Fun Fountain

fun-fountain It’s that wonderful time of year again – the unofficial start of summer. And with that, comes memories of summer fun we experienced when we were younger. Some friends of mine had pools. But, for those of us who did not have the money or the space for a pool, we had to improvise. We could run through a sprinkler. That could cool you off for a bit, but could get boring after a while. But in the late ’70s/early ’80s, Wham-O made things interesting. They came out with the Fun Fountain. The Fun Fountain was a sprinkler with a twist. You would attach the clown head to the hose, put the hat on top of the clown’s head, and turn on the water as high as it can go. The water would come out of the top of the clown’s head, lifting the hat up in the air, with water spraying out the sides of the top of the hat.

One game you could play was to go into the sprinkler, and try to catch the hat on your head when it came falling down. Oh by the way, the hat was hard heavy plastic. So, if you didn’t catch it right, you would get bonked on the head, and have a nice lump. It was fun though! I’m not sure if these are still sold in stores or not. But, I am sure that kids these days would need to wear helmets and knee and elbow pads if they were to use this.

This commercial might bring back memories:

Man, we must have had crappy water pressure, because I don’t remember the hat shooting that far in the air!
So did any of you have the Fun Fountain? Do you have any good stories, or permanent injuries, from the Fun Fountain?

Remember That Song – 5/30/14

Can you name the artist and song:

I love the way you shoot
I love the way that you shoot to kill me

Last Song: “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel from So (1986)

Great job Jim!!

And The Grand Façade, So Soon Will Burn
Without A Noise, Without My Pride
I reach out from the inside

Top 40 Songs This Week – May 29, 1982: Songs 10-1

Welcome back as we wrap up this week’s Top 40 Countdown. This has been a great week of music from 1982, and the Top 10 does not disappoint. You can go back and check out songs 40-31, 30-21, and 20-11 if you missed them. Now, let’s Return to the week ending May 29, 1982, and count down the top 10 songs.

10. “Get Down On It” by Kool and the Gang

Get your back up off the wall, dance, come on! What a great way to start the top 10. This is a nice combination of funk and pop.

9. “Did It In A Minute” by Daryl Hall and John Oates

This is a great song fom Hall & Oates’ Private Eyes album.

8. “Always On My Mind” by Willie Nelson

And once again, we have a Country corssover hit in the Top 40. This is a beautiful ballad by the legendary Willie Nelson. The song was written by Johnny Christopher, Mark James and Wayne Carson, and performed by dozens of artists. Willie’s version won 3 Grammy Awards:
Songwriters Christopher, James and Carson won Song of the Year and Best Country Song; in addition, Nelson won for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.

7. “Don’t You Want Me” by The Human League

Classic ’80s tune by the sythpop group, The Human League.

6. “’65 Love Affair”by Paul Davis

The great hits continue! Paul Davis, mainly known for his soft rock hits, “I Go Crazy” and “Cool Night“, changed things up a bit here. This sounds like it could be a Hall & Oates song.
This made Paul Davis very successful. However, he was disgusted with going commercial, so he opted out of his record contract with Arista, and signed with Razor & Tie Record Company, a label on which Davis never charted on the Hot 100.

5. “The Other Woman” by Ray Parker Jr.

Yes, Ray Parker Jr. had another song besides “Ghostbusters“. This is a really good funky pop song.

4. “867-5309/Jenny” by Tommy Tutone

Another ultimate ’80s hit. This is the phone number everybody knows by heart.

3. “I’ve Never Been To Me” by Charlene

This song was originally on Charlene’s self-titled 1977 album. It had barely cracked the Top 100, peaking at #97. Motown, Charlene’s record company, decided not to release a second album due to the lack of success of the first one. So, Charlene left the music industry, met and married an Englishman. They stayed in England, and she took a job at a candy store in Ilford.
In 1982, a disc jockey at a Tampa radio station began playing “I’ve Never Been to Me” track off the Charlene album. It was a big hit among the local listeners. The DJ, Scott Shannon, contacted Motown to let them know that the song had potential to be a hit. Motown president, Jay Lasker, personally contacted Charlene, and invited her to re-sign, and re-release “I’ve Never Been To Me.” She did so, and the song became a big hit. The re-release debuted at #84 – 13 notches above the peak of the song’s original release. And it reached it’s true peak this week at #3.

2. “Don’t Talk To Strangers” by Rick Springfield

In the early ’80s, Rick Springfield was one of the most popular people in the entertainment industry. He was Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital. And he could actually sing. Really well! Of course he was very popular with the ladies. But, most people really enjoyed his music. And this song is classic Springfield.

1. “Ebony and Ivory” by Paul McCartney with Stevie Wonder

And we have arrived at our #1 song this week. This song gives the not-so-subtle message about the keys on the piano. Oops, I mean racial harmony. Whenever I hear this song, I can’t help but think of the classic Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo skit on Saturday Night Live as they performed this song, with different lyrics, as Stevie Wonder and Frank Sinatra respectively.

“Ebony and Ivory” was a huge hit, seven weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Well that concludes this week’s countdown. I hope you enjoiyed it as much as I have. I don’t think there was any song on here that I did not like. We’ll be back next week with a new countdown from a different year. Until then, Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.

Top 40 Songs This Week – May 29, 1982: Songs 20-11

Welcome back to the Top 40 Countdown. So far, each day has had quite a variety of music, and once again, today is no different. If you missed the previous songs, you can check out songs 40-31 and 30-21. Today the songs range from rock, to easy listening, to oldies/classic rock, to…classical? Hmm, curious. Let’s Return to the week ending May 29, 1982, and continue the countdown.

20. “The Beatles Movie Medley” by The Beatles

Well, this isn’t exactly an ’80s sounding song. But, any excuse to play some Beatles is just fine with me! This is basically clips of Beatles songs that were selected from Beatles films. The films are A Hard Day’s Night, Help!, Magical Mystery Tour, Yellow Submarine and Let It Be. The songs are “Magical Mystery Tour”, “All You Need Is Love”, “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”, “I Should Have Known Better”, “A Hard Day’s Night”, “Ticket to Ride” and “Get Back”.
This is the only Beatles single not released on CD.

19. “Making Love” by Roberta Flack

Now, we’ll move back to some easy listening music. Roberta Flack had a string of hits in the 1970s. This song would be her last Top 40 hit as a solo artist. She did have some hits later that were duets with other artists.

18. “Run for the Roses” by Dan Fogelberg

I had never heard this song before. Apparently, it was considered an unofficial theme for the Kentucky Derby. Dan Fogelberg wrote it in two days, recorded it in two days, and gave the song to ABC Sports. The song was commissioned by the ABC television network for the 106th running of the Derby in 1980. It premiered on the network’s Derby night special the night before.

Fogelberg included the song on his 1981 album, The Innocent Age. It was released as a single in 1982, and it peaked here at #18.

17. “Crimson and Clover” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

OK, let’s get things rockin’ now! The 1968 classic version of this song was one of my favorites by Tommy James and the Shondells. It is also one of my favorite songs by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.

16. “Rosanna” by Toto

Classic hit by the awesome band, Toto. This was the opening track and the first single from their 1982 album Toto IV. This song won the Grammy for the Record of the Year at the 1983 award cermony.

I don’t usually show 2 videos of the same song, but, I’ll make an exception here. This is a really good live version.

15. “It’s Gonna Take a Miracle” by Deniece Williams

This is a good song by Deniece “Let’s Hear It For the Boy” Williams once you get past the yapping at the beginning.

14. “Man On Your Mind” by The Little River Band

This is a good song by The Little River Band. But I can see why they did not have too many videos.

13. “Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny) by Elton John

This was Elton John’s awesome tribute to his good friend, John Lennon. The song is titled “Empty Garden”, as Lennon’s last live performance was at Madison Square Garden (with Elton John in 1974).

12. “Chariots of Fire” by Vangelis

This instrumental song was way better than the movie.

11. “Heat of the Moment” by Asia

And we’ll wrap up today with this great song by Asia. This was the first single released from Asia’s self-titled debut album.

What a great countdown this has been! I can’t even pick out a favorite song today. It’s a 3 way tie with “Crimson and Clover”, “Rosanna, and “Heat of the Moment.” We’ll finish up the countdown tomorrow, and those songs will also be great. So be sure to come back!

Remember That Song – 5/29/14

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

And The Grand Façade, So Soon Will Burn
Without A Noise, Without My Pride
I _____ ___ ____ ___ ______

Last Song: “The Loco-Motion” by Kylie Minogue from the album Kylie (1988)

Great job Jim!!

I know you’ll get to like it
If you give it a chance now

Top 40 Songs This Week – May 29, 1982: Songs 30-21

Welcome back as we continue this week’s Top 40 Countdown. You can go back and check out songs 40-31 if you missed them. Yesterday’s 10 songs were quite the variety, and we will continue that trend today. So, lets Return to the week ending May 29, 1982, and continue on with the countdown.

30. “When It’s Over” by Loverboy

Good way to start the countdown today. I have a soft spot with rock bands that featured keyboards, like Journey, Styx, and Bon Jovi. This was not one of Loverboy’s biggest hits, but it’s still a very good song.

29. “Hurts So Good” by John Cougar

You can’t go wrong with some early John Cougar! This was early in this song’s rise up the countdown. It peaked at #2, and it spent 16 weeks in the top 10, the longest time for any song in the ’80s.

28. “Without You (Not Another Lonely Night)” by Franke and the Knockouts

Franke and the Knockouts was a short-lived band, formed in New Jersey. They had a few top 40 hits, including this one. But they were more successful at writing a couple of other songs that were performed by somebody else: Eric Carmen’s 1987 hit single “Hungry Eyes” as well as the song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” (both of which were featured in the 1987 film Dirty Dancing).

27. “Wake Up Little Susie” by Simon and Garfunkel

Simon and Garfunkel have said that the Everly Brothers were a big influence on their music. Simon and Garfunkel’s live version of “Wake Up Little Susie,” recorded in their concert in New York’s Central Park on September 19, 1981, reached #27 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982, and is the duo’s last Top 40 hit.

26. “Love’s Been A Little Bit Hard On Me” by Juice Newton

Next up is a hit by Country crossover star Juice Newton. This song will eventually peak at #7 and earn Newton a Grammy nomination for Best Female Vocalist in the Pop category. The video is pretty funny. It was actually awarded Video of the Year by the American Video Association in 1982.

25. “My Girl” by Donnie Iris

When I saw the title of this song, I thought it was a cover of the Temptations’ classic. But, it’s a totally different song. This kind of sounds like a John Lennon type song. This song was Donnie Iris’ highest charting hit single, the last of three which reached the Top 40. The only Donnie Iris song I was familiar with was “Ah! Leah!“. He continues to release new material and tours throughout the greater Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Youngstown and Cleveland, Ohio areas.

24. “Let It Whip” by The Dazz Band

We can’t have a Top 40 in the early ’80s and not have a Funk song! “Let It Whip” was The Dazz band’s biggest hit, peaking at number one on the R&B chart for five non-consecutive weeks. The single also reached number two on the Dance chart and number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 1983.

23. “Fantasy” by Aldo Nova

“Fantasy” is the debut single by Canadian rock musician Aldo Nova, and was his biggest hit. It climbed to #3 on the Mainstream rock chart, and #23 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

22. “Still In Saigon” by The Charlie Daniels Band

The Charlie Daniels Band is yet another Country crossover star, best known for the smash hit “The Devil Went Down to Georgia“. “Still In Saigon” is a bit of a rocker, and stands the test of time. It is about a Vietnam Vet who is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This song could be released today, substituting Vietnam with Iraq or Afghanistan.

21. “Body Language” by Queen

We’ll wrap up the countdown today with one of my all time favorite bands. This song is different from anything else they had done at this point. They were ahead of their time with this song. Way before Madonna, this the video for this song was so racy that MTV wouldn’t play it. This was also a controversial song among hardcore Queen fans. It was closer to a disco sound than rock, as was a lot of songs on the Hot Space album. At the time, whenever the band played this song or other songs from that album in concert, they were sometimes being booed. And some fans went as far as making signs saying “Disco Sucks!” I don’t have a problem with this song. One of the things I love about Queen was their willingness to experiment with their music.

Well, that wraps up the songs for today. I hope you’re enjoying this countdown as much as I am. We will continue this countdown tomorrow.

Remember That Song – 5/28/14

Can you name the song and the artist who performed the ’80s version:

I know you’ll get to like it
If you give it a chance now

Last Song: “The Glory of Love” by Peter Cetera from Solitude/Solitaire and also featured in the film Karate Kid Part II (1986)

Great job Jim!!

You keep me standing tall
You help me through it all
I’m always strong when you’re beside me

Top 40 Songs This Week – May 29, 1982: Songs 40-31

Hello again everybody, and welcome to the Top 40 Countdown. We’ll count down the most popular songs in the USA straight off the Billboard Top 40 chart from the week ending May 29, 1982. I’m sorry I was out last week. And Shadoe Stevens was nowhere to be found to fill in. And Ryan Seacrest was too busy. This is going to be another great week of music. There some really good early ’80s soft rock songs, some awesome rock songs, and some timeless, ultimate ’80s songs.
So, let’s Return to the week ending May 29, 1982, and begin the countdown.

40. “Friends In Love” by Dionne Warwick and Johnny Mathis

Three years before Dionne Warwick sang about what friends are for, she performed this song with Johnny Mathis. This song was written by Grammy winning songwriter Jay Graydon (“Turn Your Love Around“, “After the Love Has Gone“), legendary producer David Foster, and Chicago keyboardist/singer Bill Champlin.

39. “Only The Lonely” by The Motels

Classic ’80s tune! This was The Motels’ big breakthrough song, which was released off of their 3rd studio album, All Four One. The song was written by lead singer, Martha Davis. In an interview on Retro Junk, Davis was asked about the inspiration behind the lyrics. She said,

“Only the Lonely” was one of those songs that was just there when I picked up my guitar. It was just there, lyrics, chords arrangement, just waiting for me. My job was to transcribe. I will probably never be 100% sure of the emotion that manifested its spontaneous arrival. I think in hind sight it had to do a lot with ‘living the dream’…. being signed to a label, touring, driving around in limos, performing in foreign countries, and at the same time feeling very unhappy and lost.

38. “Circles” by Atlantic Starr

This song was Atlantic Starr’s first song to hit the Billboard Hot 100.

37. “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

The last time we visited the countdown in 1982, this was the #1 song. Many weeks later it is still in the top 40!

36. “I Don’t Know Where to Start” by Eddie Rabbitt

Nice, easy listening song by Country crossover star, Eddie Rabbitt.

35. “Play The Game Tonight” by Kansas

Awesome song by classic rockers, Kansas. And I think my ears just got music whiplash going from a nice, easy song by Eddie Rabbitt to this rockin’ song! I don’t mind though.

34. “Any Day Now” by Ronnie Milsap

Whip! back to another easy listening song by a Country crossover star – the legendary Ronnie Milsap. This countdown is all over the place, and I love it! This song was written by Burt Bacharach and Bob Hilliard in 1962. It was originally done by Chuck Jackson in 1962. Before Ronnie Milsap covered this song, it was also covered by Elvis in 1969.

33. “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell

Here is another classic ’80s tune. And one of the weirdest videos I’ve ever seen.

32. “When He Shines” by Sheena Easton

Beautiful ballad by Sheena Easton.

31. “Caught Up In You” by .38 Special

I love .38 Special. This was their first single released off of their Special Forces album. It became the band’s first number-one single on the Billboard Top Tracks rock chart. It also became one of the band’s two top ten pop hits, reaching number ten on the Billboard Hot 100. Their other Top 10 single, “Second Chance“, reached #6 in 1989.

Well, not a bad way to start a top 40! Did you have any favorites today? What were you doing back in 1982? I was wrapping up 6th grade around now, and getting ready for the big jump to Junior High School. We’ll be back tomorrow to continue this awesome countdown!

Remember That Song – 5/27/14

Can you name the artist and song:

You keep me standing tall
You help me through it all
I’m always strong when you’re beside me

Last Song: “Sometimes She Cries” by Warrant from Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich (1989)

In a lonely night,
And in the pourin’ rain,
You can count on me