Hi Everybody! Welcome back to this week’s countdown! Some things that happened around this time were:
– Martina Navratilova earns 8th Wimbledon singles title with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Steffi Graf
– Also at Wimbledon, Pat Cash of Australia scores his only Grand Slam singles success 7-6, 6-2, 7-5 over Ivan Lendl
– A’s 1st baseman Mark McGwire becomes first rookie to hit 30 HRs before the MLB All-Star Game
– Nazi Klaus Barbie, “Butcher of Lyon” sentenced to life in France
– Kitty Dukakis reveals an addiction to amphetamines for 26 years
– Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North begins public testimony at Iran-Contra hearing
– Kiwanis Clubs end men-only tradition, vote to admit women
Today’s list of songs will have some songs that you know very well, as well as other songs that you may have never heard of, or may have forgotten about. So let’s Return to the week ending July 12, 1987, and continue the UK countdown
This song was never released in the U.S. It would go on to reach #27 on this U.K. chart. According to Wikipedia, the song’s lyrics, as written by Robert Smith, were inspired when Smith caught a broadcast of the Sylvester Stallone written film ‘Rocky 2’ in which Rocky’s wife Adrian falls into a coma during childbirth. In a desperate hope to revive his wife, Rocky writes a poem for Adrian which at one point reads “…..and you kept trying to slip so I could catch you….”
Here is another worldwide smash hit. This song hit #1 in both the US and the UK, as well as several other countries. In addition to appearing on the Mannequin soundtrack, the song was also released on Starship’s album No Protection.
This is a cover of Gary Glitter’s 1977 song. Shakin’ Stevens had been recording music since the 1960’s. But, he didn’t hit it big until the ’80s. Then he would go on to be the UK’s biggest-selling singles artist of the 1980s
This song was originally released in 1982, and would be Simple Minds’ first UK hit, reaching #13, and staying on the charts for 11 weeks. Then this live version would hit the charts again, coming off their 1987 album Live in the City of Light.
Nothing’s stopping ANYBODY in 1987! Earlier, Starship announced that nothing’s gonna stop us now, and now Samantha proclaims that nothing’s gonna stop me now. This is another song that did not chart very well in the US, but did better in the UK. However, I was very familiar with this song by one of my biggest 80s crushes. This song was off of Samantha Fox’s self-titled album, which also featured the hit song, “Naughty Girls (Need Love Too)”. There is not a bad song on that album.
I am noticing that quite a few reissues are making the charts in the UK this week. And they are all great songs! I absolutely love this 1967 #1 hit by Jackie Wilson! 20 years later, it would chart again in this countdown, reaching up to #15.
That wraps up today’s list of songs. I think I like today’s even more than yesterday’s. What are some of your favorites this week? I hope you are enjoying this countdown. We are halfway through. Come back tomorrow as we continue the countdown.
Welcome back to this week’s countdown! If you missed the previous songs, you can go back and check them out. We were off to a great start yesterday. So, let’s Return to the week ending February 28, 1987, and see if it continues to be just as good.
Understandibly, this is Europe’s signature song. This is the epitome of ’80s rock, complete with keyboards, guitar, soaring vocals, and big hair. But, Europe is so much more than this song. They have several other great songs (just on this album alone).
I still love this worldwide smash hit from Starship. It was featured in the movie Mannequin. Yesterday, in my opening segment, I mentioned having a girlfriend at this time. We went to see Mannequin in the theater. However, we were in the back of the theater making out most of the time, so I have no idea what happened. I’ll have to go check out that movie again.
That wraps up today’s list of songs. So far I’m loving it this week! How about you? Come back tomorrow as we continue the countdown.
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 .
Our regular contributor, Robert Mishou, is starting a new Return to the ’80s series. It will focus on solo stars who didn’t start as solo stars. There have been several groups who have had members embark on a solo career. They may have done this as a side project, or split from their band due to creative or personality differences. Robert begins the series with one of the best artists of the ’80s – Phil Collins. As usual, you can click on the song titles to listen to the songs/watch the videos. Hello, I must be going. But, I’ll hand it off to Robert now. Enjoy!
From Genesis Comes Phil Collins
In 1985 Phil Collins released his third solo album No Jacket Required. For most fans of ‘80s music, this album would become the marker that completely separated Collins from his band Genesis. True, Genesis would release the excellent Invisible Touch in 1986 and We Can’t Dance in 1991, but these album only solidified Collins’ place as a mega solo star of the 1980s.
Phil Collins was a member of Genesis for eleven years before traveling solo. He served as the band’s drummer and, in 1975, upon Peter Gabriel’s exit, the lead vocalist. Genesis was a very successful musical act selling out stadiums and posting solid album sales. Once Collins became the vocalist, Genesis started to make appearances on the Billboard singles charts. Songs like That’s All, Misunderstanding, and No Reply at All are all Genesis hits that feature Collins on lead vocals and maintain frequent airplay on classic rock stations today. As a band, Genesis was extremely successful, but this success pales in comparison to the heights Collins will hit as a solo artist.
In 1981 Phil Collins released his first solo album entitled Face Value. The album was a success reaching the top ten in US album sales and receiving excellent critical reviews. This album is highlighted by the song In the Air Tonight, which garnered plenty of airplay on American radio stations a few years later when it was used on the TV show Miami Vice. In 1982, Collins followed a successful debut album with an even more successful sophomore effort, the triple platinum Hello, I Must Be Going. This album features his first top ten single in the US, a cover of the Supremes’ You Can’t Hurry Love. During these few years of solo work, Collins did not leave his band. In 1981 Genesis released Abacab and in 1983 the album Genesis was released. This second solo album also received a good critical response and outsold his first album – clearly the best is yet to come.
In the midst of his burgeoning solo career and his continued work with Genesis, Phil Collins also achieved US chart success with a soundtrack and a duet. In 1984 Collins released Against All Odds, a song from the film of the same name – this song will become his first solo #1 hit. Collins also recorded a duet with Philip Bailey (from Earth Wind and Fire) called Easy Lover; this song would reach #2 on the Billboard singles chart.
The table is set. The explosion is about to happen. I do not intend to rush or minimize Collins’ work with Genesis or his first two solo albums, but the highlight of Phil Collins’s mark on the ‘80s is his third solo album No Jacket Required. Billboard lists this album as 12X platinum with sales reaching over the 12 million mark. This album marked a climatic acceptance of Collins’ music with the American audience and spawned four top ten hits: One More Night (#1), Sussudio (#1), Don’t Lose My Number (#4), and Take Me Home (#7). This album received Grammy awards for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal (male) of the year. A few months after the release, Collins became the only artist to perform for Live Aid in both London and Philadelphia.
The numbers are clear. No Jacket Required is not the first solo album, nor is it his last solo effort, but it clearly the biggest, most important release – one that solidifies Phil Collins as an icon of ‘80s music. That is plenty of background information- let’s get to the songs that make up this amazing album.
No, there are no startling insights here. I have no idea what ‘sussudio’ exactly means and, honestly, I don’t care – a great song is a great song no matter the title. I am a lyric fiend and I spend a lot of time interpreting songs, and this one is not that tough. If you accept that ‘Sussudio’ is a girl’s name, then this becomes a catchy song about chasing a girl- we’ve all been there. I will fully concede that I prefer songs that have more depth to the lyrics, but this song is irresistibly catchy – and I love it! This song has a perfect blend of bass, percussion, and horns – what a great way to begin an album.
Start with a little drum and some horns to remind the listener that this is Phil Collins – and you have a great second track. Collins steps up his lyric game a bit here with some of his tongue in cheek, witty style: “When I ask you what you see in me / You say our love is blind.” He also adds a touch of his serious side with, “Remember, it’s not good enough telling me the way it was yesterday.” This is a solid track that fits the style and feel of the album.
This is fantastic, somber song that features Sting on backing vocals. The lyrics capture our tendency to be overly concerned with ourselves and ignore more important situations that we could help with. Collins’ appearance on both London’s and Philadelphia’s Live Aid Stages is a prime example of his effort to help others. The video of this song is his Live Aid performance.
It is not a bad idea to follow a slow, serious song with one that is upbeat. Even though this song seems to be one that revisits Collins’ relationship problems, it is seems to have a sense of hope about it. The speaker in the song has found that he can move on without the girl; he is not going to give in to her emotional manipulation.
This song was the first single released from the album and helped launch Collins into the stratosphere ‘80s pop/rock artists. My clearest memory of this song comes from my best friend. His brother and I loved Phil Collins and this album – we listened to it constantly. He did not like this song, and therefore he hated the album. The logic of this makes no sense, but he held on to for years. It was not until we were together nearly 20 years later that he admitted that he whole album, including this song, was excellent. The speaker in this song is faced with a problem many of us can relate to. He is in love with someone and he does not know how to tell her about his feelings: “I’ve been sitting here so long, wasting time ? Just staring at the phone / And I was wondering should I call / Then I thought maybe you’re not at home.”
If I was forced to choose – this would be my favorite song from the album. The song is a perfect pop song that has almost no room to be improved upon. It is a simple story, has a killer beat/bass track, and keyboards that sustain a catchy melody. It also has a chorus that is familiar (and performed?) by all music fans in the‘80s. The video captures the frustrations of making videos with Collins’s wry sense of humor.
This is a solid song that I always felt could have been a single. I am going to let me geeky English teacher side out here – I love the change in pronoun for the last chorus. The pronoun shifts from “I” to “you”- this gives it a subtle change in meaning. The video is a live version of this song – some songs need to be heard live and I think this is one of them.
This songs opens with a Collins signature drum flourish and continues into another solid song. The lyrics so not have the same depth of Long Long Way To Go. It asks the common question set up in the title. There is always a great line in a Phil Collins song, this one is, “I don’t know why you keep your emotions walled up / Your heart’s on your sleeve, but your sleeve is rolled up.”
Early in my constant listenings of this album, this song was one of my favorites. Collins does not have many guitar driven songs, so when one pops up, I am hooked. In this song, Collins is making his Thoreau-like declaration of following his own instincts and doing what is best for him. No, no, I am not comparing this song to Walden, but it is a powerful statement about him taking control over his own life.
Great song and a great video. Collins establishes a clear rhythm right away with his drums- smooth and even throughout the song. The video features Phil himself being filmed in front of some of the most famous locales around the world. I can only imagine the total number of miles covered in producing this video.
My cassette version of the album did not have this song. I had been a big fan of Phil Collins for years and a local radio station played this song frequently and I was frustrated that I did not have a copy of it. When I finally bought a CD player and the CD version of the album, I was very happy to see this track listed. A perfect song to end an album. Lyrically, it is almost as if Collins is giving us some advice, “Turn your head and don’t look back / Set your sails for a new horizon / Don’t turn around, don’t look down / There’s life across the tracks / And you know it’s really not surprising / It gets better when you get there.”
In addition to this album, Collins also released a duet with Marilyn Martin called Separate Lives another #1 hit. In 1986, after the success of No Jacket Required, Collins somehow found time to return to Genesis and release Invisible Touch (an album that deserves its own review- great idea! I think I will). Invisible Touch quickly became Genesis’s best selling album, bolstered, no doubt, by the success of Collins’s solo effort.
For the duration of the ‘80s and ‘90s, Phil Collins will continue to make music both as a solo artist and as a member of Genesis. There are plenty of worthwhile songs that Collins records after No Jacket Required, but this album represents the power and brilliance of this iconic musician. He even released an album for the Tarzan soundtrack that will open up a new generation of fans. There is no doubt that Phil Collins left a very important mark on the 1980s – a mark that can never be washed away.