Monday, July 31, 2017

If You Do, Don't Try Driving.

Sunglasses At Night by Corey Hart

Released in January of 1984, this song features a hypnotic synth hook and a simple, catchy chorus. Its no wonder it reached #7 on the US charts. It was Corey's first single and that made him an instant star and he admits that was a bit intimidating. But fear not Corey, fan adulation is a good thing. He only had one more top Ten hit in the US. Its back in his native country of Canada that he continues to make top 40 hit albums. Who can complain if they love ya at home?

The video for the song was based on an authoritarian society where anyone NOT wearing their sunglasses at night was arrested....ironic considering the lyrics of the song. It was the continual showing of the video on MTV that helped to make this song so popular and lets be honest.....when ever you see someone wearing sunglasses at night, this song immediately comes to mind. I know I sing it a bit when ever I see someone.

Please enjoy.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

And When She's Walkin'........

Uptown Girl by Billy Joel

Released in September of 1983, Billy Joel had spent the mid to late 1970's establishing himself as the Piano Man and an accomplished songwriter whose ballads and rockers were instant hits. But it was now the 1980's and while his rock status was undeniable, he was feeling like he wanted to honor the music that inspired him as a kid in the 50's and 60's. This song captures the feel of 50's vocal bands with tight harmonies and do-whop background singers. Just listen to how he says "ti-yi-yime" and "my-yi-ind". He's channeling Frankie Valli.

Written from the perspective of a blue-collar working guy that is trying to woo an "uptown" rich girl, its both catchy and memorable all while being a simple toe-tapper. And that's how hits are made. As a result, it made it to #3 on the US charts.

The video stars Billy as a mechanic at a service station and he and the other mechanics are quite good at singing but only marginally good at choreography. Then a limo pulls up and out pops a supermodel, played by Christie Brinkley. She seems smitten but then I guess since they eventually ended up married, she was. They eventually divorced after 9 years together. The nice thing is that they both say they remain good friends. I guess she'll always be his Uptown Girl and he'll always be her singing mechanic.

Please enjoy.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Wedding Of The (previous) Century

The Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana

On Wednesday the 29th of July, 1981 Charles, the future King of England married the 20 year old former kindergarten teacher, Lady Diana Spencer at St. Paul's Cathedral in central London. More than half a million people lined the streets between Buckingham Palace and St. Paul's to witness the procession and over three quarters of a billion watched on world wide television, including myself. It was 3:30 in the morning where I lived and if I hadn't been out of school for the summer, I probably would have missed the big event.

The bride arrived in a glass coach and the crowd roared when they caught the first glimpse of her dress. The hand enbroidered dress was covered with 10,000 pearls and sported a 25 foot train....

...imagine sitting inside a glass coach, wheeling through London with that dress in your lap.

The ceremony was relatively error-free.....if you discount the fact that an obviously nervous Diana accidentally changed the order of Charles's names (he has 4! and technically no last name) calling him Phillip Charles Arthur George. But in the end it was the fairy-tale wedding that the world wanted.

The Prince and Princess of Wales would go on to have two sons, William born in 1982 and Henry (nicknamed Harry) born in 1984. 

Sadly, the marriage would be doomed. With both of the couple having affairs and eventually separating in 1992 and divorcing in 1996. Diana would die in an automobile accident in Paris in 1997 and her funeral would also be one of the most watched events on worldwide television, estimated to have a viewership of two billion people.

Watch the video below, its a bit longer than usual but covers the whole day. I will say this much, the British sure know how to do Pomp and Circumstance better than anyone.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Owwww...Badass...But Owwwwww

Eyes Without A Face by Billy Idol

Released in 1984 as the second single off his hit album, Rebel Yell. This ballad with an edge made it to #4 on the US charts. Notable for its dark lyrics, it borrows its title from a 1960 french horror film of the same name. The plot of the film is confusing and weird so don't bother.

For the video, Billy tricks us with the soft melody while showing us images sinister and dark. His sneer at the start of the video barely leaves his face while he sings about a sad relationship. Sure, he looks pissed but then Billy never looked like a softy to me. Only Billy could stand in a ring of fire, surrounded by hooded monks while singing about his lost love. Punks suffer heartbreak just like everybody else....just with more fire hoses and smacked butt cheeks.

Of note is the fact that the video was shot over nearly three days straight with Billy barely sleeping during the filming. The breakneck pace for the filming was attributed to the fact that immediately after the filming was completed, Billy flew off to Arizona to perform a concert. When he arrived in Arizona it was discovered that his contact lenses had fused to his eyeballs. Billy was rushed to the hospital and the lenses removed. He had to wear bandages on his eyes for three days and his scraped corneas healed, eventually. Testimony to the fact that you should never leave your contacts in for more than 24 hours.

Please enjoy. And pass the eye drops.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Why Should I Care?

Nothing Bad Ever Happens by Oingo Boingo

If you grew up in Los Angeles in the 1980's (like I did) you were exposed to the greatest radio station ever.....KROQ. They called themselves World Famous and they were.....only to the kids in LA. But what would eventually make KROQ World Famous was the fact that they played some of the best music long before anyone else did. This is just one of those great songs that we heard every day for, what felt like, years (if you tune into the station right now, you'll probably hear this song....just wait an hour or so).

The album, Good For Your Soul, was released in mid summer 1983 and only had one single released off of it....and this wasn't it. This song was such a hit on KROQ that the band ended up making a music video for it and everything. Being a band of weirdos, they made this video.....No one ever understands what is going on inside lead singer/main songwriter Danny Elfman's head, but it is filled with awesome songs and really weird images. Try to figure out what he's thinking in this video. There's a thief stealing all his stuff while he watches tv.....there are faces coming out of the wall.....Danny is a waiter serving his band members heads up as dinner in a restaurant.....Like I said, He makes great music. After the band broke up, Danny would go on to make a lot more great music as a composer for movie and TV soundtracks.

But for now, be glad he didn't become a film director. Enjoy.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Not Really A Love Song....Not Even A Little.

Every Breath You Take by The Police.

Released in May of 1983, this has been often misidentified as a love song, people even going so far as to make it the main dance song at their wedding! But underneath its haunting melody and simple arrangement is a dark song. A relationship has ended and he can't get over her, even going so far as to watch her every move. But as we move to the bridge, we see that he is lost in his obsession. Unable to sleep, he only dreams of her and that makes him a sad character. The single note piano line during the bridge really points out the guys heart breaking as he realizes she isn't coming back. Perhaps the people dancing to this at their wedding aren't listening? Or they're demented.

The video was a huge hit on MTV, becoming one of the first videos to receive "heavy airplay". As a result, the song went to #1 in several countries, including the US and UK, even topping a list in 2015 of the Favorite 80's songs in England. Sting even won a Grammy as songwriter for the song in 1984, beating out Lionel Ritchie and Michael Jackson (who was nominated for Beat It and Billie Jean that year!)

Please enjoy.