6th January 2021:
I can’t imagine having the surname Bourgeois, and when I first heard of the band Bourgeois Tagg back in the 80s I thought it was a social statement rather than the surnames of the founder members of this 2-album-only band.
Brent Bourgeois and Larry Tagg were both born in New Orleans at the tail end of the 50s. Always musically inclined, the two friends moved to California in the late 70s and found themselves playing with a Sacramento band named Uncle Rainbow.
The friends split from the band in 1984 and, although ostensibly a duo, called on guitarist Lyle Workman, drummer Michael Urbana and keyboardist Scott Moon to form a new band, Bourgeois Tagg. Larry Tagg played bass and Brent Bourgeois duty shared lead vocals.
The new band didn’t take long to be noticed and were soon contracted to Island Records. In 1986 the self-titled debut album was released and two singles were released. ‘Mutual Surrender (What a Wonderful World)’, which was a college radio hit and received some club play. ‘The Perfect Life’ didn’t have the same impact despite the promo video that had been produced to accompany it.
To begin the Bourgeois Tagg mix for today I’m starting with that first single. Although the track doesn’t have the slickness of their second album, it is still a pretty good song and shows what was waiting in the wings from this oddly named crew.
Bourgeois Tagg had to wait another two years before receiving the recognition they deserved. This was achieved with the second album (and last as a band), Yoyo. When Todd Rundgren lent his huge talents as producer for the album Bourgeois Tagg’s sound achieved a new depth and maturity.
The album gave the band their biggest hit, ‘I Don’t Mind at All’, which hit the Top 40 in the UK and the USA. With a vocal arrangement that was highly reminiscent of the Beatles and a melody that was immediately recognisable, the song soon became a Top 5 hit on the worldwide Adult Contemporary charts and remains a favourite to this day.
This time the innovative video that had been produced for the song received heavy rotation on MTV giving the song ‘earworm’ status. Here’s the song that will send many of our group down memory lane, ‘I Don’t Mind at All’.
The bright future that seemed guaranteed for Bourgeois Tagg met the fate of many bands before them, drugs and alcohol. Brent Bourgeois became addicted to the heady combination and realised that he had to take control. He started going to church along with fellow musician and friend, Charlie Peacock. Brent’s new-found Christianity saw him focus his lyrics around Christian themes which didn’t go down well with the rest of the band, and they eventually split.
Larry Tagg went on to release two solo albums by the end of the 90s. Brent Bourgeois was signed to Virgin’s Charisma Records but his self-titled solo debut produced only one minor hit and the album didn’t sell well. His 1992 album A Matter of Feel was all but ignored by the industry and Brent and Charisma parted ways.
It was only when Brent released a fully Christian-based album in 1994, Come Join the Living (produced by ex-drinking buddy Charlie Peacock) that he managed to reclaim some of the success and promise of his earlier days. The album became #1 on the Contemporary Christian charts and set the course for his ongoing songwriting and production career that has lasted to this day.
I’m closing today with the second single from Bourgeois Tagg’s Yoyo album, ‘Waiting for the Worn to Turn’. The single wasn’t a success but was one of my favourites from the album and I love the video that was produced to promote it. This is the only single that was fronted by Larry Tagg.
The life and popularity of a band sometimes seem to run its own course, but I think it is quite sad that we didn’t get to hear more from this talented band of musicians. Here’s ‘Waiting for the Worm to Turn’. Catch you soon.
The Loving the Music mini-features are written and compiled by me to support Loving the Music’s Facebook page and group. Join the community for regular themed three-part posts that do do more than just share a song.
The Author owns no copyright on the images or videos in this article. All images and links sourced from YouTube and Google and within the public domain.
Words © Andrew Knapp 2021