Sunday, May 19, 2013

Flashbacks to 1983

Surfing the net this past week, I came across some items about that monumental year in pop music, 1983. That year has always been a favorite of mine, and considering the happenings occurring in the music scene that year, it has claim to being one of the most eventful years in rock and pop history. It was, after all, the year of Thriller, of the Second British Invasion, and the year when MTV surged forward as a cutting edge music medium.

This article in the Toledo Free Press gives us a flashback to a memory from that era regarding one of the most popular groups of the decade The Police, and their great 1983 album, Synchronicity:

At 17, I was at the zenith of my love for record collecting, 
but I would walk past the new releases to check the torn-out 
Billboard pages tacked over the singles bin. I had been raised 
on country-western music; other than my mom’s Beatles LPs, I 
did not know much about pop. During a swim party at a friend’s 
in the spring of 1979, I heard the slashing guitars and 
hysterical pleadings of “Roxanne,” and I never again settled 
for steel guitars and Nashville slickness. I followed 
The Police through their exponentially successful rise of 
“Message in a Bottle,” “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” and 
“Every Little Thing She Does is Magic.” 

When “Every Breath You Take” exploded in the summer of 1983, I 
followed its chart progress like a sports fan rooting for a 
team’s pennant chase. I still remember the numbers: A debut at 
No. 36, a jump to No. 24, a leap to No. 12, a move to No. 5, 
then an eight-week run at No. 1 that, as a longtime fan 
of the band, made me feel as triumphant as if I had 
written the song myself.

No song dominates the memory like a summer song, and to                          this day, hearing the pistol-shot opening of “Every Breath                         You Take” takes me back to the summer of 1983.

The '80s blog Rediscover the '80s, had a post recently about another 1983 group and album, Huey Lewis and The News' Sports. Here's some memories from that post:

Once I was able to save up and buy my own music 
in the mid-late 80s, I remember acquiring Sports on 
cassette. I loved it. I also remember it still being one I 
listened to in the car when I first learned how to drive in 
the early 90s. It's one of those albums that I never used 
the fast forward button on (maybe rewind.)  . . .

The music blog All Music encapsulates the spirit of 1983 this way:

If any year captured the heady rush of the early '80s, it was 1983, 
the year Michael Jackson's Thriller became a phenomenon and, not 
coincidentally, the year of MTV's prime. The cable network debuted two 
years earlier but '83 was when music videos took over, popping up on 
cable channels and network TV, and along with videos came a glorious 
period of hit singles by one-hit wonders, new invaders from 
Britain, and veterans who now mastered synths and drum machines, 
the latter inexplicably led by grizzled, hairy blues-rockers ZZ Top and 
the visionary jazz-fusion keyboardist Herbie Hancock. Underneath all 
this televised glitz were some major debuts: the first albums from 
Madonna, Metallica, R.E.M., and Hüsker Dü, and the first singles from 
the Smiths and Run-D.M.C. And there were the mammoth hits -- yes, 
Thriller, but also Def Leppard's Pyromania and the Police's Synchronicity, 
all giving us more than enough reason to love 1983.

Here's one of my own fave memories from 1983:

Sunday, May 12, 2013

One More For Mom

Following up on the last post, memories started coming to me about my mom's life long love of TV cop/detective/investigator/law type shows.

Here was one of her faves from the '80s... Magnum P.I.  

Just watching this now, and the theme music immediately takes me back to those days.  My mom passed on, back in 2003. But I imagine her in heaven with Magnum P.I., or Simon and Simon, or Hart to Hart on... enjoying watching  these shows immensely. This one's for you, mom. 

....and a Happy Mothers Day to all moms out there.  

Saturday, May 11, 2013

'80s Cop Show Memories

One of the most celebrated, and remembered cop shows from the '80s was Hill Street Blues, a show noted for quirky characters, but with an undercurrent of grittyness. I remember fondly the theme song, by a veteran writer of many police themes, Mike Post.

Daniel J. Travanti starred as the chief, Captain Frank Furillo, but perhaps the most most memorable line of the entire series came from the daily briefings conducted by Sgt. Phil Esterhaus (Played by Michael Conrad), who always ended each briefing with "Let's Be Careful Out There."  That was a line often repeated during the '80s.

On the opposite extreme of '80s cops shows was highly stylized Miami Vice, a show oriented to the age of MTV, with colorful sets, slick background music, and fast-paced editing. The intro showed scenes of the Miami area, then popular due to the effect of Miami Vice, the popularity of South Beach style pastel colors (a fave in the '80s), and Gloria Estefan's Miami Sound Machine. 

Miami Vice's hugely popular theme was from Jan Hammer.