Back in 1984, a group of British musicians got together to make a Christmas song which also served as a means to bring attention to a terrible famine in Africa, and to collect aid to relieve that famine. The collected musicians called themselves Band Aid, and the song was called "Do They Know It's Christmas?" It turned into one of the most important and monumental singles ever to hit the charts, eventually inspiring other similar efforts in the U.S. and elsewhere, and culminating in the incredible Live Aid concert in 1985. It was one of the most memorable musical moments of the '80s.. and serves as a positive example even today.
To all my readers: Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and Happy Holidays!!!
As Christmas approaches and the Holiday Season continues, here's two possible gift ideas for your friend who loves '80s culture. One is a book called Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists And Songs That Defined The 1980s. Its a book that takes you on a memory trip back to the new wave era of the '80s. Each chapter of the book discusses a single well-known '80s song and the group that did it. Songs dealt with include "I Melt With You" by Modern English, "The Metro" by Berlin, "Girls On Film," by Duran Duran, and other similar beloved songs from the '80s.
This book just came out and it's really a wonderful trip back in time for the fan of '80s music, the groups that made the songs, and the times when it all occurred.
Here's a great companion book that came out about a year or two ago, called Talking To Girls About Duran Duran by Rob Sheffield. In the book, Sheffield gives a great account of growing up as a teen in the '80s decade. Ironically, this book is set up in a similar fashion to Mad World, in that each chapter is named after a specific '80s song which in some way connects with the youthful topic or incident that the chapter deals with. The real stories brought up in this book will bring up instant memories for those of us who grew in that era.
I think it says a lot about the '80s that both of these '80s related books are structured around specific songs . . . the '80s indeed were an era where memories seem most closely tied to specific songs, perhaps more so than other decades. It was indeed, the last great era of pop.
After a few '70s related Christmas posts... now back to our regularly scheduled decade. Wham's "Last Christmas" has always seemed to me to be one of the most '80s Christmas songs, both in its style and in its very '80s video. Here's the original from 1986.
And here's Taylor Swift with a more recent version of the same song. Still great.
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!!!!
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 myprevious 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.
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.