R.I.P. Greg Ham – September 27,1953 – April 19, 2012

Overshadowed by the loss of Dick Clark last week, we lost another ’80s legend – Men At Work’s Greg Ham. Greg was found dead at his home in Melbourne on Thursday. He was 58.

Greg Ham along with Colin Hay were the core of Men At Work. The Australian band played a major part in ushering in the ’80s sound. Before them, music was still in transition. There was a lot of “easy listening” music playing on the airwaves, and disco was beginning its decline.

Then in 1981, Men At Work burst on to the scene with their number 1 hit, “Who Can It Be Now?”, featuring the great saxophone playing by Greg Ham:

They followed that hit with their signature hit, “Down Under”, which really introduced us to our friends in Australia, and to vegimite sandwiches. The song also featured the incredible and distinctive flute playing of Greg Ham.

Those songs, along with “Be Good Johnny”, helped make Business as Usual a classic album.

Men at Work won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist for 1983, beating out some pretty good competition of Asia, Jennifer Holliday, The Human League and Stray Cats.

Men At Work fallowed up with another successful album, Cargo. The album produced three chart singles in the US: “Overkill” [#3], “It’s a Mistake” [#6], and “Dr. Heckyll and Mr. Jive” [#28].

Greg Ham left the band in 1985 as they were touring in support of that album. But Ham and Hay reunited in 1996 with a different Men At Work lineup behind them. They did some touring, and performed “Down Under” at the closing ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, alongside Paul Hogan of Crocodile Dundee fame. They had been mostly inactive after that. Sadly, we will never see another Men At Work reunion.

Recently, Men At Work made some headlines as they were involved in a copyright controversy when a court found that the flute riff from “Down Under” was unmistakably the same as popular children’s tune Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree, penned by Toorak teacher Marion Sinclair more than 75 years ago for a Girl Guides competition. That decision left Greg shattered.

He said, “It has destroyed so much of my song”.

“It will be the way the song is remembered and I hate that.

“I’m terribly disappointed that that’s the way I’m going to be remembered – for copying something.”

I, and millions of other people would never remember him for that. He will be remembered as a legendary musician who brought some incredible music into our lives. I will finish with some quotes that friend and bandmate Colin Hay had to say about Greg:

“We played in a band and conquered the world together. I love him very much. He’s a beautiful man.”

“We shared countless, unbelievably memorable times together, from stumbling through Richmond after playing the Cricketers Arms, to helicoptering into New York City, to appear on Saturday Night Live, or flying through dust storms in Arizona, above the Grand Canyon, or getting lost, driving aimlessly through the Gippsland countryside.”
“He had blond hair, rosy cheeks, ridiculously bright eyes, and along with Gyngell, was the funniest person I knew.

“He was sharp, real sharp. We were friends from then on, we liked each other.”

“The saxophone solo on Who Can It Be Now, was the rehearsal take. We kept it, that was the one. He’s here forever,” he said.

“I’m thinking about his family, and hoping they are receiving the love and support they need and deserve.”

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I should also add that if you are on Facebook, go ahead and join the group We Love Men At Work!

Daily Trivia – 4/25/12

Question: What was the next Arnold Schwarzenegger movie to hit the screen after Conan the Barbarian?

Last Question: On Diff’rent Strokes, what was the name of Arnold’s goldfish?

Answer: Abraham

From the first episode, Willis and Arnold had just arrived at Mr. Drummond’s apartment. Arnold was holding Abraham in his bowl. The scene went like this

Arnold: My pet goldfish, I call him Abraham

Mr. Drummond: I have never seen a black goldfish before.

Arnold: That’s okay, he’s never seen a rich white man before either.

Then in the Season 2 episode Arnold Faces Fatality, which aired on March 19, 1980, poor Abraham died.

They held the ceremony in the bathroom…Arnold was off-camera and you could him say, “Those who come from the sea, shall return to the sea”…Then you hear the toilet flush.

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Remember That Song – 4/25/12

Can you name the artist and song:

We’ve always had time on our sides
Now it’s fading fast
Every second, every moment


Last Song: “Overkill” by Men At Work (Great job, Jim!):

What Men At Work song warns ‘ghosts appear and fade away.’?

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R.I.P. Dick Clark: November 30, 1929 – April 18, 2012

As most of us know by now, “The World’s Oldest Teenager”, Dick Clark died on April 18, 2012 after suffering a heart attack. For most of us, Dick Clark was already an American institution by the time we were born. But, he was at a high point in the ’80s as he hosted three different television shows, on three different majpr networks, simultaneously – American Bandstand on ABC, The $25,000 Pyramid on CBS, and TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes on NBC. So, let’s take a look back at some of Dick Clark’s shows:

Talk about starting at the bottom! Dick Clark’s iconic career began by working in the mail room of an AM radio station in Rome, New York, that was owned by his uncle and managed by his father.

Clark moved to Philadelphia in 1952 where he took a job as a disc jockey at radio station WFIL. WFIL’s affiliated television station began broadcasting a show called Bob Horn’s Bandstand in 1952. Dick Clark would fill in as host when Bob Horn was on vacation. In 1956, Horn was arrested for drunk driving, and Clark took over as permanent host. In 1957, ABC picked up the show, and renamed it American Bandstand. The show’s popularity took off, in no small part due to Dick Clark’s rapport with the teenagers, as well as his ability to introduce rock music to parents in a non-threatening way.

The show was so popular that it lasted all the way through 1989.

 

 

Not only did Dick Clark host American Bandstand, but he also became the host of The $10,000 Pyramid game show in 1973. On January 19, 1976, the show increased its top prize and was renamed The $20,000 Pyramid. However, ratings later began to slide, and ABC canceled the show on June 27, 1980.

However, the show made a comeback as The $25,000 Pyramid, returning on CBS in 1982, once again hosted by Dick Clark. The show ran until 1987. The show that replaced it, Blackout, did not last very long, and The $25,000 Pyramid came back again, until 1988, when it was replaced by the Ray Combs hosted Family Feud.

 

 

Before Dick Clark, the New Year’s Eve shows were hosted by bandleader Guy Lombardo. Guy Lombardo’s specials were more for the older crowd, playing big band music. In 1972, Dick Clark produced his first New Year’s Eve broadcast for NBC. The special, Three Dog Night’s Year’s Rockin’ Eve 1973. It was hosted by the members of the rock band Three Dog Night, and also featured performances by Blood, Sweat & Tears, Helen Reddy and Al Green. The second special, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve 1974, also on NBC, was hosted by comedian George Carlin and featured musical performances by The Pointer Sisters, Billy Preston, Linda Ronstadt and Tower Of Power.
The following year, the program moved to ABC, and Clark assumed hosting duties. Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve then became a tradition.

He hosted the special every year, until, sadly, he had a stroke on December 6, 2004. Regis Philbin filled in at the last minute. In August 2005, ABC announced that Dick Clark would return to the show for its 2006 edition, joined by a new co-host, radio personality and American Idol host Ryan Seacrest. Dick Clark would continue to make small appearances on the show. But, he was not the same person we grew up with. Let’s Return an ’80s New Year’s Eve memory with Dick Clark:

 

 

Before Punk’d, we had the far superior TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes. The show was created out of two separate series of specials. One was TV’s Censored Bloopers, which started in 1982, and was hosted by Dick Clark. It showed television and film bloopers. The other show was Television’s Greatest Commercials specials, also started in 1982, and hosted by Johnny Carson sidekick, Ed McMahon. Both series always got high ratings, so in the fall of 1984 it was decided to combine the two programs into one series, hosted by Clark and McMahon. Besides dividing the show between bloopers and classic TV advertisements of yesteryear, the show also featured at least two practical joke segments per episode, featuring celebrities caught in Candid Camera-like situations. The weekly series ended in 1986, but occasionally there would be specials aired on-and-off by NBC until as late as 1998. And then the specials would air on ABC up until 2004, when Clark suffered his stroke.
So let’s Return to the ’80s, and check out a little bit of TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes:

Dick Clark said, “Music is the soundtrack of your life.” If that is the case then Dick Clark was our D.J. You will be missed. Rest in Peace.

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Daily Trivia – 4/24/12

Question: On Diff’rent Strokes, what was the name of Arnold’s goldfish?


Last Question: What was Men At Work’s first hit single?

Answer: “Who Can It Be Now?”

“Who Can It Be Now?” was released as a single in Australia before the album on which it appeared, Business As Usual, was released. It reached #1 in Australia as well as in the U.S. Business As Usual would go on to spend an unprecedented 15 weeks at #1 on the American album charts from late 1982 to early 1983. It didn’t hurt that following the #1 “Who Can It Be Now?”, would be Men At Work’s signature hit “Down Under”.

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Remember That Song – 4/24/12

What Men At Work song warns ‘ghosts appear and fade away.’?


Last Song: “Purple Rain” by Prince

I never meant to cause you any sorrow
I never meant to cause you any pain
I only wanted to one time see you laughing

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xarqjm_prince-purple-rain-live_music?search_algo=1

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Daily Trivia – 4/23/12

Question: What was Men At Work’s first hit single?


Last Question: What big-screen whodunit was promoted with the line: “It’s not just a game anymore”?

Answer: Clue

Clue, the 1985 comedy mystery, starred an all-star cast including Tim Curry (Wadsworth the butler), Eileen Brennan (Mrs. Peacock), Martin Mull (Colonel Mustard), Lesley Ann Warren (Miss Scarlet), Christopher Lloyd (Professor Plum), Michael McKean (Mr. Green), and Madeline Kahn (Mrs. White). The unique feature about this movie was that there were three possible endings, with different theaters receiving each ending. If you saw the movie in the theater, you didn’t know what the other possible endings were. When the movie was released on home video, all three endings were included.

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Remember That Song – 4/23/12

Can you name the artist and song:

I never meant to cause you any sorrow
I never meant to cause you any pain
I only wanted to one time see you laughing


Last Song: “Centerfield” by John Fogerty

Well, I spent some time in the Mudville Nine, watchin’ it from the bench;
You know I took some lumps when the Mighty Casey struck out

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Daily Trivia – 4/20/12

Question: What big-screen whodunit was promoted with the line: “It’s not just a game anymore”?


Last Question: What Brat Packer served as best man when Tom Cruise got hitched to Mimi Rogers?

Answer: Emilio Estevez

Emilio Estevez was the best man for The Outsiders co-star Tom Cruise when Cruise married actress Mimi Rogers on May 9, 1987. Cruise and Rogers were divorced on February 4, 1990. They weren’t together very log. But they were together long enough for Rogers to introduce Cruise to Scientology.

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Remember That Song – 4/19/12

Can you name the artist, song and complete the lyrics:

Well, I spent some time in the Mudville Nine, watchin’ it from the bench;
You know I took some lumps when ___ ______ _____ ______ ___


Last Song: “Hold Me Now” by The Thompson Twins:

Look at our life now, tattered and torn.
We fuss and we fight and delight in the tears that we cry until dawn

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