The Return to the ’80s Podcast is back! We return in a big way, talking about one of the most iconic ’80s movies. Robert and Paul are joined once again by Marissa (who last appeared on the ’80s Crushes episode). So come cut loose with Return to the ’80s, where dancing IS allowed, and join in on the discussion of this classic movie, and enjoy some great music along the way!
Remember That Song We’ve always had time on our sides
But now it’s fading fast
We’ve got to, we’ve gotta make it last
On the show thirtysomething, what was the name of the company Michael and Elliot owned in the first season?
– Released February 17, 1984
– Made $80 million domestically with an $8 million budget
– Kevin Bacon as Ren McCormack
– Lori Singer as Ariel Moore
– Chris Penn as Willard Hewitt
– Sarah Jessica Parker as Rusty
– John Lithgow as Reverend Shaw Moore
– Dianne Wiest as Vi Moore
– Jim Youngs as Chuck Cranston
– Directed by Herbert Ross
– Written by Dean Pitchford who also wrote or cowrote every song here
– The dancing feet in the opening credit sequence contained many of the cast and crew. Over 150 different pairs of feet were shot. The dancer with the gold shoes was actually Kenny Loggins.
– The scenes where Chris Penn learns to dance were purposely added to the script because he really didn’t know how to dance!
– With the Principal’s knowledge, 24-year-old Kevin Bacon attended the Payson Utah High School as “Ren McCormack”, a transfer student from Philadelphia to get into his role. With his narrow tie and new-wave haircut, he was treated pretty much like in the film. Bacon gratefully left with the location scouts on the afternoon of the first day.
– Pecking order: Wyoming < Nebraska < Illinois
– Opening scene
– Was that kid really sleeping? Reverend Shaw’s sermon
– Psycho? Rebel? You be the judge, while listening to Sammy Hagar’s “The Girl Gets Around”
– What does Robert, who is an English teacher, think of book burning. We’ll give you 1 guess
– “Do you read much?” – Slaughterhouse Five discussion
– Drive-in diner dancing scene Dancing in the Sheets by Shalamar
– Ren pulls into school blaring Metal Health
– They sell men’s clothes where you got that? Ren meets Willard
– We find out dancing is banned
– Ren gets pulled over
– Ariel wants to go to college and get out of that town – “Somebody’s Eyes” by Karla Bonof
– Awesome tractor chicken scene – Holding Out for a Hero by Bonnie Tyler
– Angry dance – Never by Moving Pictures
– Dancing in Bomont is illegal. Underage drinking? Perfectly acceptable
– Look out Moving Pictures! Marissa and Robert perform “What About Me” for the first installment of Return to the ’80s Karaoke
– Ren and Ariel – train scene
– The gyrating in the seats from listening to music caused the car accident that killed Ariel’s brother. ALCOHOL HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!
– Willard can’t dance
– Creepy dude tries picking up high school student, Rusty
– ’80s Movie + Bar Scene = FIGHT!!!
– Shaw and Vi at church – You can lift a congregation up so high they have to look down to see heaven. But it’s the one to one where you need a little work.
– MONTAGE!!!!!! Let’s Hear It For the Boy by Deniece Williams
– Ren teaches Willard how to dance. In every possible place where they can be seen. In a town that does not allow dancing.
– “You’re so stupid!” – Cranston gives Ariel a beatdown
– Ariel gives Ren a bible with verses highlighted for him to use at the town council meeting
– They had it coming! Somebody throws a brick through the window of Ren’s little cousins who helped him teach Willard how to dance
– Town council scene
– There’s nothing like a good ole fashioned book burnin’!
– MONTAGE #2! Setup for the dance – ” I’m Free (Heaven Helps the Man)” by Kenny Loggins
– Pick a winner! The dance begins – kinda. “Almost Paradise” by Mike Reno and Ann Wilson
– Ninja Ren. The climactic fight scene
– Everybody cuts loose!
– Why?!?!? Footloose remake. Well, it’s not as horrible as the Dirty Dancing remake, so there’s that.
Our coverage of the classic 1984 movie, Footloose, continues today. Yesterday was a review of the movie itself. Today, Robert is going to cover what very well may be the heart and soul of the movie - the music. Enjoy!
Movie-wise this is my absolute favorite not very good movie. The plot is weak, the acting is passable, and the dialogue is, at times laughable. Consider when Ariel is spitting mad at Chuck Cranston. During an argument, Chuck is being petty and jealous while physically roughing Ariel up a bit. Now, Ariel has every insult and curse at her disposal; and she opts for, “You’re so stupid!” It is difficult to find a positive review by any movie critic . . . and I don’t care- I LOVE THIS MOVIE!!! One thing I have always enjoyed more than the actual film is the movie’s soundtrack. I have seen the movie countless times: several times in the movie theatre, nearly 30 times on VHS and a dozen times on Netflix (in fact, I have it on Netflix as I write this). All of these viewings do not hold a candle to the number of times I have listened to the soundtrack. I own it on vinyl, cassette, and CD – always at the ready in case someone asks about it or I just want to be washed away in nostalgic memories.
According to Billboard, the soundtrack has sold a total of 9,000,000 copies and was #1 on the album charts for weeks (April 21 – June 30, 1984). This soundtrack spawned six Top 40 songs with three of those being Top ten hits: “Footloose” #1, “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” #1, and “Almost Paradise” #7. With all of this success, this soundtrack must be loaded with great songs, so let’s take a look.
Footloose (#1) by Kenny Loggins (opening credits, bar scene, and prom)
Loggins is easily considered the “soundtrack king” of the ‘80s, and this song is one of the big reasons why. It is not his first soundtrack hit nor will it be his last in the ‘80s, but it may be the most popular. I recently took my younger daughter to a popular local event “Daddy Daughter Date Night.” It is an annual dinner and dance for fathers and their daughters (between first and fifth grades). During the dance portion, the DJ played Footloose and all of the girls screamed and rushed to the dance floor. As much as I love this song, the reaction of all of these young girls to a song released over twenty years before they were born gave me goosebumps; this must be a sign of a true classic. The video contains clips from the film. The original video release was Ren’s big dance scene – that never made sense to me because they used a different song in the film (see track 9).
Despite this song being a huge hit and being used in a funny montage in the movie, it may be my least favorite. It has a memorable chorus and a smooth dance beat, but it has never really appealed to me – I have no good reason – it just doesn’t.
Almost Paradise (#7) – Almost Paradise by Mike Reno (from Loverboy) and Ann Wilson (from Heart) (prom as well as an instrumental version in the music box that Ariel gives Ren)
There is not much I can say about this song. It is one of the all time great love songs from the ‘80s. I have danced to it with my girlfriend (now wife) and it will always be one of my favorite romantic songs that I cannot, and will not, turn off before it is finished.
I love Tyler’s first big hit “Total Eclipse of the Heart“, but I think this song is even better. I am shocked it only reached #34 on the Billboard charts. This song has some grit and enthusiastic drive. It has some of my favorite lyrics on the soundtrack. I have even used these lyrics in my English classes when discussing the importance of heroes to society and literature and the difficulty we have pinpointing the constantly changing definition, “Where have all the good men gone and where are all the gods? Where is the street-wise Hercules to fight the rising odds?”
This is a good, catchy dance tune. The first thing that pops in my mind now is a friend of mine who directed Footloose: The Musical at the high school where I teach. He was forced to cut this song because of its suggestive lyrics. C’mon, that is kinda funny. The video is from American Bandstand (remember that show?).
This is Loggins’ second appearance on this soundtrack, and, while I possess the proper reverential love for the title track, I do like this song better. It should be impossible to separate a good soundtrack from the film; perhaps this becomes a reason that I really like this song. This song fits the movie perfectly, maybe even better that all of the others. Lyrically the song is about fighting for what you believe in and striving to achieve success. In the film, this song marks Ren’s success at the town council meeting and the beginning of the preparations for prom. This lyrics to this song serve an inspirational purpose and the fit perfectly for the film’s transition to the prom scene, “Looking in your eyes, I know I’m right / If there’s anything worth my love, it’s worth the fight / We only get one chance, and nothing ties our hands / You’re the one I want, listen to me / Nothing I want is out of my reach.”
Somebody’s Eyes – by Karla Bonoff (Ariel and Chuck sneaking away to the woods)
This is the only track on the original soundtrack that does not receive any primary attention in the film. It is heard in the background, playing on the radio that Ariel brings with her on a secret, and illicit, meeting with her jerk boyfriend. The song itself is an easy-to-listen to pop song with a good chorus and decent guitar solo. Bonoff’s vocals are haunting and soothing at the same time.
This is the only true rocker on the original soundtrack. Honestly, Hagar is somewhat out of place here. Even though this appearance is before he joined Van Halen, he was already known as the Red Rocker and had a number of heavy guitar driven, popular songs. The song is great – it fits Hagar’s style and matches the scene in the film quite well. Despite this, it does not truly match the overall sound of this soundtrack. The video is from a live performance in St. Louis.
Never – by by Moving Pictures (Ren’s solo dance of frustration)
This is my personal favorite track. I love the rhythm guitar riff and I think the scene it is used in fits perfectly. I have always been a bit of a sap for the cheesy inspirational lyrics and this song has a great one, “If you don’t give your heart wings, you’ll never fly.” I do not even care that Kevin Bacon is not the one dancing in this scene- this song carries an uplifting message with a catchy beat.
The 1998 reissue of the soundtrack included four additional tracks, but I am sticking with the original release.
In the ‘80s there was such a strong connection between movies and their soundtracks. In some of those films the music played a prominent role. If you track Top 40 hits from soundtracks, you will see double digit numbers in ‘84, ‘85, and ‘86. Footloose is clearly one of the most famous and successful examples. The music on this soundtrack can be called nothing except iconic. I never tire of watching the movie or listening to this amazing soundtrack. Every list of best soundtracks is obligated to include this shining example at at near the top.
Hi Everybody, it’s about time for another Top 40! This week, we are Returning to the mid-’80s: specifically 1984. This was a very good year for movies and music. There was one movie, which was released 2 months before this countdown, that heavily influenced the music landscape. You’ll know what movie I’m talking about before we even finish this first list of songs. This week’s countdown is also brought to you by my flu-induced fever. So, if I seem a little more crazy than usual, and don’t make sense, we’ll blame it on the fever, and you can just go ahead and click on the song titles to enjoy this awesome music! So, let’s Return to the week ending April 14, 1984, and begin the countdown!
What a great way to start the countdown! This is one of my favorite Madonna songs, and was her first Top 10 hit. 31 years later she is still releasing new music. She just released her 13th studio album, Rebel Heart, last month. Her appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon proved that she still has a presence. However, Jimmy Fallon’s over-the-top ass kissing was even more over-the-top than usual in the interview. Even though I didn’t care too much for the song itself, her performance of “Bitch I’m Madonna” was outstanding, and proved that she’s just as good as any pop star out there today (which really isn’t saying much – but still).
Here is the first song in this countdown from the movie Footloose. This song also came off of the R&B group’s eighth album, Heartbreak. This was Shalamar’s first album without Jeffrey Daniel and Jody Watley.
OK, is everbody starting to see a trend here already? This was a huge hit from Footloose. It hit #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, as well as the dance and R&B charts. This song also had backing vocals by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam, who would go on to become known as the duo Boy Meets Girl.
YES!!!! “You should’ve been gooooone/Knowing how I made you feel/And I should’ve been goooone/After all your words of steel” This was the Journey singer’s biggest solo hit. This was written for Steve Perry’s then-girlfriend Sherrie Swafford (who also appears in the video). Lucky for us, he decided to jinx his relationship by writing a song for her instead of going with the traditional tattoo-of-her-name jinx. This song is a stand out on Perry’s Street Talk album, which is solid with outstanding songs.
Footloose song #3 so far. This is one of my favorite songs from that soubndtrack. It is a great rocker. I love Bonnie Tyler’s edgy voice. The music is awesome too. It was written by Jim Steinman (who wrote a lot of Meatloaf’s biggest hits) and Dean Pitchford. This song also played during an awesome part of the Footloose movie.
The only song I knew Matthew Wilder had was “Break My Stride.” This is the song that prevented him from being a one hit wonder. This song isn’t too bad. I don’t know if I’ll run out and buy it, but I kind of like it. It’s a good upbeat song, and even has a dueling sax solo!
This song was off of the Pretenders’ third album, Learning to Crawl. This was the first album they came out with after two of their members, James Honeyman-Scott and Pete Farndon both died of drug overdoses. This song isn’t mind-blowing, but it is a solid Pretenders tune. If you like the band, you’ll like this song.
This was a perfect song at the peak of the break dancing craze. This song would peak at #8, making it Irene Cara’s third (and last) Top 10 hit.
Well that wraps up today’s list of songs. I’m still alive, and able to type, so I’ll be back tomorrow to continue the countdown. There are going to be some more classics this week, so please come back.
10. Karma Chameleon – Culture Club
9. Hello – Lionel Richie
8. Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell
7. Sunglasses At Night – Corey Hart
6. Dancing in the Sheets – Shalamar
5. The Heart of Rock ‘N’ Roll – Huey Lewis & the News
4. State of Shock – The Jacksons
3. Yah Mo B There – James Ingram and Michael McDonald
2. Talking In Your Sleep – Romantics
1. I Just Called to Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder
Here is my top 5 (or worst 5) of Horrible songs from that year:
5. Hello – Lionel Richie
Before there was Ghost, there was the “Hello” video. I like Lionel Richie, but I never liked this song. I didn’t care for the video neither, and it didn’t help that MTV rammed it down our throats.
If you want to hear a better Lionel Richie ballad, listen to “Truly”. Even “Stuck On You”, which was also on the charts in 1984, is better than “Hello”. But “Hello ” ended up being a #1 hit on three Billboard music charts: the pop chart (for two weeks), the R&B chart (for three weeks), and the adult contemporary chart (for six weeks). Sure, there are songs a lot worse than this one, but, this was a bit overrated.
4. Karma Chameleon – Culture Club
3. Let’s Hear It for the Boy – Deniece Williams
I hated this song when it came out, and I still can’t listen to it! In my opinion, this is the worst song on the Footloose soundtrack. “Dancing in the Sheets” by Shalamar is on the Stuck In the 80s list, and is no prize in my book either. But I would still listen to that than that annoying “Let’s Hear It for the Boy”. It didn’t help that this Deniece Williams song was on an endless loop on the radio and on MTV.
2. If This Is It – Huey Lewis and The News
Stick with the up-tempo songs, Huey! I loved every song on the Sports album – except for this one. It’s slow, boring, and there’s no feeling in it.
1. I Just Called to Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder
I love Stevie Wonder, but I don’t like this overplayed song. It was featured on the soundtrack from The Woman in Red, and was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks. The only other songs of his that may have been more overplayed was “Superstition”. I skip both of those songs when they come on.
: While “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” can be grating, Lauper shows off her beautiful voice here. When I say beautiful voice, I’m referring to her singing voice, of course. When you hear her speak, you would never imagine that she would have an incredible singing voice.
: The Stones get criticized for their ’80s and beyond music. But, this song and “Start Me Up” was basically my introduction to the group. I still like “Undercover” a lot. They still had some edge back then.
: Steve Perry was one of my favorite singers (behind Freddie Mercury), and the former Journey frontman proved that he could be successful as a solo act. It sucks that he hasn’t done anything in a long time. “Oh Sherrie” was his debut song when he went solo, and it was his biggest hit.
: These rock legends slightly changed their style with the Eliminator album that “Legs” came off of, and it helped give their popularity a huge surge. Their trilogy of videos, which included this one, didn’t hurt.
5. Twist of Fate – Olivia Newton-John
: This is probably my favorite ONJ song. It’s a great up-tempo song. It came off of the Two of a Kind soundtrack. The movie, which she starred in, along with John Travolta, was a clunker. But, the soundtrack is great, and this song stands out.
4. I’m So Excited – Pointer Sisters
: The songs was right in the middle of the Pointer’s great ’80s run. You can’t help but move to this song. It was also great in the movie Vacation.
3. Jump – Van Halen
: When this song came out, it was my favorite song of all time! The reason why this isn’t higher on the list is because it was also probably the most overplayed song of the year. I didn’t help matters any by playing it over and over again on tape, and by sitting in front of MTV all day just to watch it every time it came on. It was so funny seeing Eddie smiling through the entire video. I wonder, what made him do that? He wouldn’t have smoked anything to get him that way, would he have?
2. Hard Habit to Break – Chicago
: I still love this Chicago ballad! This was in the middle of their comeback during the David Foster years. I got sick of “You’re the Inspiration”, but I never got sick of this song. Unfortunately, the band became known more for their ballads. Their rock songs are just as good. But, “Hard Habit to Break” is one of my all time favorite Chicago songs.
1. Cum On Feel the Noize – Quiet Riot
: My introduction to heavy metal in the ’80s. Wow, you just didn’t hear anything else like this on the radio at the time! Quiet Riot pretty much opened up mainstream radio for Heavy Metal acts. Would heavy metal and hair bands have been as popular as they were if it wasn’t for Quiet Riot and “Cum On Feel the Noize”? Maybe not. This pretty much set my musical taste for the ’80s and early ’90s.