All posts by Paul Stroessner

Daily Trivia – 1/19/11

Question: What group scored top-10 hits with Lady (You Bring Me Up), Oh No, and Nightshift?

Last Question: What actress, two months younger than Bea Arthur, played her mom on The Golden Girls?

Answer: Estelle Getty

Estelle Getty’s most famous role was Sophia on The Golden Girls. She also “won” a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actress in Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot in 1992.
Estelle Getty (July 25, 1923 – July 22, 2008) was actually younger than Bea Arthur (May 13, 1922 – April 25, 2009), even though she played her mother. Getty died of natural causes just before her 85th birthday. She had been suffering from Lewy body dementia. Bea Arthur passed away on April 25, 2009, losing her battle with cancer, and Rue McClanahan just died on June 3, 2010 after suffering a stroke. Betty White is the last remaining Golden Girl.

Daily Trivia – 1/18/11

Question: What actress, two months younger than Bea Arthur, played her mom on The Golden Girls?

Last Question: What board game promised: “You do not have to be a Rembrandt – stick figures and squiggly lines will do just fine”?

Answer: Pictionary

Pictionary came out in 1985. The game is played with teams with players trying to identify specific words from their teammates’ drawings. Each team moves a piece on a game board formed by a sequence of squares.Each square has a letter or shape identifying the type of picture to be drawn on it. The objective is to be the first team to reach the last space on the board.

Thankfully, you really don’t need to be a Rembrandt to play this game. As a matter of fact, it may be a disadvantage to be a good artist in this game. By the time you finish drawing your work of art, time could run out before your team could guess. All you need to do is draw stick figures really fast, and hope that your teammates can guess what you are scribbling. Over the years, I found that if your team is having trouble guessing what you drew, pounding the paper with the point of the pencil does not always help them guess the right answer faster. And neither does drawing circles around your picture over and over again.

This game can be fun. Especially if you are playing with fun people with a great sense of humor. It is funny seeing some of the drawings that people come up with, and listening to them explain what they were thinking when they were drawing their picture.

Daily Trivia – 1/17/11

Question: What board game promised: “You do not have to be a Rembrandt – stick figures and squiggly lines will do just fine”?

Last Question: What Richard Chamberlain miniseries costarred Toshiro Mifune as Lord Yoshi Toranaga?

Answer: Shogun

Shogun was based on a novel by James Clavell. The miniseries was broadcast over five nights, between September 15 and September 19, 1980 on NBC. Richard Chamberlain was no stranger to television mini-series. He also starred in Centennial (my personal favorite), William Bast’s The Man in the Iron Mask, and maybe the one he is most known for – The Thorn Birds.
Most recently, Chamberlain appeared as a villain, called the The Belgian, in the television show Chuck this season.

Ronald Reagan Quote of the Week – 1/17/11

Today we have done what we had to do. If necessary, we shall do it again. It gives me no pleasure to say that, and I wish it were otherwise… When our citizens are abused or attacked anywhere in the world on the direct orders of a hostile regime, we will respond so long as I’m in this Oval Office…Despite our repeated warnings, Qadhafi continued his reckless policy of intimidation, his relentless pursuit of terror. He counted on America to be passive. He counted wrong.

Address to the Nation on the United States Air Strike Against Libya (4/14/86)

Battle of the Bands: Van Halen vs. “Van Hagar” *Repost*


This is the ultimate rock debate of the ’80s. David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar. David Lee Roth was a flashy rock star showman, and Sammy Hagar was a more conventional musician.
Van Halen released their debut album Van Halen in 1978. It became one of the most successful debuts in rock history, and featured the hit “Runnin’ With the Devil”, and and the guitar solo “Eruption”. Van Halen II was released, and they had a hit single with the song “Dance the Night Away.”

Women and Children First was released in 1980, and had the hits “And the Cradle Will Rock…” and “Everybody Wants Some!!“. Fair Warning was released in 1981. At that time, tensions were beginning to rise between Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth. Eddie wanted to produce more serious and complex songs, and David had more of a poppy fun style. The only song of note from that album was “Unchained“. The following year, Diver Down was released and performed better. There were a couple of pop remakes that were on the album that contributed to the success – “(Oh) Pretty Woman” and “Dancing in the Street“. “Where Have All the Good Times Gone!” also went to #17 on the mainstream rock charts. Then the band peaked in 1984 with their mega-successful album 1984. “Jump” was the bands first and only #1 pop hit. You couldn’t watch MTV for more than a half hour without seeing it. The first song on the album was a short keyboard instrumental called “1984“, and it led into “Jump”. “I’ll Wait” reached #7 on the mainstream rock charts. “Panama” was another huge success, and another song that got a lot of airplay on MTV. This was followed by the hit “Hot For Teacher.”

Even though 1984 was a very successful album, it brought the band to their breaking point. There were artistic and personal issues. The reason for the breakup was different, depending on who was interviewed. Roth was upset about Eddie playing music outside of Van Halen without checking with the band, as well as alleged drug abuse by Eddie that affected the band’s practice sessions. Eddie was sick of Roth’s flamboyant behavior and stage persona. Meanwhile Roth was developing a successful solo career with his hits “California Girls” and “Just a Gigolo”. On April 1, 1985, Roth left Van Halen.

Eddie invited Patty Smyth of Scandal to replace Roth but she refused. Eddie was then introduced to Sammy Hagar, who just came off of a successful album VOA, which had the huge hit “I Can’t Drive 55.”
In 1986 the band released the hugely successful album 5150 with Sammy as the new lead singer as well as guitar player. 5150 became the band’s first #1 album on the Billboard charts, and had the big hits “Why Can’t This Be Love” (#3 U.S.), “Dreams”, and “Love Walks In”, as well as “Best of Both Worlds”, and the title track “5150”.
Their follow up album was OU812, which produced the hits “When It’s Love”, “Feels So Good”, and “Finish What Ya Started”. The album title was a play on David Lee Roth’s solo album “Eat ‘Em and Smile.” (OU812 translates to “Oh, you ate one too?”).
The following album in 1991 was For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. I am going to try to keep this blog somewhat clean for now, so I won’t spell out the acronym. This album went more to the band’s hard rock roots, and it had some good songs on it such as “Poundcake”, “Runaround”, “The Dream is Over”, “Right Now”, and “Top of the “World”. In 1995, Van Halen released their final studio album with Sammy Hagar – Balance. It did not sell as well as the previous Hagar albums, but it did have the hits “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You”, “Don’t Tell Me (What Love Can Do)”, and “Not Enough”.

Tension was arising between Hagar and Van Halen. They were recording songs for the Twister soundtrack. They recorded the song “Humans Being.” Eddie said that he had to write all the lyrics since Hagar’s were “too cheesy”. This obviously upset Hagar. Then the band was recording another song for the soundtrack. Hagar did not want to record more songs for a soundtrack because it would not be as accessible to fans. Also, the band was compiling a greatest hits album, and Hagar did not agree with this decision since he felt the band had many more years ahead. Hagar claimed that he was fired; Van Halen claimed that he quit. Most accounts confirm that Hagar technically quit, but only upon finding that Van Halen had secretly been recording with David Lee Roth.

David and Eddie were discussing which tracks to include on the greatest hits album called Best of Volume 1, and they began to get along again. They recorded two new songs for the album “Me Wise Magic” and “Can’t Get This Stuff No More”.
But, Van Halen was continuing to audition for a new lead singer, and then Roth was out of Van Halen again.

In the summer of 2002, David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar teamed up in the Song For Song, the Heavyweight Champs of Rock and Roll tour (also known as the ‘Sans-Halen’ or ‘Sam & Dave’ Tour). The joint tour headlining both former lead singers attracted media and audience fascination because it seemed more improbable than even a Van Halen tour with Roth or Hagar could be. The tour drew large crowds and featured no opening acts, Roth and Hagar alternating opening as the first act during the tour.

So which Van Halen incarnation is your favorite:

Daily Trivia – 1/14/11

Question: What Richard Chamberlain miniseries costarred Toshiro Mifune as Lord Yoshi Toranaga?

Last Question: What retailer unleashed the Discover card in 1985?

Answer: Sears

At the time the Discover Card was introduced, Sears was the largest retailer in the United States. It had purchased the Dean Witter Reynolds Organization (brokerage) and Coldwell, Banker & Company (real estate) in 1981 as an attempt to add financial services to its portfolio of customer services. Ray Kennedy, Sr., – father of country singer Ray Kennedy – who was the credit manager for Sears, conceived the card. In 2007, Discover Financial Services became an independent company.

Here is an early Discover Card commercial. It makes going into debt look glorious!!

Here is one more from 1986:

Hits of 1981 – Horrible and Great

On 11/14/08, Stuck in the ’80s released their Horrible Hits from 1981 podcast.
Here is their list:

10. Physical – Olivia Newton John
9. The Breakup Song – Greg Kihn Band
8. Someone’s Knockin’ – Terri Gibbs
7. Urgent – Foreigner
6. Every Woman in the World – Air Supply
5. Hearts – Marty Balin
4. Elvira – The Oak Ridge Boys
3. Morning Train (Nine to Five) – Sheena Easton
2. Boy from New York City – Manhattan Transfer
1. Bette Davis Eyes, Kim Carnes

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

Here is my top 5 (or worst 5) of Horrible songs from that year.

5. Who’s Crying Now – Journey

Although Journey is one of my favorite groups of all time, this is probably my least favorite of their hits. It doesn’t have enough energy, and it’s not a powerful enough ballad like “Faithfully” or “Open Arms”.

4. Boy From New York City – Manhattan Transfer

This song is annoying. It’s almost like they are trying to go for an old World War II USO tour swing sound – but fail miserably. There are many other New York theme songs that are a lot better – most recently, “Empire State of Mind” by Alicia Keys.

3. Hearts – Marty Balin

It’s hard to believe that somebody from Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship would come out with something so crappy! This sounds like one of those horrible “lite” music of the ’70s. It still would have been bad for that time period as well.

2. Sukiyaki – A Taste of Honey

Another boring one! How was this a hit!?! A Taste of Honey was a disco group that disappeared not long after disco died. Now I can see why.

1. Hello Again – Neil Diamond

I love Neil Diamond’s early music as well as his recent music that he has released with producer Rick Rubin. But, this song is too slow moving and a disappointment for me. This sounds a lot like “September Morn'”, which is another boring song. But he redeems himself as you will find in my list of:

Great hits from 1981

5. America – Neil Diamond

This is one of Neil Diamond’s greatest songs. It can still be heard playing today – especially around the 4th of July. It is very patriotic and powerful.

4. The Best of Times – Styx

This is a great power ballad, sung by Dennis DeYoung. It was the first single release from Styx’s classic Paradise Theater album. There was great vocals and guitar in this song.

3. You Make My Dreams – Hall & Oates

This is my favorite Hall & Oates song. You can’t help but tap your hands or feet to this song. It has had a resurgence lately. It was in the movie The Wedding Singer, and more recently in the movie (500) Days of Summer.

2. Lady (You Bring Me Up) – Commodores

This is one of my favorite songs by the Commodores. This was just before Lionel Ritchie went solo. This is a very upbeat and fun song.


9 to 5 – Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton wrote and performed this song for the move Nine to Five, in which she starred in along with Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dabney Coleman. Parton has stated in a number of interviews through the years that when she wrote the song, she devised the clacking typewriter rhythm running her acrylic fingernails back and forth against one another.
A few months after Parton released this song, Sheena Easton had also released a song “9 to 5”, which became a world wide hit. But in the U.S., Easton’s song had to be renamed “Morning Train (Nine to Five)” to avoid confusion.

Here are some songs from the top 100 that did not make my list because they already appear on my list of 1980’s greatest hits:

Another One Bites the Dust, Queen
Whip It, Devo
(Just Like) Starting Over – John Lennon

And here are some honorable mentions that do jump in my top 5 for that year:

Jessie’s Girl, by Rick Springfield
Celebration, by Kool and The Gang
I Love a Rainy Night, by Eddie Rabbitt

Does anybody have their own list of favorites and least favorites? Let us know.

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Daily Trivia – 1/13/11

Question: What retailer unleashed the Discover card in 1985?

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

Answer: Always On My Mind

“Always on My Mind” was originally recorded by Brenda Lee in 1971, and was written by the songwriting trio of Johnny Christopher, Mark James and Wayne Carson Thompson. Elvis even recorded a version of it in 1972.

In 1982, one of my all-time favorite performers, Willie Nelson, released the song. It raced up to number 1 on Billboard magazine’s Hot Country Singles chart, and stayed on top for 2 weeks. The song also did very well on Top 40 radio, peaking at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was Billboard’s number one country song for 1982. “Always on My Mind” won three Grammys (including Grammy Award for Song of the Year), and won the 1982 and 1983 CMA “Song of the Year”, and the 1982 CMA Single of the Year.

In 1987, Pet Shop Boys, best known for the song “West End Girls”, recorded a synthpop version of “Always on My Mind”. This version topped the UK charts for 4 weeks. It also peaked at number four in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1988, becoming the duo’s fifth and last Top 10 hit there.

And here is a great version of the song performed by Willie along with Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora at a concert that I believe was celebrating Willie’s 70th birthday. Vince Vaughn makes the introduction, and gives an interesting bit a trivia about Farm Aid: