such a change from the first album to the second…the second one was pure pop eighties.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yea but she got all the interest doing the thing she was good at. That is what people forget. You can have variety but don’t change everything.

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      7. What was interesting here is that in the interview she barely mentions her time in Lone Justice – refers to it as a country type punk band

        Liked by 1 person

      8. My feelings is that it was not a good experience for her and so she would rather forget it. Would be interesting to know if once she went solo she ever performed any LJ songs.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Yea I would like to know that. When I first heard Ways to be Wicked… and then I Found Love…I thought wow…they are going to be huge.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Have you followed any of her solo stuff? I got her first one and enjoyed it (was still deep in the crush phase at that point LOL but then lost track of her

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Hey Paul…an off topic question… another band I’m looking at….The Connells. Know much about them?

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Ok… 10,000 Maniacs are a definite…it’s like dragging old pictures out of the closet with these bands.

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      13. That is cool! I didn’t know they were still together. I like some of their songs

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      14. It was funny though how the male co-host was intrigued when she mentioned her early band – he had no idea

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      15. Yes! I watched this the other night. Ridiculous amount of pressure for a 18 year old – all she wanted to do was play music and perform but the record company had other ideas.

        Liked by 1 person

      16. Every one from Dolly Parton and Bob Dylan expressed interest…it was wild. Geffen was at one time an Artist guy…but he may have changed.

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  3. Wow Max you are taking me back! I was really into BoDeans back in the day and was actually going to suggest you feature them. Really enjoyed their songs for that string of albums in the 80s. Saw them live once. Funny that they also opened for U2 – maybe there’s a opening for U2 curse 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOL yep! Lone Justice and the Bodeans.
      I saw U2 once and Big Audio Dynomite opened opened up for them…and they broke up not long after…hmmm.
      It’s been a while since I heard them.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. We’ll also have to discuss more some time Springsteen post Tunnel of Love. Being a big Bruce fan I want to convince you he had some great songs post 80s. 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. LOL…no doubt. I did listen to Wrecking Ball some…and you know I love Bruce and I even liked some of Lucky Town and Human Touch but it kind of ended there….but more from not hearing them…so it wouldn’t be hard.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My son knows his music from 2000 on like the back of his hand…I told him about Tenth Avenue Freeze Out around 3 weeks ago. I need to raid his cds.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. No argument from me re the quality of his earlier stuff – yeah you definitely need to get him familiar with his 70s albums. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      3. He is getting more and more into them. He is like me…once he hears one he starts checking out everything.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I did listen to and watch Western Stars which was pretty good but yea…Its hard to live up to the older music.

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      5. Yes that’s one of my highlights from The Rising as well. Interesting that it started as a song about his “hometown” Asbury Park’s economic decline and then got rebooted if you will after 9/11 to be about NYC. I still remember how stunning his performance of it was to open the benefit TV special about a week after

        Liked by 2 people

  5. BoDeans! Party of Five (Closer to Free). I haven’t heard this tune in years. I remember going to a record store in Durham on Ninth Street (Duke student hangout) and seeing their material, intermixed with all the 90s alt stuff. I’m surprised you like them. They are, what do you call it, mainstream? Too polished? Commercial?

    How were they a college radio hit in the 70s? They didn’t form until 1980.

    They have a similar sound to our local (Raleigh) band Far Too Jones (I love that name!):

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m doing the 80s college radio a lot now…that is when college radio took off… I didn’t say 70s is the post did I? I hope not lol.

      Yea I’ve always liked them.

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      1. I really screwed this one up…I also put the wrong album earlier….that is fixed…what the hell was I doing?

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      1. You were gone by the time I got there. I started working in Durham in 1992 and moved there for two years from 1995-1997 off of Club Blvd. where all the state streets are (close to Hillandale). Do you remember the Trooper station on the East side of town between US70 and Miami Blvd.?

        I had many classmates that went to the School of Science & Math (old Watts Hospital).

        Liked by 2 people

      2. To be honest it’s been so long I don’t really remember specifics of the town anymore. I have heard it’s changed dramatically.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. NC has had a lot of immigration from up north. I lived in Texas 2002-2011 and, when I returned to NC, *I* didn’t recognize much. I-85 went from its original four lanes to eight. Downtown Durham is full of high-rise apartments, everywhere. Duke is HUGE, now…so many campuses.

        I try not to go there much, anymore. The crime rate has skyrocketed. When I was reminiscing, above, I was reaching back to how things were. Sorry…

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Yes when I was there downtown Durham as banks and furniture stores and on weekends was deserted 😀. For music we always heard over to Chapel Hill – the Cats Cradle i think one place was called and another I can’t recall the name.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. WOW, 114 comments!!!

    “Only Love” is pretty good. The only song of theirs I’m very familiar with is their 1993 hit “Closer to Free”, which was their highest-charting single. I liked it a lot, and still do.

    Liked by 1 person

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