We will wrap up the ‘Back to School’ series with songs about school. I have a list of 3 songs, in no particular order. I’m sure I have to be missing something. So if you know of any other ’80s songs about school or teachers, let me know.
We’ll start with .38 Special’s “Teacher, Teacher” from the movie Teachers, that starred Nick Nolte, JoBeth Williams, Ralph Macchio, and Richard Mulligan:
Next is Motley Crue’s “Smokin’ in the Boys Room”. I couldn’t get the original video, but here is a live version of it, with the band in their prime:
“Sit down, Waldo!” Let’s finish this off with Van Halen’s classic video, “Hot for Teacher”:
This week’s selection, in honor of the 2011 Van Halen reunion, is “Jump”:
“Jump” is the only Van Halen song to reach all the way up to number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the second single released off of the 1984 album. This is a simple video of the band performing a mock concert. David Lee Roth jumps a lot, and Eddie Van Halen has a funny smile on his face the whole time. I remember that I loved the video, but that goofy smile annoyed the crap out of me. You would think he was high or something!
But, the song shows how talented Eddie is. Not only is he one of the greatest guitarists of all time, but he is also a damn good keyboard player too. This is one of those songs that is instantly recognizable from the first note.
According to Billboard.com, a deal was re-upped between publisher Warner/Chappell and Eddie and Alex Van Halen, and it was stated that the band “is currently in the studio recording an album with Roth that is due for release in 2011.”
Also, Van Halen manager and Live Nation Entertainment executive chairman Irivng Azoff mentioned that Van Halen was expected to tour next year. Van Halen’s 2008 reunion tour with Roth was a massive success. It took in more than $93 million. from 74 shows according to Billboard.
Next year’s album would be Van Halen’s first studio album since 1998’s flop Van Halen III,” with Gary Cherone as the lead singer. This would also be the first album with David Lee Roth since the classic 1984.
Hopefully the band will get along, and this will go through. If it does, I will buy the album as soon as it comes out. Hey, if I could buy the Van Halen III album the day it was released, I can do the same for the Van Halen/David Lee Roth reunion!
Now that we are in the middle of summer, I came up with a list of my top 5 summer songs of the ’80s.
5. Endless Summer Nights (Richard Marx)
This is from Richard Marx’s debut album. It’s about a romantic summer, and wishing he could go back to those days with his love. It’s a nice, well written pop song. In the liner notes of his 1997 Greatest Hits album, Marx commented on the song: “Aside from replacing synthesized bass with the great Nathan East, this recording is the demo that every record company in the business rejected in 1985 and 1986.”
I like “Hold On to the Nights” and “Right Here Waiting” better, but this was a nice summer song.
4. Summer Nights (Van Halen)
This rocker is from Van Halen’s incredible 5150 album. As with most great Van Halen songs, it starts out with an awesome guitar lick. Sammy Hagar has great vocals, and I love Michael Anthony’s backing vocals. The song is about having fun in the summer. Here is a live version of the song:
3. Kokomo (The Beach Boys)
I know the Beach Boys catch a lot of crap for this song. But I love this song. It is a great vacation song – nice and relaxing. I also like the vocals in it. I can get past John Stamos on drums. I won’t acknowledge him as Uncle Jesse as most people do. This is the only Uncle Jesse I recognize:
2. Vacation (The Go-Go’s)
This was one of the Go-Go’s highest charting songs reaching #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1982. This is a great summer pop song, and the band was at the top of their game. Again, I can’t show the original video here, so if you want to see it on YouTube, click here.
Or you can watch a live version from 2001 here:
1. Summer of ’69 (Bryan Adams)
This was one of my favorite Bryan Adams songs. It is a fun rockin’ song about coming of age. It is probably Adams’ most recognizable song, and is my #1 pick.
What are some of your favorite summer/vacation songs of the ’80s?
The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:
6. David Lee Roth – Van Halen
We are on a roll with 70’s groups with continuing success in the 80’s. Women and Children First was released in 1980, and had the hits “And the Cradle Will Rock…” and “Everybody Wants Some!!“. The latter song was also featured in the movie Better Off Dead. Fair Warning was released in 1981. At that time, tensions were beginning to rise between Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth. Eddie wanted to produce more serious and complex songs, and David had more of a poppy fun style. The only song of note from that album was “Unchained“. The following year, Diver Down was released and performed better. There were a couple of pop remakes that were on the album that contributed to the success – “(Oh) Pretty Woman” and “Dancing in the Street“. “Where Have All the Good Times Gone!” also went to #17 on the mainstream rock charts. Then the band peaked in 1984 with their mega-successful album 1984. “Jump” was the bands first and only #1 pop hit. You couldn’t watch MTV for more than a half hour without seeing it. The first song on the album was a short keyboard instrumental called “1984“, and it led into “Jump”. We referred to “1984” as the song to get you psyched for “Jump”. “I’ll Wait” reached #7 on the mainstream rock charts. “Panama” was another huge success, and another song that got a lot of airplay on MTV. This was followed by the hit “Hot For Teacher” (“Sit down, Waldo”!).
On April 1, 1985, Van Halen and David Lee Roth had a bitter break-up.
Just before the break-up, Roth released 2 big hit singles – “California Girls” and “Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody“. In 1986, Roth released his first full solo album Eat ‘Em and Smile. The first single from that album was his most popular – “Yankee Rose“, which featured great guitar work by Steve Vai. “Goin’ Crazy” also had some success.
Then in 1988, Roth released the album Skyscraper which featured the hit “Just Like Paradise” which reached to #6. “Stand Up” was also a moderate hit.
[Note: I chose David Lee Roth over Sammy Hagar because Hagar was already a successful solo artist before he joined Van Halen (or as some people call it – Van Hagar). Sammy definitely had a more successful solo career than David]