Thursday, October 27, 2016

You Finally Get A Hit And No One In Your Home Country Notices

Your Love by The Outfield

Released in February of 1986, this song reached #6 on the the US. In the UK (where the band was from) it barely made it into the top 80. The band never got much love in its home country but America more than made up for it.

One of the things I loved about the video for this song, which is just a simple performance piece, is that it extends the guitar intro of the song. Not long after the song came out, I would sit in my room and just play that opening guitar part over and over and over. Its so simple and so easy. Plus it sounds so awesome........sorry, I just went and played it again.

One of the interesting parts of the video is that there's a girl painting the cover of the album....while the cover is already painted on the walls of the stage. What? Still, its a great song.

Please enjoy

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Songs That Need Our Love....Part 28

Common Ground by Rhythm Corps

Formed in 1981, this Detroit band finally made it in 1988 when they released their debut album. Its first single made it to #9....on the mainstream rock charts (not exactly the Hot 100). I really like this song. It says more than people seem to hear. I'm a message-song kinda guy, so it speaks to me.

The video is a total product of the time. The band changes outfits 3 times and all they're doing is just playing the song. I realize that not every band was filled with actors (in fact, not every band was filled with musicians....cough *milli vanilli* cough). So we at least get to see them playing the song.....but what's up with the chicken? I get the dove....I guess I'll have to live with never knowing what was going on there.

Please enjoy

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Only One Person Makes Fun Of The King Of Pop

Eat It by Weird Al Yankovic

Released in February of 1983, it was Weird Al's first top 40 hit, reaching #12 in the US charts. A parody of Michael Jackson's #1 hit, Beat It, both the parody and the original won Grammy awards. So the song is a good one

But it's the video that put Weird Al's version on the charts. Al takes the time to duplicate every shot of the video with a comic twist. The two gangs don't appear so tough with no pants on....or waiting for the bus. The final dance/battle is fought with forks while they hold on to a rubber chicken. Al goes through all of the dance moves that for Michael seems so effortless but not quite so graceful for Al.

This would start a string of great parodies by Weird Al and his videos were usually better than the original videos.

Please enjoy....and laugh.

Friday, October 21, 2016

He Was in Queen, But On This Day, He Was The King.

Queen at Live Aid.

July 13th 1985. The world came together, in JFK Stadium in Philadelphia and Wembley Stadium in London (and around the world via television) to raise some money and raise awareness to the famine in Africa. The concerts brought out some of the best musical acts at the time. Duran Duran, Hall & Oates, Madonna and legendary acts like Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones knocked them dead in Philadelphia. While Elton John, Sting, Phil Collins and U2 were the bands to see in Wembley.....until Queen took the stage.

It was 6:40 in the afternoon and it was really hot that day in London. Add in 72,000 people and you had a very warm crowd. The show had started at noon and would finish up at nearly 11:30 PM, so it can be understood if an ordinary crowd might not be ready to get into a performance. But this was no ordinary crowd and this was no ordinary band. By 1985 the band had been around for 15 years and had proven themselves to be a fantastic live band, having toured the world many times over and being able to rely on a deep background of hits that were solid crowd pleasers. When you include a lead singer like Freddy Mercury......they were unstoppable. And this was the kind of crowd and the kind of moment that someone like Freddy lived for.

As the band took the stage, the crowd had just finished watching Dire Straits and U2 before them (who everyone said had the best performance....up to that point). Freddy almost immediately proved that he was a master of the live arena, taking control of the entire 72,000 people strong crowd and lifting them up to a height that has probably never been attained before or since. He literally has the entire stadium in the palm of his hand. And he does what any master showman would do....he entertains them completely.

In the years since this performance, music critics have almost unanimously agreed that this is the best live performance ever given. The entire set is 21 minutes and includes 6 songs (or 5 and a half since Bohemian Rhapsody is only half of the song). Watch the video and be impressed.

(the video included the song that Freddy and Brian May, his guitarist, came back out later and performed. Its a good song but there were several sound issues, so stop the video after the 21 minute spot)

Please enjoy.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Early Morning Musing....Or Music

Better Be Home Soon by Crowded House

Released in July of 1988, this was the first single from their second album. And after having two huge hits on their first album, the band was expected to deliver. I personally love this song but it didn't chart as well as their previous big hits....which is sad.

But the song is credited by lead singer/song writer Neil Finn as being the easiest song he ever wrote. He says he woke up one morning and it just all came out nearly as you hear it. That must be some great sleep he's getting 'cause this is a great song. You can almost see him sitting on the edge of the bed while he pours his heart out in 3 minutes and 24 seconds.

The video is typical of Crowded House (or most Australian bands of the time) in that it features nice little silly moments. I guess living in Australia makes you enjoy life a little bit more.

Please enjoy.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Its A Multi-Decade Hit

They Don't Know by Tracey Ullman

It's a song written in the 1970's that sounds like a 1950's song, covered in the 1980's with a video featuring a pop star from the 1960's. Have ya got all of that?

Tracey Ullman was a well known comedian in the UK before she decided to start a singing career. The second single from her first album became an international hit. Reaching #2 in the UK and #8 in the US. Not a bad way to start the 80's. Tracey would end the decade as the star of her own hit show that spawned the career of Paula Abdul and the beginning of the television show The Simpson's.

But watch the video and see how great Tracey is....she's in love with her man, Paul and she doesn't care what anyone says...even when she's pregnant while shopping for food with her small child and Paul is working at the store. She still looks like she loves her man....but wait for the end of the video to see the real Paul she's in love with.

Please enjoy.

Monday, October 10, 2016

There's No Electric Sheep...But There Are Androids.

Blade Runner

Released in 1982, this is one of the best science fiction films ever (and that's not just my opinion, film critics agree). The year is 2019 and Rick Deckard (played by Harrison Ford) is a Blade Runner (or at least he used to be). Blade Runners are police officers charged with hunting down Replicants (bio-engineered androids that only have a 4 year life span, enhanced physical strength and abilities) and "retiring" them. Replicants are not permitted on Earth (must be a huge problem if they have a team of dedicated police officers just to deal with this problem) and a group of four Replicants have come to Earth seeking a way to extend their lives. Deckard gets "talked into" (*threatened into) coming back by his old boss to hunt this group down.

The entire plot line would take me several pages to type out, and I assume most people have seen this film (or at least they should have!!) so I won't go that deep. But lets talk about the look of this film. Its dark, its gritty, its not bright and shiny. The future does not look like a fun place to be....(only three years away from when I'm writing this post)..but it has a retro look that caught the imagination. It has an air about it that draws you in but repels you at the same time. It's a futuristic world but its grounded with its familiarity, cars still ply the streets, pedestrians still need to get across the street, the local food stand still gets your noddle order wrong. It's the Replicants that pull us into the future. Created as slave labor on off-world colonies, they inspire fear because of their enhancements.

The film asks a lot of questions that are open to as many conclusions as their are fans of this film. Consider the idea that Deckard may be a Replicant. Is the film a warning about big corporations? What about the idea of humans fearing the technology they've created? And why does Harrison Ford always get his ass kicked? (in this case by all four Replicants)

In the end, its about wanting to feel human and to connect to the things that make us human....our memories and our relationships. The leader of the group of Replicants, Roy (played by Rutger Hauer) has a wonderful monologue at the end of the film, which was written by Rutger the day before the scene was filmed. I'm including the scene below because its a great piece of film making.

Before I do that, I'm going to take a moment to talk about the many versions of the film that have been released over the years. By some accounts, there are as many as seven versions of the film. In its originally released version, there was a voice over through out the film by Harrison Ford (he hated the voice over) that explained what we were seeing and what the characters were thinking....which is...ok but having seen the film now with several scenes added back in and with the voice over removed, the Final Cut as released in 2007, really presents the film as something that allows the viewer to decide for them selves what they feel the answers are. The scene below gets lost when the voice over cuts across the moment as Deckard sits and watches the last minutes of Roy's life. With out the voice over, the scene is allowed to impact the viewer just as the actors wanted it to. Thankfully we have the film as the actors and director intended. Seek that version out. Its worth the effort.

Please Enjoy

Monday, October 3, 2016

Its A Happy Song By Depeche Mode......Wait...What???

But Not Tonight by Depeche Mode

It was a song recorded in less than a day. The band wasn't very proud of it and they felt so unattached to it that when the record company asked them if they could put it in a movie, the band said, "what ever". In the UK the song Stripped was the single released in February of 1986.....but in the US the record company flipped the single and put the original b-side, But Not Tonight, on the a-side. They had a movie cross promotion going and a soon-to-be-huge band....but the band was having none of it. They filmed a video and its obvious they are putting in one attempt at this and then they're outta here. The movie the song was in, Modern Girls, is being projected on the wall behind the band while they sorta play the song. Lead singer, Dave Gahan, does give a serviceable performance, but if you've ever seen Depeche Mode live, you know he's only performing at 1/4 effort.

I've never seen the film but from the clips they show in the video, I can see that they spent a lot of time filming in the Hollywood area late at night. If there's anything that screams 1980's club life, its Hollywood. I might have to see the film at some point but the band refers to it as the "dodgy film" so I'm not in a hurry to see it.

But I'm serious about it being a happy song. Main songwriter, Martin Gore, was not a "happy song" guy and this one kinda sticks out among the dark dreariness of the Black Celebration recording sessions. It is, by far, one of my favorite songs by them. Its one of the few songs that the band rarely ever performs live but during their 2014 world tour, Martin himself would sing an acoustic version of the song.....he must have reexamined how he felt about the song and that makes me happy.

Please enjoy.