Thursday Night Music Byte
Robin Lane (born 1947, Los Angeles, California) is an American rock singer and songwriter. Her band, Robin Lane & the Chartbusters, released three albums on Warner Bros. Records in the early 1980s, and was known for its single “When Things Go Wrong”.
Robin Lane grew up in Los Angeles. Her father was Ken Lane, songwriter and pianist for Dean Martin; her mother was a model. While in her teens, Robin began singing and performing in folk-rock clubs in southern California. From 1968 to 1970 she was married to future Police lead guitarist Andy Summers. In 1969, she sang backing vocals on the song “Round & Round” on Neil Young’s album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. In the 1970s, Lane moved to eastern Pennsylvania and then to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where her musical interests turned from folk-rock to a harder sound influenced by the growing punk rock and New Wave genres.
In 1978, Lane formed the Chartbusters with Asa Brebner and Leroy Radcliffe (of The Modern Lovers), Scott Baerenwald and Tim Jackson. She had signed with Private Stock Records, which shortly afterward went out of business. After Jerry Wexler saw a Chartbusters show, however, he signed the band to Warner Brothers. Their first album, Robin Lane & the Chartbusters (1980) featured the singles “When Things Go Wrong” and “Why Do You Tell Lies?”, earned favorable reviews, and received widespread airplay; the music video for “When Things Go Wrong” was the 11th song shown on MTV’s first American broadcast day, August 1, 1981. The band had two more releases on Warner, the EP “5 Live” (1980) and “Imitation Life” (1981). The limited commercial success of these records, combined with business disputes and Lane’s desire to have a child, led to the breakup of the Chartbusters in 1983.
Lane continued writing and recording music, and released the independent EP “Heart Connection” (1984), the self-produced cassette In Concert (1989), and the full-length Catbird Seat (1995). She co-wrote the song “Wishing On Telstar” for the 1991 Susanna Hoffs album When You’re a Boy.
In 2001, Lane and several of the Chartbusters regrouped for two reunion concerts, and decided to continue recording and performing; they released “Piece of Mind” in 2003. Since then, Lane has moved to western Massachusetts, where she works with the Turners Falls, Massachusetts Women’s Resource Center, using music therapy to aid victims of abuse.
In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Robin Lane & The Chartbusters constantly played the club scene in Boston. Their live shows greatly outshined their recorded material and Lane was often referred to as Boston’s Pat Benatar.
The video clip below is of Robin Lane and a different backing band, The Shake performing the song, “When Things Go Wrong” in 1983.