Archive for the Uncategorized 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: Rodger Hodgson- In the Eye of the Storm

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2017 by 80smetalman

A friend, in 1984, announced that Supertramp had a new album out. I had to inform him that it wasn’t the case. Instead, thanks to the single, “Had a Dream (Sleeping With the Enemy), getting a fair amount of airplay on radio, I could tell him that former Supertramp guitar/vocalist Roger Hodgson had released his first solo album. One point to me, I think. Besides, my friend was a total Duranie and very anti- heavy metal.

I still feel the same way about Roger’s debut album, “In the Eye of the Storm,” now as I did back then. It could have been another Supertramp album. It became abundantly clear to me that Roger was the driving force behind the band and with his solo album, it was pretty much the same. Not that it’s a bad thing because it’s not. I’ve always liked Supertramp’s version of 1970s progressive rock. Nice keyboard work laced with some guitar done very creatively over rather long songs. I have this memory of Supertramp songs usually being in excess of five minutes, except for a few of the ones released as singles. It is the same on Roger’s album. Four of the seven songs are over seven minutes long and one is just a second below six. In a musical world where synth pop was emerging, I thought it was great to still hear some good progressive rock.

Though unusual for me, I have to say that “Had a Dream (Sleeping With the Enemy) is my favourite track. I liked it enough when radio cut huge chunks out of the song for airplay so the full eight minute plus version was even better. The entire progressive rock arsenal went into making this one. Some great keyboards with bouts of both acoustic and electric guitar with Hodgson’s unmistakable vocals. It all adds up to a great song. Of course, there are other nice songs too. I do like “In Jeopardy” as it is more classic Supertramp. “Hooked on a Problem” is an interesting one. The introduction reminds me of the classic, “The Logical Song” but transforms into sounding like a carnival. I would be repeating myself if I dissected every song, except for “Lovers in the Wind” which does nothing for me personally and credit where due, Roger definitely chose the right song for the closer.

Except for where noted below, I thought it was cool that he got Michael Shrieve of HSAS fame to play drums on the album, Roger plays all of the instruments himself on the album proving what a fine musician he is.

Track Listing:

  1. Had a Dream (Sleeping With the Enemy)
  2. In Jeopardy
  3. Lovers in the Wind
  4. Hooked on a Problem
  5. Give Me Love, Give Me Life
  6. I’m Not Afraid
  7. Only Because of You

Roger Hodgson

Roger Hodgson- vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass, drums on “Hooked on a Problem” and “Lovers in the Wind”

Michael Shrieve- drums, except on tracks 3 and 4

Ken Alldaryce- harmonica, backing vocals

Jimmy Johnson- fretless bass on “Lovers in the Wind” and “Only Because of You”

Claire Diament- female vocals on “Only Because of You”

Scott Page- saxophone on “Hooked on a Problem

Thinking back, I now realize that there was more great progressive rock back in the mid 80s than I allowed myself to believe. This debut album from Roger Hodgson is indisputable evidence of that.

Next Post: Soundtrack to Footloose

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=1507494631&sr=8-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Chicago- 17

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

I’d like to thank Rich for this one. If he hadn’t posted about Chicago’s 11th album from 1977, I would not have remember that the band had a really good album in 1984. Thank you Rich for jogging my memory here. Once my memory got into full swing, I remember that there was a song on this album I really liked. That was the opening track, “Stay the Night,” which I remember most because of the very amusing video got played quite a bit on MTV during the summer.

Reflections from my old age, I now realize that Chicago deserves more credit for “17” than what they actually received. There were two camps in 1984. Most bands were either going down the synth pop road or heading in a more harder direction. Chicago didn’t go down either road. Instead, they stuck with the same formula that made them so successful throughout the 1970s. Their fusion of soft rock and jazz influences work just as well on this album as they had on all of their previous ones. That is precisely why Chicago was my ‘not guilty pleasure’ in the mid 1980s.

Proof of what I’m talking about can be traced to the success of “17.” There were four singles, including my favourite track mentioned above, the best known of these was the ballad, “Hard Habit to Break.” Sure, it’s no where near a heavy metal power ballad but it’s a good song anyway. Just as successful was the track “You’re My Inspiration” which did just as well in the singles charts as “Hard Habit to Break.” The fourth single is probably the hardest rock song on the album, “Along Comes a Woman.” Guitarists Bill Champlin and Chris Pinnick deliver on the guitar on the track and the other instruments do well in support. It has a definite catchy vibe and that makes it my second favourite track. Of course, it wouldn’t be me if there weren’t any non single songs on the album to like. “We Can Stop the Hurting” takes the prize here as it is a definite reminder that Chicago were not about to compromise with their sound. “Remember the Feeling” does come closer to being a power ballad as there is some hard guitar in the background and a fairly decent solo on it. With some really great tracks to close, this album was just like anything you found on any Chicago album throughout the band’s history.

Track listing:

  1. Stay the Night
  2. We Can Stop the Hurtin’
  3. Hard Habit to Break
  4. Only You
  5. Remember the Feeling
  6. Along Comes a Woman
  7. You’re My Inspiration
  8. Please Hold On
  9. Prima Donna
  10. Once in a Lifetime

Chicago

Peter Cetera- bass, lead and backing vocals

Bill Champlin- guitars, keyboards, lead and backing vocals

Robert Lamm- keyboards, lead and backing vocals

Lee Loughnane- trumpet

James Pankow- trombone, horn arrangements

Walter Perazaider- woodwinds

Chris Pinick- guitar

Danny Seraphine- drums

The reason why I considered Chicago to be my not guilty pleasure from the 1980s was down to the fact that by then, I was a total metalhead. Chicago are definitely not metal but I’ve always liked their softer version of rock, especially in the 70s. So there was no reason why I shouldn’t have carry it over into the next decade.

Next post: Roger Hodgson- In the Eye of the Storm

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=1507309311&sr=8-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Styrper- The Yellow and Black Attack

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2017 by 80smetalman

On one occasion in 1984, I resisted the temptation of the devil. Sometime in late August, TCN Hot Rock premiered a Christian heavy metal band on its radio programme. The deejay stated that the band they were playing called themselves ‘headbangers for the Lord’ and that very much intrigued me. So, on that particular Sunday morning, personal history was made as this was my introduction to the now very famous Christian heavy metal band Stryper.

I can’t remember which one of the six songs from their debut EP, “The Yellow and Black Attack” was played on that morning but what I do remember was that I very much liked what I heard. To me, Stryper could hold their own with their secular counter parts in every way. This album has everything a metalhead could ask for. Some crunching power riffs that come through straight away on the opening track and continue all the way to the end. All the vocals on the album were truly amazing and I had a lot of praise for the singer, I didn’t know his name at the time. Of course there was a tight rhythm section but in most cases for me, especially back then was how good the lead guitar was. Well, I don’t think anyone could debate me if I say that Oz Fox belongs up there among his great guitar peers. The best thing about “The Yellow and Black Attack” is that you get all of those ingredients on each one of the six songs on it.

One thing I have stated over the past three decades was that with many heavy metal bands, they start out hungry for success and that raw hunger is expressed on their initial demo or even the debut album, some beyond that. That hunger is definitely there on this album. They might have been singing and playing their hearts out here and the result was that the music could be capable of turning stones into bread.

The problem Stryper had with both Christian and secular audiences was that no one knew how to take Christian heavy metal. Christians had always branded metal Satanic and some thought that the fusion of Christianity and heavy metal to be sacrilege. As for the heathen, many were put off by the threat of Jesus lyrics. One critic referred to them as “Quiet Riot singing Jesus music.” That’s more of an insult for Stryper than to Quiet Riot. Stryper doesn’t sound like them at all to me. True, Stryper proudly sing about their love for their Saviour but having listened to this band so many times in three decades, I have never found myself wanting to go back to the fold.

Personal note: I was a Born Again Christian during my teenage years of the 1970s but all it did for me was mess my head up more than any drugs or music ever could. However, I don’t begrudge anyone who has spiritual beliefs and if they want, I would happily listen to Stryper with them.

Track Listing:

  1. Loud ‘N’ Clear
  2. From Wrong to Right
  3. You Know What to Do
  4. Co’mon Rock
  5. You Won’t Be Lonely
  6. Loving You

Stryper

Michael Sweet- lead vocals, guitar

Oz Fox- lead guitar, backing vocals

Tim Gaines- bass, backing vocals, keyboards

Robert Sweet- drums

They didn’t know it back then but Stryper laid down the foundations that built the bridge between the gulf of Christianity and heavy metal with this, their debut EP, “The Yellow and Black Attack.” From here, Stryper would go onto bigger and better things and whether or not you were a Christian or heathen, their music would touch the metal souls of many metalheads.

Next post: Chicago 17

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=1507042433&sr=8-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rest in Peace- Tom Petty

Posted in 1980s, Death, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2017 by 80smetalman

Tom Petty

It seems that 2017 is determined to suck as much as 2016 with another great rocker going to the great gig in the sky. Tom Petty entertained us with some great music for four decades whether it be with his band, Tom Petty and the Heartbrakers, solo material and a brief stint with the Travelling Willburys who included Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison and the late George Harrison.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/tom-petty-legendary-rocker-is-dead-at-66/

Not only was Tom a great musician, he was a great song writer and as someone pointed out to me recently, those skills were very underrated. So, I guess the best thing to do is to pull out any or all of his great albums, (my favourite has always been “Damn the Torpedoes”) and give them a listen to commemorate this great rocker.