Tag Archives: Back in Black

80’s Crossover Event II: #80sChristmas

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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.

80s Reboot Overdrive, which also has a podcast episode on this topic.

Weegie Midget

Killer Kitsch

Rediscover the 80s Blog and Podcast


Now here are my picks:

Marvel Talking View Master


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.

Merlin

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.

Frogger

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.

80s Reboot Overdrive (@80sReboot)
Rediscover the 80s (@RD80s)
Realweegiemidget (@realweegiemidge)
Killer Kitsch (@killer_kitsch)

And did you have any of these gifts? What were some of your favorite gifts of the ’80s? We’d love to hear from you. You can either comment here, or send us an email at returnto80s@gmail.com.

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Albums of the ’80s – AC/DC Back in Black

Back in Black was the second album/cassette that I owned. Not too shabby. I believe my parents were in a music store, and they asked somebody “What are the kids listening to these days?” So many things went right for this whole situation. First of all, my parents were smart enough to know that I was old enough to listen to my own music instead of listening to Neil Diamond and Barry Manilow.
Second, they asked the right person. Back in Black had just come out, and would go on to be the third highest selling album worldwide (behind Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon). So that store employee knew what they were talking about. Last of all, with me being 10 years old, I’m pretty sure if the album that had just come out was Highway to Hell instead of Back in Black, I would have never gotten an AC/DC album until many years later!

Back in Black is such an incredible album. It does not have a single bad song. A lot of people say that all AC/DC songs are the same. But, if you listen to these songs, you will find that this is not the case.

AC/DC’s popularity was rising higher and higher. Especially after the success of 1979’s Highway to Hell album. Then tragedy struck. The band had begun developing their next album when lead singer, Bon Scott, died unexpectedly from alcohol poisoning on February 19, 1980 at the age of 33.

The remaining members contemplated disbanding. However, Bon Scott’s parents encouraged them to continue on. So, AC/DC went on to hire Brian Johnson as their new lead singer, which was an excellent decision. They also brought in Mutt Lange to produce the next album, after he had done a great job producing Highway to Hell.

Back in Black was released on July 25, 1980, less than half a year after the death of Bon Scott. According to Angus Young the album’s all-black cover was a “sign of mourning” for Scott. Atlantic Records disagreed with the cover, but accepted if the band put a grey outline around the AC/DC logo. They were worried about how well Back in Black would be received. The worries did not last long though, as it became an immediate success. Not only did it go to number one on the UK Albums Chart, its success meant AC/DC were the first band since The Beatles to have four albums in the British Top 100 simultaneously, as Highway To Hell, If You Want Blood You’ve Got It, and Let There Be Rock all re-entered the charts right after Back in Black was released.

Now, let’s get to the music:

1. “Hells Bells”

13. That’s the number of times the bell tolls at the beginning of the song. I used to love counting the tolls of the bells for some reason. Any rock band worth their salt just had to have the unlucky 13, and AC/DC delivered! This was a great way to start the album. “Back in Black” would also be justifiable as the lead single. But since the song was written to commemorate the death of Bon Scott, it was a cool song to lead off with, and Scott would have approved.

2. “Shoot to Thrill”

3. “What Do You Do for Money Honey”

4. “Given the Dog a Bone”

5. “Let Me Put My Love into You”

This song rated number 6 in the Parents Music Resource Center Filthy Fifteen list in 1985. The was the censorship commie committee founded by Tipper Gore and some other wives of politicians. The goal of the committee was to gain parental control over the access of children to music. The outcome was that “Parental Advisory” labels were placed on selected releases.

“Let Me Put My Love into You” made the list. I guess they didn’t listen too closely to the previous song! Who needs 50 Shades of Grey, ladies?!
So AC/DC made the list along with the scandalous Sheena Easton (“Sugar Walls”), Cyndi Lauper (“She Bop”), and of course Judas Priest (“Eat Me Alive”) and Twisted Sister (“We’re Not Gonna Take It”).

At least the labels helped us realize which albums were the best ones!

Side two

6. “Back in Black”

TURN IT UP!!! How can you not get pumped by this song?! This is one of those songs that you recognize immediately upon hearing the first note. Bands are lucky if they have a signature song. AC/DC has three! “Highway to Hell”, and then two from this album alone – this song, and the next song coming up. The song “Back in Black” was AC/DC’s tribute to Bon Scott. And it ranks on many music lists. It was ranked No. 4 by VH1 on their list of the 40 Greatest Metal Songs, and in 2009, it was named the second greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1. It was also ranked No. 187 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The same magazine has also ranked “Back in Black” number 29 on “The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time”.

7. “You Shook Me All Night Long”

The third signature song by AC/DC. People that whine about AC/DC being too loud even like this song. When it was released, “You Shook Me All Night Long” reached up to #35 on the USA’s Hot 100 pop singles chart. It was re-released in 1986 when it was included on the Who Made Who album. The song placed at No. 10 on VH1’s list of “The 100 Greatest Songs of the 80s”. It was also No. 1 on VH1’s “Top Ten AC/DC Songs”.

I have one pretty cool memory of this song. Towards the end of my Navy Boot Camp, we were given a little bit more freedom. One of the rewards that we got was that at night, for a couple of hours, we could go to this greasy spoon diner on the base. The name of the diner – The Greasy Spoon! Anyway, the first time I walked in there, a jukebox was playing, and “You Shook Me All Night Long” was the song that was on. It was the first real music that I heard in almost 2 months! What a first song to hear! While most people were excited to get a burger and fries, I was excited to hear real music! So that is always the first thing that comes to my mind now whenever I hear that song.

So get yourself a nice greasy burger and some burnt fries, and click play!

8. “Have a Drink on Me”

9. “Shake a Leg”

10. “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”

This was a great choice to close the album. It is the most “mellow” song on here. It has an awesome bluesy feel to it. This would have also been a great Bon Scott song. But Brian Johnson proved to be a perfect replacement.

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