Category Archives: Top 10 Countdown

Summer Movies of the ’80s

Yesterday was the list of top 5 songs about summer. Now, here is the top 5 summer movies of the ’80s.

5. Dirty Dancing

Dirty Dancing was released in 1987, and starred Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. It takes place in 1963, and Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Grey) is vacationing with her family at a resort in the Catskill Mountains. Baby develops a crush on the resort’s dance instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze), who is from the wrong side of the tracks. This is a coming of age story for Baby, who learns to loosen up and be true to herself. And Johnny learns that he really is worth something. And Baby’s father (Law & Order’s Jerry Orbach) learns that nobody puts Baby in a corner.

4. Summer School
This movie was released in 1987, and starred Mark Harmon. The movie begins with the last day of school before summer vacation. The gym teacher, Mr. Freddy Shoop, is a slacker, and is ready to go on vacation to Hawaii with his young girlfriend. However, Shoop is forced to teach summer school remedial English when the original teacher wins the lottery and immediately quits teaching. The students included easily distracted Pam (Courtney Thorne-Smith), ‘nocturnal’ Larry, who happens to be a male stripper, football jock Kevin, pregnant Rhonda , geeky Alan, dyslexic Denise (and two horror-film-obsessed underachievers, Dave and Francis, a.k.a. ‘Chainsaw’.
Shoop’s girlfriend goes to Hawaii without him. He then meets, and falls for Robin Bishop (Kirstie Alley), who is teaching next door to his class.
Shoop is forced to learn responsibility when he finds out that he will be fired unless his students pass the end of the term test.
Not all of the students passed, but the parents came to Shoop’s defense because of the great improvement the students made. Happy ending all around.

3. The Great Outdoors

This was a 1988 movie starring John Candy and Dan Aykroyd. Chester “Chet” Ripley (John Candy), his wife Connie, and their two sons go on vacation at a lake resort in Wisconsin.
They are all ready to enjoy themselves when Connie’s sister Kate, Kate’s snobby know-it-all investment broker husband Roman Craig, and their creepy twin daughters crash the family vacation.
Roman constantly got on Chet’s nerves really bad. It turns out that the reason why Roman, Kate, and the twins crashed the vacation is because the Craigs are broke because of a bad investment, and Roman was planning to hit Chet up for $25,000.
This was a great family comedy. And who could forget John Candy’s crazy water skiing, and the bald headed grizzly?

2. Meatballs

This movie was released in 1979, but I’ll grandfather it in. This was Bill Murray’s first starring role. Murray plays head counsellor Tripper Harrison and also follows the counsellors-in-training (CITs) at Camp North Star. The main plot involves Rudy Gerner, a lonely kid who is sent to summer camp by his father. Noticing Rudy is unable to fit in, Tripper takes him under his wing and each morning they go jogging and bond as friends. Tripper helps Rudy gain confidence while Rudy encourages Tripper to start a romance with Roxanne (Kate Lynch), the female head counsellor.
Camp North Star has a rivalry with Camp Mohawk, a wealthier camp located across the lake. Every year they have an olympic type of competition, which Mohawk carries a 12-0 record against North Star. Camp Mowhawk cheats a lot to win their competitions, but Camp North Star starts winning some competitions of their own. Then it comes down to a 4 mile race,where Rudy’s jogs with Tripper pay off.
Here is Murray’s great “It just doesn’t matter” speech:

1. Vacation

This was Chevy Chase at his best. National Lampoon’s Vacation came out in 1983. Chase played Clark Griswold, and Beverly D’Angelo played his wife Ellen, and their two kids, Rusty and Audrey were played by Anthony Michael Hall and Dana Barron. Clark, wanting to spend more time with his family, decides to lead the family on a cross-country expedition from the suburbs of Chicago to “Wally World” — billed as “America’s Favorite Family Fun Park” — in Los Angeles. Hi-jinks ensue all the way through.
And here is the incredible end of the movie:

And I love Lyndsay Buckingham’s theme song – “Holiday Road

So what are some of your favorite summer movies?

Summer Music of the ’80s

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:

I can’t show the video here, but you can click here to go to YouTube to watch it. Or you can stay and listen to the song here and see some tropical pictures:


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?

Sitcom Theme Songs of the ’80s

Remember when television sitcom theme songs were more than a few seconds? They used to show the premise of the show and introduce the starring characters. Sure, some of them may have been corny, but the opening theme was just about as good as the show itself.

Here are some of my favorites from the ’80s:

10. Happy Days
The original song was Bill Haley’s “Rock Around The Clock”. Then from 1976 through 1984 the show had its own original song written by television theme writers Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox, who also wrote the themes for Wonder Woman, Laverne and Shirley, and Love Boat. The song was sung by Jerry McClain and Truett Pratt, who were also known as Brother Love.

9. Golden Girls

This song was “Thank You for Being a Friend”, and was written by written by Andrew Gold. It was actually a #25 hit on the Billboard charts in 1978. You can see him perform it here.
The television theme version was recorded by Cynthia Fee (who is also known for her 1984 duet with Kenny Rogers, “I Don’t Want To Know Why”).

8. The Facts of Life

“The Facts of Life” theme was written by Growing Pains dad Alan Thicke, Days of Our Lives star Gloria Loring and Al Burton, and was sung by Gloria Loring.

7. Silver Spoons

The show’s theme song titled “Together” was written by Rik Howard and Bob Wirth. It was sung by The Archies’ alumni Ron Dante.

6. Punky Brewster

This theme song is “Every Time I Turn Around”, and was written by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo and sung by Portnoy. Here is the version from seasons 3 and 4. To see the first season version, check out the Punk Brewster article from May 6 .

5. Charles in Charge

There were 2 versions of this song, even though the lyrics were the same. They are both good.

Season 1:

The rest of the seasons:

4. The Jeffersons

This song is “Movin’ on Up” and was written by Jeff Barry and Ja’net Dubois, and performed by Dubois. I dare to not move your hands or feet to this song!

3. Diff’rent Strokes

Like it’s spin-off, The Facts of Life, this song was written by Alan Thicke, Gloria Loring and Al Burton. This was sung by Alan Thicke.

2. Growing Pains

This song is “As Long As We Got Each Other,” sung by B.J. Thomas and Jennifer Warnes, and was written by Steve Dorff and John Bettis.
B.J. Thomas had hit songs such as “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” and “Whatever Happened to Old-Fashioned Love”. Jennifer Warnes was a very successful duet singer as she had hits with “Up Where We Belong” (with Joe Cocker, from the 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman) and “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” (with Bill Medley from the 1987 film Dirty Dancing).

1. Cheers

This is “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”, and was written by Gary Portnoy (who also wrote and performed the Punky Brewster theme) and Judy Hart Angelo and performed by Portnoy. I like the long version. The short version usually gets played for the reruns now.

Does anybody else have any favorites? Three’s Company? Laverne and Shirley? Perfect Strangers? Family Ties?

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Going Solo – #1

The countdown concludes for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands. And now, drum roll please (provided by Phil Collins), without further ado…

1. Phil Collins – Genesis

Genesis was formed in 1967. Phil Collins joined the band in 1971 as the drummer. When the lead singer, Peter Gabriel, left the band between 1975-1977, Genesis held auditions for a new lead singer. Phil Collins had previously been a background singer, and coached prospective lead singers. Eventually the band decided to name Collins the lead singer. In 1979, Collins almost left the band due to personal issues at home with his wife. But the remaining members (Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks) decided to take a hiatus instead. Phil Collins’ marriage ended in divorce, and the band started back up. In 1980, the album Duke was released, and contained the hit singles “Misunderstanding“, and “Turn It On Again“. In 1981, Genesis had the follow up album Abacab. The singles from that album were “No Reply At All” and the title track “Abacab“.

Also in 1981, Phil Collins released his solo debut, Face Value, which consisted of material he wrote while on hiatus. It had the one of his biggest hits, “In the Air Tonight“. Then Collins had another successful solo album called Hello, I Must Be Going!, which spawned the singles “I Don’t Care Anymore” and “You Can’t Hurry Love“.
Then Genesis released another album called Genesis. It had the hits “Mama“, “That’s All“, and “Illegal Alien“.

In 1984, Phil Collins released a song for the movie Against All Odds, called “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)“. He also produced an album for Philip Bailey called Chinese Wall, and performed a duet with Bailey on it called “Easy Lover“.

In 1985, Phil Collins released his most successful solo album, No Jacket Required. It contained the hits “Sussudio“, “One More Night“, “Don’t Lose My Number“, and “Take Me Home“, as well as smaller hits “Who Said I Would“, and “Only You Know and I Know“.

In 1986, Genesis released their most successful album, Invisible Touch. The following were hits from that album:
Invisible Touch
Tonight, Tonight, Tonight
Land of Confusion
In Too Deep
Throwing It All Away

The band then went on hiatus for 5 years. In the meantime, Phil Collins continued his solo career.
In 1988, he starred in the movie Buster. He had 2 hits from the movie – “Two Hearts” and “A Groovy Kind of Love“.
In 1989, Collins released another very successful album – …But Seriously. “Another Day in Paradise” went to Number 1 on the Billboard Charts at the end of 1989 and Collins won a Grammy for Record of the Year for the song. Interesting note – it became the last #1 U.S. pop hit of the 1980s. Other songs included “Something Happened on the Way to Heaven” (#4 U.S., #15 UK), “Do You Remember?” (#4 U.S.), and “I Wish It Would Rain Down” (#3 U.S., #7 UK).

Going Solo – #2

The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:

2. Steve Perry – Journey

Journey was formed in the 70’s, and started as a jazz fusion band. They gradually added more vocals and made the songs shorter. But their record label, Columbia Records, wanted them to change musical directions and add a new lead singer. In 1977, they brought in Steve Perry, and their popularity began to grow.
In 1980, they had the hit album Departure, and had a hit with the single “Any Way You Want It“. The song was also featured in a scene in the movie Caddyshack. In 1981, Journey released the classic #1 album Escape, which has sold over 9 million copies so far.
There were three top-10 hits from that album, including “Don’t Stop Believin’“, “Who’s Cryin’ Now“, and “Open Arms“. “Still They Ride” was also a top-20 hit.
In the meantime, they had released a live album called Captured, which was recorded before Escape was released. After the concert portion of the album, there was a studio single called “The Party’s Over (Hopelessly In Love)“, which was also a hit song.
In 1983, Journey released another smash album called Frontiers. It featured the hits “Separate Ways,” which reached #8, “Faithfully,” which reached #12, “Send Her My Love“, and “After the Fall“, both of which reached #23. They also had the hit song “Only the Young” from the Vision Quest soundtrack, and “Ask the Lonely” from the soundtrack Two of a Kind.
After Steve Perry’s solo album, but before their long hiatus, Journey released another hit album, Raised On Radio. It also produced four top 20 singles, “Be Good to Yourself” (#9), “I’ll Be Alright Without You” (#14), “Girl Can’t Help It“, and “Suzanne,” both of which reached #17, and they had a minor hit with “Why Can’t This Night Go On Forever“. This is also the album that American Idol judge, Randy Jackson, performed on.

In 1984, Steve Perry released his first solo album called Street Talk, which was a huge success. The song, “Oh Sherry” was a #3 hit. “Foolish Heart” was a top 20 hit, and there was also minor success with the songs “She’s Mine” and “Strung Out“. In 1982, Steve Perry also had a successful duet with Kenny Loggins called “Don’t Fight It“. He also appeared in the original “We Are the World” video, and recorded a song, “If Only For the Moment, Girl” for the We Are the World album.

Going Solo – #3

The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:

3. Peter Cetera – Chicago

Chicago is one of the longest running and most successful groups in rock history. They formed in 1967, and released their first album in 1969. They were constantly on the Billboard charts throughout the 70’s. Then in 1978, the lead guitarist, and one of the the founding members, Terry Kath, died of an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound. Then the band went into a major transitional period. They eventually brought in producer David Foster, and were able to start the next phase of their career. In 1982, the band released Chicago 16, and were back on the top of the charts again. They had a #1 hit with “Hard to Say I’m Sorry/Get Away“, then was followed by another hit “Love Me Tomorrow“.
The band then followed up with their highest selling album – Chicago 17. They released four singles from the album, all of them sung by Peter Cetera. They were all top 20 hits – “Stay the Night” (#16), “Hard Habit to Break” (#3), “You’re the Inspiration” (#3) and “Along Comes a Woman” (#14). Around this time, MTV was becoming more popular, and Cetera became the face of Chicago. With this new fame, Cetera decided to start a solo career, and not to continue with Chicago’s busy touring schedule.

Peter Cetera was a very successful solo artist. His first single, “Glory of Love” was the theme song for the movie The Karate Kid, Part II, and it reached #1. Then he released the album Solitude/Solitaire, and sold over 1 million copies. “The Glory of Love” was on this album as well as another #1 hit “The Next Time I Fall“, which was a duet with Amy Grant. Solitude/Solitaire outsold Chicago 18, which was Chicago’s first album without Cetera. In 1988, Cetera released another solo album, One More Story. It featured the #4 hit “One Good Woman“. The song “Save Me” was also on the album, and was the original theme song for the television show Baywatch. Then Peter Cetera wrapped up the 80’s by recording the duet “After All” with Cher, which was on the soundtrack for the movie Chances Are. The song went on to reach #6 on the charts.

Going Solo – #4

The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:

4. Lionel Richie – The Commodores

The Commodores had some huge hits in the 70’s. But they were also very successful in the early 80’s with hits such as “Oh No” and “Lady (You Bring Me Up)“.

In 1981, Lionel Richie sang “Endless Love” as a duet with Diana Ross. The result was a #1 hit. This encouraged Richie to go out on his own as a solo artist. His first album was self-titled, and featured three hits – “Truly“, “You Are” and “My Love“. The album hit #3 on the music charts and sold over 4 million copies. Then Richie’s follow-up, Can’t Slow Down was even more successful as it sold twice as many copies as his debut, and won 2 Grammys, including Album of the Year. There were five hit songs on the album – “All Night Long“, “Running With the Night“, “Hello“, “Penny Lover“, and “Stuck On You“. Richie’s next album, Dancing on the Ceiling, was also a success. The hit singles from that album were “Say You, Say Me“, “Dancing on the Ceiling“, and “Ballerina Girl“.

Then Richie became exhausted, and took a break for a long time. He has a more relaxed schedule now, and releases a new album every few years.

Going Solo – #5

The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:

5. Belinda Carlisle – The Go-Go’s

The Go-Go’s had a great start with Beauty and the Beat as their debut album in 1981. It had the smash hits “Our Lips are Sealed” and “We Got the Beat“. In 1982, the Go-Go’s were nominated for a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. The next album, Vacation, was not as big a hit, but the title track was a top-ten hit. In 1984, the album Talk Show was released, and had the hits “Head over Heels” and “Turn to You“. However, were personality conflicts in the band, and there were drug addiction problems with some members. So, towards the end of 1984, guitarist Jane Wiedlin announced that she was leaving the group. In 1985, the rest of the members decided to disband.

Lead singer, Belinda Carlisle decided to start a solo career. Her first solo album, Belinda, was very successful, and she had a hit with “Mad About You” from that album. Her follow-up album Heaven on Earth was a huge success. The first release, “Heaven is a Place On Earth” topped the singles charts in several countries. The second single from the album was “I Get Weak“, and it went to #2 in the U.S. The following single, “Circle In the Sand” was another top-ten hit. The next album was Runaway Horses, and it produced the hit “Leave a Light On“.

In 2001, The Go-Go’s reunited to release a new album, God Bless the Go-Go’s, with all new material. And they have recently announced that they are going to have a farewell tour.

Going Solo – #6

The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:

6. David Lee Roth – Van Halen
We are on a roll with 70’s groups with continuing success in the 80’s.
Women and Children First was released in 1980, and had the hits “And the Cradle Will Rock…” and “Everybody Wants Some!!“. The latter song was also featured in the movie Better Off Dead. 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”. We referred to “1984” as the song to get you psyched for “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” (“Sit down, Waldo”!).

On April 1, 1985, Van Halen and David Lee Roth had a bitter break-up.
Just before the break-up, Roth released 2 big hit singles – “California Girls” and “Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody“. In 1986, Roth released his first full solo album Eat ‘Em and Smile. The first single from that album was his most popular – “Yankee Rose“, which featured great guitar work by Steve Vai. “Goin’ Crazy” also had some success.
Then in 1988, Roth released the album Skyscraper which featured the hit “Just Like Paradise” which reached to #6. “Stand Up” was also a moderate hit.

[Note: I chose David Lee Roth over Sammy Hagar because Hagar was already a successful solo artist before he joined Van Halen (or as some people call it – Van Hagar). Sammy definitely had a more successful solo career than David]

Going Solo – #7

The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:

7. Lou Gramm – Foreigner
Foreigner is yet another band that was formed in the 70’s that also had success in the 80’s. Their first hit album of the 80’s was 4. It produced the hits “Urgent“, “Waiting for a Girl Like You“, “Juke Box Hero” and “Break it Up“. The next album was Agent Provocateur, which gave them their first and only #1 hit in 1985, “I Want to Know What Love Is“. It also had the hit “That Was Yesterday“. In late 1987 Foreigner released Inside Information, producing hits such as “Say You Will” and “I Don’t Want to Live Without You“.

Also in 1987, Lou Gramm released his first solo album as he and Mick Jones were developing creative differences. The album Ready or Not was successful, and produced the hits “Midnight Blue” and the title track “Ready or Not“. “Heartache” and “Time” are also very good songs from that album. Then in 1989, Gramm released his second solo album Long Hard Look. The hit singles from that album were “Just Between You And Me” and “True Blue Love“.