Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday 80s Flashback for September 23, 2011

R.E.M. then (circa 1982) ...

... and shortly before the end in 2011

[R.E.M.ember] -- On Wednesday, September 21, R.E.M. posted the announcement they were officially "calling it a day." In other words, as of the other day, R.E.M. is no longer operating as a band. For the remainder of that Wednesday, I mentally played R.E.M.'s catalog as I mourned their passing. An era is officially and sadly over.  Of course I had to make them the focus of this week's Flashback!  With a career that spans 31 years, R.E.M.'s catalog is massive (15 studio albums, 2 live albums, 10 compilation albums, 3 EPs, 64 singles, 12 video albums, 56 music videos, and 1 soundtrack according to Wikipedia). I'll bet you're wondering what tracks I selected for this R.E.M.embrance post. Did I hit upon one of your favorites? Well, read and hear more after the break.  

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday 80s Flashback for September 16, 2011

[Big Business] -- This week's Flashback is inspired by the production that opens at my theater this weekend: Big Boys by Rich Orloff is a comedic look at corporate greed in the person of Victor Burlington. He is not exactly one of the smartest guys in the room, but he certainly ranks among the most corrupt and the least ethical. Although Big Boys is set in the post-Enron world, its story is somewhat familiar to those of us who came of age in the 80s. We can certainly recall pre-internet stories about the excesses of CEOs -- remember the stock trading scandals of the early 80s? If not, refer to Michael Douglas' performance as Gordon Gekko schooling a young Charlie Sheen (before his "Winning" ways) in the 1987 flick, Wall Street, which dramatized the corporate raiding and greedy excess that typified much of the decade. So this week's flashback looks at songs about big business, big money, and big ambition. No need to worry about insider trading here, so if you want to know what made the cut, you and read and hear more after the break.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Friday 80s Flashback for September 9, 2011

[I Love NY, on September 11 and Always] -- On September 11, 1981, the top song in the U.S. was "Endless Love" by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie (#1 on the Billboard Hot 100 from August 9 to October 10). In baseball, the Detroit Tigers defeated the Cleveland Indians at Tiger Stadium. Movie goers were about to lift Arthur to the role of top-grossing movie for that weekend. Confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Sandra Day O'Connor ended. On the world stage, the U.S. accused the USSR of using poison gas in Laos, Cambodia and Afghanistan. The Soviets began amphibious landing exercises on the Polish coast as part of naval training in Baltic Sea even while pressure for democracy was mounting within Poland. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat claimed Referendum results supported his crackdown efforts against opposition forces, and the Ayatollah Khomeini's personal representative was assassinated in Tabriz, Iran. And a private plane crashed into the Swing Auditorium, a legendary concert venue in San Bernardino, California, damaging it beyond repair.

30 years later, we are preparing to remember the aftermath of a trio of plane crashes that occurred on the East Coast, destroying an architectural icon in downtown New York and devastating our national psyche. I have previously written about 9-11 (The Real "Never Forget," They Crashed the Planes and Changed the Rules, and Visit to United Flight 93 Memorial for example). But I have yet to do so from the lens of 80s music. So, this week, the Friday 80s Flashback celebrates New York City. Wondering what songs we have for the Big Apple? Read and hear more after the break.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Friday 80s Flashback for September 2, 2011 (Flashbackiversary!)

[One Year Anniversary] -- Holy Macanoly! I started posting the Friday 80s Flashback on September 3, 2010. That makes today my one year Flashbackiversary! To celebrate, let's turn back the clock -- er, calendar -- one year and revisit that very first flashback. I'm struck by the sparsity and simplicity of my initial foray into weekly pop-culture ruminations. In fact, that very first flashback has no commentary whatsoever! There isn't even a theme! The weekly theme didn't become part and parcel of the flashback until the fourth entry, on September 24, 2010 (a two-fer: Angry Edition and Uplifting Edition). Sample lyrics first appeared in the November 5, 2010, flashback (Politics Schmolotics). On December 10, 2010, we saw my first attempt at incorporating a header image with the flashback (Winter Holidays: Week 2). 

Read and hear more after the break.