Archive for the Humour Category

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 Rock Albums of 1984: Weird Al Yankovic- In 3D

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2017 by 80smetalman

Michael Jackson did two things in 1984 which rose him up a few points in my estimation, both of which were linked to his top selling song, “Beat It.” First, when accepting a Grammy for the song, he had the decency to include Eddie Van Halen in his list of thank yous. After all, it was Eddie’s guitar solo on the song the reason why metalheads, bought the single. The other act was to allow Weird Al Yankovic to record a parody of “Beat It” called “Eat It.” That would be Weird Al’s best known single and even charted in the UK and it helped his 1984 album, “In 3D” become his biggest album. In fact, he was allowed to use many of the same dancers Michael Jackson used in the “Beat It” video for “Eat It.”

Weird Al Yankovic has always been known for his parodies of other great songs and there are plenty of those on “In 3D.” His second single from the album, “I Lost on Jeopardy” is a parody of the Greg Kihn Band’s 1983 hit, “Jeopardy” as well as making fun of the TV game show of the same name. I do wonder how many people went on game shows and looked stupid on national television. Greg Kihn makes an appearance in the video for this song. “King of Suede” parodies the classic from The Police, “King of Pain” and is about a clothing store owner. “Rocky XIII” is a funny parody of Survivor’s hit from the film “Rocky III” “Eye of the Tiger” about how Rocky Balboa gives up boxing to be delicatessen owner. I love the lyrics: “It’s the rye or the kaiser, it’s the thrill of one bite.” A lesser known track but one of my favourite is “The Brady Bunch,” a parody of the Men Without Hats’s only hit, “Safety Dance.” It is believed that from the lyrics, Weird Al didn’t care too much for the 1970s American sit com his song is named after.

It’s not just famous songs that come under the comic roast of Weird Al. He parodies other subjects as well. The second track, “Midnight Star” takes the rip out of grocery store tabloids. However, some of the headlines he mentions for his tabloid, “Midnight Star” aren’t too far fetched in the real ones. I do remember headlines like, “They’re Keeping Hitler’s Brain Inside a Jar,” “Aliens From Outer Space are Sleeping in My Car” and “The Ghost of Elvis is Living in My Den.” Another of my favourites is “That Boy Could Dance” which is about a nerdy geeky loser who is a great dancer, so all his shortcomings are overlooked. Trust me, the song is much funnier that my attempt to explain it here. Then there is the Bob Marley influenced reggae track, “Buy Me a Condo” which is about a Jamaican boy who wants to come to America and live a middle class existence. Even my least favourite track on the album, Mr Popeil is funny. Probably because I remember all the Popeil adverts for things like the Ginsu Knife and the Pocket Fisherman.

In 1981, there were two singles called “Stars on 45” and “Stars on 45 II.” The former took Beatles’ songs and made a medley out of it. The latter did the same with Beach Boys songs. So what Weird Al did was to take classic rock songs and make a medley out of those but instead, set to polka music. Some great rock classics like “Smoke on the Water” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” get the polka treatment.

When I bought this album and saw the track listing, I thought the closer, “Nature Trail to Hell,” might be a parody of the AC/DC classic, “Highway to Hell.” Instead, it lambastes blood and gore horror films. “Nature Trail to Hell” to quote the song, is about “A homicidal maniac who finds a cub scout troop and hacks up two or three in every scene.” This was particularly relevant at the time because “Friday the 13th Part 4” was in the cinema then. You know, the one advertised as the film where Jason meets his grisly end. Well done by Al, it makes a fantastic closer.

Track Listing:

  1. Eat It
  2. Midnight Star
  3. The Brady Bunch
  4. Buy Me a Condo
  5. I Lost on Jeopardy
  6. Polkas on 45
  7. Mr Popeil
  8. King of Suede
  9. That Boy Could Dance
  10. Rocky XIII
  11. Nature Trail to Hell

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic- vocals, synthesizer, accordion, piano

Jim West- guitar

Steve Jay- bass, banjo, talking drums

John ‘Bermuda’ Schwartz- drums, percussion

Rick Derringer- guitar, mandolin

Weird Al Yankovic hit the big time 1984 with this album, “In 3D.” I dare anyone to listen to this album and not laugh their heads off at least one song. For me, it’s nearly all of them. Anyone who doesn’t find any part of this album funny, then they have no sense of humour.

Next post: Randy Newman- Trouble in Paradise

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

 

 

 

An 80smetalman Poll: Which Metal Artist Would Best Cover the Song Yummy, Yummy, Yummy?

Posted in Heavy Metal, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2017 by 80smetalman

In a post featured by Danica who writes the blog, “Living a Beautiful Life,” I have been inspired and encouraged by her to make up a poll. Danica featured the only hit from 1960s band, Ohio Express, “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy.” That song took me way back as I remember listening to it on the radio when I was seven and would sing along with the words. After all, they weren’t that difficult. What I picked up on when I listened to it a couple of days ago after oh so many years was there was a bit of a crunching beat to it. This led me to conclude that the song would sound pretty good if metalized. When I brought the subject up to Danica, she put forward two acts she thought would do a good job with it and I countered with three.

Danica’s Choices:

Rammstein

Now For My Choices:

Krokus

Anthrax

Ozzy Osbourne

Obviously, the choices aren’t limited to these. I’m sure there are many of you out there who have their own opinion as to who could best give “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” a metal spin. If so, Danica and I would love to hear your thoughts.

Next post: Weird Al Yankovic- In 3D

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

 

Merry Christmas to All!

Posted in Heavy Metal, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on December 25, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-Bob_Rivers_-_I_Am_Santa_Claus_cover

Twas the day before Christmas and I finally got my computer back. It turns out that they finished it a week ago but forgot to inform me of it. Anyway, while I was able to keep up with many of your posts using my stepson’s laptop, I couldn’t post on it. I didn’t think it would be right. Anyway, I’m back in business and 80smetalman will resume as normal. In the meant time, I would like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanuka or just Happy Holidays in general. If you want something different to listen to at Christmas, may I suggest the album pictured above.

Next post will definitely be: Vandenberg- Heading for a Storm.

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock One Hit Wonders of 1983

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2016 by 80smetalman

It’s that time of the year, at least as far as the trip through 1983 is concerned, where I look back on those who had one song that got my attention and nothing more. In short, it’s time to look at the great rock one hit wonders of 1983.

rufftrade

Now you would think that with a name like Rough Trade, this would be a power chord happy heavy metal band. Unfortunately, there is too much piano in their hit “High School Confidential” to make that even possible. However, the song is memorable enough that it has never escaped my memory after all these years.  Maybe it was because when I heard it in ’83, I was amused by the lyrics: “She makes me want to cream my jeans.” Wow, the things that amused my young mind then. Thinking about it though, the song might sound really cool if metalized.

Doctor Demento

Doctor Demento

Here’s a classic example of how attitudes have changed in the past thirty-three years. Today, if anyone put out a song about a clown who is a peadophile, that person or persons would be hung, drawn and quartered. Things were a bit different in 1983 where a song called “Kinko the Clown” got loads of airplay on the Doctor Demento show. Even then, it was too tasteless for mainstream radio. Back then it got lots of laughs from people who heard it, me included. Today, I see the not funny side about it.

3stooges

No the Three Stooges didn’t put out any songs in 1983. If they did, I would have bought it because I was a big fan of theirs since I was 12, coitenly, nyuk nyuk! Like most fans of this classic comedy group, my favourite Stooge was Curly. So you can imagine how excited I was when I heard the song, “Curly Shuffle” by the Jump in the Saddle Band. The song is definitely of the swing jazz genre but it is played so well that it rocks! Throwing the phrases and sounds made by Curly into the song take it up even higher. Once again, proof that humour belongs in music. So don’t be a victim of coicumstance!

Martin Briley

Martin Briley

Naturally, I save the best for last. “Salt in My Tears” by Martin Briley is simply a great rocker, nuff said! Thirty three years on, I still head bang along to it. A great rocking hook and though the guitar solo is mind blowing, it is sufficient here. From a personal historical aspect, this song came out just before I got out of the marines and it immediately had me thinking of an ex girlfriend while I was in and how I wanted to sing the song to her. While I don’t think about her anymore, those lyrics continue to amuse me.

Well those are my choices for the great rock one hit wonders of 1983 and hopefully they’ll bring back some memories for you.

Next post: Triumphs and Tragedies

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: John Cougar Mellencamp- Uh Huh

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2016 by 80smetalman

John_Cougar_Mellencamp-Uh-Huh_(album_cover)

One type of person whom most other people in the world find annoying is the guy who acts all tough but clearly isn’t. This was a major problem for John Cougar Mellencamp back in the early 1980s, especially in the eyes of many metalheads. My sister saw him live in 1983 along with Journey (who headlined,) Sammy Hagar, The Tubes and Bryan Adams. Anyway, while Cougar was on stage, ( he hadn’t reclaimed is family name yet), someone threw something onto the stage. In response, John called out, “Hey mother f*cker, throw some shit up here again and I’ll come down and stomp on your ass.” While this was amusing, I remember one friend who said that he would have thrown something else at the stage so he could kick John Cougar’s ass because Cougar was a wimp.

JCM’s 1983 album “Uh Huh” established him as a true American rock act and many of my British friends agree. My thoughts on the album was while it wasn’t a metal album, it was still hard enough for metalheads to enjoy. I have always enjoyed “Uh Huh,” even the singles, which are the first three songs on the album. “Crumblin’ Down,” “Pink Houses” and “The Authority Song” were all good tunes that stretched across the barriers that were being erected in music back then. They had a commercial appeal and a hard rock enough sound that no one who liked those songs would be accused of leaving their chosen camp. Of the three, “The Authority Song” is my favourite because it highlights perfectly the phase I was going through at the time. It was kind of and I stress kind of my theme song for a brief period.

After the three singles, there is still plenty of straightforward American rock and roll to be had. “Play Guitar” and “Lovin’ Mother Fo Ya” definitely qualify but the best song of all on the album has to be “Serious Business.” The lyrics alone make the song for me. I mean how could one not like lyrics that go :

“This is serious business, sex and violence and rock and roll.”

Hell, I’m singing those lyrics now as I type this. This is why I found “Uh Huh” to be such and enjoyable album. John Cougar Mellencamp has a bit of fun on it.

Track Listing:

  1. Crumblin’ Down
  2. Pink Houses
  3. The Authority Song
  4. Warmer Place to Sleep
  5. Jackie O
  6. Play Guitar
  7. Serious Business
  8. Lovin’ Mother Fo Ya
  9. Golden Gates
John Cougar Mellencamp

John Cougar Mellencamp

John Cougar Mellencamp- vocals

Larry Crane- guitar

Kenny Aronoff- drums, percussion

Toby Myers- bass

Mike Wanchic- guitar, backing vocals

Louis Johnson- bass

Carol Sue Hill- vocals

Maggie Ryder- vocals

Jay Ferguson- vocals

When I was teaching full time, I did an American theme in a cookery lesson which the class was making sloppy joes and corn dogs. One of my British colleagues remarked at this, “Sloppy Joes and corn dogs, it sounds like a John Mellencamp song.” Yes, many people outside the US regard John Cougar Mellencamp as truly and American artist, especially with some of the topics he sings about in later albums. That was before “Uh Huh,” where while there are some hidden themes, it’s still a fun rocker of an album.

Next post: Dave Edmunds- Information

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

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Thomas Dolby- The Golden Age of the Wireless

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 8, 2016 by 80smetalman

Thomas_Dolby_-_The_Golden_Age_Of_Wireless_(US)

In many musical circles, Thomas Dolby is considered a one hit wonder, only known for his classic song, “She Blinded Me With Science.” Me personally, I’ve always liked that song, always having loved humour in music and there is plenty of it to be found in “She Blinded Me With Science.” What I loved best is the background voices that hilariously repeat the title or just say, “Science!” Furthermore, the keyboards in it are played very well. However, for those of us who take our music slightly more seriously, Thomas Dolby is not a one hit wonder. As I reflect back to 1983, I think that he represented the crossroads between progressive rock and the synth pop that made up much of the 1980s. I also know that I wasn’t the only metalhead who liked Thomas Dolby, so for any of my metal brethren out there, don’t be afraid to step forward and admit it. There’s nothing to be ashamed about.

The trademark keyboards that I mentioned on the hit single can be found throughout the entire album. Some of the tracks are quite trippy bordering on space rock. “Weightless” and “Windpower” are two of these. I could easily listen to both of those songs along with Hawkwind or a Paul Kantner solo album and they wouldn’t be out of place. Dolby’s vocals add to the trippy feeling. He doesn’t try to make any of these songs sound commercial, barring “She Blinded Me With Science” but it’s the humour that makes that song for me. “Commercial Breakup” goes more in a traditional progressive rock direction while at the same time having a reggae feel to it, nicely done. What Dolby does on “The Golden Age of the Wireless” is employ the modern technology of the time into his music but he does so without compromising any of his musical integrity.

Track Listing:

  1. She Blinded Me With Science
  2. Radio Waves
  3. Airwaves
  4. Flying North
  5. Weightless
  6. Europa and the Pirate Twins
  7. Windpower
  8. Commercial Breakup
  9. One of Our Submarines
  10. Cloudburst at Shingle Street

Thomas Dolby

Thomas Dolby

Thomas Dolby- vocals, synthesizers, wave computer, piano, kalimba, monk voice

Kevin Armstrong- guitar, backing vocals

Dave Birch- guitar, monk voice

Bosco- percussion

Mark Heyward Chaplin- bass

Justin Hildreth- drums

Simon House, Tim Kerr- violin

Simon Lloyd- leadline brass, flute

Daniel Miller- synthesizer

Andy Partridge- harmonica, percussion

Dr Magnus Pike- voiceover

Matthew Seligman- moog bass

Further backing vocals provided by: James Allen, Les Chappel, Judy Evans, Lesley Fairbairn, Mutt Lange, Lene Lovich, Miriam Stockley, Brian Woolley, Akiko Yano

I should have included “One of Our Submarines” in with the songs that stand out for me since it does. My conclusion here is what I have always thought all these years. Thomas Dolby was not a one hit wonder but a very underrated musician. Although many of them might not admit it, I think many of the synth pop bands that came after him would site him as an influence. For me, he was more than synth pop or a one hit wonder.

Next post: Nantucket- No Direction Home

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