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Podcast time: Fan picks for Songs that Ended the '80s

Use our handy new MP3 player to listen to our newest podcast, Episode 298: Fan Picks for Songs that Ended the '80s. Plus, Steve finds he can do a new accent. (Apologies to be issued during future show.)

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Shoppin' A to Z: Toni Basil loves Black Friday

Ah, Black Friday. The bargain hunters are out in full force fighting for that special deal or gift. But not me, I'll be away from the mess and limit my purchasing activity to Toni Basil's Shoppin' A to Z.

After the monster success of Mickey, Basil released a few more singles, but none of them hit the Top 40, thus earning her the title of an one-hit wonder. Shoppin' A to Z is on the same album as Mickey and made it to No. 77 on the singles charts in 1983.

The song is a fun sing-a-long that could have been as catchy as Mickey as Basil goes shopping in the grocery store, picking up one item from each letter of the alphabet. My favorite part of the song comes when she gets to the letter X and declares "nothing" as her X purchase. The video may also bring back memories as one of Basil's sidekick shoppers is none other than the late Fred Berry, who played Rerun in the late ‘70s TV show What's Happening.

Though many people think Basil's claim to fame is only Mickey, her career has been legendary in the field of movies and choreography. It's hard to believe Basil was almost 40 when she made the video for Shoppin' A to Z and is currently 70.

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No. 1 Thanksgiving movie of all time? Planes Trains and Automobiles

Stay safe during your travels this Thanksgiving holiday. And if you find yourself stranded at an airport, bus terminal or Braidwood Inn, then pass the time by listening to our Planes, Trains and Automobiles podcast from years ago.

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Thanksgiving travel music: Judas Priest 'Heading Out to the Highway'

For many, Thanksgiving Day means loading up the family truckster and "Heading Out To The Highway."  In honor of such pilgrimages, we feature Judas Priest and Heading Out To The Highway which reached the Top 10 on the Mainstream Rock Charts in 1981.

We urge you to keep it safe and not drag race like the boys from Judas Priest. Video highlights include lead singer Rob Halford officiating the car race with dance moves that look awfully similar to Jon Heder's moves in Napoleon Dynamite.

The Kings of British Steel celebrated the band's 40-year anniversary with the 2013 release of the concert DVD entitled Epitaph. Filmed at London's Hammersmith Odeon, the concert features at least one song from each of their fourteen albums Judas Priest has released during the Halford Era.



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This might be the most disturbing Star Wars tribute I've ever seen

I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of Winnie the Pooh fans suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

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Could Billy Joel be retiring with after 'historic announcement' next week in NYC?

Billy Joel is saying he'll make a "historic announcement" on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at New York's Madison Square Garden, Rolling Stone reports today. Could it be that he's announcing a farewell tour?

As Rolling Stone points out, Joel hasn't toured as much lately (despite some 2014 dates in Florida and New York) and he's grown tired of playing greatest hits set lists. That leaves him with a couple options: Performing one or two albums in their entirety, which is all the rage these days. (Cyndi Lauper is just finishing up her She's So Unusual Tour.) Or to perhaps book one final tour and call it quits.

In case you're wondering, Joel is 64 years old -- same age as Steve Perry by the way -- which isn't quite ancient enough to retire by today's standards. (Mick Jagger is 70. Rod Stewart is 68.)  But he's certainly earned the right to retire on his own terms.

If he's going to go the "one or two album" route, I'd vote for -- in order of preference -- 1977's The Stranger, 1980's Glass Houses and then 1982's The Nylon Curtain. (Please, ANYTHING but An Innocent Man.)

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Thanksgiving music challenge: Name three Jane Wiedlin solo hits

Jane Wiedlin did her best in the ‘80s not to be defined as just the rhythm guitar player for the Go-Go's. She acted in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, teamed up with Sparks to record to new wave classic Cool Places and put out solo records that included the most excellent single Blue Kiss.

Blue Kiss was Wiedlin's first solo single and made it as far as No. 77 on the singles chart in 1985. The video features Wiedlin in her pixie hair cut that has been her hairstyle since childhood when she had it chopped off due to being an active swimmer.  In 1988, Wiedlin would finally hit it big on her own with the Top 10 hit Rush Hour. These days, Wiedlin still has the beat and tours with the Go-Go's.


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Listen: Isolated vocal tracks of 'Under Pressure' featuring Freddie Mercury, David Bowie

As an '80s fan, you are required to love, adhore and honor the greatness that is Under Pressure by Freddie Mercury and David Bowie. But your love is about to reach new heights. Make'N Music has uncovered the isolated vocal tracks of the classic tune.

"This is last dance. This is ourselves. Under Pressure..."


1. Brian May told Mojo magazine in October 2008: "Looking back, it's a great song but it should have been mixed differently. Freddie and David had a fierce battle over that."

2. According to John Deacon, Freddie did most of the songwriting, although everyone contributed.

3. It was Queen's second No. 1 hit in the U.K., after Crazy Little Thing Called Love.

4. Bowie had originally intended to add backing vocals on another Queen song, Cool Cat, which would end up being edited out since he was not satisfied with it.

5. After Freddie's death, Bowie performed the duet with Annie Lennox at 1992's Concert For Life in Wembley Stadium. It was performed live by Queen in every concert from 1981 to 1985, when the band stopped touring.


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Road House remake? Pain don't hurt but this idea does

Patrick Swayze! If only you alive you could put a stop to this madness: Hollywood is planning a remake of Road House. I don't know if I can handle the nonstop sobbing again after Sam Elliott's character Wade Garrett dies. (Whoops. Spoiler alert.) reports that MGM has chosen Rob Cohen (The Fast and Furious) to direct the tale of a tough but warm-hearted bar bouncer who is hired to bring peace to a ratting bar somewhere in the Midwest. Swayze starred as "Dalton" in the original 1989 flick, which has gained a cult following for its hopefully intentional campiness.

Famed movie critic Roger Ebert himself wasn't sure of the film's intent in his review of Road House, writing: "Was it intended as a parody? I have no idea, but I laughed more during this movie than during any of the so-called comedies I saw during the same week."


5. "If you're gonna have a pet, keep it on a leash."

4. "Take the biggest guy in the world, shatter his knee and he'll drop like a stone."

3. "People who really want to have a good time won't come to a slaughterhouse."

2. "Nobody ever wins a fight."

1. "Pain don't hurt."


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'Rock to the Rescue' Illinois tornado concert features REO Speedwagon, Styx, Richard Marx, Survivor

Leave to '80s stars to know how to throw a great music party for a good cause. Though it's no Live Aid, the "Rock to the Rescue" concert on Dec. 4. will feature REO Speedwagon, Styx, Richard Marx, Survivor and ... Larry the Cable Guy? Well, the music is great anyway.

Styx and REO both are Illinois-born bands, so it's easy to see why they jumped in. Likewise, Marx is a Chicago native. The show is at Bloomington's U.S. Cellular Coliseum, with tickets running between $28 and $58.

The concert benefits victims of the Nov. 17 tornado storm that killed six people and destroyed more than 2,000 homes. Among the plans: Audience members will be able to buy $10 raffle tickets to win a guitar signed by REO and Styx.

Rock to the Rescue has a Facebook page and Twitter page you can follow.

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Even Canadians aren't sure they like this Northern Pikes "lost" tune

In the states, many an ‘80s music fan started drifting to more edgy music by the end of the decade and it was no different in Canada as bands like the Northern Pikes emerged to gain steady followings in their native country.

The Things I Do For Money is one of the Northern Pikes best remembered songs in the states, but it wasn't even one of their seven Top 40 hits in Canada, reaching only No. 87 on the Canadian charts in 1987. The song made it to No. 37 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock Charts.

The band broke up for good in 2012 but have seen The Things I Do For Money show up in the 2006 movie The Trailer Park Boys: The Movie, which is based off the successful Canadian comedy show of the same name that ran for seven years on the Showcase cable network in the early to mid ‘00s.  

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Video: Watch SNL's amazing '80s skit featuring Josh Hutcherson, The Outfield

I've watched this Saturday Night Live skit, starring Josh Hutcherson, about 3 times in the last hour. All hail the mighty talent of those nostalgia-lovin' SNL writers.

Josh Hutcherson - Josie Sketch (Your Love... by IdolxMuzic

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Monday lost and found: Rubber Rodeo 'Anywhere With You'

Even though Jurassic Park would not arrive until the ‘90s, America was crazy for dinosaurs in the ‘80s as exhibited by Rubber Rodeo's video for Anywhere With You. Rubber Rodeo was a new wave/country band from Rhode Island that got some promotion behind their first full length LP in 1984 called Scenic Views. They produced a long form video for the album which was nominated for a Grammy and had two videos pop up on MTV - The Hardest Thing and Anywhere With You, the later which reached No. 86 on the singles charts. The band was fronted by co-lead singers Trish Milliken and Bob Holmes, who are featured in the video and eventually married in real life.


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Video: The Avengers/Breakfast Club mashup

What would happen if the superheroes from The Avengers starred in John Hughes' The Breakfast Club? Exactly this.

Hats off to Travis Rand Greenwood.

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Never found in the '80s: The Feelies

That's the magazine ad I remember seeing for The Feelies' first major label release Only Life in 1988.  And the smiley face is pretty spot on. It's hard not to feel good listening to The Feelies, but even so, the band was never found on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The Feelies formed in 1976 and released their first independent label album, Crazy Rhythms, in 1980. They gained a reputation of being one of the best indie bands around and were a big influence on REM. Director Jonathan Demme found The Feelies and cast them in Something Wild as a band playing a high school reunion dance.  The film credits the band as The Willies, which was the name of a Feelies offshoot band in the early 80s.

The song featured today is Away from 1988, which did reach No. 6 on the U.S. Modern Rock chart.

The Feelies broke up initially in 1992 after releasing four albums, but got back together in 2008.  They gigged sporadically for a few years and then released Here Before in 2011.  Most recently they played three consecutive nights in July 2013 at their long time regular venue of Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ.

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