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

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

E is for E.T

As part of the A-Z Blogging Challenge I'm trying to work my way through the 80s one letter at a time and when it came to the letter E I just had to go with E.T.   Who didn't fall in love with that gorgeous little alien - 'ET call home' was a catch cry for a generation of kids.   The movie also introduced movie goers to Drew Barrymore - the cute girl that would grow  up to be a well respected actress, producer and director.

ET was an acronym (the 80s as a decade loved using acronyms) for extra-terrestial and was directed by Steven Spielberg who was responsible for many of the eighties hit movies such as Indiana Jones, Poltergeist, Gremlins, Back to the Future, The Color Purple and Empire of the Sun to name just a few.   He was also Drew Barrymore's godfather, but whether or not that helped her land the role of Gertie we'll never know.   What we do know is that she stole the show as Elliot's little (annoying) sister.

ET touched us all and I can still remember going to the movies with my best friend at the time and she was bawling her eyes out when ET got sick.   I think the reason it had a powerful effect on a number of people is that we all realized deep down that if we did discover an alien then a government task force would want to take it away for testing and keep everything a secret.

You can enjoy watching ET again one DVD, or even introduce it to younger members of your family.   The bond that develops between ET and Elliot is something that is special and makes ET a great family movie.

Did you enjoy watching ET when you were younger?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

D is for Duran Duran

Okay so I can’t really do an A-Z challenge on an 80s blog without mentioning probably the most internationally successful New Romantic band – Duran Duran, but if you lived in the UK you believed that there were two huge New Romantic bands and you had to pick sides.   

The big two were Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran and I’m in the Spandau camp which was why when I emigrated ‘down under’ I had a huge shock as some of Spandau Ballet’s songs weren’t even heard of by many (gasp doesn’t really cover it).

I tried to explain to an Australian friend how Spandau and Duran Duran were just as big as each other in the UK during the 80s but he didn't get it until he watched an interview with Bob Geldof on the Live Aid DVD set.   The next day he saw me and was like - you know you were right with what you said about Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran.    I looked at him and thought 'I know I lived it, but why have you changed your tune'.   It turned out that Bob, being the sly dog that he is, asked Simon Le Bon (remember Duran Duran's lead singer) if Duran Duran would participate in Band Aid and when he hesitated to think about it he mentioned that Spandau Ballet had already said yes - Simon immediately said that Duran Duran would as well.   I don't know how true the story is, but my best friend when I was younger was a huge Duranie while I was a Spandau fan an d we tossed the pros and cons between 'our' groups constantly.

Back to Duran Duran they were huge and I can admit now that I’m in my 40s (haven’t the years flown by) that I liked their songs as well.   The line up was Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Roger Taylor and Andy Taylor and they were from Birmingham.   What I still find amazing is that they had three Taylors in the band and yet none of them were related - it must be a more common name in Birmingham than anywhere else!

In October 1980 as Spandau's first single was released they played in Birmingham and according to Gary Kemp's autobiography Duran Duran asked to play support - Spandau Ballet didn't have anyone playing support for them then so the answer was no.   A few months later in early 1981 Duran Duran's first single would be released and the rest is history.

Duran Duran's first single was Planet Earth and this cracked the UK's top twenty topping out at number 12, it was their 3rd single however that made every sit up and take notice - Girls on Film.   The single made number 5 in the charts, but then Duran Duran released the video.   The 80s saw the introduction of music video's being seen as just as important as the song and Duran Duran's Girls on Film video was scandalous and the sort of video that would have been played on the Playboy Channel back then.   The BBC quickly banned it which meant every young person saw it as censorship and wanted to know more about this band from Birmingham.

Duran Duran not only conquered the British youth, but ended up becoming the most internationally successful New Romantic band of the 80s.

I can’t think of a favourite Duran Duran song because as soon as I say Hungry Like  A Wolf then I’ll suddenly get Rio playing in my head  or Girls on Film, so I change my mind and what do you know I suddenly think of A View to a Kill or Is There Something I Should Know.

If you have a favourite Duran Duran song then leave it below.

Monday, April 4, 2011

C is for Culture Club

This is the third post in the A-Z Blogging Challenge and when I thought of something beginning with C the only thing that sprang to mind was Culture Club.   Now I've committed to writing about Culture Club, I can of course think of other things (isn't that always the way?)

Culture Club was formed in 1981 and was known mainly for it's far from shy lead singer - Boy George.   With hits that are hard to get out of your head like Karma Chameleon and Do You Really Want To Hurt Me, Culture Club released four albums during the 80s.

Culture Club's most successful album was their second one - Colour By Numbers.   This had one of my favorite Culture Club singles on it - Church of the Poison Mind.

Culture Club - A Short Bio

Boy George and Bassist Mickey Craig set out to form a group, next they joined forces with former Ant (from Adam and the Ants) Jon Moss. The final member of the group to join was their guitarist Roy Hay.

The name of the band was originally to be Sex Gang Children, however at Jon Moss' suggestion they changed it to Culture Club. The name would give them some flak as people thought it was extremely pretentious, but it was actually an inside joke on the different cultures inside the club.

  • Boy George - transvestite Irish
  • Mickey Craig - Jamaican-Briton
  • Jon Moss - Jewish
  • Roy Hay - Anglo-Saxon

The band signed with Virgin records in the UK and released their first album in 1982 - Kissing to be Clever. Their second album was Colour By Numbers and was released in 1983. The Band released a third album in 1984 titled Waking Up With the House on Fire which was not as successful. Their final album was 1986's From Luxury to Heartache.

During 1985 George started a battle with drug dependance, he was arrested in 1986 for possession of heroin and Culture Club's break up was officially confirmed in 1987.

Culture Club's Music

Culture Club were part of the New Romantic era of music where groups were kicking back against the punk movement and presenting themselves as the whole package. Musically and visually they wanted to ooze glamour and for people to notice them and even emulate them.

Culture Club's music seems to be a fusion of pop, reggae and even a little disco. Their songs contain a hook that gets the audience singing along and wanting more.

Kissing to be Clever - Culture Club

Editorial Reviews from

Against the cynical, post-punk backdrop of the early Thatcher and Reagan era, Culture Club's debut release Kissing to Be Clever was as refreshing as a scoop of gelato in a heatwave. These were the innocent days when Boy George could still declare he'd rather "have a cup of tea than sex," well before he hurtled to the brink of near self-destruction. Several of the cuts are still amazingly fresh and easily convey the winning charisma that transformed Boy George and his band into a pop icon. Songs like "I'll tumble 4 ya" and "Boy-Boy-I'm the Boy" seem tailor-made for the frontman's smooth-sliding tenor, while Mikey Craig's bass grooves pump with dance-til-you-drop Hi NRG. Although relatively brief (the original LP had one more cut than the CD release), the album stylistically hops like a Mexican jumping bean from disco funk to rhumba to reggae and contains obvious filler material. But the gender-bender flair perfected by Boy George announced a unique style that helped define the decade. --Thomas May

Kissing to Be Clever
Track Listings

1. White Boy [Dance Mix]

2. You Know I'm Not Crazy

3. I'll Tumble 4 Ya

4. Take Control

5. Love Twist - Captain Crucial, Culture Club

6. Boy Boy (I'm the Boy)

7. I'm Afraid of Me [Remix]

8. White Boys Can't Control It

9. Do You Really Want to Hurt Me

10. Love Is Cold [*]

11. Murder Rap Trap [*] - Captain Crucial, Culture Club

12. Time (Clock of the Heart) [*]

13. Romance Beyond the Alphabet [*]

[*] Bonus tracks not included on the original album

The first two singles off of Culture Club’s Kissing to be Clever album didn’t even dent the UK’s top 100. They were White Boy and I’m Afraid of Me. Their next three singles, however were a different story.

Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? (top ten hit around the world, reaching number 1 in 7 countries including the UK, Australia and Canada.

Time (Clock of the Heart) their second top ten single.

I’ll Tumble 4 Ya – this single was only released in the US and Canada and reached number 9 in both countries.

Colour by Numbers

Culture Club

Colour By Numbers
Culture Club continued their onslaught on the charts with their best album Colour by Numbers. The first single off of this album was Church of the Poison Mind which made the top ten on both sides of the Atlantic.

It was the second single off of Colour by Numbers which was to become the band's biggest hit - Karma Chameleon became a number 1 single on both sides of the Atlantic and around the world.

Victims was released in the UK and made it to number 3.

Miss me Blind was released in the US and made it to number 5.

The single It's a Miracle didn't quite break into the US top 10 settling for number 13, it was however, able to reach number 4 in the UK.

Track Listing

1. "Karma Chameleon" – 4:12
2. "It's a Miracle" – 3:25
3. "Black Money" – 5:19
4. "Changing Every Day" – 3:17
5. "That's the Way (I'm Only Trying to Help You)" – 2:45
6. "Church of the Poison Mind" – 3:30
7. "Miss Me Blind" – 4:30
8. "Mister Man" – 3:36
9. "Stormkeeper" – 2:46
10. "Victims" – 4:55
11. "Man-Shake" – 2:34 (2003 remastered CD bonus track)
12. "Mystery Boy" (Suntori Hot Whiskey Song) – 3:33 (2003 remastered CD bonus track)
13. "Melting Pot" – 4:31 (2003 remastered CD bonus track)
14. "Colour by Numbers" – 3:57 (2003 remastered CD bonus track)
15. "Romance Revisited" – 5:00 (2003 remastered CD bonus track)

Waking Up With the House on Fire - Culture Club

Culture Club’s third album was unable to reach the commercial success of Kissing to be Clever and Colour by Numbers.

The first single War Song made it to number 2 in the UK, but Culture Club were not able to break into the US top 10 again. War Song was only able to reach number 17 on Billboard.

The Medal Song was released in the UK and managed to scrape into the top 40.

Mistake No 3 was released in the US and only just managed to scrape into the Billboard’s Top 40.

Waking Up with the House on Fire
Track Listings

1. Dangerous Man

2. War Song

3. Unfortunate Thing

4. Crime Time

5. Mistake No. 3

6. Dive

7. Medal Song

8. Don't Talk About It

9. Mannequin

10. Hello, Goodbye

From Luxury to Heartache - Culture Club

Culture Clubs last album in the 80s was not a commercial success. Because of Boy George’s fight against drug addiction and his failing relationship with Jon Moss the album took a lot longer to produce than it was planned. Even Boy George’s notorious drug arrest in 1986 couldn’t help to sell the album and only two singles were ever released from it (only one in the US).

Move Away managed to get into the UK top ten and even peaked at number 12 in the Billboard Chart. God Thank You Woman only made it to number 31 in the UK.

From Luxury to Heartache heralded the end of Culture Club and this was officially confirmed the following year.

From Luxury To Heartache
Track Listings

1. "Move Away" – 4:21

2. "I Pray" – 4:00

3. "Work On Me Baby" – 4:06

4. "Gusto Blusto" – 4:40

5. "Heaven's Children" – 4:44

6. "God Thank You Woman" – 4:14

7. "Reasons" – 4:35

8. "Too Bad" – 4:36

9. "Come Clean" – 3:20

10. "Sexuality" – 5:28

What did you think of Culture Club?   I had a friend who actually wore a Boy George duster coat everywhere and even had her hair styled like his (I'd love to know what she looks like these days!).   Share your Culture Club memories and/or favorite song below.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

B is for Bow Wow Wow

We’re still participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge which means that today’s post is about the letter B.

After remembering Adam and the Ants yesterday it seemed only appropriate to talk about Bow Wow Wow today and not just because I love the song I Want Candy, but also because it was made up of Ants!

Right at the beginning of the 80s after Adam and the Ant’s first album – Dirk Wears White Sox – didn’t manage to crack the top ten on the charts Adam Ant turned to Malcolm McLaren who he knew from his punk days when McLaren was manager to the Sex Pistols.   Adam Ant got given styling advise that he used, but it came at a price – Malcolm McLaren ‘stole’ his Ants and formed Bow Wow Wow.

All that was needed now was a lead singer and that lead singer came in the form of an underage Annabella Lwin, in 1981 Bow Wow Wow released their first album and the controversy started straight away with Scotland Yard being called in when a 15 year old Annabella was posed naked on the album cover.

Three albums later and the band just fizzled out with no one really knowing why.   They have left us with some great material though and are credited by the likes of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and No Doubt as being big influences.   I love their two most commercially successful singles – I Want Candy and Go Wild in the Country – what do you think?

Friday, April 1, 2011

A is for Adam Ant

This post is part of the A-Z Blogging Challenge that we’re participating for the month of April where each post has to start with a letter of the alphabet……in order!   I hope you’ll enjoy our alphabetical trip down memory lane to the decade that we just can’t forget – the 80s.

A is for Adam Ant as in Adam and the Ants, Ant Music and Ant Rap.   Yes, we’re heading back to the early 80s today for ex-punk rocker Stuart Goddard who we welcomed into the charts as Adam and the Ants.

Now I can’t actually remember the first Adam and the Ants record I heard on the radio, but I do remember the first time I saw the band on the television.   It was on Top of the Pops and if you grew up in the UK during the 80s this was compulsory viewing on Thursday nights.   The song they performed was Stand and Deliver – I loved it, although I’m not sure if Dick Turpin would’ve liked the camp version of a highwayman that Adam Ant seemed to have portrayed!

I coveted (and finally got) a flouncy shirt similar to the ones that Adam Ant wore along with other New Romantic bands, but I can honestly say with my hand on my heart that I never wore a white stripe across my nose……….my brother on the other hand (sorry little bro I’ve just sold you out).

What was your favourite Adam and the Ants song – let me know below in the comments, I’m not sure which one was my favourite.    Stand and Deliver and Prince Charming are always the first ones that spring to mind, but I think that Ant Rap was one of the first ‘raps’ that I learnt off by heart (apologies to all the rappers out there who are now gasping at my comparing Ant Rap to ‘real’ rap, but I liked it and it’s my blog!)   

Ant Rap was how I remembered the band’s names (at that time anyway) “Marco, Merrick, Terry Lee, Garry Tibbs and Yours Truly, in the naughty north and in the sexy south, we’re all singing I have the mouth……”

Adam and the Ant’s first album was released in 1979, but their biggest album had to be their third one Prince Charming which was released at the end of 1981, then after being nominated for a Grammy in 1982 it seemed that Adam and the Ant’s star had just been extinguished with the band breaking up.

We were all still happy that we weren't losing the music though because Adam Ant released a solo song – Goody Two Shoes.   I think everyone knew the words to that song –

“Goody two, goody two, goody goody two shoes,
Don’t drink, don’t smoke what do you do?
Don’t drink, don’t smoke what do you do?
Subtle innuendos follow
There must be something inside…..”

Adam Ant was going to be around forever, but no!   Almost as soon as his solo career started it stopped and the 80s rolled on without Adam Ant and his merry band of Ants!

Don’t forget to let me know your favourite Adam and the Ants song.