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Midge Ure's latest tour includes stops in St. Pete, Jacksonville

If you haven't seen Midge Ure in concert in the last two years, you're seriously making a grave error. The frontman of Ultravox (and mastermind behind Do They Know It's Christmas) puts on a live show that will melt your brain pan, especially when he gets to performing Vienna. Thankfully, Florida fans will have two chances to catch Midge in 2015: He's playing Jacksonville's Jack Rabbits on Jan. 19 and St. Petersburg's Local 662 on Jan. 20.

(Midge's official website lists the St. Pete date as Feb. 20 for some reason; Local 662's site says Jan. 20, which makes more sense since he's playing Jacksonville the night before.) Ticket information isn't available yet.

A few months ago, I interviewed Midge before the Retro Futura Tour (easily the best concert tour of 2014), and I asked him why the music press had been so tough on him on Ultrabox over the years. …

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Cover week finale: 'Sea of Love' becomes a two-time hit again in the '80s

Did you hear that there is going to be an ‘80s cruise in 2016 that is going to be attended by members of the SIT80's Nation? Of course you did, so let's go ahead and get the party started by featuring Sea of Love in the ‘80s.  

In 1959, Phil Phillips helped create the classic Sea of Love and took it to No. 2 on the charts. In 1984, the supergroup The Honeydrippers, featuring Robert Plant on vocals, nearly reached that mark when they took their lush orchestral version to No. 3 on the charts. However, always give me two guitars, bass and a drum when you play Sea of Love and give me the version by '60's legend Del Shannon that hit the Top 40 in 1982.

Del Shannon had eight Top 40 hits in the ‘60s including the classic Runaway (which in a coincidence was covered in the first week of Lost and Found, two years ago, with a version by Luis Cardenas). It was a dry spell of 17 years without hits that was broke in 1981 by Shannon when his version of Sea of Love with its beautiful harmonies, synth keyboard solo and rhythmic guitar peaked at No. 33 at the start of 1982. With no official video, this clip for Sea of Love finds a then 47-year old looking good on Solid Gold. …

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Peter Hook's Joy Division/New Order tour coming to St. Pete, Orlando

Fans of Joy Division and New Order in the Southeast are going to go nuts: Peter Hook has announced a tour of the Southeastern United States for spring of 2015, featuring stops in St. Petersburg and Orlando.

Hook, a co-founder of Joy Division and former bassist for New Order, will bring his band (The Light) for a series of shows that will feature music from the albums Unknown Pleasures and Closer, according to Slicing Up Eyeballs. There will also be an opening set of New Order hits.

The tour includes an April 18 stop at St. Petersburg's State Theatre and an Orlando gig at the Plaza Live. Both are small, intimate venues perfect for a show like this. Tickets for the St. Pete show are $25-$30 and go on sale Dec. 19. Tickets for Orlando are $25-$40 and go on sale Dec. 19.

Here are the tour dates.

April 17: Grand Central, Miami, FL
April 18: State Theatre, St. Petersburg, FL
April 19: The Plaza Live, Orlando, FL
April 21: Georgia Theatre, Athens, GA
April 22: Republic, New Orleans, LA
April 24: Granada Theatre, Dallas, TX
April 28: Exit/In, Nashville, TN
April 29: Headliners Music Hall, Louisville, KY
May 1: Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC
May 2: Orange Peel, Asheville NC

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30 years later, you must not fear 'Dune' ... Fear is the mind-killer

A boy becomes a man after a journey across the stars and a rendezvous with legend. Sound familiar? Thirty years ago, David Lynch took that simple premise and turned it into a nearly-incomprehensible mess in the 1984 release Dune. Frank Herbert's Hugo award-winning classic book had been bouncing around in development since the early ‘70s but the success of the Star Wars franchise brought new energy to this science fiction title.

Lynch's attempt to condense the complex religious, political and ecological themes woven through Herbert's 400-page book into a two-hour movie was not well-received. The film was a critical and commercial disaster, grossing $30 million against production costs of $40 million and receiving some of the most scathing reviews of 1984. Janet Maslin of the New York Times put it best, writing "Several of the characters in are psychic, which puts them in the unique position of being able to understand what goes on in the movie."

Here are five things you may not know about Dune, which was released on Dec. 14, 1984: …

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Nostalgia in the '80s ... for the '50s? Sure, just look at this cover of 'Mr. Sandman'

When you hear to beginning dolceful chimes of Mr. Sandman it conjures up visions of the 1950's, but let's build the case for the ‘80s significance of Mr. Sandman and the Top 40 hit version by Emmylou Harris.

Mr. Sandman was a No. 1 hit for the first time all the way back in 1954 by the girl group The Cordettes and was also a Top 10 hit for the male vocal group The Four Aces in 1955. After a 26-year absence from the Top 40, country singer Emmylou Harris woke up Mr. Sandman from its chart slumber as it reached No. 37 on the pop charts in 1981. While the Harris version has mostly vanished from the radar, Mr. Sandman has an enduring legacy in ‘80s movies - most specifically Back To The Future.

In Back To The Future, the playing of Mr. Sandman is a key foreshadowing that Marty McFly has time-traveled from 1985 to 1955. It is the Four Aces version you hear in that movie. Not a one-time movie inclusion, Mr. Sandman appeared in six different major ‘80s film releases including Halloween 2, A Little Sex, Grease 2, Uncle Buck and returned again for Back To The Future 2.  (It also appeared as the central show idea for one episode of the animated The Real Ghost Busters.) …

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Former Styx frontman Dennis DeYoung laments Rock Hall of Fame picks

Dennis DeYoung is one of the good guys in rock 'n' roll. Maybe one of the last ones too, since these days the only bands getting attention don't play instruments and rely on autotune. In any case, the former Styx frontman (who still puts on a HELL of a show now with a new band) took to his Facebook page today to "comment" on -- not necessarily criticize -- the latest inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

"Interesting. After (fans) informed me of the latest round of inductions into the R and R Hall of Fame I looked up Joan Jett only to find that she did not write her biggest hit I Love Rock and Roll but a band named the Arrows did. Wow! I did not know this. Their version nearly identical to hers is on YouTube." …

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'80s holiday gift idea: The '80s slang poster

All the '80s slang I ever needed to learn I got from Debbie Foreman and the cast of the 1983 flick Valley Girl. Man, it's like tripendicular, you know? But just in case there's a few choice phrases that slipped your mind, here's the official '80s Slang Poster.

From Charleychartwell.com, it's a real poster you can actually buy. (I need one for the Spears Lair!) It's $29 - "Righteous bucks!" - and you can buy it here.

I'll admit, until reading the poster, I never had heard (or knew the meaning) of the word "putt."

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Cover songs of the '80s: Angry Samoans' 'Time Has Come Today'

The time has come today to feature another cover song in the ‘80s, but instead of a cover by the legendary Ramones, let's go deeper with the Angry Samoans and Time Has Come Today.

Time Has Come Today is a classic song from 1969 from The Chamber Brothers and in 1983 the Ramones put their spin on it as their second single (following Psycho Therapy) off the Subterranean Jungle album. However in 1982, the Angry Samoans beat the Ramones to the punch with their version.

They may have been angry, but the L.A.-based punk band was not Samoan as principal leader "Metal Mike" Saunders was originally from Arkansas. The video is more apocalyptic commentary as the band decides the fate of mankind in a world where hitting the red button brings about the nuclear holocaust. Logging in at just over two minutes, Time Has Come Today is probably one of the Angry Samoans lengthiest recordings.

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Joan Jett, Lou Reed among inductees to Rock Hall of Fame in 2015

Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced its inductees for the Class of 2015: Lou Reed, Ringo Starr, Green Day, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Bill Withers and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. The announcement was reported this morning (predictably) by Rolling Stone.

The induction ceremony in April 18 in Cleveland. Artists are eligible to join the Hall of Fame 25 years after their first album or single. Among those nominated for 2015 that didn't get selected were The Smiths, Kraftwerk, Sting, N.W.A. and Chic.

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The phrases 'Human Sexual Response' and 'Cool Jerk' probably should be placed together

As we continue our "Play This Lost Cover - Not That Lost Cover" week, we invite you to get your weird on with Human Sexual Response and Cool Jerk.  

Originally a Top 10 hit in 1966 by The Capitols, the most famous ‘80s version of Cool Jerk is by the Go-Gos and was a popular album track off their 1982 Vacation album. When the Go-Gos compiled a greatest hits album in 1990, they released a newer version of the song as a single. (Here's a rare live version by the band from 1981.) However, please approach with caution as we introduce you to a more obscure version of Cool Jerk by the band Human Sexual Response.

As you could surmise, an unusual band name like Human Sexual Response begets an unusual band that would create a silly video for their 1980 version of Cool Jerk as we witness the band outfitted in retro nurses uniforms while laying down the new wave funk. Human Sexual Response was a popular band on the Boston bar scene in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s and released several albums before disbanding in 1982.

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30 years ago, 'Starman' showed us two truly star-crossed lovers

Two great sci-fi movies were conceived and written at the same time at Columbia Studios. But the studio, not wanting to overload the theater audience on aliens visiting Earth, decided it could only make one, so it decided to make one movie and let the other go to Universal. The one it let go was Night Skies, later to be renamed E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. The one it kept? Starman, which turns 30 years old this week.

Released Dec. 14, 1984, Starman follows the story of an alien (played by Jeff Bridges) who comes to Earth after his civilization receives an "invitation" that was installed onboard the Voyager 2 satellite. His ship is shot down upon arrival, and the alien goes into hiding by inhabiting the cloned body of a dead husband, much to the surprise of the widow (Karen Allen).

Critics generally approved. The late Roger Ebert wrote: "Starman contains the potential to be a very silly movie, but the two actors have so much sympathy for their characters that the movie, advertised as space fiction, turns into one of 1984's more touching love stories."

Indeed, 30 years later, it's the love and humanity we remember more than the story and special effects. Here are three things you probably didn't know about the movie Starman, according to IMDB.com.

DIDN'T CATCH THAT NAME: The role of Starman -- the character's alien name is not revealed in the movie so it's credited as "the Starman" -- was originally set for Kevin Bacon. Tom Cruise reportedly also was on the list, but was unavailable because he was making Legend.

BIRD IS THE WORD: Bridges' jerky head movements were part of his attempt to look at the world as an alien would. The actor studied the behavior of birds as a model for this, figuring that an alien would not have human instincts or behavioral characteristics.

THE RIGHT NOTES: Starman was directed by John Carpenter. It's the only Carpenter film to be nominated for an Oscar (for Bridges, best actor) and one of very few films of Carpenter's not to feature his own musical score.

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We love the Salt-N-Pepa commercial, but do you remember this crazy cover?

It seems like the Stuck in the '80s podcast series on Covers in the ‘80s is a hit so let's join in the fun with a week of all lost ‘80s covers - but with one twist - that the songs this week have multiple versions recorded in the '80s, but we will feature a lesser known version of the song. So let us start this week of "Play This Lost Cover - Not That Lost Cover" with the new stars of Madison Avenue - Salt-N-Pepa. …

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Never Found in the '80s: Man Sized Action

Please forgive this total drop into self indulgence. This Never Found artist really was a local phenomenon, but for punk fans in Minneapolis in our favorite decade, Man Sized Action was a band well worth seeing. Their swirling guitars and driving beat made this an excellent band to get in some sweaty slam dancing in the confines of the 7th Street Entry.

Man Sized Action released only two albums on the independent label Reflex Records.  Both albums, Claustrophobia (1983) and Five Story Garage (1984), are available in full on YouTube. The two albums give you 18 songs of some good ol' Minneapolis do-it-yourself punk rock. And the album Claustrophobia was produced by Bob Mould of the legendary St. Paul punk band Husker Du and its cover was design by fellow member of the Huskers Grant Hart.

Of course, there are no videos for any of their songs, but there is a YouTube clip for their song ‘Self Respect' that offers a picture of the band from back in the day.

 …

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Wrack your brain and name all the Ringo Starr hits of the '80s

This past year, Steve and Brad started a podcast series on "Beatles in the ‘80s" and covered half of the Fab Four with Paul McCartney and George Harrison. When will they get to Ringo? For that answer, I will have to Wrack My Brain.

With only 10 Top 40 hits including two No. 1s  (Photograph and Sweet Sixteen), Ringo Starr had the least success of The Beatles in his solo career. Ringo did release one album in the ‘80s with Stop and Smell The Roses in 1981 that spawned his last Top 40 hit Wrack My Brain, which made it to No. 38 on the charts in December.

As you would expect with the fun-loving drummer, the video for Wrack My Brain is cheeky fun as Ringo visits a haunted manor and parties with Dracula, Frankenstein and other ghouls during his night of unrest. Late in the blurry video is an appearance by Barbara Bach in a straightjacket. Starr and Bach met on the set of the 1981 movie Caveman and before the year was over were married and consummating the union with "zug zug".  …

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Jimmy Fallon, Steve Carell perform barbershop quartet version of 'Sexual Healing'

Jimmy Fallon and his Ragtime Gals (along with Steve Carell) performed Marvin Gaye's 1982 classic Sexual Healing on The Tonight Show this week.

There's a lot of stories out there about the inspiration behind the song. One story is that a colleague discovered a stash of S&M material that Gaye had and told his friend he needed "sexual healing." Another story has it that Gaye's inspiration came from visiting Amsterdam's "Red Light District." In any case, credit for the song has long been a sore spot and the source of much litagation over rights and royalties. Nevermind that it's simply a great song.

Released on Sept. 30, 1982, Sexual Healing shot to No. 1 on the R&B charts and stayed for 10 weeks. (It'd eventually be dethroned by The Girl Is Mine, the duet by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney.) And back in a time when a Grammy Award still meant something, Gaye would win two for Sexual Healing.

Rolling Stone would list Sexual Healing at No. 233 on its ranking of 500 Best Songs of All Time. (It's sandwiched between Bob Dylan's Just Like a Woman at 232 and Roy Orbison's Only the Lonely at 234).

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