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.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Joe Lynn Turner: Heartless (1985)

And we may as well finish our course in the soundtrack to 1985's The Heavenly Kid with this strong offering from Joe Lynn Turner. It is Heartless, appropriately played during a party scene where the true character of the stock hot-chick-with-no-heart is revealed.

You are undoubtedly familiar with this character from any and all teen 1980s movies. Pamela Wells in Teen Wolf. Beth in Better Off Dead. If you didn't have a heartless hot chick in your '80s high school movie, then the film was an impostor.

Howard Hewett: Obsession (1985)

Well, here we are back at the 1985 film The Heavenly Kid. The fact of the matter is that this soundtrack was one of the most consistently catchy and consistently 80s musical scores to provide a film's backbone in that decade. Whatever adventures Lewis Smith and Jason Gedrick were getting up to, they were always supported by the film's strong musical spine.

Howard Hewett was part of the 1980s group Shalamar, which also made contributions to the popular and iconic soundtracks to Footloose and Beverly Hills Cop. Here is Obsession, Hewett's entry to the quintessentially 80s score for The Heavenly Kid.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Frank Stallone: Far From Over (1983)

And yet again from the files of songs that had an integral role in making a successful movie what it was, we have Far From Over, ostensibly the theme song from the 1983 film Staying Alive. The song's contribution to the film earned it a Golden Globe nomination.

Staying Alive was the sequel to the 1979 hit Saturday Night Fever, with Travolta reprising his role as the egotistical Tony Manero. This time, Tony has graduated from the discos and is trying to break into Broadway. The film was written and directed by Sylvester Stallone (with a two-second cameo appearance). The result was an intense rags-to-riches fusion of broadway dancing and pursuit of the American Dream. Oddly enough, it worked.

The Stallone connection explains the appearance of Frank Stallone, both in a supporting role in the film, as well as featured prominently on the soundtrack. Frank appeared in small roles or on the soundtracks of many of Sylvester's films in the 1980s, including Rocky III, Over the Top, and Rambo: First Blood Part II.

Here is the original recording of the song with clips from the film.

And here is a very strong 2008 live performance of the song, 25 years later, by the Frank Stallone Band. As you can hear, Frank still has the chops.

This article wouldn't be complete without the cheeseball theatrical trailer for the film.

And last but not least, the longevity and disco-dream-iconic nature of the song is attested to by its inclusion in the trailer for the Saturday Night Live spinoff film Superstar.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Jamie Bond: Animal Attraction (1985)

Well, a huge part of the success of the teen favorite The Heavenly Kid was the soundtrack, and from start to finish it delivered. Here we have the ambience for the a nerdy Jason Gedrick's "extreme makeover." Animal Attraction by Jamie Bond.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Jon Fiore: Out on the Edge (1985)

Anyone who saw The Heavenly Kid in 1985 can't help but look back fondly on the formulaic film and the quintessentially 80s memories it inspires. Those memories are, without a doubt, closely tied with the theme song to the film: Out on the Edge by Jon Fiore.

The film starred Richard Mulligan of Empty Nest fame, as well as a young Jason Gedrick and character actor Lewis Smith in a rare leading role. This was one of a handful of quiet 80s teen classics that have been all-but-forgotten in the intervening years...except for here on the 80s Music Channel.

Madonna: Dress You Up (1985)

It stands as one of Madonna's most remixed songs and possesses a quiet "staying power" that has allowed it to endure despite not being one of her highest selling singles. Dress You Up was released as a single from the Like a Virgin album in 1985, peaking at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart even though it never enjoyed the benefit of having an official video made to accompany it.

Here is a live performance of the song from the Virgin Tour in 1985, which ultimately served as the de facto video.

And here is a fusion of the song with Material Girl from the 1987 Who's That Girl tour. This was, in fact, the last tour during which the song was performed by Madonna as part of a concert set.

One of the more unique unofficial arrangements is the following Forever in Love Remix...

Finally, and this was met with a mixed reception at the time, here is a sample of the Gap's 1990s Dress You Up ad campaign. Some thought it was trendy and fashionable. Others thought a dance classic was being murdered with a cheap gimmick. And others still were simply happy to have one of their favorite Madonna songs dusted off and appearing between segments of Melrose Place.