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Pet Shop Boys North American tour starts in Florida

The Pet Shop Boys are returning to North America for the first time in four years, and their tour begins in Florida. Supporting their upcoming album Electric, the tour includes a stop at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Sept. 13.

Tickets for the St. Pete date are $29.50 to $99.50, and they'll go on sale at noon May 4.

I caught PSB the last time they hit Tampa Bay -- quite an amazing show at the Straz Center. If you're thinking you only know them from West End Girls, then you're really selling them short. They are the top-selling music duo in U.K. history and have 42 top 30 singles. If you need a quickie primer on their music, watch their performance at the Brit Awards, where they accepted an Outstanding Contribution to Music award in 2009. …

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Read this blog item or Han Solo will shoot himself

Okay, okay, Han. We believe you. Greedo shot first. Check out this collection of behind-the-scene photos from The Empire Strikes Back.

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TV sitcom director Jack Shea dies at 84

If you watched Silver Spoons, Designing Women or The Jeffersons in the '80s, then you know the work of Jack Shea. A TV comedy director for more than four decades, Mr. Shea got his start directing Christmas Specials for Bob Hope. He died Sunday of complications from Alzheimer’s at age 84, the AP reports.

Shea directed 110 episodes of The Jeffersons, 91 episodes of Silver Spoons, 22 of The Ropers, 15 of Sanford and Son and 14 of Designing Women.

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Tuesday lost and found: The Producers' 'She Sheila'

The early years of MTV broke many New Wave groups including The Producers from Atlanta. Though they only released two albums before getting dropped from their record label, they still perked up the ‘80s with upbeat songs like She Sheila and What’s He Got.

One of the greatest injustices of '80s chart action is that She Sheila never even sniffed the pop singles chart dispite and video that features the great moves of keyboard player Wayne Famous (McNatt). The Producers are still around but haven’t recorded since the ‘80s and play primarily around the Southeast.

- Kevin Wuench

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Monday lost and found: Scandal's 'Love’s Got A Line On You'

In 1982, Scandal and their lead singer Patty Smyth released their first single Goodbye to You that garnered a little chart success, peaking at No. 65, but was a MTV smash. Since we all remembered it so fondly when the ‘80s music revival started, Goodbye to You has grown into an iconic go-to song of the ‘80s that most think was a monster hit.

The second single off Scandal’s self-titled EP was Love’s Got A Line On You that charted a little higher than Goodbye To You, landing at No. 59 in 1983.

In 1982, Scandal recorded a demo video for Love’s Got A Line On You that will feature a familiar face. Yes, you’re right, that’s Clem Burke of Blondie on drums! Is there someone else? Oh yes, on the left playing rhythm guitar is some guy named Jon Bon Jovi. At the time, Jon Bon Jovi was only 20 years old, not an official member of Scandal and two years away from charting with Runaway. As Scandal made waves with Goodbye To You, the band filmed and released a second and official video for Love’s Got A Line On You, sans Bon Jovi. …

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Rocky the musical? Balboa can't talk, but now he can sing

Rocky the Musical coming to Broadway in February. Sorry, but I'm gonna fly now.

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Never Found in the '80s: Front 242 and 'electronic body music'

It’s time for a little dance tune in this series, so this entry is Belgium’s Front 242. They are referred to as the fathers of electronic body music. Yeah, I wasn’t quite sure what that was either, but according to Wikipedia it “is a music genre that combines elements of post-industrial music, electronic dance music, and synthpunk.”

Not your typical 80s dance music, in fact, you could say it’s quite unusual. Literally. The name of this 1986 release is Quite Unusual. Although they had some success on the U.S. Dance and Modern Rock charts, Front 242 were not the sort of dance band that would be heard on the U.S. Top 40 stations in our favorite decade, but they should have been.

Front 242 formed in 1981 and are still a going concern. They will be appearing at the M’era Luna Festival in Hildesham, Germany in August 2013. Perhaps we’ll get a festival report from Jeff in Cuba. He is in Germany now, right?

- Jim “Dr. Dim” Fitzsimons


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Eye of the Tiger, Rock! Survivor gets back both lead singers

Okay, music fans. Who out there can name the lead singer of Survivor? I'll give you a hint: It's either Dave Bickler or Jimi Jamison. Trick question because the answer now is actually "both." Survivor's original frontman Bickler has reunited with the band, but Jamison is staying on board as well, says Classic Rock magazine.

Bickler is the voice behind Eye of the Tiger, but then left the band in 1983. Jamison's voice in heard on High On You, I Can’t Hold Back and The Search Is Over. According to guitarist Frankie Sullivan, the band has already begun performing with both singers and plans to record new material soon.

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'Vacation' reboot on hold. Let's celebrate at Wally World!

Sorry, '80s fans, but your Vacation is on hold. New Line has officially put the brakes on rebooting the National Lampoon movie that was to star Ed Helms as a grown-up Rusty Griswold on his own hellish road trip.

Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo reportedly were on board to cameo as Clark and Ellen Griswold. Christina Applegate was to star as Rusty's wife. Shooting was set to begin in July, but now "creative differences" have brought everything to a stop, says the Hollywood Reporter.

Anyone actually crushed by this news?

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George Jones, a country king in the '80s and beyond, dies at 81

George Jones, who scored three No. 1 hits in the 1980s and scores more in decades before and after, died Friday in Nashville after being hospitalized with high fever and irregular blood pressure, USA Today reports. He was 81.

Mr. Jones, nicknamed The Possum for his appearance, has appeared on 168 charting singles over the course of 55 years, more than any other country singer.

Among his '80s chart-toppers: He Stopped Loving Her Today (for which Mr. Jones won a Grammy in 1981), Still Doin' Time and I Always Get Lucky With You.

"I don't want to completely quit because I don't know what to do with myself," he said in an 2005 interview. "I'll be out there as long as the people want me to be out there."

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Fridays are meant for the Young Fresh Fellows

In 2004, Hewitt Packard ran a popular printer commercial that featured an obscure 1968 album cut by The Kinks called Picture Book. Until then, I knew Picture Book only as the obscure song by Seattle’s Young Fresh Fellows off their 1989 This One’s For the Ladies album.

While they never achieved any chart success, The Young Fresh Fellows have enjoyed an avid cult following and have been name-dropped by They Might Be Giants in the song Twisting and have even made an early appearance on SIT ‘80s podcast Beer Money was a Name That ‘80’s Tune on the dubious “Drinking in the ‘80s” podcast.

Lead singer Scott McCaughey is a friend of everybody in the music business and keeps busy the Young Fresh Fellows and his side projects of The Minus 5 and The Baseball Project, not to mention being the unofficial fifth member of REM from 1994 to its breakup in 2011.

- Kevin Wuench

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M*A*S*H actor Allan Arbus dies at 95

TV fans in the '80s probably knew him best as Army psychiatrist Maj. Sidney Freedman on M*A*S*H. Or maybe for his frequent guest roles on series including L.A. Law, Matlock and Taxi. The actor was Allan Arbus and he died on Friday at his home in Los Angeles at 95.

His daughter confirmed his death to the New York Times.

Mr. Arbus also appeared in several '80s movies including Crossroads and From The Hip.

Alan Alda, who played Hawkeye on M*A*S*H, once said that Mr. Arbus -- the man -- was just believable as the therapist he played.

"I was so convinced that he was a psychiatrist I used to sit and talk with him between scenes," Alda said in an interview with the Archive of American Television. "After a couple months of that I noticed he was giving me these strange looks, like 'How would I know the answer to that?' "

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Lost and found: Joan Jett & the Blackhearts 'Fake Friends'

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts' I Love Rock N Roll was No. 1 for seven weeks and was the top-ranked song of 1982. In 1984, Jett released her first new material since becoming a star and any single would surely pale in comparison. Fake Friends was that single and it stalled at No. 35 on the charts despite having all of the great rock riffs of a Joan Jett song.

One of my favorite comic strips from the ‘80s was Berke Breathed’s Bloom County. While Opus was my favorite character, I must confess to enjoying his Joan Jett parody of Tess Turbo and the Blackheads. You can even still buy a Tess Turbo coffee mug!

- Kevin Wuench

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Not back in Mac, but for Christine McVie fans, 'Love Will Show Us How'

At my recent haircut, my barber told me how excited he was to get to see Fleetwood Mac in concert next week. One person he will not be able to see is Christine McVie.

In 1998, McVie decided she had enough of touring and retired from the music business. In 1984, she ventured outside of Fleetwood Mac and hit the Top 10 with Got a Hold On Me and No. 30 with Love Will Show Us How.

The video for Love Will Show Us How features McVie being a good sport in a video gone wrong directed by '80s B-Movie veteran Paul Bartel.

- Kevin Wuench

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Ghostbusters 3 could start shooting this winter, Dan Aykroyd says

Ghostbusters 3 might finally start filming soon. Yeah, yeah, you've heard this phantom rumor spun once or twice before, but Dan Aykroyd has gone on the record with ABC News, offering production deals and some plot hints.

"I feel re-encouraged, reinvigorated by the pages that I have seen. I know that we're expecting half of the screenplay to be completed very soon," the actor said. "It should be into production by the fall and be shooting by the new year."

As for plot points, Dan says the plot will focus on the battle against negative slime and "Higgs boson and the particle theories, gluons and mesons." Oookay. So who's on board?

"We've got a sharp new writer on it, Ivan (Reitman) is on it, Harold (Ramis) is on it, I'm on it," Aykroyd said. "And if I can put the catch-net on Billy [Murray] and bring him in, it will be wonderful, if he decides to do it. There will always be a hole for him."

So what about Murray? The latest Hollywood gossip has him starring with Naomi Watts in St. Vincent De Van Nuys. That's a little heady for the Ghostbusters gang.

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