Archive for the films Category

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Survivor- Too Hot to Sleep

Posted in 1980s, films, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2022 by 80smetalman

Sometimes I wonder if there is some sort of mathematical link between my liking an album and its chart success because I really like this album “Too Hot to Sleep” by Survivor. However, the album was not a successful album chart-wise. Survivor proved to me in 1984, with the “Vital Signs” album that they didn’t need the “Rocky” films to achieve success. It was further cemented with their previous album, “When Seconds Count.” So, I can’t figure for the life of me why this album did so poorly because I really like it or maybe that’s the reason.

“Too Hot to Sleep” borders on being heavy metal on some tracks. That was made clear on the opening track, “She’s a Star.” When I heard those power chords, I thought, “Wow, this is good!” Another point is the fact that Frankie Sullivan nails some really cool guitar solos on many songs, including the one already mentioned. Hell, looking at the video, he looks like he could be a metal guitarist. Actually all three members look pretty metal in that video. On the other hand, Survivor didn’t completely abandon the melodic rock formula which brought them fame. “Desperate Dreams” is living proof of that fact.

Like with their previous album, the title track is one that does it for me. It has that hauntingly cool acoustic guitar intro followed by the dependable vocals of Jimi Jamison and supported by keyboard work from Jim Peterik and of course a killer solo from Frank. He really goes mad at the end. The only thing needed was to turn up the guitars an octave or so higher.

“Didn’t Know It Was Love” stays in traditional Survivor territory. It reminds me of “High On You” from the “Vital Signs” album and I’m more than a little surprised that it didn’t make a dent in the singles charts. It’s a song meant for such things. Meanwhile, “Rhythm of the City” is a straightforward rocker with a great rhythm guitar riff. This song is definitely close to metal and out of all my blubbering about the guitar playing of Frankie, he’s at his best on this one. One way to describe this track is to think of “Burning Heart” from “Rocky IV” as a metal tune. No doubt, this one gets my vote for hidden gem. Talking about “Burning Heart,” “Here Comes Desire” is a song which is closer to that. It has a definite swagger to it, especially with Jim tinkling the ivories on it and a great guitar solo from Frankie.

The track that did have some chart success is the ballad “Across the Miles.” Jimi’s vocals are the key to this one although he is backed up well by the other two. “Tell Me I Am the One” is more in the 80s pop vein but the backing vocals are good and Frankie keeps it from becoming a total pop song. Things go more rock on “Can’t Give It Up.” The band is spot on with this one with some nice little guitar hooks and you get double the prizes, a good guitar solo and the song is taken out with some keyboard wizardry from Jim. The album goes out with authority with the almost power ballad like “Burning Bridges.” Was the title a metaphor of things to come? Who knows? But it does end the album well.

Historical facts I understand these days which I couldn’t fathom back then was Survivor replaced bassist Stephen Ellis and drummer Marc Droubay with studio musicians. On the tour for “When Seconds Count,” Stephen developed a stomach ulcer and was unable to play on many of the tour dates. Marc was becoming more disillusioned with the band’s shift to more pop and was eventually dismissed from the band. That’s the strange thing, I wouldn’t call “Too Hot to Sleep” a pop album, more melodic rock inching towards melodic hard rock.

Track Listing:

  1. She’s a Star
  2. Desperate Dreams
  3. Too Hot to Sleep
  4. Didn’t Know It Was Love
  5. Rhythm of the City
  6. Here Comes Desire
  7. Across the Miles
  8. Tell Me I’m the One
  9. Can’t Give It Up
  10. Burning Bridges
Survivor

Jimi Jamison- lead and backing vocals

Frankie Sullivan- guitar, backing vocals

Jim Peterik- keyboards

Additional Musicians:

Peter-John Vettesse- keyboards

Bill Syniar- bass

Mickey Curry- drums

Ian Lloyd- backing vocals

Tommy Shaw- backing vocals

Rory Dodd- additional lead vocals on “Across the Miles”

Survivor would take a hiatus after “Too Hot to Sleep” although Jimi Jamison would tour under the band’s name resulting in legal disputes. It’s a damn shame this album didn’t take off because this whole album has been a hidden gem for me.

Next post: Bonfire- Fireworks

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To give Bruce Dickinson his well deserved knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

If You Have Netflix, Then Watch This Movie!

Posted in 1980s, films, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2022 by 80smetalman

My stepson, Teal, recommended the film, “Metal Lords,” to me and in the past few weeks, I’ve seen it twice and now I’m going to plug how good the film is here. Without spoiling the entire plot, “Metal Lords” is about two socially displaced high school kids, Hunter and Kevin. Hunter is a total metalhead who dreams of hitting the big time as a great metal guitarist. Kevin, the drummer, although not a metalhead in the traditional sense, follows Hunter’s lead because Hunter saved him from a bully in third grade. Together, they form the band, Skullfucker.

All the heavy metal cliches are in the film but the thing was, I don’t care because they are all the truth. There’s the being picked on by the jocks, singled out by teachers and late in the film, Hunter’s father has him committed to a clinic because as we all know, only insane people listen to heavy metal. In addition, Kevin gets a girlfriend, Emily, who plays the cello. With the band still not able to find a bass player, Kevin tries to pitch Emily but Hunter rejects it saying that the cello is not a metal instrument. This eventually leads to a falling out between the two friends and Kevin joining the bubble gum pop band, Mollycoddle. It all leads to what some will call a predictable ending but it’s all done a great metal form.

My strange ability to pick out the small details in films, I found it amusing that when Kevin is in Mollycoddle, he finds playing the drums to their songs a lot easier than being a metal drummer. Even if he does nail, “War Pigs.” Then there’s my favourite scene when Kevin is in the pool and about to cheat on Emily, he is visited by Scott Ian, Tom Morello, Kirk Hammett and Rob Halford who all (Rob even more so) remind Kevin what a great girl Emily is and he shouldn’t cheat on her. Then again, if those four Gods visited me, I would do anything they said. One last point, “War Pigs” sounds excellent played on the cello.

Kevin being visited by Scott, Tom, Kirk and Rob

Of course no metal film would be worth its weight if it didn’t have a killer soundtrack.

  1. Skullflower- Machinery of Torment
  2. Judas Priest- Metal Gods
  3. Iron Maiden- The Trooper
  4. Avenged Sevenfold- Hail to the King
  5. Judas Priest- Painkiller
  6. Metallica- For Whom the Bell Tolls
  7. Black Sabbath- War Pigs
  8. Mastodon- Blood and Thunder
  9. Judas Priest- Grinder
  10. Ozzy Osbourne- Dee
  11. Motorhead- Ace of Spades
  12. Metallica- One
  13. Pantera- Cowboys From Hell
  14. Metallica- Master of Puppets
  15. Zeal & Ardor- Trust No One
  16. Guns ‘N’ Roses- Since I Don’t Have You
  17. Metallica- Whiplash
  18. Pantera- I’m Broken
Performance of the song in the film

I urge everyone to watch “Metal Lords.” It may be a little predictable but with all of that metal, who the hell cares?

Next post: Original vs. Cover

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition for a knighthood for Bruce Dickinson, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson/dashboard?source_location=user_profile_started

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Anvil- Strength of Steel

Posted in 1980s, films, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2022 by 80smetalman

First, let me award Anvil’s “Strength of Steel” album the 80smetalman Award for “Best album of 1987 to have escaped my attention.” That’s where the paradox begins. In “Anvil, The Story of Anvil” documentary about the band, Lips laments that most fans only know of their first three albums, “Hard and Heavy,” “Metal on Metal” and “Forged in Fire” and don’t know about the albums they had released since. One of those mentioned was this album. However, while it did escape my attention at the time, “Strength of Steel” was the only Anvil album to chart in the US, hitting 191. Therefore, I must conclude that while the album is now a distant memory, it must have been fairly big at the time.

“Strength of Steel” opens with the title cut which opens with some foreboding bass and drums before the guitars come crashing down. What it does is let you know that Anvil hadn’t gone anywhere as it marks the band’s return to playing some serious metal. On my first couple of listens, I was about to confine the second track, “Concrete Jungle” to the filler heap. However, after subsequent listens, I should slap myself for even thinking of doing that. Robb Reiner’s drums open the track which is then accented by some intricate guitar work from Lipps. He lays down a nice solo and when it reaches its climax, is accompanied by some cool rhythm guitar licks. I also like how the entire band comes together to take the song out.

Robb’s drums and Lipps and Dave Allison’s guitars bring in “9-2-5” on an absolute high. Everyone can identify with a song about the daily working grind but when it’s done with a cool guitar solo, it makes it even better. Guitars introduce “I Dreamed of the End of the World” and boy does this song rock. I have decided that if I am around when the world is about to end, then this is the track I’m going to be listening to when it does. If the world hasn’t quite ended by the time the song is finished, the guitar swirling instrumental, “The Flight of the Bumble Beast” can take it the rest of the way. This could be a thrash song at that speed but the guitar solo keeps right along with it.

Here’s my one constructive criticism of the album. Songs about the working grind should be immediately followed by a party song. “Cut Loose” is about just going out and letting your hair down and with the intensity the song is at, plus the killer guitar solo, it’s my track of the album. However, it would have been better placed if it followed on right after “9-2-5.” No real biggie because it sets up the charge which is the second half of the album. “Mad Dog” leads the charge with it’s crunching guitars but the star of this track is the bass of Ian Dickson. It’s his bassline which keeps things together while the others go off on wild tangents. I do find Lipp’s little snigger at the end of the song quite amusing.

“Straight Between the Eyes” moves the heavy metal party along nicely. Loud, hard and angry, it just fits in well with the rest of the album. “Wild Eyes” is a cover of a song by The Stampeders but Anvil put their own unique spin on it and it sounds brilliant. You can’t miss Lipps’s unmistakable vocals on this one and of course, there are those angry guitars punctuated by a great guitar solo where Lipps just goes nuts and the rest of the band keep up with him really well. Then they sound like they want to go prog-metal on the intro of “Kiss of Death.” Actually, as the song gets into gear, this is more a doom metal track. The depressing sounding vocals and slow pounding guitars stress this point. Here’s my second constructive criticism of the album, this would have made a better closer than “Paper Generals.” Don’t get me wrong, “Paper Generals” is a cool track with its anti-war lyrics and if “Kiss of Death” wasn’t on the album, then it would have made the closer but I just feel the tracks should have been swapped. That would have made a great album even greater.

Track Listing:

  1. Strength of Steel
  2. Concrete Jungle
  3. 9-2-5
  4. I Dreamed of the End of the World
  5. The Flight of the Bumble Beast
  6. Cut Loose
  7. Mad Dog
  8. Straight Between the Eyes
  9. Wild Eyes
  10. Kiss of Death
  11. Paper Generals
Anvil

Steve ‘Lipps’ Kudrow- lead guitar, vocals

Dave Allison- guitar, second vocal on “Straight Between the Eyes”

Ian Dickson- bass

Robb Reiner- drums

Lips and Roberson going for it. Anvil playing in Gloucester, UK 2016

I am pretty certain that Anvil didn’t play any songs from this album when I saw them in 2016. If I had heard “Strength of Steel” before I had seen them, I would have screamed to play tracks from it. After all, when I called for them to play “Forged in Fire,” they obliged me.

Next post: KISS- Crazy Nights

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition for a knighthood for Bruce Dicksinson, (to my non- British readers, it will count if you sign it) click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Happy 30th Birthday Wayne’s World

Posted in films, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2022 by 80smetalman

Wayne and with him always is Garth

Another reason to feel really old. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the release of one of the greatest heavy metal party films of all time, “Wayne’s World.” I really can’t believe the movie has been out that long! When it came out here in Britain way back in 1992, I saw it twice in the cinema and the moment it became available on VHS a few months later, of course I grabbed a copy!

This film embraced everything I loved about heavy metal and the lifestyle associated with it. I could identify with most of the characters and those I couldn’t identify with personally, I knew of someone who could. Being a married man with two small children when the film came out, it took me back to a few years earlier when my friends and I would cruise down the road with the car stereo playing. Although in our case, it was usually the Stormtroopers of Death. I could even identify with Phil because there were some occasions where I was ‘partied out.’ I was also a bit jealous because we didn’t have a rock club as cool as The Gasworks where I lived.

For those not familiar with the history behind the movie, the concept was born out of a television segment on the US comedy series, “Saturday Night Live.” “Wayne’s World” was a ten minute spot on the show where Wayne, played by Mike Meyers and his friend Garth, played by Dana Carvey are two metalheads who have their own cable access show of the same name. They would get up to all sorts of metal related antics. Often times, they would have guests actors on as well including and my favourite episode was when Aerosmith appeared on it.

Aerosmith on Wayne’s World. I tried pasting this from Youtube but it wasn’t having it.

Obviously, the movie is taken from the TV show. The quick synopsis of the film is that Wayne’s cable access show is bought by a seedy TV executive, Benjamin, played by Rob Lowe who intends to exploit it. At the same time, Wayne’s love interest, Cassandra, (Tia Carrere) who is also lead singer and bassist in a band also catches Benjamin’s eye and plans to make a video for her band. Let’s just say, everything unravels in a hilarious way with three endings. First the tragic ending, then the Scooby-Doo ending and finally the mega-happy ending. There are appearances by Meat Loaf, Alice Cooper and Robert Patrick, who played the T-1000 robot in “Terminator 2.”

Wayne and Cassandra
Have you seen this boy?

“Wayne’s World” not only appealed to metalheads, many people who wouldn’t normally associate themselves with heavy metal said they enjoyed the film. Back in 2003, I found that a colleague at the school I was teaching at was also a big “Wayne’s World” fan and on the last day of school, agreed to show it to our classes. Other teachers scoffed calling the film dated. However, we went ahead and the students were glued to the screen. They all said they loved it.

So, happy 30th birthday “Wayne’s World!” I hope everyone will watch it again or even for the first time. I know it will be as funny now as it was then. Party on!

Next post: Overkill- Taking Over

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Dokken- Back for the Attack

Posted in 1980s, films, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 6, 2022 by 80smetalman

Have you listened to an album recently and found it was much better than when you listened to it years earlier? I recently had that experience with Accept’s “Russian Roulette” album and I was hoping the same thing was going to happen when I listened to Dokken’s 1987 album, “Back for the Attack.” I didn’t hate the album when I first heard it in 1987 but I thought the album lacked punch. The problem is that after hearing it three times recently, my view hasn’t shifted.

“Back for the Attack” sums up what happens to many bands. They are hungry on their first few albums and that hunger is reflected in the music and the way the band plays it. This was definitely true on the first three Dokken albums. They were hungry and it certainly shows and I could see that hunger for myself when I saw them support first Twisted Sister and then Judas Priest in 1986. Then the band makes the big time and when they do, it seems like they don’t have to try anymore. That is exactly the case with this album. It almost feels like Dokken are going through the motions and it’s why the album isn’t as good as the first three.

I think the main problem is the choruses of most of the songs. In some cases, it sounds like the band is hung over. It is the choruses where the lack of punch makes itself known. On many of the tracks, they start out with some great riffs, vocals and rhythm section and I start getting excited about it and then I hear the chorus and think, ‘”Are they trying?” It leaves me shaking my head until George Lynch is able to restore some excitement with a decent guitar solo.

For all my ripping on the album just now, it’s still pretty good. The main reason is the parts outside of the choruses where Don sings well, Jeff and Mick lay down a strong rhythm and George shreds. One song which manage to beat the chorus let down is the closer, “Dream Warriors,” which I am sure most of you know from the “Nightmare on Elm Street 3” soundtrack. That is one chorus which definitely has some punch. While the chorus is how I describe it on “Lost Behind the Wall,” it is a standout track nevertheless. I dig Jeff’s bassline and George does some of his best shredding. “Stop Fighting Love” has a great intro and an equally great George solo but it is let down by the lackluster chorus.

Taking what I have said about the album, it is the reason why I think “Mr Scary” is the best track on the album, it’s an instrumental so there are no choruses to be sung half-heartedly. George, Jeff and Mick just go and play their hearts out and the result is a brilliant track. Now, it is easy for me to blame Don for the bland vocals on the chorus but he does sing the verses of the songs with conviction, so it’s not that. Besides, Jeff and Mick also provide backing vocals. Still, you can’t go wrong on “Mr Scary.”

Track Listing:

  1. Kiss of Death
  2. Prisoner
  3. Night by Night
  4. Standing in the Shadows
  5. Heaven Sent
  6. Mr Scary
  7. So Many Tears
  8. Burning Like a Flame
  9. Lost Behind the Wall
  10. Stop Fighting Love
  11. Cry of the Gypsy
  12. Sleepless Night
  13. Dream Warriors
Dokken

Don Dokken- lead vocals

George Lynch- guitar

Jeff Pilson- bass, backin vocals

Mick Brown- drums, backing vocals

What amazes me is how the chorus can affect a song. With all of these tracks on “Back for the Attack,” each starts out as if it’s going to be a killer song but then the chorus makes me think, “Oh, that’s it.” Otherwise this could have reached the dizzy heights the first three. Then again, the commercial success of the album could say that I am totally wrong here. I would like to hear your opinions on “Back for the Attack.”

Next post: 30 Year Anniversary of a Great Film

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition to have Bruce Dickinson knighted, (you don’t have to be British to sign), click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

My Experience of Desmond Child

Posted in 1979, films, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2021 by 80smetalman
Desmond Child, 2019

Reading many of your blogs out there, Mike Ledano and 2Loud’s especially, I have learned a lot about one Desmond Child. I never knew that he wrote songs, many of them hits, or produced albums for the likes of KISS, Aerosmith, Cher, Bon Jovi, Bonnie Tyler and many many more. My association with Desmond came about through a totally different manner. Not through his producing, my introduction to him came via the soundtrack of my all time favourite film, “The Warriors.” FFI- I’ve included my post on said soundtrack should you wish to read it.

Desmond not only writes my favourite track on the soundtrack, the closer, “Last of an Ancient Breed,” he sings it as well and I must say that Desmond is a decent singer and could have made it as one if he had gotten the breaks. Note: There were a couple of other talented singers on the soundtrack who vanished after. So, enough of me prattling on, here’s the song.

Yes, they do use excerpts from the 1983 film, “The Outsiders” in this video as well.

Hope you enjoyed!

Next post: Malice- License to Kill

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Rock Albums of 1987: The Smiths- Strangeways, Here We Come

Posted in 1980s, films, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2021 by 80smetalman

A great perk of my job working with adults with Autism is that in the house I predominately work in, when the service user who requires 95% of my attention goes on a home visit, my evenings at work are quite leisurely. Such was the case last week. I was searching the Sky Movie channels looking for a film to watch when I discovered a film called, “Shoplifters of the World.” Reading the info, I gave it a watch and it was pretty good.

From the film: Shoplifters of the World

Set in Colorado in 1987, the film is about fans of British new wave rock band, The Smiths who are lamenting the band’s break up. As a result, one devoted fan breaks into the local radio station and pulls a gun on the deejay, who is a total metalhead, and demands he plays a bunch of songs by his favourite band. As the story develops, the Smiths fan and the metalhead deejay form a bond as the station draws a large crowd of the band’s fans in support. On a side note, I love how the deejay relates his story of how is wife walked out on him while he was listening to “Master of Puppets.” He was so engrossed in the album, he didn’t even notice her leave. Anyway, the film ends with a mutual appreciation between the gunman and deejay, which is what music is supposed to do. I recommend this film.

The movie had me doing more research into The Smiths and it might have been a good thing, as their 1987 album, “Strangeways, Here We Come” had totally passed me by that year. Maybe I was listening to too much metal then. Listening to the album now, it has slowly grown on me but it took a couple of listens for it to be so. The first two tracks are decent enough, a smooth light indie pop sound but then the band tries to stretch out a bit on the track “Death of a Disco Dancer,” for me it falls flat. If I listened to this track too much, the title could be changed to “Death of 80smetalman” because it is a song to slit your wrists to and this is coming from someone who listens to Pink Floyd’s “Animals” album.

Fortunately, that is the low point on the album as things drastically improve with the next two tracks. My favourite track on the album, “Girlfriend in a Coma” coming just after. The following track, “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before,” carries things on. Then it appears that the album might be venturing back into “Death of a Disco Dancer” territory with “Last Night I Dreamt That Someone Loved Me.” It starts as if it’s going to be a slow, gloomy song but it then picks up. I think this song would have sounded even better with the use of power chords.

Since “Girlfriend in a Coma” was single, then by rules of 80smetalman, “Unhappy Birthday” is the hidden gem on the track. It’s a mid-tempo straight ahead rock tune and there is some good guitar work from Johnny Marr. Although he’s not a (insert great guitarist here), his work on this song is good. “Paint a Vulgar Picture” has a very impressive intro and is good, upbeat song and Johnny actually plays a guitar solo on it. Also, it might drag on a little too long. There is a rockabilly beat to “Death At One’s Elbow,” and is well done. However, the remaining track is unremarkable in my view but does the job of ending the album.

Track Listing:

  1. A Rush and a Push and the Land Is Ours
  2. I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish
  3. Death of a Disco Dancer
  4. Girlfriend in a Coma
  5. Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before
  6. Last Night I Dreamt That Someone Loved Me
  7. Unhappy Birthday
  8. Paint a Vulgar Picture
  9. Death at One’s Elbow
  10. I Won’t Share You
The Smiths

Morrisey- lead vocals, piano, handclaps

Johnny Marr- guitar, keyboards, harmonica, marimba, harmonium, additional vocals, handclaps

Andy Rourke- bass, keyboards, handclaps

Mike Joyce- drums, percussion, handclaps

Thanks to a good film, I got to experience an album that passed me by back in the day. The Smiths would break up after “Strangeways, Here We Come.” While not their best album, it’s still good in places and worth having a listen to. But definitely watch the film.

Next post: Dio- Dream Evil

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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