Back to School: Music Edition

We will wrap up the ‘Back to School’ series with songs about school. I have a list of 3 songs, in no particular order. I’m sure I have to be missing something. So if you know of any other ’80s songs about school or teachers, let me know.

We’ll start with .38 Special’s “Teacher, Teacher” from the movie Teachers, that starred Nick Nolte, JoBeth Williams, Ralph Macchio, and Richard Mulligan:

Next is Motley Crue’s “Smokin’ in the Boys Room”. I couldn’t get the original video, but here is a live version of it, with the band in their prime:

“Sit down, Waldo!” Let’s finish this off with Van Halen’s classic video, “Hot for Teacher”:

The Big 4-0

It’s not all that bad…yet. Today is the day that I join the ranks of people who grew up in the ’80s by reaching my 40’s. Some of you have already blown by the big milestone, and others will be hitting it shortly.

I remember when 40 seemed so old and far away. It’s funny how fast time flies as you get older and older, and busier and busier.

I was lucky enough to grow up in the greatest decade. I do remember quite a bit of the 70’s. Then in 1980, I turned a whole “decade old”. Around that time, the world seemed to change. Our country had been in turmoil. Gas prices were high, we were still reeling from Watergate, and from the division of the country during the Vietnam War. Countries weren’t respecting us as Russia invaded Afghanistan during the Cold War, without any fear of any repercussions, and Iran had taken U.S. hostages.

But, as we reached the ’80s, Ronald Reagan became president, and our country seemed to get some pride back. The hostages were freed, and by the end of the decade, we had won the Cold War as the Berlin Wall was taken down.
The good times had begun again, with fun movies, great family television shows, and there were bright neon colors. People were spending money again.

Technology was picking up. We were able to actually own our own PC’s such as IBM’s or Commodore 64’s. We didn’t have to go to the arcade to play video games, as we were able to play on our Ataris or Intellivions. We did not have to go to the movie theater to watch a movie without commercials. We could watch movies in our own homes with the VCR and Cable TV. And Compact Discs were starting to become popular. No longer did you have to hit fast forward on your tape player to get your favorite song – only to stop to early, then try to fast forward again, then go to far, and then have to rewind. You could just hit a button, and you could hear your song much faster and with much less aggravation.

Although we do come from the greatest decade, there are a lot of things to appreciate these days.
– I have a beautiful wife, who is also my best friend.

– I have always loved music. And now I can hold all my songs in one place. There are around 7,000 songs on my iPod and counting. Instead of making a 90 minute mix tape, I can make a play list of as many songs as I want in a matter of minutes or seconds.

– I am not into video games, but I know you can play video games with people all over the world.

– Television screens are getting to be even better than what movie screens used to be.

– I have always loved writing. I used to write stories in a spiral notebook. Then I would have to pass the notebook to somebody if I wanted them to read them. Now, I can write, and the share my writing with anybody all over the world with just the click of a button.

But it is still great to return to the ’80s. We could take some lessons from our past. It would be nice if our country could get our pride back, like we had back then. It would be nice if this decade could find an identity. The ’70s had disco and bell bottoms. The ’80s had the great times, bright colors and big hair. The ’90s had grunge. The teens from the ’80s even had an identity in the ’90s known as Generation X.
If I’m missing something, let me know. But I don’t know what identity kids and teens of the ’00s had.

I am happy to Return to the ’80s whenever I want, I hope you are too.

In closing, here are ’80s stars that share my birthday:

St. Elsewhere’s Mark Harmon (59)
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures Keanu Reeves aka “Ted” Theodore Logan (air guitar) (46)
Salma Hayek (44) Alright, she wasn’t in anything in the ’80s! But I just wanted to say that we share the same birthday!

Music Video(s) of the Week – 9/1/10

This week’s selection is in honor of the birthday girl. Debbie Gibson turned 40 yesterday, August 31! (2 days before me). I actually saw her in concert for her Out of the Blue tour. She is extremely talented. And I had quite the crush on her (like, I’m sure, most guys my age did).
After Electric Youth, she did not really appear on the charts too much. If you like her music, I would highly recommend her 1995 album Think With Your Heart.
Happy Birthday, Debbie, and I wish you many more!!

Here are 4 of Deborah’s hits:

Foolish Beat
This song got Debbie into the Guiness Book of World Records as the youngest artist to write, produce, and perform a # 1 hit single.

Only In My Dreams
This was Debbie’s debut single. This came off of the Out of the Blue album, and reached to #4. Not bad for a debut!

Shake Your Love
This was Debbie’s second single, and it also reached up to #4. This video was choreographed by Paula Abdul.

Lost In Your Eyes
This is my favorite Debbie Gibson song by far. This was the first song released off of her second album, Electric Youth. The song easily reached #1, and stayed there for 3 weeks.

The Breakfast Club

Most schools are going back in session this week, with some even starting today. In that spirit, here is another entry to the Back to School series. We will talk about the greatest school movie of the ’80s, and maybe of all time – The Breakfast Club:

In 8 hours and 54 minutes, students from different high school social groups, struggled then bonded with each other, as they spent a Saturday in detention together. Did schools really have detentions on Saturdays?
Anyway, the five students at fictional Shermer High School in Shermer, Illinois were to spend their detention in the school library and ordered not to speak or move from their seats by the antagonistic principal, Richard Vernon (Paul Gleason). He assigns a 1,000 word essay in which each student must write about who he or she thinks he or she is.

The students were:
John Bender (Judd Nelson) – The Rebel
Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald) – The Snob
Andrew Clark (Emilio Estevez) – The Jock
Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall) – The Geek
Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy) – The Outcast

Bender stirred up trouble with the other students, but managed to get them to open up about themselves. Brian and Andrew had a lot of pressure on them to be a great student and athlete, respectively. And Bender was abused by his father, with a cigar burn to prove it.

They were in detention for the following reasons:

Andrew taped a students buttocks together
Claire ditched class to go to the mall
Brian brought a flare gun to school and it went off in his locker
Bender pulled the fire alarm
and the best one:
Allison had nothing better to do

John Hughes wrote this great movie in just 2 days. He also had a cameo as he played Brian’s father.

And who could forget the great song for the movie – “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds? You can’t think of this song without thinking of the movie and vice versa.

Here are some other facts about the movie:
Emilio Estevez was originally going to play Bender, but Hughes couldn’t find someone to play Andrew Clark so Emilio agreed to play Clark.

Molly Ringwald really wanted to play Allison but Ally Sheedy had already been promised the part.

Nicolas Cage was originally considered for the role of John Bender but the production couldn’t afford his salary at the time. John Cusack was originally cast as John Bender, but John Hughes decided to replace him with Judd Nelson before shooting began.

The scene in which all characters sit in a circle on the floor in the library and tell stories about why they were in detention was not scripted. John Hughes told them all to ad-lib.

Other proposed titles were “The Lunch Bunch” and “Library Revolution”.

The switchblade used in the movie actually belonged to Judd Nelson. He explained that he had it for protection purposes.

At the time of shooting, Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall were the only Breakfast Club members of high school age, both being 17. Emilio Estevez and Ally Sheedy both were 23, and Judd Nelson was 26.

Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, and Ally Sheedy played high school students in this film, the same year that they would portray college graduates in St. Elmo’s Fire (1985).

And here are some quotes from the movie:

[Claire is doing Allison’s make-up.]
Claire: You know, you look a lot better without all that black shit under your eyes.
Allison: Hey, I like all that black shit… Why are you being so nice to me?
Claire: Because you’re letting me.

Allison Reynolds: Your middle name is Ralph, as in puke, your birthdate’s March 12th, you’re 5’9 and a half, you weigh 130 pounds and your social security number is 049380913.
Andrew Clark: Wow! Are you psychic?
Allison Reynolds: No.
Brian Johnson: Well, would you mind telling me how you know all this about me?
Allison Reynolds: I stole your wallet.

John Bender (to the principal): Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?

Bender: I just wanna know how one becomes a janitor because Andrew here is very interested in pursuing a career in the custodial arts.

John Bender: Brian, this is a very nutritious lunch. All the food groups are represented. Did your mom marry Mr. Rogers?
Brian Johnson: Uh, no. Mr. Johnson.

Andrew Clark: You don’t have any goals.
John Bender: Oh but I do.
Andrew Clark: Yeah?
John Bender: I wanna be just like you. I figure all I need, is a lobotomy and some tights.
Brian Johnson: You wear tights?
Andrew Clark: No I don’t wear tights. I wear the required uniform.
Brian Johnson: Tights.
Andrew Clark: Shut up.

John Bender: Sporto.
Andrew Clark: What?
John Bender: You get along with your parents?
Andrew Clark: Well, if I say yes I’m an idiot, right?
John Bender: You’re an idiot anyway. But if you say you get along with your parents, well, you’re a liar too.

Brian Johnson: Dear Mr. Vernon: We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it is we did wrong, but we think you’re crazy for making us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us: in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, The Breakfast Club.

So, what social group were you in. This is anonymous, so don’t be shy!
You can even be in more than one.

Did you have any favorite parts of the movie that you would like to bring up? Let us know.

Trivia Tuesday – 8/31/10

Question: Who teamed with Aretha Franklin in 1987 for her first chart-topper since Respect? What was the name of the song?

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

Answer: Badger Meyer

Lane Meyer’s silent, but genius brother, Badger, was played by Scooter Stevens. He could build laser guns, and attract trashy women.
Better Off Dead, was one of my favorite movies of the ’80s, and it is still funny today. It is still one of my favorite John Cusak movies.

’80s Emmy Award Winners – Actors and Actresses: 1980-1984

With the Prime Time Emmy’s airing this Sunday, let’s Return to the ’80s, and see who the winners were for each year. Today will be the Actors and Actresses from 1980-1984. Tomorrow will round out the ’80s.


Lead Comedy Actor Lead Drama Actor
Richard Mulligan (Burt Campbell) from Soap Ed Asner (Lou Grant) from Lou Grant
Lead Comedy Actress Lead Drama Actress
Cathryn Damon (Mary Campbell) from Soap Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing) from Dallas


Lead Comedy Actor Lead Drama Actor
Judd Hirsch (Alex Reige) from Taxi
Daniel J. Travanti (Capt. Frank Furillo) from Hill Street Blues
Lead Comedy Actress Lead Drama Actress
Isabel Sanford (Louise Jefferson) from The Jeffersons
Barbara Babcock (Grace Gardner) from Hill Street Blues


Lead Comedy Actor Lead Drama Actor

Alan Alda (Captain Benjamin Franklin Pierce – a.k.a Hawkeye) from M*A*S*H

Daniel J. Travanti (Capt. Frank Furillo) from Hill Street Blues – 2 in a row.

Lead Comedy Actress Lead Drama Actress

Carol Kane (Simka Dahblitz-Gravas) from Taxi

Michael Learned (Mary Benjamin) from Nurse


Lead Comedy Actor Lead Drama Actor
Judd Hirsch (Alex Reige) from Taxi
Ed Flanders (Dr. Donald Westphall) from St. Elsewhere
Lead Comedy Actress Lead Drama Actress

Shelley Long (Diane Chambers) from Cheers

Tyne Daly (Det. Mary Beth Lacey) from Cagney & Lacey


Lead Comedy Actor Lead Drama Actor

John Ritter (Jack Tripper) from Three’s Company

Tom Selleck (Magnum) from Magnum P.I.
Lead Comedy Actress Lead Drama Actress

Jane Curtin (Allie Lowell) from Kate & Allie

Tyne Daly (Det. Mary Beth Lacey) from Cagney & Lacey – 2nd in a row.

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,, 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.

80's Pop Culture and News

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