Top 10 favorite rock ballads of the '80s, as chosen by the fans

nightranger.jpgRock fans have sounded off and named their top 10 favorite rock ballads of the '80s. Ultimateclassicrock.com compiled the list from reader comments, forming a top 10 of sounds that belong on every '80s fan's iPod. Interestingly enough, it's completely different from the website's own list of top 10 rock ballads. (For the record, I agree more with their reader's list, though I'd pick Faithfully over Open Arms.)

I don't want to give away the full list, but I'll be the spoiler and give you their top 5, along with an excerpt from the website for each tune. Click here to see the full list and commentary.

5. DRIVE (The Cars): "Penned by Ric Ocasek, the song features a multi-textured bed of synths and programmed beats, with the soothing vocals of bassist Benjamin Orr bringing just enough emotional resonance to humanize it all."

4. ANGEL (Aerosmith): "The song was Aerosmith's second-highest charting single of all time, but Tyler himself has said it became so overplayed that the band has performed it just once in the last decade."

3. OPEN ARMS (Journey): "The song is a timeless classic that's been covered by everybody from Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men to an endless stream of 'American Idol' contestants. But Journey, of course, do Journey better than anybody, and their version is often considered one of the greatest love songs of all time."

2. BRINGING ON THE HEARTBREAK (Def Leppard): "Def Leppard brought themselves not heartbreak but heaps of love with this tune, which failed to chart when released as a single off 1981's 'High 'n' Dry' but snuck on there when a synth-heavy remix dropped a few years later."

1. SISTER CHRISTIAN (Night Ranger): "There are definitely bigger '80s ballads — better selling, higher charting — but somehow 'Sister Christian' still sticks out like a stray curl rising above an Aqua Netted mane, if only for the thousands of wedding first dances it's soundtracked and proms it's themed."

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Wise blogger rules/jokes: '80s fashion will save the world!

denim.jpg"By embracing just a few key fashion and beauty trends from the 80s, we can subtly remind the world that we need to learn from our past in order to protect our future," blogger/comedy writer Kristen Bobst reasons in an online treatise entitled: '80s Fashion Will Save The World. And I'm not about to disagree with her.

Among her "findings" are:

  • We need to double dose on denim.
  • Perms can held avoid depression.
  • Blue eye shadow will spread the feminist agenda.

All good things! Click here to read her full argument. Here's her full website.

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'80s hero Martin Short shows his class when asked on TV about his dead wife

Martin Short and Nancy Dolman/AP photoIf you doubt the greater level of class that our '80s heroes demonstrate day in and day out, look no further than Martin Short's appearance this morning on NBC's The Today Show.

Short was interviewed by Kathie Lee Gifford -- why she is allowed anywhere near a TV camera is beyond me -- about his upcoming movie Madagascar 3 when Gifford decided to ask about his longtime marriage to Nancy Dolman. (Watch it online)

"You and Nancy have one of the greatest marriages of anybody in show business," Gifford spits out. "How many years now for you guys?"

One problem: Nancy died in 2010 from ovarian cancer.

Short, for his part, holds his composure, though you can literally see the blood drain from his face as he slowly replies, "We ... have ... married ... 36 years."

Not quite catching on, Gifford continues and asks if they're still in love.

"Madly, madly in love," Short says. And the look on his face makes me want to cry.

According to Celebuzz, Short politely filled her in after the interview was over.

Following a commercial, Gifford apologized and later wrote on Twitter, "I send my sincerest apologies to @MartinShort and his family. He handled situation w/enormous grace and kindness and I'm so grateful."

Should I wait until later to tell Gifford that's not his Twitter handle?

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Kinks, KISS and Pink Floyd: What bands belong on last episode of rock dinosaurs?

KISS/publicity photoStuck in the '80s is about to record our final episode in our ongoing Rock Dinosaurs of the '80s series. We've gone through four installments so far, and we feel one more ought to wrap things up nicely. Already on tap for this show: The Kinks, KISS and Pink Floyd.

But something's missing, isn't it? We want your help. Help us find one or two more bands to add to this final installment. Before you shower us with suggestions, here are the bands we've covered so far: 

  • The Rolling Stones
  • Jefferson Starship
  • Blue Oyster Cult
  • Supertramp
  • Beach Boys
  • Aerosmith
  • Moody Blues
  • The Jacksons
  • The Bee Gees
  • Steve Miller
  • Yes
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • The Grateful Dead
  • The Who
  • Chicago
  • The Monkees

Here is the general idea: Pick a band that really made its name in a decade PRIOR to the '80s, and yet still cranked out some notable hits and albums during our beloved decade. 

Just to be even more clear, a band like Journey, for example, did have some hits in the '70s, but their greatest success came in the '80s, so they wouldn't quality. Same argument could be made for The Cars, Talking Heads, Boston and others.

And remember: This series is for BANDS only. We'll do a separate series on solo artists, so David Bowie fans should hang tight.

Drop us a comment. Help the cause. That is all.

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New trailer: E.T. coming soon on Blu-ray

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E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial is coming to Blu-ray this fall and we finally have a trailer to see. Not that it at all differs from any other trailer for E.T., but I suppose some people still get teary when they hear the score and see tweens scream at each other for no apparent reason.

Truth be told, and I've said this a million times before, but people keep asking about: I've never seen E.T. and I don't really care to either. Why? The movie came out in 1982, when I was about 15 years old. And I'm sorry, but at 15, there were a ton of other movies that year I wanted to see more than some tear-jerker about a lumpy alien and a bunch of law-breaking tots. (Let's start with Star Trek 2 and then add Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Blade Runner, Conan the Barbarian and even Last American Virgin to the list.)

In fact, and I can tell you this total and complete certainty: The No. 1 movie EVERY SINGLE 15-YEAR-OLD wanted to watch in 1982 was not E.T., it was Porky's. (And aside from the "Why do they call you Lassie" scene, that's a totally forgettable flick in retrospect.)

If you're outraged right now, it's probably because you were born after 1967 and thus were the appropriate age to want to see E.T. So feel free to spend your hard-earned coin on the Blu-ray version, due out this fall. And in the meantime, here's a short E.T. trivia quiz to see if you can your money where your mouth is: 

1. What was the original working title for E.T.?

2. Name Michael Jackson's song that was considered for use in the movie.

3. What is Elliot's dog's name?

4. How does the alien get the name "E.T.?"

5. The deluxe laserdisc version of the movie has a different final scene. How does that version end?

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Full House's Dave Coulier talks mullets, Saget and Mr. Woodchuck

coulier.jpgDave Coulier, better known as Joey Gladstone on TV's Full House in the '80s, took to Reddit last week to answer questions from fans. Hat's off to Reddit for coming up with this amazingly simple but effective way of doing celebrity chats.

Click here to read the full chat. But here are some of the highlights:

WHEN HE LOST HIS FAMED MULLET HAIRDO: "I cut my hair at the taping of our last Full House episode."

DID HE KEEP ANY MEMENTOS FROM THE SET: "Yes. I kept Mr. Woodchuck. I just did a sketch with 'Funny Or Die' with one of my Full House costars (can't say which one because it will kill the joke). You'll see Mr. Woodchuck in that sketch."

WEIRDEST THING BOB SAGET EVER DID: "Bob once wiped his butt with his own 8x10. But not on the set in front of everyone."

WHY DIDN'T HE PARTICIPATE IN SAGET'S ROAST ON COMEDY CENTRAL: "I was asked by John (Stamos) and Bob. You have to be really filthy to be a roaster. And that's not my style. I told Bob that I would support him by sitting in the audience."

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Must-have for all '80s fans: Retro-cassette coffee table

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Oh yes, it's real. Is it for sale? Probably doesn't matter since I could never afford it. This 12:1 scaled replica of a cassette tape was built by Jeff Skierka Designs. "It is made of reclaimed maple, walnut and lucite," his website says. "This is a first prototype and one of a kind table. This table has been an obsession of mine for 5 years! It is amazing to finally have it come to fruition. The table is completely reversible (sides A and B)."

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Rush album review: 'Hugely ambitious and exclusively dark'

rush-clockwork-angels-e1334152796555.jpgRush's new Clockwork Angels album is due out in a matter of weeks (June 12 technically) but one fan has already heard every track and is ready to sound off. BraveWords.com editor Martin Popoff wrote his review online.

"Curious to see how Clockwork Angels is received out there, ‘cos I can see there being a lot of exasperation," Popoff writes in a review that seems to go from praising to near-damning as it peruses the album track by track.

Here are two more excerpts to intice fans of the Holy Trinity of Rock.

  • "Hard to believe, but this is the first full concept album for the Willy Wonkas of prog metal, Clockwork Angels being a complicated, oblique, angled tale involving less steampunk than rumour had it and much more about the march of time, all wrapped up in the meaninglessness for the non-believer, except for some sort of inner temple-building, or a garden as it were, Candide-style."
  • "What we have here is Rush’s bassiest production quake ever. Neil’s drums have never sounded so fat, warm and powerful, and Geddy and Alex storm on along with him, through track by blustery track, many neo-Maiden- and Death Magnetic-like in their sodding of conventional verse/chorus structure in redefinition of the word 'break.' "

Click here for the full review.

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Who's the U-boat commander? Joel's Porsche from 'Risky Business' for sale

porsche.jpgThe joy of '80s films to me is so easy to understand. Each one of them taught me a valuable lesson.

  • Fast Times at Ridgemont High: People on 'ludes should not drive.
  • Valley Girl: The quickest way to meeting Deborah Foreman? Just open your heart.
  • Porky's: Never ask a gym teacher how she got her nickname.

And Risky Business: When you dad goes out of town and says "Don't touch my Porsche," then Don't Touch That Porsche unless you want to be forced to open a brothel and bed a prostitute to pay for repairs when you accidentally dump the car in a lake, with the unintended side consequence being you blackmail a college recruiter into letting you into Princeton.

It's a pretty specific lesson, but you never know what life is going to hand you.

Next lesson: Put money aside, in the rare occasion that said-Porsche goes on the market. Well, I failed on that one, which is a shame because the actual Porsche from 1983's Risky Business is about to go on the auction blog. The Porsche 928 is a 1979 model with 102,755 miles on the odometer, a five-speed manual transmission, says the Wall Street Journal, and was one of four cars in the film. (Alas, it's not the one that ended in the lake.)

Auction house Profiles in History said the car go on sale in July and could fetch up to $60,000.

Last lesson: Never too late to open that brothel. Time of your life, eh kid?

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Star Wars turns 35: Five real-life inventions from a galaxy far far away

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Do you feel a disturbance in the force today? As as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror when they realized the first Star Wars movie is turning 35 years old — and were suddenly silenced?

Don’t try to frighten us with your sorcerous ways and claim you were actually there on May 25, 1977: Star Wars opened on a whopping 32 screens on that date, eventually growing to 43 by the end of the weekend as theater owners realized they had a surprise hit.
But if you want to celebrate the milestone, try using one these today.

FIVE STAR WARS INVENTIONS THAT EXIST TODAY:

blue_milk.jpgBLUE MILK: Luke Skywalker’'s Aunt Beru was big on blue milk back at the moisture farm on Tattooine. Today, you can make it adding blue fruit punch mix to soy milk.

LANDSPEEDERS: Wired magazine reports that an Israeli company has worked since 2008 on a vertical-take-off-and-land airship called the AirMule, which resembles Luke's family truckster. We’ll wait for the Prius version.

DROIDS: Your smart phone probably can't find the main control to the power beam that’s holding the ship here, or make the precise location appear on the monitor. But give it a few more years, and your Motorola cellphone can probably turn off all the garbage mashers on the detention level.

LIGHTSABERS: Not as clumsy or random as a blaster, a lightsaber was an elegant weapon for a more civilized age. (Man, I can quote this movie all day long.) These days, you can find one at ultrasabers.com, starting at about $50.

THE FORCE: If you don’t believe in one all-powerful Force that surrounds us and penetrates us and binds the galaxy together, then this is not the blog item you were looking for.

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Peter Gabriel tour to celebrate 25th anniversary of 'So' album

so.jpgPeter Gabriel's "Back to Front" 2012 tour will celebrate the 25th anniversary of his landmark So album, which he'll play start to finish during each concert. That means legendary tunes like Red Rain, Don't Give Up and Sledgehammer live again.

Even better news: Gabriel plans to reunite as many members as possible from his original So touring band. The album, which was released May 19, 1986, also will be re-released as a CD, special-edition 3-disc set and even a deluxe box set, according to Pollstar.com.

Now the bad news: It's not a very long tour. At least not yet. And no Southeast dates have been announced. Pollstar says (or hopes) that more dates will be released soon. Here's what we have now.

PETER GABRIEL 2012 TOUR DATES:

  • Sept. 16 – Quebec City, Quebec, Quebec Colisee Pepsi
  • Sept. 18 – Montreal, Quebec, Bell Centre
  • Sept. 19 – Toronto, Ontario, Air Canada Centre
  • Sept. 21 – Philadelphia, Pa., Wells Fargo Center
  • Sept. 23 – Wantagh, N.Y., Nikon At Jones Beach Theater
  • Sept. 24 – Boston, Mass., TD Garden
  • Sept. 26 – Auburn Hills, Mich., The Palace Of Auburn Hills
  • Sept. 27 – Chicago, Ill., United Center
  • Sept. 30 – Morrison, Colo., Red Rocks Amphitheatre
  • Oct. 2 – San Jose, Calif., HP Pavilion At San Jose
  • Oct. 5 – Las Vegas, Nev., Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino
  • Oct. 6 – Los Angeles, Calif., Hollywood Bowl
  • Oct. 9 – Santa Barbara, Calif., Santa Barbara Bowl
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Risky Business mom Janet Carroll dies at age 71

janetcarroll.gifJanet Carroll -- we probably knew her best as Tom Cruise's mom in Risky Business (the mom who wants him to take the SAT over again, so she's the villain, right?) -- has died at age 71 after a long illness, the Holllywood Reporter says.

Carroll played a mom again in Secret Admirer and had TV roles on shows including Married With Children, LA Law, Designing Women, Hill Street Blues and the Golden Girls. Her last movie role is in College Debts, set for a 2013 release.

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Robocop remake to co-star Dark Knight's Gary Oldman

robocop.jpgGary Oldman makes any movie better. That's a scientific fact. So it's like totally awesome that Oldman is onboard the upcoming remake of Robocop, an '80s flick that really doesn't need a remake. But Hollywood stopped using rational sense a lot time ago.

Don't sweat it: Oldman isn't going to be the actual Robocop (though how cool would that be?): "The character is that of a scientist who creates the title character, only to suffer a conflict of morality when the cyborg/former police officer (played by Joel Kinnaman of The Killing) becomes aware of his past as a human - a development not appreciated by the corporation which bankrolled the project," reports Hitflix.com.

Filming is expected to begin in Toronto later this year. Look for it in theaters next summer (or on Netflix late next summer).

(And yes, I added "Dark Knight" to the headline only to attract more traffic. So dirty. Now I know what a studio executive feels like.)

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Pretty in Pink shocker: Duckie was secretly gay?

pretty_in_pink_1.jpgA day off the news that Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer and Andrew McCarthy were reprising their Pretty in Pink personalities via Twitter, now we learn that Ringwald thinks the character Duckie was secretly gay.

"Duckie doesn’t know he's gay," Ringwald tells Out magazine. "I think he loves Andie in the way that [my gay best friend] always loved me."

Whoa. To paraphrase Duckie, that's a volcanic accusation. But maybe there's something to it. If only director John Hughes were still alive to ask.

"John wrote a lot of gay characters," Ringwald told the publication. "But it was something that we never talked about. I would say in just about every movie he did, he had a character that easily could have been gay."

For his part, Cryer/Duckie disagrees.

"Yes, she said that the guy whom Duckie was based on was gay. It's a different thing. Let's be clear here," Cryer told Zap2it. "No, she actually said that if one projected beyond the movie, that Duckie would be out by now. And I respectfully disagree. I want to stand up for all the slightly effeminate dorks that are actually heterosexual. Just cause the gaydar is going off, doesn't mean your instruments aren't faulty."

Back to Molly's accusation that there are gay characters written into many of Hughes' movies: Any characters jump to mind? 

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Duckie, Andie and Blane renew Pretty in Pink rivalry on Twitter

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If this Twitter exchange doesn't make your day, then you're on the wrong blog.

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