For the life of me, I couldn’t tell you how I discovered Edwyn Collins. My best guess is that I was home one day (or night), glued to MTV, and the video for “A Girl Like You” came on. I was immediately smitten. “A Girl Like You” had a lounge-y throwback vibe that was pitched somewhere between Esquivel (whose albums were selling like hotcakes around the time of “Girl”’s release) and Austin Powers (which was still several years away). Edwyn Collins had a gravelly, serrated edge to his voice that reminded (and still sort of reminds) me of Bea Arthur. Maybe not the best recommendation for a song (although apparently Bea was quite the vocalist), but trust me, it works.
“A Girl Like You” was a featured track on the soundtrack to the movie “Empire Records”. I have never seen this movie, and a main reason for that is because I was living Empire Records at the time. The film was heavily based on Tower Records (Empire? Tower? Get it?) and during the summer of 1995 (for the whole year, in fact?) I was employed at Tower Records’ Lincoln Center location. Actually, this was the year that the original 66th and Broadway location was temporarily relocated to the basement of the Ansonia Hotel between 73rd and 74th. I’ve got stories from that year, my friends. Drinking (underage) during lunch breaks, the son of a jazz legend constantly getting berated for his dad’s music while working in the jazz section, constant celebrity encounters, an after-hours shooting inside the store, and characters that are far likely more interesting than those that were depicted in the movie. Maybe I should write a script. I don’t know if I’d be able to get a song as good as “A Girl Like You” for the soundtrack, though.