Randy Andy’s “The People (Livin’ In The USA)”: “Running Out Of Luck”

By on April 26, 2015

The “Randy” of Randy Andy, Randy Badazz, was actually Randy Alpert, Herb’s nephew, and the “Andy” was Andy Armer, and together they had written “Rise,” uncle Alpert’s worldwide smash hit in 1979, just one of a handful of instrumentals to chart #1 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 (Pop) chart, so it should probably come as no surprise that this 1983 music video, which aired during Night Flight’s early days on the USA network, was released by Alpert’s A&M Records.

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In addition to charting on other Billboard charts (Adult Contemporary, R&B, Disco), “Rise” also went on to receive a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance, and Badazz and Armer were both nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition.

“Rise” got even more exposure when the track — which was originally written as an uptempo dance number — became a hit in the UK when British DJ’S began playing import copies of the record at the wrong speed. Then Randy and Andy slowed down the tempo and beat considerably and that new version was featured on ABC’s afternoon soap “General Hospital,” where it was used during a pivotal scene, a rape scene actually, and the track was then repeated often during the show whenever the producers wanted to recall the crucial act.

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This video memorably uses the special effect of pixelation, the stop-motion camera effect which is basically stopping and starting the camera to give the finished picture a speeded-up effect. (Unfortunately, the only version we could find cuts off after 3-minutes.)

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“The People (Livin’ In The U.S.A.)” enjoyed some success, mostly in Europe — in Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium and European dance club throughout Europe — and Randy Andy remained busy throughout the 80s, and another track, “The Motor Song,” ended up being even more popular. Here’s the Lockers dance troupe dancing to it on Soul Train:

Their partnership in this synth-pop was shortlived, though, as both were so busy on their own that they didn’t have time, or the inclination, to tour as Randy Andy.

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Meanwhile, the success of their composition “Rise” continued to surprise everyone, appearing as a sample used in Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize,” co-produced by Sean “Puffy” Combs, and it was re-recorded all around the world in various formats by world music artists.

Badazz, who had released music under the moniker Randy Badazz previously, soon began recording under the name Captain Badazz, enjoying dance club play in Germany, France, Brazil, and the UK. He continued producing and mixing other artist’s records and he eventually opened his own studio, Scream Studios, www.screamstudios.com, which has been the studio used by Nirvana, U2, Madonna and literally hundreds of artists over the years. Forty-three Billboard #1’s have been recorded or mixed at Scream, selling upwards of 200 million records worldwide.

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Armer, who had started playing music in the stage jazz band while attending Venice High School in Venice, California, continued writing and playing music, and ended up working with big name musicians such as Roberta Flack, Lenny Kravitz, and Carl Wilson of The Beach Boys. He also continued to record and is featured on keyboards on the “The Pink Room”, from the soundtrack to David Lynch’s film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.

by the early 90s, was turning his focus towards the quickly growing and very lucrative video game industry. For the next ten years, Armer — sometimes using the alias “DMP,” which was short for Digital Music Productions — and he continued to compose music, designed sound effects, scripted and produced voice-over sessions and consulted sound design scenarios for companies like Sega, Sony, Atari, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, and many other smaller companies around the world.

For the last 36 years, Armer has been also operating his own recording studio.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.