Jheri Curl June: The System’s “The Pleasure Seekers”

Most of our choices for Jheri Curl June so far have fallen between 1981 and 1983, and for good reason: those years were arguably the high point of jheri curl’s Golden Age. But as we reach the second half of our month-long celebration, I wanted to also shift our focus to the second half of the decade, and the evolution that took place for jheri curl music in those years. And who better to do that with than the System?

A partnership between singer/guitarist Michael “Mic” Murphy and session keyboardist David Frank, the System formed in 1982 and, thanks to Frank’s expertise in studio technology, quickly developed into one of the jheri-curl era’s most sonically sophisticated meldings of electronic production and pop-R&B songwriting. In fact, by the time of their third album, 1985’s The Pleasure Seekers, their sound was almost too sophisticated: all of the various synthesizer tones, electronic percussion sounds, and other assorted studio trickery make the title track sound a bit schizophrenic, almost like a more radio-friendly Art of Noise rather than conventional jheri-curl. But if you think I’m calling the System’s JCM credentials into question, you’ve got another think coming: I mean, just get a load of Murphy’s hair in the video, which is surely a contender for the Jheri Curl Hall of Fame if ever I’ve seen one. It’s like Prince‘s Purple Rain-era hair had a baby with Little Richard’s jheri-pompadour, and then left that hair-baby out in the rain for several hours. In short, it’s glorious.

You know the deal: playlist after the jump, see you again tomorrow!





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