2016 was a notoriously brutal year as we have lost several entertainment icons of the ’80s. Unfortunately, the year ended with a flurry. Alan Thicke suddenly passed away on December 13. We were planning on doing a segment on him for the next podcast. The day before our planned recording, we received the news that George Michael died. So, we decided to do an episode on both stars. Then the following day, Carrie Fisher died. Now, what we have here is a tribute to 3 awesome entertainers. I should also note that moments after we finished recording this, we received news that Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher’s mother, had died. So, let’s Return to the ’80s and relive some happier times and memories. And please send us your thoughts about these stars in the comments below or you can email us at Returnto80s@gmail.com.
The day following George Michael’s death, this special tribute was made at a soccer match:
George Michael also had a great sense of humor. Here he is on the first ever, Carpool Karaoke with James Cordon:
Carrie Fisher (October 21, 1956 – December 27, 2016)
Of course we know Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia from the Star Wars movies. She also starred as Meg Ryan’s best friend in When Harry Met Sally and played Tom Hanks’ wife in The ‘Burbs.
She was also a successful writer, publishing Postcards from the Edge in 1987, and just recently published The Princess Diarist.
There are a couple of interviews with Carrie Fisher on Late Night with David Letterman. The first part is from May 30, 1983, promoting Return of the Jedi. The second is from August 27, 1987, promoting her new book Postcards from the Edge.
Hi Everybody, After all the devastating news over the past week, Robert and I have been preparing a special podcast episode. The regular Remember That Song and Quote of the Day segments will be back in 2017. In the meantime, here are a few videos of a happier time. Enjoy.
Although he was mainly known as Jason Seaver in Growing Pains, Alan Thicke also starred in this show, Animal Crack-Ups, which aired while he was still on Growing Pains. Not only did Thicke host this show, he wrote and sang the theme song. Here is the opening segment of an episode:
I’m sure all of you have been listening to a lot of Wham! and George Michael songs lately. Here is something a little different. James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke is enormously popular these days. As it so happens, George Michael appeared in the very first Carpool Karaoke. This is from Comic Relief in the U.K. in 2011. At the time, James Corden was best known as Smithy from Gavin and Stacey.
This scene begins with “Smithy” receiving a call from Lenny Henry at Comic Relief who asks him to head to BBC Television Centre to help record a charity single. For U.S. readers who may not know, Lenny Henry is a legendary comic in the U.K. Of course Corden is hilarious. But, this clip really shows George Michael’s sense of humor. ’80s fans may possibly recognize the songs that get played here…
Last but not least, here are a couple of appearances by Carrie Fisher on Late Night. These interviews are from:
May 30, 1983: promoting “Return of the Jedi”
August 27, 1987: promoting her new book “Postcards from the Edge”
Her interviews are always funny and honest (to say the least).
2016 has been absolutely brutal! I know that every year major celebrities, we grew up with, die. But, it seems like there have been an excessive amount of huge names that we lost this year. Alan Thicke is now the latest. Sadly, he passed away yesterday. What makes this even worse is that he suffered a heart attack while playing hockey with his 19 year old son Carter, and died at the Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California. He was 69.
Obviously, we all know Alan Thicke from his role as Jason Seaver in the awesome family sitcom, Growing Pains. He was an awesome dad. He was funny and cool, but could still be strict. He was a great role model, and Alan Thicke really made this character shine. My earliest memory of him was in the second episode of the series when he went to a Bruce Springsteen concert with his son Mike (Kirk Cameron). Coming out of the concert, they were stopped by a television reporter who asked if they were father and son, and Jason embarrassed Mike by giving him a noogie on live TV.
Starring in Growing Pains was not his only television credit at the time. The multi-talented Thicke was also a TV theme song composer, along with his then-wife Gloria Loring. The songs he composed were iconic. He composed the themes for Diff’rent Strokes and The Facts of Life.
We are back with a new episode of the Return to the ’80s podcast!!
In this episode, Robert and Paul welcome guest host Jim Vilk (@JimVilk). Do you get frustrated when you are listening to a radio station that plays ’80s music, and they always play the same song over and over for a particular artist, when you know they have other great music? Well, Return to the ’80s has a brand new segment called ‘Listen to This, Not That.’ First up…Rick Springfield.
Also, 2016 continues to wreak havoc on us, as we have 3 deaths to talk about this week.
There is a brand new Remember That Song, as well as ’80s Trivia. Then we talk about the awesome, upcoming ’80s Crossover event. This month, several ’80s blogs and podcasts will be discussing our favorite ’80s Christmas presents. Jim, Robert, and Paul talk about our favorite presents that we either received, gave, or wanted but never got.
Finally, we get into our main topic – ’80s Action/Adventure Television Theme Songs.
Return to the ’80s is now on iTunes, Stitcher, and anywhere else you can download podcasts. So please subscribe and leave us a rating and review. You can email us at email@example.com.
We are back with a new episode of the Return to the ’80s podcast! After having technical difficulties, and losing a great episode about Ghostbusters (which we will have to revisit), we came back strong with some Slippery When Wet! Bon Jovi has recently released a new album, This House is Not For Sale, which was a #1 selling album. With this year being the 30th anniversary of the iconic ‘Slippery’ album, we decided to Return to 1986, and revisit it. And we are taking a guest with us on this trip – Scott from 80s Mixtape Autoreverse and 80’s Reboot Overdrive. So come check us out, and listen to our take on this classic album.
This horrible year continues as the grim reaper keeps taking stars that we grew up with. This time, we lost Gene Wilder. Of course, most people know him from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971). I never got into that movie, although I loved the book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
However, Gene Wilder played a huge part in my early teen years, which coincided with the introduction of cable TV. When we first got cable TV, we had all the movie channels. If I wasn’t glued to MTV, I was watching commercial-free, uncut movies on HBO and Showtime. For me, Gene Wilder was a fixture on my TV set, as the Gene Wilder/Richard Pryor movie, Silver Streak (1976) played all the time. And I watched it and loved it every time. Of course, there was also Stir Crazy (1980), also starring Wilder and Pryor. They were such a great team. I loved both of them, and they had great chemistry.
I was too young to watch Saturday Night Live when the original cast was on. So, my introduction to original cast member, Gilda Radner, was in the 1982 movie Hanky Panky. That was another Gene Wilder movie that was in heavy rotation. I’m pretty sure that at the time that this movie was on HBO, the only movies they showed were Hanky Panky, Rocky III, Victory, and Six Pack. Gene Wilder and Gilda grew closer to each other during the filming of Hanky Panky, and would go on to get married. Sadly, Gilda Radner developed cancer, and died on May 20, 1989. Wilder then went on to promote cancer awareness and treatment, helping found the Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Detection Center in Los Angeles and co-founding Gilda’s Club, a support group to raise awareness of cancer that began in New York City and now has branches throughout the country.
I don’t remember Wilder’s movie The Woman in Red too well, but I do know I saw it. The last movie I remember seeing him in was another Wilder/Pryor joint – See No Evil, Hear No Evil, which was also great. I didn’t see his Mel Brooks movies (The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles) until later on.
Although Gene Wilder hadn’t been in any movies for a very long time, this one still hurts. Another thing that hits home with me is that he died from complications from Alzheimer’s. I lost my grandmother to that horrible disease, and less than a month ago, I lost my uncle/godfather to it as well.
OK 2016, we surrender! Please don’t take anybody else!
Here are the trailers to a few of my favorite Gene Wilder movies:
I’m sure we would have done an episode focused on Prince. However, we never expected that we would have to do one so soon. Sadly, Prince passed away on April 21, 2016. So, here is our tribute to this music (and ’80s) legend.
[First, we would like to send a big Thank You to Sandy for putting together these show notes. You can check out her blog, Totally ’80s Fur Suree!]
– Intro to Prince show, starting with “Let’s Go Crazy.” (speaks of the afterworld)
– Paul and Robert introduce themselves
– Hosts speak of losing Prince, and mention losing David Bowie, Glenn Frey as well.
– Hosts speak of where they were when they heard of Prince’s death, and their disbelief in it.
– Dealing with avoiding tabloid rumors and enjoying his music and seeing him on the big screen again (which I recently have done).
– Shout out to two friends from the 2 Friends Talking podcast and how they had their own Prince tribute, and did shout outs for Return to the ’80s.
– Speak of what they connect Prince with. Robert speaks of connecting Prince to his two friends, LeRoyce and Marvin, and how they played Purple Rain while having Commodore 64 matches all night.
– Speak of how Prince was an icon and a legend in our time.
– Speak of Purple Rain and how intense and raw the movie was, and how the songs tie into the movie. Just an all around fantastic film, with a fantastic soundtrack.
– Prince had his own style, and changed things up from album to album.
– Hosts go into songs that prince wrote for other artists, such as when he wrote “Manic Monday” (by the Bangles).
– Speak of how incredible of a guitarist Prince was and how he had true talent.
– Different artists respected Prince, such as when Eric Clapton mentioned how great of a guitarist he was.
– Song picks and song discussion:
Little Red Corvette: Paul speaks of his experiences with this song, how this was the first video he ever saw on MTV. (Btw this is a personal fave of mine too). Robert speaks of how this song made him appreciate Prince more, because he pushed the envelope in his songs (Trojan reference from song).
Kiss: Robert talks of how he hated this song at first, but then later it grew on him. Paul says how he loved song.
1999: This song blew up especially when the year 1999 came. (I personally remember this playing on MTV on New Year’s Eve for that year, when they had the New Year’s Eve parties hosted on MTV by Carson Daly).
U got the look (duet with Sheena Easton): Robert says he listened to this song 1000s of times.
Delirious: Robert and Paul speak of Prince’s talent and how this song sounds totally different than his other songs.
When Doves Cry: Robert and Paul speak of how this is the ultimate ’80s song. Robert remembers copying the lyrics down and realizing prince was an amazing song writer.
Let’s Go Crazy: Paul speaks of how amazing the guitar solo was in this
Manic Monday: Speak of how Prince wrote this Bangles song.
Sign O’ the Times: How diverse Prince was, especially in his later years.
Purple Rain: Paul and Robert speak of how this song gives you chills and how different artists covered this song. And also how fantastic the guitar solo was.
– Speak of Prince’s number 1s.
– Emails of Prince memories:
Sandy: Speaks of childhood memories and how it ties into everything she’s known. And Paul and Robert mention how he’s one of the artists you remember where you were when he died.
Vicki: Writes in about how she remembers his music and how she went to Catholic school and how the lyrics shocked her and her classmates.
– 2 Friends Talking challenge Paul and Robert to listen to Larry Grahams song “One in a Million You.”
– 80s Rewind Cruise information: Cruise will be held from October 9th- 16th and free drinks are included in the price. Bands playing are Mike Score from Flock of Seagulls, Clive Farrington from When in Rome, Astrid Plane and Bill Wadhams of Animotion, Nick Van Eede of Cutting Crew , and Pascal Languirand. There will also be band tributes and movie tributes. The tribute bands playing are The Rockstar hairband tribute and The Flux Capacitors. Among the many rooms that one can go to on this cruise is an enchantment under the sea dance, where you can dance and hear fantastic songs from Back to the Future (a personal favorite movie of mine). More information can be found on the website at www.80srewindcruise.com.
It’s been 6 years in the making! Here is the arrival of the Return to the ’80s podcast! Unfortunately, this debut episode comes out 1 day after we lost music legend, Prince. This coming week, we will record an episode dedicated to Prince. In the meantime, we really hope you enjoy this episode.
Introduction to the Return to the ’80s hosts: Paul Stroessner and Robert Mishou
Not Necessarily the ’80s News
R.I.P. James Noble (March 5, 1922 – March 28, 2016)
Guns N’ Roses Reunion
Shall We Play a Game?
Remember That Song
The man in the silk suit hurries by
As he catches the poor old lady’s eyes
Just for fun he says, “Get a job.”
Let us know if you have any feedback, questions, or if you would like to send us any ’80s experiences. Also, what are your favorite Journey songs? Do you have any Journey related story you would like us to read? You can email us at Returnto80s@gmail.com
About a year ago I read Alan Light’s book Let’s Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain, and now, in the light of the recent tragic news of Prince’s death, I felt compelled to take a closer look at the music on the soundtrack. Honestly, anyone who reads this book would feel the same way. It has been an absolutely bittersweet night revisiting Prince’s classic album. It has always been one of my favorites and honestly got me through those difficult early high school years. Clearly, this album is nowhere near obscure – I would bet that many of you have it in your collection right now. It is one that I still listen to constantly and has mad an indelible mark on my life.
Clearly there is nothing new I can say about this album’s greatness. There is no secret about the excellent critical reception or the sales figures, so let’s get those out of the way. After being released in June of 1984, the Purple Rain soundtrack sold 13 million copies (1.5 million in its first week of release). It was #1 on Billboard’s album chart for 24 consecutive weeks and spawned five Top 40 singles. The hit songs were “When Doves Cry” #1, “Let’s Go Crazy” #1, “Purple Rain” #2, “I Would Die 4 U” #8, and “Take Me With You” #25. Impressive, but consider the worldwide reception as well: it was a top 10 album in a total of thirteen countries and sold an additional 7 million copies.
Purple Rain won a slew of awards and recognition, a sampling of these include: Rolling Stone’s ranking as the second best album of the ‘80s and #76 of the 500 greatest albums of all time, Time magazine’s ranking of 15th greatest album of all time, and VH1’s ranking of 18th on a similar list. The awards continue, but I think the picture is pretty clear- very few albums of any kind achieved the success of Purple Rain, making it one of the most influential albums, not just of the ‘80s, but of all time.
That is plenty of background information, so let’s get to the songs. Like many of you I am now listening to these songs with an extremely heavy heart. Most of us are aware of the difficulty of finding a way to view Prince’s videos, so I tried to find some version of the songs.
Let’s Go Crazy #1
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to get through this thing called life.
Electric word, life, it means forever and that’s a mighty long time, but I’m here to tell you, there’s something else, the afterworld.
A world of never ending happiness, you can always see the sun, day or night.
So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills, you know the one, Dr. Everything’ll Be Alright.
Instead of asking him how much of your time is left, ask him how much of your mind – cause in this life, things are much harder than in the afterworld.
In this life – you’re on your own.
(Believe it or not, I did that completely from memory). Most of us recognize this spoken word opening to this excellent hit song, and I cannot think of a better opening to any album I have heard. The first time I heard this I was floored and I knew that I was in for a unique musical experience. I had never experienced any song like this before. Prince continued with an extremely catchy rock song that ends with a blistering guitar solo that clearly displayed his virtuoso on this now staple of rock music radio and cover bands. This song helped define Prince as an artist who was not afraid to break down boundaries – yes, an African American musician could create rock songs and would not be pigeonholed as an R&B/Dance artist. This song remains one of all time crank-it-up-in-the car songs.
Take Me With U #25
This is an irresistible pop song with a catchy chorus and killer rhythm keyboards. It may be a somewhat simple love song, but it is an earworm that will stay with the listener hours after hearing it. The chorus beautifully captures the song’s sentiment:
I don’t care where we go
I don’t care what we do
I don’t care pretty baby
Just take me with you
This, like many of his song take on new meaning now.
On the surface this song seems like a typical song about a guy wanting a girl who cannot decide on what she wants. As Prince frequently does, a subtle, deeper meaning is just under the surface. He slides in these lines: “Paint a perfect picture / Bring to life a vision in one’s mind / The beautiful ones / Always smash the picture / Always every time.” A seemingly simple song about desire now becomes a critical examination of those ‘beautiful’ people who have everything at their disposal, but are unable to make a decision about what they want or need.
This song begins with a somewhat rare appearance by Revolution musicians Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman making a vocal contribution. Lyrically, this song is a bit sparse; the music is where this one shines. Bass, keyboards, and guitar all combine for a musical exploration of the constant search for a meaningful relationship – and once again, the guitar work is excellent. This song melds perfectly into the next track.
I cannot lie- my friends and I loved this song right away because we were teenaged boys who were enthralled by anything even slightly suggestive, although this song is more than slightly suggestive. There was no chance we would ever hear this song on the radio, so we felt compelled to correct this egregious omission on the airwaves. This song has definitely garnered attention for obvious reasons, but there is more to it than ‘dirty’ lyrics. An infectious beat, unique phrasing , and Prince’s instrumentation and vocals are nothing short of excellent. “Thank you for the funky time.”
When Doves Cry #1
This was the song that started it all. I clearly remember that summer- my best friend and I were about to begin our sophomore year of high school, which was the first year in the actual high school building (we had a traditional 7th – 9th grade junior high). We were brash and cocky pretending to not be scared out of our minds. The third member of our best friend group was two years younger, so we were definitely posturing for him. This song became ‘ours’ that summer – the music, the lyrics, the chorus, everything spoke to us. We were so captured by our first listen of this song that we spent the rest of the weekend memorizing it, wrapping our lives around it, and, at the time, not realizing that it was becoming a song that represented us. When the three of us have our annual reunion (this year in June for my oldest son’s wedding) When Doves Cry is played and we strengthen the bonds we forged over thirty years ago.
I Would Die For U #8
This song is another example of a perfect pop song. In the lyrics, Prince begins to explore a theme that will become a constant presence in his later music – spirituality. He uses words like “sinner”, “evil”, and “messiah” to explore the connections between religion and earthy love. Living in Europe in the ‘8os, I never had an opportunity to watch much MTV. When I moved back to the U.S. for college I overdosed on music videos. One video that captured my attention was a live version of this song. I could not believe that energy that Prince gave to this song.
This is yet another example of Prince writing a catchy pop song; this time, though, he seems to be predicting the fame that this album is going to bring him. It was almost as if he realized the greatness of the music he was creating. As it turns out, he was absolutely right.
Purple Rain #2
Oh my, I am not sure I will be able to write about this song in the manner it truly deserves. There is a cover band from Omaha that travels about 150 miles west to the town where I live. They are named Hi Fi Hangover and I make a great effort to see them each of the four or five times per year they perform locally. They play an excellent variety of ‘80s and ‘90s hits, but I go for one reason- during the third set the sweet sounds of Purple Rain emanate from the amps on the small stage. They perform this song with the heartfelt emotion it deserves- and the guitar, oh the guitar! Prince is constantly changing his musical style to avoid being labeled, but this song has to be part of what defines him as a true artist. This is easily one of my all time favorite songs.
This album holds special memories for me. It was the music that my best friends, LeRoyce and Marvin, and I listened to the most. For a few solid months Purple Rain literally played non-stop on our dual cassette player. It was on while we played video games, in our walkman during subway rides, and in the boom box while we shot hoops. Listening to this album dozens of time today, has transported me back to those intensely carefree days of my teenagehood. Many times today I listened to these amazing songs with my eyes closed and I was transported back to those days, singing every word, clapping my hands, and bouncing to every groove – absolute perfection! The music industry considers Purple Rain to be one of the most important albums ever recorded, I consider it to be the most important album of my youth.
The songs on Purple Rain are typical Prince. By typical I mean each song explores a somewhat different style of music and lyrics. As evidenced by songs like “1999” that preceded Purple Rain and “Raspberry Beret” and “Kiss” that follow it, Prince never stopped experimenting with his sound. Purple Rain is an amazing stop on the constantly evolving Prince creative train; this album represents a magnificent example from one of the ‘80s true musical giants.
With the passing of Prince looming large today, we will do a special edition of Remember That Song. The regular Remember That Song will resume on Monday. Today, instead of guessing lyrics, let’s just sit back and enjoy some tunes from a musical genius.
Little Red Corvette
In late spring/very early early summer of 1983, cable TV finally arrived in my house. Of course, the first channel I put on was MTV. “Little Red Corvette” was the very first video I ever watched on MTV. What a way to start! This was my personal “Video Killed the Radio Star”.
What a great party song! And we just knew that it would make a big comeback in the year 1999. I still love this one!
A Love Bizarre
Not only did Prince have his own awesome music, but he also helped many other artists. Sheila E. was one of them. This is a cool duet between the two of them, which they wrote together
Classic Prince! This is a song that just sticks with you. Man, he sure can get his voice high!
Sign o’ the Times
This is the title track after Prince split with The Revolution. Personally, I prefer the Revolution years, but I do love this funky tune. Prince was still awesome!
I did want to include Delirious here, but there are no videos of it (by Prince himself) anywhere. You probably noticed that there is nothing from Purple Rain on here. There is a good reason for that. Later on today, there will be a full article dedicated to the entire Purple Rain soundtrack, courtesy of Robert. So stay tuned.
R.I.P. Prince. Someday we will meet you again in the after world.