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!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Live Aid 1985

On July 13, 1985, one of the most amazing concerts ever occurred, and became one of the defining moment of those of us who grew up in the 1980s. It was called Live Aid, and it was the culmination of an effort by the musical community in the mid '80s to bring attention to the victims of a devastating African famine. While the cause was good, it also served the purpose of bringing together an incredible collection of musicians for one incredible day of music.

On of the prime inspirations of the effort was Bob Geldof, a musician with the group the Boomtown Rats. His guidance and inspiration brought together musicians in support of the cause of African famine victims first in the British effort known as Band Aid (and their song "Do They Know Its Christmas?"), which was shortly followed by USA for Africa (and their song "We Are The World.").  Many other efforts followed, culminating in the extravaganza known as Live Aid.

Live Aid occurred at two locations simultaneously: at JFK stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States, and in Wembly Stadium in London, in the UK. But even more impressively, it was broadcast worldwide through various media, and the era of MTV brought forth a worldwide concert that drew an enormous audience. The concert featured many remarkable performances from a great variety of musicians.

Heres the schedule of musicians who participated in Live Aid:

In London's Wembly Stadium:

7 am: Bob Geldolf opens Live Aid; Status Quo; Style Council; Boomtown Rats with Adam Ant.
8 am: Adam Ant; Ultravox; Spandau Ballet.
9 am: Elvis Costello; Nik Kershaw with Billy Conally; Sade.
10 am: Phil Collins with Julian Lennon; Sting with Howard Jones.
11 am: Bryan Ferry; Paul Young with Alison Moyet. 
12:30 pm: U2.
1 pm: Dire Straits; Queen.
2 pm: David Bowie.
3 pm: The Who; Elton John.
4 pm: Wham! ; Paul McCartney.

In Philadelphia's JFK stadium:

9 am: Joan Baez; The Hooters; The Four Tops; Billy Ocean.
10 am: Black Sabbath with Ozzy Osbourne; Run-DMC; Rick Springfield; REO Speedwagon.
11 am: Crosby, Stills, Nash; Judas Priest.
12 pm: Bryan Adams; The Beach Boys.
1 pm: George Thorogood; Queens Performance from London.
2 pm: Music video featuring David Bowie and Mick Jagger; Simple Minds; The Pretenders.
3 pm: Santana with Pat Metheny; Ashford and Simpson with Teddy Pendergrass.
4:30 pm: Madonna; Rod Stewart. 5 pm: Tom Petty; Kenny Loggins; The Cars.
6 pm: Neil Young; Power Station. 7 pm: Thompson Twins; Eric Clapton.
8 pm: Phil Collins with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page; Duran Duran.
9 pm: Patti LaBelle; Daryll Hall and John Oats with Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin.
10 pm: Mick Jagger; Jagger with Tina Turner; Bob Dylan.

Trivia: The Live Aid Concerts were held on July 13, 1985, in London and Philadelphia. Phil Collins was able to play both. He played London in the morning, and then took the Concorde to Philadelphia to play the evening there. 

Trivia: In London, a traffic light was set up just offstage to keep the performers within their allotted time. The traffic light would signal green when the performer had just just five minutes left to play, then yellow when two minutes were left, and red when it was time to leave. The performers kept to their time limits so well that the concert was often running as much as 15 minutes ahead of schedule.