This week’s selection, in honor of the 2011 Van Halen reunion, is “Jump”:
“Jump” is the only Van Halen song to reach all the way up to number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the second single released off of the 1984 album. This is a simple video of the band performing a mock concert. David Lee Roth jumps a lot, and Eddie Van Halen has a funny smile on his face the whole time. I remember that I loved the video, but that goofy smile annoyed the crap out of me. You would think he was high or something!
But, the song shows how talented Eddie is. Not only is he one of the greatest guitarists of all time, but he is also a damn good keyboard player too. This is one of those songs that is instantly recognizable from the first note.
According to Billboard.com, a deal was re-upped between publisher Warner/Chappell and Eddie and Alex Van Halen, and it was stated that the band “is currently in the studio recording an album with Roth that is due for release in 2011.”
Also, Van Halen manager and Live Nation Entertainment executive chairman Irivng Azoff mentioned that Van Halen was expected to tour next year. Van Halen’s 2008 reunion tour with Roth was a massive success. It took in more than $93 million. from 74 shows according to Billboard.
Next year’s album would be Van Halen’s first studio album since 1998’s flop Van Halen III,” with Gary Cherone as the lead singer. This would also be the first album with David Lee Roth since the classic 1984.
Hopefully the band will get along, and this will go through. If it does, I will buy the album as soon as it comes out. Hey, if I could buy the Van Halen III album the day it was released, I can do the same for the Van Halen/David Lee Roth reunion!
’80s metal band, Judas Priest, will appear on Private Sessions on A&E this Sunday (8/8/10) at 9:00 am Eastern. Lead singer, Rob Halford will be interviewed by host Lynn Hoffman about life on the road, metal therapy and the new, 30th anniversary edition of Priest’s 1980 classic, British Steel. The entire band also will perform some of their most famous songs – “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’,” “Breaking the Law,” “Living After Midnight” and “Freewheel Burning.”
I definitely recommend this show. There are often ’80s bands/singers on this show. Lynn is an excellent interviewer, and the songs are usually good. I have even watched some bands that I had no interest in, and they are still great episodes. If you don’t like the music, you can just skip the performances, and watch the interviews.
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.
On this day in 1984, 21-year-old Vanessa Williams gives up her Miss America title, the first resignation in the pageant’s history, after Penthouse magazine announces plans to publish nude photos of the beauty queen in its September issue. Williams originally made history on September 17, 1983, when she became the first black woman to win the Miss America crown. Miss New Jersey, Suzette Charles, the first runner-up and also an African American, assumed Williams’ tiara for the two months that remained of her reign.
Vanessa Lynn Williams was born March 18, 1963, in Millwood, New York, to music teacher parents. She attended Syracuse University and studied musical theater. In 1982, while working a summer job as a receptionist at a modeling agency in Mt. Kisco, New York, photographer Thomas Chiapel took the nude pictures of Williams, telling her they’d be shot in silhouette and that she wouldn’t be recognizable. After Williams became Miss America, the photographer sold the pictures to Penthouse without her knowledge. Williams later dropped lawsuits against the magazine and photographer after it was learned that she had signed a model release form at the time the photos were taken.
The Miss America pageant, which prides itself on projecting a wholesome, positive image of women, began in 1921 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, as a stunt developed by local businessmen to extend the summer tourist season. In 1945, the Miss America Organization handed out its first scholarship. Today, it provides over $45 million each year in cash and tuition assistance to contestants on the national, state and local levels. In 1954, the competition was broadcast live for the first time. Beginning in the 1980s, contestants were required to have a social platform, such as drunk-driving prevention or AIDS awareness, and Miss America winners now travel an estimated 20,000 miles a month for speaking engagements and public appearances. In 2006, following a decline in TV ratings, the pageant moved from Atlantic City for the first time in its history and took place in Las Vegas, where a new Miss America was crowned in January instead of September.
Vanessa Williams rebounded from the Miss America scandal and went on to a successful entertainment career as an actress and recording artist, performing on Broadway as well as in movies and television and releasing a number of popular albums.
I don’t know about anybody else, but Vanessa Williams is the only Miss America that I can remember. It reminds me of the line from the Styx hit “Miss America”:
In your cage at the human zoo, they all stop to look at you
Next year, what will you do when you have been forgotten
But despite the scandal, Williams went on to a successful career. In 1988, she had success with the album and the song “The Right Stuff”:
As far as her music goes, her biggest success came in 1992 with the number 1 smash hit, “Save the Best for Last”:
I had actually bought that one on cassette single. Remember those? And more recently Williams had success on the hit show Ugly Betty, which just finished its last season.
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. ”
Now that we are in the middle of summer, I came up with a list of my top 5 summer songs of the ’80s.
5. Endless Summer Nights (Richard Marx)
This is from Richard Marx’s debut album. It’s about a romantic summer, and wishing he could go back to those days with his love. It’s a nice, well written pop song. In the liner notes of his 1997 Greatest Hits album, Marx commented on the song: “Aside from replacing synthesized bass with the great Nathan East, this recording is the demo that every record company in the business rejected in 1985 and 1986.”
I like “Hold On to the Nights” and “Right Here Waiting” better, but this was a nice summer song.
4. Summer Nights (Van Halen)
This rocker is from Van Halen’s incredible 5150 album. As with most great Van Halen songs, it starts out with an awesome guitar lick. Sammy Hagar has great vocals, and I love Michael Anthony’s backing vocals. The song is about having fun in the summer. Here is a live version of the song:
3. Kokomo (The Beach Boys)
I know the Beach Boys catch a lot of crap for this song. But I love this song. It is a great vacation song – nice and relaxing. I also like the vocals in it. I can get past John Stamos on drums. I won’t acknowledge him as Uncle Jesse as most people do. This is the only Uncle Jesse I recognize:
2. Vacation (The Go-Go’s)
This was one of the Go-Go’s highest charting songs reaching #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1982. This is a great summer pop song, and the band was at the top of their game. Again, I can’t show the original video here, so if you want to see it on YouTube, click here.
Or you can watch a live version from 2001 here:
1. Summer of ’69 (Bryan Adams)
This was one of my favorite Bryan Adams songs. It is a fun rockin’ song about coming of age. It is probably Adams’ most recognizable song, and is my #1 pick.
What are some of your favorite summer/vacation songs of the ’80s?