Of the diverse female voices that were introduced on radio in the ‘80s, no one sounded like Melissa Etheridge.
Unlike high octave pop divas, Etheridge's raspy howl reminded many of Janis Joplin and while she got plenty of play on AOR stations in the ‘80s, her chart success was mostly confined to the ‘90s. In total, Etheridge would have six Top 40 hits with I'm The OnlyOne being her only single to crack the Top 10 in 1994. After she caught attention in 1988 with songs like Bring Me Some Water and Similar Features, she came back in late 1989 with her sophomore album Brave and Crazy that featured the slow burner Let Me Go.
Let Me Go was another success on the Mainstream Rock Track charts but never placed on the singles chart. The video for Let Me Go finds pint-sized Etheridge (5' 2") finding her rhythm and encountering snakes (why did it have to be snakes!). …
It's been almost two months since we lost Amanda Peterson, star of the 1987 movie Can't Buy Me Love. And today we finally got the answer to why she died. A coroner in Colorado has ruled that Peterson died from an accidental morphine overdose.
The Greeley (Colo.) Tribune says the former actress had taken a friend's morphine medication for unspecified pain one week prior to her death. "Although she was prescribed multiple medications for lung and heart disease, as well as Gabapentin for postsurgical pain following a recent hysterectomy, doctors could find no recent prescriptions for morphine in Peterson’s medical history," the Tribune said.
Peterson was found dead in her apartment on July 5. She was 43. Though Can't Buy Me Love was her biggest role, she also appeared in TV series such as Father Murphy and Silver Spoons and other films including Explorers and Listen To Me. Her last acting role was 1994's Windrunner.
TOP 5 MEMORABLE AMANDA PETERSON LINES FROM CAN'T BUY ME LOVE: …
We have featured very little of country pop on Lost and Found, but if I was going to pick a good song to represent the genre, you don't have to look any farther that the daughter of The Man In Black - Rosanne Cash and her hit Seven Year Ache.
A play off the Marilyn Monroe movie, The Seven Year Itch, Seven Year Ache was Rosanne Cash's first No. 1 hit on the country charts and before the ‘80s ended, she would score 10 country chart-toppers. The song was also a hit on the pop charts and would make it all the way to No. 22 in 1981.
Rosanne is the oldest of Johnny Cash's five children and was raised in California by her mother Vivian after her parents divorced when she was a school girl. During the ‘80s, Rosanne was married to country musician Rodney Crowell before divorcing in 1992. Cash still is performing and her latest album The River & the Thread won the Grammy for Best Americana Album for 2014 and crusades for the rights and licensing of artists in the digital age. http://www.rosannecash.com/
At my ripe old age of 48, my social life consists in equal parts between watching old MTV videos on Youtube and binge-watching old favorites on Netflix. (After three years, I've finally managed to kick my addiction to West Wing. I should be getting my three-month chip any day now.)
Some months are a bonanza for '80s fans on Netflix. September 2015? Not so much. When you have to point to 1987's Masters of the Universe as the possible highlight, you know I'm getting the shakes to turn back to Sam, Toby and Josh. "DONNA!"
Here are the '80s movies coming and going on Netflix in September 2015:
COMING… Masters of the Universe (1987) The Monster Squad (1987) Rambo: First Blood (1982) Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) Rambo III: Ultimate Edition (1988)
LEAVING… The Lost Boys (1987) Rumpelstiltskin (1987)
In 1983 Cyndi Lauper seemed to come out of the blue into our radios and TV screens, but actually she came right out of Blue Angel.
Before She's So Unusual spawned five hit singles and a turned music fashion on its head, Cyndi Lauper was the lead singer for a rockabilly band called Blue Angel that released their debut album in 1980. The band released several singles with videos, including I HadA Love, but none of them charted.
In the video for I Had A Love, Lauper alternates looks with her new wave pants on stage and ‘50s sweaters and poodle skirts, looking a little like a young Lucille Ball. Despite the song not being the strongest of entries, I Had A Love still foreshadows and shows off the pipes that Cyndi would feature on her No. 1 hits like Time After Time and True Colors.
Blue Angel recorded one more album, but it was never released due to the poor sales of the debut and Blue Angel disbanded setting the stage for success on the pop charts for Lauper, who scored 10 Top 40 hits, including eight that hit the Top 10. Lauper has yet to hit the Top 40 again since the '80s ended. http://cyndilauper.com/
Taylor Dayne may have been late to the ‘80s dance party, but that didn't mean she didn't bring the goods as we remember one of her hits that you don't hear much these days - I'llBe You Shelter.
Taylor Dayne first caught our ears in 1987 when Tell It To My Heart became the first of her seven Top 10 hits. She released only two albums in the ‘80s but they provided a treasure trove of hits and on her late 1989 album Can't Fight Fate she enlisted hit songwriter Diane Warren to help fight the sophomore slump. The partnership worked as Love Will Lead You Back became her only number one pop hit and the follow up single I'll Be Your Shelter reached No. 4 in 1990.
I'll Be Your Shelter was originally written for Tina Turner, but when she passed on it, Dayne turned it into a hit. The stylish video was directed by Dominic Sena who gained his fame for Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation videos and would go on to direct box office smashes like Gone in 60 Seconds and Swordfish. …
Favorite lines from Fast Times At Ridgemont High? When Charles Jefferson asks Mike Damone about when those Earth, Wind & Fire tickets are coming in. Because he's taking his little brother. Hope you scored a pair of tickets, Damone, because Jefferson's about to freak out when he sees what happens to his car.
To mark the start of September, here's the 1978 hit from Earth, Wind & Fire:
September (ironically released in November 1978) was a No. 1 hit on the R&B charts and top 10 hit on the pop charts. It keeps popping up into pop culture lore every time it appears in a new movie. To date, it shows up in Night at the Museum, The Ringer, Soul Food, Dan in Real Life, Lost & Found, Get Over It and Last Vegas.
And of course, it appears every September 1st.
Ever wonder what the lyrics actually are? Here you go:
Do you remember the 21st night of September? Love was changing the minds of pretenders While chasing the clouds away
Our hearts were ringing In the key that our souls were singing. As we danced in the night, Remember how the stars stole the night away
Ba de ya, say do you remember Ba de ya, dancing in September Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day …
Eighties horror fans lost a big one over the weekend. Wes Craven, the writer-director who gave us Freddy Krueger (co-starring some guy we've never heard of - Johnny Depp), passed away Sunday after battling brain cancer. He was 76.
A Nightmare on Elm Street, his 1984 insomniac-creating thriller, would become a horror franchise, with nine films, a TV series, comic books and novels. Ironically, the original movie almost never happened. Craven was broke at the time and faced a $5,000 tax bill. It was friend Sean Cunningham, creator of the Friday the 13th franchise, that lent Craven the money to dig out of his hole.
"I think after Friday the 13th and its imitators there was a feeling that horror was bad and bad for kids, and it was during that period when video games were being looked at as causing kids to be violent, and there were all sorts of made up stories about kids killing their sisters wearing Friday the 13th masks and whatever," Craven said in a 2014 interview to Filmmaker Magazine. "The far right was starting to rattle these cages, and I think the studios were afraid of making a film that had blood in it. They also just felt like it was too far out, that people would be confused about what reality is. Even Sean said, 'They’ll know it's a dream, so there is no danger.' I said, 'Look, people can die if they are in dreams!' "
Thanks for all the sleepless nights, Wes. It was well worth it.
Here are the top 5 Wes Craven-directed movies of the '80s, as ranked by IMDB user ratings.
TOP 5 WES CRAVEN MOVIES OF THE '80s:
5. DEADLY FRIEND (1986): "He's my father. Sometimes I want to roll a truck over his face but he's still my father."
4. SWAMP THING (1982): "A man who loves, gives hostages to fortune."
3. DEADLY BLESSING (1984): "I'll be damned if these guys don't eat brimstones for breakfast." 2. THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW (1988): "When you wake up scream, Doctor Alan. Scream all you want. There is no escape from the grave."
1. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984): "Whatever you do ... don't fall asleep."
Forgive us if in sometimes we appear a little guy-centric on Stuck in the ‘80s, but this week we hope to redeem ourselves with a week with nothing but the ladies on Lost and Found starting off Tane Cain and Holdin' On.
In a case of "that's no lady, that's my wife," Tane (pronounced Taw-nee, like Tawny Kitean) Cain was married to Journey keyboardist Jonathon Cain when Holdin' On was a Top 40 hit reaching No. 37 in 1982. After divorcing in 1984, today Tane goes by her maiden name of Tane McClure and is the daughter of Doug McClure who was the lead character Trampas on The Virginian, which ran for 10 seasons back in the ‘60s.
The video for Holdin' On features the lusty Cain strutting though wind machines before getting to jam with her band, including her hubby Jonathon on keyboards. Holdin' On is not the only video that Jonathon and Tane shared the screen as Tane makes a cameo in the Journey video for Faithfully, a song that Jonathon wrote for Tane (their marriage only lasted five years). …
Though we are Stuck In The ‘80s, many of us fondly remember the ‘70s and shaking our booty to KC and the Sunshine Band. Though we traded in our bell bottom jeans for a skinny tie at the turn of the decade, that doesn't mean we can't forget our '70s roots and Give It Up.
While KC (Harry Wayne Casey) and his Sunshine Band had five No. 1 hits in the ‘70s with disco classic like That's The Way (I Like It) and I'm Your Boogie Man, that didn't mean KC went quietly into the boogie nights during the first half of the ‘80s. Even though he shed the Sunshine Band to go solo, KC started off the ‘80s with the number two duet hit Yes I'm Ready with Teri DeSario before hitting the Top 40 one last time in 1984 with Give It Up.
Give It Up made it all the way to No. 18 on the charts and was a number one hit in the U.K. The song has continued to live well, especially in England where it has become a soccer sporting chant and was featured in the 2014 box office smash Kingsman: TheSecret Service. The video for Give It Up is cheesy fun with KC and his background dancers putting on the moves that are best described as "low-impact". …
Before Tiffany became the teen pop princess and darling of the mall concert circuit, she was in 1985 a contestant on Star Search, hosted by Ed McMahon. And believe it or not, she didn't win. Instead, the teen then known as "Tiffany Renee" came in second to Melissa Moultrie. But she took the disappointment like champ and learned from it.
"I learned I had to branch out," Tiffany told me last month in an email chat. "I couldn’t just use my voice — I had to be a performer. I think my competitor had that in the bag. She was great at acknowledging the audience and really performing, so I grew after that."
I asked Tiffany, who will be one of the featured performers on The '80s Cruise in early 2016, how Star Search differs from all the reality TV shows today (many of which she has appeared on). …
The fireworks of summer are over, but today we bring the boom with Tom Teeley and the fun A Rocket and a Roman Candle.
Tom Teeley got a small amount of play on MTV in 1984 with A Rocket And A Roman Candle that showcases his native New York City. The video is chock full of cameos starting with Marshall Crenshaw as the fruit vendor before heading to the dirty subways of NYC with Guardian Angel founder Curtis Swila and his trademark red beret. Along the streets he is flanked by electronics pitchman Crazy Eddie before encountering balloon salesman Larry Bud Melman (Calvin DeForest on Late Night with David Letterman). Toss in some Jewish break dancers and businessman playing the drums on trash cans and you have the flavor of New York City in the ‘80s.
While Teeley's solo music career never panned out he enjoyed a successful run as George Harrison in the cast of Broadway's Beatlemania and even played Harrison in the 1981 movie of Beatlemania. Teeley also has a cameo as a band member along side Marshall Crenshaw in Peggy Sue Got Married. http://www.tomteeley.com/index.php
In the early days of Stuck in the '80s, I had a very strict policy about not honoring working done before Jan. 1, 1980 and ignoring anything beyond Dec. 31, 1989. Ten years later, I've learned to chill.
In fact, one of my favorite just-barely-non-'80s movies just turned 25 years old this month: Pump Up The Volume. Released Aug. 22, 1990, Pump Up The Volume starred Christian Slater as a loner high school teen in a sterilized Phoenix suburb who takes out his frustrations with a pirate radio station he runs from the basement of the family house.
The radio equipment is purchased with his parents' permission, with the intention of letting their lonely kid use it to talk to his friends in the town they just moved from. Eventually, though, the teen and his station are transformed into the underground voice of an entire franchise of disillusioned kids in the 'burbs, who gain the courage to "talk hard." And who get to feast upon some incredible music offerings, including tunes from Jesus and Mary Chain, Camper Van Beethoven and the Pixies. The soundtrack is just incredible.
Is this Slater's best work? Well, it sure as heck wasn't the overplayed Broken Arrow (which, by the way, includes Slater's Pump co-star Samantha Mathis.) Slater would be nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for his role, with the movie also picking up nominations for best feature, best director and best screenplay.
Still, Pump Up The Volume was a bust at the box office, grossing just under $2 million on its opening weekend on its way to $11 million total. And yet, critics took note, giving the movie a life after cineplexes. Pump Up The Volume still has a healthy 78 percent "fresh" rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
The Washington Post's review was full of praise, writing: "Unlike Heathers, a satiric treatment of teen suicide, Pump Up the Volume is passionately caring. It's a howl from the heart, a relentlessly involving movie that gives a kid every reason to believe that he or she can come of age. It appreciates the pimples and pitfalls of this frightening passage, the transit commonly known as adolescence."
TOP 5 MEMORABLE QUOTES FROM PUMP UP THE VOLUME:
5. "Talk hard, I like that. It's like a dirty thought in a nice clean mind."
4. "All the great themes have been used up and turned into theme parks."
3. "Feeling screwed up at a screwed up time in a screwed up place does not necessarily make you screwed up."
2. "I'm sick of being ashamed. I don't mind being dejected and rejected, but I'm not going to be ashamed about it. At least pain is real. I mean, you look around and you see nothing is real, but at least the pain is real."
1. "We're all worried, we're all in pain. That just comes with having eyes and having ears. But just remember one thing - it can't get any worse, it can only get better. High school is the bottom, being a teenager sucks, but that's the point, surviving it is the whole point. Quitting is not going to make you stronger, living will. So just hang on and hang in there." …
You know Fahrenheit 451 the novel; Fahrenheit 911 the movie and Fahrenheit 7800 the Bon Jovi album, but this is Lost and Found and today it's just plain old Farrenheit and another lost AOR nugget called Fool In Love.
The origins of Farrenheit started in Boston when singer/guitarist Charlie Farren and bassist David Hull joined the Joe Perry Project when Perry took a break from Aerosmith. After one album, Perry returned to Aerosmith and Farren and Hull joined forces with Hull legally changing his last name to Heit all paving the way to naming their new band Farrenheit. The result was the most excellent single Fool In Love.
Fool In Love is a melodic rocker that was a minor hit on the Mainstream Rock Charts in 1987. Farrenheit never panned out and Farren spent over twenty years working for Hewlett Packard before retiring to resume working on his music. http://www.charliefarren.com/
Did we forget to honor Xanadu on its 35th anniversary earlier this month. Maaaybe. Released on Aug. 8, 1980, the big-screen fantasy-on-rollerskates is infamous for basically killing Hollywood's love affair with musicals. It's been said that, along with the Village People sorta-bio-pic Can't Stop The Music, Xanadu basically invented the need for the Razzie Awards, which annually "honor" the worst of Hollywood's filmmaking efforts.
And yet, Xanadu did a lot of good. It gave us an amazing soundtrack (which went double platinum) featuring the vocals of Olivia Newton-John with the music of the Electric Light Orchestra. And decades later, our love for campy nostalgia, it spawned a Broadway stage musical that ran for more than 500 performances.
Here are five more things you probably didn't know about Xanadu on its 30th anniversary.
1. It was the final feature film for the great Gene Kelly, who died in 1996 at age 83. It wasn't, however, his last acting job. Kelly appeared on TV in episodes of The Love Boat, the 1985 mini-series North and South (where he played Sen. Charles Edwards) and the mini-series Sins in 1986.
2. One of Xanadu's choreographers was a buy named Kenny Ortega. Yes, the guy who would go on to much better success with Dirty Dancing and High School Musical.
3. The movie is essentially a disco-fied remake of the 1947 movie Down to Earth, starring Rita Hayworth. That movie was a sequel to 1941's Here Comes Mr. Jordan (which was remade in 1978 as Heaven Can Wait and again in 2001 as … Down To Earth.) Confused yet?
4. Xanadu's failure was more critically based than ticket based. The movie grossed $22 million on a budget estimated at about $13 million. And contrary to popular thought, it didn't kill Olivia Newton-John's movie career; that was likely taken care of by 1983's Two of a Kind. (Which in all fairness has a great killer title song by ONJ.)
5. So did Xanadu really kill movie musicals? It wasn't the first bad musical. (Consider 1978's Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.) And it wasn't the last. (Thank you, Glitter, From Justin to Kelly and Phantom of the Opera.) Maybe Xanadu really is just the love that we came to know.
Relive the '80s music, movies and culture with Tampa Bay Times correspondent Steve Spears. A teen during the greatest decade ever, Steve is obsessed with everything from Duran Duran to Journey, John Hughes to John Cusack, and parachute pants to big hair.