Archive for the films Category

Can’t Believe I Missed This One

Posted in films, Humour, Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 20, 2017 by 80smetalman

I’m surprised that no one has pulled me up on this, missing what was for me, the zainiest film of 1984. I’m talking about the very first Police Academy film! It is true that usually the original film in a series is the best and and that is certainly the case here. I laughed my butt off from start to finish.

 

The graduates from the first Police Academy.

I always like Tackleberry best.

Here’s Tackleberry

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Soundtracks of 1984: Streets of Fire

Posted in 1980s, films, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2017 by 80smetalman

Unlike “Footloose” the soundtrack to the film “Streets of Fire” went with virtually unknown or less known artists, at least for the time. It would be six months to a year before I would hear about The Fixx. The only others I had heard of were Ry Cooder and The Blasters and I’ll get to them in a minute. Stevie Nicks does write and sing backing vocals on the Marilyn Martin track, “Sorcerer” but for the most part, the artists were virtually unknown to me at the time. However, I would take this soundtrack over that of “Footloose.” Quiet Riot, Foreigner and Sammy Hagar weren’t quite enough to tip it past “Streets of Fire” in my eyes.

Before I get onto the soundtrack, let me provide a little background about the film, which was slammed mercilessly by most critics. The 23 year old me in 1984 thought this film was okay. I mean it was the 1980s where one shot from a gun could set off multiple massive explosions and men settled their differences with sledgehammers. What wasn’t there to like? However, as I grew older, I realized how surreal the movie was almost bordering on the ridiculous.

“Streets of Fire” is about a famous rock singer named Ellen Aim who gets kidnapped by a motorcycle gang, led by a guy named Raven played Willem Dafoe, while performing a gig in her home town. Without going into great detail, Ellen is rescued by former boyfriend Tom with the help of an ex-army girl named McCoy played by Amy Madigan. After many explosions and action sequences where they receive aid from an all black doo-wop band called the Sorrells, Tom and Raven have their predictable show down at the end. First with the fore-mentioned sledgehammers and then with fists. Therefore, Dafoe gets his ass kicked twice. Other little details include Rick Moranis, playing the usual nerd but this time it’s in a serious role as Ellen Aim’s manager and current boyfriend. His best line in the film is, “It’s the shits.” He says it several times and his performance, while good, never made me think that doing “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” was a bad career move. The best performance was by Amy Madigan who did receive a nomination for best supporting actress, so I’m not just saying it because Mrs 80smetalman is a huge Amy Madigan fan.

Amy Madigan as McCoy

Rick Moranis as Ellen Aim’s manager. “It’s the shits.”

Willem Dafoe as Raven. Note the pvc dungarees.

Okay, the film wasn’t Oscar material but that doesn’t stop it from having a rather cool soundtrack. When it first came out, MTV plugged the film by constantly playing the video from the first single, Fire Inc’s “Tonight Is What it Means to Be Young.” I do really like the song which was probably why it didn’t go anywhere in the charts. The most successful song as far as chart success was “I Can Dream About You” by Dan Hartman. It is a good song but the irony here is that in the film, the song is performed by The Sorrells. Back in 1984 many people were amazed that a song performed by a black quartet in the film was actually sung by a white man. I think it’s great we’re more wiser about these things nowadays.

Dan Hartman

The Sorrells in Streets of Fire

While all the songs I’ve mentioned are good ones, for me, it’s the rockabilly songs that make this soundtrack. The two tracks by The Blasters are the best songs here and “Hold That Snake” by Ry Cooder gets the bronze. All three of these tracks are just really damn cool and the soundtrack wouldn’t be nearly as good without them. For the record, the song by The Fixx, while good as well, didn’t have me wanting to check out future material without hearing it first.

So, is “Streets of Fire” a bad film with a really cool soundtrack? Well, it’s not a bad film, but it does have a killer soundtrack.

Next post: Great and Not So Great Movies of 1984

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1508165794&sr=8-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great(ish) Soundtracks of 1984: Footloose

Posted in 1980s, films, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2017 by 80smetalman

 

There was a very strange trend in regards to movie soundtracks in the mid 1980s. It seems that in order to appeal to all forms of music lovers, there would be songs representing nearly every genre. There would be some trendy pop songs, some rock, some soul oriented songs and even a heavy metal jam or two. This is exactly the case with the soundtrack for the film, “Footloose” which came out in the very beginning for this year.

Let’s start with the trendy. Kenny Loggins was already known for hit songs from soundtracks. He achieved it with the 1980 film, “Caddyshack.” So, it was no surprise that he sings the title track to the film. It has always been one of those songs I’ve neither loved or hated. The “Footloose” soundtrack also gave one hit wonder Deneice Williams her one hit with “Let’s Hear it For the Boy.” That song seemed to be on every AM radio station during the summer of 1984. I’ve heard worse but I’ve certainly heard far better. On the other hand, the soundtrack was unable to give 1982 one hit wonder Karla Banoff her second hit. It’s a song that’s just there. Then comes the usual practice of using former hits like Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero.” Finally, there’s the let’s take two singers from established bands and have them do a duet for the soundtrack. Cue, Mike Reno of Loverboy and Ann Wilson from Heart with “Almost Paradise.” It was supposed to be a power ballad that draws rock lovers and top forty fans together but no, it doesn’t. Both singers do a good job on the song and it’s better than most of the other tracks but not good enough to get into my top power ballad list.

Let’s side track for a moment. I have an experience with “Almost Paradise.” Mrs 80smetalman and I chose it for our wedding at our local registry office. Three weeks before our wedding, we get a letter from the registrar stating that we can’t use the song because it has religious connotations, which is not allowed at a civil wedding in the UK. I wonder if they would have said the same if I asked for a Deicide song.

Back to the point, “Dancing in the Sheets” by Shalamar was a definite attempt by the movie makers to appeal to music lovers of African origin. It’s like, let’s put in a song by a black band and black people will buy the soundtrack. That’s my take on it. Now, for true rock lovers like me and you, there’s the classic John Cougar song, “Hurt So Good” and another attempt to bridge the rock/top 40 gap, let’s bring back the Foreigner classic ballad, “Waiting for a Girl Like You.” Now to the metal, we got the great “Metal Health” by the then up and coming Quiet Riot but for me the best song on this soundtrack has to be Sammy Hagar’s “The Girl Gets Around.” Maybe someone heard the “Heavy Metal” soundtrack and said, “Hey, let’s use a Sammy Hagar song.” At least they chose a good one.

A note about the film: “Footloose” is about a teenage boy, played by Kevin Bacon, who moves into a small town, which is run by people who are anti-music. The local reverend is the spearhead of the anti-rock campaign. Of course, Kevin and the music win the day and music is allowed in the town but maybe Hollywood was onto something here. The religious right’s war on music was just in the early stages in 1984 and maybe this film could be a prophecy of things that could come about. It’s something to think about. Oh yes, the track by unknown band Moving Pictures called “Never” isn’t bad but it never (pun intended) made me want to explore their discography.

Track Listing:

  1. Footloose- Kenny Loggins
  2. Let’s Hear it For the Boy- Deneice Williams
  3. Almost Paradise- Mike Reno and Ann Williams
  4. Holding Out For a Hero- Bonnie Tyler
  5. Dancing in the Sheets- Shalamar
  6. I’m Free (Heaven Helps the Man)- Kenny Loggins
  7. Somebody’s Eyes- Karla Bonoff
  8. The Girl Gets Around- Sammy Hagar
  9. Never- Moving Pictures
  10. Metal Health (Bang Your Head)- Quiet Riot
  11. Hurt So Good- John Cougar
  12. Waiting for a Girl Like You- Foreigner
  13. Dancing in the Sheets (12 inch mix)- Shalamar

Quiet Riot

Bonnie Tyler

John Cougar Mellencamp

Foreigner

Sammy Hagar

“Footloose” wouldn’t be the only film whose soundtrack got the ‘corporate’ treatment. While there’s something for everyone, at least it’s thought so, there’s not enough songs here for me to ever go out and buy the album. Besides, I already have the tracks I do like from here on other albums.

Next post: Streets of Fire

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1507754027&sr=8-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Randy Newman- Trouble in Paradise

Posted in 1980s, films, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2017 by 80smetalman

Forget Toy Story, forget his controversial 1977 hit, “Short People,” my favourite Randy Newman song has always been “I Love LA,” which is the opening track on his album “Trouble in Paradise.” Released in 1983, this album didn’t come to my attention til the following year, courtesy of MTV, which is why I’m posting it here.

Alert, “Trouble in Paradise” is not an album for hardcore metalheads. Randy has always been a piano player and a very good one to say the least. His chops can be heard all throughout the album. However, there is one guitar solo on it. It appears on the track, “The Blues,” and is played by Steve Lukather of Toto fame. An additional bonus to this song is that he duets with Paul Simon on it and both do a fine job.

Many of Randy Newman’s songs have an air of humour about them. With this album, “Same Girl” and “My Life is Good” are good, funny tracks and I have always been tickled by some of the lyrics in “Miami.” “Miami, Blue day, best dope in the world and it’s free.” However, he has a serious side. To my knowledge, the track “Christmas in Capetown” was the first song to talk about the Apartheid in South Africa. He deserves full kudos for that. “Real Emotional Girl” is more of a serious ballad as well.

Many guest artists appear on “Trouble in Paradise” including the two who appear on the track, “The Blues.” Of all the tracks, I do love the backing  vocals from Jennifer Warnes, Wendy Waldman and Linda Ronstadt on “I’m Different.” For me, while Randy is his normal self on the song, it’s the backing vocals from these three ladies who really make this song shine for me. Definitely the second best track on the album.

Track Listing:

  1. I Love LA
  2. Christmas in Capetown
  3. The Blues
  4. Same Girl
  5. Mikey’s
  6. My Life is Good
  7. Miami
  8. Real Emotional Girl
  9. Take Me Back
  10. There’s a Party at My House
  11. I’m Different
  12. Song for the Dead

Randy Newman

Randy Newman- vocals, piano

Steve Lukather- guitar

Jennifer Warnes- vocals

Don Henley- vocals

Larry Williams- horns

Steve Madalo- horns

Jon Smith- horns

Ralph Grierson- piano

Neil Larson- piano

David Paich- keyboards

Michael Boddicker- keyboards

Nathan East- bass

Jeff Porcaro- drums

Larry Castro- percussion

Paulinho Da Costa- percussion

Christine McVie- backing vocals

Wendy Waldman- backing vocals

Lindsey Buckingham- backing vocals

Bob Seger- backing vocals

Linda Rondstadt- backing vocals

Rickie Lee Jones- backing vocals

Paul Simon- vocals on “The Blues”

Waddy Watchell- guitar

I won’t say that “Trouble in Paradise” is a great album to mellow out to but it does have its moments there. While Randy Newman is not as zany as Weird Al Yankovic, there is a good deal of humour if you listen for it. It’s a good album just to sit back and enjoy.

Next post; The Cars- Heartbeat City

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Soundtracks of 1983: Flashdance

Posted in 1980s, films, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 29, 2016 by 80smetalman

flashdance

As if! I never saw the movie and never listened to the soundtrack. The only tracks I heard from it were the title track sung by Irene Cara which made her a one hit wonder as did the other song, “Maniac” by Michael Sambello. Neither song was good enough for me one hit wonders post. The fact that they were played constantly in discos throughout the world makes no difference. If anything, it makes me less likely to want to listen to them. Funny thing was that there were some really cool films in 1983. “Trading Places” with Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy, “War Games” featuring a very young fresh faced Mathew Broderick and “Pyscho II” to name just a few. However, I don’t remember any of these having cool soundtracks. If any of you know of a film from this year that had a cool soundtrack, let me know and I’ll listen to it and post about it.

Next post: Business as usual with Alice Cooper- Da da

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1983: George Thorogood and the Destroyers- Bad to the Bone

Posted in 1980s, films, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-George_Thorogood_&_The_Destroyers_-_Bad_To_The_Bone

Here’s another album that was released in 1982 but didn’t come to my attention until 1983 on account of my military commitments. Then it was very late in the year and only because of the film, “Christine,” a film about a possessed car based on the book by Stephen King. The title track to this album from George Thorogood and the Destroyers was the main single from the soundtrack. I can’t remember anything else appealing to me from the soundtrack so I didn’t get it but because I only associated “Bad to the Bone” with the film, the album nearly passed me by, nearly.

chirs

I’ve always been a rather big fan of George Thorogood and his unique-ish guitar style. Then again, I’ve always been a fan of blues based guitarists. “Bad to the Bone” is no departure from this. His guitar and vocal style is present throughout the entire album. While he only pens three of the ten songs himself, he definitely leaves his stamp on the other seven.

“Bad to the Bone” opens with one of his own. “Back to Wentzville” is a 1950s style boogie blues jam and it is perfect to open this album. The next two songs are more in line with George’s traditional blues-riff style and I’m sure the Isley Brothers wouldn’t be too upset over the way he jams on their song, “Nobody But Me.” “It’s a Sin” is more of a slower song but the George and his band inject a great deal of power into it. Next comes my second favourite track, “New Boogie Chillun.” This was a classic John Lee Hooker song and again, the performance of it is phenomenal. After that is the title track and possibly my favourite on the album. Wow, that’s two albums in a row where my favourite track is the single, I’m hope I’m not starting a trend here. Anyway, it is the second song he writes on the album and I think the main reason I like it so much is that I have been listening to that one separate from the rest of the album way too much. Still, it’s a great tune.

“Miss Luann” is the third and final song he writes on the album. This along with the other two, shows that he can definitely write songs which has me wondering why he has used so many covers on the album. Then again, he does each and every cover total justice. For instance, the very next song, “As the Years Go Passing By” is the closest thing to a ballad on the album. However, it also highlights the fact that George’s voice has a little bit more range than what he is usually given credit for. Still, he lays down yet another grand guitar solo on it. After a classic Chuck Berry number, the album closes with a Bob Dylan tune, “Wanted Man.” Even though you can clearly hear the Thorogood stamp on it, you can still work out that this is Dylan through the lyrics. Nevertheless, it’s a great one to go out on.

Track Listing:

  1. Back to Wentzville
  2. Blue Highway
  3. Nobody But Me
  4. It’s a Sin
  5. New Boogie Chillun
  6. Bad to the Bone
  7. Miss Luann
  8. As the Years Go Passing By
  9. No Particular Place to Go
  10. Wanted Man
George Thorogood

George Thorogood

George Thorogood- vocals, guitar

Billy Blough- bass

Jeff Simon- drums, percussion

Hank Carter- saxophone

Ian Stewart- piano, keyboards

Besides the fact it was a rubbish film, I think that the soundtrack to “Christine” was the first of a long list of film soundtracks back in the 1980s to try to incorporate different forms of music in an attempt to appeal to everyone. I don’t know for sure as I have no intention of listening to it. Why should I? After all, the best single on it can be found on a far more superior album.

Next post: Planet P Project

To buy Rock And Roll Children- go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Golden Earring- Cut

Posted in 1980s, films, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-Golden_Earring_-_Cut

Here goes my memory haunting me again. The major attribute about the band Golden Earring I have constantly forgotten over the years is the fact that they are Dutch. I won’t bore you by preaching to the choir that this is further proof that good music isn’t limited to any one nation, but you know. What my forgetfulness is forcing me to do is to change the post I wrote several months ago about my choices for National Anthems. For those familiar with the post, I chose the song “Down in the Silver Mine” by Diesel for The Netherlands. That is still a great song but there is a far better and more deserving song to represent Holland. That song is none other than “Radar Love” by Golden Earring. So, if nobody has any objections, I will go back to that post and amend this.

Unfortunately, many people, including a good number in the rock and metal world have Golden Earring down for being one hit wonders. They only know “Radar Love.” While I never had them down for that, I didn’t realize that they have an extremely rich discography which I am salivating over having a listen to. Some will argue that they are two hit wonders because of the single from this album in 1983, “Twilight Zone.” Believe me, the “Cut” album alone is too good to dismiss Golden Earring as such.

Without any of the flowery wording, let’s just say that “Cut” is a very good hard rock album. One could go as far as to say that they are melodic hard rock in respect to the album. The horns in the opener, “The Devil Made Me Do It” remind me slightly of their all time classic but there is some good rock to be had. The next three tracks are all melodic hard rock tracks with “Baby Dynamite” being the best of them. “Lost and Found” is more of a straight forward rock tune with some decent harmonizing by the band. I think “Chargin’ Up My Batteries” influenced later new wave artists but I can’t quite put my finger on who would sound like the song and “Secrets” is just simply a good closer.

Normally, I get a little nervous when the hit single is the best track on the album. If you heard “Twilight Zone” back in the day, please forget the shortened down radio/MTV version. The proper version is nearly eight minutes long and with some really cool long guitar solos. It makes a catchy radio oriented song that much better. Hey, there’s even a bass solo in it. A great song but while it is the best track on “Cut,” it doesn’t stand so far above the other tracks that it diminishes them. What this combo does is make the album that much better.

Track Listing:

  1. The Devil Made Me Do It
  2. Future
  3. Baby Dynamite
  4. Last of the Mohicans
  5. Lost and Found
  6. Twilight Zone
  7. Chargin’ Up My Batteries
  8. Secrets
Golden Earring

Golden Earring

Rinus Gerritsen- bass, keyboards

Barry Hay- guitar, vocals

George Koomans- guitar, vocals

Robert Jan Stips- synthesizer

Ceasar Zuiderwijk- drums

Not long ago, I commented on another blog that Golden Earring’s famous hit, “Radar Love,” appeared as a driving song in “Wayne’s World 2.” That is a great cruising song apart from being a classic rock tune. However, Golden Earring were never one hit wonders as the “Cut” album proves.

Next post: George Thorogood and the Destroyers- Bad to the Bone

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London