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.
A critic's favorite, Elvis Costello was the toast of rock critics during the late '70s and all throughout the ‘80s, but would all the talk lead to any hits in the ‘80s?
1983 was the year that Elvis Costello and his trademark oversized plastic glasses finally hit the Top 40 in America when Everyday I Write The Book was a minor hit off the Costello and the Attractions' Punch The Clock album. Even with the breakthrough, other singles from Punch The Clock missed the charts including Let Them All Talk, a horn-flavored jam that even missed the U.K. top 40.
Punch The Clock is on many Best Albums lists and includes one of my favorite Costello tunes Shipbuilding. Costello would finish with 17 Top 40 hits in the U.K. and only two in the U.S. (Veronica was the other one).
Is there a John Cusack movie from the '80s that you adore more than Better Off Dead? Think. The dark comedy about a teen named Lane Meyer - who turns suicidal when his girlfriend breaks up with him - probably could never be made today. And god help us all if Hollywood tries to remake this classic, which turns 30 years old this week.
Released Aug. 23, 1985, Better Off Dead offered a bizarre mix of animation, gallows humor and just truly off-the-planet acting. And the quotes? Wow, who can't name 10 great quotes from Better Off Dead?
"I want my two dollars!" "Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way, turn." "Gee, I'm real sorry your mom blew up, Ricky." "See... the problem here is that... my little brother, this morning, got his arm caught in the microwave, and uh... my grandmother dropped acid and she freaked out, and hijacked a school bus full of... penguins, so it's kind of a family crisis... so come back later?"
Savage Steve Holland wrote and directed Better Off Dead and has been very candid about how the movie was perceived, especially by John Cusack.
"I thought it was going to make a hundred million dollars," Holland said in a 2004 interview with The Sneeze. "I think that the fact that it has become so popular in its afterlife is an indication of that."
Holland wrote the story right after college, where a girl had basically done the same thing to him that Beth did to Lane.
"Even through college I was still bummed out about it, but life went on," the director said. "Then I made this funny movie. And like 6 years later, I got a call, I don't know how she got my number, and she said, 'I've been in therapy because I saw your movie and I had no idea.' "
"I mean, she knew she hurt my feelings, but she was like, 'I just feel horrible that I put you through all that.' And she sent me cookies and stuff."
And yet, the biggest tragedy of all remains Cusack's hatred of the movie. Cusack saw the movie for the first time with Holland when a screening was arranged during the filming of One Crazy Summer. Cusack walked out after watching just 20 minutes and later told Holland that he'd never trust him as a director again.
"I feel like I let him down," Holland said. "And it totally surprises me so much because I have to say the most important person to me about that movie, was John. I really wanted him to love it as much as I loved it."
As we honor three decades of Better Off Dead, here are five things you probably didn't know about the movie. 1. TWO DOLLARS: In real life, Holland did have a paperboy named Johnny Gasparini who would harass him for two dollars.
2. COSELL: The voice of actor Yuji Okumoto doing Howard Cosell in the street racing scene was actually dubbed by impressionist Rich Little.
3. BIDDI BIDDI BIDDI: During the Christmas morning scene at Lane's house, a large toy robot is seen by the tree. It's actually Twiki from the TV series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.
4. THE MAILMAN: The late Taylor Negron plays the mailman in Better Off Dead. He would reprise the same exact role in 1989's How I Got Into College, even causing the lead actor to exclaim, "It's you!"
5. DEAD END: The movie's original tagline was "Sometimes...you're Better Off Dead," but that didn't fly with everyone. It was later changed to "Relax...you're never Better Off Dead."
So we are closing in on three years of Lost and Found videos and we finally have a video that features U2? To borrow from our friend Vizzini, all we can say is "Inconceivable!"
Perhaps the omission of U2 from the annals of Lost and Found is that, unlike many of the artists profiled, U2 seems just as popular and relevant today as they did when we all discovered and took them under our wing in the ‘80s. Unlike other bands that took the charts by storm, U2 started off slowly before progressing into the juggernaut it is today. While you can hear songs off The Joshua Tree every day on the hour on radio stations, there are plenty of U2 songs that never get played anymore including Two Hearts BeatAs One.
Two Hearts Beat As One was off of U2's third album War and was the second single behind New Year's Day and only made it to No. 101 on the U.S. singles chart in 1983. TwoHearts Beat As One was filmed in Paris back when drummer Larry Mullen Jr. was only 21 years young. The video also includes scenes with Peter Rowan, the young boy whose haunting face graces the album covers of Boy and War. …
We're crazy for John Candy in the '80s, and particularly in 1985, when Candy racked up seven acting credits. Last week, we honored Summer Rental. Today, we mark the 30th anniversary of Volunteers, starring Candy, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson.
Most fans probably know that Volunteers was the movie where Hanks and Wilson fell in love. (Today, they remain one of the few Hollywood marriages that has worked.) Released on Aug. 16, 1985, Volunteers follows the spoiled Yale graduate Lawrence Bourne III (Hanks) as he flees to Thailand with the Peace Corps to escape his gambling debts. There he is teamed with Beth Wexler (Wilson) and Tom Tuttle (Candy) and charged with building a bridge for a village deep in the jungle. Oh sure, there's plenty more, but don't you already know all the details?
Variety's review of the movie summed it up this way: "Toplined Tom Hanks gets in a few good zingers as an upperclass snob doing time in Thailand, but promising premise and opening shortly descend into unduly protracted tedium."
Here are five things you probably didn't know about Volunteers:
1. Hanks and Wilson had already met once before the filming of this movie. The two met in 1981 on the set of Bosom Buddies, where Wilson was playing Peter Scolari's devil-worshiping girlfriend.
2. Hanks based his character's voice and attitude on actor George Plimpton, who plays his father in the movie.
3. Though set in Thailand, Volunteers was actually shot in Mexico.
4. Volunteers was meant as a spoof of two movies, both by director David Lean: Lawrence of Arabia and The Bridge On The River Kwai. Candy's character Tom Tuttle even says the Alec Guinness line from Kwai: "What have I done?"
5. This would be the second and final movie that Hanks and Candy would appear in, the first being Splash.
As we wrap up a week of Miami Vice songs, it really has been a labor of love and doesn't really feel like "work" at all. Still it's also the end of the work week and perhaps you feel like cast for the Chris Rea video for Working On It and ready to shed your chains and enjoy the weekend.
Featured in Season 5's episode of Miami Squeeze, Working On It was a single on Chris Rea's greatest hits collection and was a number Mainstream Rock Track and hit No. 73 on the singles chart in 1989. The video for Working On It features a mean old boss man and his slave laborers under his thumb. Rea was featured years ago on Lost and Found with his single Let's Dance and scored his sole U.S. Top 40 hit in 1978 with Fool (If YouThink It's Over).
Here's the moral of the story upfront: If you don't like the Truffle Shuffle, don't buy the Goonies house.
Turns out the woman who owns the Astoria, Oregon, house where the 1985 flick The Goonies was filmed are tired of all the tourists, says Britain's Independent. It seems a thousand people a day were stopping by the property. That does seem a little extreme.
The house is now blocked by a blue tarp and a sign is posted to scare away visitors: "Imagine that you buy a house, fix it up, spend money, time and love. Then the city of Astoria encourages 100,000's of people to come and stand in front and view it. This driveway (maintained by homeowners) sees 1,000+ people every day. Most are kind, fun and welcome, but many are not."
Seems the owner just hates nature! She HATES nature!
What can we say? To paraphrase: Right now, the owner has got to do what's right for her. Because it's her time. Her time! Up there! Down here, it's our time. It's our time down here!
With apologies to Texas, there is probably no state that loves their football more than Florida. The Miami Vice Season Five episode, Hard Knocks, finds Crockett and Tubbs on the gridiron fields of Florida with the Tom Cochrane & Red Rider song Big League - which is a sport song, but not about football - but hockey.
Tom Cochrane & Red Rider hail from the hockey-loving country of Canada and Big League is an emotional song from the 1988 album Victory Day about a father and son. In the rocker, it seems like the family is on top of the world when the son wins a scholarship to play big-time collegiate hockey, but tragedy strikes when the son dies in an automobile accident. Tom Cochrane stills is churning out music and his latest effort Take It Home was released in February of 2015. http://www.tomcochrane.com/
After two songs from Season 2 of Miami Vice, we fast forward to the Season 5, the last season of Miami Vice, and go alternative with Sinead O'Connor and I Want You (HandsOn Me).
While the majority of songs featured in Miami Vice were rock in nature, occasionally the music directors ventured outside the box and in episode five of the last season, which aired in 1989, there was a club scene that featured I Want Your (Hands On Me), a non-charting song featured on O'Connor's landmark debut album The Lion and The Cobra.
While Crockett and Tubbs had the stylish hair, O'Connor sports no hair in the flower-laden 1988 video for I Want Your (Hands On Me). There are two versions of this song including one that features a rap by MC Lyte in the middle and today's featured video thankfully omits that version. Besides Vice, I Want Your (Hands on Me) also was featured in A Nightmare On Elm Street IV.
On Miami Vice, some liked Crockett best; some favored Tubbs but the most celebrated cop on the show was Lieutenant Martin Castillo, whose performance by Edward James Olmos won him the 1985 Emmy for Best Supporting Actor. You might even call him Der Kommisar. So in our game of word association, Der Kommisar is the famous ‘80s song by Falco and the English band After The Fire and look what we have today - a Miami Vice featured song After The Fire by rock legend Roger Daltrey.
In the same Miami Vice season 2 finale that featured Long, Long Way From Home we also got the epic After The Fire from Roger Daltrey. Written by fellow Who compatriot Pete Townsend, After The Fire was a single off of Daltrey's Under A Raging Moon album and made it to No. 48 on the singles chart in 1985.
After The Fire was originally to be a Who song and set to debut when the Who performed for Live Aid, but when that didn't happen, Townsend gave the song to Daltrey for his solo album. At age 71, Daltrey defies the aging process and together he and Townsend are still performing in concert as The Who.
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.