Sunday, April 6, 2008
Soundtrack Sunday – Miami Vice "Stone's War" (1986)
Yes, I'm a true child of the 80s.
More than that, however, I truly enjoyed the left-leaning political thrillers that emerged from Hollywood during my teenage years: Missing (1982), Under Fire (1983), The Year of Living Dangerously (1982).
Every once in a while, TV would tread into that territory – most notably Miami Vice, which produced a harrowing episode called "Stone's War" in Oct. 1986.
Guest starring Bob Balaban (later better known for his contributions to Best in Show, A Mighty Wind and other Christopher Guest improv films), it revolved around a cameraman and former Crockett war buddy (Balaban) who possessed incriminating evidence of a U.S.-backed paramilitary group backing the Nicaraguan contras.
It was actually the second Miami Vice episode involving Ira Stone, Balaban's eccentric character who was obsessed with bringing down his nemesis Col. Maynard (former Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy, in his acting debut). The songs in the first episode were all from the Doors. The second included two powerful songs that remind me of the episode whenever I hear them: The first was "Lives in the Balance" by Jackson Browne, a song I already knew.
Play "Lives in the Balance" by Jackson Browne
The second was this propulsive, dark song that seemed to be sung by this cross between Jim Morrison and Ian Astbury of The Cult. With no AllMusic.com or imdb.com in those days, there really was no way to find out who it was . Only much later did I discover what the song was and who sung it: "Mercy" by former Sex Pistol Steve Jones. A few months later, I performed the distressingly uncool act of buying the Miami Vice II Soundtrack album simply because it included that song.
Though the years have taken their toll on my fondness for the Miami Vice episode (too earnest and overdone, as is typical of the decade), I still love this song. I mean, it's so dark and moody that it perfectly portrayed the evil illustrated in that episode.
Play "Mercy" by Steve Jones
Even if reminds me too much of aviator sunglasses, loafers without socks and loose-fitting sportcoats.