Thursday, December 18, 2014

One More Glam Xmas Song from '74

Here's one more Christmas song from the age of glam, and from yet another group not as popular in the U.S. as across the big pond. It's amazing how much into Christmas all these British glam bands got, although with all the pomp and circumstance of Christmas, it's actually a good match.

This is from 1974, and it's Mud with "Lonely This Christmas."

A continued Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy Hannukah to all!!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

1973 Glam Christmas

The year 1973 in the U.K. was one in which glam rock dominated the airwaves and economic difficulties dominated the news. It was also a year in which glam bands contributed an unusual number of lively Christmas songs to the U.K. charts, bringing hope and optimism to what may have been a grim time, and adding some rock songs to the yearly Christmas song canon.

America likewise experienced the grim economy, but the experience of glam in the U.S. was often different than that in Britain, with different bands being popular, and different songs becoming hits. Alas, the U.S. seemed to have missed the treats that were provided by these  glam rock yuletide songs (which would have been helpful to cheer America up in a year that included Watergate as well as gas lines).

In my previous post, early '70s glam superstars Slade played their 1973 holiday hit "Merry Christmas Everybody."   Here, we have one of their competitors, the very, very glam UK group Wizzard, with their 1973  U.K. hit "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday."

And here's a British glam rocker well known in the U.S.: Elton John doing his 1973 contribution to the holiday spirit, "Step Into Christmas."

Maybe, indeed, we all do need a little holiday joy, even when times seem grim.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Holiday Season

Its the holiday season, and this year, instead of just focusing on the '80s, I've decided to broaden my focus.  

Although Americans are more familiar with the rock group Slade from their '80s breakthrough hits "Run Runaway," and "My Oh My", the group was greatly popular in the UK throughout the '70s.  Here's a oddball gem of a Christmas song from the glam era of the early '70s from that group, "Merry Christmas Everybody." Its a song released in 1973, in the midst of some dismal economic problems, which was nevertheless hopeful and optimistic about the future. Its apparently become an often played Christmas hit in Britain, although its much less familiar in the U.S.. 

I kinda like it, and the hopeful spirit it conveys.

But, of course, I have to include the '80s too! And here's Billy Squire at the beginning the MTV era in 1981, with "Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You." Ain't that the truth, though?

I do wish all of my readers a cheerful and optimistic holiday season.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Repost: 1989: Berlin Wall Falls

Here's a re-post from November 10, 2013, about one of the major events of 1989: the fall of the Berlin Wall.

November of 1989 was one of the great turning points in history.

For most of the mid to late 20th century, the Cold War divided Europe and the world. By the end of the '80s, however, Communism started to crumble, and the long suppressed people of Eastern Europe started to stir with the desire of freedom. 

Berlin was a central point in the Cold War, with the Communist-built Berlin Wall separating free West Berlin from the oppressed East. But in the midst of the changes then engulfing Eastern Europe, the people of East Germany began to agitate for change, culminating around November 9, when the desires of so many in East Germany resulted in the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Crowds gathered at the wall, the beleaguered East German guards gave way, and the iron curtain fell. People began to tear down the wall in a mass act of liberation.  Here's the account of a reporter from Time of his experiences.

And here are the heroes of November 1989: the freedom seeking people of East and West Berlin.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Re-Post: Elvira

Here's a re-post of a post originally appearing on October 26, 2011.

The Halloween season has brought to mind the fun, ghoulie aspect of the '80s. 

One of the features of '80s television was Elvira, a spooky gothy she-vixen who hosted a syndicated horror movie show. 

She was dubbed the "mistress of the dark."  

Here's Elvira on a local TV station announcing an upcoming feature. Of course, the movie she is referring to is A Nightmare on Elm Street, with its very '80s ghoul Freddy Krueger.

Her popularity spread beyond the program to include commercials and other appearances. Here she is doing a commercial for Coors Lite beer.

And here is a gratuitous, completely unrelated song from the early '80s by the Oak Ridge Boys, which I just put on here for the heck of it. I dunno, but I'm scared already.

Sing along now:

Elvira, Elvira, my heart is on fire for Elvira.
Eyes that look like heaven, lips like sherry wine 
That girl can sure enough make my little light shine 
I get a funny feelin' up and down my spine 
'Cause I know that my Elvira's mine  

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Moscow On The Hudson

In the course of his career, Robin Williams stepped into many roles, both serious and comedic.  One of my favorite is his part-funny, part-serious part in the 1984 movie Moscow on the Hudson, where Williams played a Russian defector, Vladimir Ivanoff, grappling with his new life in the freedom of America.

The movie does a good job of dramatizing the contrast between the grayness and limitation of life in the former Soviet Union, and the bustling, but imperfect freedom of New York, USA in the '80s.  The movie's message was very relevant in the mid-80s as the cold war continued, and with Williams as the main character, it becomes a veritable time capsule for that era.

There are some very funny moments, as Williams' character discovers all the strange and contradictory components about life in a free society, such as the abundance of products at a local grocery store, which contrasted strongly with the rationing and limited supply under Communism.

And there are indeed some serious moments, as the ups and downs of freedom and capitalism causes Vladimir to question the good and bad in this society. But, ultimately, the movie is a dramatic account of what is positive in western society, even amidst the imperfections and issues still to be dealt with.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Simon & Garfunkel's Concert in Central Park

On September 19, 1981, Simon and Garfunkel reunited in a fantastic mega concert in New York's Central Park. They went on to tour heavily.

As an '80s kid who also loved '60s music and culture, this concert was of great interest to me.  The concert film was often played on our local PBS station, and I taped it on our VHS player. I'd often play back the concert, and enjoy seeing the multi-generation crowd digging the reunion of these two "old friends." 

Music was often a multi-generation thing in the '80s, with people of many ages often together enjoying great musical artists. Time was not a boundary.