Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday 80s Flashback for October 29, 2010

[Halloween] -- Welcome to a very special holiday edition of the Friday 80s Flashback. Now, as far as I'm concerned, Halloween songs typically fall somewhere between being (1) Oh-so-obviously Halloweenesque, and (2) Stealthily Halloweenish. That is true regardless of the decade. Right off the bat (no pun intended there), we have to agree that Michael Jackson's "Thriller" is squarely in the first camp. And you have to understand, that I'm not going to feature it in today's Flashback. Yes, "Thriller" was huge for radio and MTV, and everyone wanted to learn the Thriller dance in 1983. Hell, that dance continues to inspire popular culture. But it's not featured today because it's just too obvious a choice. Moving on the other end of the spectrum, we have stealthily Halloweenish songs like "Dr. Heckyll and Mr. Jive" (1982) by Men At Work. This song is a clever riff on Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde." It also features that wonderful stock science fiction character who has made numerous appearances in Halloween/horror flicks, particularly of the b-grade variety. You know him, you love him, he is The Mad Scientist!

Now that I have provided a longer-than-usual intro, you are probably waiting not-so-patiently for me to unveil the actual Flashback choices, right? Well, please know that I needed to provide that info so you can understand that, for your Halloween listening today, I offer one song from the obvious camp and two that hue a little closer to the stealth end of the spectrum. And maybe, just maybe if you're very good, there will be a bonus track.

Read and hear more after the jump.



Flashback #1
: When Ministry's Al Jourgensen sings "Well I live with snakes and lizards and other things that go bump in the night," you know you're in for a ghoulishly good time. "(Everyday Is) Halloween" was a club favorite in the early 80s and remains a favorite of mine. Sure, it's really about kids dressing goth, but, c'mon: "Halloween" is right in the title. How could this not be a Halloween song? And, sure, this song might sound kind of tame, albeit bouncy, in 2010. But I have to tell you: Prior to 1985, hearing this music blasted at a sufficiently high volume made parents consider exorcising their teenagers' demons (and I'm not talking about sweating with the oldies). 








Flashback #2
: In 1987, Dokken released Back for the Attack with a remix of "Dream Warriors," the theme song for the movie A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. That sounds like pretty good Halloween pedigree right there, yes? Well, "Dream Warriors" is a great song, but it's not our second Flashback of the day. That honor is reserved for "Mr. Scary," the instrumental by guitarist George Lynch and bassist Jeff Pilson that appeared on Back for the Attack as track #6. Oh, and "Mr. Scary" is also the nickname for one of George Lynch's guitars which paved the way for a line of custom guitars (a man's got to do something after his 80s fame flares out). But that's not important right now, the music is.








Flashback #3
: If "(Everyday Is) Halloween" addressed the goth lifestyle and asked for a little tolerance, our next Flashback practically breathes goth and makes no apologies about it. Bauhaus' droning rhythm, dub guitar, haunted imagery, and lyrical homage to Mr. Lugosi as the king of vampires all combine to make darkwavers swoon. Although this Flashback was originally released in 1979, I count it among the 80s catalog because, well, for one thing that is when I discovered it. Bauhaus was a college radio staple during my time at PSU and, considering the available Bauhaus catalog of the time, this tune was probably superseded in rotation only by their cover of "Ziggy Stardust." I have one other reason for marking this '79 release as an 80s icon: The Hunger, a cult vampire film starring David Bowie, was released in 1983 with this song playing over the opening credits and introduction (and Bauhaus appeared as the band performing in a nightclub scene). So, get your black clothes, eyeshadow, and lipstick, and pogo-dance to "Bela Lugosi's Dead."







OK, normally Flashbacks follow the rule of three. But this is a holiday Flashback, so how about we have a ...

Bonus Flashback: As much as I love that last tune, I can't end the Flashback on a down beat. I need to pick things up a bit, maybe with something that has enough kick to bust a move. Wait ... bust ... busting ... well, busting makes me feel good. And I'm sure the bonus flashback will make you feel good, too. In 1984, this movie theme spent three weeks at the top of the charts. That's not a bad bit of work from Ray Parker, Jr. who only had a few days to come up with the song and, according to Wikipedia, felt that the movie's title was impossible to work into some lyrics. After some late night television, however, Parker was inspired to craft the song as something of an advertising jingle for the business featured in the film. After that, "I ain't scared of no ghosts" and "Who ya gonna call?" entered catchphrase history. So enjoy our final Flashback of the day, and whatever you do: Do not cross the streams!






Now that's really all for this week. Be safe ghoulfriends and have a great weekend!

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