Friday, March 07, 2014

Friday 80s Flashback for March 7, 2014

80's Flamingo by Vicesome

[All Right, Already, Enough with the Flamingos!] -- I know some of you come here not only to reminisce with me about the 80's, but also to mine my musical tastes. OK, that latter part probably isn't true, but I like to believe that my readers (all two or five of you) visit me regularly for guidance on what was great about the music scene in this beloved decade. However, I am not above admitting that I, too, have my guilty pleasures. And I will do more than simply admit to liking (or having liked) potentially dreadful music, I will share one of my said guilty pleasures with you. Having said that, I hope you realize it's not too late to turn back. Still here? OK, let's go.

I'm not proud of this, but Christopher Cross has a place in my music-appreciating background. Mr. Cross apparently falls into the pop/rock category, but I have also seen him cataloged as a singer-songwriter. He has been active since 1979, but his first album and singles hit the charts in 1980 (when his best-known and award-winning song, "Sailing," was released). Speaking of awards, over his career, Cross has earned five Grammys, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award. After 1983, however, Cross' chart presence and sales tanked. I'm thinking that's primarily to do with MTV and the industry's general and growing concern other image. Just look at Christopher Cross' album covers. First, you'll note that the guy seems to have an unhealthy attraction to flamingos.


Second, you never see his face on his covers. Why? Maybe he, or his management, realized this face was not likely to move record sales:

Anyway, the guy was known for smooth hits, not for being a style icon. Want to know what hits made this week's playlist? Read and hear more after the break!

Flashback #1"Time and time again I see people so unsure like me | We all know it gets heard sometimes."

"All Right" was the first single off Christopher Cross' second studio album, Another Page (1983). It's basically the power of positive thinking for folks who have been unlucky in love (or any endeavor, really), and you get the uplifting message in under four minutes. This tune has a pretty decent guitar track, too, but it is kind of buried -- almost disarmed -- by the production. And, yes, before you ask, I owned this album on vinyl. I actually purchased it via layaway at my local G.C. Murphy Mart. "All Right" was a top 20 hit for Cross, peaking at #12 and getting good broadcast time on Solid Gold. Now, you could look at a "live" performance from back in the day (unfortunately not Solid Gold), but I didn't want to potentially damage your brain with that much sound-and-image-dissonance. Hence, I've embedded this nice video with the cover art for Another Page:

Flashback #2"Living his life one day at a time | He's showing himself a really good time | He's laughing about the way they want him to be."

For the second flashback, we're throwing back to 1981 and the Dudley Moore film, Arthur. Now, maybe I'm old, but the remake of Arthur cannot hold a candle to the original. I'm sorry, it can't. Oh, and while I'm at it, I should probably warn you against ever watching the 1988 sequel, Arthur 2: On the Rocks. Anyway, Christopher Cross performed the theme song for the original movie's soundtrack. Written with Burt Bacharach, "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as the Hot Adult Contemporary chart. It is also the song that nabbed the 1981 Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.

It is just me, or does Mr. Cross look like a heaver and older Chris Pratt in the "Arthur" video?

Flashback #3"I know that winning | It doesn't come easy |  I know that winning  |  It's what's on your mind."

I had a difficult I'm picking a third flashback for today. As I mentioned earlier, Christopher Cross kept releasing records after 1983, but none of them did very well. I thought about using his very last single that charted in the US ("Charm the Snake," #68 in 1985), but it is so different from the other materials that I'm not sure that's the note I want to end on. So, I decided to go with his next-to-last US charting single and, believe it or not, it was an Olympic theme. "A Chance for Heaven" was the swimming theme from 1984 Summer Olympics. But Cross had fallen so far off my radar by this point that I do not recall this song at all. I'll bet that when you hear it, you probably won't remember it either. It's just that forgettable. However, if you listen to it as a potential a tune for an 80's movie, even a forgotten 80s movie, things come together little bit better for it. At least I think so. 

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.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!

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