Ball and Pivot | Heart in the Sky

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United States - Mass. - Boston

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Rock: 80's Rock Rock: Glam Moods: Mood: Brooding
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Heart in the Sky

by Ball and Pivot

12 digitally remastered tracks by Boston's top glam-tech-rock band of the 1980s.
Genre: Rock: 80's Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Two O'Clock Jump
3:45 $0.99
2. Baby Doll
3:31 $0.99
3. Downtown
4:04 $0.99
4. Heart in the Sky
4:45 $0.99
5. Shot of Love
3:04 $0.99
6. Christine
4:31 $0.99
7. Jump My Train
3:35 $0.99
8. Blue Angel
4:24 $0.99
9. It's Love, Miss Veronica
3:42 $0.99
10. Looey Salamander
3:51 $0.99
11. Down
4:04 $0.99
12. We Love the Dead
2:56 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The Boston rock band Ball and Pivot was formed in early 1984 by singer Bruce Wilkinson (previously the bass player with the Atlantics), guitarist Tom Hauck, and drummer Paul Caruso (both also formerly with the Atlantics). The group’s first project was an independent six-song EP recorded at Syncro Sound and released on Z-Club Records in the spring of 1984. The band was joined on the record by Tim Long (keyboards) and Skip Smith (bass), who stayed with the group when Ball and Pivot started playing live in clubs and colleges in the New England area. The EP yielded the regional hit “Two O’Clock Jump.”

The next year the group was restructured, and Gene Gilmartin replaced Paul Caruso as the drummer and Paul Michael replaced Skip Smith on bass. The group returned to Syncro Sound with producer William Garrett and recorded the 12” single “Down.” With support from Aruba’s travel office, in the spring of 1985 Ball and Pivot went with director Luis Aira to Aruba and made a video of the song. The single, extolling the virtues of an oral hook-up, was a huge regional radio and dance club hit, and the controversial video—available in both regular and R-rated versions—made it briefly to MTV.

During live performances the group was often joined onstage by vocalist Hope Moon, who was featured as the female partner during “Down.” In 1986, the group traveled to Daytona Beach, Florida, to perform during Spring Break week. After only three days of a week-long contract the group was escorted out of the hotel by Daytona police and told not to come back, presumably due to Bruce and Hope’s outrageous stage performance.

During the next two years the band played to audiences in the New England area, and performed with artists as diverse as Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Nona Hendryx, and INXS. In 1987 the band scored again with the rocker “Nowhere to Hide,” released with a video by Jeff Hudson. Ball and Pivot was the quintessential 80’s techno rock-dance band, with success both onstage and in urban dance clubs and radio.

In early 1988 Dave Roberts replaced Paul Newman on bass. The band continued to perform until June, 1988, when they played their final show. Singer Bruce Wilkinson passed away in October 2000.

"Heart in the Sky" features 12 tracks recorded in 1985-1987, including the smash hits "Down," "Two O'Clock Jump," "Downtown," "Looey Salamander," and 8 more. All have been digitally remastered, and many have never been previously released.

BOSTON GLOBE, May 25, 1985

Ball and Pivot… has worked out a deal in which they'll make a video for their new single, "Down," in tropical Aruba next month. Seems the band heard the island wanted to boost tourism, so after a quick call to the tourist board, the band agreed to make their video there in exchange for a free hotel stay, government assistance and a cut rate from American Airlines. "We wanted to show what you can do if you just have enough nerve and imagination," says Ball and Pivot's Tom Hauck. "We have a minimum of capital, but we're probably getting $100,000 in production costs out of this." The band, which plays tonight at Jumpin' Jack Flash, will also do an outdoor show in Aruba. >>>> Steve Morse


These songs, many previously unreleased, are like opening a time capsule from 1987 to find all the conventions of the synth-pop genre intact—the wheezy keyboards, the repetitive song structures, the mysterioso vocals, the percussion-heavy arrangements, the theatrical balladry. Yet, in their heyday, Ball and Pivot filled venues such as the Paradise and Spit/Axis. The thing is, while all the hipsters were grokking on Big Dipper and Dumptruck, the cognoscenti were snobbishly missing out on the decidedly mainstream pleasures of this equally fine band, Boston's answer to OMD (see, for instance, "Blue Angel"). MTV-hit "Down" and horn sections, as on "Downtown," may not have screamed indie cred, but they shouldn't have deterred rock's true believers from being able to appreciate Ball and Pivot. Maybe some of their repertoire was dance fodder, but that's not all it was; this offshoot of The Atlantics, led by Tom Hauck and Bruce Wilkinson, featured carefully thought-out songs spilling over with sophisticated arrangements (check out Paul Michael's bass build-up on the climax of "It's Love, Miss Veronica"). And their love songs both said and meant something, as on the surprisingly Spartan "Heart in the Sky" and the achingly evincing lament "Christine."
>>>Francis DiMenno

Thanks to these stations who publish online playlists and who have recently reported spins of Ball and Pivot!

Jan 16th 2008 11:55PM PL Ball and Pivot—“It's love, Miss Veronica’
Jan 12th 2008 7:55PM PL Ball and Pivot—“Down”

1/13/08 New England Product playlist

Pipeline! Playlist January 29, 2008
Ball and Pivot—“Down”

The Menace’s Attic Episode #321
February 1st, 2008
“Two O’Clock Jump” – Ball and Pivot (Something Hot)

KPFT 90.1 FM Houston Commercial-Free Listener-Sponsored PACIFICA Radio
JEFFREY THAMES [King of Grief] Host/Producer
SOUND AWAKE Tuesday Afternoons 3-5 PM Central
4 O'CLOCK 80s BLOCK: BALL AND PIVOT / We Love The Dead / Heart in the Sky / communications



to write a review


Finally! After 20 years! I saw Ball and Pivot play with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five at the Channel in Boston.... Awesome show! This CD captures all the great songs. Bruce Wilkinson was a truly great singer. Check out "Christine" for real soul, and "Heart in the Sky" for a classic arena rock anthem. These guys knew what they were doing and transcended the big hair 80s. This CD sounds like it could have been released this year.


Glam and grunge!
Forget the funny name. Forget the big 80s hair. Ball and Pivot had one of the most gifted singers of the 80s or 90s. Bruce Wilkinson - who committed suicide in 2000 - was a precursor of Kurt Cobain via Mick Jagger and David Bowie. Check out "Baby Doll" and "Blue Angel." His vocal performances are world-class. The highly skilled band backs him up effectively, but its Bruce's mix of vulnerability and aggressiveness that carries the CD. He shifts into pop mode for the twisted "We Love the Dead," and plays the Prince-like sex star on "Down." "Downtown" could be a "Sticky Fingers"-era Stones song complete with Stax horns, and "Jump My Train" features a guitar solo by Tom Hauck that channels Joe Perry. "It's Love, Miss Veronica" sounds like REM meets STP. An awesome disc that bridges the gap between glam and grunge. A must-have for any rock collection.

eddie w.

classic CD
i heard about this band on wfnx radio boston bands show. "down" got my attention. all the cuts are great. sounds like a combination of duran duran, stones, psy furs, omd, and roxy music. best pop cut is "we love the dead," an rem-style twangy pop tune. "downtown" has great groove, stones-type horn section. singer bruce wilkinson is dramatic but passionate. don't be fooled by the big hair - ball and pivot were real rockers, not arena poseurs. buy this cd and take a step back into the future. this cd will change your mind about the 80s.

Johnny Gardner

Finally after 20 years! Ball and Pivot were awesome. Heavy beats, smokin hot guitars, sounded like Duran Duran meets The Cure meets Psy Furs. "Down" was a huge hit in Boston in 1985, "2 O'Clock Jump" got played on radio constantly. Bruce Wilkinson was years ahead of his time -- a cross between David Bowie and Kurt Cobain. I saw BAP play with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five at the Channel Club in Boston! Rock meets rap! These guys had the flash and the swagger to rock with the best. Five stars!!!


killer cd!!! downtown rocks, 2 oclock jump is heavy, looey salamander sounds like alice in chains. baby doll is like led zeppelin meets the doors. great musicians, bruce is awesome too. if you thought the 80s were just big arena bands, ball and pivot will change yer mind. they are funky and they rock hard. they sound like the killers or arcade fire. every track is great. glad i found this cd.

Howie in Detroit

Undiscovered gem!
I heard about Ball and Pivot from a friend. This CD is a lost classic. It truly is as good as anything by Duran Duran, the Killers, and other superstar bands. Why these guys were not household names is mystifying. Every track is perfect--not a clunker among them. They effortlessly cross boundaries from funk to glam-pop to arena rock. Heart in the Sky should be in every rock fan's collection.


BAP Rules (well, ruled)
Saw Ball and Pivot a couple of times in Boston in the 80s. Awesome live show, reminded me of Duran Duran, Stones, INXS, Public Image, Aerosmith all rolled into one. Saw them open for INXS at the Orpheum Theatre. Bruce worked the stage like a cross between Johnny Rotten and Frank Sinatra. Smokin hot leads by guitarist Tom, too. "Down" was a huge hit in New England, but there are even better songs on this CD. Check out "We Love the Dead," a perfectly crafted pop song. Glad this CD is available!!

Susie G

What\'s old is new
If you like \"Many Shades of Black\" by the Raconteurs, you\'ll love \"Downtown\" by Ball and Pivot. Also recommended for fans of the Cure and the Killers. These guys have the FUNK and the ROCK and the POP.