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Lisa Lougheed – Run With Us

Cast_of___The_Raccoons___by_EastCoastCanuck

When I was a child watching TV at my grandmother’s before my mum got home from work, I used to watch Neighbours and Home and Away with her. I convinced myself that in the Home and Away theme tune, the female lead singer was cast member Marilyn (Emily Symons). Obviously.

Little did I know that one of my other favourite TV programmes – The Raccoons, which was airing as part of Going Live! on Saturday mornings – actually did have a theme song sung by one of the cast. The Raccoons isn’t exactly the name on everyone’s lips when people talk about their favourite cartoons, but lots of people remember Cyril Sneer – the strange pink anteater creature who was growing rich while others failed. And it’s a shame that very few seem to remember this BLINDING theme tune sung by Lisa Lougheed (tumbleweed) who was also the voice of Lisa Raccoon (again … silence).

It seems like lots of cartoons around that time had killer rock-pop hits that should have been. Transformers: The Movie from 1986 has Stan Bush’s Dare and The Touch, which are crafted with the exact same instrumentation as Run With Us and bring that urgent, driving rock sound with a great vocal and infinitely singable hook. They weren’t ever hit singles, but they always provided that euphoric moment to offset the dystopian world the characters were battling with.

Run With Us sits nicely alongside Bryan Adams, bits of Springsteen’s catalogue, and – with that killer riff – Billie Jean, as well as Tori Amos’ ill-fated Y Kant Tori Read album. It’s an amazing example of the 80s guitar-driven call to arms track that I love so much, but maybe just like Tori’s songs (particularly The Big Picture or Fayth in this case), its failure was a case of timing: Pat Benatar’s huge hit Love Is A Battlefield is a clear influence on this, as is Donna Summer‘s She Works Hard For the Money, but they had exploded four years earlier. And while that sound carried on into the second half of the 80s with things like Danger Zone from the Top Gun soundtrack, Run With Us came just a little too late to ride that wave – though it did make it to no.69 in its native Canada on its release in 1987.

It is utterly, utterly 80s in every way – an air-punching classic like Living On A Prayer and all those songs that still have a huge audience to this day. It’s what I want Ladyhawke to be singing on a stage while the sun sets. I wish more people remembered it, but it’s not available on iTunes – so it’s not even traceable unless you know exactly what it is, what cartoon it was from, and potentially the name of a singer who didn’t have a hit with it. Still, it’s an anthem for those who weren’t cool enough to go skateboarding on the weekend and stayed in to watch animals singing and tackling the issue of capitalism in a clunky but charming way.

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Entered chart: did not chart

Who could sing it today and have a hit?  Brandon Flowers, who kind of does in his own Can’t Deny My Love, Twin Shadow (which would be so amazing) or Ladyhawke (new album depending).

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