Thursday, June 30, 2016

Drunks With Broken Hearts

Another Nail In My Heart by Squeeze

If you're gonna suffer a broken heart, the best place to be is at the bar.....unless Squeeze is there reminding you of how bad it all ended.

Released in January of 1980, this was where the 80's all began. Catchy pop with equally catchy melodies. Add in smart, catchy lyrics delivered by guys you'd want to drink several pints with and this was a winner. In England. Not released in the US, it was played heavily on college radio (and in Los Angeles on KROQ).

The video was typical of a Squeeze video....silliness and a great performance. Being British, they had a sense of humor and that showed.

Please enjoy Another Nail In My Heart

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Songs That Need Our Love....Part 23

Too Late For Love by Def Leppard

The fourth single off the Pyromania album, it followed the #1 classics Photograph and Rock Of Ages and the Top Ten Foolin'. It reached #9 itself on the Mainstream Rock charts but it received far less love than those other huge hits. The video was a shortened version of this great song but its still worth watching.

Please enjoy

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Its A Song About America's Hat

Take Off by Bob & Doug McKenzie

Who would have thought that two Canadian comedians (say that 3 times fast) would have a huge hit song? Well, if you include Geddy Lee, bass player and singer of the band RUSH, I can understand how that might happen.

Released in 1981 the song is just the two actors improvising as brothers Bob & Doug McKenzie, the ultimate Canadian "Hosers", while they leave the actual singing to the professionals. The duo started out on SCTV, the Canadian version of Saturday Night Live and it was their sketch as these two beer swilling hockey-nuts that grabbed the public's imagination. The song even reached #16 on the US charts and inspired a film that will be covered later in another blog.

But lets take a listen to this bit of silliness. Sadly, there is no music video for the song but....someone made their own version of a music video and its funny so I'm including it here. This is the album version of the song that includes banter with Geddy Lee before and after the song.

Please enjoy and TAKE OFF!!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Songs That Need Our Love....Part 22

Send Me An Angel by Real Life

This Australian band released this gem in 1983.....and has released 16 other versions since that time. The song reached the top 30 in the US and made it into the top 10 throughout Europe. I love the song but the video is spectacularly bad.

The band is playing the song in an old forest and there's a renaissance-era damsel in distress wandering around. And suddenly there's a werewolf on a horse stalking her. But she stops to pick up a bird in a cage. And right before the werewolf gets her, Robin Hood shows up and kills the werewolf. HUH????!!! But don't fret people.....the lead singer is a handsome guy....oh, wait.....

I have a better idea, here's the can watch the train-wreck or just close your eyes and enjoy the song. Either way....What Were We Thinking?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

What Was I Thinking???!!!

I thought I would share a personal story from the 1980's. That's me and my girlfriend, Shannon, from prom in the picture above. My hair is very 80's but that's not the story......its even worse.

My senior year was ……interesting. That was the year I dated Shannon (name NOT changed to protect the innocent….since she wasn’t). It all started out as you’d expect, nice guy asks out girl way out of his league and she says yes, guy floats around on a cloud for 4 months then all hell breaks loose and he wonders who he’s dating. I’ll quickly skip past the first 4 months (which is how it felt at the time) and get right to the day I should have seen as the blinding spotlight of Yikes.

I started my senior year as a very skinny, slightly geeky 16 year old (I turned 17 two months into the school year) and I had a car (an early birthday/graduation/Christmas gift that summer). Shannon was a junior and not yet 16 (important info for later). We would meet each day at lunch and talk about what we wanted to do after school (information pertaining to said activities and discussions has been omitted for purposes of maintaining a Family-friendly rating). Shannon didn’t have a 6th period class as she had already been kicked out of it (for ditching) and would have to wait around an hour after her final class for me to get out before we could leave each day.

Well on this one particular day, she asked me if I could give her my car keys so she could wait in my car instead of having to walk around the whole hour. (play ominous, foreboding music here). And since I’m an idiot and can’t see how that might go bad I said “sure and handed over my car keys. The end of the school day comes and I head out to the parking lot and Hey….my car’s not here! Hmmmm, that’s odd. Shannon doesn’t have a license yet and my car is a stick shift. She can’t possibly know how to drive a stick yet. I think I’ll wait a few minutes and HOPE she shows up soon with my car." (play Jeopardy music here) A half an hour goes by and the parking lot is now empty except for me. So I head over to the pay phone (back when they still existed) and I call her house….and her Mom answers the phone!!! “Hi, umm …its…ahhh…. Steven……is Shannon there?” NO, SHE ISN’T!!!! WHERE ARE YOU???? “I’m…uhhh…I’m still at school DON’T MOVE, WE’LL BE RIGHT THERE!!!!! The next 15 minutes I thought were the longest of my entire life….until they arrived (in my car) and drove me the next 15 minutes back to their house. I spent the whole drive in the backseat of my own car being yelled at by my girlfriend’s parents the whole way. It seems that in the intervening time since giving Shannon my keys, several things happened and most of them were not good.

Shannon decided to skip the rest of her classes after lunch and head home. Another girl was her accomplice in this and since they now had access to a car, they were off. When they arrived at Shannon’s house they quickly discovered that her Mom was home for the day, so they jumped back into the car and decided to head to the beach. Along the way, the two unlicensed 15 year olds ran a stop sign……in front of a Police officer!! The flashing lights go on, the girls stop…Oh wait…No, they didn’t!!! They floor it and try to run. About 3 blocks into the chase, one of them gets the bright idea to pull into a driveway and hope that will confuse the cop who's only 30 feet behind them. Turns out the drive way they pulled into had a car already parked in it. To this day I’m amazed that the front bumper on a 1975 Ford Mustang II can do that much damage to another car and not sustain a single mark on it. The 1958 Chevy Bel Air parked in the driveway was knocked completely off the jack stands it was on and the front end was about 12 inches shorter than normal. Again, my crappy Mustang II sustained not even a scratch. There wasn’t even paint transfer.

Well you can imagine the next hour or so as the police called her Mom and they take reports and paperwork is filled out and names and numbers are exchanged. Shannon’s parents managed to talk the police into releasing the car to them and they took her home, where she promptly ran away. So, I’m now sitting in her parent’s kitchen being read the riot act and threatened that if I don’t go find her and return her, they will file a police report stating that I’m corrupting their daughter. I try to explain what happened and how I had no part in any of what occurred but they’re mad and not throwing things at me so I agree to be an unpaid amateur bounty hunter.

I head back home in my impervious, classic-car-destroying Ford heap and there she sits, on my front porch, looking pitiful. We talk about what happened for an hour and I convince her to go home (mostly so I don’t get in any trouble). When we arrive at her house, her parents tell me that she’s now grounded for the next month and I should just forget about seeing her anymore (like that ever stopped teenagers). The next few weeks were filled with calls from insurance companies and threats of lawsuits and my Mom had to threaten to have the car declared as stolen…Twice!! Once by Shannon and once by her parents. Eventually we get the whole matter resolved with the damage being paid by her parents.

The final chapter on this story is that in the month that she was grounded and I wasn’t allowed to see her, she snuck out several times and went to dance clubs in Hollywood where she met some college guy and cheated on me with him. Her parents caught her with him and they were doing drugs together. I only know this because her Mom actually called me and apologized because the whole time we were going out, they were convinced I was giving her drugs. During the argument with her parents, Shannon actually said to them that I was too nice of a guy to do drugs. To this day I’ve never done ANY drugs, not once (play some Adam Ant - Goody Two Shoes here).

The part that still bugs me is that she never gave me back any of the records I let her borrow. Wham’s first album. The Pet Shop Boys, Please. Real Life. Camouflage. I’ve replaced all of them over the years on cd but those were all original vinyl copies. If I could have a spot in a time machine, I would get those records back. I wouldn’t change going out with her. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be able to tell that story forever. But What was I thinking?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Songs That Need Our Love....Part 21

Nowhere Girl by B-Movie

One of those songs I'm sure you probably heard but had no idea who it was or what the song was called. Imagine how the band feels.

The band released this song at least 3 times. Recording it twice. The remix version was the one I heard most often but trust me, you'll wonder why this wasn't a HUGE hit back in the day. I love this song. And you should too,

Please enjoy Nowhere Girl (the extended version) by B-Movie

I Can't Go For That....Oates Moustache, That Is.

I Can't Go For That (No Can Do) by Hall and Oates

Released in December of 1981, this #1 single is one of 14 songs by Hall and Oates to be played over 1 Million times on the radio (impressive!). Its also one of the few singles to reach #1 on the Hot 100 AND the R&B singles chart by a white artist (also impressive).

The song is about not giving into creative pressure by the music industry but it can be easily thought to be about a relationship. The song also has the distinction of being highly sampled by many rap artists. It was voted the #6 song of the 1980's by VH1.

The song itself is a multi-layered soundscape. Listen to it with headphones on to really appreciate this masterpiece. The song builds in layers through the opening. And it sounds like Daryl Hall is actually standing on your shoulder singing the song right into your ear. Its hidden simplicity of production betrays the fact that its incredibly well produced by Hall and Oates themselves along with Neil Kernon (producer of over 95 gold and platinum albums).

Please enjoy this great song

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Albums of 1986....Part 6

Wonderland by Erasure

Recorded in late 1985, this debut album was released over the summer of 1986. Vince Clarke and Andy Bell had formed the band after Vince left Depeche Mode and Yazoo (both hugely successful) and this should have been an easy win for Vince.....but that's not quite how it happened. The album barely charted in either the US or the UK. All 3 singles; Who Needs Love Like That, Heavenly Action and Oh L'amour also never charted.....until the band re-released them for their greatest hits package. The critics panned the album citing the poor sales and saying that Andy Bell was a "poor Alison Moyet (singer of Yaz) imitator". In the intervening years this album has been re-examined (by some of the same critics) as a classic example of mid-80's synth-pop, even going so far as to include it on lists of influential albums of this style.

 My favorite song was an album track. There is no promotional video for this song....but luckily there is a live performance of this song, most likely within a few weeks of the album release, that sounds so close to the album version. So I present it here for your enjoyment...