Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Now you see it......now you don't...

Spandau Ballet.......

Let those two words sink in for a moment.......

Ok, you've either gone to get a Q-tip to clean the thought out of your brain or you're thinking..."hey, they were a good band". Well, if you're in the second group and love the band, (or in the first group and want something to laugh at) hang on to your double breasted suits, 'cause I've got some fun for you.

But first, a bit of history:

Spandau Ballet were formed in England in the late 70's and is considered to be the biggest band of the New Romantic era.....well, except for that other band called Duran Duran. But we're here to talk about Spandau Ballet.........hmmmmm......well......there's this song and it made them really popular....or really reviled depending on how you feel about the song (I love the song). But while watching the video I couldn't help but notice something that was missing....and then showed up....and then went missing again. Now its all I can see when I watch the video.

And now I'll share the magic with you.......

When you watch the video....and you will....keep your eye on the microphone cord....or occasional lack there of. It will be all you can focus on. And while I realize that not only is there no cord in the guitar or in the electronic drums...all I can focus on is the microphone cord. And now you will too!

Please enjoy True by Spandau Ballet

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Vince Clarke might just be a Genius

Not many musicians can claim to be part of a huge band. Vince Clarke can claim to be part of 3 huge bands. He was a founding member of Depeche Mode when he and Andy Fletcher were old school mates in Basildon, England. That's Vince there below on the right.

After recording only one album with Depeche Mode, Vince decided to quit the band. To this day, no one really knows why he left but the music of Depeche Mode did turn a bit darker after his departure.
Here's the video for the Vince Clarke penned Just Can't Get Enough:

After leaving Depeche Mode, Vince teamed up with Alison Moyet and formed Yazoo (or as they were called in the US, Yaz)

I do have to ask....What Was Up With Vince's Hair??? Yazoo was one of those great bands that had killer, catchy songs and a great lead vocalist. Here's The video for Don't Go:

Yazoo split up after only 2 albums with Alison going on to a successful solo career. Next up for Vince was a few singles with a smaller band called The Assembly but in 1985 he teamed up with vocalist Andy Bell after putting an ad in a music magazine looking for a singer. The band Erasure was formed and Vince finally seemed to find his musical partner at last.

Erasure has released 16 albums in the last 3 decades, including in the late 80's/early 90's having four #1 UK albums in a row. But one of my favorites is their first album, Wonderland, which contained this great song, Oh L'amour:

Not a bad career for a guy from Basildon who seems to be a good judge of talent.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


They were fun, they were cute, they were a bit tomboy-ish...and they made some good pop music. Cruel Summer, Really Saying Something and I Heard A Rumor all helped to earn them a Guinness Book of World Record as the all-female group with the most chart entries. Not bad for 3 lasses from England.

In 1986 they recorded a cover of a song by Shocking Blue that was a #1 hit back in 1970 called Venus. The song went to #1 for Bananarama as well, proving that a great song is always a great song.

The video for the song featured a more mature and stylistic look for the band....in fact it can be said that the girls looked like supermodels ......but you won't hear me complain....well at least not about their looks. But I will take issue with the song being used by the Gillette company to sell women's razors. I admit, I approve of well manicured lady parts but What Were They Thinking????

I know it can't be undone but lets all enjoy the video to take away a bit of the razor burn (see what I did there?)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

.....Songs That Need Our Love. Part 2

What can you say about the band Divinyls?

They were an Australian band with a crazy female lead singer, Chrissy Amphlett, who often wore school girl uniforms and torn fishnets on stage. She jumped around and stalked the stage like a woman possessed, looking for her next kill victim. But she could sing.

They scored a few hits, among them Pleasure & Pain and their biggest hit, I Touch Myself (which made a lot of guys stop and take notice). In later years Chrissy would take up a more fashionable onstage look and became the Queen of Australian Rock. Sadly Chrissy passed away in 2013 of breast cancer. The Cancer Council in Australia launched a campaign in her honor in 2014, called the I Touch Myself Project, it encourages women to get breast exams and perform self checks.

But take a look at this early video, Boys In Town, and see the powerhouse in action......its ok to be a bit afraid.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What Were We Thinking...when we didn't listen to these songs more often? Part 1

I thought I would occasionally give a shout out to a few of the unsung songs of the 80's (well, someone sung them but were we listening?). Some of these will be from bands that obviously made a big impact in the 80's....but not with these songs and some will be from bands that maybe few have ever heard of. Most of these I still own on vinyl, by the way.

First up is INXS. They made it really big in the 80's with hits like Never Tear Us Apart, Devil Inside and Need You Tonight. At one point they were huge. But lets look back on their earlier days. They still had great tunes and the girls love a lead singer that looks like Michael Hutchence (I admit, I tried to grow my hair out like him to attract the girls...it didn't work). I thought this song was amazing and I must have played it about 900 times in a row on my car stereo the day I bought it.....years later I would nearly duplicate that amount of replays when I added it to my ipod....but I digress.

Please Enjoy Don't Change by INXS and RIP Michael.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

No One From Bushwood Would Wear That!!!!

Members Only!

Yeah, it was a thing. For a while in the early 80's, people actually wore a hideous jacket that claimed to be for "Members Only". Well the joke was on them. No one really wanted to be caught wearing this un-exclusive fashion misstep but there they were....wearing the ridiculous things.

For no reason that anyone can explain, these became popular. I never had one (and thank the 80's Gods for that) but for a few years, they were everywhere. A bit of research tells the tale of them being developed by a company called JR Apparel World in 1975 and brought to America by a company called Europe Craft Imports in 1980 (both deserve equal billing for this act of fashion hate perpetrated against humanity) . The jackets came in many colors and could be purchased in leather or some kind of rip-stop fabric. They had epaulettes (I guess in the unlikely event you needed to be pulled from your burning Pontiac Fiero) and they were uncool.

This guy wore one back then....

....and he wasn't cool....

Now this guy wears one....

....I think I've proved my point when I say...

What Were We Thinking?????

Monday, September 1, 2014

Billy, Billy, Billy....

I love Billy Idol. He came to us at the perfect time. He crossed the line between Punk and Pop and threw in a bit of Metal to make our hair spike up and our fists start pumping. He made some of the most iconic videos from the 80's. Who doesn't hear White Wedding and picture the nails getting driven into the coffin on the drum beats? And could Billy have looked more bad ass? The spiked hair, the post apocalyptic outfits, the sneer. Billy was just too cool to look at......but What Were We Thinking when the video for Dancing With Myself was pitched to him? I get that the subject matter of the song is a bit difficult to portray in a music video (if you don't know, its about "Self Love") but explain to me why the mutants down on the street climb up the side of the building only to have Billy blast them off with electrical shock waves? And then they climb back up....and its a dance party?? Was the video director not aware that the mutants...which I assume are fans...wouldn't want to be launched off a 30 story building in the middle of such a great song?

Take a look and see for yourself and ask the question....What Were We Thinking??