Sunday, June 29, 2014

Casey Kasem 1932-2014

How could the '80s have been the '80s without the great Casey Kasem. I remember vividly spending a weekend afternoon in my room (being a nerdy "inside kid" to a great degree), and listening to the countdown of top 40 hits. And it was Kasem's velvet radio voice that announced them. In light of Kasem's recent passing... here's a tribute.

Of course, Kasem was on TV as well, doing what he did best... counting down the hits, and doing music dedications. This clip from "America's Top 10" should bring back lots of memories. It comes from May of 1983, as Michael Jackson mania was picking up, and as the Second British Invasion was sweeping the U.S.

Kasem was also known as the voice of "Shaggy" on the Scoobie Doo cartoon series, so you know he had a sense of humor. Here he is appearing on the David Letterman show (another '80s flashback), doing another type of countdown.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Remembering Tiananmen Square 1989

This past week commemorates the 25 anniversary of the 1989 protests for freedom which took place in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China, and the subsequent crackdown by the Chinese government which put an end to the youthful demonstrations for freedom and a better life in China. This post is a tribute to that protest.

The protests began in April 1989 after reformers in the ruling Communist party lost a power struggle with hard liners. Students launched hunger strikes in support of reform, and protests erupted across China, most notably in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, where an enormous crowd of students gathered.

The military was called, and for a while, there was a stand-off, best represented by the remarkable picture at the top of this post, where a single protester held off an entire column of tanks. 

The protest continued amidst a celebratory and liberating atmosphere. The protesters set up a makeshift statue symbolizing freedom, one of the more memorable images that came from the event.

Sadly, the Tiananmen Square demonstrations, and the hope that came with it, was suddenly put down by the Chinese military, who cleared the square in a brutal operation that resulted in hundreds of deaths and thousands wounded.

The ideals of the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrators live on, and symbolize the global desire for freedom that people have. An ideal symbolized yet again later that same year of 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down, and the Iron Curtain collapsed.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

A-ha, "Take On Me"

A-ha were an '80s Norwegian synth pop band, who are probably most well known for their 1985 song "Take On Me." Here's their video for it. 

I always thought the sentiments expressed in both song and video were quite sentimental and touching. The video, in particular, showed a very '80s love of the imagination and an accompanying sensitivity that showed why this was the decade of Spielberg.

Here's the follow up, "The Sun Always Shines on TV." This is so very '80s, with its atmospheric synth pop, dreamy lyrics, and a weirdly touching video.