Unless you were frequenting New York City's alternative-music nightclubs at the dawn of the 1980s, you've probably never heard of the Cosmopolitans. And that's a real shame, because they were an amazingly fun little tangent of the new-wave era. "Wild Moose Party," "(How to Keep Your) Husband Happy" and their other Cosmpolitans chestnuts were lighter than air, evoking a smart-aleck punk-rock take on the girl-group era. And they also knew how to put on A Show, with costume changes and ace choreography.
While they were very much a New York phenomenon, the Cosmopolitans' one commercially released single did get airplay in some unexpected places. Glen Tig, who is now a psychotherapist who splits time between Carrboro and Vancouver, was a fan and friend of the Cosmopolitans. He remembers hearing "Husband Happy" on the BBC in London in early 1982.
"I remember being mesmerized by Laurie Anderson's hit 'O Superman,' which was No. 2 on the British charts at the time," Tig recalls. "And suddenly the tranquility was broken by the Cosmopolitans! I think it was probably the contrast of the two, Laurie's mystical tranquility followed by [the Cosmopolitans'] hilarious irreverence. That memory has stuck with me for 27 years. I loved it and still do."
Alas, the Cosmopolitans broke up later that same year and have not been heard from since. But they're back together for a reunion show that plays Cat's Cradle on Saturday, with fellow underground Tar Heel pop legends Don Dixon and Mitch Easter also on the bill. For much more on the reunion, check the feature in Sunday's paper.