Sunday, October 30, 2011

Let's Dance - David Bowie

There are lots of great albums from the 80s and one that I played constantly was David Bowie's Let's Dance album. So called 'true' David Bowie fans hated this album, but I loved it so much so that when I saw part of a documentary on David Bowie I was glad he was undergoing financial difficulties during the early 80s.

David Bowie came out in this doco and said that he wrote Let's Dance in order to make money because basically he was in a financial black hole as he totally trusted the wrong person and just signed whatever this person told him to so that he could get on with using his creativity.

I don't care if it was commercialism because I loved the album and I can't have been the only person because it sold really well and the singles off of the album also did well. It was Let's Dance that got me interested in looking into David Bowie's earlier work and I have to say I became a huge fan and yet if I hadn't heard his 1983 album I probably wouldn't have looked for other albums of his to listen to.

With the singles off of the Let's Dance album David Bowie really mastered the blue eyed soul style of music and captured the feelings of the time - it was all about being able to dance to the music and singalong at the same time and you could do that with China Girl, Modern Love and Let's Dance and you could do that really well.

When any of the singles from this album are played on the radio I can't help but singalong - it's an album that, in my opinion, doesn't date and I am really glad that David Bowie gave us this album. The Laughing Gnome, Ashes to Ashes, The Jean Genie, Changes and Young American are all fantastic songs, but Let's Dance, Modern Love and China Girl just pull me straight back to the 80s when life was easy (for a teen anyway!) with just a couple of beats!

What do you think about David Bowie's 1983 album - Let's Dance?

Friday, October 21, 2011

80s Movie Night - Spotlight on Red Dawn

For our 80s movie night tonight we're heading back to Colorado in 1984, yes I'm talking about Red Dawn. I loved this movie when it came out and always thought of it as a classic, a couple of years ago I had the house to myself and thought I'm going to rent Red Dawn and as I took it up to the counter the person serving me starting going on about it being a cult hit (he didn't even look like he was alive in 1984!). I enjoyed re-watching it, but a remake?

Red Dawn, like so many classic 80s movies, is being remade and is expected to be released in 2012 with Chris Hemsworth and Josh Peck taking on Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen's characters. I'm not sure if I'm going to even watch this version as some of the remakes of 80s movies have really not turned out very well in my opinion (Fame, anyone?)

Will modern day audiences actually 'get' the movie? I think part of the allure of Red Dawn was that the cold war was still in existence and many people believed that the scenario could actually happen. I must admit my brother and I decided to try and get to our home from the movie theater via all the back alleys we knew to avoid being seen by anyone - I managed it, my brother was spotted by a noisy old lady a couple of streets over from us! We worked on improving our stealth like abilities throughout the school holidays and it kept us out of trouble so I'm sure from that perspective our family must've liked the movie too!!

The movie starts with everyone rolling up to school, but the day gets shattered when enemy paratroopers start landing on the school playing fields. The movie provides a lot of action and it's audience was obviously primarily the youth market as it boosted our belief that we could do anything including saving the country.

I love the little bits of irony throughout the movie, I missed it the first time around, but the second time of watching it I decided that one of my favorite moments was one that caused me to have a little chuckle - a pro-gun supporter had a bumper sticker with the words "they'll get my gun when they pry it from my cold, dead hands" well I don't know if his hands were cold, but they were definitely dead when a Russian took it from him!

What did you think of the movie that started Charlie Sheen's career (I bet he never envisaged what he would do to his career back then!) - I loved it, but feel free to disagree if you like :)

Just remember if you're looking to buy an 80s movie check out my 80s Movie Store I get a small commission on any movie that you purchase while you get a great deal - that's what I call a win/win.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rubik Cube Gift Ideas - Great 80s Style Gifts

Did you love the rubiks cube?   There's something about that cube that pulls me straight back to the 80s when I could never solve it, but I can tell you the name of a boy that could and he was really fast as well......I won't embarrass him by putting his name here, but his initials were AB.

Anyway the rubiks cube really did become a symbol of the 80s so if you know someone who's still 'stuck in 1984' then what about checking out some of these rubiks cube inspired gift ideas -

Salt and pepper mills based around the rubiks cube are an awesome idea and are bound to get the dinner conversation turned onto the best decade ever!

There are lots more rubiks cube inspired gifts however -

A rubiks cube mug is also cool, in fact I would swap my True mug for that one and you know what a Spandau Ballet fan I am! If you're going to have a rubiks mug then you really need the next idea as well.......a rubiks cube coaster!

What do you think of these rubiks cube inspired gifts? I think they are all awesome and I'm sure if you left this webpage open for someone else to stumble upon they are bound to realize that any of these gifts would be perfect for my 80s loving readers!

Of course my hubby would probably find this last rubiks cube gift idea the best one for me -

A rubiks cube notepad is just perfect for my house, because if I don't write jobs down they basically don't get done. My hubby's a bit sick of saying did you or have you? While I reply 'oh no I forgot', he now makes sure I always have a notepad and asks me to write down jobs that are really important!!

So there you have some of the coolest gift ideas for a rubik cube loving 80s girl or guy, let me know your favorite.

Friday, October 14, 2011

80s Movie Night - Spotlight on A NIghtmare on Elm Street

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
With October drawing in and Halloween fast approaching I thought it was time to look at 80s horror movies and what better 80s horror movie was there than A Nightmare on Elm Street?

I'm sure some would disagree, but this movie kept me awake far more than any other movie I have ever seen so I'm going to call it the 80s horror movie!

The Nightmare on Elm Street Collection consists of 7 Nightmare on Elm Street films and a bonus disc and is a great gift idea for any Freddy Krueger fan.   It was the first movie in 1984 that kept me awake however, I wasn't as impressed with some of the subsequent movies and I certainly haven't seen all seven of them.

Wes Craven's idea of teenagers being killed in their dreams was, in my mind, a really cool concept.   I thought it was a very original idea, but since the 80s I've learned that he actually read about a little boy who had been having nightmares and one night just died in his sleep ......... maybe Freddy is real??

Robert Englund did a fantastic job in making Freddy Krueger a character that could still scare the #@@# out of any child of the 80s if we should bump into him over Halloween.

Of course if you were planning to go to an 80s party dressing up as the 80s boogeyman himself would certainly bring any 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' style dancing to a halt!

Freddy Krueger and the whole collection of Nightmare on Elm Street movies have gained quite a cult following over the years which is quite amazing considering how much trouble Wes Craven went to to try and get someone to make the movie.   You see back when Wes Craven was shopping the script around he was met with a lot of resistance - slasher movies are on their way out - was comment and the other was - who would believe people could be murdered in their sleep.   Luckily for us (and the coffee industry) Wes Craven persevered and this cult movie franchise took on a life of it's own.

I was reading some Nightmare on Elm Street trivia the other day and they claimed that over 500 gallons of fake blood was used during the making of the original film.   That's a lot of blood, although when you think of some of the scenes it makes sense.

The first time I saw Nightmare on Elm Street I went with a friend of mine - I forget what we were supposed to be seeing because we weren't technically old enough to go to the movie, but being young and foolish..........

I was terrified!

I'm sure I did sleep, but it felt like weeks before I was sleeping, I'd catch myself nodding off and quickly turn on my bedside light (Turn your light off Lou!) to keep me awake.

The first thing that scared me was my lovely best friend of the time, Allison. She saw that I was engrossed in the movie and so she carefully put her arm around the back of the seat and just as Freddy emerged (I forget which scene) she stuck her nails into my shoulder - I screamed so loud the whole cinema turned around to frown! And yet we remained friends.....

The next thing that scared the bejesus out of me was getting outside the cinema to discover it was raining and I'd left my umbrella behind - doesn't sound too scary does it? Well there was an old guy that was the usher at the cinema and hand on heart I have to tell you he could have been Freddy Krueger's twin!

Anyway my friend refused to go back into the cinema with me (she was too scared as well.......I'm starting to wonder why we remained friends!!!) and I had to walk into a darkened room with Freddy Krueger!!!!! I swear I've never run back down the stairs of the cinema building so quickly in my life.

Anyway let's talk about the movie, but first here's another interesting nugget of info -

An interesting piece of trivia that I only discovered in recent years is that the iconic Freddy sweater wasn't supposed to be red and green, but Wes Craven read an article that said the two most contrasting colors to the human retina were red and green and so decided that those were the colors that the sweater should be.   

A Nightmare on Elm Street - The Movie

A Nightmare on Elm Street is about Freddy Krueger who was a child murderer, unfortunately he escapes going to prison on a technicality and walks out of court a free man. A group of people in his town decide that they will put an end to his crimes and murdered him by setting him on fire.

Nightmare On Elm Street - Movie Poster
The movie starts years later when somehow Freddy Krueger has found a way to come back for revenge - in dreams. He haunts the dreams of the children of the people who murdered him and manages to kill them while they are sleeping.

Wes Craven had a lot of problems convincing a studio to make this movie as they purported that no one would believe in a villain killing people in their sleep.....well they were wrong. This movie kept millions of people awake after they watched it.

Where Did the Idea for 'A Nightmare On Elm Street' Come From?

Exploring Wes Craven's mind

Where on earth did Wes Craven come up with the idea of people being killed in their sleep? From the news! The scary thing is that there have actually been cases where people have died in their sleep for no known reason. In one case a little boy had been having nightmares and didn't want to go to sleep.....when he finally did sleep his family heard him scream, but by the time they had reached his side he was dead. I am so glad that I didn't know about this at the time that I watched the movie - maybe Freddy is real!

A Nightmare on Elm Street

The Stars

The main characters in the movie are Nancy, her boyfriend Rod, Nancy's best friend Tina and her boyfriend Glen. As Nancy's friends start dying in their sleep Nancy tries desperately to get her parents to believe what's really happening..........................of course they don't which really helps to sell this movie to a younger audience. Teenagers taking on demons by themselves is a classic movie grab.

Original Cast of A Nightmare on Elm Street

Freddy Krueger - A Nightmare on Elm Street's Infamous Villain

A Nightmare on Elm Street could not have been successful without Freddy Krueger, he has become a cult movie anti-hero with his own huge following. Every Halloween fancy dress stores sell Freddy Krueger costumes, but where did he come from?

Freddy Krueger
Copyrighted by Louanne Cox, Aug 2014
Apparently Freddy Krueger was inspired by a grown man Wes Craven saw as a child. Wes Craven describes this person (who he didn't know) as being the source of one of the scariest moments of his life. As an 11 year old Wes was looking out of his apartment window and saw a man (who in later interviews he has described as homeless), the man spots him looking and stares back at him which for some reason scared him. In later interviews he expands more on the story, but I think at that age we do see people who we view as scary for no real reason don't we?

Freddy Krueger is still considered a scary character which is why you sometimes see him immortalized at 'horror houses' and the like as you can see opposite.

Do you think A Nightmare on Elm Street was the best horror movie of the 80s?

Welcome to 80s Movie Night

I must apologize for the fact that I'm not posting very regularly with this blog - I've decided that instead of just writing about anything 80s when I feel like it I should have a blog plan so that I can bring you posts more regularly.   Introducing 80s Movie Night - this is where I plan to spotlight types of movies ie John Hughes movies or 80s dance movies or even individual movies.

There's just something about 80s movies which are cool so what will be the first movie that I spotlight?   Well you don't have long to wait, only minutes in fact!   While I'm introducing the 80s movie night concept though please feel free to leave the names of any 80s movie that you'd like me to spotlight in the comments section.

If you can't remember them all then feel free to check out Lou's 80s Movies Store and browse through the titles, the memories should come flooding back.   Stayed tuned the first 80s movie night spotlight will be coming right up.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

80s Halloween Costumes

Apparently I'm stuck in the 80s constantly if you listen to my daughter and all because the radio station I choose to listen to in my car plays a lot of 80s music - it's not like I don't offer to pop in a cd........even if they're also mainly 80s songs!   Anyway on Halloween you can re-live the 80s in a whole new way - 80s Halloween Costumes!

The only problem is what 80s costume do you want to wear.   There are a selection of different video game costumes including some cool Pac Man Halloween costumes that I've written about on another post - PacMan Halloween Costumes which feature Pac Man himself or the individual little ghosts - Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde.   Then you can get costumes like these ones which show the actual Pac Man game screen -

Pac Man Costume

Of course then you've got to think of what other type of 80s costumes you can wear and we get to 80s fashion! There are so many different choices here from leg warmers to shoulder pads and more, here's a couple of 80s costumes for women to choose from -

Here are a couple of 80s costumes for men to choose from -

Of course there are lots more ideas for costumes look at programs like Dynasty or Fame the TV series for inspirations as well as what the likes of Cyndi Lauper, Billy Idol, Madonna and Michael Jackson were wearing during the 80s - the costume ideas really are limitless so what do you say - will you rock the 80s this Halloween?

I think I'd like to and I've just come across a beard set a la ZZ Top so my hubby had better beware or he might be dressed like a 'sharp dressed man' and sporting dd's guitar as we party the night away!

Of course if you've left it to the last minute there is still a couple of easy last minute 80s costumes you can pull off - Bruce Springsteen - a pair of jeans with a Stars and Stripes bandana/kerchief hanging out of the back pocket and a plain t-shrit. Morrissey (as in the lead singer of the Smiths) - a pair of jeans, black shirt and a flower poking out of the back pocket.

If you've got the time, but no money what about some handmade 80s costume ideas?

The first one that springs to mind is a rubiks cube. Get a square box from one of your local shops and paint it the different colors of the rubiks cube (white, red, blue, orange, yellow,green) - one color per side (some thin lines of black to show that there are nine different squares on each side really adds to the costume). Cut a hole in the top for your head and you can have it resting on your shoulders which means you'll need arm holes or you have your arms out of the top which means you need something to hold the rubiks cube up. I used a pair of zebra braces (don't ask why I had zebra braces on hand and nobody will get hurt!!).

I cut the bottom completely out of the box so that I could walk around easily. Wear black leggings and a black turtleneck and you'll look awesome. The only drawback is that you can't sit down!!!

The other idea for a woman/girl is to wear a pair of jeans (preferably not bootleg) or leggings, a t-shirt and one of hubby's/dad's business shirts with sleeves rolled up and instead of buttoning it up just knot it in the front.   The hair has to be big so put in lots of mouse and blow dry it while hanging your head upside down - remembering the 80s I used to hang over the side of my bed to do this!

If you still have a banana clip then you could wear your hair up in this instead or a side ponytail.   If you really can't get any volume in your hair then use gel and go for the slicked back look.

Let me know your favorite 80s costume idea below.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hit Songs From 1986

There are so many songs that you think of when reminiscing about the 80s, but I'm often shocked when I read what songs sold the most in any given year.   Let me give you an example - the highest selling single in the UK during 1986 was Don't Leave Me This Way by the Communards.   Now I love this song, but I would never have guessed that it was the highest selling single, although I'm sure I would've known if you had asked me back then!  

I would've expected songs such as Sledgehammer or You Give Love a Bad Name to be in the top ten for the year - but they're not!   Do you want to know what the top ten selling singles of 1986 were?   Find out here - The Top Ten Songs of 1986.   I'm sure that non-UK readers will go who when it comes to number 2 as I doubt they will know who Nick Berry is and that shows the power of UK soaps as it was sold because he starred in Eastenders and the single was promoted on the show!

The first Comic Relief single was a re-make of an old Cliff Richard song performed by Cliff Richard and the stars of the hit UK comedy, The Young Ones.   I wasn't surprised when I saw it's name on the list, although I had forgotten about the song until I saw it.   You will never hear Cliff Richard's Living Doll the same after seeing this version which still brings a smile to my face.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

80s Christmas Ornaments

I was looking at some new Christmas ornaments online the other day and I came across this one on Amazon -

Doesn't it look good? Unfortunately I couldn't find any Space Invaders Christmas ornaments but it did get me thinking - wouldn't it be awesome to have a totally 80s themed Christmas tree? Thinking along these lines I discovered some cool 80s Christmas tree ornaments like this one -

There's actually a whole selection of them to be found at - Retro 80s Christmas Ornaments. So what do you think? Will you be having an awesome 80s style Christmas this year?

If we're talking Christmas and we're talking 80s then I guess we should pose another question - best Christmas song of 1984 - Band Aid with Do They Know It's Christmas? Vs Wham! with Last Christmas? I love both of these songs so it's a hard choice, but what do you think?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

80s Mugs - A Great Gift Idea

I love to drink either my tea or my coffee from a mug, a cup's just not big enough in my humble opinion.   I actually have a True mug that I drink from, a fair dinkum Spandau Ballet licensed True mug.   The lettering has faded somewhat, but being a Spandau Ballet of old I love that mug.

I was thinking I hadn't written a post for this blog in a while whilst drinking from my mug when I thought - I know 80s mugs!   Buy yourself an 80s mug to use every day or get one for your best friend, co-worker, family member etc.   Take it from me drinking from an 80s mug does put you in a good mood!

There's this classic I Love the 80s mug which is pretty cool, but wait there's a lot more to look at.....

Colorful Cassette Tapes mugTog Gun Wingman mug
These three mugs are all available from Zazzle which is a POD site that has some awesome designs, not just the ones I've featured here.

You can also find mugs from 80s bands, television series etc like these -

Can you remember Bros?   "When will I, will I be famous?", Talk about a flashback in time.

I must look and see what Matt Goss is doing these days as I know I occasionally see Luke Goss acting.   I'm sure they had a couple of other hits as well, but When Will I Be Famous is the only one I can think of off of the top of my head.

There are lots of other bands who have mugs that you can buy online so let's have a look at a some of them, Duran Duran the biggest international New Romantic band, Joy Division, one of my hubby's favorite bands until the demise of Ian Curtis and the resulting (and one of my favorites) New Order and of course Bon Jovi (as I type his name I'm singing Shot Through The Heart in my head!) -


Now if for some strange reason 80s music isn't the thing you miss most from the 80s then maybe this mug is more your style -

I do love ALF! This 80s mug is definitely a classic, I might even be persuaded to give up my True mug in exchange for it :)

What 80s inspired mug would you like to (are are already) drink from?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Through The Barricades - Spandau Ballet

Through the Barricades Album - Great 80s Music

Through the Barricades - Spandau Ballet
Spandau Ballet's album Through the Barricades was their fifth studio album and the first one for the record company CBS. It featured the heartfelt Through the Barricades single along with the two singles Fight for Ourselves and How Many Lies.

After the release of this album the band toured the UK to promote it little realizing that this would be their last tour for thirty years. I was lucky enough to be able to be at one of these shows and Spandau Ballet really seemed to be at the top of their game - it was a fantastic performance.
Through the BarricadesCheck Price
Track listing:-

  • Barricades -- Introduction

  • Cross the Line

  • Man in Chains

  • How Many Lies?

  • Virgin

  • Fight for Ourselves

  • Swept

  • Snakes and Lovers

  • Through the Barricades

Fight For Ourselves

1st Single from Through the Barricades

The first single released from the album was Fight For Ourselves which reached number 15 in the UK charts.

Let’s look at some of the background to this album - Gary Kemp wrote the whole Through the Barricades album while the band were living in Ireland for a year. At the time Spandau Ballet were in dispute with their original record company Chrysalis over the way the company had failed to promote them in the US market. When you listen to the lyrics it could be that Gary Kemp is writing about Spandau Ballet's legal woes......

Then again Gary Kemp was getting quite political around this time and had also teamed up with Billy Bragg (a well known left wing singer) and was supportive of the UK's Miners Strike so he could have just been telling everyone to stand up for what they believed was right.

Everybody, we've got to fight for ourselves

Whatever you believe the lyrics to be about one thing is for certain the song was catchy and easy to sing along to.

Through the Barricades - The Single

Through the Barricades was the second single to be released off of the album of the same name. It was written while the band were in Ireland and as Gary Kemp (the songwriter and guitar player of Spandau Ballet) said at the time "....(whilst)...we don't think to ourselves as a political band, but we can't ignore what is happening just around the corner.

Through the Barricades is essentially a Romeo and Juliet story set in Northern Ireland between a boy and a girl, one Protestant and one Catholic. It was a top ten hit in the UK and was also big in Europe (staying at number one for eight weeks in Italy) and the haunting melody has made it a favorite for the band and a large number of fans.

Through the Barricades showed Gary Kemp's songwriting abilities at their best. It also played to Tony Hadley's vocals beautifully with him giving his best performance to date on the single. The use of the drum and pipe marching music is so reminiscent of Ireland's Parades that it tugs even more at the heartstrings. Through the Barricades was also one of my favorites (can you tell?).

The line in the song Through the Barricades that goes - "as our hearts go to their graves" has been debated in some areas as to whether it means a suicide pact or an end of a doomed affair. What do you think?

Personally I think they made a suicide pact if you listen to the line 'the stars reach out and tell us there's only one escape' I can't think that it would be anything other than death.

How Many Lies

The Third Single from Through the Barricades Album

How Many Lies was their third and last single off of the album Through the Barricades. Although the band didn't realise it at the time How Many Lies was to become their last Top 40 hit single.

As I mentioned earlier this song was written when the band was in dispute with their record company while Gary Kemp was also getting very political. When you initially listen to the song you assume it’s between a couple, by knowing the background and where Gary’s head was at you start to wonder if it was a swipe at Chrysalis or even a political statement.

When you initially hear the song you assume it's between a couple, but knowing where Gary's head was at could it be a swipe at Chrysalis or even a political statement? Enjoy the song and let me know what you think.

How many lies must we tell?
How many lies must we see?
How many times must we say, it's for the best?
And leave truth as the casualty?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Scarface - A Classic 80s Mafia Movie

Among the hoards of Mafia movies released during the 80s was Scarface. This movie was a little different from the likes of Goodfellas and The Godfather in that is was based on the Cuban Mafia instead of the Italian one. With quotes like - 'Say hello to my little friend' it has become an absolute classic.

Scarface was first released in 1983 and with the excessive bloodshed and violence I wasn't able to watch it until a few years later! Excess and the eighties do go together though and so does Scarface. The biggest thing the movie had going for it from my hubby's point of view was Al Pacino. Let's face it Al Pacino is an amazing actor and he really brought his skills to the table as Tony Montana.

I was reminded the other day that it's only five months until Christmas so if you know a Scarface fan what about getting them a cool Scarface inspired gift? I have a few ideas for you -

Scarface Belt Buckles - these are really cool and a unique gift idea for a Tony Montana fan.
Scarface T-Shirts - who doesn't like a tee?
Scarface Posters - these are a great idea for the dorm room if you know a younger fan of Scarface or a Man Cave for someone who saw the movie when it was first released!

Then again you could always get them their own version of the movie if they don't already own it -

This two disc anniversary Scarface DVD doesn't just contain the movie but also has these extras -

  • The Rebirth of Scarface (10 mins)
  • Acting Scarface (15 mins)
  • Creating Scarface (30 mins)
  • Scarface:  The TV Version - a look at the two versions (3 mins)
  • Deleted Scenes (22 mins)
  • Def Jam presents The Origins of a Gangsta (30 mins)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - The Rubiks Tree of Knowledge!

Add your caption idea for this photo below for some fun on this Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Journey's to Glory - Spandau Ballet

Journeys to Glory - Spandau Ballet

The dawn of the New Romantics began in the UK with the aptly named Journey's to Glory album from Spandau Ballet.   Journeys to Glory as a name really reflects how the New Romantic movement grew to have such a huge impact on the 80s music scene, it was also a great name for a debut album.

Spandau Ballet's Journeys to Glory album was released in the English spring of 1981 after the huge success of their debut single 'To Cut a Long Story Short' which was not only a cult dance club hit, but also made #5 in the UK pop charts during the winter of 1980.

If all you know of Spandau Ballet are their later offerings like True and Gold then you really do need to hear how they sounded at the beginning of their musical career.   If you remember the stylized cult sounding record and enjoyed the pretentiousness of 'the art of pretending it's art' then you will love to take a trip down memory lane with this album.

Not only was the music refreshing these five lads from Islington, London actually did something else unique with their first record - instead of signing with a record label, they created their own - Reformation.

Both Gary Kemp (songwriter and guitarist) and John Keeble (drummer) have been quoted over the years as saying that the name Reformation was chosen deliberately as they wanted Spandau's music to be all about change. Fast forward to the 21st century and Spandau Ballet have completed a world tour called the Reformation Tour, but we're getting ahead of ourselves.
Spandau Ballet's record making journey started with the aptly named album Journeys to Glory, so let's have a look at that album.

Journeys to Glory - The Songs

Track Listing

There were only eight songs on the album, three of them would become singles - To Cut a Long Story Short, Muscle Bound, and The Freeze.
  1. To Cut A Long Story Short
  2. Reformation
  3. Mandolin
  4. Muscle Bound
  5. Age Of Blows
  6. The Freeze
  7. Confused
  8. Toys

To Cut A Long Story Short

From Journeys to Glory by Spandau Ballet

To Cut A Long Story Short was Spandau Ballet's debut single and reached number 5 on the UK charts in 1980 (when it was released). To Cut A Long Story Short was a hit in dance clubs as crowds were moving away from the punk sounds of the late 70s and although they wanted a beat to dance to disco was dead. To Cut A Long Story Short was really seen as one of the first New Romantic singles to be released.

Journeys to Glory

The song is a great club song and I, personally, can't help singing along, however when you listen to the lyrics...........well look at this -

The song starts with the lines -

Soldier is turning
see him through white light
running from strangers
see you in the valley

And with lyrics like that it's hardly surprising that this next line is repeated throughout the song - to cut a long story short, I lost my mind.

Despite not really making a lot of sense it was exactly what the youth of Britain wanted in 1980 as was evidenced by the race up the charts and into the Top 10.

The Freeze

Second Single from Journeys to Glory by Spandau Ballet

The Freeze was released on 12th January 1981 as the second single for Spandau Ballet and it reached the #17 spot in the UK charts. If you don't know much about the history of Spandau Ballet let me explain their origins to you. Spandau Ballet were all members of a movement called the Blitz Kids and their music at this stage was still focused on what type of music the Blitz Kids would like.

The Blitz Kids became known as the Cult with No Name and were then given the label of New Romantics, the idea was that it was all about the look. In interviews over the years Gary Kemp (founder of Spandau Ballet) has admitted that they were basically hanging out in Soho posing. Now you know that the single The Freeze makes more sense (well sort of!)

The music video is very stylized and the boys are all seen to be posing while one of the (very few lines in the entire song) lines is the art of pretending it's art. I think when Gary Kemp wrote this song he was coming to the realization that if the band wanted to make it really big they would have to think further ahead than just catering to their own group.

Muscle Bound

From Spandau Ballet's Journeys to Glory Album

Musclebound was the third single off of Spandau Ballet's first album Journeys to Glory. In Musclebound songwriter Gary Kemp's words are sung really well with Tony Hadley's strong voice. The rest of the band also provides great backing in the song's chorus as well.

The song starts with - We're building fires that will burn until morning

And continues with the verse and then when you come to the chorus of the song –

Work till you're musclebound all night long
Work till you're musclebound all night long
Gotta work till you're musclebound all night long
Gotta work till you're musclebound all night long

The effect is more like a chant than the rest of the song which makes the whole single very interesting and different to the other songs on the album

Journeys to Glory

The Start of Spandau Ballet's Music Career

For a first album Journeys to Glory did well as it went gold which is what the young members of the band (the deal to make their first record was signed on Martin Kemp's 19th birthday) could only have dreamed of up to then.

The band's manager, Steve Dagger, was also very young and had been to the same school. It was with his vision, along with Gary Kemp's songs and the way the band performed together that would see them become a musical force to be reckoned with and it all started with this album!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Born in the USA - Bruce Springsteen

Another classic 80s album has to be from the boss himself - Bruce Springsteen.   I can remember getting this lp on vinyl before I had a record player of my own and so I had to play it in the dining room (or the lounge, but I would commandeer the dining room record player as mine!), I would crank it up loud and books on the table so that I could 'pretend' to be studying I would sing at the top of my voice to some of the classic tracks off of this album.

Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA album was great because any of the tracks could have been made into a hit single............and in fact many were!

Bruce Springsteen

The artwork for the album was as iconic as the music itself - jeans and a hankie hanging out of the back pocket - how cool was that!

Hits from the album include the title track Born in the USA, along with Glory Days and Dancing in the Dark.   If you can't remember all of the songs then check out this link - Born in the USA.   One of my favorite tracks off of the album (it wasn't a single) was No Surrender and I was surprised to find out a few years ago that Springsteen was going to leave it off the album until Steven Van Zandt convinced him otherwise - the amount of time I would belt out the lyrics, 'We learned more from a 3-minute record, baby,than we ever learned in school' was huge - it was classic teenage rebellion lyrics.   Of course the song's meaning was more about picking yourself up and keeping going, but I choose to use the literal words when I was feeling like a rebel!

Did you like Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA album?   Let me know your thoughts below.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Brothers in Arms - Dire Straits

Well I'm back - the break from posting went on a little longer as Blogger was down when I'd penciled in my to do list and then it was the weekend for me and I managed an (almost) computer free one :)

I was going to post about something different, but I was listening to a compilation album in the car over the weekend and realized how many of the songs I'd had on vinyl.   I even had a great discussion with my 9 year old about music - she loves David Bowie's Let's Dance album and my hubby's got her obsessed with Yazoo so we were discussing 80s music along with a few songs from the here and now that she enjoys and it struck me that I should do a series of posts on 'Vinyls from the Past' showcasing different albums that I have owned during the 80s and ones that I wished I'd owned.

Anyways all of this waffling is my way of saying we're talking about different 80s albums and today's album is Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms.

Now this album was actually the best selling album of the 80s in the UK and it's no surprise to me as I think it was fantastic.   It was actually Dire Strait's fifth album, but it's been their best selling and actually became the first album to sell one million copies in the cd format - yes vinyl was about to start it's decline, but it hadn't happened yet.

Brothers in Arms featured classics such as Money for Nothing and Walk of Life.  In fact if you take Brothers in Arms and Sultans of Swing then I don't think you need worry about a best of album for Dire Straits, but I'm sure someone will want to disagree with that statement and you're welcome to leave your comments below.

I must confess I never owned Brothers in Arms on vinyl as my dad owned it......this was nearly enough reason for me to 'go off' Dire Straits completely, but their music was good enough to bridge the generation gap and besides dad had some pretty cool albums like Bat out of Hell by Meatloaf and Eliminator by ZZ Top so it wasn't all bad!

What I find amazing is that Dire Strait's Brothers in Arms album actually outsold Michael Jackson's Thriller during the 80s in the UK - I would never have guessed that.   I think the reason is what I mentioned above - Dire Straits managed to bridge the generation gap and people who had been teens in the 60s loved the sound  as much as the teens of the 80s.

So, did you own Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms album?   Let me know below.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Z is for ZZ Top

ZZ Top are an American rock band from Texas that were formed way back in 1969, it wasn't until 1983, however, that they hit stardom with the mainstream and that was because of their album - Eliminator.

Suddenly it seemed like everyone had heard of the Texans - two with long beards and one without who was actually called Frank Beard.   There was something about their sound with Eliminator that just struck a chord, plus they also made memorable videos which was really important during the 80s.

Gimme All Your Lovin, Sharp Dressed Man & Legs were fantastic songs, but the videos.......well even a total non-revhead like myself couldn't help but appreciate the Eliminator.   I think my favorite video was the one for Legs where the poor sales girl gets her chance to stand up to everyone thanks to the Eliminator and the Eliminator Girls that feature on ZZ Top's videos.

When I was helping to sort out my dad's garage recently I saw that he still had Rio Grande Mud, Eliminator and Afterburner on vinyl.   It was thanks to dad 'discovering' the band that I was able to sound so knowledgeable when their songs first hit the UK charts which really impressed a certain guy.........we'll say no more about that!

Which ZZ Top song was your favorite?

Friday, April 29, 2011

Youngblood, Yuppies & You

We're nearly at the end of our A-Z blogging challenge so I decided to write about three things that start with Y!

First up is the 1986 movie Youngblood which starred the late Patrick Swayze and a very young looking Rob Lowe.   I missed this movie during the 80s and first saw it in this millennium so it was quite a shock to see Rob Lowe who I had followed religiously on West Wing to look soooo young!

It was a fun, feel good 80s movie and well worth a watch on a wet weekend.

Now let's talk about the eighties use of acronyms including the most well known 80s acronym - Yuppies!   Now that I'm older (and with the use of the internet) I know that what yuppies stood for depends on where in the world you lived!   In the UK yuppies stood for Young Upwardly-mobile Professional, studying sociology upwardly mobile was a term that was often batted around in my world.   In the US though it appears it wasn't as widely used.

Apparently if you were called a yuppie in the US it stood for Young Urban Professional - which begs the question what do you call a young upwardly mobile person who lives in the country in the US???

Why have I mentioned You in my title, well it's to pay homage to those emails that I'm sure we've all received at some point in our lives - You knew you grew up in the 80s know the words to shot through the heart, you used to finish your sentences with not...........and sometimes still do, you had a mullet and you looked great!   If you want more click on the link as I could go on all day :D

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

X is for XTC

Now as you know I'm competing in the A-Z Blogging Challenge this month and (like many others I'm sure) I had thought ahead for some of the letters and X was always going to be XTC simply for their single Senses Working Overtime.

What I didn't realize until I came to write this post was that XTC were active from 1976 right through until 2005 and released 14 albums.   This was a total shock to me as I couldn't name any other XTC song besides the excellent 1982 single that I've mentioned before - Senses Working Overtime.

Did you know of any other XTC songs?   I have always thought of them as a one hit wonder so I'll be interested to hear if you know their other music.

and I've got one, two, three, four, five,
senses working overtime.....
Check them out on TOTPs thanks to YouTube.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

W is for Wham!

It's funny, but when I think of Wham! I find it hard to believe that they were only together as a group for four years.   During those four years however Wham! certainly made an impact on the music scene and the two boys who made up the band - George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley certainly came a long way from schoolboys in Watford.

Their first single was Wham Rap and didn't light any fires under anyone, but their second single Young Guns climbed up the UK charts to the number 3 spot which caused them to re-release Wham Rap and this time everyone loved it and you could find young people all over the UK joining in with the 'rap'-

Hey everybody, take a look at me,
I've got street credibility,
I may not have a job,
But I have a good time,
With the boys that I meet down on the line.....
Wham!'s first album was called Fantastic and it really was!   My brother had this album on vinyl, but somehow it always seemed to be in my room when he was looking for it - oops!   I loved the intro of Club Tropicana and the chorus of Bad Boys........basically I really enjoyed the whole album.

Three albums later and Wham! had parted company although they've all remained great friends with George a regular visitor to Andrew's home in Cornwall and also the best friend to Shirley Kemp who was one of the original back-up singers for Wham!   In fact George set Shirley up on a blind date with the bass guitarist of Spandau Ballet - Martin Kemp back in the 80s and the couple are still together today and are loving parents to two children.

Although Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, Last Christmas and I'm Your Man were great songs, I personally think that Wham!'s first album was their best even if Wake Me Up Before You Go Go and Last Christmas are probably two of my more favorite Wham! songs.   The Fantastic album contained all great songs in my opinion, not just some, but what do you think?   Name your favorite Wham! song and favorite Wham! album.

V is for Vietnam

Now I know what you're thinking - Vietnam wasn't in the 80s and you're right the Vietnam war officially finished in 1975, but the 80s saw the rise of the Vietnam war movies. From the Oscar winning Platoon to the (put on your best Robin Williams voice for this one) Good Morning Vietnam movie. Missing in Action and Full Metal Jacket were also released during the 80s, it seemed that film makers had found that the Vietnam War provided great fodder for an action film.

There were also the feelings of shame that people felt in the USA over how they had treated their Vietnam Vets, there were no ticker tape parades like there was for the WWI and WWII vets and this was reflected in movies and songs. In particular there was the Stallone classic - Rambo (and it's sequels). The biggest song that I can think of which criticized the way the vets were treated was Born in the USA.

There were other songs of course, in fact it's because of eighties music that I know the average age of the combat soldier in Vietnam was 19.   I'm talking about Paul Hardcastles - 19.

What was your favorite Vietnam action movie of the 80s?   "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" - if you can't pick a favorite or you were more a John Hughes movie fan than an action film fan then tell me which movie that famous quote came from.

Monday, April 25, 2011

U is for U2

U2 were formed in 1976, but it took four years before they had managed to get a record deal and release their first album - Boy, by the mid 80s they had gained rock supergroup status and are still rocking stadiums worldwide today. I've never actually seen them live, but my brother saw them last year and hasn't stopped talking about them!

The eighties saw U2 release 6 albums - Boy, October, War, The Unforgettable Fire, The Joshua Tree and finally Rattle and Hum.

Although the Irish rock group broke into the Irish top 10 in 1981 it would take another 2 years before they reached number 10 on the UK charts with New Years Day a further year later saw them in 1984 and the hits were rolling and smashing the UK top 10 over and over with -

Pride (in the name of love)
The Unforgettable Fire
With or Without You
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
Where The Streets Have No Name

The number one spot eluded them however until 1981 when they released the single Desire, this was to be the first number one single for the band who to date have only had seven number 1 songs which seems amazing considering their influence.

U2 is another supergroup like Queen where it's hard to pick a favorite song as there are just so many.   When I hear Pride or With or Without You I'm instantly transported back to the 80s singing along to the radio in my teenage bedroom.   As far as a favorite U2 song goes though I think I'd have to pick one from this millennium - Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of.   What's your favorite U2 single?

One of the great things about groups that have been around for as long as U2 have is the compilations that are released and the one that I have I can thoroughly recommend is this one -

It contains 15 of their great 80s songs starting off with Pride and moving right into New Years Day, With or Without You and ending with October.

Now I did also want another U2 album which I think would be fantastic and I did request it one Christmas but my hubby (in all his wisdom - not!) decided that I didn't really want it as all of the tracks were on the album I already had.......

I reminded him of Vertigo and Stuck in a Moment and he stopped me before I got any further ................and yet I still don't have it, hmmmm.

The compilation album that I refer to is U218 and if you're looking for an album to add a little U2 rock to your collection then this one looks really great - if you're just after their 80s hits then stick with the one I have that's shown above.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

T is for Tears for Fears

I had a number of T's in mind for this post, but as it's Easter it just had to be Tears for Fears because they are responsible for the curtailing of chocolate Easter Eggs in my household. Now there's a story to tell, let's go back to 1985.

In 1985 there was a young girl who wanted to purchase a certain album when her mum offered to get her it in lieu of an Easter egg, now the girl thought this seemed like a good idea because she knew both her Nana and her Godfather would buy her eggs so she agreed. The album was Songs from the Big Chair and it was wonderful. Fast forward to 1986 and her mum says something along the lines of 'but you don't want Easter eggs anymore, we agreed' - to be a teen is not a good thing as you don't realize the consequences of saying no to chocolate Easter eggs!

Anyway Songs from the Big Chair was Tears for Fears' second album and was really the album that saw them achieve fame on an international level containing 80s anthems like Shout and Everybody Wants to Rule the World.

I was lucky enough to see Tears for Fears live (for the first time in my life) last year when they performed on Spandau Ballet's Reformation tour and they were fantastic. They opened with Mad World and the whole audience erupted. They were (and are) a fantastic group and as with other 80s bands I find it hard to choose a favorite song.

Hubby loves Mad World and Woman in Chains, I admit I still love Everybody Wants to Rule the World as it takes me right back to the 80s everytime I hear it, I also love Sowing the Seeds of Love and when I worked on Saturdays in Woolworths on the record counter the Seeds of Love album was played a lot!

What's your favorite Tears for Fears song?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

S is for Spandau Ballet

As I'm sure I've eluded to in past blogs or probably just blurted out anyways - Spandau Ballet were my favorite group when I was growing up in the 80s and my wall was covered in their posters.

I would go all starry eyed over Martin Kemp and John Keeble - which one I preferred depended on what day of the week it was! As far as Spandau's music was concerned I loved all of their works from their early singles and first album - Journeys to Glory through to their hit album True and (of course) Through The Barricades, the title track of which was without doubt one of their best ever singles - it really is haunting.  I even liked their second album, Diamond, which was slammed by critics at the time.

Spandau Ballet's first album was Journeys to Glory and they tapped into the club culture with this album and it was an aptly named first album. Number one status wouldn't come until album number three which was actually referred to as the Pleasure Project although when it came to releasing it they called it True. When the single of the same name was released it hit a chord with lovers around the world and became one of the top wedding songs of the decade - oh and a number one single as well!

I wasn't allowed to go to one of their concerts until their Through the Barricades tour and I'm so glad that I was able to go to that one as it was the last tour they did together before breaking up. It was sensational, the music, the atmosphere I can really say that it was one of the best concerts that I went to as a teen.

When their reunion was announced and they said they were going to tour my hubby already knew that I would be going. Luckily for him they didn't do a show at Bournemouth where I had seen them previously and they also announced a worldwide tour. He did think that I would want to travel halfway around the world to see them (the problems with emigrating down under), I waited and read many reviews of their tour before seeing them on their Australian leg.

I was so lucky that I waited until they came 'down under' as they toured with Tears for Fears - another great 80s group and one that my hubby was also a big fan of. The night was fantastic and as my daughter had a sleepover we even got to have a lie in the next morning, life doesn't get much better :D

Did you like Spandau Ballet? What was your favorite single of theirs,mine has got to be Through the Barricades, but I did like them all!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

R is for Reaganisms

Ronald Reagan was president of the USA for the majority of the 80s and whatever your political slant you had to hand it to him he was full of memorable quotes.   My favorite was - 

My fellow Americans, I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.

There were so many quotable quotes from Reagan's mouth that it spouted the term Reaganisms and here are a few more -

Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement.
Facts are stupid things - stubborn things, I should say. 
 Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.
What was your favorite Reagan quote?   For me I will always remember the 'oulawing Russia' statement he made - priceless!

Q is for Queen

Queen had the fourth biggest selling album of the 80s in the UK with their first compilation album named simply - Greatest Hits.

Featuring some great songs like Bohemian Rhapsody, Crazy Little Thing Called Love and  We Will Rock You.

As a band Queen were formed in 1971, but the 80s still saw these rockers gathering more fans as they released classic songs such as Radio Gaga and I Want To Break Free - they also produced the soundtrack album for the movie Flash Gordon.

One of the first music videos I can remember watching on Top of the Pops was I Want To Break Free - it might not have been the first, but it was memorable enough for me to still remember it far too many years later.

Queen were also one of the great attractions at the 1985 Live Aid concert in Wembley and the following year they released the album 'A Kind of Magic' which was, like so many other Queen albums, definitely a kind of magic.

The eighties ended with rumors that Freddy Mercury had AIDS and he passed away in 1991 confirming on his deathbed that the rumors had, in fact, been true.

Queen really were a phenomenal group and their music will be popular for ever - even my nine year old daughter knows the words to a lot of their hit singles such as We Are The Champions and We Will Rock You.

What's your favorite Queen song, if you can name just one?

Monday, April 18, 2011

P is for Peace & Protests

Did you know that 1986 was the designated International Year of Peace?   There was certainly a lot of talk about peace during the 80s - the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament was in full flow in the UK and even in our music charts we were singing about peace.

In early 1981 Give Peace a Chance re-entered the UK Top 40 12 years after it's first foray into the charts - this was in response to John Lennon's murder in December 1980.

In 1983 John Lennon's former band mate Paul McCartney also had a 'peace' song enter the UK charts - Pipes of Peace was based on a true event that happened during the first World War.

Not to be outdone even the Eurovision Song Contest wanted a little bit of peace.   In 1982 the winner of Eurovision was a German singer called Nicole and her song was called A Little Peace.   An English version was released which jumped up the charts to the coveted number one position.

1982 also saw a duet between Bing Crosby and David Bowie released as a Christmas single - Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy.

If you're remembering the days of campaigning for peace and thinking - why have all of the politicians not figured out how to let us all live as one then you may be ready to hang up a Peace Poster!

I don't know about you, but I had some really big silver peace sign dangling earrings that I wore all the time, one of my friends wore bright pink ones which were really cool!   

In a battle cry for peace we were singing along to protest songs just like our parents did during the 60s, let's look at what songs were protesting against the state of the world during the 80s -

99 Red Balloons/99 Luftballoons
Another Brick in the Wall
Beds are Burning
Born in the USA
Brothers in Arms
Do They Know It's Christmas
Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Free Nelson Mandela
Island on No Return
No More War
Peace in our Time
Tramp the Dirt Down
You're In The Army Now
You're the Voice

There are hundreds more, but I can't think of them right now - add any that you think I should have added.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

O is for Oscars

There are so many cult 80s movies like Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Red Dawn, Sixteen Candles and Ghostbusters, but although these are movies that come to mind when you think of the 80s not one of them won an Oscar during the 80s.

The Oscars of the 80s went to movies such as Chariots of Fire and Out of Africa.   Classics such as E.T and Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark were both nominated for Best Film Oscars, but were pipped to the post by Ghandi and Chariots of Fire respectively.

What is your favorite 80s movie and did it win a Best Film Oscar?    You can check out a full list of movies that won the best film Oscar during the 80s on the Oscars of the 80s webpage.

I find it very hard to choose a best movie for the whole decade as there were quite a few I loved, my hubby barely hesitates as for him it's always been Ferris Bueller's Day Off.   My brother surprised me last year by saying his favorite 80s movie was Top Gun and he's even managed to get my middle niece hooked on that movie!

The clerk at my local video store claims that Red Dawn is his favorite 80s movie......I was renting it out at the time so who knows if he meant it, but for someone who was probably only born during the 80s he knew the storyline really well :D

One of my closest friends always picks one of John Hughes' movies usually Sixteen Candles or Pretty in Pink, personally Uncle Buck is my favorite of John Hughes' films and Mr Mom should really rate a bigger mention than it often gets.

You can vote for your favorite 80s movie at Top 80s Movies, but be warned once you see the list it's really hard to choose just one.   I think for today I'm going to have to pick War Games, but if you ask me tomorrow I'm bound to have changed my mind yet again :D

Saturday, April 16, 2011

N is for New Romantics

The New Romantics were part of the New Wave music movement of the 80s which started in London in 1980. They were a group of musicians who were brought up watching television and believing Andy Warhol's words that everyone would have their fifteen minutes of fame.   They wanted their 15 minutes and more, but they didn't want to be relegated to hearing their music on the radio they wanted to own the television sets and saw the 'whole look' of the band as being just as important as the sound.

The New Romantics evolved from the Blitz Kids in London and almost overnight similar groups were popping up in other parts of the country most notably a certain group of five guys in Birmingham who named themselves after an evil character from the movie Barbarella - yes I'm talking about Duran Duran!

The problem was that the New Romantics who were originally referred to as the Cult With No Name weren't easily categorized which meant that you had bands such as Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran, Human League, Adam and the Ants and Bow Wow Wow all labelled as the same.

Friday, April 15, 2011

M is for Madonna

Madonna sprang onto our radio sets during the 80s and hasn't left since!   Her 1983 singles Holiday and Lucky Star were pure 80s pop and exactly what our dance floors needed at the time.   Her style was copied by girls around the world and her second album was just as popular with songs such as Like A Virgin & Material Girl Madonna really was on the fast track to superstardom.

Madonna showed her versatility during the 80s earning her the title of Queen of Reinvention and her music ranged from the very poppy sound of Holiday to the more mature sounding Live to Tell.

In total Madonna had 4 chart topping albums filled with numerous hit singles throughout the 80s, but she wasn't content with that!   Madonna also decided to try her hand at acting during the 80s as well, in 1985 she starred in the cult comedy about mistaken identity - Desperately Seeking Susan.   That wasn't the only movie she was to star in during the 80s, however and you can check out the rest of Madonna's 80s movies and musical success in my Madonna, Madonna, Madonna post.

Madonna wasn't just about the music and the acting though she also influenced fashion with millions of young girls embracing her look.   I admit I had black lace fingerless gloves with lots of bangles a la Madonna, and I wasn't even a huge Madonna fan!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

L is for Leg Warmers

Who lived through the 80s without a pair of leg warmers?   Tell the truth you had leg warmers didn't you?   I don't know whether to blame the movie Fame or the television series or whether it was really Flashdance that galvanized us all into wearing leg warmers in various different colors.

Then when it appeared as though leg warmers were gone from the fashion scene what took it's place?   Slouch socks!   Now I must admit I thought slouch socks, leggings and ankle boots were a pretty good look for me along with a long 'sloppy joe' style jumper :D   It was certainly better than my goth/punk look that I loved at the time and shudder at the memory of now.......luckily there's no photographic evidence of that particular fashion stage of my teen years.

So tell the truth - did you wear leg warmers?   Just take a breath and repeat after me -

Hello my name is insert your name and I wore leg warmers during the 80s and I was cool!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K is for KITT

I can't believe I've still managed to keep up with this challenge - for new readers I'm competing in an A-Z Blogging Challenge where every day (except Sundays) we have to blog out way through the alphabet.   Today we get to K which just has to be KITT as in my favorite star of Knight Rider.

Michael Knight was the character that David Hasselhoff played before he started sporting swimming trunks in the popular Bay Watch television series.   Although he was supposed to be the star of the show in my eyes KITT was always the star :D   KITT stands for Knight Industries Two Thousand and was a car that could drive by itself and talk as well!

I can't tell you the amount of times I would watch Knight Rider and think to myself one day I'm going to own a Kitt all of my own.   A few years ago I would've thought that the time was a long way off, but with in car navigation systems and the like maybe, just maybe I will own my very own Kitt.

Which Knight Rider character was your favorite?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J is for John

John Lennon killed in December 1980 - I can remember hearing the news and (for once) being completely speechless.   Give Peace a Chance and Imagine both hit the UK charts again after his death and I can remember the video for Imagine (one of my all time favorite songs) and thinking to myself one day I will have a house with a large room that has french windows and a white piano in it and nothing didn't happen by the way.

John Hinkley attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan in March 1981 in an attempt to impress actress Jodie Foster - I really don't think assassinating a president is the way to impress a list celebs, but....

John Hughes - the king of teen movies during the 80s from Ferris Bueller to Sixteen Candles and beyond - John Hughes was the man who teens could relate to and he proved it over and over again.   What do you think was the best John Hughes movie?

Elton John kept bringing the hits throughout the 80s with classics such as Nikita and I'm Still Standing along with I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues and so many more.

John Candy - talented actor and comedian John Candy made us laugh during the 80s with his roles in Planes, Trains and Automobiles and (my favorite of his movies) Uncle Buck.

John Forsythe - During the 80s John Forsythe was Blake Carrington in the 80s glam soap - Dynasty, an absolutely must watch program from 1981 - 1989.

John Cussack - In my opinion John Cussack is a much under-rated actor and his breakout role (I think) was the 1989 film - Say Anything.

John Paul II - Pope for the entire 80s, he even survived an assassination attempt during the 80s.   We certainly had a number of these (some successful, some not) - Lennon, Reagan, Olaf Palme, John Paul II, JR Ewing.....have I missed anyone?

Jon Bon Jovi - Okay it's Jon not John, but how can you not mention the man who puts his hand up as the cause of the hole in our ozone layer because of the amount of hair spray he used during the 80s?   I loved Bon Jovi and I can't think of them without getting at least one of their songs stuck in my head, at the moment it's You Give Love a Bad Name.

There were so many more Johns that were members of groups such as Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Hall and Oates.   I'm sure I've missed quite a number of them so which John who was famous during the 80s do you remember best?

Monday, April 11, 2011

I is for Idol

I is for Idol and I'm not talking about American Idol or any other reality show, no I'm talking about the pop prince of punk himself - Billy Idol.   80s music wouldn't be the same without White Wedding and Mony Mony, both songs are sure to get people singing and dancing when they're played at parties even in this millenium.

I loved these two songs, but even more I loved Billy Idol in the 1998 movie - The Wedding Singer.   One of two movies in which Drew Barrymore has played homage to the 80s.   I forget where I heard Billy refered to as the pop prince of punk but I thought it was a great way of describing him - what do you think?

But right now - it's a nice day to start again.   It's a nice day for a white wedding.....

Saturday, April 9, 2011

H is for Human & Heaven

For those of you who are new to this blog we're part of an A-Z Blogging Challenge where each day of April (except Sundays) we write a post on a different letter of the alphabet and today we've got up to the letter H.   As this is an eighties blog the H has to be related to something from the 80s and I've chosen to talk about two musical groups - Human League and Heaven 17.

There is actually a connection between these two groups, you see Martyn Ware and Ian Marsh were the founding members of both groups - did you know that?   The story starts in Sheffield Martyn, Ian and a third person -  Glen Gregory - were all at school together.   They were all friends who dreamt of being pop stars as many of us do.

Martyn & Ian founded a group called The Future and invited Glen to join them as they needed a singer, unfortunately (or fortunately as musical history would discover) he was unavailable and so they then asked a singer by the name of Phil Oakley to join them.   The Future would become the Human League.

After a difference of opinion Martyn and Ian left the Human League and this time their third friend Glen was available to join them and Heaven 17 was formed.

I'm really glad that things happened that way because one of my favorite 80s songs is Temptation which was Heaven 17's most commercial success, however I also love Human League and find it hard to pick a favorite out of their songs - Don't You Want Me, Mirror Man, Fascination....the list just keeps on going.

What is your favorite Heaven 17 and/or Human League song?

Friday, April 8, 2011

G is for Gordon

I was trying to come up with an idea for the letter G and I didn't feel like writing about Go West or Ghostbusters and then it hit me - the two Gordons!   My favorite Gordon of the 80s was Gordon Shumway - do you know who he was?   Well if I called him Alf you'd remember him instantly as the loveable alien from the planet Melmac who ends up living with the Tanners after crash landing in their garage.   I've spoken about my love of Alf in a previous post so it's hardly surprising I should grab the chance to mention him again :D

Of course another Gordon was famous in the 80s and we all know who he was - Gordon Gekko!  I actually watched Wall Street on the plane to my new life in New Zealand and when I saw a rerun last year I couldn't believe the size of his mobile phone - LOL.

Gordon became a poster boy for 80s corporate villains - with his line - 'Greed, for lack of a better word, is good,' encompassed what a lot of people who did well in the heady days of the 80s.   Wealth was nothing to be ashamed of and nor was the concept of having it all.  

Of course we can't leave without mentioning another Gordon and it goes a little like this -

Flash A-ah
Saviour of the universe...

Yes I'm talking about Flash Gordon - to be honest I don't really remember much about the movie, but the song is one of those that is hard to get out of your head and another reason to celebrate Queen.

Happy reminiscing and hopefully I'll see you back here for the letter H.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

F is for Freddy Krueger

Freddy Krueger really was the bogeyman of the 80s.   Imagine a person who could kill you in your dreams?   It was terrifying and I blame A Nightmare on Elm Street for an addiction to coffee as I attempted to stay away for weeks after watching the 1984 horror movie.   I should've known better than to watch it, but I went to the cinema with a friend and then I had my own little 'nightmare' which further consolidated my fears - read my A Nightmare on Elm Street review to find out more about that.

I'm not sure how many of the ensuing Nightmare movies I saw, certainly they didn't have the same impact as the original.   I'm not alone in being terrified of Freddy Krueger as even my hubby refused to go and see the remake with me (he claims he wasn't scared, but really?), there was no way I was going into a dark cinema by myself.

Freddy Krueger has become quite a cult figure and you can get all kinds of Freddy memorabilia these days including Freddy Krueger t-shirts like the one featured, Freddy Krueger dolls and more.

I like the Freddy Krueger costume for Halloween or 80s themed fancy dress parties, but if you wore a Freddy Krueger costume and came trick or treating at my house you would not get me answering the door!!!

Did Freddy Krueger keep you awake at night after watching the movie?   I'm actually thinking that I may have sneaked in to see it as I would only have been 15, so it could've been my own fault I was terrified - the price of youth :D