Summer Music of the ’80s

Now that we are in the middle of summer, I came up with a list of my top 5 summer songs of the ’80s.

5. Endless Summer Nights (Richard Marx)
This is from Richard Marx’s debut album. It’s about a romantic summer, and wishing he could go back to those days with his love. It’s a nice, well written pop song. In the liner notes of his 1997 Greatest Hits album, Marx commented on the song: “Aside from replacing synthesized bass with the great Nathan East, this recording is the demo that every record company in the business rejected in 1985 and 1986.”
I like “Hold On to the Nights” and “Right Here Waiting” better, but this was a nice summer song.

4. Summer Nights (Van Halen)
This rocker is from Van Halen’s incredible 5150 album. As with most great Van Halen songs, it starts out with an awesome guitar lick. Sammy Hagar has great vocals, and I love Michael Anthony’s backing vocals. The song is about having fun in the summer. Here is a live version of the song:

3. Kokomo (The Beach Boys)
I know the Beach Boys catch a lot of crap for this song. But I love this song. It is a great vacation song – nice and relaxing. I also like the vocals in it. I can get past John Stamos on drums. I won’t acknowledge him as Uncle Jesse as most people do. This is the only Uncle Jesse I recognize:

I can’t show the video here, but you can click here to go to YouTube to watch it. Or you can stay and listen to the song here and see some tropical pictures:


2. Vacation (The Go-Go’s)
This was one of the Go-Go’s highest charting songs reaching #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1982. This is a great summer pop song, and the band was at the top of their game. Again, I can’t show the original video here, so if you want to see it on YouTube, click here.
Or you can watch a live version from 2001 here:

1. Summer of ’69 (Bryan Adams)
This was one of my favorite Bryan Adams songs. It is a fun rockin’ song about coming of age. It is probably Adams’ most recognizable song, and is my #1 pick.

What are some of your favorite summer/vacation songs of the ’80s?

Music Video of the Week – 7/14/10

This week’s selection is from one of my favorite groups – Journey, and their video for “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)”:

I love the song, but even I have to admit, the video is pretty silly. Air instruments?!? Really?!?!? I could even take air guitar, but I’ve never seen air drums or air keyboards before. Why didn’t they just go all out and have Steve Perry sing into a hair brush?!? At least they didn’t do that throughout the whole video.
This video was directed by Tom Buckholtz and featured the band playing at the Louisa Street Wharf in New Orleans.

“Separate Ways” was the first single for which the band shot a video. Previous songs, such as “Any Way You Want It,” “Don’t Stop Believin’,” and others were performances that were taped and edited.

Like I said, Journey is one of my favorite bands. So, one of these days I will do a full article on them. I have seen them in concert a few times. Steve Augeri was really good, so I didn’t miss Steve Perry as much as I thouhgt I would have. But the last time I saw them, they opened for Def Leppard, and they were actually horrible and turned me off for a while. The new lead singer was Jeff Scott Soto, and it seemed like the band just pulled him off the street and put a mic in his hand. The drummer, Deen Castronovo, actually did the ballads like “Faithfully” and “Open Arms”, where they couldn’t get away with drowning out the singer’s voice.
Now, the new singer, Arnel Pineda, sounds incredible, and I will probably give them another chance.

I had a hard time deciding what video to show this week, so I chose “Separate Ways”. I was think of showing “Girl Can’t Help It” so that you could see American Idol judge, Randy Jackson in spandex, and with a cool hairdo. Oh, what the hell, here’s a bonus video:

Live Aid: 25 Years ago today

Live Aid, the multi-venue charity concert, was held on July 13, 1985. It came on the heels of the charity songs “Do They Know It’s Christmas”, and “We Are The World”. The event was organized by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds for famine relief in Ethiopia, and was held in Wembley Stadium in London, England (attended by 72,000 people) and John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia (attended by about 99,000 people).

There were some memorable moments at the concert. I remember Madonna performing:

And Queen – one of my favorite bands of all time – gave one of the greatest preformances of all time:

Phil Collins and his mullet performed in both England and the U.S. After he performed at Wembley, he took the Concorde to get to Philadelphia:

And former members of Led Zeppelin, with Phil Collins and Chic member Tony Thompson sharing duties on drums (although they were not officially announced by their group name from the stage, but were announced as Led Zeppelin on the VH1 10th Anniversary re-broadcast in 1995).

Do you have any memories that you would like to share? Any favorite performances?

Trivia Tuesday – 7/13/10

Question: What 80s pop star got her start on Star Search, but did not win, but came in second?


Last Week’s Question: What 1983 big-screen smash was hyped with the line: “Take your passion and make it happen”?


Answer: Flashdance

Flashdance was released in 1983, and was the 3rd highest grossing film of the year (behind Return of the Jedi and Terms of Endearment) by taking in almost $93 million.
Jennifer Beals starred as Alex Owens – a welder at a steel mill in Pittsburgh by day, and a dancer at a tavern by night. She wanted to become accepted by a prestigious dance school, the Pittsburgh Conservatory of Dance and Repertory. During one of her performances at Mawby’s, the bar where she works, she attracts the attention of Nick Hurley (Michael Nouri), who is her boss at the steel mill, and he soon learns that Alex is one of his employees.

Alex’s best friends also work at Mawby’s, and they have their own aspirations to fame. Jeanie Szabo (Sunny Johnson) is a waitress who aspires to be a professional ice skater, and Jeanie’s boyfriend Richie Blazik (Kyle T. Heffner) is a cook who wants to be a professional stand-up comedian.

Alex needs professional dance instruction, so she gets a dance teacher and mentor who is a retired ballet dancer – Hanna Long (Lilia Skala), who encourages Alex to pursue her dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer. After Jeanie falls twice while auditioning for an ice show, she loses confidence in herself and becomes a dancer at a strip club, where she performs in the nude, and Alex goes there to rescue Jeanie.

Alex and Nick become lovers, but she later learns that he has an ex-wife named Katie (Belinda Bauer), and they have a hostile encounter in a local restaurant. Nick uses his contacts at the Conservatory to secure an audition for Alex, and just before the audition she goes to Hanna’s house and learns that Hanna died the previous night.

At the audition, Alex falls at the beginning of her routine, but starts over and completes the routine successfully. In the final scene, Alex runs out of the Conservatory building with a smile on her face and is hugged by Nick, who gives her a bouquet of red roses.

The Music

“Flashdance… What a Feeling” was performed by Irene Cara, who also sang the title song for the similar 1980 film Fame. The song won an Academy Award for Best Original Song, as well as a Golden Globe and numerous other awards. It also reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in May 1983. Despite the song’s title, the word “Flashdance” is not used in the lyrics. The song is used in the opening title sequence of the film, and is the music used by Alex in her dance audition routine at the end of the film.

Another song used in the film, “Maniac”, was also nominated for an Academy Award. It made Michael Sembello a one-hit wonder.

Here is Irene Cara’s video for “Flashdance… What a Feeling”:

While that was a great song, and she had great success with “Fame”, here is my favorite song by Irene Cara – “The Dream (Hold On To Your Dream)”. This is from the movie D.C. Cab:

R.I.P. George Steinbrenner (July 4, 1930 – July 13, 2010)

George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees, died this morning from a massive heart attack in Tampa, Fla. He was 80.

Steinbrenner was either loved or hated by baseball fans – depending on whether you are a Yankees fan or not. His outspokenness and role in driving up players salaries made him despised by fans outside of Yankee country. He was known for being a hands-on owner, and earned the nickname “The Boss”. He tended to meddle in on field decisions, and was known for hiring and firing (and re-hiring and re-firing) many managers – especially Billy Martin. In his first 23 seasons, he changed managers 20 times (including dismissing Billy Martin on five separate occasions), and general managers 11 times in 30 years.

The Yankees only appeared in 1 World Series in the ’80s – 1981. They lost that series to the Los Angeles Dodgers. After a Game 3 loss in Los Angeles, Steinbrenner called a press conference in his hotel room, showing off his left hand in a cast and various other injuries that he claimed were earned in a fight with two Dodgers fans in the hotel elevator. Nobody came forward about the fight, leading to the belief that he had made up the story of the fight in order to light a fire under the Yankees. After the series, he issued a public apology to the City of New York for his team’s performance, while at the same time assuring the fans that plans to put the team together for 1982 would begin immediately. He was criticized heartily by players and press alike for doing so, as most people felt losing in the World Series was not something that needed to be apologized for.

The loss was also bad for the Yankees because they had acquired Dave Winfield that year, as he became the highest payed player in baseball history at that time. He helped get them to the World Series, but he went 1 for 22 (for a .045 batting Average) in the series, as the Dodgers won the series 4 games to 2.
The ’80s was the only decade that the Yankees did not win a World Series in.

On July 30, 1990, Commissioner Fay Vincent banned Steinbrenner from baseball for life after he paid Howie Spira, a small-time gambler, $40,000 for “dirt” after Winfield sued him for failing to pay his foundation the $300,000 guaranteed in his contract. Winfield later entered the Hall of Fame as a San Diego Padre, which is where he played before he went to the Yankees.

Steinbrenner was reinstated in 1993. However, his attitude had changed, and he did not interfere as much, and left the decision making to the executives.

Since 2006, George Steinbrenner spent most of his time in Tampa, Florida, leaving the Yankees to be run by his sons Hank and Hal Steinbrenner. Hank is taking on his father’s traits by being outspoken and stirring up controversy.

Men at Work Reunion Tour Facebook group page

If you are a Men At Work fan, check out this Men at Work Reunion Tour page on Facebook, or search for Men at Work Reunion Tour on Facebook. Here is a description from the site:

This is for Men at Work fans young and old to get together and ask that the original quintet of Colin Hay, Greg Ham, Jerry Speiser, John Rees and Ron Strykert regroup and tour the world once again!

So check out this group page, and feel free to join the group, and share your thoughts, pictures, and ideas on this page.

Music Video of the Week – 7/7/10

Here is the inaugural Music Video of the week. Appropriately, this week’s pick will be:

Video Killed the Radio Star- The Buggles

As most of you may know, The Buggles secured their place in pop music history by being the answer to the trivia question: “What was the first act ever played on MTV?”. They were a one hit wonder with this song in the U.S., and only had moderate success in the U.K. with a few other songs such as “Living in the Plastic Age”, “Clean Clean”, and “Elstree”.
In 1980, the members of The Buggles – Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes – joined the band Yes to replace lead singer Jon Anderson and keyboardist Rick Wakeman. Then Yes temporarily disbanded in 1981.
After Yes broke up, Downes and Horn resumed work on a second Buggles album, entitled Adventures in Modern Recording. But that album wasn’t too successful, and they broke up.
Geoff Downes then joined his former Yes bandmate Steve Howe in supergroup Asia, together with John Wetton (ex-King Crimson), and Carl Palmer (ex-Emerson, Lake & Palmer). Downes is the only original member still in that band.
And the other Buggle, Trevor Horn went on to become a successful producer for such acts as ABC, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Art of Noise, Seal, Tina Turner, Paul McCartney, Tom Jones, and Cher.

Men at Work must pay royalties for copied riff in ‘Down Under’

In February, a judge has ruled that the flute riff in Men at Work’s Australian anthem “Down Under” plagiarized a popular nursery rhyme, called “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree”, which was written in 1932. It was written by Australian teacher Marion Sinclair for a Girl Guides competition.

Sinclair died in 1988. In 1990, an Australian publishing group called Larrikin Publishing bought the copyright to the song. “Down Under” was composed and performed by Men at Work founding member Colin Hay in 1978. Greg Ham added the flute riff after he joined the band in mid-1979.

The band has to pay 5 percent of the song’s royalties, which was a lot less than the 60 percent that Larrikin Publishing was looking for.

According to court documents, Ham added the riff to the song to inject some “Australian flavor.” He admitted he had heard the song while growing up in the country in the late 1950s and was “pretty sure” that Kookaburra was in his school’s song book.

Judge Jacobsen found that Ham deliberately included the bars from Kookaburra into the flute line, but accepted that Colin Hay didn’t realize it was from the nursery rhyme until early in the last decade.

On Tuesday, Jacobson ordered Men at Work’s recording company, EMI Songs Australia, and “Down Under” songwriters Colin Hay and Ron Strykert, to pay 5 percent of royalties earned from the song since 2002 and from its future earnings. A statute of limitations restricted Larrikin from seeking royalties earned before 2002.

The court didn’t specify what the 5 percent penalty translates to in dollars.

“I consider the figures put forward by Larrikin to be excessive, overreaching and unrealistic,” Jacobson wrote in his judgment.

Mark Bamford, a lawyer for EMI, said the company plans to continue with its appeal of the February ruling.

“The ruling today on quantum is a good result in light of Larrikin’s ‘excessive, overreaching and unrealistic’ claim” for a higher cut of the profits, Bamford said in a statement. “EMI Songs will now focus on its appeal against the broader decision.”

Adam Simpson, Larrikin Music’s lawyer, said the company had no comment on the ruling, due to the pending appeal. Hay and Strykert were not in court for the decision and couldn’t immediately be reached.

“Down Under” and the album it was on, “Business As Usual,” topped the Australian, American and British charts in early 1983. The song remains an unofficial anthem for Australia and was ranked fourth in a 2001 music industry survey of the best Australian songs. Men at Work won the 1983 Grammy Award for Best New Artist.

Reference: The Christian Science Monitor

Trivia Tuesday – 7/6/10

Question: What 1983 big-screen smash was hyped with the line: “Take your passion and make it happen”?


Last Week’s Question: Which Facts of Life girl was the first to lose her virginity on the show, simply because the actress playing her volunteered?

Answer: Natalie

The episode was titled “The First Time”, and aired on February 06, 1988. Originally, Blair was suppose to lose her virginity, but Lisa Whelchel refused to do it because of her strong religious beliefs. The episode was rewritten with Natalie (Mindy Cohn) losing her virginity instead. It also was the only episode in the series history that Whelchel did not appear in.

Snake was played by Mike Damone, the one who knocked up Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Here is the episode:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

80's Pop Culture and News

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