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When the Yardbirds croaked, up burst a Box of Frogs

It's Friday, so it's time for more Friday Free Ride ‘80s driving music with Box of Frogs and the forgotten Back Where I Started.

In 1992, the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame inducted The Yardbirds for their contributions in the ‘60s. Box of Frogs was formed by three members of The Yardbirds, but since there names are not Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page or Jeff Beck, most would not recognize their names on the same plaque as those other three mega-famous guitarists in The Yardbirds.

In 1984, Box of Frogs got plenty of play on album rock stations with the pounding Back Where I Started that does feature Jeff Beck on guitar - even though he wasn't an official ‘frog." Though the bass beat is a little derivative of Canned Heat's On The Road Again, the songs is a sweet choice ride just like the English TVR sports car featured in the video. Box of Frogs put out two albums in the ‘80s before croaking.     

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April rains bring June Brides ... and lost '80s hits

Unless you live in California and other parts of the drought-ridden Southwest, the rain has been plentiful in April and spring is looking gorgeous You know the saying that April showers bring May flowers, but here on the SIT80's blog we say that the April rains bring June Brides.

June Brides was a band that found some fame in their native U.K. with singles and songs that appeared on their record company's (The Pink Label) compilation albums. One of their winners was 1984's In The Rain with their home video showcasing hi-jinks and shenanigans by the June Brides.

Even though they lasted only four years and released one full length LP, there was enough singles-only releases and U.K. Indie love for June Brides that in 2006 a tribute album Still Ravished was released featuring artists like Manic Street Preachers covering their catalog.

 

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Top 5 Jack the Ripper songs of the '80s ... okay, maybe just top 2 songs

Jack The Ripper in the ‘80s? Before you can say, "You're a naughty one, Saucy Jack," it's time to remember the infamous murderer of 1800's England with Raybeats' Jack the Ripper.

Jack The Ripper is ‘80s fodder - well 1880's fodder - as whether it was a ridiculous reference in Spinal Tap or watching the 1979 movie Time After Time on cable with David Warner playing a time traveling Jack the Ripper. Not to be forgotten is the surf rock band Raybeats found some airplay on MTV and Night Flight in 1983 with the video for Jack the Ripper.   

The Raybeats' cover of Jack the Ripper is a remake of the 1963 minor instrumental hit for Link Wray, who was named as one of the Top 100 rock guitarists by Rolling Stone. The video was compiled by the same directors of the 1982 documentary The Atomic Café that features archival footage of war propaganda films. Even though they sound totally Californian, the Raybeats were from New York City and lasted for a few albums before dissolving in 1984.     …

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Toasting Steve Winwood in the '80s with a gulp of 'Night Train'

Can SIT80's Nation hold their liquor? (Editor's note: Yes.) Hopefully you can, as today we feature Steve Winwood and a big bottle of Night Train.

For those of us who are lightweights in the hard drink arena, the term Night Train might conjure up the Guns N Roses song Nightrain (yes GNR spells it incorrectly) or maybe the forgotten single by Steve Winwood Night Train. Connoisseurs of alcohol will know that flavored fortified wines go by names such as Thunderbird, Ripple (or Fred Sanford's concoction "Champipple" - ripple and ginger ale) and today's bum wine of choice - Night Train. …

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30 years later, 'Just One of the Guys' still scratches that itch

There are great movies of the '80s and '80s movies that are great. And then there are some we still love for some other reason. That includes Just One of the Guys, which turns 30 years old this week.

Just One of the Guys
, released April 26, 1985, was somewhat of a modern spin on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. It starred Joyce Hyser as Terry Griffith, a high school journalism student who is dismayed that teachers are encouraging her to pursue a career in modeling rather than journalism. (You should have listened, Terry! You'd have been much better off!) When she isn't chosen to be an intern at the big-city paper, she decides to enroll at a rival high school as a boy -- it helps to have the name Terry -- and compete for the internship on "equal terms" with the male competition.

Just One of the Guys probably benefits most from two things: Karate Kid's Billy Zabka plays another bully here, equally menacing but with a comic touch, and a memorable scene at the prom where Terry reveals she's really a girl by flashing her breasts to a guy she's fallen in love with. Okay, maybe more the second reason than the first.

In a really fun 2010 interview with the Old School blog, Hyser talked about her memories of the movie.

"The film actually operates on so many different levels and deals with so many teenage issues from homophobia to the pressure that is put on kids to conform to a certain ideal, that it always surprised me that at the time of its release it was not really judged for the sum of all its parts," she said. "I always did get a good laugh over one criticism that I saw repeatedly, and that was that I was not really 'believable as a guy.'" Really? Are you kidding? I WASN'T a guy."

And as far as the breast scene?

"I had a NO nudity clause in my contract and I was quite adamant about not doing the reveal scene," Hyser told Old School. The scene was then shot both topless and more censored, leaving the actress to decide which version she'd approve. "Had I known then that one shot would end up on porn sites one day - there is not a chance in hell I would have ever done it. In the end I agreed to shoot it both ways if, and only if, the decision would be totally mine on which way we would go. After watching it both ways it was undeniable to me that this was in no way gratuitous and in fact it was essential to the unfolding of the story."

Critics were divided. The New York Times wrote Just One of the Guys was "familiar but likable." The movie holds a 40 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

TOP 5 MEMORABLE QUOTES FROM JUST ONE OF THE GUYS

5. "Budster, there's a half-naked woman in your bedroom feeding pizza to some fish, and she's all yours."

4. "The male body needs sex at all times! It's a living hell!"

3. "Of course you're confused. You're wearing my underwear."

2. "All balls itch! It's a fact!"

1. "It's OK, everybody, it's all right. He has t--s."

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Monday morning wake-up call: the story of Jon Butcher Axis and 'Life Takes a Life'

If you wanted to rock out with a social conscience, you could take an imaginary line and rotate to Jon Butcher Axis and find deep answers with Life Takes A Life.

John Butcher and his band Axis was a tight rock trio from Boston that produced many solid rock anthems during the ‘80s including the song that first got them noticed on MTV - Life Takes A Life.  A hit of the Mainstream Rock charts in 1983, the video for Life Takes A Life follows guitarist Jon Butcher, bassist Chris Martin and drummer Derek Blevins from childhood playground friends to gun standoff enemies as adults.

Many viewed Butcher as a Jimi Hendrix disciple since he was a black guitarist and his band was possibly named after the Hendrix classic album Axis - Bold As Love with songs about social issues, but Butcher always said the connections were coincidental. With his hard rock sound, Butcher did find himself as one of the few black musicians not named Michael Jackson to appear regularly on MTV during 1983, before they opened up their playlists in 1984. …

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'Star Wars'-'Back to the Future' mashup trailer is heavy, Doc

Times files

Back to the Future meets Star Wars in this latest fan-boy video that's going viral over the last 24 hours.

Here's another fun one: Star Trek meets Brokeback Mountain.

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Finally found the perfect Nick Lowe song to start a weekend

Yesterday we wrapped up our feature week on John Hiatt, so as an encore; let's bring in good friends of Hiatt - Nick Lowe and His Cowboy Outfit with Half A Boy, Half A Man.

Nick Lowe kept steady in the ‘80s whether it was putting out his own records, producing or just lending a hand playing bass on albums like John Hiatt's Bring the Family and Riding With The King. The Cowboy Outfit consisted on Lowe, Paul Carrack on keyboards, Martin Belmont on guitar and Bobby Irwin on drums. The band was formed in 1983 as the touring band for John Hiatt in support of the Riding With The King album. After the tour ended, Hiatt stayed in the states and Nick Lowe and His Cowboy Outfit went back to England and made an album of good-time rock-n-roll.

The video for Half A Boy, Half A Man finds the band down at the shore having an old-fashioned beach part complete with hula hoops, beach boys and muscle men. The 1984 song was a minor hit in the U.K. but did not chart in the U.S.

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Is this John Hiatt tune the ultimate feel-good anthem of the '80s?

I hoped you enjoyed John Hiatt week and whether he has won you over or not, let's end it on a happy note with the joyous Thank You Girl and yet one more trip to visit the Cabazon Dinosaurs.

Before this week, John Hiatt had appeared once on Lost and Found back in 2013 with his epic Have A Little Faith In Me from the Bring the Family album. You can't talk about Hiatt without making 1987's Bring the Family the central part of the conversation as that was the album that changed his struggling career and life. …

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Girl dating tips from the '80s that will make your skin crawl

Let's face it: When it came to dating in the '80s, none of us were any good at it. Well, I had a few friends at dear ole Countryside High School who were TOO good at it, but that's a story for another day. Buzzfeed has a hilarious item today about How to Be Popular With Boys, a dating guidebook for teenage girls written by Stacy Rubis back in 1984. (You can still buy a used copy on Amazon.com.)

Buzzfeed listed 29 truly mind-bending quotes from the book. I'm going to borrow my three favorite and then send you to Buzzfeed to read the rest.

"Boys get an ego boost from your awkwardness. It makes them feel more in control, more manly. And at the same time they get more protective toward shy, trembling you."

"Many boys think it’s sissylike to show affection. They think it’s uncool, feminine. And a boy will be darned if he’s going to act feminine. So he’ll ignore you. Or make crude jokes in your presence. Or flirt with your girl friends instead of you."

"Don’t take any chances when getting ready in the morning. Always put effort into looking good. Effort, plain effort, is often the only real difference between average and stunning girls."

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Earth Day's perfect anthem: Duran Duran's 'Planet Earth'

Happy Earth Day. I apologize in advance for not sending a greeting card to everyone. I'm personally of the belief that if we cared about our planet more than just one day a year, it wouldn't be in the sorry shape it's in. Probably won't hurt either if we stopped electing public officials who refuse to say the words "global warming." Anyway, this isn't a political blog ... or is it? We'll let Duran Duran decide with this song.

Planet Earth, released in February 1981, was the first hit for Duran Duran. It reached No. 12 in the UK and was a bigger hit in Australia, where it climbed into the top 10.

Perhaps its best known for using the term "New Romantic" in the lyrics, as the band's nod toward the fledgling New Romantic movie that was just beginning to sweep the UK.

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'She Loves The Jerk' ... story of my life (and maybe John Hiatt's too)

We have seen the evidence of John Hiatt as a master songwriter in the ‘80s, so let's give the guy a mic and play the bittersweet She Loves The Jerk by John Hiatt.

Though 1983's Riding With The King was John Hiatt's sixth album, She Loves The Jerk was Hiatt's first stab at a hit single and video. Like all his other efforts, the album was a critical success but little heard or bought by the public as maybe a witty song about a physical-abused wife doesn't exactly make a radio programmer ecstatic.

She Loves The Jerk is a simple video with a despondent Hiatt pacing the floor of his video shoot agonizing over a girl who married the wrong guy. The phone in the video is reference to the great line in the song "I hang up the phone and pretend she's in my arms. What I wouldn't give for just one-tenth of what she give Mister Charming." If the song sounds a little like an Elvis Costello record, that is because it has also been recorded by Costello and appears on his Goodbye Cruel World (1984) reissue. She Loves The Jerk was also a minor hit on the country charts in 1987 for Rodney Crowell. …

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Rick Springfield, Loverboy, Romantics team up for late summer tour

Rick Springfield and Loverboy are teaming up for a late summer tour that will also feature The Romantics on most tour stops. That's a lot of power pop for one night.

If you live in Cleveland, you get Donnie Iris instead of the Romantics. There are two dates in Florida, but sadly none for Tampa Bay.

Here are the dates:

8/29 – Delta Classic Chastain Park – Atlanta, GA
8/30 – St. Augustine Amphitheatre – St. Augustine, FL
9/2 – Hard Rock Live – Hollywood, FL
9/4 – Red Hat Amphitheater – Raleigh, NC
9/5 – Uptown Amphitheatre – Charlotte, NC
9/10 – First Merit Bank at Northerly Island – Chicago, IL
9/11 – Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica – Cleveland, OH*
9/12 – Borgata Event Center – Atlantic City, NJ
9/13 – PNC Bank Arts Center – Holmdel, NJ
9/16 – NYCB Theater at Westbury – Westbury, NY
9/17 – Sands Event Center – Bethlehem, PA
9/18 – Freedom Hill – Detroit, MI
9/20 – PNC Pavilion – Cincinnati, OH
9/22 – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion – Houston, TX
9/23 – Zoo Amphitheatre – Oklahoma City, OK**

* Rick Springfield, Loverboy, Donnie Iris and The Cruisers
** Rick Springfield, Loverboy only

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'Breakfast Club' manuscript's first draft found in high school filing cabinet

This just in ... 31 years later: A first draft of The Breakfast Club manuscript, written by John Hughes, was just discovered tucked away in a filing cabinet in a shuttered high school outside Chicago. The manuscript also reveals the movie's first proposed title: "Saturday Breakfast Club."

The Chicago Tribune reports that the script was found in the building once occupied by Maine North HIgh School. The surburban school was the sound stage for The Breakfast Club, released in 1985 but filmed there in spring 1984. "Reviewed and approved by Dr. Murphy" (then-superintendent) is written on the script in blue pen on the cover next to what appears to be a pizza grease stain, the paper reports.

The school was already closed when Hughes picked it to serve as the site for his movie, starring Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy. Maine North also served as the high school for interior shots for Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Closed as a school in 1981, today the building serves as offices for a variety of state departments.

Among the other revelations from the script's discovery:

- An attached contact shows the the rental fee for the school was $48,000. …

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The story of Jeff Healy and his 'Angel Eyes'

An underrated cable movie of the early ‘80s was If You Could See What I Hear featuring the Beastmaster himself, Marc Singer, about overcoming blindness. In that vein, it is interesting that one of the most lovely songs about eyes in the ‘80s would be sung by the man whose was blind - Jeff Healy and Angel Eyes.

While recording Angel Eyes for his debut album, 22-year-old Canadian Jeff Healey would be cast as Cody, lead singer for the house band in the Patrick Swayze classic Road House. Bolstered by the movie, the title track of See The Light was released but did not hit the singles chart. The John Hiatt penned ballad Angel Eyes was released next and faired much better making it all the way to No. 5 on the singles chart in 1988. To show off the simplicity of the song and the unique guitar style of Healey, today we feature an acoustic version of Angel Eyes rather than the record company promotional video. …

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