One Year Later

January 13, 2010, one year ago today, I made my first blog entry. What a year it has been!
I have always enjoyed writing.

Beginnings

At the age of 10, I wrote my first story in a spiral notebook. It was a 23 page masterpiece called The Killer. It was a story about an evil man named Robby who fell off a roller coaster, which then ran over his fingers, cutting them off. Then he landed on a set of knives just right, so they replaced his fingers. He then went on a killing rampage. This was in 1980, and Nightmare on Elm Street came out in 1984. Coincidentally, I lost that notebook about 2 years after I began writing. Hmmmm. Was it stolen, or did my mother see it lying around and throw it out?
Anyway, not all of my stories were that crazy (although it may have been more realistic than Nightmare on Elm Street). I wrote stories about a time machine, bigfoot, and pirates. And the characters were always friends of mine. So, they would campaign to be a character in the next story.
Then, for some reason I just stopped writing by the time I reached Junior High. But, whenever I had a paper to write in college, I got awesome grades, and great comments from the professors.

Let the Blogging Begin!

Years later, I began to get the itch to start writing again. But what should I wrote about? There’s a saying out there – “Write what you know.” My passion has always been with the ’80s. Even in the mid-90s, people would come up to me and talk about ’80s music, and maybe some movies and TV.

Now these can be tough times, so people are looking back fondly to the ’80s. It seemed a lot simpler, and not so dark. It is fun to look back at our favorite decade. It is fun for me to look back and write about it, and I hope I am making it fun for all of you.

I started out slow, learning a little about blogging, and getting back into writing. For the month of January, the page averaged 4 hits per day. Then February, it actually went down to 2 per day. Slowly, it started building up though. Then I decided to put the page on Facebook, then a month or 2 after that I joined Twitter, then readership grew. And on December 17, 2010, WordPress put my article, “And Now a Word From Our Sponsor” – ’80s Christmas Commercials, on the front page of wordpress.com for the weekend. There were more hits in one weekend than there would be in 1 month! Now there are more faithful readers than ever. A lot of these readers are fellow bloggers who are great writers, and are very inspiring. I am very grateful for everybody that has been along for the long haul, and for everybody who has just recently found this blog, and continue to read. I understand that it can be fun feeding your “Farmville” animals, or putting a “Mafia” hit on somebody. So I really do appreciate people who take the time to read my stuff. Especially, a long, drawn-out article like this!

The Year That Was

2010 was quite an eventful year for ’80s figures. We lost some great people this past year – Andrew Koenig (Boner from “Growing Pains”), Corey Haim, Dixie Carter, Ronnie James Dio, Gary Coleman, Peter Graves, Leslie Nielsen, and Blake Edwards.

And we aren’t the only people with ’80s fever. The Karate Kid remake was very successful. That movie came out the same time as the A-Team movie. The Tron sequel came out almost 30 years after the original, as well as a Wall Street sequel.

Television saw the return of one of my favorite television series – V. Betty White had an incredible year, hosting one of the best Saturday Night Live episodes ever, and is on a new sitcom – Hot in Cleveland.

Music stars of the ’80s had a great year since I started this blog as well. Bret Michaels was almost one of our beloved celebrities that died. But, miraculously he survived a brain hemorrhage, won Celebrity Apprentice, and went out on tour. Duran Duran has come back with a new album. And a new Michael Jackson album has been released.

The Year Ahead

My beautiful wife gave me the idea of having trivia on the blog. So with that, Trivia Tuesday was born. It has been a very popular segment – especially on the Facebook page. Now it has been morphed into Daily Trivia. I will continue to write those trivia questions and answers as long as I can.

Wednesdays will continue to feature music videos. I know I throw some videos in some other articles as well, but it is fun to feature a video at least once a week.

The Ronald Reagan Quote of the Week has also been popular. But I think I see the end of the road coming for that feature. If anybody has any other ideas what to replace it with, please let me know.

I will continue to come up with articles to write about. I have a lot of Guilty Pleasures lined up for the coming weeks. And I am going to start the Horrible and Great Hits, back up. Please let me know if you have any ideas. I want to write what you want to read.

I am also going to work on changing the look and logo of the blog this coming year. I am looking forward to a great year. Although, does anybody really say, “Aww, this is gonna be a crappy year”?

Thank you once again for reading. And please continue to come back here anytime you want to Return to the ’80s!

Music Video of the Week – 1/12/11

This week’s video is from one of my favorite singers from one of my favorite bands. Here is “Oh Sherrie” by Steve Perry:

“Oh Sherrie” was written by Journey’s Steve Perry and released on Street Talk, his first solo album which was released while still a member of Journey. The song was Perry’s biggest hit as a solo artist and written for his then-girlfriend Sherrie Swafford, who also appeared in the music video. The song hit number three on the pop chart and number one on the rock chart in the US.

The Street Talk album was a huge success, but it was the beginning of the end for Journey. After Street Talk, Journey came out with Raised on Radio in 1986, then broke up for several years.
And here is some great news for Steve Perry fans from Steve Perry Online:

In an interview with, ‘Classic Rock Presents AOR’ released in December 2010 it was revealed that Perry has written over 50 songs and is contemplating his first solo project since 1994. “A little over a year and a half ago, I felt I could maybe come back to it, I have been writing. I have about 50 songs, in a little over a year. I never thought I would do it again, but I decided to open up that room and see what I could find. It’s been interesting. Some of it sounds familiar, some of it sounds contemporary, some of it you can’t put a label on – and I’ve never been big on labels anyway.” Perry is reluctant however to put a timescale on his return. “I’ll be honest, I don’t really know how to do that but I can definitely smell a solo project on the horizon. I will be recording some music.”

Daily Trivia – 1/12/11

Question: What memorable song was a top-five hit for Willie Nelson in 1982, and for the Pet Shop Boys in 1988?


Last Question: What series went off the air in 1980 despite the efforts of the Unknown Comic and Gene Gene the Dancing Machine?

Answer: The Gong Show

Before there was American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, and America’s Got Talent, there was the ultimate talent competition – The Gong Show! The Gong Show ran from 1976 to 1980. It was produced and hosted by Chuck Barris.

Each show presented a contest between amateur performers of often dubious talent, with a panel of three celebrity judges. Some of the regular judges were Jamie Farr, Arte Johnson, Phyllis Diller, and Rex Reed. The performers would have around 45 seconds to perform. Then they would be given a score by each of the judges. If one of the judges though that a performer was ridiculously bad, the would strike a large gong with a big mallet. Sometimes an act was “Gang-Gonged”, meaning it was so bad that it was gonged by two or even all three judges at once. The contestant who achieved the highest combined score won the grand prize of what Chuck Barris referred to as the “highly unusual amount of” $516.32 (reportedly the Screen Actors Guild’s minimum pay for a day’s work) and a “Golden Gong” trophy. The syndicated series’ top prize was originally $712.05 and later increased to $716.32.

The show had many running gags and characters who appeared as regular performers, including:

The Unknown Comic:

and

Gene Gene the Dancing Machine:

Guilty Pleasures – Frank Stallone’s “Far From Over”

Ah, there’s nothing like cheesy pop-rock of the ’80s to get you pumping. Especially, when it is sung by a legendary Stallone. No, not Sylvester (although, that would have been very interesting). I am talking about Sly’s younger brother, Frank Stallone. He scored a top-10 hit with “Far From Over”, which he wrote and recorded for the 1983 movie Staying Alive. Staying Alive was a sequel to the hit Saturday Night Fever, and starred John Travolta once again.

“Far From Over” was nominated for a Golden Globe award for Best Original Song from a Motion Picture and a Grammy Award for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special. The song was Stallone’s only hit. This song came out around the same time that I started lifting weights. It was a great song to work out to. It did not make me interested in watching the Staying Alive movie, but I did like the song. I now have more Frank Stallone songs on my iPod than I have Wham!. But, I do have as many Frank Stallone songs as I have Sir-Mix-Alot, but that’s a different story.
Frank Stallone is still around, and has a Myspace page, and an Official Site.

Here is the music video:

Daily Trivia – 1/11/11

Question: What series went off the air in 1980 despite the efforts of the Unknown Comic and Gene Gene the Dancing Machine?


Last Question: What Mel Brooks film featured characters named Princess Vespa, Pizza the Hutt and Barf?

Answer: Spaceballs

Spaceballs was a 1987 Mel Brooks parody on Star Wars. Mel Brooks starred as President Skroob (similar to the Emperor) and also as Yogurt (of course, based on Yoda). The movie also starred Daphne Zuniga (Vision Quest, The Sure Thing, Melrose Place) as Princess Vespa, Bill Pulman as Captain Lone Starr, Rick Moranis as Dark Helmet, Joan Rivers as the voice of C-3PO-like droid Dot Matrix, and John Candy as Barf, who is a mawg (half-man, half-dog).
This and History of the World, Part I are my two favorite Mel Brooks movies. Mel Brooks movies always have great quotes, and Spaceballs does not disappoint:

– [nurse exits]
Dark Helmet: I bet she gives great helmet.

– [King Roland has given in to Dark Helmet’s threats, and is telling him the combination to the “air shield”]
Roland: One.
Dark Helmet: One.
Colonel Sandurz: One.
Roland: Two.
Dark Helmet: Two.
Colonel Sandurz: Two.
Roland: Three.
Dark Helmet: Three.
Colonel Sandurz: Three.
Roland: Four.
Dark Helmet: Four.
Colonel Sandurz: Four.
Roland: Five.
Dark Helmet: Five.
Colonel Sandurz: Five.
Dark Helmet: So the combination is… one, two, three, four, five? That’s the stupidest combination I’ve ever heard in my life! The kind of thing an idiot would have on his luggage!

– Princess Vespa: I am Princess Vespa, daughter of Roland, King of the Druids.
Lone Starr: Oh great. That’s all we needed. A Druish princess.
Barf: Funny, she doesn’t look Druish.

– Lone Starr: I still don’t understand how I’m going to lift that big statue with this little ring.
Yogurt: Never underestimate the power of the Schwartz!

– Megamaid Guard: What the hell are you doing?
Lone Starr: The Vulcan neck pinch?
Megamaid Guard: No, no, no, stupid, you’ve got it much too high. It’s down here where the shoulder meets the neck.
[Lone Star changes hand position]
Lone Starr: Like this?
Megamaid Guard: Yeah!
[guard falls to the ground]
Lone Starr: Thanks.

– Lone Starr: Helmet! So, at last we meet for the first time for the last time.

– Dark Helmet: Before you die there is something you should know about us, Lone Star.
Lone Starr: What?
Dark Helmet: I am your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate.
Lone Starr: What’s that make us?
Dark Helmet: Absolutely nothing! Which is what you are about to become.

– [Princess Vespa has been given a gun]
Princess Vespa: I ain’t shooting this thing, I hate guns.
[her hair gets singed by a laser]
Princess Vespa: My hair, he shot my hair. Son of a bitch!
[begins blasting]

– Pizza the Hutt: Well, if it isn’t Lone Star. And his sidekick, Puke.
Barf: That’s Barf.
Pizza the Hutt: Barf… Puke… *Whatever!*

– Dark Helmet: You have the ring, and I see your Schwartz is as big as mine. Now let’s see how well you handle it.

– Dark Helmet: Careful you idiot! I said across her nose, not up it!
Laser Gunner: Sorry sir! I’m doing my best!
Dark Helmet: Who made that man a gunner?
Major Asshole: I did sir. He’s my cousin.
Dark Helmet: Who is he?
Colonel Sandurz: He’s an asshole sir.
Dark Helmet: I know that! What’s his name?
Colonel Sandurz: That is his name sir. Asshole, Major Asshole!
Dark Helmet: And his cousin?
Colonel Sandurz: He’s an asshole too sir. Gunner’s mate First Class Philip Asshole!
Dark Helmet: How many asholes do we have on this ship, anyway?
[Entire bridge crew stands up and raises a hand]
Entire Bridge Crew: Yo!
Dark Helmet: I knew it. I’m surrounded by assholes!
[Dark Helmet pulls his face shield down]
Dark Helmet: Keep firing, assholes!

– Captain of the Guard: You idiots! These are not them! You’ve captured their stunt doubles!

– Lone Starr: Who hasn’t heard of Yogurt!
Princess Vespa: Yogurt the Wise!
Dot Matrix: Yogurt the All-Powerful!
Barf: Yogurt the Magnificent!
Yogurt: Please, please, don’t make a fuss. I’m just plain Yogurt.

Hits of 1980 – Horrible and Great

He is an old article that many of you may have missed. It was first published on Junuary 10, 2011.
On the Stuck in the ’80s Facebook page, they have a poll for your favorite and least favorite songs of 1980. And I believe that they are going to have a podcast on it. So this article is going to be republished.

On August 22, 2008, Stuck in the ’80s released their Horrible hits of 1980 podcast:
http://pod.sptimes.com/stuckinthe80s139.mp3.
Here is their list:

Emotional Rescue – The Rolling Stones
The Rose – Bette Midler
Lady – Kenny Rogers
I Can’t Tell You Why – Eagles
Another Brick In The Wall (part II) – Pink Floyd
More Than I Can Say – Leo Sayer
Coming Up – Paul McCartney
Sexy Eyes – Doctor Hook
Longer – Dan Fogelberg

Here is my list of horrible hits of 1980.

You can see the top 100 hits from Billboard that year.

These are songs that were hits in the year 1980 – not necessarily the year they were released:

5. I Can’t Tell You Why – Eagles
This song became a Top 10 hit in April of 1980, and went on to #8. I love the Eagles’ old, country-sounding stuff, as well as “Life in the Fast Lane” and “Heartache Tonight”. But “I Can’t Tell You Why” is a big snoozer for me.

4. Emotional Rescue – Rolling Stones
This song reached all the way up to #3 in the U.S. in 1980. This is a transitional era for the Stones. “Emotional Rescue” is kind of a disco version of the Rolling Stones. It also doesn’t help that 3/4 of the way through the song Mick Jagger starts talking. For the most part, I hate talking in songs. This was a long way from “Paint It Black” and “Gimme Shelter”. But “Start Me Up” and “Undercover of the Night” was yet to come to redeem the Stones.

3. More Than I Can Say – Leo Sayer
This song somehow was #2 for 5 weeks in 1980. This was a remake that was originally recorded by Bobby Vee in 1961. I don’t know why
More Than I Can Say” needed to be remade. I kind of like the original better. Leo Sayer had better songs with “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” and “When I Need You”.

2. Do That To Me One More time – Captain & Tenille
This song was a #1 hit in 1980. BORING!!!!! “Love Will Keep Us Together” was a better song. And I have to give the Captain props for being the keyboard player in the Beach Boys in the early ’70s. Whenever I hear “Do That To Me One More Time“, I need to turn it off and ask them not to put me through that song one more time.

1. Please Don’t Go – KC & the Sunshine Band
This song also reached to #1 in 1980. Another boring song! Casey Kasem must have had a bad year that year. Is it a coincidence that after “Please Don’t Go” hit #1 that the band broke up?


Now here is a list of some of my favorite hits from 1980:

5. Another One Bites the Dust – Queen

This song reached #1 of Billboard’s Hot 100, and reached #2 on the R&B charts. “Another One Bites the Dust” has one of the greatest bass riffs of all time, along with another hit by Queen – “Under Pressure”. If anybody watched professional wrestling in the early to mid ’80s, they may also remember this being the “Junkyard Dog’s theme song when he came into the ring. This is one of the more frequently played Queen songs, but I don’t get sick of it.

4. Whip It – Devo

This song reached up to #14 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. “Whip It” arguably made New Wave mainstream. You also can’t help but picture the band with those crazy cone hats from the video when you hear the song.

3. Any Way You Want It – Journey

This song peaked at #23 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. “Any Way You Want It” is one of the greatest rock songs that Journey released. It is still one of their most popular live songs. The songs also made a memorable appearance in the movie Caddyshack when Rodney Dangerfield blasted it from his golf bag, and pissed off Ted Knight.

2. Theme from The Dukes of Hazzard (Good Ol’ Boys) – Waylon Jennings

This song reached up to #21 on Billboards Hot 100 chart, and was #1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart. The late great Waylon recorded this song for the Dukes of Hazzard and was also the narrator on the show. This song is one of the most memorable songs in television history.

1. (Just Like) Starting Over – John Lennon

This song reached #1 on Billboard’s charts 2 weeks after John Lennon was murdered. This was the first song released from John Lennon’s final original album Double Fantasy. “(Just Like) Starting Over” stayed at #1 for 5 weeks. This song has kind of a fun oldies feel to it, yet it is totally John Lennon. Lennon had many great solo hits after the Beatles, and this one does him justice.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any favorite songs from 1980? Any songs that want you to drive an icepick into your ears?

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Daily Trivia – 1/10/11

Question: What Mel Brooks film featured characters named Princess Vespa, Pizza the Hutt and Barf?


Last Question: What sitcom’s theme song exulted: “We’ve finally got a piece of the pie”?

Answer: The Jeffersons

The Jeffersons aired on CBS from January 18, 1975, through June 25, 1985, lasting 11 seasons and a total of 253 episodes. The Jeffersons was a spin-off of All in the Family. During the January 11, 1975 episode of All in the Family, Edith Bunker gave a tearful good-bye to her neighbor Louise Jefferson, as she and her husband George, and their son Lionel, moved from a working class section of Queens into a luxury apartment in Manhattan. The Jeffersons premiered the following week, January 18, 1975.
The show starred the great Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford as George and Louise Jefferson.

The show featured some really good characters, such as Tom and Helen Willis, an interracial couple with two adult children of their own (whom George insultingly called “zebras”), Florence, the Jeffersons’ wisecracking housekeeper who always made fun of George, who was played by Five-time Emmy-nominee Marla Gibbs, and Harry Bentley, the British next door neighbor played by Paul Benedict. George was always slamming the door in his face, mid-sentence. Bentley also had a bad back, and constantly had George walk on his back, since he was the same weight as a Japanese woman who had treated his back that way.

The show ended in controversy after CBS abruptly canceled the series without allowing for a proper series finale. The cast were not informed until after the June 25, 1985, episode “Red Robins,” and actor Sherman Hemsley said he found out that the show was canceled by reading it in the newspaper.

In the series finale of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1996 the Jeffersons made a guest appearance and bought the house from the Banks’ family.

Daily Trivia – 1/7/11

Question: What sitcom’s theme song exulted: “We’ve finally got a piece of the pie”?


Last Question: What was the only Talking Heads single to reach the top 10?

Answer: Burning Down the House

The members of the Talking Heads, David Byrne, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, were alumni of the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island. It was there that they formed a band called “The Artistics” in 1974. They dissolved their band and moved to New York. They played their first gig as “Talking Heads” opening for the Ramones at CBGB on June 8, 1975.

The band’s New Wave style, which combined elements of punk rock, avant-garde, pop, funk, world music and art rock, was not exactly radio friendly in the ’70s. But, in 1980, the band released the album, Remain in Light. The album’s first single, “Once in a Lifetime“, made the top 20 in the U.K., and gained them more attention and fame. Then the album, Speaking in Tongues was released in 1983. The band scored their biggest hit, and only top-10 hit, with “Burning Down the House”. It didn’t hurt that the video for the song got heavy airplay on MTV.

Three more albums followed: 1985’s Little Creatures (which featured the hit singles “And She Was” and “Road to Nowhere“), 1986’s True Stories (Talking Heads covering all the soundtrack songs of Byrne’s musical comedy film, in which the band also appeared), and 1988’s Naked.

After the album Naked, the band went on hiatus and eventually broke up for good.

The band tried reuniting without David Byrne, and called themselves The Heads. But they were nowhere nearly as successful as they had been.

Here are a couple of facts about “Burning Down the House” from Songfacts.com:

– Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz is a fan of Funk, and it was a P-Funk show in New York City that inspired this track. When he heard the crowd imploring the band to “Burn Down The House” (this is before “The Roof Is on Fire”), he got the idea for the title. As he explained in a 1984 interview with National Public Radio (NPR), he and Talking Heads bassist Tina Weymouth, who is also his wife, created the original track in a jam, then took it to the band where they refined the groove. To form the lyrics, they picked words that fit the rhythms, which is why the words don’t make a lot of sense. This is common practice in the world of Funk, where you don’t want the lyric to get in the way of the groove on a feel good song.

– With a lot of help from MTV, who gave the video a lot of play, this song became Talking Heads biggest hit. It didn’t get a great deal of radio play at the time, but has endured as an ’80s classic and is often used in movies and TV shows, including Gilmore Girls, 13 Going on 30, Six Feet Under, Revenge of the Nerds and Someone Like You. Talking Heads also performed it in their 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense.

Battle of the Bands * Repost *

Metal Health vs. Pyromania

Here is a new series where we pit either 2 bands or 2 albums against each other. And you get to vote!

First up is Quiet Riot’s Metal Health. This album was released on March 11, 1983. This classic album had three hits on the Billboard Top 100 for Mainstream Rock – “Cum On Feel the Noize”, “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)”, and “Slick Black Cadillac”. The group was led by Kevin DuBrow, who sad died of a cocaine overdose in November 2007.
Here is the track listing for Metal Health:
1. “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)
2. “Cum on Feel the Noize
3. “Don’t Wanna Let You Go
4. “Slick Black Cadillac
5. “Love’s a Bitch
6. “Breathless
7. “Run for Cover
8. “Battle Axe
9. “Let’s Get Crazy
10. “Thunderbird

And they are up against Def Leppard’s Pyromania. This classic album was also released on January 20, 1983.
It was the band’s third album. It produced three top 40 hits – “Photograph”, “Rock of Ages”, and “Foolin'”. In 2004 the album was listed as number 384 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Here is the track listing:

1. “Rock Rock (Till You Drop)
2. “Photograph
3. “Stagefright
4. “Too Late for Love
5. “Die Hard the Hunter
6. “Foolin’
7. “Rock of Ages
8. “Comin’ Under Fire
9. “Action! Not Words
10. “Billy’s Got a Gun

Def Leppard went on to greater success than Quiet Riot, but these are two great rock albums that were released around the same time, and they were both all over MTV at the time. Def Leppard has stood the test of time, as they still go out and tour, and they put on a great show. Quiet Riot lead the charge for 80’s Hair Metal.