Mike + The Mechanics: “Silent Running” (1985)

This song appeared in the film On Dangerous Ground, a/k/a Choke Canyon, a/k/a that crappy film with Bishop from Aliens in it.

Kronomyth 1.2: Eastern bloc and roll.

This song appeared in the film On Dangerous Ground (Choke Canyon in the US). At least I think it did, since only about 200 people actually watched that film. It had Lance Henriksen in it, a man who attracts bad movies like Madonna. In fact, I’m shocked that Lance Henriksen and Madonna haven’t appeared in a movie together.

The video for Silent Running had a wider audience. It’s a mini-story about a boy who is visited by an alien who knew his father and, well, I lost interest after the first two minutes so I don’t know how it ends. Maybe he builds a radio to communicate with his Dad or goes on an alien probing expedition to retrieve an old pocket watch. I always thought the video should have been about Eastern bloc citizens living in a fascist/communist regime, since that’s what I thought the song was about. The single version of “Silent Running” runs about two minutes less than the album version. They cut out most of the 90-second intro (which I thought was the best part) and presumably something else.

The singles for this came in a few interesting shapes and sizes, from a picture disc in the shape of an engine (Mike + the Mechanics, get it?) to a 12-inch single that includes a nonalbum instrumental, Too Far Gone, and restores the A side to its original six minutes. “Too Far Gone,” by the way, sounds like the sketch of a song that never materialized. The regular 7-inch singles featured either I Get the Feeling or Par Avion in their original album versions.

Original 7-inch single version

A1. Silent Running (Mike Rutherford/B.A. Robertson)
B1. I Get the Feeling (Mike Rutherford/Christopher Neil)

Original 12-inch single version
A1. Silent Running (Mike Rutherford/B.A. Robertson)
B1. I Get the Feeling (Mike Rutherford/Christopher Neil)
B2. Too Far Gone (Mike Rutherford)

Original 7-inch single version (US/Canada)
A1. Silent Running (Mike Rutherford/B.A. Robertson) (4:10)
B1. Par Avion (Mike Rutherford/Christopher Neil) (3:40)

Back-to-back hits 7-inch single
A1. All I Need Is A Miracle (Mike Rutherford/Christopher Neil) (4:10)
B1. Silent Running (Mike Rutherford/Christopher Neil) (4:10)

The Players

“Silent Running” and “I Get the Feeling” produced by Christopher Neil; engineered by Simon Hurrell. “Too Far Gone” produced by Mike Rutherford; engineered by Nick Launay.

The Product

Released on 7-inch and 12-inch single in October 1985 in the UK (WEA, U8908/T), the US (Atlantic, 7-89488), Canada (Atlantic, 78 94887), Germany (WEA, 258 908-7) and Spain (WEA, 25 8908-7) and on December 21, 1985 in Japan (WEA, P-2042) with picture sleeve; reached #6 on the US charts (charted on November 23, 1985 for 24 weeks). Also released on 7-inch single and 7-inch picture disc single in January 1986 in the UK (WEA, U8908/P), Australia (WEA, 7-258908) and France (WEA, 258 908-7) with picture sleeve; reached #21 on the UK charts (charted on February 15, 1986 for 9 weeks).

  1. Re-issued on back-to-back hits 7-inch single with “All I Need Is A Miracle” in the US (Atlantic Oldies Series, 7-84975).

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