Summer is almost over and I am gearing up for another school year. I have been busy all summer with school stuff – scoring AP test in Tampa, attending an AP institute in Bowling Green, and finishing my fellowship at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It has been a busy summer, but a great one. As school starts I always like to reflect on the previous year. I usually do this around graduation time, but I did not do this last spring because I did not want to face it. Face what? you ask. Graduations do not bother me – well, until last year they did not bother me. Something HUGE made the class of 2017 different than others. It dropped a large boulder of a reminder right on my head. It has been thirty years since I graduated! Yes, I am a proud member of the class of 1987 and yes, that number – 30 years ago – freaks me out.
So to fully confront my uncomfortable nostalgia with 1987, I have decided to take a closer look at this year that was very formative in my development: I did graduate high school and start college; I did start the path on my teaching career; I did fully fall madly in love with my girlfriend (now wife); and I did really become the person I am now.
Over the next few months, I am going to take a look at some of my favorite albums of 1987 (sorry U2 fans, there will be NO Joshua Tree here). I will also take a look at the top television shows, movies, and songs of 1987. In short, instead of running away from that dreaded number 30, I am going to confront it straight on and deal with it.
Billy Ray Valentine: [watches Louis clean his shotgun] You know, you can’t just go around and shoot people in the kneecaps with a double-barreled shotgun ’cause you pissed at ’em. Louis Winthorpe III: Why not? Billy Ray Valentine: ‘Cause it’s called assault with a deadly weapon, you get 20 years for that shit. Louis Winthorpe III: Listen, do you have any better ideas? Billy Ray Valentine: Yeah. You know, it occurs to me that the best way you hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people. Coleman: You have to admit, sir, you didn’t like it yourself a bit.
Happy 67th birthday to director, John Landis!!!
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It’s time for another ’80s crossover event! This time we are talking/writing about some of our favorite music videos. Here are the entries from the rest of the ’80s League. Please check all of these people out, and leave comments.
We were fortunate enough to grow up in a time where we saw the birth of MTV, and watch it become one of the most influential entities of the decade. Before cable TV arrived, we had 3 major networks (and some UHF channels, that only had a little static if we were lucky). Then cable TV opened up a whole new world for us. I loved having HBO and Showtime. Being a sports fan, ESPN was great. You Can’t Do That on Television on Nickelodeon became one of my favorite television shows.
However, most of my television viewing went to MTV. The day I came home from school, and cable was newly installed in our home, the first station I put on was MTV. The first video I saw was “Little Red Corvette” by Prince. I don’t think I was the only person glued to MTV at the time. It was so different than anything else we watched. And if there was a song you loved, if you watched long enough, the video would come back on within a couple of hours. MTV helped out several artists who arrived on the scene at the perfect time – Michael Jackson, Prince, Duran Duran, Madonna. Unfortunately, it ruined some artists who were huge before MTV – buh-bye Christopher Cross and Billy Squier.
Now, for this #Fave80sMusicVideos crossover event, I’ll present some videos that stand out to me. There are many, many more. But, it would take days for this page to finish loading on your screen if I listed all my favorite, and groundbreaking videos. So, we’ll start from the beginning:
As any ’80s fan knows, this is the one that started it all. Not only is the song title appropriate for the first video to ever air on MTV, but it has that perfect ’80s sound. I still love this song to this day. The video itself isn’t too bad either. It doesn’t have that movie production value. There were some really cheesy and cheap videos in those early days, and this was above most of them.
ZZ Top Eliminator trilogy
While a lot of great acts from the ’60s and ’70s faded away with the dawn of the MTV generation, ZZ Top adapted extremely well. There was no mistaking their signature guitar sound of the ’70s, which made them wildly successful. But, instead of riding off in the sunset, they rode a customized 1930s Ford coupe, called the Eliminator, all the way to the stratosphere. They took advantage of the music video age, and made a marketing coup. While they weren’t the only singles released from the Eliminator album, these trilogy of videos are the most memorable. There is a storyline that runs through all three of these videos. First up…
Great introduction to this series! I love how the first thing we see, even before the music starts) is the Eliminator. The car pulls up to a gas station, where we meet our protagonist dude, and we are introduced to the 3 Eliminator babes. The dude is a gas station attendant, who has a boss that’s a prick. The band tosses the keys, on the iconic ZZ Top keychain, to the dude, and he goes for a ride, while we listen to this awesome song! At the end, it appears the whole thing was a dream…or was it???
Protagonist dude is changing into a tuxedo. He must make a lot of money at the gas station! Oh, wait. He’s a valet who gets treated like crap by coworkers and snooty, rich patrons. Then the Eliminator and Eliminator girls arrive, and the dude goes on another drive. He comes back in a new suit, and parties with the snoots, putting on the dance moves.
The third and final video of the Eliminator series features a woman as the main protagonist. She’s a mousy girl with glasses who goes to a burger joint, and is harassed by everyone there except for one guy, the cook, who is also harassed. She escapes the joint, leaving behind a food container and her glasses. The cook grabs the stuff and goes after her. She arrives at the shoe store where she works, where she is treated pretty much the same as at the burger joint. The cook gives the poor woman her stuff, then he is unceremoniously thrown out the the door by an asshole. But, he is thrown right in front of the arriving Eliminator. The Eliminator girls step out of the car, help the guy out, and go in the store, and exact revenge on the assholes in the store. Then our protagonist girl gets a makeover. After her makeover, the ladies all head over to the burger joint and rescue the guy, again, exacting revenge on the assholes in that place. The Eliminator drives off into nothing, and ZZ Top waves goodbye to us and fades away.
Sit down, Waldo! As with several of David Lee Roth’s solo videos, this Van Halen video begins with a kooky skit before it gets into the song. As much as I love Sammy Hagar, there have been very few showmen like David Lee Roth. The whole band was at the top of their game right here. The song starts with that iconic drumbeat, and of course when you have a legend on guitar, you can’t go wrong. Not only is the song awesome, but as a teenage boy when this song came out, I did not mind the hot bikini clad teachers. At all. Looking at it now, it seems just as creepy as Madonna’s “Open Your Heart” video where a boy watches Madonna strip and dance. I also liked how they got kid versions of the band members who liked just like them. This was a very fun and funny video.
Another great song accompanied by an awesome video. Even though this video got constant airplay, I never got sick of it. This was my introduction to the caricature puppets by the British television show Spitting Image. I know that Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” and Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing” are heavily promoted as innovative videos. But, this is the one that fascinated me. In the age of CGI, I doubt we’ll see the likes of this again.
What were some of your favorite music videos? And don’t forget to visit the other pages and podcasts of my fellow 80s League (soon to be Banzai Club) members .
Heywood: [Hayes has just reached on an infield single] You really knocked the crap out of that one. Willie Mays Hayes: Oh, I plan to get at least a double out of this.
[shows Heywood his black gloves] Willie Mays Hayes: I bought a hundred of these. One for every base I’m gonna steal. Excuse me while I take my first step toward the Hall of Fame. Heywood: My ass. Harry Doyle: [Hayes takes his lead off first base] We don’t know where Hayes played last year, but I’m sure he did a hell of a job. Heywood: Real hard to steal second with your shoe untied. Harry Doyle: [Hayes looks down, then gets thrown out by the pitcher] Throw to first… Hayes is picked off! Personally, I think we got hosed on that call.
Happy 55th birthday to Wesley Snipes!!!
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