Thursday, August 25, 2011

Spuds McKenzie: The Original Party Animal

Does anyone remember Spuds McKenzie?  Although he seems to have been forgotten nowadays, he was a popular advertising character during the late 1980s. Portrayed as "the original party animal," Spuds was the mascot, of sorts, for Bud Light beer during that decade.

Spuds was always portrayed as a fun-loving good times party goer, and always the center of attention, especialy from the ladies.

According to Wikipedia the very first Spuds McKenzie commercial aired as a Super Bowl ad in 1987. Also, interestingly, Spuds, a Bull Terrier, "who was portrayed as male in the commercials, was actually female."

Alas, Spuds, whose real name was Honey Tree Evil Eye, succumbed in 1993 to kidney failure.

Here's to you Spuds . . . may you always be in that never-ending '80s party in the sky.

Monday, August 8, 2011

MTV: Video Made The Radio Star

A belated tribute to MTV on their 30th annivaersary.

I was reminded by posts at Retrospace and Go Retro! blogs that MTV was celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Indeed, MTV was launched on August 1, 1981. According to Wikipedia :

 MTV launched with the words "Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll,"
spoken by John Lack, and played over footage of the
first Space Shuttle launch countdown of Columbia
(which took place earlier that year) and of the launch
of Apollo 11. Those words were immediately followed by the original
MTV theme song, a crunching classical tune composed by Jonathan
Elias and John Petersen, playing over photos of the Apollo 11
moon landing, with the flag featuring MTV's logo changing
various colors, textures, and designs.

The innovative music channel would become a central part of life in the '80s, especially if you were young and into the vibrant music of that era.

I remember these colorful "I Want My MTV" commercials well.

According to Wikipedia the first music videos played on MTV were:

  1. "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles
  2. "You Better Run" by Pat Benatar
  3. "She Won't Dance with Me" by Rod Stewart
  4. "You Better You Bet" by The Who
  5. "Little Suzi's on the Up" by Ph.D.
  6. "We Don't Talk Anymore" by Cliff Richard
  7. "Brass in Pocket" by The Pretenders
  8. "Time Heals" by Todd Rundgren
  9. "Take It on the Run" by REO Speedwagon (the video begins but ends after a few seconds due to technical difficulties.)
  10. "Rockin' the Paradise" by Styx

Ironically, notwithstanding the name of the song, MTV probably brought more vibrancy and life to early and mid '80s radio, as it opened up the media to newer music groups

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Not Those '80s Hair Bands. . .

The phrase "'80s hair band" has usually been applied to glam metal, but heres examples of two bands whose unique hair styles mark them as products of the '80s . . . fun, bizarre, wild products of a fun, bizarre, wild era.

The band A Flock of Seagulls have become memorable in part due to the quirky hair of their lead singer, Mike Score. His "waterfall" hair style is today remembered as one of the more garish examples of '80s new wavish fashion.

But just as equally memorable (once you've seen it, you can't quite forget it) was the band's video for the 1983 hit "I Ran (So Far Away)." Another '80s new wave video artifact made apparently with garbage bags, makeup, and a lot of mirrors, watching the video remains a frolic through '80s quirkiness . . . the thing that made the '80s such a fun time to have grown up in.

I always thought this video resembled the kind of odd dream that occurs after youve eaten too much pizza.

But not to be outdone in quirky, wild '80s new wave stylings is the band Dead or Alive, whose lead singer, Pete Burns, is no slouch to pushing the boundaries of fashion, hair and otherwise. Burns was androgynous, colorfully clothed, and armed with a hard-to-miss hairstyle as well as an eyepatch. Alas, he has been more recently in the news due to personal problems.

I remember seeing for the first time their video to "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)," and hearing the utterly catchy song that went with it.