Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday 80s Flashback for July 31, 2015



[Rapping to the Beat] -- Once upon a time, rap music sold thousands of records, but barely cracked the upper echelons of pop culture. That statement may seem odd to read in a year in which hip-hop's wealthiest artists have incomes that are measured in HUNDREDS of millions of dollars (e.g., Dr. Dre is #2 on Forbes list of Hip-Hop's Wealthiest Artists Of 2015 at a paltry net worth of $700M). But well before Yo! MTV Raps, In Living Color, and Empire, rap music made its mainstream network television debut on ... 20/20. Yes, in July of 1981 -- 34 years ago this month! -- ABC's 20/20 became the United States' first network TV news program to air a special report on rap music.

Would you buy rap records from these guys?

Sure, it seems kind of quaint now. And, yes, children of the Internet, "portable" music players in those days really were the size of briefcases. But this investigative report is actually quite fascinating and informative, particularly considering the history they delve into (Cab Calloway, radio DJs, and Blondie, for example). And the clips of the Sugarhill Gang, Funky 4 + 1, and Kurtis Blow -- and the the footage of street scenes -- are worthy additions to any time capsule. So, we have only two Flashbacks this week: Parts 1 and 2 of the Hip-Hop special report.


Flashback #1: 20/20 Report Hip-Hop Special - Part 1



Flashback #2: 20/20 Report Hip-Hop Special - Part 2




That's all for this 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!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Friday 80s Flashback for 7/24/2015



[Bucks Fizz] -- In late 1980, the songwriting team of Nicola Martin and Andy Hill crafted a tune for the Eurovision Song Contest. In January of 1981, Martin and Hill put together a band to perform their new song. Following the two male, two female formula pioneered by ABBA, Martin and Hill lined up as Jay Aston, Cheryl Baker, Bobby G, and Mike Nolan as Bucks Fizz -- the performing vehicle for their potential hit. And it seemed to work. "Making Your Mind Up" ended up winning the contest and even reached #1 in the UK singles chart (and it charted in a few other European countries). Bucks Fizz did not, however, have much chart success in North America. And they had their detractors. Daniela Soave, in a review for the Record Mirror, wrote: "I think Bucks Fizz are bunch of gutless wonders who can perhaps sing in tune but don't know the meaning of singing with emotion." Still, over the course of five studio albums (1981 through 1986), Bucks Fizz racked up 20 top 40 hits. Their self-titled debut album was released in July 1981, and it was responsible for three of those hits. And today, the Friday 80s Flashback looks to that debut LP for our weekend playlist. Check out some tracks after the break!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday 80s Flashback for July 17, 2015

Still from an Entertainment Tonight Segment on 1982's Summer Movies
[1982 Summer Flicks] -- The summer of 1982 was a great time for science fiction films, quite possibly the greatest. In that year, we saw the release of The Road Warrior (May 21, 1982), Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (June 4, 1982), ET: The Extra-Terrestrial (June 11, 1982), Blade Runner (June 25, 1982), John Carpenter's The Thing (June 25, 1982), and Tron (July 9, 1982). And regarding 1982 as a great year for sci-fi isn't just a view we have with the benefit of hindsight. Even Entertainment Tonight, which was a decent program in its pre-Internet heyday, recognized the significance of that Summer in this Movie Sneak Preview segment. So, for this week's Flashback playlist, we'll look back at one piece each from three of those movies. Which movies and tracks did I select? Read and hear more after the break!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday 80s Flashback for July 10, 2015



[Batman 1989] -- I'm at the San Diego International Comic-Con this week. This afternoon, I saw the 3rd Annual Musical Anatomy of a Superhero panel, and it got me to thinking about superhero movie scores from the past. So, I thought we could flash back to one of the most iconic pieces of film music from the 80s: the Batman: Original Motion Picture Score by Danny Elfman! Prior to scoring films, Elfman was known for his work with that great band of the 70s and 80s, Oingo Boingo (responsible for such hits as "Dead Man's Party" and "Weird Science"). However, after scoring his first film (for his brother) in 1982, Elfman has gone on to develop scores for many TV and film projects. And he has been nominated for many awards, winning (for example) a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media (for Tim Burton's Batman) and an Emmy Award for his Desperate Housewives theme. Elfman's work on the 1989 Batman score is recognized on a rather wide scale because it was later used as the basis for the theme music in Batman: The Animated Series (1992) as well as the soundtrack for several Lego Batman video games.

No trio of Flashbacks this week. Instead I'm using the Soundtrack Suite that SGTBizarro posted to YouTube. This recording has ten pieces from the Expanded Archival Collection of Batman: Original Motion Picture Score, which is, unfortunately, no longer available for purchase. The tracks in this recording are:

  • 0:00 Main Title
  • 2:32 Roof Fight
  • 4:17 Joker's Poem
  • 5:10 Batwing I
  • 5:33 Attack of the Batwing (Batwing II & III)
  • 10:16 Charge of the Batmobile (Film version)
  • 11:53 Descent Into Mystery
  • 13:15 Up the Cathedral (Cathedral Chase)
  • 18:04 Finale
  • 19:45 End Credits (Batman Theme Reprise)



Well, 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!

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

SDCC 2015!

My Wife and Me at the San Diego Convention Center
Greetings my fellow 80s-philes! 

For the next week, I'm in San Diego for that great geek Mecca known as the San Diego International Comic-Con (SDCC for short)! You'll catch some of my photos and musings on Twitter (@brainwise), but there might also be posts at the nerdy blog I now co-author with my wife, Dangrdafne: BookendedByCats.com. If you'd like to keep up on the comic booky (and other entertainment) goodness, go give our fledgling blog a try! 

Friday, July 03, 2015

Friday 80s Flashback for July 3, 2015

80s Boombox via Zazzle

[Red, White, and Bruised ... er, Blue! Redux] -- The Fourth of July lands on a Saturday this year, so many wage earners in the U.S. are given a three-day weekend to celebrate a unique event: when 13 scrappy, English colonies engaged in an act of civil disobedience. Well, it was actually an act of treason. And it was committed by writing a sternly worded letter to King George III, who wouldn't receive his copy until August 30, 1776. Now, I don't know what the Founding Fathers would make of this week's playlist. But there will be plenty of serious fare discussing the events of 1776 on the web, radio, and television. So on the Flashback, we're gong to cut loose and have some fun. If you're ready to celebrate with me in 80s rock style, then read and hear more after the break. We'll enjoy a few tracks that somehow have a little red, white, or blue associated with them.

Please note, I'm re-using a post/playlist is a slightly modified version of the one that originally appeared on July 4, 2014. But, hey, these songs are over 20 years old anyway, so there shouldn't be any problem with me recycling a year-old blog post, right? If you agree, you can read and hear more after the break.