Archive for films

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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Some Great Films of 1984

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, soundtracks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2017 by 80smetalman

Not only was I a big music fan back in 1984, as I am today, I was also a great cinema buff, unlike today. Posting about those two soundtracks from said year threw my mind back to some of the other great and not so great films I got to see in 1984. They may not have had soundtracks I wanted to listen to but most of them were good films or at least a good source of amusement. Therefore, in regards to the golden year of heavy metal, I thought I’d list the films I saw that year.

Ghost Busters

This was probably the most popular film in 1984. It’s theme song, sung by Ray Parker Jr, got a lot of play on MTV. Never cared much for the song but I did like this film as I was a fairly big Bill Murray fan at the time.

Karate Kid was probably the second most popular film in 1984

In spite of the above, I never accepted the proposition that all the blonde haired, blue eyed teenage boys in Southern California were all karate experts.

Ghost Busters might have been the most popular film, but The Terminator was my favourite.

“I’ll be back” has been a very popular catchphrase from the film. However, my favourite part was when the hotel landlord asks, “Do you got dead cats in there?” Robot Arnie’s brain flashes possible responses and he chooses, “Fuck you asshole.”

Hyped up to be the final chapter of the Friday the 13th series. No surprise it wasn’t.

These were considered the big films of the year but there were many more out there.

The Keep: Nazi soldiers are killed in a haunted castle

This was the first film I went to in 1984.

DC Cab: Mr T stars in a film about an on the rocks cab firm.

This was the second

Angel: High school honour student by day, Hollywood hooker by night.

There were some really funny quips in this film. Example: When Angel’s transvestite friend opens the door to the killer, he asks, “Who does your hair, dickface?”

Tank: A soldier uses a tank to rescue his wrongly convicted son from a redneck prison.

I had been out of the marines only nine months when I saw this film so I was able to identify all the military inaccuracies.

Patrick Swayze leads a bunch of high schoolers against the invading Communist armies.

This film was definitely made to encourage America to accept Reagan’s Contra war in Nicaragua.

Thief of Hearts: A burglar breaks into a home and discovers the wife’s diaries. He uses them to seduce her.

Starman: An alien world accepts Voyager 2’s invitation to visit Earth.

This was the last film I went to see in 1984.

Naturally, there were many more movies in 1984 but these were the ones I went to the cinema to see. That seems to be what I was doing when I wasn’t headbanging away. What films did you all see and like?

Next post: Bon Jovi

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=1508426476&sr=8-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

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: Survivor- Vital Signs

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2017 by 80smetalman

Back in 1984, Survivor, in my mind were a band who were only known for the “Eye of the Tiger” album compliments of the film, “Rocky 3.” For some reason totally unexplainable to me, their 1983 album, “Caught in the Game,” never made itself known to me. However, from what I have heard about it, people said at the time that it was proof that the only reason Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” album was successful was on account of Sylvester Stallone and they weren’t up to much without that. Then in 1984, they recorded the “Vital Signs” album and any talk of this band needing Rocky to succeed was silenced.

Survivor did make a change when recording the album. Out went lead singer David Bickler and in to take over the mike duties was Jimi Jamison. From my recollection of history, Jimi gave the band the lift they needed to make “Vital Signs” a successful album. His vocals on all of the songs are solid and versatile. He can sing ballads like “The Search is Over” and rockers like “Popular Girl” without breaking a sweat. In the eyes of song writers Frankie Sullivan and Jim Peterik, he was a god send.

On that subject, the two men I’ve just mentioned are very good song writers and just as good musicians. Together, with the rhythm section of Stephan Ellis and Marc Droubay, they make a good band and therefore a cool album. You can’t fault four singles and the thing is, I like them all. Was I on drugs at the time? Probably but I do like the first four songs on the album, which were the singles. Even thirty years plus on, I can’t decide which I like better between “I Can’t Hold Back” and “High on You.” However, I wouldn’t call the other tracks filler. “Broken Promises” steers the album to more hard rock waters after the very well done progressive rock of the first four songs. There is a good guitar solo on it. Then, probably the hardest song on the album, “Popular Girl,” for me is the hidden gem. If a metal band covered this song or if Survivor hadn’t held back, it would have the potential to be mind blowing. The next track, “Everlasting” is a cool power ballad with a great metal like guitar solo intro and some noticeably cool drumming. Great stuff.

Track Listing:

  1. I Can’t Hold Back
  2. High on You
  3. First Night
  4. The Search is Over
  5. Broken Promises
  6. Popular Girl
  7. Everlasting
  8. It’s the Singer, Not the Song
  9. I See You in Everyone

Survivor

Jimi Jamison- lead vocals

Frankie Sullivan- guitar, vocals

Jim Peterik- guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals

Stephan Ellis- bass

Marc Droubay- drums

You get two songs because I can’t decide which one I like more

Survivor silenced their critics in 1984 with Vital Signs and proved they could make good music on their own without the assistance of Mr Stallone. Proof that the album is so good is in the fact that even though it has a more progressive rock sound, a metal head like me likes it.

Next post: Big Country- Steel Town

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1503940272&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: John Parr

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2017 by 80smetalman

History has always misrepresented English rocker John Parr. For the masses, he is considered a one hit wonder, that one hit being the title track of the soundtrack for the film “St. Elmo’s Fire.” If you were to judge him on that song alone, you would have thought him to be just another 80s synth pop singer. However, I know that this wasn’t the case and most, possibly all the songs, on his 1984 self titled debut album are better. In fact, the “St Elmo’s Fire” track only appears on the UK release and not the US Atlantic records one, which was what I experienced. My conclusion here is that the album is just fine without it.

Long before there was a “St Elmo’s Fire,” (that film didn’t come out until 1985 and it will take a lot of convincing from you the masses for me to visit the soundtrack), I was already familiar with Mr Parr. The first single from the album, “Naughty Naughty” received a good amount of air play on both radio and MTV. It’s a rocker and for me, that song defines John Parr.

Fortunately, his album follows suit along with the song I just talked about. In fact the only hint of synth pop on the album is the track “Love Grammar” and I stress only a hint. Even that song has its hard rocking moments as well as a cool guitar solo from John himself. That’s another thing about him, he can shred a little too as well as sing. The rest is pretty much straight forward hard rock. (Am I using that phrase too much in my posts?) In this case, it does define the album very well. One great example of this is the track, “Treat Me Like and Animal.” Now that song is hard rock, no debate. There is a ballad right after, “She’s Gonna Love You to Death” but there are some decent guitars in the song. The album then returns to more rock ground after that with a rather cool intro on the track, “Revenge” and some cool hard guitars on it. I’m glad they did it that way and not try to use synths as was the custom of the time. The keyboards on the track are more progressive rock than anything. The rest of the album pretty much follows along the path with the possible exceptions “Heartbreaker” and the closer, “Don’t Leave YOur Mark on Me” which sound like they could have been songs for a 1980s film soundtrack. But even these on has their rocking moments. What you get here is a cool rock album from John Parr.

Track Listing:

  1. Magical
  2. Naughty Naughty
  3. Love Grammar
  4. Treat Me Like an Animal
  5. She’s Gonna Love You to Death
  6. Revenge
  7. Heartbreaker
  8. Somebody Stole My Thunder
  9. Don’t Leave Your Mark on Me

John Parr

John Parr- lead vocals, lead guitar, African sounds

Pete Solley- organ

Christopher Marra- guitar

Brad Lang- bass

Colin Farley- bass on tracks 3 and 7

Jon Cook- keyboards

Richard Cottle- keyboards tracks 3,4 and 6

Jonathon J Jeczalik- synthesizer

The Kick Horns- horns

Graham Broad- drums, percussion, African sounds

Simon Phillips- drums on tracks 3 and 7

Chuck Kirkpatrick and John Sombataro- backing vocals

So forget “St Elmo’s Fire,” I never watched the film anyway. Have a listen to this debut album from John Parr. I guarantee you’ll enjoy it much more.

Next post: Tommy Shaw- Girls With Guns

To buy Rock and Roll Children go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1501322174&sr=8-5&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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