Let My People Go by The Pursuit of Happiness: Great B-Sides

Canadian power-pop band The Pursuit of Happiness scored a surprise top 40 hit in 1986 with their independent single ‘I’m An Adult Now’, helped by a low-budget, self-produced music video. The Toronto-based group signed with Chrysalis Records to make their debut album. When they were asked to nominate a dream producer, leader Moe Berg nominated Todd Rundgren, a request that their record label was able to fulfill.

The Pursuit of Happiness’ debut album Love Junk was huge in Canada, selling 100,000 copies and spawning hit singles, ‘Hard to Laugh’, ‘She’s So Young’, and a Rundgren-produced remake of ‘I’m an Adult Now’. On the other hand, the punchy power-pop tune ‘Let My People Go’ didn’t make the album track-list, and was instead relegated to the b-side of the 7″ version of ‘She’s So Young’.

Despite its initial obscurity, ‘Let My People Go’ was later included on the band’s compilation, Sex and Food: The Best of The Pursuit of Happiness and When We Ruled: The Best of The Pursuit of Happiness. It makes sense, because it sounds more like a confident and hooky single than an experimental b-side. The group’s lineup for Love Junk included harmony singer Leslie Stanwyck, who adds body to the group’s harmonies.

Moe Berg is currently playing in The Trans-Canada Highwaymen with Sloan’s Chris Murphy, Odds guitarist Craig Northey, and former Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page; you could argue that The Pursuit of Happiness’ success paved the way for the other three bands.

Thanks to Deke at https://superdekes.wordpress.com/ for providing the lead on this tune.

No, I did not have a backup plan. I never thought about doing anything other than this. A good friend of mine has this theory. He says people who are successful in music don’t have a plan B. I kind of see it like Richard Gere’s character in An Officer and a Gentleman.

Moe Berg, https://globalnews.ca/news/4834981/moe-berg-pursuit-of-happiness-interview/

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Graham Fyfe is probably the only music blogger to appreciate Neil Diamond and Ariana Grande.
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  1. I hadn’t heard of this band until now but I’m impressed with the track you’ve featured here. Then again, with Rundgren producing, it’s hard to go wrong.

  2. Thanks for the shoutout!
    Actually, until you posted this review I had never heard this track so I learned something as well!
    Great writeup.

  3. I like this a lot… very punchy and catchy. I’m going to check out their other stuff. Thanks for sharing this.
    The article was great. I can’t believe they just gave Muchmusic the video and they put it in regular rotation. That was a huge break.
    I think it’s harder for musicians today to make a living. They can get their music on social media yes but they can only really make money on touring. It’s hard making as much off of downloads and plays.
    If you just want your music heard…it is easier today.

    • You could argue that the democratisation of the process is a good thing – you can make it without impressing record label A&R men. But it’s obviously necessary to tour to make a living now for all but the biggest musicians.

      • To get your music heard…its absolutely a good thing. It is more of a grass roots movement now. It’s that other half of the income that is missing that makes touring a must.

  4. I’m familiar with the band name (thanks to our Canadialand chums), but haven’t heard a note of any albums. This definitely appeals to me, though

    • Thank you and happy birthday to your blog! ‘She’s So Young’ is really nice – it’s my other favourite Pursuit of Happiness song that I’ve heard.

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