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Here are the dates for 2017's Retro Futura Tour with Howard Jones, English Beat and more

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Everyone's favorite new wave road show is back for 2017. Retro Futura has just announced its dates for 2017 and the acts playing this year's tour.

Headlined by synth guru Howard Jones, Retro Futura 2017 will also feature sets from the English Beat, Men Without Hats, Modern English, Paul Young and Katrina (of Katrina And The Waves). Bow Wow Wow’s Annabella Lwin will step in on the dates when Paul Young is unavailable.

It's a great lineup for scores of reasons. Howard Jones and Men Without Hats are fresh off their standing-room-only sets on The 80s Cruise's 2017 voyage. (Modern English wowwed the cruise crowd on the 2016 voyage). Paul Young hasn't toured the U.S. in decades, so this is a rare chance to catch him. And Katrina dazzled the fans at the previous 2014 Retro Futura Tour. (Can we say "thank you" enough times for bringing this show back again?)

Here are the tour dates for Retro Futura 2017:

7-18: Los Angeles, CA - Greek Theater

7-19: Costa Mesa, CA - OC Fair

7-20: San Diego, CA - Open Air Theater

7-21: Saratoga, CA - Mountain Winery

7-22: Las Vegas, NV - Downtown Las Vegas Events Center

7-24: Denver, CO - Bellco Theater

7-28: Atlanta, GA - Chastain Park* …

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Bill Paxton dead at 61 following surgery complications

Aliens

Actor Bill Paxton, whose career included Weird Science, Aliens and Twister, has died at age 61, reports Rolling Stone. The cause of death was complications from surgery.

"It is with heavy hearts we share the news that Bill Paxton has passed away due to complications from surgery," a family representative said in a statement to Rolling Stone.

"A loving husband and father, Bill began his career in Hollywood working on films in the art department and went on to have an illustrious career spanning four decades as a beloved and prolific actor and filmmaker. Bill's passion for the arts was felt by all who knew him, and his warmth and tireless energy were undeniable. We ask to please respect the family's wish for privacy as they mourn the loss of their adored husband and father."

Paxton's career took off in the '80s, starting with with bit parts in movies such as Stripes, The Terminator, The Lords of Discipline and Streets of Fire. In 1985, he hit paydirt with memorable parts in Weird Science and Commando. In the '90s, Paxton's fame grew with parts in Tombstone, Twister, Apollo 13 and Titanic.  …

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Here's why 'Hell Or High Water' is the '80s Oscars darling

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The Oscars are Sunday and which film will win Best Picture? One picture I hope gets a lot of love is Hell Or High Water. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it and it does have a few '80 connections including music by Nick Cave.

Hell Or High Water is like a modern day western as brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) rob banks to pay back their mother's reverse mortgage owed to the same banks they are robbing. On their trail is a pair of Texas Rangers played by the sure-fire Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham. While Pine and Foster's '80s connections are they were both born in 1980, Bridges was a constant leading man in the '80s with movies like Starman, TRON and Against All Odds while Birmingham's interesting '80s trivia was that he was one of the beefcakes in Diana Ross' 1982 Muscles video. Handling the music for Hell Or High Water is Australian Nick Cave. …

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Surprise! Sugarcubes' 'Motorcrash' not actually about NASCAR, Daytona

NASCAR is mostly a love it-hate it sport. Those who love it make up an incredibly loyal fan base that appreciates racing stalwarts like Jimmie Johnson who defy death at insane speeds while those who hate declare NASCAR to be a bunch of yahoos driving around in circles. This weekend, the racing season begins with its biggest event  - the Daytona 500. Do racing fans secretly hope for a big pileup during the Daytona? If so, you can get in the mood for it Lost and Found-style with the avant-garde Sugarcubes and their song Motorcrash.

Led by the odd pixie Bjork, the Sugarcubes are the biggest musical export in Icelandic history when they surprised the alternative music scene in 1988 with their debut album Life's Too Good, which made many critics' year-end lists. Many singles were released off Life's Too Good with the last one being Motorcrash. …

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There's a new face behind Chewbacca in the Han Solo spinoff

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Perhaps lost amid all the giddiness over the release of the first cast photo of Disney's Han Solo spinoff is this: A new actor is now portraying Chewbacca in the Star Wars universe. 

Finnish actor Joonas Suotamo assumes the role as the faithful sidekick for the 2018 movie. Suotamo, who stands 6-foot-10, was the body-double for longtime Wookiee Peter Mayhew in 2015's The Force Awakens, says The Hollywood Reporter. (The above photo was posted by Suotamo during the filming of that movie.)

"Chewbacca is one of the most iconic characters in the history of film, and Peter's development and portrayal of this beloved Wookie has spread so much joy around the globe," Suotamo wrote in an Instagram post after casting was announced. "Peter's guidance and kindness have been invaluable gifts which warmed my spirit and prepared me for this journey. I aspire to make Peter proud and bring Star Wars fans the Chewie they know and love."

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Here's the first look at cast for Han Solo spinoff movie

Disney

Disney has released the first cast photo from its Han Solo movie, which began filming Monday in London. The photo includes Alden Ehrenreich (who plays Solo), Donald Glover (as Lando Calrissian), Woody Harrelson (a yet-unnamed mentor to Solo), Joonas Suotamo (the always ageless Chewbacca), Emilia Clarke and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

The movie - which has no name but is set before the events of the original Star Wars movies - is set for a May 25, 2018 release.

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EW's ranking of best TV show finales includes these ‘80s gems

Entertainment Weekly bravely has waded again into the dangerous waters of Top 20 articles. This time, they attempt to rank the top 20 TV show finales of all time. And honestly, they hit a home run with their picks, especially their list-topper.

I won’t bore you with the non-‘80s ones, so let’s get down to business. You can see the full ranking here. Here are the ‘80s series that made EW’s list, along with their overall ranking and a quick quote from their writers: 

15. SEINFELD (1989-1998): “Here's to you, Soup Nazi, Virgin, and Sidra Holland.”

13. STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION (1987-1994): “Capt. Picard found himself skipping through time, visiting his loyal Enterprise crew at the beginning of their voyages together and, poignantly, joining them for one last old-age adventure.”

11. THE COSBY SHOW (1984-1992): “Literally. Cliff Huxtable took his wife, Claire, in his arms and began to dance...and they waltzed right off the set, through the crew, and off into history.”

6. M*A*S*H (1972-1983): “As Hawkeye takes off in a chopper, he spies a message from his old pal B.J.: ‘Goodbye’ spelled out in stones on the launch pad.“ …

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See first pic of cast from 'Predator' reboot

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Hollywood is busy messing with our precious '80s memories again. This time it's another reboot of Predator, the 1987 flick that still has us all saying "Get to da chopper!"

Shane Black is directing this reboot, which should have us a little intrigued since Black played "Rick Hawkins" in the original flick. (As Terrortime.com reminds us, "Rick" did NOT get to the chopper in time.)

Anyway, Black tweeted a partial cast photo this week, so that's cool, right? 

"The Predator" - they added a "the" for some reason - includes Olivia Munn, Boyd Holbrook and Sterling K. Brown in the cast and is scheduled for a Feb. 9, 2018 release. 

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10 ways to recover from The 80s Cruise

Photo by Steve Spears

The 2017 voyage of The 80s Cruise ended Saturday morning, and 2,000-plus weary but smiling nostalgia fanatics filed dutifully off the Celebrity Summit with a week's worth of memories that will last a lifetime. 

As we wipe the sleep from our eyes this morning - still struggling with getting our "land legs" back - this thought is probably swirling around in our heads: What now? 

Don't worry. Your old pal Spearsy has some answers to the question you thought you couldn't answer. (Just like the trivia sessions, am I right?) 

Here are ways to recover the 2017 voyage of The 80s Cruise.

1. POST AND SHARE YOUR PICS: In a few weeks, ECP will post their professional photos for us to download (for free!), but now's the time to empty your cell phones of all the amazing memories you captured. Facebook seems to be the medium of choice for 80s cruisers, so drop them there - either on your own FB page or one of the two private FB groups.  …

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How did we miss this Sinead O'Connor gem from 1987?

Finally, Wuench Beat Me to It Week comes to an end with this bonus entry - six this week instead of the customary five. Today's artist might be argued to have been found in the 80s, because her 1987 debut album reached number 36 on the US Album chart and was certified gold. However, none of the singles released from ‘The Lion and the Cobra' made the American Pop chart.

I'm talking about the Irish singer/songerwriter Sinead O'Connor. And, like The The and Aztec Camera whom I covered earlier this week, O'Connor has had two songs included in Kevin Wuench's terrific Lost & Found series here on the Stuck in the 80s blog.

But, he didn't feature this one. It's ‘Mandinka' from her debut release and it clearly demonstrates the power of her voice.  

I may list her as a Never Found in the 80s, but she was certainly found in 1990 with her cover of the Prince-penned, now classic, ‘Nothing Compares 2 U,' which was a worldwide number one. Not too shabby.

- Jim ‘Dr. Dim' Fitzsimons

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Definitely too many The's in this band's song

The The is the second of my entries in Wuench Beat Me to It Week to have had two songs previously featured in the Lost & Found series. ‘This is the Day' and ‘Heartland' were grabbed up before I could get to them, but that just gives me the chance to shine more light on this excellent band from the UK.

Much like World Party, The The was essentially just one artist: Matt Johnson. However, with the 1989 album ‘Mind Bomb,' Johnson assembled a band of talented musicians to work on the album and to go on tour. Most notable among these musicians was guitarist Johnny Marr formerly of the iconic 80s alternative heroes, The Smiths.

Today's entry is the musically up, but lyrically down single: ‘The Beat(en) Generation.'

‘Mind Bomb' is a brilliant record; you should check it out.

- Jim ‘Dr. Dim' Fitzsimons

 

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All I need is Aztec Camera (and this song)

As Wuench Beat Me to It Week continues, let's take another look at Aztec Camera. This band out of Scotland has had two songs previously profiled by Mr Wuench: ‘Oblivious' and ‘Walk Out To Winter.' Both songs are fine examples of the light and breezy guitar playing of the band's only mainstay member, Roddy Frame.

And today's song, ‘All I Need Is Everything,' is another excellent example of Aztec Camera's lilting and danceable pop.

Aztec Camera also produced a handful of unusual cover songs. Perhaps Stuck in the 80s' resident finder of lost songs might jump on featuring one of them. Hint, hint, Kevin.

- Jim ‘Dr. Dim' Fitzsimons

 

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'80s music and rollerskating? This video is the perfect Valentine's Day gift

Wuench Beat Me to It Week continues with us revisiting the Paisley Underground and the band that led the way in that LA music scene: The Three O'Clock. The Paisley Underground was mainly influenced by the Psychedelic bands of the '60s, both in their look and sound. Tight, swirling, slightly trippy tunes were the hallmark of the scene.

Today's song is the opening track of their 1985 album ‘Arrive Without Traveling.' The video for ‘Her Head's Revolving' is set in a skating rink with The Three O'Clock providing music for the skaters. And, although I'm sure he heard this a lot in those days, lead singer Michael Quercio looks and sounds much, much younger than any 22-year-old should look and sound.  

You might notice that this song sounds very much as though it could have been produced by The Bangles. That's not surprising as The Bangles also came from that same Paisley Underground.

Jim ‘Dr. Dim' Fitzsimons

 

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In the '80s, this band kept their revolution quiet and private

With The '80s Cruise finally upon us, I've asked our good friend Dr. Dim to contribute a few extra guest blog items this week. Hope you enjoy. 

It was nearly four years ago, inspired by the yeoman work of Kevin Wuench and his Lost & Found series, that I started a series focusing on the musical output of lesser known artists during our favorite decade. I dubbed these artists Never Founds. They may have produced great music in the 80s, but none of it found its way onto the American Top 40 Pop chart.

It was inevitable that Mr Wuench's prodigious output would have him getting to some of my Never Founds before I could. But, I still want to give these artists a little more love, so I have declared this to be Wuench Beat Me to It Week. …

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We could be wrong or we could be right on how to pronounce this band's name

It's either Public Image Ltd. or P-I-L, only poseurs call them "Pill." That was my attitude back in my "If it's popular it sucks" days. Days I thought I had left behind, but Brad Williams has reminded me that old habits do indeed die hard.

Be that as it may, Wuench Beat Me to It Week continues with a song from John Lydon's band after the demise of the short-lived iconic UK punkers, the Sex Pistols. Actually, to call Public Image Ltd. a band would be wrong. They weren't a band, they were a company. Well, that's what a snotty Lydon insisted when he appeared on the ‘Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder' two years after the band...er...company had launched in 1978. The interview is on YouTube and you can see that, although his name may have changed, the punk rocker is still Johnny Rotten to the core.

Today's song is ‘Rise' from their 1986 release: ‘Album.' The song reached #30 on the US Dance chart, but pop radio play? Not for this company. And listen closely to the guitar break. I swear part of that riff sounds an awful lot like Jimmy Page.

 …

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