This week’s selection is “Electric Avenue” by Eddy Grant:
“Electric Avenue” was released in 1982, and appeared on Eddy Grant’s 1983 album Killer on the Rampage. The song is named after a market street in the Brixton area of London, England.
Technically, “Electric Avenue” is considered to have made Grant a one-hit wonder, but I remember that I did like the song “Romancing the Stone” from the movie of the same name:
In the mid ’80s, Grant left the limelight, and, moved his family to Barbados. Then he started his own recording studio called Blue Wave. His clients have included Mick Jagger, The Rolling Stones, Sting and Elvis Costello. It’s where the Rolling Stones prepared for their “Steel Wheels” tour. Now his studio is called Ice Records, and it promotes Classic Calypso, Soca and ‘Ringbang’ music. Ringbang is a new genre that Grant has developed. The following is from Grant’s official web site:
“in my heart, I know that Soca and Ringbang have the same potential as reggae to achieve great popularity… but there has never been any proper commitment to marketing these artists and their music. We are not Sony, and the artists on board realise it will take time. It is an upliftment process.”
According to Rolling Stone, on the Cars official Facebook page, the band posted a photograph of the surviving members — singer Ric Ocasek, keyboardist Greg Hawkes, drummer David Robinson and guitarist Elliot Easton — gathered together in a Boston studio surrounded by their instruments. The picture has been taken down. “I hate to be vague, but I really can’t say,” keyboardist Hawkes told the Boston Globe when asked whether the band was reuniting. “It’s a crazy world.” The original members of the band haven’t recorded together since 1987.
Sadly, not all of the original members are with us now. Bass guitarist and singer Benjamin Orr passed away on October 3, 2000 from pancreatic cancer. He sang He sang several of The Cars’ greatest hits, including “Just What I Needed”, “Let’s Go”, and “Drive”.
In 2005, some members of the Cars reunited to form The New Cars. Instead of Ric Ocasek as the singer, the band had Todd Rundgren. But, they have not performed any shows since September of 2007.
This week’s selection is ZZ Top’s classic Eliminator trilogy:
“Gimme All Your Lovin'”
“Sharp Dressed Man”
ZZ Top was a blues-rock band.throughout the ’70s and early ’80s. Then, with the release of the 1983 classic. Eliminator, they reinvented themselves with a more synthesizer type sound to go along with the guitar,bass, and drums. And ZZ Top took advantage of the rise of MTV, with some of the stations most memorable videos. They had a new icon – a cherry-red 1933 Ford Coupe hot rod nicknamed The Eliminator.
With the new look and sound, the band released the trilogy of videos which feature a trio of mysterious, sexy women who roam around and rescue people from seemingly dire situations. The band members – Billy, Dusty, and Frank – also appear out of nowhere in the videos and offer keys to the Eliminator.
The video for “Legs” won the 1984 MTV Video Music Award for Best Group Video. This was the first year the award was given.
This week’s selection is “In a Big Country” by Big Country:
“In a Big Country” was released as a single in 1983 and was featured on the band’s first studio album, The Crossing.
The band is often described as a “one-hit wonder” for the popularity of “In a Big Country” in the United States. However, they continued to have success in Europe and were a great road band more famous for their live shows more than their studio albums. Frontman Stuart Adamson once remarked about the song in an interview, part of which was shown on a VH1 special celebrating “one-hit-wonders” that,
“ If we’re known for nothing more than just that one song, I’d be pretty happy with that. ”
This week’s selection is from one of my favorite groups – Journey, and their video for “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)”:
I love the song, but even I have to admit, the video is pretty silly. Air instruments?!? Really?!?!? I could even take air guitar, but I’ve never seen air drums or air keyboards before. Why didn’t they just go all out and have Steve Perry sing into a hair brush?!? At least they didn’t do that throughout the whole video.
This video was directed by Tom Buckholtz and featured the band playing at the Louisa Street Wharf in New Orleans.
“Separate Ways” was the first single for which the band shot a video. Previous songs, such as “Any Way You Want It,” “Don’t Stop Believin’,” and others were performances that were taped and edited.
Like I said, Journey is one of my favorite bands. So, one of these days I will do a full article on them. I have seen them in concert a few times. Steve Augeri was really good, so I didn’t miss Steve Perry as much as I thouhgt I would have. But the last time I saw them, they opened for Def Leppard, and they were actually horrible and turned me off for a while. The new lead singer was Jeff Scott Soto, and it seemed like the band just pulled him off the street and put a mic in his hand. The drummer, Deen Castronovo, actually did the ballads like “Faithfully” and “Open Arms”, where they couldn’t get away with drowning out the singer’s voice.
Now, the new singer, Arnel Pineda, sounds incredible, and I will probably give them another chance.
I had a hard time deciding what video to show this week, so I chose “Separate Ways”. I was think of showing “Girl Can’t Help It” so that you could see American Idol judge, Randy Jackson in spandex, and with a cool hairdo. Oh, what the hell, here’s a bonus video:
Question: What 80s pop star got her start on Star Search, but did not win, but came in second?
Last Week’s Question: What 1983 big-screen smash was hyped with the line: “Take your passion and make it happen”?
Flashdance was released in 1983, and was the 3rd highest grossing film of the year (behind Return of the Jedi and Terms of Endearment) by taking in almost $93 million.
Jennifer Beals starred as Alex Owens – a welder at a steel mill in Pittsburgh by day, and a dancer at a tavern by night. She wanted to become accepted by a prestigious dance school, the Pittsburgh Conservatory of Dance and Repertory. During one of her performances at Mawby’s, the bar where she works, she attracts the attention of Nick Hurley (Michael Nouri), who is her boss at the steel mill, and he soon learns that Alex is one of his employees.
Alex’s best friends also work at Mawby’s, and they have their own aspirations to fame. Jeanie Szabo (Sunny Johnson) is a waitress who aspires to be a professional ice skater, and Jeanie’s boyfriend Richie Blazik (Kyle T. Heffner) is a cook who wants to be a professional stand-up comedian.
Alex needs professional dance instruction, so she gets a dance teacher and mentor who is a retired ballet dancer – Hanna Long (Lilia Skala), who encourages Alex to pursue her dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer. After Jeanie falls twice while auditioning for an ice show, she loses confidence in herself and becomes a dancer at a strip club, where she performs in the nude, and Alex goes there to rescue Jeanie.
Alex and Nick become lovers, but she later learns that he has an ex-wife named Katie (Belinda Bauer), and they have a hostile encounter in a local restaurant. Nick uses his contacts at the Conservatory to secure an audition for Alex, and just before the audition she goes to Hanna’s house and learns that Hanna died the previous night.
At the audition, Alex falls at the beginning of her routine, but starts over and completes the routine successfully. In the final scene, Alex runs out of the Conservatory building with a smile on her face and is hugged by Nick, who gives her a bouquet of red roses.
“Flashdance… What a Feeling” was performed by Irene Cara, who also sang the title song for the similar 1980 film Fame. The song won an Academy Award for Best Original Song, as well as a Golden Globe and numerous other awards. It also reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in May 1983. Despite the song’s title, the word “Flashdance” is not used in the lyrics. The song is used in the opening title sequence of the film, and is the music used by Alex in her dance audition routine at the end of the film.
Another song used in the film, “Maniac”, was also nominated for an Academy Award. It made Michael Sembello a one-hit wonder.
Here is Irene Cara’s video for “Flashdance… What a Feeling”:
While that was a great song, and she had great success with “Fame”, here is my favorite song by Irene Cara – “The Dream (Hold On To Your Dream)”. This is from the movie D.C. Cab: