Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy New Year

From 1988, U2's version of John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)"
Another year over,
And a new one just begun,
.....A very Merry Christmas,
And a Happy New Year,
We hope its a good one,
without any fear

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays!!!

Wishing all my readers a Happy Holidays!!
Here's a clip that has appeared here before, which always gives me pleasure to see. John Denver and the Muppets doing the "12 Days Of Christmas." This one is from circa 1979.

And here's a Christmas wish thats always relevant. From David Bowie and Bing Crosby in 1977.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Repost: A Christmas Story

This is a re-post of a post originally run on December 17, 2011. 

One of my recently acquired Christmas obsessions is the fun and enjoyable 1983 movie A Christmas Story. Based upon writer Jean Shepherd's semi-fictionalized account of a young boy, Ralphie, experiencing the Christmas holidays in 1940s Indiana with his parents, his younger brother, and his neighborhood friends. I love movies that convey a time period with great detail, and A Christmas Story clearly fits into this category.

This movie contains one of the funniest scenes ever, where one of the young protagonist's friends gets his tongue stuck to metal pole in the cold of winter. The main story line, however, also full of funny moments, concerns Ralphie's ongoing quest to obtain a BB gun for Christmas, despite the objections ("you'll shoot your eye out, kid") of various adult figures, including his mother, his teacher, and a store Santa Claus.

But I think the main reason I find this movie so enjoyable is that its a rather realistic, yet fun, holiday movie that doesn't take itself too seriously. It involves a rather average family doing their best to enjoy the holidays amidst
dealing with everyday life. Ultimately, this movie is about having a Merry Christmas with what you have, and with those you have around you.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Re-Post: Do They Know Its Christmas


The following post contains material from two previous posts which originally appeared in December of 2011. I re-post them together here. There is a running theme between the two portions, which is the charity and hope which is part of the season. I dedicate this post to the community of Newtown, Connecticut, and to all those who have dealt with tragedy in recent times.
In 1984, a group of primarily British and Irish musicians united to collect fund for famine relief in Africa. A project initiated by musicians Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, they called themselves Band Aid, and they released a memorable Christmas single called "Do They Know Its Christmas." Band Aid was literally a "whos who" of the '80s British music scene, and included, among others, such names as Boy George, Sting, George Michael, Phil Collins, David Bowie and members of Bananarama, Duran Duran, and U2.
"Do They Know Its Christmas" went on to become a major holiday song in 1984, and a wonderful memory of that year. It also ultimately led to additional efforts at famine relief, such as USA for Africa and the enormous Live Aid concert in 1985.

Heres one of the groups which took part in Band Aid and Live Aid, U2, doing a great '80s Christmas Song: "(Christmas) Baby Please Come Home," off of the '80s charity album "A Very Special Christmas."

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas in the '80s

An 1980 version of the Coke Christmas tree commercial, which apparently played during the holidays well into the '80s. A reminder to keep hope in your heart through this season, and throughout the year. 

To all my readers, and those just surfing through:

Merry Christmas!!

Happy Hannukah!!

Happy Holidays!!

And heres a few '80s holiday odds and ends:

Here's the most '80s Christmas song and video ever: Wham's "Last Christmas."

On the other hand, this is very '80s too : Billy Squire doing "Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You."

Now this is definitely '80s: a segment of a Pee Wee Herman Christmas special.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Bond (James Bond) in the '80s

With James Bond back in theaters, it got me thinking back to James Bond as he was in the '80s. Bond, of course, was present in films dating back to the early '60s with the first James Bond, Sean Connery. By the time the 1980s started, Bond was being played by Roger Moore, who was chronologically the third actor to play Bond in the movies.
But, as classic as Sean Connery and his brief substitute, George Lazenby, may have been, it was Roger Moore that I first remember as Bond, in television broadcasts of his '70s Bond films like The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979). In the early '80s, he was still going strong as Bond, in For Your Eyes Only (1981), and the film whose title I originally thought belonged to a comedy spoof, before I realized it was that of an actual Bond film, Octopussy (1983).
 Although sometimes not accorded the critical respect of certain other Bond films, I can't help but think that the quintessential '80s Bond flick was 1985's A View to A Kill. Released in the very middle of the decade, it featured many of the traits we all know and love from that era.
This film featured Christopher Walken as the very '80s, yet also very Bond, villain, in the form of an evil computer mogul. The perfect villain at the dawning of th computer age.
In yet another very '80s twist, A View to a Kill also featured Grace Jones in the role of similarly villainous May Day.
And if all that weren't '80s enough, there was the very '80s theme song from Duran Duran. The video is above. Whats not to like?
 One of the twists for the Bond character in the '80s was the brief return of Sean Connery as agent 007 in a movie that was actually produced outside of the primary production company for Bond films, 1983's Never Say Never Again. The title is actually an inside joke about Connery returning to play the character of Bond, after assuming that his time in that role was over. This film was an interesting detour in the Bond list of films, but what a great flashback to see Connery suddenly playing the role yet again.

By 1987, those in charge of the Bond franchise felt it was time to seek out a new actor to play Bond. And thus, Timothy Dalton assumed the role of 007 for the remainder of the '80s, with The Living Daylights (1987) and License to Kill (1989). I remember well all the talk back then of the new Bond actor, and all the usual buzz that followed such a transition.  As for me, it was good to see such a venerable character continue. I haven't been into the Dalton Bond films as I have been with some of the others, but I'm interested in checking out more thoroughly the two releases of this, the most '80s of the Bond actors, since his entire Bond career, from start to finish, was within that decade.

Monday, December 3, 2012

'70s Coke Christmas Commercials

This is the Coke Christmas tree commercial from 1977 which I remember so very fondly from my childhood. The song is "I'd Love To Teach The World To Sing," and it reflected in a beautiful way the spirit of the season. 

Heres a 1978 version of the commercial. Same song, a little different.

Here is the original classic commercial which used the "I'd Love To Teach The World To Sing" song. Entitled "Hilltop," this original version was not strictly  Christmas related, but rather was first released on July 1971. Its message was one of hope, and featured young people from all around the world assembled on a hilltop in Italy, each holding a bottle of Coke from their respective countries. The song "I'd Love To Teach The World To Sing," with the reference to Coke removed, later became a big hit for The New Seekers and a studio group called the Hillside Singers.

The above is a re-post of a post which originally ran on December 2, 2011.  New posts are being worked on, and will appear soon. However, this is a post I am particularly fond of, and its a pleasure to re-post it for enjoyment today. Best holiday wishes to everyone as we begin December!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!!

A 1988 Metlife commercial that appeared during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade that year.

Yep, I posted the same clip last year, and I'm too lazy to find another one.

But my wishes are sincere: Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers.

....and it is a pretty cool Peanuts clip.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Captain EO

I recently visited Epcot, at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida. 
Epcot is very dear to me because it opened in the '80s to much fanfare, and was the location of many a family visit... and of so many of my youthful '80s memories. Epcot, in so many ways was very '80s when it opened, and it was very much a product of its times... the hope and positive vibes and energy of the '80s . . . the visions of the future of that era.

So much has changed since the '80s... and in some ways Epcot's mission has changed as the decade of its birth fades into the past... and yet there are still so many echoes of the '80s in Epcot... in its architecture and some of the rides which have survived since then.

The big ball, above, for example, is actually called Spaceship Earth, and it houses a ride that existed when Epcot first opened... it has had a few changes here and there... but its basically the same.. a ride through the history of communication. Maybe I'll do a post about it some day.

I do still love to visit Epcot, in part for all these '80s memories, and also because it remains to this day a very positive hopeful place.

One place that has changed a lot over the years is the pavilion which, at least back in the '80s, was known as Journey Into Imagination. Although the exterior looks very much the same (thankfully! I like it), the rides and shows inside have gone through a major evolution through the years.

Which brings me to what this post is really about. Back in 1986, when Epcot was still new, at the very height of the vibrant '80s, the Journey Into Imagination pavilion featured a new 3-D sci-fi space film by George Lucas, and starring Michael Jackson, called Captain Eo.

Captain Eo premiered at the very peak of Jackson-mania, when Michael Jackson's image was full of the very hope and positivity of the '80s decade, before his later troubles, and before the world seemed to become a less optimistic and less hopeful place. At least that's how I perceive it.

Recently, after a long absence, Captain Eo was brought back to Epcot, to the very same Imagination pavilion that originally featured it... and providing a wonderful '80s flashback to those who well remember that era.

And here it is, above.

This wonderful short film showcases so much of the good of the '80s: the optimism, the wonderful sci-fi fantasy which so dominated the era, the color and vibrancy... and Micheal when his music and message was a ray of hope that couldn't help but make you smile.

I enjoyed seeing Captain Eo again at Epcot, and am grateful to Disney for bringing it back.

When the world sometimes seems to be growing darker, maybe we need a wonderful flashback like this to remind us to see things in a positive light, and to look for the best in others. Thank you Michael Jackson and thank you George Lucas, for this, and thank you Disney for first presenting this to us, and for bringing it back again just when we need it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Repost: Thriller

Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y’awl’s neighborhood
And whosoever shall be found
Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a corpse’s shell
The foulest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom
And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller 

-Vincent Price, off of an '80s classic, 
Michael Jackson's "Thriller"

The videos a classic too!!

Happy Halloween !!!

This is a re-post of a post originally appearing October 28, 2011. Happay Halloween to all my readers!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Freddy Krueger

Halloween is approaching, and thoughts turn to things scary and spooky. . . and horror.

Those of us who grew up in the 1980s and were into horror movies remember Freddy Krueger. The ghoulish star of the horror flick Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Freddy followed in the wake of slasher era flicks like Friday the 13th (1980) and Halloween (1978).  During the late ‘70s and the ‘80s, these three movies produced numerous sequels which thrived among horror loving young people.

I first became acquainted with Freddy at an informal video-watching party among several members of my high school drama club, of which I was a member. We clustered together around a couch, munching on popcorn, and watching the first Nightmare on Elm Street.  I always thought that, behind the blood and gore aspects of the Freddy movies, there was actually some psychological insight into all those dark thoughts and fears that young people live with. 

Freddy represented the dark and scary stuff that lurked in all of our nightmares.  Things that bother us. Things we run away from.  The kind of stuff that we all are relieved to know doesn’t follow us into our waking lives. . . but in all of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, they did.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Signs of the Times: Karras, Love Boat, Newsweek

Alex Karras passed away on October 10, 2012.  Previously a football player and actor in such films as Mel Brook's classic Blazing Saddles, most '80s audiences will remember him for his presence on the '80s sitcom Webster.

The same day that the passing of Alex Karras was announced, I was listening to a radio talk show, where they mentioned that the cruise ship which was featured in the '70s and '80s television show The Love Boat, known to all who watched that show as the Pacific Princess, was being sold to a company to tear apart for scrap metal. Of course, the talk show hosts having been at the right age to have seen the show originally, were all waxing nostalgic about it. 

They were chatting up about all the characters . .. .Captain Stubing, Isaac the bartender, Julie the cruise director, Gopher, and the doc. And about how the show was part of an escapist Saturday night TV schedule that also included Fantasy IslandOne of the hosts mentioned how the the Love Boat came from a much gentler time for television. 

Indeed, all the shows mentioned in this post so far seem from a totally different era which was much less hard-edged, and frankly nicer: Webster, The Love Boat, and Fantasy Island

And more recently, the news came out that Newsweek, the classic news magazine, was ceasing print publication, relegating all future work to the internet.

So many changes... reminds me of just how old I'm getting.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

When Crue Were Glam

The 1980s was a great time for music, in part because there was just so much of it. So much variety... music of all kinds, and usually with a quirky and fun twist: New Wave, classic rock, Springsteen and Mellencamp roots rock, dance music, synth-pop, ballads, etc. etc. 

Heavy Metal was one of the main aspects of '80s music, a kind-of mutant genre that created loud, aggressive, rebellious music. At a time when boundaries of all sorts had already been broken, and audiences had already been thrown everything except the kitchen sink, '80s metal groups were there to break that final barrier and throw you that kitchen sink. 

Motley Crue first broke into '80s popularity with a gruesome leather-clad appearance, and an album with a black cover and an ominous theme, Shout at the Devil (1983). Although a case could be made that the concept was as much as anything against the devil (after all, the albums' intro exhorted its listeners to "rise up . . . and shout at the devil"), Motley Crue were at the time the group that parents and censors loved to hate.

Then, in 1985, a change. At the time, Crue adopted a more glam (but I'm sure they would tell you, a still rockin) image, with their album Theatre of Pain (1985). Crue during this time were among a growing number of spandex clad, makeup wearing groups into what was known as glam metal, a genre that adopted the colorful, eye-popping glitter/glam rock styles which hearkened back to the early '70s, but added the ear-bursting heavy metal of the '80s.

It was during this time that Motley Crue's audience grew to include teens that may not have gotten what they were about during their earlier period. And they were capable of adding a soft ballad alongside their heavy rock. Here's Crue doing "Home Sweet Home," off of Theatre of Pain.

Glam Metal spread far and wide... I always thought it fit well with the fun-loving, color-filled atmosphere of the '80s. 

Heres Poison, another of '80s big glam metal bands.

It shows how interesting a decade the '80s were, that such an overtly "macho" style as metal adopted such clearly androgynous styles without anyone even commenting. It was macho with makeup and eyeshadow. And it was perfectly and un-ironically accepted as such.

And, of course, this metal ball would not be complete without another big glam metal group, Cinderella.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Rick Springfield

I've got some more posts in the works, so stay tuned. 

Meanwhile, let me direct your attention to fellow retro blogger Trapped in the 80s Mom, who is having a series posts devoted to 80s rocker Rick Springfield. This includes an interesting advanced preview of the upcoming Rick Springfield docu-film An Affair of the Heart.  Its a series of '80s related posts about one of the most important and well remembered performers of that era, and sure to be of interest to those of us who remember that era so fondly. Check it out.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Does Anybody Remember Laughter?*

"Everybody's talkin' about the new sound,
Funny, but its still rock n' roll to me."
-Billy Joel

One thing that makes me feel good, blessed even, about growing up when I did, was the music culture that existed when I was growing up. I was an ‘80s teen, but its not just the ‘80s that I’m talking about. I’m talking about this wonderful thing that came out of the 1950s, and evolved and grew during the 1960s. This wonderful thing called Rock Music, which by the end of the ‘60s had become the anthem and rallying cry of nonconformist youth, and continued strongly throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

I’m not sure how I would have gotten through my teen years without rock music.  Before the age of 12, I really was a rather unhip child, fairly unaware of popular music, rock or otherwise. But once I discovered rock, I grew to love it… all of it, not just the ‘80s, but wonderful stuff from the ‘70s and ‘60s and ‘50s as well.  By the time I was a teen in the ‘80s, it was something that had already been handed down by prior generations. And it was a world all its own… one that nurtured generations of nonconformists . . . rebels of all sorts . . . hippies, freaks, glam rockers, punkers, New Wavers, and others . . . music with a message . . . or with an attitude . . . with a difference . . . a music that told many an odd, strange, misfit kid (like me) that it was okay – even cool – to be odd, strange, and misfit.

I remember spending a lot of time by myself, solitary, in my room, some great record (yes, records, on a turntable, remember those?) on the stereo… it could be something great from the ‘80s.. or from earlier decades… maybe U2, maybe the Police, maybe the Beatles, or the Stones, or some Led Zep, or some Talking Heads . . . maybe something mellow, or psychedelic, or hard… but whatever it was, it had the same effect on me of immersing me into a different world - - perhaps one that was more heroic, or magical, or full of greater possibilities that encouraged an odd, freaky kid to imagine great things.

I didn’t go to my school senior prom. It fell on the same date that Pink Floyd (that’s the ‘80s Momentary Lapse of Reason version, say what you will), was having a concert in a local arena. I had wanted to see Pink Floyd in concert (even a Roger Water-less, David Gilmour dominated Pink Floyd) for ages, and when it came time to choose between going to a rock event from a seminal rock band, and going to some social event that celebrated fitting in to a place I never fit in . . . well, I chose to rock.

I remember the line for the tickets. I and a good, fellow freak friend of mine, agreed to show up at the Specs music store early on the morning of the ticket sale to get ourselves Pink Floyd tickets. I showed up early enough, I thought, but to my surprise there was an enormous line of people who had camped out and waited in line to get tickets. I thought for sure that I had messed up, and that by the time I even got inside to get my ticket, they would be sold out. I looked around for my friend, and to my surprise, there he was, almost at the front of the line, looking disheveled after having camped out there all night. He was hungry, and when a nearby Eckerd Drugs opened, I went to get him a candy bar. We stood in line and chatted with some of the other people there, fellow freaks, as if we were all old friends, or some extended freaky family.  Soon enough, Specs opened, and my friend got me a ticket.. and we rejoiced that were both going to see Pink Floyd.

On the night of the concert, I arrived at the arena and took my place among the packed crowd, but I could not find my friend. I actually was a bit concerned that he didn't make it for some reason. The concert started and there I was, enjoying a Pink Floyd concert. At one point, it started to rain, and this being an outdoor concert, we got a bit drenched. But that didn't matter, we stood there enjoying the music, all united together withstanding the elements in the name of rock n roll. The rain didn't last long, and when it stopped, the water glistening over everything, on came the song "Wish You Were Here." It just seemed poignant, and meaningful... and I thought of my friend. The concert ended, and indeed, it seemed shorter that night than I would have liked... I guess I would have wanted it to go on longer . . . but off I went with a mind full of memories. 

My friend, incidentally, did actually make the concert, and had staked out a place close to the stage to groove to Pink Floyd. I found that out when we next saw each other, both at school, and both wearing Pink Floyd concert shirts.

To me, at least, the true era of rock ended in the around the early to mid '90s. Rock continued, of course, and there were and are many good new rock bands.... but no longer would rock dominate as the voice of quirky, rebellious youth . . . and an era, and a culture, would recede into the past. How, indeed, do today's youth even manage to grow up without Rock?

*The title of my post comes from Led Zeppelin's classic 1976 concert film (of a 1973 concert) The Song Remains The Same, where during a performance of "Stairway to Heaven" Robert Plant comes to the line about "the forest will echo with laughter," and he ad libs "Does anybody remember laughter?"

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Groundbreaking '80s Actors

I was thinking that one of the cool things about the '80s that sometimes doesn't get recognition is the remarkable breakthrough presentations of disabilities in the movies and television. Of course, there is the acclaimed role of Dustin Hoffman as an autistic man in Rain Man (1988).

But even more impressive are the breakthrough roles carved out by actors with disabilities themselves, showing a much broader view of people with disabilities than had been the case before. The '80s began with the remarkable role of deaf actress Marlee Matlin in the movie Children of a Lesser God (1983). 

And the groundbreaking recurring role of Geri Jewell, an actress with cerebral palsy, in the TV series The Facts of Life.

And the decade concluded with the remarkable role of Chris Burke, an actor with Down Syndrome, playing Corky in the TV series Life Goes On.

Kudos to all of these remarkable actors/actresses.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

'80s Summer Songs: 60s Flashbacks

Don Henley - Boys Of Summer by jpdc11

Well, technically, Summer is now giving way to Fall... so perhaps its a good time to take a listen to two '80s summer-related songs that deal with remembering summers past. Specifically, the long past summers of two decades earlier, during the decade of the 1960s.

The '80s came at a time when '60s nostalgia was often in the air. The youth of the '60s, the baby boomers, were getting to be in their 30s, and had all reached the age when they were often reminiscing about their youth in the momentous era of the Sixties. Radio stations with oldies from that era abounded, and every public broadcasting station had plenty of documentaries about the Woodstock era.

Don Henley's 1984 song "The Boys of Summer" was a wistful boomer-esque reminiscence of the 60s era. The longing for that past era, and a biting critique of alleged '80s materialism, could be seen in the line about:

 "On the road today, I saw a deadhead sticker on a Cadillac,
a little voice inside my head said don't look back
you can never look back."

But, as one who was an '80s youth, who loved '80s culture, but who also was attracted to the exiting era of the '60s (or at least some of it), I always felt that one could love both eras. That you could appreciate the good, the optimism of the vibrant '80s, while at the same time also appreciate the positive aspects of the era of change that was the '60s.

I was not alone. The trend toward nostalgia for the '60s spread to quite a few members of younger generations. The Bryan Adam's song released in 1985 had a similar tale of reminiscine about long gone '60s memories. It had sometimes been noted that Adams was far to young to have actually experienced the events he sings about in his song, as he would have been around 9 years old during the real summer of '69.  I myself see the song as one which filled a nostalgic gap for many of us who grew up in the '80s, but who always have a curiosity and attraction for that bygone era that all the boomers were talking about, that era that occurred 20 years before, when so much change happened, and so many memories were built.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

'80s Summer Songs: Suddenly Last Summer

I finally got my new computer... so I should be back to blogging more regularly.

Its Labor Day weekend in the U.S., and I hope everyone over here is enjoying it. Labor Day is often treated as the end of summer, psychologically if not scientifically. Therefore, it probably a good time for me to post another '80s summer song.

"Suddenly Last Summer," a 1983 song from the Motels, is particularly appropriate. According to Wikipedia, lead singer Martha Davis has said that the song came about as she was reflecting on her life ""how you know summer is ending when you hear the ice cream truck go by for the last time and you know he won't be back for a while".

You can just feel the vibe of 1983 in this song, which was a big hit that year.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Re-post: E.T.

To all of my readers: I am posting this using a computer in a public library. Lately my own computer has been malfunctioning, and I am in the process of getting a new one. As a result, I have not been able to work on my blog as frequently as I would like. I plan to get back to it as soon as possible. But in the meantime, here's an old post of mine from October of 2011 which I am re-posting for your reading enjoyment.

I remember when my parents took me to see E.T., '80s sci-fi classic from Steven Spielberg.

The movie came out in June 1982, so this must have been mid to late late '82. I was a somewhat nerdy, awkward 12 years old loner, often in living in my own odd dreamy world. The fact that I was also an only child added to my solitary nature, I suppose. But I was quite close to my parents, although sometimes I even felt misunderstood by them as well, and this would occasionally lead to conflict in my teen years. But this memory was one of being close to them, and I treasure it now as I sit here writing about it.

We went to see the film at a small, one theater cinema in the downtown of our small home town. It was an old theater that had been there seemingly forever, and was still there in the '80s. It was in the very midst of the fan mania that developed over the film, and there was a long line that stretched around the entire front of the small theater and around the side to the parking lot out back.  

We took our place in line, and when we got inside the theater was packed to capacity, with every seat filled.  At that age, I was not yet used to going to see movies at the theater, so the whole thing was quite new to me. I remember we got some popcorn and Coke, and took our seats in the crowded theater. I also remember that in the midst of the movie, someone spilled a drink a row behind us. But I remember the experience fondly.

I remember the pleasure I got in seeing this beautiful film.  There was a tangible warmth about it, there were so many different details that seemed to shine through about the film. I remember the funny scene where E.T. inspires the young protagonist, Eliot, to come to the rescue of the frogs which were to be used during his school's science class, and he proceeds to cause havoc by freeing all of them in the midst of class. I also remember that my mother cried when E.T. briefly appeared to die, and I remember the joy that came when he miraculously revived and was alive.  

It felt like I was part of some wonderful phenomenon that all of America was participating in, and maybe beyond our borders to the world.  I somehow felt like I identified with the young protagonist Eliot, played by actor Henry Thomas. But then, didn't we all identify with young Eliot at that young age, befriending this wondrous being from another world.  

Friday, August 3, 2012

'80s Summer Songs: Beach Boys Redux

In 1985, David Lee Roth did a classic '80s remake of a classic '60s original from the Beach Boys. Roth's "California Girls" featured Beach Boy Carl Wilson and '80s singer Christopher Cross as background vocalists, and appeared in Roth's 1985 EP Crazy From the Heat.

What could be more summery than the sun, the beach, and the classic summer soundtrack of Beach Boys music?

Speaking of the Beach Boys, they has an enormous hit in 1988 with "Kokomo," a song which appeared on the soundtrack of the Tom Cruise movie Cocktail.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

'80s Summer Songs: Cruel Summer

I was thinking about popular '80s summer songs, by which I mean songs that have the word "summer" in them, deal with summer and its varied activities, or deal with various aspects of summer. 

The very first song that came to mind was "Cruel Summer," by Bananarama. The 1983 song was a worldwide hit, and featured on an '80s movie classic, The Karate Kid.

Monday, July 30, 2012

1986 World's Fair

Of course, after my posts on the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee and the 1984 World's Fair in New Orleans, Louisiana, I just have to mention that there was a 1986 World's Fair in Vancouver, British Columbia.  Looked like fun. I'm getting to be quite a World's Fair connoisseur.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

1984 World's Fair

Recently I posted about the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee. I would be failing in my duties to fail to mention that there was another World's Fair in 1984, this one in New Orleans. Alas, my family did not visit this one, although I would have loved to have seen it. Above is a video introduction to the fair presented by Hilton Hotels.

The 1984 World's Fair was in the news at the time due to its financial difficulties, but notwithstanding that, it sure looked like fun.  The comments section at Youtube suggests that a lot of people had a blast at the fair, and the video provides evidence that the New Orleans fair had some of it's host city's party style to it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sally Ride (1951-2012)

Here's to a ground breaker from the 1980's: astronaut Sally Ride, who in 1983 became America's first woman in space.

Below is a video feature about her mission.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

1982 World's Fair

In 1982, the city of Knoxville, Tennessee hosted the 1982 World's Fair.

The theme of the fair was "Energy Turns the World," with the focus of the fair being largely that of energy,  the use of resources, and innovative ways of creating power.

But the fair was so much more than that, and I have fond memories of my family's visit to it.

Here's a commercial about the fair. I remember that the 1982 World's Fair was being talked about in the news, and I remember listening to a radio program that was going on about it. It really heightened my anticipation of going to see it.

My family did a road trip to the fair, staying overnight in Knoxville. The Holiday Inn where we stayed was next door to the fair itself, and gave us a wonderful view of it even before we got it. It all looked so wonderfully exciting and modern (circa 1982). 

The most recognizable structure of the fair was the Sunsphere, a tower with a golden glass-enclosed top, which housed a restaurant and an observation deck. We got the chance to go up, and to get a bird's eye view of the whole fair. The entire architecture and style of the fair was modern, and oriented toward showing what the future would bring.

Here's an video overview of the fair, which gives you a general idea of what it was like. 

The fair featured pavilions from many countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, United States, and  West Germany.

I remember that the United States' pavilion, pictured above, was huge, and focused strongly on the energy theme of the fair. It displayed various innovative sources of energy, such and wind-power windmills.

However, not all of the pavilions were oriented around that theme. I remember that the pavilions of Peru and Egypt contained displays of ancient artifacts. Peru's exhibit derived from the ancient native cultures of Peru, and Egypt's from that of ancient Egypt.

Hungary, the country from came Rubik's cube, notably had a huge, rotating, automated Rubik's cube on display.

At around the same time, McDonald's was featuring these commemorative World's Fair glasses. Of course, we had to get some, which we still have.

In a way, the 1982 World's fair was one of the things that I remember as starting the optimism and vibrancy that marked the '80s. It was, along with the first launch of the space shuttle in 1981, the release of the hostages that same year, and the launching of MTV around the same time, part of what kicked off a time that I still remember as colorful, hopeful, and positive.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bowie and Jagger: Dancing In The Street

Here's one last post to end my recent series about Live Aid. David Bowie and Mick Jagger teamed up to create this song and video, which was played at the Live Aid concert. Its a re-make of the classic '60s song by Martha and the Vandellas. According to Wikipedia:

The video was shown twice at the Live Aid event. Soon 
afterwards the track was issued as a single, with all 
profits going to the charity. "Dancing in the Street" topped the 
UK charts for four weeks, and reached number seven in 
the United States. Bowie and Jagger would perform the song 
once more, at the Prince's Trust Concert on June 20, 1986. 

This Bowie-Jagger collaboration also fits well with comments made in one of my prior posts about the unique duets which were responsible for the song "State of Shock," which was originally meant to be a duet between Michael Jackson and Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury, but then became a Jackson-Jagger duet, and was performed by Jagger and Tina Turner at Live Aid. Jagger appears to have been quite busy in '85.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Memories of Live Aid '85

This is a follow up to my recent post about Live Aid, the enormous two-city concert held in 1985 as a culmination to a number of celebrity efforts at drawing attention to a devastating famine in Africa.

I remember the day Live Aid occurred vividly: Saturday, July 13, 1985.

I was 15 at the time. Being the music and pop culture geek that I was, even at that age, I was immediately drawn to the event. It was, to me, a historical event in music (and in rock music in particular), on par with Woodstock, and other such monumental concerts. I still feel that way about it.

I followed the coverage of it from the start of the day. At first, it was mostly via radio. One of the radio stations I frequently listened to, an album rock station, had all day coverage, and I listened to it as if it were the greatest thing that ever happened. At one point in the day, my family even left for an outing, and I came along, with my Walkman radio in hand, still listening to the event Joan Baez (referring to our generation) called "your Woodstock."  

There were several interesting moments, including reunions from various major bands, including Led Zeppelin (with Phil Collins substituting for deceased drummer John Bonham); The Who; Crosby, Stills Nash & Young; and Black Sabbath.

There was even talk and rumors about a reunion of the three remaining Beatles (as John Lennon had sadly been taken from us by that time). The commentators on the radio who were covering the concerts mentioned it.  Alas, it was not to be.

At the end of the day, at least where I lived, television picked up coverage. I remember vividly this performance by Tina Turner and Mick Jagger.

The first song they are sang was "State of Shock," a song originally sung, in one of the most unusual duets of the '80s, by Michael Jackson and Mick Jagger. The song is off of the Jackson's album, Victory. I've got to do a post about that unique duet sometime!