|David, age 7, sledding on Jan. 25, 1985 (source: News-Tribune Attic)|
[Frozen] -- In light of this week's snow storms, the Friday 80s Flashback features songs about snow and ice and, well, winter. (What? You expected Valentine's Day songs? You came to the wrong blogger). Right here in Bucks County, PA, we got around 13" of snow Wednesday into Thursday. However, we were spared a bit when the storm whipped around for a return engagement, and only netted an additional inch or so (along with a lovely sheet of ice). I hope all my fellow 80s-philes have fared well, and that you are cozied up and safe. What wintry tunes do I have for your snow day enjoyment? You can read and hear more after the break.
Flashback #1: "Hang on to your hopes, my friend | That's an easy thing to say but if your hopes should pass away | It's simply pretend, that you can build them again."
If there is one song that conveys the dreariness of a long winter, yet can sound somewhat upbeat while doing so, it has to be The Bangles' cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "A Hazy Shade of Winter." Written and released by the famous duo in 1966, The Bangles made it their own when they recorded it for the 1987 soundtrack to Less Than Zero. They dropped the "A" (calling their single simply "Hazy Shade of Winter") while dropping a much edgier, percussion and guitar-fueled version onto their fans. It was a huge hit -- it peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 (surpassing the original release), as well as hitting #11 in the UK -- and it became a staple of their live shows. If you're a big fan of the band, you might prefer to see them perform the song. However, here is my favorite version -- the 12" remix (and this one is right from the vinyl!):
Flashback #2: "Life's not pretty even though | I've tried so hard to make it so | Mornings are such cold distress | How did I ever get into this mess."
In 1981, Styx released their 10th studio album, Paradise Theater. This concept album used the lifespan of Chicago's Paradise Theatre as a metaphor for America's changing times (into the 1980s), tracing the theatre's fictional story from opening to closing and then to abandonment. "Snowblind," released late in 1981, was an attack on drug addiction, specifically that of cocaine. Why is it our second flashback of the day? Because it is an awesome song (with an incredible vocal turn by James Young), and it serves as a good reminder that powdery white stuff can be deadly.
Flashback #3: "There's something moving under | Under the ice moving."
As the Winter Olympics are this week, and my wife has been trying to see as much figure skating as possible (and I dig the curling), I figure "Under Ice" from Kate Bush is perfectly appropriate. An unreleased track from Bush's fifth studio album, Hounds of Love (1985), "Under Ice" is beautiful, but a bit creepy. It seems to be about a person who, while skating on ice, comes to realize that they are, in fact, trapped and drowning just below the surface of the ice. Maybe it's a dream. Maybe something is truly ... under the ice.
Bonus Flashback: "Ice age is here | Right in your town."
Usually, the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. However, I had so many options for this week that I couldn't limit myself, and I really had to share this gem by Men Without Hats. You know them from their "The Safety Dance" fame, and our final Flashback, "Antarctica," is from the same album that spawned that hit, Men Without Hats' debut album, Rhythm of Youth (1982). Depending on which version of the album you ended up with, "Antarctica" could appear as either the last or third track. And the US CD had a edited version of the song. But a full version (with an extra long instrumental break) can be found on the 1980 EP, Folk of the 80's. Listen in for some truly landmark 80s sounds!
And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.
I'll see you in seven!