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Olivia Newton-John on her dance partners and that 'Grease' ending

I'm sure SIT80s Nation knows I was talking to YOU in my story here in the Tampa Bay Times during my interview with Olivia Newton-John, who performs Feb. 4 and 5 at Clearwater's Capitol Theatre. (And again Feb. 7 at Universal Studios Orlando.)

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Here's the Los Lobos hit before they hit No. 1 with 'La Bamba'

One of the feel good stories of 1987 was the surprising success of the summer movie La Bamba and its soundtrack, which scored a No. 1 hit for Los Lobos - but do you remember the first single of 1987 for Los Lobos?

Los Lobos was a Chicano L.A. band that had critical success during the first half of the '80s, but little commercial success. In the spring of 1987, Los Lobos released their album By The Light Of The Moon and it's first single Set Me Free (Rosa Lee). Despite the irresistible hooks of the song that features great sax and percussion, the song never made the pop singles chart and was only a minor hit on the Mainstream Rock charts. I always found the video memorable for the joyful jumping by the video extras.

Three short months later, Los Lobos would hit it big when their covers of Ritchie Valen's music from the ‘50s in La Bamba dominated the radio and charts that summer. Around the same time, Los Lobos also had a high profile appearance on Paul Simon's landmark album Graceland with the song All Around the World or The Myth of Fingerprints, which the band still smarts about as they were refused writing credits by Simon on the song they allegedly brought in the studio. …

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Eddie Murphy returning to 'Saturday Night Live' for first visit since '84

Eddie Murphy will appear on Saturday Night Live for the first time in 31 years on Feb. 15, when the show celebrates its 40th anniversary, reports.

Pop quiz: Who was the musical guest and what movie was Murphy promoting when he last appeared on SNL? The date was Feb. 25, 1984 and the musical guest was Kool & The Gang. The movie? Beverly Hills Cop. Wow.

Murphy was a cast member of the improv show from 1980 to 1984, killing us with characters and impressions such as Gumby, Buckwheat, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Tyrone Green and more. When Murphy's movie career began to teeter in the late '80s and early '90s, the shots he took from castmembers turned him off.

"They said some sh---y things," Murphy said during an interview. "There was that David Spade sketch [when Spade showed a picture of Murphy around the time of Vampire in Brooklyn and said, 'Look, children, a falling star']. I made a stink about it, it became part of the folklore."

Glad to have you back, if only for a night, Eddie!

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Super Bowl commercials were epic in the '80s

Being able to see Super Bowl commercials ahead of time on the Internet has killed a lot of the fun for Super Sunday. (God knows I'm not staying up to watch whatever dreadful halftime performer they have this year.) But the Internet also gives us a look back at Super Bowl ads from a gentler, more simple time.

It's the '80s, baby. And there's nothing you can do about it.

Everyone remembers the Apple Macintosh commercial. Here are five Super Bowl commercials from the '80s you might have forgotten.






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New podcast online: Marillion, Taylor Negron and 'Escape from New York' remake

Sometimes when we do an "Eighties News Now" show, the format feels like a crutch. "Oh, we don't have time for a full, real show. Let's do the cop-out show again." But this week's show clocks in at nearly a full hour, so obviously we had plenty to say. Plus, we have FIVE full seggies this week, including a "Stuck in Stuck in the '80s" seggie on John Hughes' risque movie titles. It's still safe for the family. Enjoy. 


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All the Stone Roses wanted in the '80s was to be adored

If you could sum up the Stone Roses in fifteen words or less, what could you say other than they just want to be adored.

The Stone Roses self-titled 1989 debut album is considered by many to be one of the finest records every produced and at the minimum is the cornerstone of the Madchester Britpop Movement that propelled bands like Oasis to the top of the charts in the ‘90s.

Many predicted that singer Ian Brown and guitarist John Squire would become the Morrisey/Johnny Marrs of the ‘90s with songs like I Want To Be Adored.

The trance-inducing song builds slowly with lyrics confined to only about fifeteen words including the repeated chorus of I Want To Be Adored. The video is straight performance as the Madchester Movement contrasted starkly from the early ‘80s British pop movement with bands like Duran Duran and ABC that found fun and frolic in videos.

Despite the accolades, the Stone Roses only released one more album in the ‘90s but continue to keep their loyal fan base that attest that the Stone Roses are one of the best bands of all time.  


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29 years later, memories of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster linger

Twenty-nine years ago today, the '80s generation was rocked by the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Here's how it looked on CNN.

Onboard were Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik and school teacher named Christa McAuliffe. NASA would later determine that the vehicle began to break up 73 seconds after launch when an O-ring seal in its right solid rocket booster failed.

I remember being a freshman at the University of Florida in Gainesville when it happened. It was a cool January day with clear, sunny skies. I was walking back to my dorm room after a morning class when someone said the shuttle had blown up. First reaction? It's a joke. And not even a good one. I walked to the TV room on my floor. A couple guys were watching the TV. It really happened. A crowd of people outside the window caught my attention. Dozens of people were standing outside looking up to the skies. When I went out to join them, I saw the reason why.

We could see the entire smoke trail - especially the part after the explosion - as clear as day in the sky. It's a memory that still chills me today. …

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Jesus and Mary Chain announce tour for 30th anniversary of 'Psychocandy'

The Jesus and Mary Chain was one of "those bands" that always got me in trouble with my mom. She couldn't stand "disrespectful" band names like The Dead Kennedys and Suicidal Tendencies. (I'm not sure what opinion she formed over Oingo Boingo and Kajagoogoo, and I'm not asking now). So in her mind, it's probably a good thing that The Jesus and Mary Chain's upcoming tour includes nothing near Florida.

Still, for the rest of the U.S., it's time to rejoice (or buy a plane ticket if you're as unlucky as me.) With their landmark album Psychocandy turning 30 years old in 2015, the band has announced short tours for both North America and the UK. Here are the dates, according to …

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How many '80s bands can you name from Hershey, PA?

If you are at the corner of Cocoa and Chocolate Avenue - where are you? It would be in at the sweetest place on earth - Hershey, Pennsylvania, home of the chocolate manufacturer, the theme park and today's featured band: The Ocean Blue.  

In the late ‘80s, cocoa was not the only thing that was hot in Hershey, PA, as the an up-and-coming band with members in high school named The Ocean Blue caught the attention of the major labels and signed a multi-record deal with Sire Records big-wig Seymour Stein during their graduation year of 1988. Sounding like the American answer to Echo and the Bunnymen, The Ocean Blue's debut album in 1989 was a modest hit on the alternative music scene with likeable songs like Drifting, Falling, which was a Top 10 hit on Billboard's Modern Music charts.

The video for Drifting, Falling is a tribute to their hometown of Hershey with rural scenes of Amish country. The Ocean Blue was consistent in the ‘90s, but never crossed over to superstardom. The band is still together and continues to tour and release new material.

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Ghoul Power! 'Ghostbusters' reboot announces all-female cast

Ladies ain't afraid of no ghosts either. An all-female cast is in the works for the long-delayed Ghostbusters reboot, the Hollywood Reporter said today. If negotiations go according to plan, the four new paranormal investigators will be played by Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. Paul Feig will direct. (How about at least a cameo by Sigourney Weaver?!)

That combination should create some good comic chemistry. Wiig, Jones and McKinnon are have been on Saturday Night Live's cast. And McCarthy and Wiig both co-starred in Bridesmaids, which was directed by Feig.

The casting news finally puts an end to the Ghostbusters 3 project, which original director Ivan Reitman was set to direct Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson. The movie was held up by endless script rewrites (and the ongoing attempt to capture Bill Murray for the film.) When Ramis died in February 2014, the franchise appeared stalled for good. Reitman has been tapped to produce the reboot, according to Variety. And don't be shocked if some of the original actors find their way into cameos. Just call it my sixth sense.

The Hollywood Reporter says shooting could begin this summer in New York.

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Here's a Split Enz song that didn't deserve its burial at sea

Even if you can't make it with Steve and Brad on The ‘80s Cruise, you can at least get your sea legs today with today's Lost and Found entry of Six Months In A Leaky Boat.

In 1980 Split Enz released I Got You, which has become one of the most revered new wave songs of the decade. While huge down under in Australia and their native New Zealand, Split Enz never cracked the states even with inventive songs like Six Months In A Leaky Boat, a No. 2 smash in Australia, but only making it to No. 104 on the U.S. charts in 1982. …

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30 years later, which movie would you watch: Fandango or Falcon and the Snowman?

Two movies that rarely get name-checked as '80s flicks turn 30 this week: The Falcon and the Snowman and Fandango were both released on Jan. 25, 1985. Which would you rather watch on TV tonight? Let's take a look.

Falcon and the Snowman: Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn
Fandango: Kevin Costner. Judd Nelson, Sam Robards
The edge goes to: Falcon and the Snowman. Maybe it's not Penn's best movie in the '80s, but it was definitely the sign that greatness was on its way. And in a decade where Costner did no wrong, some consider this is best role.

Falcon and the Snowman:
A true story, Falcon and the Snowman follows young employee at a defense contractor and his drug-pusher best friend who end up selling U.S. security secrets to the Soviets.
Fandango: Five college students in the early '70s go on a final road trip together as gradation, Vietnam and the future await.
The edge goes to: Fandango, while based on the director's life at Baylor University, still lacks the element of originality, and it's hard to fight a "true story." Falcon and the Snowman wins here.

Falcon and the Snowman:
Gets a 6.8 rating on IMDB; Roger Ebert gave it four stars, saying "Here it is only January, and already we have one of the best movies of 1985."
Fandango: Gets a 6.6 rating on IMDB; 50% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. No review from Ebert. Quentin Tarantino reportedly said director Kevin Reynolds work was "one of the best directorial debuts in the history of cinema."
The edge goes to: Falcon also gets the box office win, but in all fairness Fandango was originally a student film made by Reynolds at USC. It's also a cult classic. We'll call this a tie.

Falcon and the Snowman:
"How many guys do you know who's best friend is also their priest?"
Fandango: "Here's to us and the privileges of youth!"
The edge goes to: Fandango wins by a Texas mile.

Falcon and the Snowman:
Ebert's perfect, four-star rating is something to think about. Plus, the film gained greater infamy in 1986 when its broadcast on HBO was hacked by a rogue satellite broadcaster known as "Captain Midnight."
Fandango: When you have Steven Spielberg on for his funding and producing, that says something. Reynolds's later efforts include two Costner bombs -  Robin Hood: Price of Thieves and Waterworld. Plus, google "Fandango" today and you get the movie ticket website listed first.
The edge goes to: Give it up for Captain Midnight and Falcon and the Snowman.

The winner? Just watch them both. As if you had anything better to do tonight.

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It's another Monday morning and even Ozzy is 'So Tired'

Whether it's the limited daylight of winter or just another Monday, why is it we are all so tired? It's so bad that even Ozzy Osbourne is going to chime in with today's Lost and Found entry of So Tired".

So Tired was the second single off the 1983 album Bark At The Moon, and I have no doubt the reason it was released as a single was that the record company thought the ballad with its orchestral backing might appeal to the pop radio public much like when Kiss scored a hit with Beth. The single only made it to No. 104 on the charts, which still made it Ozzy's highest-charting solo U.S. single to date until he finally broke through into the Top 40 with his duet with Lita Ford Close My Eyes in 1989.

Just because So Tired has strings and a gentle guitar solo doesn't mean that everyone's favorite madman didn't produce a disturbing video as highlights include a knife-wielding hunchback, scared ballerinas and the assassination of Honest Abe.  Even if he was high as a kite when So Tired was shot, I am sure Ozzy remembers the shoot anyway as the scene where the dressing room mirror explodes, a shard of glass accidentally flew into Ozzy's throat, sending him to the hospital. 

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Watch (or don't watch): Cast of Glee performs Devo's Whip It

Nobody watches Glee anymore, and Devo is probably very happy about that, because watching the cast of the show perform Devo's Whip It ... it's just ... too ... painful. 

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Never Found in the '80s: The Waterboys

Largely a vehicle for the music written by Mike Scott, the only permanent member of the band, The Waterboys had an extensive line-up of musicians, over the years, mainly from the British Isles.  In fact, Wikipedia lists more the 75 musicians have been part of the band at one time or another.

With a variety of styles including Celtic, folk, and rock, The Waterboys' music was influenced by literary figures such as William Butler Yeats and Robert Burns; as well as musical artists such as Van Morrison, David Bowie, and Patti Smith. They did manage to chart a couple songs on the U.S. Modern Rock Chart in the late '80s, but they were never found on the U.S. mainstream music charts.

Today's featured song, 1985's The Whole of the Moon, reflects the spiritual nature of much of their music. It's as toe-tappingly good as it is inspiring. Watch closely, you may recognize Kurt Wallinger who would leave the band shortly after the release of the album This is the Sea (1985) to form his own band World Party.


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