Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson: Rest in Peace

Michael Jackson
Today marked perhaps the ultimate tragedy for any true patron of the 1980s and its music, the lost of its biggest star and greatest icon, Michael Jackson. The King of Pop.

At the age of 50, he was far too young, but many of the greatest stars seem to burn out before their time.

The author of some of the best and most popular music to ever travel the airwaves, from Thriller to Beat It to Smooth Criminal to Dirty Diana to Billie Jean and beyond, he contributed immensely to the soundtracks of many lives, and he will be missed.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Bananarama: Cruel Summer (1983)

They were the prototype for the often-imitated girl band that would proliferate like wildfire in the 1990s and the early 21st century.

The trio of Siobhan Fahey, Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin made up the 80s superband Bananarama, and Cruel Summer from their self-titled album remains one of their most successful singles, and one that has enjoyed a great deal of longevity, sampling and remixing.

The song also has the distinction of appearing on the soundtrack for the '80s classic film The Karate Kid.

Cruel Summer was also covered and released as a single by Ace of Base, with the track also serving as the album title.

Frozen Ghost: Pauper in Paradise (1989)

Another of the hidden gems to arise from the Canadian pop / rock scene in the 1980s was Frozen Ghost, a band that won the Juno award (Canadian Grammy) for Most Promising Group in 1987.

The band released three successful albums, the middle one being Nice Place to Visit in 1988, with Pauper in Paradise being one of the most memorable singles included.

The band split up in the early 1990s, but its members went on to enjoy minor success in ventures such as producing other acts. They remain one of the nation's most fondly remembered '80s acts.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sammy Hagar: Winner Takes it All (1987)

There was Rocky. There was Rambo. And in 1987, there was Lincoln Hawk, another of Sylvester Stallone's strong but silent, down on his luck, action-drama protagonists.

Over the Top, like many of the great action films of the decade, the film was driven in no small part by its soundtrack, with the most notable contribution coming from future Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar.

Sylvester Stallone himself participates in the video, which is thematically centred around the storyline of the film. Over the Top was Rocky-like in many respects, featuring a hard-working underdog taking a one-in-a-million run at the armwrestling championship. The video also features Over the Top villain and real-life armwrestling legend Rick Zumwalt.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Madonna: Papa Don't Preach (1986)

It is among several contenders for Madonna's most controversial song. 1986's Papa Don't Preach set the Bible Belt on fire with it's focus on teen pregnancy and may have caused more of a ruckus with the moral majority than her pointed brazier.

One of the flagship singles from the immensely popular True Blue album, the music video co-starred Danny Aiello (The Last Don, The Professional) as Madonna's distressed father, trying to come to terms with her situation and decision.

The song was covered almost 20 years later by Ozzy Osbourne's kid Kelly. Although you have to wonder what Ozzy Osbourne could preach to his children not to do, with any credibility.

And here's the live version...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

General Public: Tenderness (1984)

It is one of those 1980s songs that simply screams "1980s soundtrack." It's hard to hear the song without imagining it rolling over the end credits of some teen comedy. The song is Tenderness by General Public. General Public was created from the remnants of another notable 80s band, The English Beat.

Tenderness still stands as General Public's signature song and calling card. And true to its "soundtrack feel" it appeared in the popular 1985 teen comedy Weird Science, which starred Anthony Michael Hall, Bill Paxton, Kelly LeBrock, and a young Robert Downey Jr. working his way up the Hollywood ladder.

The song also resurfaced in the 1990s teen comedy Clueless.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Jim Capaldi: Something So Strong (1989)

When you have Eric Roberts headlining a film that is written by a martial artist (in which he himself will play the lead role)...and the film involves a martial arts are probably on track for a 1980s cheesefest with some pretty good action a synth-guitar soundtrack, and more than a couple montages.

That's indeed what we have with the 1989 film Best of the Best, also starring James Earl Jones. There are training montages. Bonding montages. There is even a contemplative slowly riding a motorcycle around the highway montage. But it was the '80s and if you did it any other went to jail.

Here we have the theme song from the film, Something So Strong by Jim Capaldi, also known for working the band Traffic.

Jim Capaldi became something of a figure in the fight against cancer when he succumbed to the battle a couple years ago. His passing inspired a tribute concert with many notable rock and roll names.

You can visit Jim Capaldi's OFFICIAL SITE to learn more about the man and his battle or this BBC ARTICLE that discusses his passing and his charity endeavors.