Thursday, July 28, 2016

This Time Its War!!!


Released in July of 1986, this was the sequel to the horror film Alien. While that film was scary because the Alien was barely seen and the spaceship that it was roaming was very dark.....this film was going to be different from the get go.

Lets take a look at the cast....

Whoa, bad ass!! Sigorney Weaver reprises her role as Ripley. This time there's a colony that's threatened by Aliens (on the same planet the first one was found on) so they send in the Marines. These guys are used to this kind of operation.....except, not this time. They get the snot pretty much beaten out of them in the first engagement with the Aliens and the few that make it have to figure out a way to escape the planet (spoiler alert: Their airship is taken out by one of the Aliens).

But to complicate matters, there's a young colonist named Newt that has survived (and who Ripley has befriended) and Newt has avoided the Aliens....but she gets captured. Well Ripley goes into action and......

Super Bad Ass!!!!

The film is one of the best examples of Sci-Fi horror. And I recommend everyone see it. I won't spoil the end or some of the twists in the film. Its really worth seeing.

Now go see it....or Game Over, Man...Game Over.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Songs The Need Our Love....Part 25

Town Called Malice by The Jam

Talk about a great song....released in January of 1982, it debuted at #1 in the UK. This is one of those songs that proves that there is something special about the songwriters in England, that they somehow can pluck these moments of amazing simply out of thin air.

Giving a small glimpse into working class English life, it has a fantastic bass line and it just kicks ass from the start. Just try to listen to this and not find yourself wanting to dance and sing along.

Please enjoy....

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Songs That Need Our Love....Part 24

Jane's Getting Serious by Jon Astley

Jon released this song in 1987 but his big claim to fame was as a record producer for such greats as Eric Clapton, Corey Hart, The Rolling Stones, Tears For Fears, Level 42, Judas Priest, Sting, Peter Gabriel and its safe to say he knows how to put together a good song. This song has some great guitar riffs and I just love the lyrics. Its fun and I think you'll enjoy it as well.

Please enjoy

Sunday, July 24, 2016


Yep, I mean these Nerds,

not these Nerds.....

...created by the Wonka Candy Company (well, it was actually Nestle but someone was smart enough to realize that a bunch of us grew up watching the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and "renamed" the manufacturer) in 1983, it was simply sugar crystals coated with even more sugar. Give it a kid-friendly name and watch it soar off the candy isle. Strawberry/Grape were the most popular flavor combo but it was available in other flavors (not that I ever saw). But we lived in a world where sugar-coated sugar was sold under the name of a group of people that were made fun of for being dorky.

What were we thinking??

Saturday, July 23, 2016

...And The Winner Of The High Jump Is.....

Crumblin' Down by John Mellencamp

Well, he'd finally convinced the record company to let him use his real last name and he put together a great song. Written as the last song of the Uh-Huh album, it turned out to be a winner. Making it into the top ten on the US charts and receiving heavy air play on MTV helped propel the album into the top ten as well.

But it was John's dancing abilities that were on display in this video. Watch him kick over a chair, watch him jump over a parking meter!, watch him slide down a ladder and watch him tear up the floor with some really decent dance moves. Around this time there was a lot of talk about who danced better: John or Bruce Springsteen.......just watch this video and then go watch Bruce in Dancing In The Dark and you'll understand why Bruce wants the lights out.

Tear it up, John.

Please Enjoy.....

Sunday, July 17, 2016

That's A Lot Of Jackets

One On One by Hall & Oates

Released in January of 1983, this song reached #7 on the US charts. Its a great crooner of a song. Filled with sports analogies, its one of those slow-jams that some people listened to during make-out sessions back in the 80's (I may or may not be one of those people).

When you watch the video, you'll see Daryl Hall walking around New York City singing the song.....but he changes his jacket in nearly every scene. I count at least 6 different jackets (yes, I counted). Plus when you add in Daryl breaking the fourth wall late in the song (which I think is great), well, this video is awesome!

Please enjoy this video......and I must say sorry to Sylvia, Barbara, Shannon and Stacy for it being part of every mix-tape.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Are You Ready For The Sax, Girls?

The Saxophone

It was in so many songs in the 80's. It was a rock and pop staple and it added to the character of every song it was included in.

Clarence Clemons played with Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band....

Charles Dechant played a mean sax for Hall & Oates...

Greg Ham kept the reeds active for Men At Work....

Johnny Colla was the guy that Huey Lewis was talking to when he said "Johnny"....

Lee Thompson was the sax man for Madness....

Steve Norman made the Spandau Ballet song True into a classic with his sax....

Heck, even this guy (Rob Lowe) used a sax to seduce the ladies (in this case, Demi Moore) in St. Elmo's Fire...

But in the mid 80's that all ended. Ever wonder why?

Its because of this guy....

Yep, Kenny G killed the sax as a rock instrument. Thanks a lot, Kenny.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

All The Sugar And Twice The Caffeine

Jolt Cola

Yes, that really was the sales pitch behind this soft drink.

Years before the energy drinks of today, there was Jolt Cola. Created in 1985, it was supposed to be the next step in the cola wars. I remember it being exactly what the label implied, a sugar bomb that was full of caffeine. It was best used as a way to study for a trigonometry class final. I'm not even sure if I've come down off the sugar-high from my senior year due to all the Jolt's I drank 30 years ago.

The company went bankrupt in 2009 and was restructured and now offers Jolt Energy drinks. But fear not 80's Nation, in Germany and Sweden the original packaging and recipe is still available under license. So, if you're ever in those countries and you need to stay awake for 3 days, Jolt Cola is your friend.


Friday, July 8, 2016

Not Every Song Had A Music Video

Break My Stride by Matthew Wilder

So this song, released in 1983 was one of the few great songs that doesn't seem to have a video for it that I can show you. But that doesn't mean I can't torture you with another version of a video. Back in the 80's there were a few dance shows that would feature current songs and some form of "live" performance from the artist. Dance Fever was one of those and this video is from that show. It featured dancers interpreting the songs while the artist attempted to pull off a "live" performance.

As for the song, it reached #5 on the US charts and is still a great song, in fact its Wilder's only hit. But since he is credited with being the singing voice of Ling from Disney's Mulan....

....that would be Ling on the left, well Matthew gets a major pass in my book.

Enjoy this crappy video for this great song...(I do like the mid-song "intro" from the host)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Say You, Say Me.....Say What???

Say You, Say Me by Lionel Ritchie

The mid 1980's belonged to Lionel Ritchie. #1 albums, #1 singles, many grammy awards. But what was going on with this song? Lionel was famous for incredible lyrics but it sounds like he phoned this one in. Lets examine the evidence.....

    Say you, say me
    Say it for always, that's the way it should be
    Say you, say me
    Say it together, naturally
(seems ok...little vague but not too odd)

    I had a dream,
    I had an awesome dream
    People in the park
    Playing games in the dark
    And what they played
    Was a masquerade
    And from behind the walls of doubt
    A voice was crying out
(ok...what the heck? He had an "awesome" dream? Me thinks someone found some old lyrics from a much earlier song writing the trash)


    As we go down
    Life's lonesome highway
    Seems the hardest thing to do
    Is to find a friend or two
    That helping hand
    Someone who understands
    That when you feel you lost your way
    You've got someone there to say,
    I'll show you
(now this seems more like the Lionel we know and love....a little sappy but closer to his usual quality)


    So you think you know the answers, oh no
    Well the whole world's got you dancing
    That's right, I'm telling you
    It's time to start believing, oh yes
    Believing who you are, you are a shining star
(ok, ok, ok....stop the crazy train.....what the serious hell?? Its like he recorded this for an entirely different song and just slapped it in here to finish this mess off....this is not the makings of a hit song)


    Say it together, naturally 
Ok, so we can see that there is a huge mess here....but this song went to #1 on the US charts and the R&B charts. It was the used in the film White Knights and it earned an Oscar for Best Original Song .....So apparently I have no idea what constitutes a "good song", or at least what makes a song not sound like a 4 minute mess.

Please enjoy

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Its An Anti-War Song.....But Its Fun

Its A Mistake by Men At Work

I LOVED this band. I'll be writing about many of their songs and videos but I thought I would start with this beauty. Released in 1983, the third single off their sophomore release, it reached #6 in the US charts and the video was played on MTV about 9 million times.

The subject matter was nuclear seemed to be on a lot of minds back in the 80's and honestly, we were all a little scared of dying in a bright red flash of light, or worse, surviving and having to rebuild this semi-doomed planet of ours. But we were lucky to have artists like these to make some of the images less horrific. When you feature the band as soldiers and the lead singer getting smacked around by a granny with an umbrella (not to mention a not-so-subtle caricature of then President Reagan) you're definitely playing it for laughs. In the end, we see that even the guys with their finger on the button can make a mistake.

Please enjoy

Sunday, July 3, 2016

That Time That Ferris Bueller Almost Started WWIII

War Games.

The idea of a world ending nuclear war had been around for decades but no one had ever considered that it might be an unthinking computer (or was it?) that would be the end of all of us. The film stars Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy and Dabney Coleman and was released in June of 1983.

Matthew plays David, a Seattle high school student and hacker

Ally Sheedy is his friend and they unknowingly break into the NORAD computer system that controls all of the nuclear weapons in the US arsenal.

Sounds tempting....but what games are available? Lets take a look at the list....

Well, what teenage kids wouldn't want to play a game called "Global Thermonuclear War"? Only problem is the computer doesn't understand the difference between the simulation and the real thing and plays havoc with the real nuclear command system, WOPR.

(incidentally, the lights on the side of the movie prop above was controlled by a guy sitting inside it with an Apple II computer)

So, David gets arrested for hacking into the system and he is taken to NORAD (still makes no sense to me) where he escapes and with Ally Sheedy's help, finds the man that wrote the original computer code, Dr. Falken. Together they try to convince him that the computer program he created, Joshua, is trying to play the game for real. Eventually he decides to help them and they're on their way back to NORAD (where David DOESN'T get in trouble for escaping). But in a strange, I-never-understand-the-thought-process-behind-this-one moment, they actually let the kid that broke into the system have access to the command console....

....and they even let him sit down and type commands into the system.

 In the end (spoiler alert!) the computer learns that in this game, there is no winner...

....Another happy ending.

Now, I know I sound like I'm not a fan of this film, but I really am. I've just been staring at the small plot holes for 30 years so I'm razing it a bit. But I recommend seeing this film for just about anyone. Sure the computer graphics are dated and the main character is taken directly into the most high security area in the country but its moral message about using a computer for nefarious purposes is completely lost behind the anti-war message.....and isn't that what the 80's was all about?

Nerd Rock!!!

(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, And Understanding By Elvis Costello and The Attractions

Take a good look folks....that was what punk rock looked like in the very late 70's. We never thought a guy that looked like us would be a rock idol, but he was. They say every generation has its Bob Dylan....well Elvis was ours. His lyrics were smart, witty and spoke of exactly what was in our hearts and heads. And since he was kinda nerdy, it felt like he was one of us.

This song, released in 1978 (but far and away a true 80's song as it was the direction the decade was headed) was actually a cover song (!!!) Written by the albums producer, Nick Lowe, it was originally only available on the b-side of Lowe's single, American Squirm, (yep, Nick put out a single with Elvis singing the entire song, go figure) but the song proved to be so popular that it was quickly added to the US version of Costello's 1979 album, Armed Forces.

Please enjoy