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Casting nearly complete for 'National Lampoon's Vacation' reboot

"This is no longer an '80s blog. ... It's a quest. It's a quest for fun." I'm not entirely convinced that a reboot of National Lampoon's Vacation is a good idea, but the casting announcements are pretty impressive. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Ed Helms will star as Rusty Griswold, the grown son of Clark Griswold who takes his own family on a summer trip like the one he was forced to endure in the 1983 movie.

Joining Helms are Christina Applegate (as his wife) and Chris Hemsworth as the husband of Rusty's sister Audrey (a part that hasn't been cast). Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo are expected to make cameos. Shooting is expected to begin in September. No release date has been announced yet.

TOP 5 RUSTY GRISWOLD QUOTES FROM 1983's VACATION:

5. "Mom, my sandwich is all wet. "

4. "Come on, Mom. It'll be real easy for Cousin Normie to find her. All they have to do is look for the buzzards."

3. "I stabbed my brain."

2. "Dad, you want an aspirin?"

1. "That was a crummy Wyatt Earp dad. He was wearing jogging shoes."

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Sounds of summer: Robert Plant and 1983's 'Big Log'

In a recent Stuck in the '80s podcast, a reader mailbag question asked, "What songs remind you of summer?" If we were recording a log of some nominees, I think we could find a few teens that would nominate Robert Plant's Big Log as one of the great songs of the summer of 1983.

By the summer of 1983, MTV was on most cable station lineups and we were treated to the artistic video for Big Log that also hit No. 20 on the singles charts. With the heat of the desert matching the dreamy play of guitarist Robbie Blunt, the video captures the dry heat of summer at a gas station at Crystal, Nev.; the lonely highways of Death Valley and a visit to the Calico Ghost Town by Yermo, Calif., before cooling off in the Glass Pool Inn at Las Vegas. The Glass Pool Inn closed in 2003 and was razed in 2004.

On Sept. 9, Plant will release his latest album Lullaby and ... The Ceaseless Roar and will accompany it with a short tour with his backing band The Sensational Shape Shifters. http://robertplant.warnerreprise.com/

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Never Found in the '80s: Shriekback

King Crimson connections week continues with a band that also has a strong connection to one of my favorite musical artists, XTC. But I digress...

After leaving XTC (of which he was a founding member) in 1979, Barry Andrews joined Robert Fripp's very short-lived band, League of Gentlemen. Fripp was a founding and the only continuous member of (trumpet fanfare) King Crimson. After his association with Mr. Fripp, Andrews formed Shriekback in Kentish Town, England in 1981 with Dave Allen, formerly of UK's Gang of Four. Connections! Connections everywhere!

Much like yesterday's artist, Ministry, Shriekback had some success on the American Dance and Modern Rock charts, but that pesky American mainstream chart kept its back turned. Too bad, because today's song is really good. It's Nemesis from their 1985 release Oil and Gold. And it's a pretty good dance track to boot.

So, get those dancin' boots on!

 …

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See Molly Ringwald's daughter strike her mom's 'Sixteen Candles' pose

Molly Ringwald has tweeted a photo of her almost-teenaged daughter Matilda posing by a Target ad for Sixteen Candles DVDs. "She can't escape her mom, even when 'back to school' shopping at Target," Molly tweeted.

To answer your next question, Molly is 46 years old now. (Don't tell me YOU effing forgot her birthday too? It's Feb. 18, 1968.) Her next big-screen appearance will be the live-action flick Jem and the Holograms, due in 2016.

TOP 5 FAVORITE MOLLY RINGWALD QUOTES IN SIXTEEN CANDLES:

5. "Donger's here for five hours, and he's got somebody. I live here my whole life, and I'm like a disease."

4. "Life is not whatnot, and it's none of your business."

3. "I have a dance to go to - at school. It's a very important dance... uh we're being graded on it, for gym."

2. "Hey, but a lot can happen over a year. I mean, you could come back next fall as a completely normal person."

1. "I can't believe I gave my panties to a geek."

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Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey talks about Retro Futura, the joys of not owning a TV and his time playing Scrabble after Live Aid

Tom Bailey, the former frontman and genius behind the Thompson Twins, is finally back out on the road, performing his amazing pop hits of the '80s on the Retro Futura tour. And after a handful of dates, the reviews I'm reading on his performance (along with Howard Jones and Midge Ure) are just incredible.

A few weeks ago, I had a chance to talk with Tom for the Stuck in the '80s podcast. (It's here for free download.) We talked about everything from social media to Live Aid to the future of Thompson Twins.

Here's the complete transcript of the Tom Bailey interview.

SS: Hey Tom, this is Steve Spears calling.

TB: Oh hello Steve. How are you?

SS: Great, great. I’ve been looking forward to this. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me today.

TB: It’s a pleasure.

SS: Is the interview grind one of the downsides to getting back into the touring business?

TB: No, it’s not at all. In fact, I’m enjoying it and people ask the strangest things, you know, but it kind of prompts my memories, which is a good thing because I need to remind myself how complicated and extravagant it all is.

SS: <laughs>

TB: You know, I was saying today, it’s not like you can just turn up at the first day and say “Where do we play?” There’s an awful lot of preparation. A lot of it is psychological and doing this kind of stuff really helps, actually.

SS: I was talking to Midge Ure last night and he specifically said he’s going to be very interested to see your performances right at the beginning of the tour. He was very curious as to how you would be.

TB: Well, I can say the same about him. In a way, we’re both carrying the work of a famous group single-handedly so it’s an interesting thing. I’m sure he’ll be brilliant, by the way - and I hope he thinks that I am too! <laughs>

SS: I don’t doubt it one minute. This is kind of an unusual tour. This is the Retro Futura Tour, which used to be called the Regeneration Tour. It’s been around for a while here in the U.S. I’ve been to it almost every year it’s come through, but this is one of those rare times where you have Howard Jones, you have Midge, you have you. That puts three artists who all performed at Live Aid on the same bill.

TB: I hadn’t thought of that but I guess we’re all from that era so it makes a certain kind of sense.

SS: I don’t think we’ll eve see another tour come through with such a good pedigree, I suppose.

TB: Yeah, well, that’s good.

SS: I have to ask you this up front. I’m sure you’ve answered this several times already but it’s been almost 30 years since you’ve sang Thompson Twins tunes before a live audience. What took so long?

TB: Ummm, I was doing other things and I obviously wanted to move away from kind of mainstream music for a while. Also, I was raising kids and I thought I’d earned a little bit of a rest. I really was distracted by other creative projects. So, I got involved in other things which kept me very busy but didn’t involve such a high profile in terms of the mainstream media. I wasn’t chasing chart positions with the same vigor. And that’s what happened.

So, I think there’s a little bit of kind of weariness about the whole pop music game as opposed to music in general. That kind of success tends to be addictive not only for the creator but also the consumer. And people want the same thing out of you again and again and again. It became a little bit restricting and I knew I wanted to do other things that I wasn’t allowed to do within that context. So that’s really the answer.

The other thing is, of course, psychologically you start to deny your past. You know, you start to say “Awww, well, you know - I don’t do that stuff anymore. That was then and this is now. I’m doing something MUCH more interesting now” and so it almost becomes a kind of survival necessity to say “I’m never doing that again; I’ve put it behind me” and blah, blah, blah. I’ve more or less completed that denial project and given it no thought for a long, long time. I never thought we’d ever be doing it. Only about six months ago did it occur to me that I was going to change my mind.

SS: What’s your personal expectation for this tour. I mean, what is it that you hope to feel or accomplish by playing these songs again?

TB: Well, in a way I’ve already discovered that re-engaging with the songs was a more powerful and satisfactory thing than I ever expected it to be. So, the validity of them is absolute for me. I’ve only chosen the ones that I felt I could inhabit, or re-inhabit, successfully - 100%. I don’t want to do this half-heartedly. I think anyone in my position would fear just being a kind of half-hearted  parody of the past in some kind of a crazy, Karaoke sense - go out and just go through the motions. I absolutely can’t do that. And so I have to re-engage in some way that’s meaningful to me now. Luckily the songs are powerful enough and partly because I’ve discovered new meanings in them, you know, with the benefits of hindsight - and 30 years more experience. Wow, there’s a sub-theme in a song that in my innocence I never realized was there and now I realize what we were really singing about was partly this. So those kind of things engage and I think some kind of emotional maturity has  played its part in understanding those things.

SS: Give me an example of a song that you found a new or different meaning in.

TB: I’ve always felt that songs don’t exist on one level alone. There’s usually often a double or triple metaphor involved. I’m very fond of the triple metaphor. So, it can seem to be about, let’s say, falling in love with someone. But, it can also be about a sense of awe at the cosmic nature of life or something. So, at the same time those two things coexist in a song, for example. There’s a song called “If You Were Here,” which was never released as a single but it was popular because it was in a film.

SS: At the very end of “Sixteen Candles” - everyone loves that song

TB: People DO like that song and I like it too, and it’s one of my favorites and I thought it kind of touched on something - a kind of raw nerve in me. I thought it was really about the question of honesty in personal relationships. But going back to it, it really struck me very, very powerfully. It was also about re-assessing the honesty of  our optimism about the future. And I thought 30 years ago, we HAD this optimism that the world was going to be a better place and yet I felt that we hadn’t fully delivered.  I’m not just talking about the Thompson Twins, I’m talking about the human race <laughs>......

SS: Right...no, I agree. 

TB: But we haven’t fully delivered on that optimism. There’s still an awful lot to be done and so I’ve actually written two more verses to more fully emphasize that feeling that I got from the song. It was about questioning our unfinished business as responsible people.

SS: So that will make the setlist for the American dates?

TB: Yeah it will be.

SS: Excellent. Boy, I can’t wait to hear that. Were there any of the hit songs - the well-played songs - that you’re choosing to leave off the list because, as you said, you feel like doing them now doing them now would be doing them a disservice?

TB: I left off a couple because I felt I couldn’t really, honestly re-inhabit them. “Lay Your Hands,” although I’m very fond of it in a way; I like the big, bombastic, ritualistic aspects of the song. I felt that it was too sentimental for me to sing. I tried singing it and I felt dishonest, so I put that to one side. I know that’s going to disappoint a few people. And also, for the opposite reason, I felt that “We Are Detective” was too frivolous, too silly or something. So, it was also because it was partly sung by Alannah so I thought “I’m not going to go there”. But luckily there are other hits to choose from <laughs>

SS: Oh yeah - jeez!

TB: So, I very, very quickly found eight or nine that I’m very, very happy to sing and musically were engaging. I went back and re-recorded them in order to re-acquaint myself with them, kinda the internal workings of the music. I expected that to be a kind of vaguely interesting chore but it really fascinated me. I was so pleased. It was like reading an old diary or something and discovering what it was like to be alive 30 years ago. <laughs>

SS: I’m really curious about the process here because when you went back, did you remember these songs word-for-word or did you have to relearn them? 

TB: I assumed that I’d forgotten them so completely. I didn’t own copies of many of them. I had to go into a music store and buy a Thompson Twins Greatest Hits compilation.....

SS: <laughs>

TB: ... Because I’d so, SO long lost touch with them. I didn’t even own them anymore. And that kind of felt curious and amusing, but then it’s a bit like riding a bike. You know, I played a bit and “Oh yeah, I remember this.” There are certain things that were a bit tricky. Most of the things came back very quickly and what was more amazing was I could remember the individual kind of musical components partly because I did play most of it myself. So, it’s kind of locked in my memory somehow. It just needed an excuse to be allowed out again.

SS: The music business has changed so much in the last 30 years. MTV doesn’t really play videos, now you have iTunes and satellite radio and social media where artists can talk directly to fans. Which of the newer tools do you personally use or embrace?

TB: Hardly any. I’m not very well plugged in to the media to be honest. I mean, for example, I don’t own a TV, which I”m told is unusual these days.

SS: <laughing> A little, yeah.

TB: But it’s too high a price to pay. I don’t have enough time. If I start watching TV then it means there’s something I can’t do. Luckily, my wife feels the same way.  So, we live without TVs and have done for years and years and years.

In terms of the music business, I hardly recognize it as the music business that I worked in. It’s changed so much. And I feel a real sense of sadness about the new layers of difficulty which young, emerging musicians have to face in order to even earn a basic living out of their music. It’s so incredibly  difficult now. I mean sure you can make a recording in your bedroom on your computer and stick it on YouTube or on a blog or something like that and cross your fingers that people will come across it, but by and large, all that will happen is that you get exposure and no money. And that seems to be the acceptable norm - some kind of punishment for being a musician. No one wants to give you any money anymore <laughs>. Whereas, I think music is always healthy when there are ways for emerging musicians to play live and to be paid for their recordings. And all this crazy stuff about choosing stars through TV shows and  talent shows and things is kind of laughable, isn’t it? It’s pathetically laughable and it will never lead to anything good in the long term. So, I don’t know why we’re even debating it. We all know that it’s wrong.

SS: I miss the old days. ... I know that when your band was coming up and for much of your generation, the milestone to reach when you knew you were on your way or that you’ve made it was to appear on British television’s “Top of the Pops” ...   

TB: Right, right.....

SS: ... And to me, I have so much more nostalgia for that sort of approach than I do for, you know, “The X (Factor)” or “America’s Got Talent” - stuff like that.

TB: Well, “Top of the Pops” was an amazing platform because it put you in front of an enormous audience. It was something to aspire to. It wasn’t a kind of ignoble kind of revealing workover of the process by which someone is turned into a celebrity. It was the fruits of hard labor. So they’re kind of diametrically opposed. It’s true that everyone says “What do you do?” and you say you’re in a band. Then the next question is “Have you been on “The Top of the Pops?” So it was the great measure of success. And if you hadn’t, then you really hadn’t made it. So it was a kind of mark in the sand which you had to achieve at some point.

SS: Next summer marks the 30th anniversary of Live Aid and when you think back to your 18 minutes on stage in Philadelphia, what’s the first memory that pops into your head?

TB: Well, our 18 minutes should have been longer. We had a song cut off because the previous band went on too long or something, as usual. We were running late just like I’ve been having the same problem with these interviews this evening, actually. And here’s a funny thing: We we’re introduced in front of the curtain by, I think, Bette Midler and then the curtain goes up and on the other side of the curtain is my microphone stand. I’m standing back by my guitar amplifier with the guitar and I’m walking toward the microphone stand during “Hold Me Now” thinking that by the time we’re 32 bars into the introduction, I have to sing the first line. Then I realized that the mic stand was so far away that the guitar cable wasn’t long enough to get there.

SS: Oh no! <laughs>

TB: This is when you’re in front of 90,000 people in the stadium and many millions watching on TV and that’s not the time you want to have such a basic problem. So I had to decide to unplug the guitar and walk to the microphone stand. <laughs>

SS: That is a story I’ve never heard before. That’s great!

TB: So, I had to wing it, as they say, and as a result, I think when we sang the song “Revolution,” I think I got the words wrong or something. Or I made some attempt to ad lib a change of meaning...

SS: Yeah, I noticed that.

TB: ... And it partly derailed my memory of the words.

SS: That’s a pretty amazing last song. I mean, you’ve got Steve Stevens on the stage, Nile Rogers, Madonna. Who came up with that idea? Wow did that collaboration come about?

TB: Well, we were working with Nile on the album. That’s why we played in Philadelphia because we were recording in New York at the time with Nile. He’d just made an album with Madonna so they were friends. I think we’d bumped into her a few times in the past so we were kind of friendly and Steve had made an appearance on the album. ... It was a New York session, star-studded group of people just having a great time.

SS: I read somewhere recently that after your set was over, you went back to your hotel room and played Scrabble.

TB: That’s absolutely correct!

SS: <laughing> Oh my gosh!

TB: Nile, who was going through a difficult time with drugs and drink, was on a promise to return and not to party too hard, so we went back to his room and we played Scrabble.

SS: I know we’re almost out of time so I want to ask after this tour is over, what do you have planned next? I mean, is this opening some doors that you’d like to go through?

TB: It is, actually. All sorts of offers are coming through. I don’t know which I’ll take up because I want to find that whether it feels right, how much I enjoy it, if I can survive it. ... We have an amazingly hard schedule. We start in New York, I think we play seven nights in a row which I NEVER did back in the day...

SS: Wow

TB: ...And that can be really quite debilitating and exhausting. So let’s see if it goes well and I enjoy it and survive it. And we have offers to come to Japan and Australia. And then next year in the UK, a whole raft of festivals are interested in this playing so that might be what we do next summer.

SS: Well, that sounds great and I cannot wait to see you when you come down to Florida. I think it’s the last date of the tour here in Orlando.

TB: It is and it almost didn’t happen so I’m pleased. 

SS: It’s going to be a great night. I’m really looking forward to it and Tom I really appreciate  your time today. This has really been an honor to talk to you.

TB:  Steve, you’re most welcome. It’s great...I’m glad you called.

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An under-appreciated Duran Duran song in the early '80s? Not a chance!

There is little argument that Duran Duran was the most popular video artist of the ‘80s, so to find a forgotten video for the band takes a little digging, but as long as we are not careless, our memories should be able to produce a Lost and Found video.

In 1981, Duran Duran released their first single Planet Earth that started a buzz in England. Their next single, Careless Memories, didn't fare as well reaching only No. 37 in the UK.  The video for Careless Memories was their last low-budget offering as future videos for Girls on Film and Rio would set the standard for exotic big budget videos in the ‘80s.  Video highlights mainly include Nick Rhodes' puffy shirt and seeing how young Simon and the boys looked.

On Sept. 10, Duran Duran's concert film Unstaged will appear for one day only at various movie theaters across America and will include Careless Memories on the set list. The concert was recorded in March of 2011 in Los Angeles and is directed by David Lynch. http://www.duranduran.com

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Never Found in the '80s: Ministry

Kids, the number of musical artists King Crimson is connected with is astounding, and we continue King Crimson connections week with the Gothic/Industrial/Metal band out of Chicago - Ministry.

Oh, what a dark turn this blog is taking today. However, Ministry didn't start out so grim and disturbing. When founded in 1981 by Al Jourgensen, Ministry was more of a new wave synthpop dance band. But, as the 80s progressed, the band took on a more aggressive sound.

In 1988, Ministry set up what would be a future connection with King Crimson by bringing in Bill Rieflin as their drummer. (In 2013, Rieflin became one of the three drummers for; you guessed it, King Crimson. That's right. Three drummers.) They also released their third album The Land of Rape and Honey that year, which features today's song Stigmata.

There is a video for Stigmata, however, we felt some of the imagery in the video was a bit too provocative and opted to go with this video-less version… 

 …

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Never Found in the '80s: Laurie Anderson

I'm doing another week long look at a band with a very significant contribution to the music of our favorite decade as well as the '70s, '90s, and right on up to today. Their influence cannot be exaggerated. The band is King Crimson. Although, never catching on with the mainstream audiences of the '80s, their reach is immense. The masses may have never found them, but lots of other musical artists certainly did.

I am by no means an expert on this band. So, for this week long look at King Crimson connections, I have acquired the assistance of fellow 80s Nation member, Douglas Arthur, to help select the artists and fill in some gaps in my information. Believe me; we could have done way more than a week.

First up is Laurie Anderson.

Laurie Anderson is possibly the most avant garde artist that I will ever cover in this series. Anderson makes the so unusual Cyndi Lauper look like Mary Tyler Moore. Always experimenting with voice modulation, odd musical sounds, and often doing spoken word, Laurie Anderson was truly too unusual to be found on the mainstream music charts in the 80s.

Today's song is O, Superman (For Massenet). It's weird. It's sparse. It's hypnotic.

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Monsters and reapers aside, Blue Oyster Cult had some '80s hits too

For a band that is primarily remembered for their '70 hits with Don't Fear The Reaper and Godzilla, Blue Oyster Cult put together a nice catalog of songs in the ‘80s including Take Me Away.

In the ‘80s, Blue Oyster Cult hit the Top 40 once with Burnin' For You, which has evolved into track that still gets a lot of airplay of classic rock and variety stations. In 1983, BOC missed the singles chart with Take Me Away but it got solid album rock play for the song, co-written by Aldo Nova, about alien abduction.

There is quite of bit going on in the video for Take Me Away beginning with the computer game "Star Blazer" being played on an Apple II computer and ending with an alien abduction in a old prop plane? The video has the classic BOC roster of Buck Dharma on lead guitar and Eric Bloom on vocals.  

BOC is still intact with most of their popular lineup, including Dharma and Bloom, and continue to make the rounds on tour. http://www.blueoystercult.com/

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Can you name Ultravox's biggest hit to date in the U.S.?

In his recent podcast interview with Midge Ure, Steve and Midge conversed about Ultravox's vast catalog of music videos which seemed like a good cue to spotlight some lost Ultravox songs like Reap The Wild Wind.

While Ultravox hasn't had a Top 40 hit in the U.S., Reap The Wild Wind was as close as they got when the hit No. 81 in 1982. The song reached No. 12 on the UK Charts and was one of four songs off their Quartet album to reach the Top 20 in their homeland of England. 

The video for Reap The Wild Wind pays tribute to the British aviators that flew in the war for England. A native Scotsman, Ure would in turn make England proud for his efforts as the co-author, producer and playing all the instruments for Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas as well as his work with Live Aid.

As mentioned on the podcast, Ure just released his new solo album Fragile and will be appearing on the Retro Futura Tour. http://www.ultravox.org.uk/

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Valley Girl's Deborah Foreman jumps back into acting with 'The Survivors'

Deborah Foreman, everyone's favorite movie-girl-next-door of the '80s, is getting back into the acting business. Foreman, who dazzled us in Valley Girl, Waxwork and April Fools Day, is set to co-star in The Survivors, according to an announcement on her official Facebook page.

"Yep, I am acting again .. Hootie hoo!" Foreman wrote.

The Survivors will be an action/horror feature film about "a multi-generational group of strong female survivors who decide to get revenge as they band together and turn the tables on legendary murderer who, during their youth, pursued them all. After the killer resurfaces, the women make a pact to track him down and end his 25-year killing spree."

The cast is a who's-who of horror film stars from our favorite decade, including: Adrienne King (Friday the 13th); Heather Langenkamp (Nightmare on Elm Street); and Amanda Wyss (Nightmare on Elm Street).

William Butler (Madhouse, Furnace) is set to write and produce The Survivors. The film is planned for a spring 2015 release.

OUR TOP 3 FAVORITE DEBORAH FOREMAN MOVIES OF THE '80s:

3. MY CHAUFFEUR (1986): "They send me out last. You get me, you've hit bottom. I'm the last cookie in the jar." …

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Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey shares Live Aid stories, teases to Retro Futura setlist in latest podcast

Tom Bailey, the former Thompson Twins frontman, sat in with The Roots on Wednesday night's edition of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Did you catch it? It's pretty surreal to see the New Wave pop genius out on the road again for the first time in 27 years, mixing it up with the media. Speaking of which, I spoke to Tom a few weeks ago for a Stuck in the '80s podcast, which you can listen to here. (Or download it to your computer.)

Tom and I talked about the Retro Futura Tour (easier to type than to pronounce), his time on stage during Live Aid and the very unexpected way he had to relearn all the Thompson Twins classics for this tour. Also, Tom announced which special Thompson Twins songs got additional verses added for this tour. (Sixteen Candles fans will be thrilled).

Enjoy the podcast, and stay tuned afterward for our "seggies," featuring one of the most amazing Reader Mailbag letters to date.

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Time to make a long-distance telephone call to the godfathers of '80s music

With all the ‘80s synth music featured on SIT80's over the years, it's time to place a call to the godfathers of electronic music - Kraftwerk.

If you had to trace the origins of ‘80s Euro synth-electronic music, all paths would end with Kraftwerk. While most radio stations have never played a single song by Kraftwerk, the band actually had one U.S. Top 40 hit in 1975 with the instrumental Autobahn. In the ‘80s, they released two albums, including 1987's Electric Café that featured two videos including today's lost-and-found tune The Telephone Call

While The Telephone Call did not hit the pop charts it was a No. 1 hit on the Club Dance charts. When you see the black and white arty video for The Telephone Call it might remind you of Mike Myers on Saturday Night Live playing the character Dieter with his "Sprockets" routine. That connection is not too far off base as the Theme Song for "Sprockets" is the Kraftwerk's Electric Café speeded up from 33 rpm to 45 rpm. When watching The Telephone Call if you feel the need to dance in spasms and shout "Touch my Monkey,"  then feel free to do so.  …

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Midge Ure talks Retro Futura, Live Aid and the 'bombastic and pompous' music of Ultravox

If we celebrated superheroes back in the '80s, Midge Ure would have been at the top of the list -- his then-thin mustache merely the accent on his New Wave and Live Aid good deeds. The Ultravox frontman gave us classics like Vienna while teaming up with Bob Geldof to turn the entire world's attention to the famine in Africa. It's a resume that any music "star" today would kill for.

Midge is back on the road this month, crossing the U.S. on the Retro Futura tour. A few weeks ago, I had a chance to spend a half hour with him. We talked about MTV, his Retro Futura co-stars Howard Jones and Tom Bailey and even debated why the music press never gave Ultravox its due.

You can listen to the full interview in podcast form here, including some AMAZING music clips from his career. Below is the edited transcript. …

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Roger Daltrey had forgotten hits in the '80s too

Yesterday we spent time with Pete Townshend's solo career, so it should be fair that we also spend equal time with The Who's other famous half of Roger Daltrey and Let Me Down Easy.

While Daltrey amassed a nice catalog of solo material in the ‘80s, he had only one U.S. Top 40 hit with Without Your Love in 1980. His best selling album of the ‘80s was the 1985 album Under A Raging Moon, which was his tribute to the late Keith Moon. If you think the lead single Let Me Down Easy has a pop-friendly tone to it, it's because the song comes from the Bryan Adams-Jim Vallance songbook and Adams even shows up in the video. The tune reached No. 86 on the singles chart at the beginning of 1986. 

Even as a 70-year old man, Daltrey still looks great and as mentioned yesterday, he and Townshend are teaming up to celebrate The Who's 50th anniversary with a short UK tour this winter.

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