Sunday, December 31, 2017

Band Aid at Top of The Pops, 1984 (and Happy New Year!!)

If you can handle one more bit of belated holiday spirit before the new year, here's a wonderfully '80s performance by Band Aid, the '80s super-group of primarily British musicians, of their hit charity single "Do They Know Its Christmas" on Britain's Top of the Pops program. 

This 1984 performance seems to have most of the Band Aid musicians present, and everything looks and feels very '80s.  

I figure the sentiment is just as applicable to New Years as to Christmas, so, with that, I wish you all a Happy New Year!! 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Sia - Candy Cane Lane

This is such a catchy, happy song. Just makes you want to jump into the holidays!!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Holiday Songroll 2017

Its become almost a tradition on this blog that every December, I do a post with a bunch of Christmas songs. Its that time of year again, and what a better song to start with than the truly beautiful '80s Christmas song from the Pretenders, "2000 Miles."

Here's one from the late '70s from former Beatle Paul McCartney, and his band Wings, who are having a "Wonderful Christmas Time."

Heres another incredible voice from the '80s, that of Annie Lennox.  Here, she's with her early '80s synth duo Eurythmics, with their rendition of "Winter Wonderland."

U2 rocks Christmas in a very '80s style, with "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"

Another '80s rocker, John Mellencamp, does his version of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus."

And, lastly on this post, the truly memorable Christmas song with a message, Band Aid's "Do They Know Its Christmas," from 1984.

To all my readers:

Merry Christmas
Happy Hannukah
Happy Holidays
Feliz Navidad

Sunday, December 3, 2017

1977 Commercial with a Message

Okay, I've posted this wonderful 1977 Coca-Cola Christmas commercial several times before, but this year in particular it's message is poignant and true. Look at the idea this clip presents, which I wish would be more true in our society: people of all walks of life and cultures together sharing the love of the holidays.

To all my readers:
Merry Christmas!!
Happy Hannukah!!
Happy Holidays!!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Thanksgiving Message: "Let It Be"

In 1987, a group of British and American musicians created a single to collect proceeds for charities set up in the aftermath of the Zeebrugge Disaster, the sinking of a British ferry loaded with people in which many died. 

The group sang the classic 1970 Beatles song, "Let It Be." The musicians gathered included Paul McCartney, Boy George, Mark Knopfler (of Dire Straits), George Michael, Kim Wilde, Nik Kershaw, Edwin Starr, Kate Bush, Gary Moore, Bananarama, Bonnie Tyler, The Alarm, and many others.

I post this song on for this Thanksgiving 2017, and dedicate it to the healing of our society and the people in it. In the United States, where I live, and also perhaps throughout the world, we are undergoing a season of discord and conflict. We seem to have a hard time, presently, listening to one another and seeing each other beyond the sharp political and social divisions which now exist. Here's to healing, and, as the holiday season begins, to faith in a better and brighter future.

Let It Be.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Animotion - Obsession

Very '80s song and video. The very fun throwaway hit from Animotion, "Obsession." I'm not exactly sure of everything going on in this video. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Devo "That's Good"

Here's another Devo song, "That's Good" from their synth-heavy 1982 album Oh No, Its Devo!  This video caused a bit of controversy at MTV. Check it out and see if you can guess why.  "Oh no" indeed!!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Devo "Whip It"

On the very cusp on the '80s, the seminal new wave band Devo released this groundbreaking and zany song and video. This was prelude of much more colorful '80s culture to come, and a sign that individualistic new wave culture was penetrating into the mainstream. "Whip It" became a hit for Devo in 1980.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Tom Petty (1950-2017)

Tom Petty (R.I.P.)

A sad loss of a classic musician who died too young. We'll miss you Tom.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

U2 (Late '80s)

During the early '80s, U2 was a band with a growing cult following, known for its idealistic and sometimes spiritual songs. During the mid to late '80s, U2 became an enormously popular worldwide phenomenon, playing to stadiums and dominating the music charts. See the previous post on this part of U2's career.

The breakthrough moment for U2's popularity was perhaps their phenomenal performance at the Live Aid concert, which drew attention to the band from many who had not yet been followers.

In 1987, the U2 released The Joshua Tree, a critically acclaimed album that also topped the charts and became a blockbuster seller internationally. The Joshua Tree spawned several hits, including the shimmering "With or Without You."

Here, "Where The Streets Have No Name," also from The Joshua Tree.

In 1988, U2 released a rockumentary film, Rattle and Hum, with an accompanying album that included collaborations with B.B.King, Bob Dylan, and Harlem's New Voices of Freedom gospel choir.  Above, "Angel of Harlem," from Rattle and Hum.

In the years since the end of the '80s, U2 has become an international phenomenon, and perhaps the most acclaimed acclaimed band to emerge out of the '80s decade. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

U2 (Early '80s)

For many young people growing up in the '80s, U2 was a band that represented the idealistic side of the decade: the part of the decade that represented hoping for a better world and striving for something beyond mundane materialism. U2 eventually would become among the greatest rock superstars in history. But before that, they were a striving alternative band with high ideals.  

In "Gloria," from the 1981 album, October, U2 shows the compelling combination of spirituality and hope and good rock n roll that represented their work. The song is essentially a prayer. According to Wikipedia:
The chorus "Gloria in te Domine / Gloria exultate" translates to "Glory in You, Lord / Glory, exalt [Him]" with "exalt" in the imperative mood, a reference to Psalm 30:2 (in te Domine, speravi). The song also contains references to Colossians 2:9-10 ("Only in You I'm complete") and James 5:7-9 ("The door is open / You're standing there").
In "Sunday Bloody Sunday," from their 1982 album, War, U2 brings out their earnest idealism, in a song protesting the violence which was then a fact of life in Northern Ireland.
"Pride (in the Name of Love)", a soaring anthem from the 1984 album The Unforgetable Fire, is a tribute to Martin Luther King. 

Monday, September 4, 2017

John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band: On the Dark Side

Happy Labor Day!!  To help us celebrate, here's a real blue collar band from the '80s: John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band, with 1983's "On the Dark Side." This song is from the Eddie and the Cruisers soundtrack, but John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band are the real deal. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Juice Newton - Love's Been A Little Bit Hard On Me

I remember this catchy country-pop song, with the funny video from early on in the '80s decade. Juice Newton's "Love's Been A Little Bit Hard On Me." (Thanks and acknowledegment to JuiceNewtonVEVO.) 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Men Without Hats - The Safety Dance


An '80s classic: "The Safety Dance" from Canadian band Men Without Hats.

We can dance if we want to, we can leave your friends behind
Cause your friends don't dance and if they don't dance
Well they're are no friends of mine
I say, we can go where we want to a place where they will never find
And we can act like we come from out of this world
Leave the real one far behind
And we can dance.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Total Eclipse of the Heart (and the Sun)

Here's a very '80s follow up to my post in honor of the solar eclipse. This classic 1983 song, Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler, has suddenly gotten popular with the coming of the August 21 solar eclipse.  Its been everywhere, especially among those celebrating the eclipse. (Acknowledgement and thanks to bonnietylerVEVO.) 

To show just how popular its been, and to truly tie it all together, Bonnie Tyler herself sang the song to a cruise ship full of people as the eclipse was underway.  Here's a clip. (Acknowledgement and thanks to CBS Miami.) 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Solar Eclipses 1979 and 2017

In anticipation of the 2017 solar eclipse, which will take place on Monday, August 21, I am recalling another solar eclipse which occurred during my childhood.

In 1979, when I was in fifth grade, another nationwide solar eclipse happened. We were in school when it was occurring. I lived in a part of the United States which did not get to see, or hardly got to see, the full solar eclipse. Nevertheless, the teachers had us sit down on the carpet, and they brought in a TV monitor and put on the coverage of the eclipse. I seem to recall it was the ABC News coverage, of which I have found the above clip. (Thanks and acknowledgement to Steve Newman.) This video of the 1979 eclipse coverage looks so familiar, and brings back memories of our sitting on the carpet and watching coverage of various parts of the country going momentarily dark as the moon covered the sun.

Here's another clip about the phenomenon of eclipses. (Thanks and acknowledgement to Vox.)

Please, if you plan to experience the eclipse, be very careful not to stare at the eclipse, as it could cause severe vision damage. But, otherwise, enjoy this fascinating astronomical event.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The '80s Paisley Underground

"The idea that you'd make music with guitars. The idea that you'd make music with long, unscripted and unstructured jams. The idea that you were into 60s garage bands. The idea that you'd play one chord until your arm fell off. All the things that we thought were exciting and cool couldn't have been less fashionable." Steve Wynn, of the band The Dream Syndicate. 
My last post dealt with the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love in 1967.  To follow up on that recollection, it would be good to recall a very creative '80s musical subculture that was inspired by the pop music of the '60s, especially the Summer of Love era, and who made an effort to revive the feeling and spirit of 1967 in the midst of the 1980s. This scene was called the Paisley Underground, and it stood in contrast the the synth-pop, New Wave, and hair metal of that period.  Although I am actually an aficionado of '80s music, in particular New Wave, I was also fascinated and inspired by the 1960s, and was drawn to the Paisly Underground's effort to revive the psychedelic and hippie spirit of many years before. 

In the early '80s, the Paisley Underground emerged in Los Angeles out of a tight knit group of like-minded bands: the Bangles, the Dream Syndicate, Green On Red, The Three O'Clock, the Rain Parade, and the Long Ryders, among others.  An article appearing on May 16, 2013 in the the Guardian, explains the origin of the name "Paisley Underground," 
"The tag Paisley Underground was first coined in 1982 as a joke by Michael Quercio, the young leader of the Three O'Clock. "We were being interviewed by a local paper called the LA Weekly," he recalls. "The writer asked me: 'So, what do you call this new scene of you and the Bangs [later the Bangles], and the Rain Parade and the Dream Syndicate?" And I said: 'Oh, it's the Paisley Underground.' I didn't think much of it – it was just an off-the-cuff remark. It wasn't until a couple of months later that the other papers started picking up this name and started to write about the scene and call it that.""

Probably the most well-known of the Paisley Underground bands was The Bangles, who eventually were given support by Prince, and who reached the heights of '80s popularity with their big hits "Manic Monday," and "Walk Like An Egyptian."  But they started in the early '80s Paisley Underground scene, as one of its originators.

A favorite of mine from the Paisley Underground was the band The Three O'Clock, who created music that resembled '60s pop groups like the Strawberry Alarm Clock. Here they are in 1983 appearing on the MV3 music video channel (a competitor to MTV).

Here's The Three O'Clock again, with a more polished mid-80s video.

Here's the Rain Parade, a bit more psychedelic and trippy.

Here below are Parts I and II of a short, 20 minute documentary from 1985 all about the then burgeoning Paisley Underground.  (Thanks and acknowldgement to BobC1965)

By 1985, the Paisley Underground had become an influential scene, most particularly providing a strong influence to multifaceted '80 superstar Prince, who named his new record label Paisley Park, produced and championed Paisley Underground bands like The Bangles and The Three O'Clock, and who released a heavily '60s influenced album, Around The World In A Day in 1985.  The Paisley Underground, based in Los Angeles, also inspired a large number of garage-style bands and music scenes around the world. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

'60s Songs, '80s Videos

1967 "Love" poster by artist Peter Max
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. In 1967, there was an explosion of the hippie counterculture which spread across the the world, most particularly the Western countries, and brought a blossoming of art, music, idealism, and experimentalism. 

Although I grew up in the 1980s, I was greatly inspired by the '60s and by the Summer of Love. I remember watching documentaries about that era, and I listened heavily to the music of that time.  The events which happened in the '60s were imperfect, as is usually the case when one speaks about anything human. The Summer of Love itself was imperfect, and one can point at many mistakes made by the young people behind all the happenings. But at its best the Summer of Love represented an earnest and hopeful attempt to live out ideals of beauty and love. 

As I grew up in the '80s, I often looked back to the '60s for inspiration, taking the best of it while acknowledging where they fell short.  So how does an '80s guy with an '80s blog celebrate the anniversary of the Summer of Love and the larger era it represented? How does one celebrate the '60s when youre focused on the MTV era? 

How about with '80s era MTV-style videos of classic '60s songs? Back in the '80s, a show came on TV called Deja View.  Aimed at the thirtysomething baby boomers of the '80s, who at the time were very nostalgic for the Sixties, Deja View featured '80s style videos for '60s songs.  A 1985 Chicago Tribune article talked about Joel Gallen, Deja View's producer:

A character in the movie``The Big Chill`` spoke for
countless baby boomers when he grumbled that there hadn`t
been a good record made since 1967. And as for rock videos,
you won`t hear many veterans of the Age of Aquarius
wistfully singing, ``I want my, I want my, I want my MTV.`` 
Joel Gallen couldn`t understand why videos couldn`t
accommodate people whose interest in rock music peaked
about the time the Beatles split. An avid fan of 1960s music,
Gallen was ``intrigued and excited by the technique and the
form of music video. But I didn`t really relate to Twisted
Sister, Judas Priest and a lot of the other MTV-type bands.``
So Gallen, 28, came up with the idea of ``marrying`` `60s
hits to the new video technology in a show he now calls
``Deja View.``

I remember, as an '80s teen, tuning into Deja View and enjoying it.  In celebration of the Summer of Love, and of those who appreciated the '60s from the vantage point of the '80s, here are some '80s videos of '60s songs from the '80s show Deja View:

The Hollies, "Bus Stop."  After seeing this video, every time thereafter that I heard the song it brought to mind this very scene, with the same bus stop and bench, and the couple at the beginning with their umbrella. 1966 song, just before the '67 Summer of Love. (Acknowledgement and thanks to hinken24 for the video.)

Procol Harum, "A Whiter Shade of Pale." This one is a true Summer of Love classic, reaching the peak of the pop charts in the midst of that psychedelic summer of 1967. Its mysterious lyrics caused much speculation, often under alternative states of consciousness (Acknowledgement and thanks to hinken24 for the video.)

The Zombies, "She's Not There." Spooky song from 1964, foreshadowing much psychedelia to come.  (Acknowledgement and thanks to hinken24 for the video.)

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Oingo Boingo: From Gong Show To Weird Science

The name Oingo Boingo brings to mind the quirky new wavish '80s for many of us. But the group has a more extensive history.  It started back in the early '70s as a performance art group called The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo.  One of their more noteworthy performances at that time came in 1976, when they appeared as contestants on the original version of The Gong Show with their then wacky host Chuck Barris. (Acknowledgement to Dawson Lehman for the video.)

In the '80s came New Wave, a genre the group took to well, changing their name to simply Oingo Boingo, and adopting a ska-influenced New Wave style.  Here's my fave song from them, the very catchy "Stay" off of their Dead Man's Party album.  (Acknowledgement to Boingo Vision for the video.)

They are probably most well known for the theme song to the very '80s John Hughes film Weird Science in 1985.  (Acknowledgement to NewOrderUp for the video.)

In the '90s, they briefly shortened their name even further, to Boingo, and followed new musical directions.  The group's frontman, Danny Elfman also made a name for himself with his work on movie soundtracks, including Pee Wees Big Adventure and Men in Black.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Dream Academy (Life In A Northern Town)

The Dream Academy is a unique '80s group whose work has included elements of psychedelia, melodic pop, classical music, and ethereal chanting. The combined effect is quite magical. 

The group's most well-known song was the extremely popular 1985 hit "Life In A Northern Town." The song was intended in part as a tribute to '70s musician Nick Drake, and contained melancholy references to '60s memories, mentioning specifically JFK and the Beatles. Its quite a haunting, sentimental record.  The song and the album from which it came were co-produced by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, with whom the band often collaborated.

In 1986, the band also did a dreamy version of the Smiths' "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want."  This was the song that played in the background during the museum scenes in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

Here's one more from Dream Academy: the follow up single to "Northern Town," called "The Love Parade." 

(Acknowledgement and thanks to The Dream Academy for the videos.)

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Getting In Trouble With Heavy Metal


I'm feeling like being rebellious and getting into trouble. The problem is that I'm in my 40s, so maybe being bad isn't such a good idea. So, how about the next best thing: listening to some '80s rebellious heavy metal and watching some videos about misbehaving.

First, lets rebel against parental authority at home. The best song for that is Twisted Sister's 1984 classic metal anthem, "We're Not Gonna Take It." (Acknowledgement and thanks to RHINO.)

Now, lets rebel at school. The song for that has got to be Motley Crue's "Smokin in the Boy's Room" from 1985. (Acknowledgement and thanks to Louder Noise.)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

For July 4th: When America Came Together

I wish all of my readers in the United States a great Independence Day. 

In honor of July 4, I am re-posting a post which originally appeared May 21, 2016.  Its a post commemorating an event which brought Americans together, back when doing so seemed much more common than it does today. Hands Across America brought together Americans of very different politics, lifestyles, and viewpoints to call attention to the needs of the homeless. The event consisted of creating a human chain across the United States made up of people from all walks of life. 

I post this today in commemoration of my country, the United States of America, and also to remind us that we can come together again as we once did in the past.

Hands Across 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

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thomas Dolby: "She Blinded Me With Science"

Thomas Dolby - She Blinded Me With Science from Mad Hatter on Vimeo.

Here's one of the more creative videos from MTV's golden age, Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me With Science."  The quirky song was often on the radio during 1982-83, and the video is very memorable for its mad scientist storyline.  One of the interesting aspects of the music video was its inclusion of Dr. Magnus Pyke, a real life, well known but eccentric scientist.  As described in the Wikipedia article on the song:
In the music video, Dolby commits himself to a Home for Deranged Scientists. Various mad scientist types operate fanciful inventions on the grounds of the home and act insane with normal scientific items. Throughout the course of the video Magnus Pyke(as the Home Doctor) tries to diagnose what he is suffering from, all the while being seduced by Miss Sakamoto, a secretary in the home.
In Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and the Songs that Defined Them (See here), Dolby describes the experience of working with Pyke on the video:
"I asked him to say, 'She blinded me with science!' But he did it like a question, not a statement: 'She blinded me with science?' I was like, 'It's really more of a statement, Dr. Pyke," and he was like, "Yes, but it would be a bit surprising if a girl blinded me with science."  . . . He didn't exactly get in the spirit of it. The last time I saw him alive, he'd just come back from a lecture tour of the U.S., and I asked him how it went. He said, 'Badly Dolby.' I asked why, and he said, 'Every time I walked down the street, someone would come up behind me and shout, 'SCIENCE!' It frightened me out of my skin. Your MTV video is better known than my body of academic work.'"

Saturday, June 17, 2017

For Father's Day: "The Leader of The Band"

In commemoration of Father's Day, I offer a song that I think is very appropriate: Dan Fogelberg's 1981 tribute to his own father, "The Leader of the Band." This song provides some tender and thoughtful lyrics which describe my own feelings toward my father, now as he finds himself in the later years of his life.
  The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old                             But his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul               My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man                                           I'm just a living legacy to the leader of the band

My father was a teacher who taught High School history with great concern and care for the subject he was teaching. He had many ups and downs through his life, including having to leave the nation of his birth due to oppressive political conditions, to start life anew in the United States. He is now enjoying a well deserved retirement.  I am blessed to still have him with me, and to be able to still express my love and appreciation to him.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

E.T. Commercials

In continuing celebration of the 35th anniversary of the classic 1982 movie E.T., the Extra Terrestrial, here are a bunch of E.T.-themed '80s era commercials. As you can see, E.T. was just about everywhere in the '80s.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Re-Post: Remembering E.T.

June 11, 2017 was the 35th anniversary of the release of the classic Steven Spielberg movie, E.T., in the United States.  This post is in commemoration of that great film, and the era in which it was released.

Back in 1982, Neil Diamond released a song written by himself, Carole Bayer Sager, and Burt Bacharach, which was inspired by E.T..  Here is that song, "Heartlight," whose lyrics refer to scenes from the movie. (Thanks and acknowledgments to weintzer for this Youtube video.)

Here, below, is a post about my being taken to see the movie with my parents, originally posted in 2011.

Seeing E.T. For The First Time

October 21, 2011

I remember when my parents took me to see E.T., '80s sci-fi classic from Steven Spielberg.

The movie came out in June 1982, so this must have been mid to late late '82. I was a somewhat nerdy, awkward 12 years old loner, often in living in my own odd dreamy world. The fact that I was also an only child added to my solitary nature, I suppose. But I was quite close to my parents, although sometimes I even felt misunderstood by them as well, and this would occasionally lead to conflict in my teen years. But this memory was one of being close to them, and I treasure it now as I sit here writing about it.

We went to see the film at a small, one theater cinema in the downtown of our small home town. It was an old theater that had been there seemingly forever, and was still there in the '80s. It was in the very midst of the fan mania that developed over the film, and there was a long line that stretched around the entire front of the small theater and around the side to the parking lot out back.  

We took our place in line, and when we got inside the theater was packed to capacity, with every seat filled.  At that age, I was not yet used to going to see movies at the theater, so the whole thing was quite new to me. I remember we got some popcorn and Coke, and took our seats in the crowded theater. I also remember that in the midst of the movie, someone spilled a drink a row behind us. But I remember the experience fondly.

I remember the pleasure I got in seeing this beautiful film.  There was a tangible warmth about it, there were so many different details that seemed to shine through about the film. I remember the funny scene where E.T. inspires the young protagonist, Eliot, to come to the rescue of the frogs which were to be used during his school's science class, and he proceeds to cause havoc by freeing all of them in the midst of class. I also remember that my mother cried when E.T. briefly appeared to die, and I remember the joy that came when he miraculously revived and was alive.  

It felt like I was part of some wonderful phenomenon that all of America was participating in, and maybe beyond our borders to the world.  I somehow felt like I identified with the young protagonist Eliot, played by actor Henry Thomas. But then, didn't we all identify with young Eliot at that young age, befriending this wondrous being from another world.  

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Berlin: "The Metro"


Another new wave classic song and video from the early '80s, during the halcyon years of MTV: Berlin synth-heavy "The Metro" (1981).

 According to Wikipedia:
The Berlin recording is known for epitomizing the new wave genre as a blending of punk rock and pop, with heavy use of the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 synthesizer. Terri Nunn said the song, which was a breakthrough hit for Berlin, "defined us and defined that period of music."

Monday, May 29, 2017

Roger Moore (1927-2017)

     In tribute to Roger Moore, I now post a revised portion of a previous post which originally appeared on December 8, 2012

Bond (James Bond) In The '80s

With James Bond back in theaters, it got me thinking back to James Bond as he was in the '80s. Bond, of course, was present in films dating back to the early '60s with the first James Bond, Sean Connery. By the time the 1980s started, Bond was being played by Roger Moore, who was chronologically the third actor to play Bond in the movies.

But, as classic as Sean Connery and his brief substitute, George Lazenby, may have been, it was Roger Moore that I first remember as Bond, in television broadcasts of his '70s Bond films like The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979). In the early '80s, he was still going strong as Bond, in For Your Eyes Only (1981), and the film whose title I originally thought belonged to a comedy spoof, before I realized it was that of an actual Bond film, Octopussy (1983).

Moore's last Bond film was 1985's A View to A Kill. Although sometimes not accorded the critical respect of certain other Bond films, I can't help but think that A View to A Kill was the quintessential '80s Bond flick. Released in the very middle of the decade, it featured many of the traits we all know and love from that era.

This film featured Christopher Walken as the very '80s, yet also very Bond, villain, in the form of an evil computer mogul. The perfect villain at the dawning of the computer age. In yet another very '80s twist, A View to a Kill also featured Grace Jones in the role of similarly villainous May Day. And if all that weren't '80s enough, there was the very '80s theme song from Duran Duran. Whats not to like?  

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The '80s Folk Music Revival

The Washington Squares
The '80s is sometimes, rightly, identified with the colorful and quirky new wave musical movement, or perhaps with the hard rock of glam metal, or with any number of varied other genres, such as the roots rock of Bruce Springsteen or John Mellencamp. But the 1980s was a tremendously vibrant and culturally varied decade, with many cultural subgroups expressing themselves in different ways. One of them was a new generation of folk revivalists.

Folk music is probably most identified with the protest era of the 1960s, through musicians such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Peter Paul & Mary, but folk has both strong roots in previous eras, and also often reappeared throughout subsequent eras. The '80s folk revival was represented by such artists as Traci Chapman, Suzanne Vega, the Indigo Girls, Michelle Shocked, and the Washington Squares. I vividly remember Chapman's "Fast Car," and Suzanne Vega's "Luka," serious songs dealing with serious issues, on the radio when I first started college.  

Above is a great 1983 report about the folk scene at the legendary Folk City in New York's Greenwich Village, which now featured '80s folk revivalists The Washington Squares.  (Thanks and acknowledgement to Dnikdoog1.)

Here's the Washington Squares doing their version of Leonard Cohen's "Everybody Knows." (Thanks and acknowledgement to Dnikdoog1.)

Here's another group that was more visible toward the end of the '80s, the Indigo Girls with 1989's "Closer to Fine." I remember this song fondly from the beginning of my college years.   (Thanks and acknowledgement to IndigoGirlsVEVO.)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Dire Straits: "Money For Nothing"

Here's a music video about music videos. 
About "playin the guitar on the MTV"

Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing"

Saturday, May 13, 2017

For Mom: "Thank You For Being A Friend"

In previous years, I celebrated Mother's Day by celebrating my mom's love of cop and action shows.  She also enjoyed comedy, especially the mild, non-edgy, well-meaning kind.  She loved the '80s and '90s sitcom "The Golden Girls," which featured the catchy opening song "Thank You For Being A Friend." The song was actually a top 40 pop hit for Andrew Gold in 1978, which was re-purposed for the show.

I think the song is appropriate, not only because my mom loved that show so much, but because the lyrics are also so appropriate.  My mom passed away in 2003, and this post is in tribute to her. Here's to you mom.

          Thank you for being a friend 
          Traveled down the road and back again
          Your heart is true, you're a pal and a confidant

          And if you threw a party
          Invited everyone you knew
          You would see the biggest gift would be from me
          And the card attached would say 

         Thank you for being a friend  

(Thanks to TVLand for the video.)