[New Year, New Possibilities] -- Yes, I realize we are now several days past New Year's Day. But 2013 still has that new year smell, right. Right? Of course, I'm right! Now, in my last Flashback of 2011, I pointed out that there is no (formal) canon of great New Year's songs. However, I subscribe to the notion that New Year's songs, unlike songs about Easter or Christmas, are not about a particular event but are, instead, about an attitude. They are about letting go of errors and reaching out for renewal. They are about boldly striving forth and taking advantage of the proverbial potential that a fresh new year offers. And so, with that in mind, and with the hope that I can help a few people find motivation for their goals, I offer up three songs to power you into 2013. To find out what these motivational selections are, you just have to read and hear more after the break.
Flashback #1: "You’re simply the best | Better than all the rest."
What could be better than Tina Turner telling you, over and over, that “You’re simply the best”? That is some serious motivational mojo right there. "The Best" (sometimes called "Simply The Best") was penned by the songwriting team of by Mike Chapman and Holly Knight, and it was originally recorded by Bonnie Tyler on her album Hide Your Heart (1988). Tina Turner's 1989 cover is likely better known and it can be found on her seventh solo album, Foreign Affair (1989). She re-released it as a duet with Jimmy Barnes in 1992, and that version can be found on her hits compilation, Simply the Best. In 1989, "The Best" reached #15 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and made it into the top five in the UK. The original music video features Tina Turner dancing and a horse. Please do not ask me to explain the horse.
Flashback #2: "Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride | Nobody gonna slow me down, oh no | I got to keep on moving."
Our second Flashback of the day, Matthew Wilder's "Break My Stride," is not technically a motivational song. The chorus, when taken out of context, certainly can be taken as a motivational mantra. And the bouncy, synthesized beat can help propel you into the day. However, the full lyrics of the song reveal that it is about a guy's pursuit of a girl who is rejecting him by saying that she doesn’t want to be tied down. Still, if you just think about the chorus and the beat, you can't help but feel a little more empowered after hearing this song. Also, the video of Wilder's performance taken from the TV show Solid Gold is good for a few chuckles. And laughter makes you feel good, so that is motivational as well.
"Break My Stride" was the lead single from Wilder's 1983 album, I Don't Speak the Language. He was never heard from again. Oh, he recorded another studio album, but he didn't generate any other big hits. "Break My Stride" peaked at #5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in December 1983, and then it hit #4 in the UK in January 1984. The song has been covered and sampled by other artists, and it was even used for TV commercials (most notably by National Car Rental and JPMorgan Chase Bank).
Now, is it just me, or does Matthew Wilder look a little like one of the Mario Brothers?
Flashback #3: "We always wish for money | We always wish for fame | We think we have the answers | Some things ain't ever gonna change."
If you made at least one New Year's resolution to change something about yourself you're not alone. 45% of Americans usually make them, according to Statistic Brain [New Year's Resolution Statistics, December 13, 2012]. Almost half of those resolutions are for self-improvement. And if we're talking about change, I think John Waite's "Change" from his debut album, Ignition (1982), is a great tune to anchor today's Flashback. "Change" was written by Holly Knight and originally recorded by her band, Spider, in 1981. Don't be surprised if you haven't heard that version. Even John Waite's single failed to crack the Billboard Hot 100 when it was first released. However, Waite's version became a top track on AOR radio stations and was a popular video on MTV. In 1985, Waite's recording of "Change" was included on the Platinum selling soundtrack for the movie Vision Quest. The movie is a coming of age drama based on the Terry Davis novel. The story centers on a Spokane high school wrestler who falls in love with an older woman. The love story is, of course, a subplot that temporarily derails him off his goal of dropping to a different weight class so he can challenge an unbeaten rival from another school. You think you have weight loss ambitions? This guy targeted a drop from 190 pounds to 168 pounds, while still competing in a highly physical and challenging sport. I've included the John Waite video below, but you might want to see scenes from the 1985 move while listening to our final Flashback.
Once again, I remind you that the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the archives. 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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I'll see you in seven!