Today I am excited to present to you another ’80s crossover event. It is becoming an awesome monthly event. As with our ’80s cars crossover, this event is being coordinated by 80s Reboot Overdrive. Our family is also growing as we picked up another blog/podcast to join our group.
This month we are talking about our 3 favorite Christmas gifts. These could be gifts that we received, gave, or wanted, but not received. Before I get into my picks, here is the list of participants. Every one of these is awesome, and I highly recommend that you check them out and show them some love.
I’m not sure if this was from the late ’70s or early ’80s. But, I loved the Talking View Master. When I was a small child, I had a regular view master. It was so cool and mesmerizing seeing the 3D images that told a story. But, the Talking View Master brought it up another level. It was also a bonus that the one I had contained stories featuring Spiderman, Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor. The View Master itself was huge in size compared to the regular View Master. The round reel also had a plastic disc attached to the back of it. When you looked through it, you would press the button on the back, and it would talk, and tell the story on each image.
Back in Black
My birthday is in September. For my birthday in 1980, my parents gave me my very first tape recorder, along with a cassette of Kiss Unmasked. My parents are music lovers, and were smart enough to know that it was time for me to listen to my own music. No more Neil Diamond, Simon & Garfunkel, John Denver, or Barry Manilow for me! I listened to that Kiss cassette non-stop.
So that Christmas, my tape collection doubled, and my music taste was set for life. I found out after the fact that my dad went to Zayre, and asked the kid in the music department what the kids are listening to these days. And the kid pointed out AC/DC’s Back in Black to him. And the rest is history. Back in Black is one of the greatest albums of all time. There is not a single low point on this album. I had been familiar with AC/DC because a friend of mine had Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap on 8-track. I mean, c’mon. What boy didn’t laugh his ass off at the song “Big Balls”? But, when I got Back in Black, I became a rock fan for life. From the opening gongs of “Hells Bells” to the surprisingly mellow, and different sounding, “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”, with classics like the title track and “You Shook Me All Night Long”, this album is nothing short of legendary.
Handheld Electronic Games
I got most of my toys when I was a child in the ’70s. In the ’80s, I was a little too old for kids toys. Luckily, I was growing up in the greatest decade ever. It was the dawn of electronic games. Not as clumsy or complicated as today’s games, those early handheld games were elegant for a more civilized time. They were simple and fun. You didn’t need somebody brains blown all over your screen. All you needed was a couple of dots or lines, and you could spend 8 hours of playing a game without realizing how much time passed. On Christmas, we would open our presents as soon as we got up. Then we went to church. I could not wait for mass to be over so I could get home and play my games! These are just a few games that stood out to me.
The thing that stood out to me with this game, besides the early cell phone shape, was that Merlin had 6 games on one device! Here are the list of games:
Tic Tac Toe – It’s exactly what you think. A simple Tic Tac Toe game. Music Machine – Each button had a distinct sound. So you would program your own music, and Merlin would play it back once you had it programmed. The instruction manual had a list of songs with the numbers to program, if you didn’t wnat to make something up. Echo – This was just like Simon, where buttons would light up in a sequence, and you would have to copy that sequence. Blackjack 13 – This was just like Blackjack, except you had to get 13 or under instead of 21. Magic Square – You would play this with another person. You would hit some numbers, then your opponent would have to figure out which numbers you selected Mindbender – Similar to Magic Square. Except it was a 1 player game. Merlin would have a 4 digit number, and you would need to guess the 4 digits in the correct order. If you got a number in the right spot, the number would flash, and you would keep trying.
Like most kids in the ’80s, I loved going to the arcade, and playing every game I could. Unfortunately, I could not go to the arcade all the time, and I only had a limited number of quarters. So, one Christmas I got the next best thing! I got the Frogger tabletop arcade game by Coleco. The best thing about this was the game was shaped like the actual arcade game – and you didn’t need to put quarters in! There was also Pac-Man, Galaxian, and Donkey Kong. I only had Frogger, which was good enough for me.
Head to Head Football
Finally, another one of my favorite games was my Tandy Head to Head Football. I believe Coleco made the more popular version, but I had the orange Tandy version that I could not get enough of. I had some other single player games, such as baseball and soccer. But this football game was different because 2 people could play at once. One side of the device would control the offense, and the other site controlled the defense. When the other person got the ball, you would turn the game around and switch sides. Your players would be simple lines. You could run or pass. When you passed, you could see the little round dot being thrown. Another good thing about this game was that you did not need 2 players. You could play against the computer.
Well, that wraps things up. Again, please check out these other people, and see what their favorites were.
As this week comes to a close, I’d like to thank you for allowing me to indulge myself, and step over to the ’90s for a bit. We’ll wrap up with some of my favorites from this time period. There are some deep tracks that I really loved. So I hope you enjoy some of these songs. As usual, you can click on the song title to get to the video. These songs are in no particular order.
After The Bangles’ hot run throughout the ’80s, Susanna Hoffs embarked on a solo career. I bought her album, When You’re a Boy. I was expecting it to be better than it was. She is much better with her bandmates. However, there were a few good songs on it, including this Billboard Top 40 single “My Side of the Bed”. I had forgotten about this, but was reminded of it by my friend, and loyal reader, Andy.
On the way back from the Gulf, our ship stopped at Singapore for a couple of days. I loved it there! There was a huge mall there, and of course I had to go in a record store there. I bought Chicago Twenty 1, and the next album coming up on this list. I fell in love with this album. Every single song, on this underrated album, is incredible. These two songs are great ballads. “Explain It to My Heart” is the first song on the album, and “Chasin’ the Wind” is the first song on the second side.
This song was off of Roxette’s album, Joyride, which I bought along with Chicago Twenty 1, in Singapore. This is another album I loved, and this is my favorite song from the album. It is also one of my favorite songs by Roxette.
These are a couple of my favorite AC/DC songs, and they were both on the same album – The Razor’s Edge. “Thunderstruck” has got to have one of the best openings of any song, ever. Talk about getting you pumped up! And “Moneytalks” is just a flat-out fun, rockin’ song.
While in the Middle East, we stopped by Bahrain quite a few times. We would load up on supplies, and it was easier to refuel. So, we would be able to get off the ship. I would always to to the Souq, which was a marketplace. There were several music stores there. They would have 90 minute tapes, often with the greatest hits of anybody you could think of – for the price of 3 dollars, which was extremely cheap (even back then). While most people from the ship loaded up on gold and clothing, I loaded up on tapes. My locker was lined with tapes, from top to bottom (in alphabetical order, of course). One tape I bought had about 40 songs on it. There were some great songs on there, so I had to buy it. There were so many songs on there because they were only samples. A Middle Eastern DJ would introduce a song, then the song would fade out after the first chorus. One of the songs was this great one from The Little River Band. I fell in love with this song, and had to find where it came from. Pre-Google, I somehow found out it was on their new album, Get Lucky. The whole album was really good, but this still remains my favorite song by them.
Just before I went on the ship for the last time before we left for the Gulf War, I was in the Navy Exchange (store), and came across the music section (go figure). I was browsing, trying to find something good that I didn’t already own. A girl came up to me, and said that I should get McAuley Shenker Group’s Save Yourself. I had neveThat album just blew me away heard of them, but decided to give it a shot. Best.Advice.Ever! There are so many great songs on that album, but this was my favorite.
This song was on another mix tape that I bought in Bahrain. However, this time the full songs were on the tape. I believe the tape was titled Right Here Waiting – Homesick Love Songs. Before this song, I had never heard of Yngwie Malmsteen. I had no idea if it was a group or a person. Well, he is a legendary guitarist from Sweden. He is beyond incredible. And this song is an outstanding power ballad that I still play a lot.
Unfortunately, Warrant is now best known for “Cherry Pie“. Although I love that song, they had so many other great songs. And “Blind Faith” is my favorite among them. It is such a great, underrated ballad.
This supergroup just blew me away when I first heard them. How can you go wrong with Tommy Shaw of Styx, Jack Blades of Night Ranger, and Ted Nugent. The drummer, Michael Cartellone, was unknown, but outstanding. He would eventually join Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Their power ballad, “High Enough“, always seems to get the airplay. But this lead single is still one of my favorites by them. And there is not a weak song on their self-titled debut album.
Well, I could just keep going on and on with songs that I love from this time period. But, I’ll have to cut this short now. Maybe I’ll do an ’80s in the ’90s series. Do any of you have any songs that you love from 1990 through 1991?
Tonight no one’s gonna find us
We’ll leave the world behind us
When I make love to you
Last Song: “Shoot To Thrill” by AC/DC from Back in Black (1980)
I could not resist. Sunday night I settled down on the couch with my laptop so I could get Monday’s articles ready. The Grammys come on, and I had not watched them in years. And who is it that starts off the show? AC/DC, baby! And they did not one, but two songs! I believe the first one was their new song, “Rock or Bust,” and then they did “Highway to Hell.” They rocked it!
I’m like evil, I get under your skin
Just like a bomb that’s ready to blow
‘Cause I’m illegal, I got everything
That all you women might need to know
Hey Everybody, the REAL ’80s are back! I gave that mutton chopped jerk the boot. Sorry about that. I was busy trying to fend off some depressed ’90s dude who was really hard trying to take over the site, and that 1880’s guy snuck in instead!
Anyway, it’s great to be back!
Can you name the artist and song:
I call you on the phone
But never get a rise
So sit there all alone
It’s time you realize
Last Song: “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” by AC/DC from Back in Black (1980)