Music Video of the Week – 7/21/10

This week’s selection is “In a Big Country” by Big Country:

“In a Big Country” was released as a single in 1983 and was featured on the band’s first studio album, The Crossing.
The band is often described as a “one-hit wonder” for the popularity of “In a Big Country” in the United States. However, they continued to have success in Europe and were a great road band more famous for their live shows more than their studio albums. Frontman Stuart Adamson once remarked about the song in an interview, part of which was shown on a VH1 special celebrating “one-hit-wonders” that,
“ If we’re known for nothing more than just that one song, I’d be pretty happy with that. ”

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Trivia Tuesday – 7/20/10

Question: What brother and sister both appeared (before either was famous) in bit parts in 1984’s Sixteen Candles?


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


Answer: Tiffany

The ’80s pop star lost to Melissa Moultrie on Star Search in 1985. But, she did pretty well for herself with the smash hit remake “I Think We’re Alone Now”.
Here are the show’s performances:

Summer Movies of the ’80s

Yesterday was the list of top 5 songs about summer. Now, here is the top 5 summer movies of the ’80s.

5. Dirty Dancing

Dirty Dancing was released in 1987, and starred Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. It takes place in 1963, and Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Grey) is vacationing with her family at a resort in the Catskill Mountains. Baby develops a crush on the resort’s dance instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze), who is from the wrong side of the tracks. This is a coming of age story for Baby, who learns to loosen up and be true to herself. And Johnny learns that he really is worth something. And Baby’s father (Law & Order’s Jerry Orbach) learns that nobody puts Baby in a corner.

4. Summer School
This movie was released in 1987, and starred Mark Harmon. The movie begins with the last day of school before summer vacation. The gym teacher, Mr. Freddy Shoop, is a slacker, and is ready to go on vacation to Hawaii with his young girlfriend. However, Shoop is forced to teach summer school remedial English when the original teacher wins the lottery and immediately quits teaching. The students included easily distracted Pam (Courtney Thorne-Smith), ‘nocturnal’ Larry, who happens to be a male stripper, football jock Kevin, pregnant Rhonda , geeky Alan, dyslexic Denise (and two horror-film-obsessed underachievers, Dave and Francis, a.k.a. ‘Chainsaw’.
Shoop’s girlfriend goes to Hawaii without him. He then meets, and falls for Robin Bishop (Kirstie Alley), who is teaching next door to his class.
Shoop is forced to learn responsibility when he finds out that he will be fired unless his students pass the end of the term test.
Not all of the students passed, but the parents came to Shoop’s defense because of the great improvement the students made. Happy ending all around.

3. The Great Outdoors

This was a 1988 movie starring John Candy and Dan Aykroyd. Chester “Chet” Ripley (John Candy), his wife Connie, and their two sons go on vacation at a lake resort in Wisconsin.
They are all ready to enjoy themselves when Connie’s sister Kate, Kate’s snobby know-it-all investment broker husband Roman Craig, and their creepy twin daughters crash the family vacation.
Roman constantly got on Chet’s nerves really bad. It turns out that the reason why Roman, Kate, and the twins crashed the vacation is because the Craigs are broke because of a bad investment, and Roman was planning to hit Chet up for $25,000.
This was a great family comedy. And who could forget John Candy’s crazy water skiing, and the bald headed grizzly?

2. Meatballs

This movie was released in 1979, but I’ll grandfather it in. This was Bill Murray’s first starring role. Murray plays head counsellor Tripper Harrison and also follows the counsellors-in-training (CITs) at Camp North Star. The main plot involves Rudy Gerner, a lonely kid who is sent to summer camp by his father. Noticing Rudy is unable to fit in, Tripper takes him under his wing and each morning they go jogging and bond as friends. Tripper helps Rudy gain confidence while Rudy encourages Tripper to start a romance with Roxanne (Kate Lynch), the female head counsellor.
Camp North Star has a rivalry with Camp Mohawk, a wealthier camp located across the lake. Every year they have an olympic type of competition, which Mohawk carries a 12-0 record against North Star. Camp Mowhawk cheats a lot to win their competitions, but Camp North Star starts winning some competitions of their own. Then it comes down to a 4 mile race,where Rudy’s jogs with Tripper pay off.
Here is Murray’s great “It just doesn’t matter” speech:

1. Vacation

This was Chevy Chase at his best. National Lampoon’s Vacation came out in 1983. Chase played Clark Griswold, and Beverly D’Angelo played his wife Ellen, and their two kids, Rusty and Audrey were played by Anthony Michael Hall and Dana Barron. Clark, wanting to spend more time with his family, decides to lead the family on a cross-country expedition from the suburbs of Chicago to “Wally World” — billed as “America’s Favorite Family Fun Park” — in Los Angeles. Hi-jinks ensue all the way through.
And here is the incredible end of the movie:

And I love Lyndsay Buckingham’s theme song – “Holiday Road

So what are some of your favorite summer movies?

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.

80's Pop Culture and News

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