Wang Chung Didn’t Know

Wang Chung didn’t know their song “To Live and Die in L.A.” was the theme for John Mulaney’s Netflix show.

Following the success of their song “Dance Hall Days,” which was released in 1983 on their album “Points on a Curve,” Wang Chung was under some pressure from their label Geffen to produce another hit.

Instead, they accepted an offer from film auteur William Friedkin to score his next film. Friedkin had previously directed “The Exorcist” and “The French Connection.” Friedkin had been a fan of the group, and asked them to create an instrumental soundtrack for the gritty crime thriller (which starred William Petersen, Willem Dafoe and a number of now-familiar faces).

Per lead singer Jack Hues, while they composed instrumental music for the film, once the duo saw the film, the theme song “just kind of popped out.”

And while Friedkin eventually embraced the track, even though Hues says the band’s A&R team at Geffen Records didn’t quite know what to do with it. Unlike most pop songs, the chorus of “To Live and Die in L.A.” goes down an octave.

Ultimately, the song was released as part of Wang Chung’s soundtrack to the William Friedkin film of the same name. It featured vocal tracks on one side, and the instrumentals that Friedkin wanted on the other. At the time, it narrowly missed the top 40, peaking at No. 41 on the Billboard Hot 100.

To their record label’s delight, the band followed it up with their most successful album 1986’s “Mosaic.” That LP features the 80s anthem “Everybody Have Fun Tonight.”

Regarding the John Mulaney’s six-episode Netflix talk show “Everybody’s in L.A.,” Wang Chung had no idea “To Live and Die in L.A.” was being used as theme song — but they’re thrilled he did.

Lead singer, Jack Hues first learned of the usage from the “guy who does our merch.” Hues continued, “It’s a total surprise that it’s blown up in the way that it has.”

Guitarist Nick Feldman, the other half of the duo, was already a fan of Mulvaney when he got the news.

“It’s so nice to see it get used in such a cool way,” he says. “The way it’s placed into the show — which I’ve watched a couple of episodes and I really liked — it really works well.”

If you haven’t seen the show, or the film, the opening for the talk show uses a collage of images from Los Angeles, which is in keeping with the feel of the film “To Live and Die in L.A.” and the tone of the song.

The Mulaney talk show actually isn’t the only needle drop that Wang Chung has recently enjoyed in the streaming world: “Dance Hall Days” also plays a role in Amazon Prime Video’s film “The Idea of You,” starring Anne Hathaway.

Wang Chung is currently embarking on the “Abducted by the 80s” tour with the Motels and Naked Eyes and some other 80s bands, depending upon the venue.

Go to abductedbythe80s.com for more information.

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