Music Video of the Week – 8/25/10

Tomorrow, August 26, will mark the 6th anniversary of Laura Branigan’s death. So we will honor her with the video of the week, my favorite song by her – Solitaire:


Laura Branigan (July 3, 1952 – August 26, 2004) was best known for her smash hit “Gloria”. It was on the Billboard Hot 100 for 36 weeks, at the time a record for a female artist. The song was on her debut album in 1982 – Branigan. In the spring of 1983, Branigan released her second album, Branigan 2. This album had the top 10 hit, “Solitaire”. “Solitaire” was first major hit for songwriter Diane Warren. Branigan 2 also had another hit – “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You”. It was the first major hit for its co-writer, Michael Bolton. Michael Bolton – mullet extraordinaire, later released the song himself, and was successful. I like Laura’s voice a lot better than his. But, it was a really good song for both singers.

Branigan continued her string of successful albums in the ’80s with 1984’s Self Control, which had an awesome song – “Ti Amo,” and 1985’s Hold Me, which had the hits “Spanish Eddie” and “I Found Someone”, which was another Michael Bolton written song. Cher also performed the song. Again, I like Branigan’s version much better. In 1987, Branigan released the album Touch. This album had the song “The Power of Love”. This was another hit that was also remade by another singer. This one was redone by Celine Dion. Once again, Branigan’s version was better in my opinion. She has a very powerful voice, but she doesn’t rip through your ears like Celine does.

Laura Branigan’s career started to slow down in the ’90s. She did have some success with 1990’s self-titled album, which had the hits “Moonlight On Water” and the ballad “Never in a Million Years.” Branigan released her final album in 1993 – Over My Heart. There weren’t any big hits from that album. Then in 1994, Branigan left the music industry after her husband, Larry Kruteck, was diagnosed with colon cancer. He died on June 15, 1996.

Laura Branigan died on August 26, 2004. She died in her sleep at her home from a brain aneurysm. Her ashes were scattered over Long Island Sound.

Other Half Entertainment, Laura’s management company at the time of her death, continues to oversee her career legacy through her official website, www.LauraBraniganOnline.com, her official MySpace and Facebook pages.

Here is a list of my top 10 Laura Branigan songs:

10. Moonlight on Water
9. Never In a Million Years
8. Ti Amo
7. Spanish Eddie
6. Shattered Glass
5. The Power of Love
4. I Found Someone
3. How Am I Suppose to Live Without You
2. Gloria
1. Solitaire

Betty White wins another Emmy

Even though the Emmy show will be this coming weekend, the creative arts ceremony took place this past Saturday. “Golden Girl” Betty White won her fifth Emmy at that event. She won for best guest actress in a comedy series for her turn as “Saturday Night Live” host. She did not attend the ceremony. Her previous wins came for the sitcoms “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Golden Girls.”
She is on the TV Land comedy “Hot in Cleveland”, which just aired it’s first season finale last week.

Trivia Tuesday – 8/24/10

Question: In the movie “Better Off Dead”, what was the name of Lane’s younger brother?


Last Week’s Question: What was the name of the bar on Dukes of Hazzard?

Answer: Boars Nest

The Boar’s Nest was the oldest establishment in Hazzard County, and was owned by Boss Hogg. Daisy worked there, and the Dukes frequented there. Boss Hogg had an office there, and it is where he planned a lot of his schemes.
The Boar’s Nest joins Cheers, the Regal Beagle (Three’s Company), and Kelcy’s (All in the Family) among some of our favorite television watering holes.

Steven Tyler – New American Idol Judge

According to the L.A. Times, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler has signed a deal to join American Idol for Season 10. A source close to the negotiations has confirmed reports that Tyler has signed on to fill one of the vacancies left by Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeneres. Fox has not commented yet.
In an interview with the New Jersey Star-Ledger, Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton said that Tyler was definitely heading to “Idol.” Here is the specific question and answer from that interview:

Q. But isn’t Steven going to be a judge on a certain TV talent show?
A. Yeah, Steven is doing “American Idol.” The ink is dry on that. So, we’ll have to work around his schedule. I hope it doesn’t hurt the new momentum we’ve built up as a band on this tour, because that’s been so important. But I wouldn’t want to be the one standing in the way of this for him. Steven is someone who absolutely lives to be in front of an audience, and the people closest to him know how witty and entertaining he can be. I don’t know if “American Idol” will be rock ’n’ roll enough for him, but it is an opportunity for millions of people to see another side of Steven Tyler.

Tommy Lee of Motley Crue said the following to Entertainment Weekly:

“I know him really well, and he’ll f—ing kill it,” said Lee, who was himself a judge on the 2006 reality show Rock Star: Supernova. “Look, you’re judging karaoke—you don’t need to be a really super experienced judge for that. But it’s nice to have an actual musician in there. He’s fun, and he’ll keep the show exciting too. He’s a good guy for that, I think.”

So, what is your opinion on Steven Tyler joining the show as a judge?
I think he will probably be more like Paula or Ellen, and not really be as tough on the contestants as Simon had been. I’m personally not a huge fan of the show. Before this past season, I had not watched the show in a few years. It seems like the contestants sing all the same songs every year, and not many of the songs (or singers for that matter) are that great. I may check out an episode or 2 next season just to see how Tyler is. My expectations are not very high.

What do you think?

Ronald Reagan Quote of the Week – 8/23/10

This fellow they’ve nominated claims he’s the new Thomas Jefferson. Well let me tell you something; I knew Thomas Jefferson. He was a friend of mine and Governor… You’re no Thomas Jefferson!”

– Republican National Convention(1992-08-17) (statement about Bill Clinton, modeled after Lloyd Bentsen’s jibe at Dan Quayle during debate in 1988).

Music Video of the Week – 8/18/10

This week’s selection is Men At Work’s classic, “Down Under”:


“Down Under” appeared on Men At Work’s debut album Business as Usual. The album and song made Men At Work the only Australian artists to have a simultaneous #1 album and #1 single in the United States. The group won the 1983 Grammy Award for Best New Artist.

Personally, I think this video is a lot of fun, and I couldn’t get enough of it when it came out. When I think of videos from MTV, this is always one of the first that pop into mind. The first Return to the ’80s article was about “Down Under” hitting number 1. That article includes a poll about your favorite Men At Work song. Here is the poll again, and you can continue to vote on it:

Trivia Tuesday – 8/17/10

Question: What was the name of the bar on Dukes of Hazzard?


Last Week’s Question: What does ALF stand for?
Bonus Question: What animal would best be advised to stay away from ALF?

Answer: Alien Life Form. Bonus: Cats should keep away from ALF.

Alf and his fellow Melmacians feasted on cats. The Tanners, with whom Alf stayed, owned a cat named Lucky. Alf was always trying to catch him to eat. However, when Lucky died, Alf found that he had loved and respect Lucky. He admitted to the Tanners he has become the worst kind of Melmacian, a “cat lover”.

Friday the 13th

Today is Friday the 13th, and that made me think of the movie Friday the 13th. The original was relased 30 years ago this past May 9th.

The original was inspired by the success of John Carpenter’s Halloween, and it kicked the horror movie genre into overdrive in the ’80s. It made Camp Crystal Lake a household name.
Here is a description of the movie that I found, and I believe is accurate:


The movie opens in 1958 as two summer camp counselors at Camp Crystal Lake, Barry (Willie Adams) and Claudette (Debra S. Hayes), sneak away from a campfire sing-along to have sex. Before they can completely undress, an unseen assailant sneaks into the room and murders them both.

Move forward to Friday, June 13, 1980. A young woman named Annie (Robbi Morgan) enters a small diner and asks for directions to Camp Crystal Lake, much to the shock of the restaurant’s patrons and staff. Enos (Rex Everhart), a truck driver from the diner, agrees to give her a lift halfway to the camp. A strange old man named Ralph (Walt Gorney) reacts to the news of the camp’s reopening by warning Annie that they are all doomed. During the drive, Enos warns her about the camp, informing her that a young boy drowned in Crystal Lake in 1957, one year before the double murders occurred, followed by several fires and poisoned water. After Enos lets her out, Annie hitches another ride in a Jeep. The second driver, whose face is never seen, murders Annie by slashing her throat with a large hunting knife after her futile efforts to escape.

At the camp, the other counselors, Ned (Mark Nelson), Jack (Kevin Bacon), Bill (Harry Crosby), Marcie (Jeannine Taylor), Brenda (Laurie Bartram), Alice (Adrienne King) and the camp’s owner, Steve Christy (Peter Brouwer), are refurbishing the cabins and facilities. As a violent storm closes in on the horizon, Steve leaves the campgrounds to get more supplies. The unidentified killer begins to isolate and murder the counselors. First Ned, who is lead into a cabin and is killed, then Jack who is impaled in the chest with a spear, and then Marcie, who is trashed in the face with an axe. Meanwhile, Alice, Brenda and Bill are playing strip Monopoly in the main cabin. Brenda soon leaves and goes to her cabin to bed. While in bed, reading a book, she hears a childlike voice outside crying ‘Help me’ several times. As she goes out to investigate, the lights at the archery range suddenly turn on and Brenda is murdered (off-screen). Alice informs Bill that she thinks she heard Brenda screaming and that she saw the lights turn on at the archery range. Alice and Bill leave the cabin to investigate and find a bloody axe in Brenda’s bed. Attempting to phone the police, they discover the phones are dead and, when they try to leave, the car won’t start. Later that evening, Steve returns from town and is also murdered, apparently familiar with his attacker. Back at camp, when the lights go out, Bill goes to check on the power generator. Alice heads out looking for Bill when he doesn’t return. She finds his body pinned to a door by several arrows. Now alone, Alice flees back to the main cabin and hides. After a few moments of silence, Brenda’s corpse is hurled through the window.

Alice hears a vehicle outside the cabin and, thinking it to be Steve, runs out to warn him. Instead, she finds a middle-aged woman who introduces herself as Mrs. Voorhees (Betsy Palmer), stating that she is an “old friend of the Christys”. Alice hysterically tries to tell her about the murders. Mrs. Voorhees expresses horror at the sight of Brenda’s body, but she soon reveals herself to be the mother of the boy who drowned in the lake in 1957, and that today is his birthday. Talking mostly to herself, she blames her son Jason’s drowning on the fact that two counselors were having sex and were unaware of Jason struggling in the lake. Mrs. Voorhees suddenly turns violent and pulls out a knife, rushing at Alice. A lengthy chase ensues, during which Alice flees her attacker and finds Steve and Annie’s bodies in the process. Alice and Mrs. Voorhees have multiple confrontations, each time with Alice believing she has finally beaten Mrs. Voorhees. During their final fight, Alice manages to decapitate Mrs. Voorhees with her own machete.

Afterward, Alice boards a canoe and floats to the middle of the lake. As the sun rises, the decomposing corpse of Mrs. Voorhees’ son, Jason (Ari Lehman), attacks Alice, just as the police arrive. As she is dragged under water, Alice awakens from the nightmare in a hospital, where Sergeant Tierney (Ron Carroll) tells her that they pulled her out of the lake. Alice is informed that everyone is dead; when she asks about Jason, Tierney informs her they never found any boy, which leaves her with the impression that he is still there.


Not only was Friday the 13th influenced by Halloween, but it was similar to Jaws with the scary music whenever the bad guy was around. Jaws had duh-duh-duh-duh and Friday the 13th had the “ki ki ki, ma ma ma” sound.

The movie spawned many sequels. It went to number 11 with the crossover with Nightmare on Elm Street in Freddy vs. Jason. Then in 2009, like the Halloween franchise, the Friday the 13th franchise was rebooted.
The sequel to the reboot was originally supposed to be released today, and it was supposed to be in 3-D. But, that has been changed, and no released date has been set.

Dead or Alive: Rodney Dangerfield

Comedy legend Rodney Dangerfield is…Dead. Hey, I had to pick somebody that was dead! If I only picked celebrities that were alive, this would be a “Where Are They Now” segment instead of a “Dead or Alive” Segment. But I will give Rodney some “Respect”.

Rodney Dangerfield (November 22, 1921 – October 5, 2004), was actually born Jacob Cohen. As a teenager, he got his start writing jokes for standup comics; he became one himself at 19 under the name Jack Roy, which is what he legally changed his name to.
However, he struggled as a comedian for many years.
So, he decided to come up with an image that audiences could relate to and that would distinguish him from similar comics. He took the name Rodney Dangerfield, which he remembered from a comedy routine on Jack Benny’s radio program in the 40s. He began to develop the image of a lovable but laughable “everyman” who gets no respect and became a nightclub hit in the 60s.

His popularity exploded at the dawn of the ’80s when he starred in 1980’s Caddyshack. He was a standout among fellow comedic actors such as Ted Knight, Chevy Chase, and Bill Murray.

He even had a music video for “Rappin’ Rodney” in 1983:
Rodney became the leading man in two more films, Easy Money (1983), and Back to School (1986) which was one of the first comedies to gross over $100 million. His first dramatic role was that of the abusive father in Oliver Stone’s successful film, Natural Born Killers (1994). He made several more films – twenty in all – but most of them went directly to video.

On April 8, 2003, Dangerfield underwent brain surgery to improve blood flow in preparation for heart valve-replacement surgery on August 24, 2004. Upon entering the hospital, he uttered another characteristic one-liner when asked how long he would be hospitalized: “If all goes well, about a week. If not, about an hour and a half.”

In September 2004, it was revealed that Dangerfield had been in a coma for several weeks. Afterward, he began breathing on his own and showing signs of awareness when visited by friends. However, on October 5, 2004, he died at the UCLA Medical Center, from complications of the surgery he had undergone in August. He was a month and a half short of his 83rd birthday. Dangerfield was buried in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. In keeping with his “no respect” persona, his headstone reads simply, “Rodney Dangerfield… There goes the neighborhood.”:

Here are some great quotes from Dangerfield:

I worked in a pet store and people kept asking how big I’d get.

My mother never breast fed me. She told me that she only liked me as a friend.

I remember the time I was kidnapped and they sent back a piece of my finger to my father. He said he wanted more proof.

I was tired one night and I went to the bar to have a few drinks. The bartender asked me, “What’ll you have?” I said, “Surprise me.” He showed me a naked picture of my wife.

I told my dentist my teeth are going yellow. He told me to wear a brown necktie.

When I was born the doctor took one look at my face, turned me over and said, “Look, twins!”

I get no respect at all – When I was a kid, I lost my parents at the beach. I asked a lifeguard to help me find them. He said “I don’t know kid, there are so many places they could hide”.

I’m getting so old my insurance company sends me 1/2 a calendar!

I told my doctor I wanna stop aging, he gave me a gun!

R.I.P. Rodney!!

80's Pop Culture and News

%d bloggers like this: