Welcome back to this week’s countdown! If you missed the previous songs, you can go back and check out 40-31 and 30-21. Here are some fun facts about 1987:
– Average Cost of new house $92,000
– Average Income per year $24,350.00
– Average Price for new car $10,3055.00
– 1 gallon of gas 89 cents
– The Food and Drug Administration approves anti-AIDS drug AZT.
– The First Criminal convicted using DNA Evidence Robert Melias in England
– Work on the Channel Tunnel joining UK and France begins
– Clive Sinclair launches the Z88 Portable Computer weighing under 2 LBS
– 1987 is shortened by 1 second to adjust to the Gregorian calender
– Disposable Contact Lenses became available for commercial distribution
Now, let’s Return to the week ending February 28, 1987, and continue the countdown.
The ballads continue. A lot of people gave Journey crap for their Raised on Radio album. But, I loved that album, and this was a great ballad off of it. I also liked the concert videos they released at the time, including this one.
Right back at ya, Samantha. Right back at ya. Although I was a huge rock fan back then, I did love all of Samantha Fox’s songs. There wasn’t a bad song on her first three albums. So, let’s sum things up:
Samantha Fox > Bruce Hornsby. There, I said it!
That wraps up today’s list of songs. I hope you’re still enjoying this countdown. Tomorrow we will find out what the biggest hits on the Billboard 100 were this week, 31 years ago. As usual, I would love to hear your thoughts on this music, and what you were doing at this time.
Welcome to another episode of Return to the ’80s! This episode is the first in a series of television theme songs. Robert and Paul each pick 5 sitcom theme songs, and discuss them. A special thanks goes out to Return to the ’80s team member Sandy from Jersey for putting together these show notes. As usual, if you have any questions or comments about this episode, or anything ’80s, we would love to hear from you! Our next episode will be about Ghostbusters. Let us know if you’ve seen the new Ghostbusters movie. Also, Ghostbusters II gets trashed alot. Are there any fans if that sequel out there to defend this film? You can email us at email@example.com.
– Talks of Ghostbusters: new one being released on video
– Stranger Things coming out and how it’s a mix of 80s movies.
– Talk of inconsistency of one of the songs in Stranger Things. (Late 80s)
– Talk if how great the kids were in the show.
– Talk of Matthew Modine in Stranger Things.
– Remember that Song – Tina Marie got the answer to the question, which was “The Way It Is“, sung by Bruce Hornsby.
– Plays song.
– Robert talks of how he saw him and Huey Lewis and the News in the same month
– Tim Cook also got song right.
– Reads note that Tim wrote.
– Robert gives a new Remember That Song. Can you name the artist and song:
Working in a factory eight days a week
Try to make dollar, damn what a beat
Cartoon capers happen in reality
Rich man, poor man, living in fantasy
“Who was the producers original choice to play Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties.?” Answer was Matthew Broderick which was answered by Tina Marie.
– Matthew had to decline role because his father became ill.
– New trivia- Which 2 songs in the U.S., that were sung in German, were #1 and #2 songs.
– Paul talks of old intro styles to TV shows and how he misses them, and misses opening credits.
– Covering sitcoms on this podcast, and the other categories will be split up.
Theme songs covered:
– ALF (great theme song)
– Growing Pains (a personal fave of mine) spoke of the show and how Leo and Matthew Perry were on it and how it was one of Paul’s favorite shows (mine too).
– Charles in Charge – Version 1 and Version 2
– Gimme a Break
– Head of the Class – Paul talks of when he was in the Navy and Khrystyne Haje and the Pointer Sisters came on his ship during the Gulf War.
– Fresh Prince of Bel Air
– My Two Dads (one of my favorites)
– Talks about Red Oaks – the show that is on Netflix [But Paul remembered after recording this, that it is actually on Amazon).
– Night Court (another great show)
– Diff’rent Strokes – talks about how a reunion can’t be because a lot of the characters have passed away.
– Ending – talks of covering more show tunes and speaks of Blu Ray coming out Tuesday for Ghostbusters.
– And speaks of the soundtracks.
– And rewatching Ghostbusters 2
Welcome back to some more Albums of the ’80s. This week, Robert writes about an album which is an interesting choice – The Way It Is by Bruce Hornsby And The Range. Bruce Hornsby is one of the few artists that I never warmed up to. His piano style is unique, so I always know it’s one of his songs as soon as I hear it. And I can never listen to the whole song. Let’s see if Robert can win me over. This is a great opportunity to read about Bruce Hornsby on this site, because I may not have written much about him myself. And if you’re like me, maybe you’ll change your mind about him. Or our dislike for Hornsby’s music will just have to be The Way It Is.
Take it away, Robert!
The Way It Is by Bruce Hornsby And The Range
by Robert Mishou
This is an album that I have been in love with since I first heard the band in 1986 and I have wanted to review it for a while now. The talent that Bruce Hornsby and the Range brings to ‘80s music is astounding and I do not feel he is recognized nearly enough.
In November of 1986 I talked my parents into letting me go to a few concerts with my buddies. We saw a-ha in July on their Scoundrel Days tour and in November we had the great fortune of seeing Huey Lewis and the News on their Fore! Tour. Opening up for Huey Lewis was a band that had not hit Germany yet, but I did catch their first single, “The Way It Is” on the American radio station a few days before the concert. This band, Bruce Hornsby and the Range, was a true unknown for me and I was far from excited to see them, but I was extremely excited to see Huey Lewis and the News because I owned all of their albums and loved their music. I thought I was going to just have to endure the lackluster ‘opening band’. I have never been so wrong in my music fan life! Yes, Huey Lewis and the News was fantastic, but this unknown opening band absolutely blew me away.
At the time I had no idea that Bruce Hornsby was the former keyboardist for Sheena Easton. I definitely had no idea he was such an excellent songwriter and a peerless pop pianist. I only recognized one song (just a little) and typically this would disappoint me at a live show, but not this time. I loved every song the band played (which was most of that first album) and was completely enraptured with all of the musicianship. I did my best to remember the chorus to every song so I could by the band’s music the next day. Fortunately, I found all of the songs they played that night on one album, their debut disc, The Way It Is. For the next few days I will take a look at all ten songs.
The album itself has reached multi platinum status and, in 1986, #3 on the album charts. Huey Lewis makes an appearance on the album as a harmonica player on track #2 and as a backing vocalist on track #6; he also produced tracks #4 and #8. I suppose it makes sense that Bruce Hornsby and the Range opened up for Lewis on that tour. Bruce Hornsby and the Range ended that year with three AT 40 singles and a Grammy for Best New Artist. Quite a debut!
If you are not too familiar with this album, I am convinced that these next two days will cause you to go back and give a better listen to this band.
On the Western Skyline
I have always really enjoyed good songwriting. In my early years of music listening, that usually meant the sound of the song. As I aged a bit, I placed more of a judging emphasis on the lyrical content, so Sting and Bruce Hornsby became two of my favorite songwriters. This initial track on The Way It Is the first example of the type of high quality songs that Hornsby composed. He sets this song in a prototypical rural setting – which is commonplace for many of his songs. He paints an idyllic picture of small town America, turns out the people there are concerned about the same things as those in big cities – that makes this a universal theme. The setting is clear:
About this time of evening, out by the bay
They turn the road lights on the bridge
A diesel rolls in silhouette, eastbound
Lovers glad the sun has set
The rooftops sag on second street
Bachelor’s quarters, too much fun
Not fun enough
The kite’s still hanging on the wire
Waiting on the wind
Too many dreams and not enough hope
Now that the setting is clear, the meaning of the song surfaces. The speaker wants to be in love, but he has not found the right woman yet. He is hopeful, “I know she’s out there somewhere / On the Western skyline.” Hornsby continues to make observations about the town and there is even some hopeful anticipation because there is a spot where the women wait and wait for the sailors – but it is not to be because, “He’s got the admiral’s daughter in the back / Trying to cross her battle line/ I’m staring into the twilight / Wishing I could be with her tonight.” This song does an excellent job in setting up the tone of the remainder of the album.
Every Little Kiss (#14)
This is the second song that harkens back to Hornsby’s home of Virginia. Each of these first two tracks are set on a bay near some large body of water. And like “On the Western Skyline”, this song has a common, universal theme: missing someone you are in love with. In this song the speaker is working hard and trying to make a living. Unfortunately the woman he is in love with is “a thousand miles away” and he desperately missed her. The thought of her is one of the few things that motivates him to keep going. They are apart for financial reasons as he is being forced to work at a job far away from her most likely because it pays well. The speaker reveals this as he laments, “What I wouldn’t give for only one night / A little relief in sight / Or someday when times weren’t so tight.” The chorus echoes his desperation to be with her:
When the day goes down on the watertown
When the night sinks low all around
That’s when I need you now
Your what I miss
Every little kiss
“Every Little Kiss” is also the first song on the album that highlights Hornsby’s piano skills. His piano introduces the song and establishes the theme for the rest of the song. The piano is not as memorable as it will be in later songs, but it’s strong presence it felt as it weaves it’s way into the rest of the band’s playing with impressive results. This song features distinct drumming by John Molo and a rarish guitar solo by David Mansfield.
Mandolin Rain (#4)
With this third track the listener is now accustomed to and expecting Hornsby’s strong piano – and this song does not disappoint. It has not reached the memorable level that it will later, but it is dang good. At the concert in 1986, the band did not open with this song, it came three or four songs into the set, but this is the one that caught me and was my initial realization that this was a band that I would like for a long time. The lyrics here touch on yet another universal: regret. The speaker in this song was once in love and had a woman that was very special. Now, present tense, she is gone and there are certain things that remind him of her. The final verse says:
The boats steaming in
I watch the side wheel spin
And I think of her when I hear that whistle blow
I can’t change my mind
I knew all the time that she’d go
But that’s a choice I made long ago
We all have regrets – impossible not to – and this song captures the heart wrenching feelings that often accompany this awful feeling. Hornsby is not trying to fool us with a surprise ending; we know how the relationships ends in the first verse:
The song came and went
Like the time that we spent
Hiding out from the rain under the carnival tent
I laughed and she smiled
It would last for a while
You don’t know what you got til you lose it all again
I want to not like the cliche her, but I can’t help it, this song touches me. I love the imagery used in the chorus, the “mandolin rain” and the “banjo wind” – solid writing. I feel very fortunate to not have a relatable regret, but this song has always served as a type of cautionary tale for me – be careful of the decisions you make and try not to set up a life of regretful memories.
The Long Race
The piano takes a back seat in this song; the music here is just and expert blending of bass, drums, keyboard, and guitar. This becomes a somewhat inspirational song extolling the value of never giving up. The speaker is working hard and determined to make the life that he wants for himself and the woman he loves. This determination becomes very clear with, “All of these years I’ve been waiting for you / Through the high tides and the low tides too / If I stop now, how could I ever be with you?” This optimistic attitude will lead him to his ideal situation. He knows it will not be easy, but it will be worth it:
It’s a long, long race
If I try I will surely finish
It’s a long long race
If I try I will surely win it
It is nice to occasionally have a strong, positive attitude in a rock song.
We will flip this album over to Side B on Wednesday.
Welcome back to this week’s Top 40 Countdown! Yesterday’s countdown had quite the variety of music. Today is no different. A lot of these songs are new to me. So, let’s Return to the week ending August 11, 1990, and continue the countdown.
Even though the New Kids are local to me, I never paid much attention to them. I do love Donnie Wahlberg in the television show, Blue Bloods. And the show, Wahlburgers is a guilty pleasure for me. But, I am not the target audience for the group. That being said, I actually like this song a little. It reminds me of the pre-disco Bee Gees. I’m not going to hurry up and buy the Step by Step album, from which this song came from, but I don’t mind this song.
Ugh! It’s songs like this that make me regret dabbling into 1990! This song, which samples Santana’s “No One To Depend On“, and “Evil Ways“, was Mellow Man Ace’s only hit (I’m shocked). It reached all the way up to #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 (I’m shocked).
[The first “I’m shocked” was sarcastic. The second one was not sarcastic]
You can’t see me, but I am beating my head against my desk as I listen to this. Oh my God, this song is so stupid! And it doesn’t help that he samples “Owner of a Lonely Heart” by Yes. Blasphemous! It’s slightly better than the last song, but it’s so stupid! Let’s put this in perspective – this song could probably be a hit today. So, if you like the music of today, you might like this song.
OK, this is a little better. Like I’ve said before, I’m a sucker for the Freestyle music of this period. I had never heard this song before. I don’t know if it’s because of the two crap songs before this, but, I’m liking this song.
FINALLY!!! Now, this is the music I was really into back then. I love Aerosmith’s album Pump way more than Permanent Vacation. There were so many great songs on that album, and this was one of my favorites. I remember buying Pump the day it came out. When my roomates and I were listening to the album, and this song came on, I told them that this would be released as a single, and would be a hit. I was right.
Brigade was another great album that I owned. Heart was on a hot streak from the mid-’80s through the early ’90s. This song was the second single released from Brigade. It was written by Diane Warren, who was one of the most successful writers of the ’80s and ’90s.
Madonna was indeed ahead of her time. Two decades before the Fifty Shades of Grey craze, Madonna was singing about spanking. This isn’t one of my favorite songs by her, but it is a fun song from the Dick Tracy soundtrack album, I’m Breathless.
Today’s list of songs is turning out to be a pretty good! This is a ballad by the supergroup (and Journey spinoff) Bad English, that is not “The Price of Love” or “When I See You Smile“. If your tired of hearing those other two songs, then “Possession” is a good alternative. If you want to know more about Bad English, and their debut album, check out the article that Robert wrote on it.
Just as they do on Casey’s American Top 40 station on iHeart Radio, let’s listen to a bonus song. I love the band Vixen. Every song, on each of their albums, is great. This week, their song “How Much Love” debuted on the Hot 100, charting at #95.
Oh man, this band was still around at this time?! Ugh! Not a fan. This would be Hornsby’s last significant hit single. It was off of the third and final album by Bruce Hornsby and the Range. Bruce Hornsby went solo after that. Well, this song isn’t as horrible as some of his other songs. I kind of like the chorus.
This is the third rap song today. And it is the third rap song that samples another song. This time, it is “Born in the U.S.A.” Bruce Springsteen actually gave the 2 Live Crew permission to use his song. Unlike the first two rap songs from today, I actually like this one. The song title refers to the decision in a court case that 2 Live Crew’s album, As Nasty As They Wanna Be, was obscene. Record store owners would actually be arrested for selling the album. The decision was eventually overturned on appeal. With all the social issues going on in the world today, I think it would be nice if some artists had the guts to sing and protest. Listening to this song makes me feel that it is nice and refreshing to hear somebody standing up for themselves and speaking out in a very cool way.
That wraps up today’s list of songs. It definitely gets mixed reviews from me. But, now that we got past this hump, the countdown is going to get better. As usual, please feel free to leave your thoughts and memories from 1990.