Wednesday, April 25, 2018

She Should Have Called It #3

True Blue by Madonna

Released in September of 1986, this song had a lucky number. The #3. It was the third single from her third album. It reached #3 in the US and stayed there 3 weeks. Sadly that's four #3's. Would have been really cool if there was only three #3s but what are ya gonna do?

The song was written as a love song to her then husband, Sean Penn. By the time the video was filmed, they were in the middle of a divorce, so maybe not so True Blue? Its composed as a retro throw-back song in the doo-wop style. While the lyrics are a love song to Sean, the music is a love song to the girl groups of the 50's and 60's that Madonna grew up loving and imitating.

The video even looks like a 50's doo-wop tribute. She's in a 50's diner, singing in a 50's convertible with her 50's style backup singers. Of the three back up singers (there's that lucky number again) one is her choreographer/best friend and was in 4 other videos for Madonna. Another is an actress who has been on Entourage (I never saw it) and was once Pee Wee Herman's girlfriend (like that's not super weird). She's in the dark blue shirt and was also in 4 other Madonna videos and was originally hired to do Madonna's hair and makeup on Madonna's very first video, Everybody. The third girl....No idea who she is.

Madonna changed her look for this video (surprise!!) and she had recently started working out and getting much more fit. I'm guessing her impending divorce had something to do with that. In any event, She always looked great to me, but this is an especially good look (I'm just sayin').

Please enjoy...


Sunday, April 22, 2018

I'm Sorry, This Counts As The 1980's

Regatta de Blanc by The Police

Released in October of 1979 (one of many reasons it should count as an 80's album) this was the band's second album and after the initial success of their first album, the band was anxious to build on the quality musical catalogue they were already building. Recorded over 4 weeks and at a cut-rate budget of @$10,000 (that's a small amount, even for 1979), the band was able to maintain creative control over the album and express their talents without any record label interference.

The band is in a whole other world from their first album, continuing the punk-rock aggression while expanding on the reggae rhythms and taking the song writing and lyrics to a whole new level. Consider that this is essentially a band with 4 lead singers: (1) the vocals of Sting, (2) his Bass, (3) Andy Summers guitar and (4) the drums of Stewart Copeland. All 4 elements are vying for the attention of the listener. And in most cases, they all win. I'm still amazed that I can listen to this album and hear new sounds coming from one of the "singers" in this band.

The album reached #1 in England but only reached #25 in the US. Its been listed among the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine (I agree with them). Also the band brought home the Grammy award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for the song Regatta de Blanc.

There were 4 singles released from this album, with Message In A Bottle being the first and among all 3 members of the band, its considered to be the best Police song they ever recorded (I also agree with them).

The video is typical for the time with some live shots of the band and the guys singing along to the song backstage. It only takes a few moments to see that drummer, Stewart Copeland is quite the ham and quite possibly the most annoying person in the band. His antics are meant to bother Sting while Andy just waits for everyone to stop being it any wonder they eventually broke up? But no matter what, the song is amazing as well as the rest of the album (go get a copy, if you don't already own one) and please.....enjoy it now.

Friday, April 20, 2018

If This Doesn't Make You Dance...You May Be Dead

One Step Beyond by Madness

Released in late 1979.............why are you still reading??....GO, LISTEN NOW!!!!!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Can You See Me In The Crowd?

Depeche Mode
101 -  Concert For The Masses
Live At The Rose Bowl

June 18th, 1988....this was the most anticipated concerts of the year. I was actually at this concert. Here's my ticket....

The band was coming through town to support, what was, at that time, their biggest album, Music For The Masses. The band always a had special place in its heart for Los Angeles as the local radio station, KROQ, was an early and committed supporter. In fact, they had announced the concert live on the air one morning in mid spring from the stadium with Richard Blade, the morning radio host on KROQ at the time.

Here's a picture of a few of the band members on the morning of the announcement in the empty stadium with the section I ended up sitting in in the background.....

To fill the stadium, the band would have to sell over 56,000 tickets......they ended up selling over 60,000!!! Let me give you an idea of how the stadium looked on the morning of the concert before they let the crowd in.....

That's lead singer, Dave Gahan, with his young son.

The concert was amazing. The opening bands were Wire (I don't remember them), Thomas Dolby (who was and is, Always, great) and Orchestral Manoeuvers In The Dark (great set that day). It had been hot during the day and the Rose Bowl had zero shade so we were all out in the sun the whole time. As the sun set and Depeche Mode's set got closer to starting, the crowd started to entertain themselves. At one point there was a brief trash-throwing melee which looked fun from up where I was above all of it. Then the crowd got into a fun shouting match, where one side would yell, "tastes great!" and the other side would yell, "less filling!" (its a Miller Lite commercial from the era and we were bored waiting).

Here's what the crowd looked like from just above my seat....

Now, Depeche Mode's performance was not what any of them consider to be their best (they've all said as much in interviews over the years) but you couldn't have found one person in the crowd that would agree with that assessment. The energy in the stadium was beyond electric and it was helped along when it started to briefly rain (it sure helped wash the hot air out of the stadium). The rain occasionally has been reported to have occurred during Blasphemous Rumours. I remember it starting during Sacred and continuing through the next 2 songs, Something To Do and Blasphemous Rumours. During Something To Do, the storm announced itself with a bolt of lightening that lit up most of the sky just to the south of the stadium. If you listen closely to the live album of the show, you can hear the crowd let out a huge cheer when the lightning strikes. Imagine what would happen today if 60,000 people were outside in a lightning storm.....they would cancel the show and send everyone home immediately. It would have been pandemonium. Thankfully, we lived in a less safety conscious time and the show was not stopped.

The best moment of the show was at the end of the main set during the song Never Let Me Down Again when Dave Gahan got the entire crowd waving their arms back and forth above their heads. It was an amazing, spontaneous moment and its now a permanent part of each live Depeche Mode show. The neat part is that the band was filming (and recording) the show that night for inclusion in a documentary film called 101 and so most of the show exists on video. I say "most" because the film makers didn't intend to film the whole show so there are a few songs missing from the film. But if you watch the video below, and you have really sharp eyes (like much better than me and I KNOW where I was sitting), you can see me in the crowd during the part when Dave is leading the crowd in waving their arms.

Please enjoy this amazing moment........

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Metal....The Way It Was Meant To Be

Foolin' by Def Leppard

Released in September of 1983, this was the 3rd single off their Pyromania album and it reached #28 on the US charts. The song was helped along in the charts by it strong, simple performance video (with a few artsy shots added in).

The song is the perfect example of early 80's metal. It had a great hard rockin' chorus and extra cool, vibe-y verses. Its sad to think that this was eventually replaced by bands like Poison and Winger (what were we thinking?). But lets enjoy this song now and try to find reasons to like those other songs later (maybe not).

The video was filmed on a day off from their US tour while they were in New Jersey and features a blind girl playing the harp. She was Billy Idol's girlfriend at the time......why she's blind.....I'm not sure.....not all early 80's videos are supposed to make sense. It was the music we wanted to hear and seeing the bands gave us an idea of who we were listening to. Also keep an eye out for the flag of the United Kingdom being worn as a pair of shorts and the many times that lead singer, Joe Elliot, nearly gets blown up by some sort of explosion....including very close to his hands!!!

Some of my favorite images from this video are; rhythm guitarist, Steve Clark, tossing his acoustic guitar aside so he can rock out on his electric guitar; Joe sticking the microphone stand right into the camera; and Joe coming right at the camera to sing the lyrics to us right after having his wrists nearly blown off.

Please enjoy.....and I make no apologies for Winger.