While MTV has launched many a career, it could be argued that Julie Brown (the white one, as she called herself) was the network’s first home-grown superstar. By the time MTV was thru with her (or she was thru with MTV), Brown was a triple threat – a recording artist, television personality and movie headliner.
Julie Brown started out with some bit parts on sitcoms and movies in the early ‘80s, but found her true calling when her novelty song “The Homecoming Queen’s Got a Gun” hit radio morning shows nationwide in 1985. The song was comedy genius and features one of my favorite lyrics ever - "The cops fired a warning shot that blew her off the float." A full-length LP, “Goddess In Progress” followed and MTV picked up the video for the single. Thus, a relationship was born.
Julie began making frequent appearances on the channel, becoming a sort of defacto VJ, cracking everyone up with her commentary on the bands and biting the corporate hand that fed her. MTV responded by giving her an entire half-hour, the classic “Just Say Julie,” where she predated “Beavis & Butthead” by inserting herself and her caustic comments into horrible videos by the likes of Rod Stewart (“Oh, I want him. I want him badly,
” she’d faux moan).
Riding this momentum, Julie signed to Warner Brothers for her major-label debut album “Trapped In The Body of a White Girl” (“Goddess” was on then-indie Rhino). Paired with some stellar talent (hitmakers Steinberg & Kelly co-wrote the single “Girl Fight Tonight”), the album had sort of an identity crisis, where some older songs like “I Like ‘Em Big and Stupid” were re-recorded in all their novelty glory, and newer songs were not quite as jokey and almost half-serious sounding without the accompanying video (like the title track). The result was a watered-down version of Julie that didn’t chart.
The album has some bright spots, though, especially “Girl Fight Tonight” with its girl group trappings and hilarious delivery (“Shoo-be-do-bop and a shoo-bop-a run away”). It’s long out of print, but you can buy copies directly from Julie at her website.
Julie has continued acting, most notably on the TV series “Clueless” and her soap parody “Strip Mall” which sadly, Comedy Central cancelled without resolving the second season cliffhanger (did Tami – pronounced Tuh-ME – survive being tossed out of an airplane?). This weekend, Julie will be the emcee for the Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade, as well as performing at the festival Saturday night.
Download “Girl Fight Tonight”.
Download “I Like ‘Em Big & Stupid”.
Oh, and look at that….here’s the video for
“Trapped In The Body of a White Girl”!
If anyone has full episodes of “Just Say Julie,” please e-mail me!Neither single charted.
“Goddess In Progress” peaked at #168 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart.