Monday, September 16, 2019

RIP Eddie Money and Ric Ocasek...

They say bad things happen in threes.  Who is the next rock star to die?

Eddie Money died on September 13th after having just revealed that he had esophageal cancer.  Ric Ocasek, of The Cars, died yesterday, after having been found in his Manhattan apartment.  Money was 70 and Ocasek was 75.  They lived normal life spans, but they provided the music of my youth.  It makes me sad that they're gone.

This was a favorite back in the day...

And so was this... it always reminds me of roller skating.

I'd write more, but I'm in a shitty mood today and don't want to spread the wealth...  I just didn't want to let these two deaths go unacknowledged.  I probably appreciated Ric Ocasek more than Eddie Money, but both of these dudes made music that makes me smile.  Rest in peace.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Sugar Don't Bite...

Back in 1983, I was an avid fan of Star Search.  It was kind of an 80s precursor to American Idol, although it also included categories besides singing.  I'd say the vocalist categories were the most popular and launched a few legitimate stars.  I remember Sinbad, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, and Tiffany were all contestants.

You know who else was a contestant?  Sam Harris.  Don't know the name?  A lot of people don't.  But back in the 80s, when he was in his 20s, he was a big winner on Star Search.  He was kind of like Star Search's version of Kelly Clarkson.  After winning big on Star Search, Harris got a record deal with Motown and released this song...

It sounds a little like Papa Don't Preach.  The songwriters sued Madonna and actually won...

I do remember this being on the radio back in the day...  I was 12 years old in 1984 when this was a minor hit.  It's a pretty crappy song, in my opinion.  I'd rather listen to "Papa Don't Preach".  

Here's Sam Harris singing his signature song... "Over the Rainbow", which people seem to love.  Harris was known for his soaring high notes and embellishments, which I have always found kind of annoying.  But this performance was good enough to win lots of money and eventually a turn on Broadway after his Motown record deal fizzled.

"Over the Rainbow"... I can think of versions I like better than this.  That showy last embellishment makes my hair stand on end.

I give him credit for making good, though.  Not only has he been on Broadway and scored a record deal, but he's also produced TV shows.  And even though I am not a fan of the showy embellishments, he definitely can sing.

I did wonder where he went after "Sugar Don't Bite".  I think that song probably embarrasses him now.  But it was fun to listen to it yesterday after so many years.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Til Tuesday...

Yesterday, I was suddenly reminded of an 80s era American new wave band I hadn't thought about in years.  I'm talking about 'Til Tuesday, fronted by Aimee Mann.  I think it was because "Voices Carry", a song about infidelity and hiding it, was featured on SingSnap yesterday.

Wow... this brings back memories...

As I listened to this old song from the middle of my adolescence, I was reminded of another one they did that I liked even more.

Aimee Mann was quite the sexpot in the 80s.

I'll admit I didn't pay a lot of attention to this Boston based new wave band when they were popular, but their music takes me back to high school every time.  High school wasn't a horrible time for me, but I've had better years.  I still like the music, though.  It makes me feel young.

Interesting that I'd think of them 30 years after they broke up...  I still think their songs sound great, even today.  Some bands age better than others.  Aimee Mann is now a solo artist.  I need to check out more of her work.  Hell, I didn't even know she grew up in Chesterfield County in Virginia, winding up in Boston because she briefly attended Berklee College of Music.  She's supposedly one of the best songwriters around.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

World Party...

I became aware of two more gems from the past today.  I don't know how in the world I missed these songs... or any others by World Party.

"Ship of Fools" from 1987.  How in the world did I miss this song in 1987?  It's awesome!

Someone in the Welcome Back!  The Pop Culture Time Machine Facebook group shared it, wondering if World Party ever had any other hits.  I went looking on SingSnap and found the song below, "Is It Like Today".  A quick look on Amazon reveals a number of albums they've released over the years, all of which I was completely unaware existed.  Cool videos, too!

"Is it Like This Today"...  damn, this band should have gotten more airplay.

I may have to make some purchases on Amazon today.  I need to explore this band more.  For now, I know World Party is a British alternative group, which is essentially the solo project of its sole member, Karl Wallinger, who started the band in 1986 after he left The Waterboys.  I had heard of The Waterboys... don't know how I missed this.

Wallinger sings and plays most of the instruments by himself, although he has collaborated with other musicians.  Looks like he's still around, too, even though there's been nothing new since the end of the band's 2015 tour. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

I didn't know Bryan Adams did disco...

This morning, I just became aware of this "gem" from 1978, "Let Me Take You Dancing".

Yes, THAT Bryan Adams... from Canada.

It sounds like he's been inhaling helium.  Adams was just 18 when this was released.  It had some "mild" success on the radio and was eventually remixed to make it sound more "disco" so it might get some airplay in the United States.

I swear, before this morning, I'd never heard this song before.  I don't know that I need to hear it again, although I can practically picture someone prancing around to this number.  John Luongo remixed this song using 1978 technology.  He made the tempo faster, but that also changed Adams' vocals so that they sounded higher.  No wonder it sounds like he sucked on a helium tank.

I fully expect this video will eventually disappear, because Bryan Adams apparently wants to forget it was ever recorded.  It hasn't appeared on any of his albums, other than the original vinyl back in the 70s.  He doesn't perform it live anymore.  And every time someone uploads it, it gets blocked by Web Sheriff... or so it used to be.  I see this video has been up for over six months now.

I can see why Adams wants to forget about it... My witty friend, Joann, says it sounds like a song even Leif Garrett would reject.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Classic Roberta Flack...

When I was very young, my dad used to play Roberta Flack's 1973 album, Killing Me Softly.  I've always loved the title track, of course, but there was another song I remembered from those days.  A couple of weeks ago, that song inexplicably popped into my head and I ended up downloading Killing Me Softly.

I was just a baby when this album was released, but I swear 46 years later, it still sounds very fresh.  Roberta Flack's voice is so serene, gentle, and smooth... it reminds me of brown silk.

This is the song that inspired me to buy this album... It does make me smile!

And of course, this is probably my favorite of her songs.  It doesn't age.

I really miss the 70s sometimes.  There was a lot of crappy music back then, but there was just as much if not more amazing stuff.  I don't think we still get a lot of genuine talent anymore.  A lot of a person's success in music depends on luck, imagine, and how they look on video.  Roberta Flack has always seemed amazingly normal, and yet extraordinary.

I need to get more of her stuff.  She's very underrated.

Ah... the great love theme.  Of course, having been a child of the 80s, when I hear this, I am reminded of Oil of Olay commercials.  It wasn't until I was much older that I realized what a truly gorgeous song this is.

And, of course, I can't forget her turn with Michael Jackson on Free to Be You and Me.

This post marks my 500th post on this blog...  I don't know if I should keep it going for another 500.  I only post when I'm inspired by something from the past.  The lucky thing is that with every passing day, there's more past to be inspired by.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Bomb Iran...

This just popped into my head.  It was a hit in 1980.

In 1980, we were less politically correct... and so Vince Vance & The Valiants came up with this beaut of a parody song, sung to The Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann".

I was a kid in 1980, and I'm sad to say that when I hear this melody, I think "Bomb Iran" instead of "Barbara Ann".  Vince Vance & The Valiants are from New Orleans and have had a few novelty hits over the years.  This is the only one I remember.  Apparently, there were a bunch of versions of "Bomb Iran" by other bands, too.  Vince Vance & The Valiants had the most successful one, even though it didn't get a lot of distribution in the 80s because they never got permission to use the music.  

This is the 1965 popular cover by The Beach Boys...  but it'll always be "Bomb Iran" to me.

The original version was done by The Regents in 1961.  It was written by Fred Fassert.

The original.

This song, "All I Want For Christmas Is You", is Vince Vance & The Valiants biggest hit.  It comes from 1993.  But to me, they'll always be remembered for "Bomb Iran".  The lead singer on this is Lisa Layne.  A lot of people wonder why she isn't a huge star.  I agree, she has a beautiful voice.

Maybe "Bomb Iran" has new relevance today...  Don't know.  Just another one of my pointless rambling posts about crap from the past.