All posts by Paul Stroessner

Guilty Pleasures – Culture Club

The Guilty Pleasure series continues. Although I do enjoy most of the artists that are going to appear in this series, there are some that I really can’t stand. Today’s band falls into the latter category. That would be Culture Club. I was even going to make a sacrifice for the blog, and actually download some of their hits. But, I could not bring myself to do it! When Boy George sang the words, “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?”, was I the only one who screamed an angry whole-hearted “YES!!” every single time?

When Culture Club burst onto the scene in 1982 with their debut album Kissing to Be Clever, many of us asked, “Is that lead singer a guy or a girl?” It looks a lot like a girl with that hairdo and those clothes. But, if it is a girl, she is kind of freaky looking. Oh, wait, the name is Boy George, so it must be a guy. right?
Yeah, yeah, confirmed. It’s a guy.

Well, as much as I was not a fan of the group, there is no denying Culture Club’s success of the early to mid 80s. Kissing to Be Cleversold over two million copies in the US, and another four million worldwide at the time of its release.

Culture Club definitely did not suffer a sophomore slump. In 1983, Colour by Numbers was released, and it sold four million copies in the US and another five million worldwide at its time of release. The second single, “Karma Chameleon” became the band’s biggest hit as it was #1 in the UK, #1 in the U.S. for 3 weeks, and was #1 in sixteen other countries, and became one of the top twenty best-selling singles of the 80s.

After the success of Colour by Numbers, Culture Club had a nose dive. I suppose that they literally had a nose dive as Boy George became addicted to cocaine, which then led to a heroine addiction. The band eventually broke up in 1986, and Boy George pursued a solo career.

The band reunited a couple of times since. They reunited in 1998, and appeared on VH1 Storytellers. They went on a small tour, then reunited again in 2002 for their 20th anniversary. They broke up again due Boy George’s successful DJ career.

I could not even come up with a top 5 list of Culture Club songs. Here is a list of my top 4 hits:

4. Do You Really Want to Hurt Me

I really could not stand this song. But there’s no denying it’s success. It put Culture Club on the map. Ironically, it is the only Culture Club song I own right now. That is because it is on The Wedding Singer Soundtrack.

3. Church of the Poison Mind

This top 10 hit is a little more tolerable. It has a pretty cool Motown vibe. Could they be winning me over? I do love Stevie Wonder’s “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)“, which is very similar.

2. I’ll Tumble 4 Ya

This song is alright. It has a pretty good reggae beat. It makes me want to go on a Caribbean Cruise.

1. Karma Chameleon

This was Culture Club’s most successful song. It’s kind of a fun song. Not fun enough for me to spend $1.29 on. When I was in Junior High school, I was some place where there was a raffle for all different items. You buy a bunch of tickets, and put them in the cans in front of the items. I threw a ticket in for the 45 records of “Karma Chameleon” and Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long”. You can see where this is going can’t you? These 45’s were the first things I ever won in my life. Now I had something else to bring to the school dances (that I mentioned in the Air Supply article), and I didn’t need to bring AC/DC’s Back In Black anymore! And they actually played my records at the dance!

So did I offend any Culture Club fans out there? Or did they irritate you as much as they did me? I won’t stick my nose up at you if you’re a fan. They’re just not my cup of tea.

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Daily Trivia – 12/29/10

We are going to do away with Trivia Tuesday. Instead, you will be able to get your ’80s trivia fix here daily (well at least daily during the week, excluding holidays)!

Question: What Billy Joel chart-topper advised: “Giver her every reason to accept that you’re for real”?

Last Question: In Three’s Company, what was Chrissy’s name short for?

Answer: Christmas

Chrissy’s full name was Christmas Noelle Snow.

In season 4, episode 9 (Chrissy’s Hospitality), Chrissy falls and hits her head. She ends up in the hospital and explains to the nurse that her father named her Christmas because “she was the best present he ever got”.

Music Video of the Day – 12/29/10

Since the New Year starts this week, why shouldn’t the video be U2’s “New Year’s Day”:

“New Year’s Day” was the first single off of U2’s 1983 album War. Here are some facts about the song from Songfacts:

– The lyrics refer to the movement for solidarity lead by Lech Walesa in Poland. After this was recorded, Poland announced they would abolish martial law, coincidentally, on New Year’s Day, 1983.

– This was U2’s first UK Top 10 and their first single to chart in America.

– This almost didn’t make the album because Bono was having fits writing the lyrics.

– The Edge played piano on this as well as guitar.

– This was the first U2 video to get heavy airplay on MTV.

– The themes of understanding in a time of global unrest were a focal point for the album War, whose title was inspired by the various worldwide conflicts of 1982.

– The line “Under a blood red sky” was used as the title for a video and live album U2 released in 1983. The video was recorded at Red Rocks, Colorado, June 5, 1982. The album contains performances from that show as well as 2 others.

– Bono considers this a love song. While it is about war, it deals with “The struggle for love.”

– Bono wrote this shortly after he married his childhood sweetheart, Ali.

– The video shows the band riding horses in the snow. The Edge used a stunt-double because he was having trouble with his horse.

Trivia Tuesday – 12/28/10

Question: In Three’s Company, what was Chrissy’s name short for?

Last Question: This week’s question is about When Harry Met Sally. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we all know that it was Rob Reiner’s mother that had the famous line “I’ll have what she’s having,” so that’s not the question. The question is, What was the name of the place where this classic scene took place?

Answer: Katz’s Deli

Here are some other facts about the movie, from the site Destination Hollywood:

Did You Know?

… that Rob Reiner always references his other movies somewhere in each of his movies. In When Harry Met Sally, Billy Crystal is reading Misery which would be Rob Reiner’s next movie.

… that in the scene where Harry and Sally are watching TV and talking to each other on the phone, they are both watching the movie Casablanca. Don’t miss our Tribute to Casablanca.

… that When Harry Met Sally was written by Nora Ephron. She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. After When Harry Met Sally she went on to work with Meg Ryan again, writing and directing Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail.

… that When Harry Met Sally was made into a stage play starring Luke Perry and Alyson Hannigan. If you don’t believe us you can read a review.

R.I.P. Teena Marie (March 5, 1956 – December 26, 2010)

According to CNN, R&B singer-songwriter Teena Marie apparently died in her sleep at her California home, and was discovered by her daughter on Sunday, December 26. According to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office, an autopsy will be performed today. It was not immediately clear when the results would be available, but the coroner’s office said it hopes to have the autopsy completed on Tuesday.

Teena Marie was born Mary Christine Brockert, and grew up in Venice, California. She signed with Motown records in 1976 after she auditioned for the label honcho, Berry Gordy. She was spotted by Rick James and guitarist Paul C Saenz who became her mentors. She had some hits with Motown, such as “I’m Just a Sucker for Your Love” (a duet with Rick James), “Behind The Groove“, “I Need Your Lovin’“, “Fire and Desire” (another duet with James), “Square Biz“, “Portuguese Love“, and “It Must be Magic“.

In 1982, Marie got into a heated legal battle with Motown records over her contract and disagreements about releasing her new material. After leaving Motown, she signed with Epic Records. She had several more hits, including her biggest selling album, 1984’s Starchild. The album contained the hit single “Lovergirl“, which peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in March of 1985. She also recorded the song “14k“, which was featured in the Goonies movie. She also recorded another song for a soundtrack – “Lead Me On” from the movie Top Gun. In the fall of 1990, Marie released the album Ivory. Epic wasn’t happy with the album sales, so Marie and Epic agreed to go their separate ways. Teena Marie slowed down a little bit after that, and took time to raise her daughter Alia Rose. But she had a major comeback in 2004 with her album La Doña, and her follow-up Sapphire, in 2006. Marie was nominated for a Grammy Awards 2005 for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for “Still in Love“.

This past year Marie was a headliner in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Hilton and other venues.

“I am horrified by the sudden death of my darling Teena Marie,” Motown founder Berry Gordy said in a statement sent by his publicist. “She was my ‘baby,’ always true to herself, always true to her heart.”

Berry called her a “powerhouse performer, writer, producer and arranger.”

“When I first auditioned her she was so awesome she blew me away,” Gordy said. “She had so much soul — the only thing white about her was her skin.”

Here is Teena Marie’s hit “Lovergirl”:

Ronald Reagan Quote of the Week – 12/27/10

This week’s quotes are New Year’s messages from Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev from January 1, 1989.
First is Ronald Reagan’s:
On behalf of the American people, I send you greetings on the coming of the New Year.

In your country and mine, the New Year is a time of hope and renewal. Never have these qualities of the spirit been more necessary than now, as Soviet Armenia begins to heal from its wounds. You have our deepest sympathy. You have our prayers. And you have a personal hope from my wife, Nancy, and me that in the effort to rebuild what was shattered you will find your solace.

I am confident that relations between our two countries will continue on the positive course they have followed in the year just ending. And despite our disagreements, we have been able to find some common ground. When I visited Moscow and met with President Gorbachev, we advanced our mutual understanding on the vital issues of human rights, arms reductions, regional problems, and bilateral relations. Although much remains to be done, we’re making progress in all of those areas.

In Moscow, we signed the documents of ratification for the treaty eliminating an entire class of U.S. and Soviet intermediate-range nuclear missiles, and the implementation of that historic treaty has proceeded smoothly. Soviet and American negotiators continued to discuss a 50-percent reduction in strategic nuclear weapons. And we are preparing to enter into new negotiations about conventional military forces in Europe. President Gorbachev, during his recent speech to the United Nations, announced significant reductions in Soviet conventional forces. This is certainly a step in the right direction of correcting the imbalances in the European military situation, but much more remains to be done. Thus, while much has been accomplished in the area of arms control and reductions, we must continue efforts to ensure a lasting peace.

In human rights, progress is being made in reunification of families, freedom of people to travel as they please, and in other areas. The cessation of jamming is also a positive step; for if we’re to understand each other better, we must be able to talk freely with each other, and listen freely as well. In bilateral relations, for example in cultural and educational exchange, improvements mean that the barriers that artificially separated our peoples are slowly being lowered. And in regional issues, from Afghanistan to the Persian Gulf and southern Africa, solutions are being found to conflicts of many years’ standing. Perhaps your country will join ours in the effort to bring peace, democracy, and security to Central America.

In all of these areas, these improvements represent only the beginning of a long, difficult road to better understanding and cooperation. We are ready to continue moving along this road. Important differences remain between our countries and will continue for years to come. But I am confident that we have been witness in 1988 to progress that, if we are careful and diligent, can continue next year and during the years to come.

President Gorbachev’s visit to New York — cut short by the catastrophe in Armenia — gave us a chance to meet once more during my term as President. On January 20, George Bush will be sworn in as my successor. The American people have chosen him in part because he represents continuity in the policies, foreign and domestic, that the United States has pursued over the past 8 years. I know that Mr. Bush will continue on the same course with equal commitment.

This is my final message to you as President, and so, let me close by saying this: I believe the world is safer than it was a year ago, and I pray it will be safer still a year from now. I wish you, the Soviet people, well in the New Year. Thank you, and may God bless you and keep you all the days of your life.

The following message was from Mikhail Gorbachev:

Dear Americans, on this first day of the New Year, I am pleased to have the opportunity to convey, on behalf of the Soviet people and on my own behalf, our best wishes to the American people and to every American family.

Seeing out a year gone by and ushering in a new year is always a moving experience. Each time, we take stock of the past year: happy about some things, sad about others, and hoping that many of our concerns will be left behind as we cross the threshold of the year and that our wishes will be fulfilled in the coming year.

Last year was rich in momentous events. It also brought many good changes in relations between our peoples and countries. Today they are more dynamic and more humane. We have become closer, and we have come to know each other better. Americans seem to be rediscovering the Soviet Union, and we are rediscovering America. Fears and suspicion are gradually giving way to trust and feelings of mutual liking. I could see all of this for myself in my meetings with Americans in Washington and, quite recently, in New York. We regard the warmth and good will shown to the Soviet delegation during those days as something very important for our relations. I think President Reagan, too, will remember his meeting with Soviet people during his visit to the Soviet Union.

We in the Soviet Union are in favor of the most wide-ranging ties between our peoples; I hope you are, too. And that means we can look ahead with optimism to the future of our relations. This is what we talked about with President-elect Bush.

1988 is memorable for all of us as a year when we began reducing the most terrifying nuclear weapons. That alone is enough for it to go down in history as a landmark, a great turning point in world affairs. Many other facts, too, prove that changes for the better, very important for all of us, are taking place in the world. The Afghan issue is close to a settlement. Hostilities have ceased between Iran and Iraq. Real opportunities are emerging for resolving painful and complex issues in Southeast Asia and southern Africa. The situation in the Middle East is also changing. All this is very encouraging.

And let me mention one thing in particular. You know how much misfortune and suffering was caused by the earthquake in Armenia, how great was the human tragedy it wrought. I went to see the ruins of the devastated Armenian towns. You can’t even look at what the forces of nature have done without shuddering. All Soviet people took the misfortune of the people of Armenia as their own. In this hour of grief, they extended a helping hand to them, as brothers. The devastated towns and villages will be reborn — that is the will of all the peoples of the Soviet Union. Armenia’s tragedy has evoked great sympathy throughout the world. We are grateful to the American people and to all peoples who have come to our aid.

Seeing all this, one cannot help thinking that all people who live on this Earth, all of us, however different, are really one family. I am sure we will find enough wisdom and good will to establish together a true period of peace for all humankind. If we are capable of a new way of feeling, then we must surely be capable of a new way of thinking. If we are capable of a new way of thinking, then instead of merely surviving we can live in a new way: on the basis of equal rights, justice, trust, humanism, and wide-ranging cooperation. This is the message I wanted to convey in addressing the United Nations in New York.

There are, of course, still many problems in the world, and they are intricate and complex. But that only heightens the need to solve them together — as we say in our country, with everyone pitching in. It is good that we understand this and, moreover, that we are taking the first steps in that direction. Both our countries have a lot of problems. Quite naturally, you know your problems better, and we know ours. We intend to solve our problems in the course of perestroika. But the Soviet Union and the United States also have some common problems. I am convinced that today, on the basis of growing mutual understanding and trust, we can solve them better than we could yesterday.

Once again, I salute you, citizens of a great nation. Once again, I wish all of you peace, good health, and well-being. May there be more happiness and joy in your life. May your best hopes be fulfilled. May our common achievements shine brighter and brighter, filling every Soviet and American home and all our planet with an abiding will for peace, development, and construction.

A Happy New Year!

Guilty Pleasures – Music Edition (Air Supply)

Aren’t headphones great? You can listen to whatever you want without bothering anybody else. That’s not the only reason they are great, is it? You can listen to whatever music you like, and nobody has to know what you are listening to. So, what would happen if you are listening to your iPod, and some nosy person came up to you and said “Hey, what are you listening to?”, and then they grab your headphones and put them on. Would you be embarrased by what you were listening to? But, you can’t help it! “Dancing Queen” makes you feel good and puts a smile on your face! [Personally, I can’t stand “Dancing Queen”. But, it is a classic guilty pleasure. I won’t judge though. I’m more of a “Take a Chance on Me” and “Mamma Mia” guy myself, as far as Abba goes.] Ah, the Guilty Pleasure. They are so wrong, but they feel so right!

And so begins the new Guilty Pleasure Series – the Music Edition. Let’s take a look at some Guilty Pleasure artists/songs of the ’80s. So, after the nosy jerk took your headphones, and you hurried up and skipped to the first Beatles song you could find (everybody likes the Beatles, right?), grab your headphones back, disinfect them (greasy eared bastard!), and put on a song you really feel like listening to. It could be a song from today’s Guilty Pleasure:

Air Supply

The Australian duo ruled the early ’80s soft rock world. If their songs weren’t about falling in love, they were about falling out of love. Love, Love, Love. That’s what they were all about. And boy, did we enjoy that big time or what?! Most of the songs were sappy, but they were the best romantic game in town.

In Junior High, I went to a private school. Our class dances were not in an auditorium with a DJ. They were held in a classroom. Before the dance, we had to move the desks to the sides of the room. And our “DJ” was the mother of a classmate. She brought in a stereo that played cassettes and albums. The day of the first dance, she came in and told us that we could bring in any tapes or records for the dance. She said that she just did not want us to bring in “asinine” music. I still remember that as clear as day, because that was the first time I ever heard that word (hehe. She said “ass”. hehe) Anyway, I brought in my AC/DC Back in Black tape.
That’s not asinine! “Let Me Put My Love Into You” is a slow song! I still have the tape with my name written in pencil on the inside sleeve.

Anyway, I don’t believe we heard any AC/DC that night. But, every single slow song for the dance was Air Supply. I can’t remember who the first girl I ever danced with was. But I can tell you that it was to an Air Supply song.

They may be a guilty pleasure, but I don’t mind announcing to the world that I love Air Supply!! Well, love may be too strong, but I do really like them a lot.

With that, here is a list of my top 5 Air Supply songs:

5. The One That You Love

This was always one of my favorites. They had another song called “Here I Am“, and I would get confused with “The One That You Love”. Then I would be let down when it never got to the hook where Russell Hitchcock would sing “Here I am, the one that you love”. Am I the only one that got the 2 songs confused. I prefer this one much more:

4. All Out of Love

Powerful song. Graham Russell does an incredible job singing in this one. And then Russell Hitchcock kicks it up a notch with the chorus.

3. I Can Wait Forever

This song came out in 1984, and was in the movie Ghostbusters, and was on the Ghostbusters soundtrack. I never heard the song until a few years later, but I loved it and couldn’t get enough of it when I did hear it. The song was written by David Foster who produced songs by Chicago, Whitney Houston, Bryan Adams, and Olivia Newton John. I still love this song today:

2. Just As I Am

This song and the next are basically 1 and 1A for me. I had a hard time deciding on this one. The music is powerful, and the vocals are soaring and powerful.

1. Making Love Out of Nothing At All

Yeah, this has to be #1. Yet another powerful song. It starts slow and builds up. This song was written by musical genius Jim Steinman, who basically wrote all of Meat Loaf’s hits. Meat Loaf was actually offered this song along with “Total Eclipse of the Heart”. He turned them both down because they were not able to reach an agreement over finances. So Air supply got this song, and Bonnie Tyler got “Total Eclipse of the Heart”. Tyler actually recorded this on her 1996 album Free Spirit.

So what do you think? Should Air Supply be considered a “Guilty Pleasure”? Am I alone in liking them, or are there other fans out there? What are your favorite Air Supply songs? And do you have any guilty pleasures you would like to see featured?

Music Video of the Week – 12/22/10

With the arrival of Duran Duran’s new album, All You Need Is Now, this week’s video is their smash hit, “The Reflex”:

“The Reflex” came off of Duran Duran’s 3rd album, 1983’s Seven and the Ragged Tiger, and became a number 1 hit. The video was shot during the Sing Blue Silver tour at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario on March 5, 1984. Here are a couple of song facts from

– At first, this song seems to have a very deep concept, but really the band just recorded it over a couple of bottles of wine. Simon Le Bon himself said he has no clue what it means.

– Duran Duran’s 1983 album Seven And The Ragged Tiger had already spawned two hit singles. Nick Rhodes had been convinced that “The Reflex” was purely an album track, though other band members thought it had potential. It wasn’t until they invited Niles Rogers re-mix it, that they decided to release the transformed version as a single. It became their first American chart-topper, and their second in the UK (“Is There Something I Should Know?” had been #1 in Britain the previous year).

– The band were asked in an interview with Q magazine (February 2008) whether they were sending themselves up when they recorded the Seven And The Ragged Tiger album, which was recorded at great expense over a period of several months in a French chateau and on the island of Montserrat. Bass player John Taylor replied: “I think so. I hated the procrastination of that album. It was approached like an old-school Dutch painting. Hours spent perfecting a cymbal sound. There was a lot of sitting around and I felt like a caged animal. I was drinking and looking for a way out really.” Singer Simon Le Bon added: “The title was supposed to be about us 7 (the 5 band members, plus their 2 managers) in this fairy tale, with the ragged tiger who was “fate” or “luck.” I don’t think anyone got it.”

Trivia Tuesday – 12/21/10

Question: This week’s question is about When Harry Met Sally. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we all know that it was Rob Reiner’s mother that had the famous line “I’ll have what she’s having,” so that’s not the question. The question is, What was the name of the place where this classic scene took place?

Last Question: In A Christmas Story, what did Ralphie want for Christmas? And what was the reason he was given (several times) that he should not get it?

Answer: Ralphie wanted a “Red Rider 200 shot carbine action range model air rifle with a compass and this thing which tells time built right in the stock.” Of course, he was told many times that he should not get it because “You’ll shoot your eye out!”

Here are some other classic scenes/lines from A Christmas Story in no particular order:

Following a triple dog dare:
Stuck? Stuck. It’s Stuck. It’s STUUUUUUUUUCK!!!

Then what made that scene even better was that the school bell rang for the end of recess, and they all left Flick there stuck to the pole. I could be wrong, but I think only boys would do this. “Aah, suck it up dumb-ass.” And then play dumb when the fire department shows up. Most girls would probably freak out and scream for help as a group.

You used up all the glue… on purpose!
-Mr. Parker

Did anybody really own one of those sexy-leg lamps? Especially back then? Now you see them in a lot of stores at this time of year. Honey, I think I know what I want for Christmas now!

After drinking gallons of Ovaltine Ralphie finally receives his long-awaited Orphan Annie Secret Society decoder pin in the mail. He decodes his first message: “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine. Ovaltine? A crummy commercial? Son of a bitch!”

Some things never change. “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine?” What the hell did they think he was doing in order to get that decoder ring?!? Oh, those greedy corporations and their self promotion! It really aggravates and annoys me!

Let me take a moment and let you know that if haven’t done so, please subscribe to my blog. It’s the best place to get your ’80s fix. Why don’t you go ahead and do that now before you continue reading? By the way, have I mentioned that Return to the ’80s is also on Facebook just waiting to be “Liked”, and you can also follow Return to the ’80s on Twitter at
Now let’s continue…

Ralphie lays the smackdown on Scut Farkus.

Now that’s how it’s done, son! There’s no need to bring a gun to school. Not that I condone violence, but what better way can you take care of a bully then to lose it and give an old school beatdown to a bully? I bet Farkus layed off of Ralphie and his friends after that.

“Ho, ho, ho! You’ll shoot your eye out!” Boot to the face.

Poor Ralphie even gets dissed by Santa. Ah, it all works out for him anyway. I still remember that scene in the commercial for this movie when it first came out.

“Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuudge!” Only I didn’t say “Fudge.” I said THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the “F-dash-dash-dash” word!

Kind of speaks for itself. I also loved the follow-up with the soap in the mouth. OK, how many actually put soap in your own mouth after seeing that?

What are some of you favorite scenes? The deranged Easter Bunny outfit? The poor brother in the snowsuit? I actually used to have to wear that type of snowsuit, and I felt just like him! Or how about Ralphie fantasizes about being blinded for life from “soap poisoning!” I bet that would make his mother feel bad!

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