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."