Monday, May 30, 2011

A Tribute to Fallen Soldiers

The best tribute to those who have fallen in service to this country is quite possibly the poem "Letter to Saint Peter" which was written by Elma Dean in 1942 and later adapted into a song by John Gorka ("Let Them In" from his 2001 release, The Company You Keep).

This video has John Gorka's song set to a collection of moving images. Very appropriate for Memorial Day.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Friday 80s Flashback for May 27, 2011

Picture of a Poppy by Ian Britton (
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

~ Moina Michael (who wore the first Memorial Day poppy)

[Remember the Heroes] -- We have arrived at the "official" kick-off for shorts season: a 3-day weekend that culminates in the observance of Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day (check the history). Now, you might recall the 80s as being rife with anti-conflict, protest songs, so you may find it hard to believe I could find some tunes appropriate for the occasion of honoring this nation's war dead. But the 80s were as patriotic or reflective as other decades. So my only real problem was in narrowing the selections down to my usual three. So, are you wondering what gems I have chosen in tribute to those who have died while serving the United States of America? Wonder no more. Read and hear more after the jump.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday 80s Flashback for May 20, 2011

File:Lewis Hine Power house mechanic working on steam pump.jpg
Power house mechanic working on steam pump 
by Lewis Hine, 1920. (Wikipedia)
[It's a Livin'!] -- This could be my very last Friday 80s Flashback given that Judgement Day is on the agenda for Saturday, May 21, 2011 (tomorrow!). You know it's official when there is a website and everything (, right?

Now, with the Rapture scheduled to begin tomorrow evening, you're probably expecting songs about the end of the world (and that I feel fine). I understand those expectations. However, with the last week or so I've at at my day job, I have been thinking about songs focusing a spotlight on that all-too-frustrating aspect of modern life known as work. And, believe me, Ragnarök or its equivalent is looking preferable to my current slate of projects. Plus, there is a tie-in with all this rapping about the rapture: What are the two events that can bring an end to the drudgery of working day to day? Well, one is winning the lottery, and the other is ... the end of the world, of course. 

You 80s-philes will have to judge whether this week's selections are winners. Are you ready for this job? Read and hear more after the jump.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Friday 80s Flashback (for May 13, 2011) on Saturday

Toy Car Bracelet from
[Return of The Cars] -- Friday Flashback on a Saturday evening? Yeah, well, Blogger was a bit off on Thursday night, and then I was in an all-day business meeting on Friday followed by a class today. So, Saturday, May 14, is my first chance to post the Flashback for May 13. I hope all my fellow 80s-philes weren't too lost without their Friday fix. 

Let's get right down to business.

In case you haven't heard, The Cars released a new studio album this week, their first since 1987! It's getting some good press (Consequence of Sound, Salt Lake Tribune), while other reviewers are disappointed with how reminiscent it is of their earlier work. Sounds like this might be an opportune time to go back and revisit The Cars' 80s catalog. With four studio releases between 1980 and 1987, there are plenty of flashback options. So what three Cars' classics have I revved up for you this week? Read and hear more after the jump.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Friday, May 06, 2011

Friday 80s Flashback for May 6, 2011
[Busted!] -- This week we're taking a look at Sting, Stewart Copeland, and Andy Summers in the 80s. Of course, from 1977 to 1986 they were collectively known as The Police.

In 1976 the ascent of the Sex Pistols, and all they represented for the punk movement, had all but destroyed the career prospects for bassist Sting's jazz-rock combo (Last Exit) and drummer Stewart Copeland's progressive rock band (Curved Air). After Curved Air's last performance as a unit (in December 1976), Stewart saw a Last Exit gig. He was immediately taken with Sting and arranged for an introduction. Shortly thereafter, Copeland formed the first version of The Police in 1977 with himself, Sting, and guitarist ... Henri Padovani. This trio recorded one single, "Fallout," on a very tight budget and landed a poorly-paying gig (£15 a night) as "pretend punks" that took them all of 20 minutes to blaze through a 13-song set. A brief flirtation with the project band, Strontium 90, introduced Sting and Copeland to guitarist Andy Summers. The Police continued briefly as a four-piece before officially dumping Padovani. Sting, Copeland, and Summers spent the latter part of the 70s scrounging for work, asking Copeland's brother for financial help, and releasing two albums -- Outlandos d'Amour (1978) and Reggatta de Blanc (1979) -- that set the stage for their eventual superstardom, powered by their unique combination of reggae, rock, and jazz influences.

Between 1980 and 1986, The Police released four albums and around 12 singles. What have I selected for your 80s pleasure this week? Read and hear more after the jump.