Sunday, December 10, 2017

And Just Like That, Fashion Changed

Lucky Star by Madonna

Released in September of 1983, this fourth single off her debut album reached #4 on the US charts and was a great pop song with a great dance beat but it was the video that changed everything in fashion. Madonna appears in the video wearing a fishnet shirt and multiple bracelets, crucifix necklaces and leggings under a skirt. Her hair was bleached and tussled and nearly every girl at my school looked like this before the end of the month.

When the song was released, I was just over a month away from turning 15 years old so puberty was controlling my entire world and this moment in 80's pop culture was an extremely defining event. Suddenly half the girls at my school looked like rock stars and were no longer "icky". It was eye opening....and a bit confusing. But a big thank you to Madonna for this.

The video is so simple as a way to sell the artist. Madonna is featured against a white backdrop with two backup dancers. That's it. Nothing here but the song and her contribution to the fashion world she was about to command. Over-Accessorizing an outfit became the new style....and lets be honest, it was 80's cool.

Just a bit of fun trivia: one of the backup dancers is Madonna's brother, Christoper (he was paid $200 to be in the video).

Please enjoy.......

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Scottish Rock Stars Have Glass Jaws

In A Big Country by Big Country

Released in May of 1983, this third single from their debut album reached #17 on the US charts with plenty of help from the extensive airplay of this video on MTV.......but why?

The band performance shots are fine enough but what's up with the bad story line? The band is hunting for some treasure (there it is with the band logo on it) but some girl steals it and sets fire to a barn.....which attracts the bands attention (isn't she trying to keep them from finding the treasure she stole from them?). So she runs out of the burning barn and knocks out the lead singer with a single punch and takes out the other three guys like they're bowling pins. When they wake up, she's dropped a map that leads them to.......apparently, nothing. We see them attempting to scuba dive but they're not looking for treasure, just swimming around. Then the mysterious girl lights another fire (some one call the arson squad) and when the lead singer she punched out repels to her rescue, she runs up and hugs him. This girl has a very passive/aggressive relationship with the band. While all that's going on another band member finds the treasure hidden among the seaweed.

I'm very confused but the song is great and MTV was still very new so we would watch anything. Speaking of the video now. It's crap-tasticly bad. And what's with the band writing a song with their own name in it?

Please enjoy.....

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Second Version Of This Song Is The Best Version

Take On Me by A-Ha

Released in 1984........and again in 1985, this song reached #1 in ten countries but not as originally recorded. In fact....I'm going to post the original version of this song so you can hear why it wasn't a hit when it was first released.

Now, after that version escaped (because, seriously, it couldn't have been intentionally released), the record company, specifically their American label, Warner Bros., wanted the song re-recorded with a new producer. Who ever insisted on that is the smartest person in the music industry. The new producer was able to see how powerful the synth lick was and featured it as the center of the song. The rest is 80's pop history.....

Well, you also have to include the instantly recognizable music video. Nearly the entire video is presented in a cartoon form by use of a technique called Rotoscoping, each frame of the video is redrawn by hand. It took sixteen weeks to produce the video. As a bit of fun trivia, the girl in the video was the lead singer's real life girlfriend at the time (I have no idea if she's still his girlfriend or not, for all I know she's married to him right now). Also, it would be criminal of me to not mention the singer, Morten Harket, and his incredible vocal range. He sings this song over two and a half octaves. Trust me, that's not an easy task but he appears to have more than enough talent. (BTW, he still sings this song and hits every note like he's not even trying, he's truly skilled)

The record company released the video to MTV and to dance clubs a month before the single was available for sale so when it was finally released, the song shot up the charts immediately. Again, who ever thought up that plan was a genius. And we thank them for that.

Please enjoy....