Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday 80s Flashback for December 23, 2011

[Winter Holidays Week 4] -- Here we are. It is the day before Christmas Eve and we have one more installment of our Winter Holidays-themed 80s flashbacks. For the last two weeks, I pilfered from my own archives. But today, we have a fresh playlist! I hope it gives you a brief respite from your own holiday preparations. If you are ready to celebrate the 80s with me, then read and hear more after the break.

Flashback #1"What do you say | will the human race be run in a day | Or will someone save this planet we're playing on? | Is it the only one? | What are we going to do? | Help them to see that the people here are like you and me | Let us show them how to play the pipes of peace."

Just as with last year at this time, our first flashback today is posted in honor of the Christmas Truce of December 24, 1914. In 1983, Paul McCartney released Pipes of Peace, the follow-up to his critically acclaimed Tug of War. The 1983 album had a very popular duet with Michael Jackson ("Say, Say, Say") but as a whole it was not received as well as its predecessor, but it sold very well. Although the title track was released as a single in the UK, it was released as a B-Side in the US. (Ironically, the British B-Side, "So Bad," was the A-Side for the US market). In the UK, "Pipes of Peace" reached #1 on the singles charts, making it Paul McCartney's first, and only, UK #1 as a solo artist. A video for the single portrays the story of a British and a German soldier, both played by McCartney, who meet up in No Man's Land during the Christmas Truce of December 24, 1914, and exchange photos of their loved ones while other soldiers fraternize and play soccer (or football as it is called beyond the US borders).  So, in memory of those German and British soldiers who held a brief truce 97 years ago today -- and in honor of military men and women who are stationed around the world and unable to make it home for the holidays, whatever holidays they may observe -- here is "Pipes of Peace," by Paul McCartney.

Flashback #2"Christmas tree smell and those silvery bells | Christmas was a friend of mine."

I don't know much about our next flashback, but I will tell you what I do know. "Christmas is a Friend of Mine," was released in 1981 by Dutch singer-songwriter Fay Lovsky. A single from her album, Confetti, it was a minor top 40 hit in the Netherlands where it peaked at #37 in January of 1982. I think you will agree with me that Fay's voice is lovely and this song should really have a wider audience. As it is, it is an overlooked gem of our beloved 80s.

Flashback #3"This isn't gonna work, guys. Come on!"

I still cannot believe that this recording exists. But it does, and I cannot help but share it as today's final, holiday flashback. Now, you may recall that during the 80s, rock music (particularly rock music of the metal variety) was constantly under attack. If it wasn't some priest condemning it for devilish influences, it was the Parents Music Resource Center pushing to label and censor records. Into this fray, clad in yellow-and-black spandex, walked four young men. They called themselves Stryper, and they dragged glam metal into the Christian mainstream (and into the subject of more than there fair share of jokes). In 1985, they released a holiday EP/single: Reason for the Season. (Side note: For my own thoughts on the reason for the season, be certain to see my 12/22/2010 post, The Reason for the Season?). The Reason for the Season EP had two versions of the title song, one long and the other short, as well as a humorous cover of "Winter Wonderland." Listening to their banter on this recording serves to reinforce my general opinion that these guys were little more than a circus act. However, I can admit they really did have great harmonies.

Even during the Winter Holidays, the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've left three gifts in your stockings, that's all for now. I'll see you in seven! Until then, here are some other posts you might enjoy:

As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

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