Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!!!!!


Here's a clip of New Years Eve 1979-1980, on the exciting eve of the new '80s decade. (Thanks and acknowledgement to videoholic50s60s70s.)

Happy New Year to you all!!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Annie Lennox, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"

OK. You may be thinking . . . "Another Christmas post?? Isn't Christmas over?" . . . Well, not quite yet.   As of the time of this post, New Years Day hasn't come yet. Also, I'm of Latin American background, and in Latin cultures, the Christmas holidays continue until Epiphany, also called Three Kings Day, on January 6.  And, Hannukah and Kwanzaa are still going on.   So, I figure a holiday post is still fair game.

Besides, I just couldn't resist posting this wonderful and amazing version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" by Annie Lennox, from 2010.  So etherial and magical, and so evocative of the season.  Check out the strangely beautiful video too. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Remembering George and Carrie

George Michael, member of Wham!, classy '80s singer and songwriter. 

Carrie Fisher, talented actress and author.

Debbie Reynolds, gifted actress and entertainer.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Memories, Peace, and Happy Holidays


Here's two video clips which I've shown on this blog before. In fact I was considering whether I should re-post it yet again. But I opted to bring them out again, like worn but beloved Christmas ornaments, because of at least two reasons.  First, they both bring back strong memories from my Christmases past. Second, because they both represent that spirit of love, peace, and compassion we need today.

 Above is the classic commercial which Coke ran during the late '70s of young people creating a Christmas tree, and singing "I'd Love To Teach The World To Sing."  I remember this 1977 commercial so vividly from my childhood. It has a very special place in my memories, and represents an innocent ideal of what Christmas is supposed to be about. I feel like just jumping in and joining this wonderful bunch of young people and sing along with them.

And here is another 1977 item: the duet between Bing Crosby and David Bowie of "Little Drummer Boy/ Peace on Earth." I think this video is particularly poignant this year, as we lost David Bowie. The lyrics speak for themselves.

                   To all my readers, of every faith and belief:

                                 Merry Christmas!!
                                 Happy Hanukkah!!
                                 Happy Holidays!!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Remembering Alan Thicke

I wanted to take some time to remember Alan Thicke, who passed away recently. He is most remembered by people who grew up in the '80s as the father in the popular TV show Growing Pains. He was a familiar figure of '80s TV sitcom family life, and a comforting symbol of Baby Boomer parenthood as that generation settled down and had '80s-era children. 

His involvement in entertainment is much broader, as a song-writer, a talk show host, and an actor in many other shows. He will be missed.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

'80s Christmas Songroll

Its become almost a tradition at this blog to have a holiday season post (or posts!) with some retro '80s era Christmas songs. Some of the songs have been posted yearly, not unlike the yearly ritual of trotting out the same old beloved ornaments. Here's '80s Christmas songroll for 2016.

First up is a new one for this blog: the Pointer Sisters' version of the old classic "Santa Clause Is Coming to Town."

Here's another first appearance for this blog, Annie Lennox (and Eurythmics') doing a lovely rendition of "Winter Wonderland."  Is the holiday spirit being felt?

This one's a classic: U2's very '80s version of "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)."

John (Cougar) Mellencamp's rockin version of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus."

All of the above were from 1987's wonderful charity album, A Very Special Christmas, which benefited the Special Olympics.

Here's a few '80s Christmas classics coming back to take their place under this year's tree:

Wham's very, very '80s holiday song, "This Christmas," from 1985.

And, rounding it all off, Billy Squire's 1981 "Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You." 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thats What Friends Are For

The charitable spirit that followed Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas," and all of the musical efforts to give relief to famine victims in Africa, culminating in the mamoth Live Aid concerts, continued onto other causes.  In September of 1985, right after Live Aid, a group of American musicians put together the very first Farm Aid concert to aid American farmers. The event featured Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, the Beach Boys, John Denver, Loretta Lynn, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, and many others. It would later go on to being a yearly event.

Then in late 1985, a small group of musicians got together to reord a record to help fund AIDS research. The one-off group was called Dionne Warwick and Friends, and included Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, and Gladys Knight. The song they released was penned by the classic songrwriting duo of Burt Bacharach and Carol Bayer Sager, and was called "Thats What Friends Are For."  It became Billboard magazine's number one sing of 1986. The video is above. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

When '80s Bands United For Charity

Its Thanksgiving, and the holiday seaon is upon us. Since charity, music, and fun are important parts of this time of year, its a good time to remember when all three of those elements combined for a series of wonderful charity records back in the '80s. This starts around Christmas time, with a beautiful effort by a bunch of musicians. 

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. 

The Band Aid effort ultimately led to additional efforts at famine relief. In January of 1985 there was USA for Africa, a similar effort by American musicians. This group put out "We Are The World," a song written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, and featuring, in addition to those two musicians, also Cyndi Lauper, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers, Tina Turner, Paul Simon and many others.

The charitable spirit was catching.  Shortly after, in February of 1985, a group of Canadian musicians got together as Northern Lights, and put out the song "Tears Are Not Enough."  This single also collected money for African famine relief, and included Anne Murray, Geddy Lee (of Rush), Mike Reno (of Loverboy), Joni Mitchel, Corey Hart, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, and Burton Cummings (of the Guess Who), among many others.

Not to be left out, heavy metal musicians also put out their own effort to help famine relief. It was called Hear n' Aid, and they put out their charitable single "Stars," a song written by Ronnie James Dio, and which included contributions by members of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Quiet Riot, Motley Crue, Twisted Sister, and many others.

These collective efforts culminated in the enormous Live Aid concert in 1985.

Happy Thanksgiving, and a blessed holiday season to us all.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Great Space Coaster

Does anybody remember The Great Space Coaster? It was a syndicated kid's show that ran from 1981 to 1986.  I used to watch it all the time before school when I was in middle school. Although I think the show was really aimed at kids younger than I was at the time, I found it so enjoyable that I couldn't resist. There were other kids my age who also indulged in the Coaster.

The show had the most wonderfully memorable opening.  (Above, courtesy of  I just love it.

The show focused on three young people (Francine, Danny, and Roy), who took a spceship to this funky asteroid populated by a bunch of fantastic characters. Probably the most prominent of these characters is a shy clown named Baxter, who also had the ability to become invisible.  See Baxter, above. (Frankly, at the time, I wasn't exactly sure what Baxter was.  He was just Baxter.)

  The Wikipedia article describes the show further:
The asteroid is populated by strange-looking, wise-cracking puppet characters such as Goriddle Gorilla, Knock-Knock the Woodpecker, Edison the Elephant, and Gary Gnu (host of newscast The Gary Gnu Show). Baxter is forever on the run from M.T. Promises, a nefarious ringmaster who plans to re-capture Baxter and return him to the circus he worked at before he escaped. Each episode ends with a different life lesson, and various celebrity guest stars (such as Mark Hamill of Star Wars fame and composer Marvin Hamlisch) occasionally dropped by.
Above is a clip featuring Gary Gnu (the gnewscaster with the only gnews show guaranteed to contain no gnews whatsoever!) interviewing another character, Goriddle Gorilla.  (Thanks to TGSCoaster on Youtube.)

Heres the Great Space Coaster fan site: Click Here.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Halloween with Kiss and Freddy

Found this Halloween treat on Youtube (thanks to architek777).  This goes all the way back to 1976.  Its Kiss, original members back in the original full makeup mode, appearing on Paul Lynde's Halloween Special.  Joining them is Margaret Hamilton, reprising her original Wizard of Oz role as the Wicked Witch of the West, and the character of Witchiepoo from the '70s show H.R. Puffnstuff.

For another trick or treat, following is a re-post of a post of mine from 2012. 

Freddy Krueger (Re-post of October 25, 2012 post.)

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.   

Pete Burns (1959-2016)

Pete Burns, R.I.P.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Greatness of John Hughes, Revisited

I've been enjoying reading a book called Don't You Forget About Me: Contemporary Writers on the films of John Hughes.  Its a collection of essays where different writers describe the effect that John Hughes movies have had on them as teens. Very often this effect is quite strong, and ground-breaking, causing an effect on the consciousness of those observers.

I, too, have found the teen films of the '80s to have had a significant and important effect on society, much more so than would be acknowledged by those who would casually dismiss them.  One such essay described an experience the writer had which shows this effect.  In the essay "A Slut or a Prude: The Breakfast Club as Feminist Primer," writer Juliana Baggott wrote about the following incident which happened after watching that seminal Hughes movie.

 A few days after I saw the movie, I was in the cafeteria with my people- a group of field hockey girls, a few with eating disorders. Some idiotic football players were spitting spitballs at some band geeks. But they weren't just football players and band geeks, not after The Breakfast Club. We were all trapped in the same ugly, dying organism: high school.

I walked over to the football players and said,”C'mon, knock it off.”

One said,”Knock what off.”

“The spitballs. Just grow up a little.”

“Don't I look grown up to you, little girl.” He had me by a hundred pounds and more than a half foot in height.

“Listen, asshole, just stop it with the spitballs.”

“Oh, she's angry now.” He put his arm around me, rubbed my back. “Isn't she cute when she's angry?”

“Cute” was my trigger word- often true for short people. “Don't call me cute again.”

“What's wrong cutie. You're so cute!”

“I mean it. Call me cutie again and I swear it won't be pretty. . . ”

He paused and looked at me deeply in the eyes. “You're so cute.”

I slapped him. He had a big head and a thick rubbery cheek. He was fair, and the skin went red fast. Friends told me later that my small handprint was on his cheek for the rest of the day.

The long term result was astonishing. All of the boys at that table seemed to fall in love with me and treated me with enormous respect. They addressed me politely in the halls. I'd feel someone watching me, and when I turned around, it would be one of them- all agaze.

It made no sense. It only encouraged me. To what? Refuse to accept a definition – a prude, a slut, a . I knew that definitions wouldn't work for me, that I was volatile, unwieldy, and that was the only way I'd survive.

This wonderful movie by John Hughes caused a typical American teenager to feel closer to the other teens in her school, to literally stand up for other teens who were different than herself, to confront a blustering bully, and to see her own self in a different light.  Thank you, John Hughes, or your remarkable work.  I use this account as a preface to a re-posting of my previous tribute to John Hughes, which appears below.

Thank You, John Hughes

(first posted on September 20, 2011)

Some of my most pleasant memories of being a teen in the '80s came from some of the better teen movies which flourished at that time. Foremost among the creators of this genre of moviemaking was the great John Hughes whose work during the '80s was known for treating the minds and feelings of teenagers, and the situations that teens found themselves in, with seriousness and respect.

Hughes created such teen classics as Weird Science, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Pretty In Pink, movies which were big in their day, and have since become cult classics, and the source of much imitation in the form of subsequent teen oriented flicks. Hughes also went beyond the teen movie genre to make such films as the holiday classic Home Alone and the comedy Planes, Trains and Automobiles.  But Hughes' creation which, for many of us, still resonates most strongly was the teen classic The Breakfast Club.

An account of several teens from very different cliques bonding with one another during their stay in detention, The Breakfast Club served for many of us as a protest against the walls that separated us from our fellow teens. It also had an unusual depth for a teen flick, allowing its characters to express the complexity which lay behind the facades of various teen stereotypes. Kids who were as different as a nerd, a stoner, an arty outsider, a jock and a preppie suddenly seemed more than just one dimensional. I remember getting great pleasure out of the way this movie made you think, as you chewed on the dialogue going on between the characters on the screen.

But the thing that made The Breakfast Club, and all of Hughe's movies, so wonderful for a teen loner like me, is that Hughes had a particular soft spot for the outsiders, the individualists, and the misfits, and he had a great way of exposing their dilemma through his movies, and ultimately empowering them in the process.

For example, there is this scene in the Breakfast Club, where the jock character, played by Emilio Estevez, tells about an awful thing, a pitiless prank that he played on this nerdy kid. He had done it to impress his fellow jock friends, but in the movie, he was expressing how bad he felt over his part in such a cruel prank, and how awful he must have made that hapless boy feel. At the conclusion of the jock's account, the nerd character, played by Anthony Michael Hall, quietly mentions that the boy who was the target of the prank was one of his friends. The scene is powerful, and there is this painful awareness as the nerd and the jock realize how close this awful prank struck each of them.

Thank you, John Hughes, for moments like that, which exposed the pain of being an outsider, and brought home just how much we had in common as teens from different backgrounds.

John Wilden Hughes (1950-2009)

Friday, October 21, 2016

Thanks, Weird Al

In the midst of a dismal election season, a ray of hope...

Good ole Weird Al Yankovic turned the last debate into a music video.

Thanks! We needed this! 

Good line:

 "We have so many adversaries overseas
Can we all agree to be frenemies?"

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Thompson Twins, "Lies"

Heres the '80s in full MTV color, on the the Thomspon Twin's memorable video for "Lies."   What made th '80s so wonderful and fun: oddball, gender-bending, multi-hued, "be yourself" expression.  

The group would be come famous in America for hits like "Hold Me Now," "Doctor Doctor," and "Lay Your Hands On Me."

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Nena: "99 Red Balloons" and Visit to America

Check it out. 

Back in 1983, as the Cold War was in full swing, the German singer-songwriter Nena released a timely protest song that raised the concerns so many had about the threat of nuclear war. It became one of the most memorable and iconic '80s songs, and a reminder of one of the more scary aspects of living in the '80s. 
The Cool video illustrates the point.

Nena became one of a few German new wave artists that had hits in the United States, along with Falco ("Rock Me Amadeus") and Peter Schilling ("Major Tom").

Now, Nena's visiting the U.S. for several concerts starting in late September. 

Welcome Nena!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

To Those Who Gave All

Deep respect and honor to those whose lives were taken on 9-11, including those who died in the towers, on the aircraft that were taken as weapons, in the skies over Pennsylvania, in the Pentagon, and among those first responders who were trying to save people and lost their own lives in the process.

Thank you to all first responders who risked all to do good on that tragic day, and every day.

Above, Sir Paul McCartney's simple, uncomplicated, but heartfelt tribute.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Us Festivals (1982 and 1983)

Early on in the '80s, just as MTV was starting to take off, Apple Computer mogul Steve Wozniak sought to put together a concert festival that combined the biggest bands with the latest technology. 

The result were the Us Festivals.  So named to encourage community in the dawning decade of the '80s, in contrast to the "Me Generation" of the '70s. 

The first Us Festival was held over the course of three days, during the Labor Day weekend of 1982. This first festival included such cutting edge musicians as Pat Benatar, the Talking Heads, Oingo Boingo, and the B-52s, along with classic acts such as the Grateful Dead and Jimmy Buffet.  Above is Pat Benatar rocking the Us Festival with her very '80s style.

A second Us Festival was held the following year, during Memorial Day holiday of 1983. This time, the festival was a total of four nights, with each night devoted to a particular category of music: New Wave, Heavy Metal, Rock, and Country.  Here's some footage from the Us '83, including Missing Persons performing the very, very new wave '80s song "Walking In L.A."

Sunday, August 28, 2016

'80s Summer Songs: "R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A."

Here's a great '80s song which would be suitable at any time of year, but it sounds like a great song to blast from your car radio on a good summer roadtrip.  Back in the '80s, nostalgia for the '60s was all over the place and this 1985 song highlights that.  Just as Mellencamp says that he was glad to have grown up in such a unique era as the '60s, I too am glad to have grown up in the awesome '80s.  Here's two in one: a fun '80s song about the '60s.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Boy George, Jack Black and Robbie Krieger: "Hello, I Love You"

Check this out.  Its Boy George and Jack Black on the Conan show doing the classic Doors song, "Hello, I Love You," with Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger.

This is such a great combo. I love all these guys, and what a great classic song.

Since were on the topic of Boy George, here's a flashback from him.  Culture Club with their classic song and video, "Karma Chameleon."

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Dick Van Dyke Still Spreading Joy

Its wonderful to see that Dick Van Dyke is still out there spreading wonder and joy. Here he is regaling breakfast customers at a Santa Monica Denny's with a rendition of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," from his 1968 movie of the same name. He posted on facebook that "Breakfast at Denny's with a side of grits makes me want to sing!!"

Van Dyke has become well known for the '60s era Dick Van Dyke Show, for his performances in such family fantasy fare as Mary Poppins (1964) and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), and is more recently known for his '90s stint on Diagnosis Murder and in Night at the Museum (2006).  Now he's in an a cappella singing group called Dick Van Dyke and the Vantastics, who join him in the impromptu surprise performance shown above.  Its great to see him going strong and having fun at 90. 

Here they are on Conan's show.

Heres their site:

Sunday, August 14, 2016

'80s Summer Song: "Walking on Sunshine"

Here's a summery type of song, although the video doesnt look very summery.  I guess the video shows that the sun can be shining in your own world, even if the world around you looks cold and dreary.   Katrina and the Waves' "Walking on Sunshine" always sounded to me like a wonderful song to play poolside during the summer heat, with the smell of chlorine and the sound of pool water splashing in the air, and people slathered in sun lotion lounging around catching some rays or drinking a cool tropical drink.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Eighties Reloaded

An artist nmed Tom Ward has an art project called Eighties Reloaded which updated classic '80s characters in an illustrated form, and shares them through Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. The resulting artwork can be quite witty.

In their updated version, for example, Eliot and E.T. ride a segway, and He-Man pumps iron at the gym. Check out the A.V. Club article on this artist and his project.

Characters from Back to the Future, The A-Team, The Karate Kid, and Short Circuit get a makeover.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

An Alternative "Average Joe" for President

In this political season, maybe you've gotten tired of the mainstream candidates and are looking for some alternative.  How about just an average Joe. Not Joe the Plumber, but "Joe the Painter."  Meet Joe Schriner.

Joe Schriner describes himself as "an average guy from Ohio" and he has been running for President of the United States on a shoestring campaign.  He's run before in 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012, and now he's on the campaign trail again for 2016.  His wife and kids are along with him on the campaign, traveling accross America in their '70s era family van, getting attention wherever they can.  Above is a video clip from the Columbus Ledger Enquirer.

And here's a short documentary about Joe and his campaign.

I don't usually post about politics on this blog, and intend to go right back to staying away from that topic. But I figure Joe represents a unique figure in American politics. An "every person" running as an independent (you'd have to write him in). Maybe an alternative if youre looking for one, and tired of "politics as usual." 

Friday, July 22, 2016

AC/DC "Who Made Who"

Check out this video: a little mix of sci-fi and heavy metal. I remember seeing this on our local music video station back when I was in High School during the '80s.  AC-DC's "Who Made Who," a 1986 metal rocker that was on the soundtrack to the Stephen King movie, "Maximum Overdrive."


Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Alarm: "68 Guns"

Lately, I've found the world around me to be a bit of a bummer. Theres a tense mood out in society today of anger and division, and of negativity. Maybe there are good reasons for tenseness, anger and negativity.  But it still can't help but make me sad about where we are, and wonder if things couldn't be better. I've been trying to include this mindset in some recent posts, such as that regarding Hands Across America, and the one about Restoring Lady Liberty

There has been a feeling in me of wanting to reach deep inside of myself for the ideals and dreams I hold dear, and to focus on them moreso than the outside world. Of course, my ideals may differ from others, and listening to each others' words are as important as hearing their voices. 

I am reminded of this song by the Alarm, an '80s Welsh group with a strong sense of protest. Here is a song that is very appropriate to the moment, "68 Guns" from 1983.  Its a song about holding on to your beliefs and being willing to stand for them.  

Sunday, July 10, 2016

RePost: '80s Summer Songs: Beach Boys Redux

This is a repost of a post originally appearing in 2012.

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.

Friday, July 8, 2016

A Song For Today, In Honor of the Victims

Here's an '80s song that is painfully still poignant today. 

Anne Murray's 1983 protest, "A Little Good News"

This goes out to all the victims.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Restoring Lady Liberty (1984-1986)

As we cruise into our fourth of july weekend, it brought to mind the extraordinary july 4th of 1986. That weekend, from July 3-6, 1986, was dubbed "Liberty Weekend" and was the subject of the grand re-opening of the Statue of Liberty, which had been undergoing extensive repairs and restoration. It was also the Statue's 100th anniversary.  The celebrations that followed were so grand that they are one of the most memorable events of the 1980s, and indeed seemed to symbolize the sense of positivity and revival that was present at that time.

During the early '80s it became apparent that the statue had some seriously needed repairs.  Plans were prepared for an extensive restoration by a team of American and French engineers (as the statue had itself been a gift from France). Scaffolding was erected in 1984, and for a two year period work progressed on Lady Liberty.

Here's an American Airlines commercial from that era.

Work was finally complete by mid 1986, and on that July 4th weekend, a big celebration was had that included words and appearances by President Reagan and other dignitaries, a star-studded set of performances and appearances by a large number of celebrities, and a re-play of the review of sailing ships which was originally seen during the 1976 bicentennial celebrations (dubbed, in honor of the original such event, Operation Sail 1986).    Above is an encapsulation of the event from NBC.

I wish all my readers in the U.S. a happy July 4th weekend!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

'80s Summer Songs: Cruel Summer

In past years, I used to post summer songs at around this time.  Its been some years since I've done that, but maybe its a good time to bring them back. So, here's a song that at least has Summer in the title . . . and it sure feels "Summery."  Bananarama's "Cruel Summer."   

'80s Summer music gets you into the spirit of the season, amidst the heat and sun . . . and hopefully some fun.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

For Father's Day: "The Living Years"

In honor of Father's Day, I dedicate "The Living Years" by Mike and the Mechanics. 

The lyrics are a poignant reminder to enjoy your parents, and all your family, while they are still with us in this life. Don't lose an opportunity to show them appreciation while they are still here. The song involves the relationship between a father and a son, but it applies to other family relationships too.

For Fathers Day. . . and for my own Dad, heres to you.

Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door

I know that I'm a prisoner
To all my Father held so dear
I know that I'm a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Crumpled bits of paper
Filled with imperfect thought
Stilted conversations
I'm afraid that's all we've got

You say you just don't see it
He says it's perfect sense
You just can't get agreement
In this present tense
We all talk a different language
Talking in defense

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late when we die
To admit we don't see eye to eye

So we open up a quarrel
Between the present and the past
We only sacrifice the future
It's the bitterness that lasts

So don't yield to the fortunes
You sometimes see as fate
It may have a new perspective
On a different date
And if you don't give up, and don't give in
You may just be O.K.

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late when we die
To admit we don't see eye to eye

I wasn't there that morning
When my Father passed away
I didn't get to tell him
All the things I had to say

I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year
I'm sure I heard his echo
In my baby's new born tears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late when we die
To admit we don't see eye to eye

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

In Honor of the Victims and Their Families: We Belong

Here is a post originally posted in 2012, here reposted with some adaptations. I've been thinking of this song lately, especially in the wake of the tragedy in Orlando. I hereby dedicate this to the victims in Orlando, their families, and to all victims of violence everywhere.

How about this great 1984 song from Pat Benatar.

I remember listening to this song when I was a teen, and watching the video, and finding it so wonderfully hopeful.  As a high school student at the time, at at time in my life when I was going through many of the doubts and questions and concerns that adolescents often face, this song brought hope. Of course, the lyrics are those of a love song, but the message could just as easily be interpreted in a more general way: that we all are part of the same life and the same world, and we should all belong.  

We belong to the light
We belong to the thunder
We belong to the sound of the words
We've both fallen under

Whatever we deny or embrace
For worse or for better
We belong, we belong
We belong together

Saturday, June 11, 2016


OK, brace yourselves, were gonna venture into high campy '80s with this post.

Back in the '80s, before the Backstreet Boys, before One Direction, before the plethora of boy bands that hit the charts in the late '90s, and even before that late '80s phenomenon known as New Kids On The Block, there was . . .  Menudo.  Menudo was a Puerto Rican singing group put together in 1977 by their producer Edgardo Diaz, especially made to take Latin America by storm. The members were all teen boys and could only be under a certain age, with members being replaced once the age limit was reached. Success came quickly in the early 1980s, and the group's intense popularity spread accross Latin America, where their arrival often sparked a feverish reaction from the group's primarily teen female fans.  The phenomenon was such that it was compared to Beatlemania, and dubbed Menudomania, although it can be said that the latter group's mania had more to do with commercial success than with musical exceptionalism.  

Although Menudo's popularity sweeped accross Latin America, it took longer to penetrate the English speaking market, and its success there was more limited. One short lived example of the group's presence in the United States was Menudo On ABC, brief 4-minute segments which appeared on that network's 1983 Saturday morning TV schedule.  Above is one such segment, with the group visiting the historic section of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

They subsequently released an English language album, appeared on shows like Silver Spoons, did commercial appearances and even had a song featured on the soundtrack of the movie "Cannonball Run 2."  However, 1983-1984 appeared to be the peak of the moment in fame in the U.S.. They never scored a hit on American radio,  and soon faded from view as their novelty wore off. 

Here's one last clip, if you can stand it . . . their performances are, admittedly, a unique taste.  This one is full frontal Menudo here, in all their campy glory. Its from the 1984 MDA telethon, with Tony Orlando introducing the group, and a brief glimpse of Menudomania American style.  You've been warned, click if you feel up to it. 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Holiday Road

I've been putting up a new page (formerly an old post) about my memories of traveling with my family during the Summer, and this brought to mind this song.  Its Lindsey Buckingham's song "Holiday Road," which perhaps is most memorable as the song from National Lampoon's Vacation.   Very '80s song, and very suitable now that the Summer is here.  Interesting video: if I had a work environment like that, I too would like to take a holiday!

Here's another one from Lindsey Buckingham:  1984's "Go Insane."

Sunday, May 29, 2016

For Memorial Day


Here's my unusual offering for Memorial Day. Back in 1991, a group of musicians, actors and celebrities got together on a record and video to boost the morale of troops then involved in Operation Desert Storm, as well as raise money for the American Red Cross.  The group and the song were both known as "Voices That Care."

Musicians contributing included Peter Cetera, Randy Travis, Little Richard, the Pointer Sisters, Luther Vandross, Garth Brooks and Michael Bolton. Mark Knopfler contributed a guitar solo, and Kenny G added a sax solo.  A lot of other musicians and artists were in the chorus, including Sheena Easton, Will Smith, Kevin Costner, Rick Deez, Whoopi Goldberg, Mariel Hemmingway, Michael Jordan, Brooke Sheilds, Stephen Stills, and many others.

The final product is a little schmaltzy, very much a 1991 item, but its heart is in the right place. As the words convey, one does not have to agree with all the military decisions that are made by those in power to appreciate those who have served our country, especially in the most difficult circumstances.  Deep respect in particular to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.   

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Hands Accross America (May 25, 1986)

On May 25, 1986, a truly unique event occurred which I think has some lessons for us today.  In an effort to draw attention to the plight of the homeless, over 6 million people joined hands in a chain that crossed the United States from coast to coast.  The effort was called Hands Across America.

The event drew support from across the political spectrum, and included participation from many political, artistic and religious figures.  These included Yoko Ono, Oprah Winfrey, Robin Williams, Michael J. Fox, Michael Jackson, Dionne Warwick, Liza Minelli, Kenny Rogers, John Cardinal O'Connor, and the Reverend Robert Schuller, all of whom joined the human chain at some point along its lengthy route.

In Washington, D.C., the event included President Ronald Reagan at the White House, and House Speaker Tip O'Neill at the U.S. Capitol.

I think this wonderful event, which went on to raise $34 million for homeless charities, is an example for today.  Now that there is such division and mistrust in the U.S., we need a reminder that it doesn't always have to be like this.   As we approach the aniversary of Hands Across America, we could do well to look back and see that we came come together with hopefullness and idealism to do good, and to see the best in one another.

hands across america
hands across the land i love
united we fall
united we stand
hands across america
mother and father
daughter and son
learn to live as one
i can not stop thinking again and again
how the heart of a stranger
beats the same as a friend
learn to love each other
see these people over there?
they are my brother and sister
when they laugh i laugh
when they cry i cry
when they need i’ll be there by their side
we are the river of hope
that runs through the valley of fear
and there is a lady whose smile shines upon us
saying all is welcome here.
learn to love each other
see the man over there?
he’s my brother
when he laughs i laugh
when he cries i cry
when he needs me
i’ll be right there, right by his side
the kiss never felt so sincere
full of countless dreams
this earth, it never smelt so sweet
cradles a song in it’s great heartbeat
learn to love each other
see the man over there?
he’s my brother
when he laughs i laugh
when he cries i cry
when he needs me