Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday 80s Flashback for May 23, 2014

"Hansel and Gretel's Cottage in the Woods" via

[Into the Woods] -- Tonight, Montgomery Theater in Souderton, PA, begins a two-weekend run of "Into the Woods, Jr." As this musical is inspired by classic fairy tales, Brothers Grimm or otherwise, I thought I would use this week's Flashback post to highlight 80s songs with the same muse ... or tunes that I can somehow tie to a fairy tale or two. As fairy tales are typically short and may have an element or two of fantasy, pop songs are almost an ideal vehicle for revisiting or recreating such tales. I think so, and I hope you agree. So, if you want to know this week's playlist, and how I tied them to the theme of fairy tales, you can read and hear more after the break. 

Flashback #1"Pussycat carries a postcard | Won't the big city be nice | That's the place with the action | She's gonna have her a slice."

Let's kick off this Flashback the the 80s own version of Captain Hook: Adam Ant. And when I equate him with Captain Hook, I'm not talking about the Disney or Dustin Hoffman versions. No, the Adam And of the 80s would not seem too terribly out of place if he appeared on ABC's Once Upon a Time. Anyway, "Puss in Boots" was the lead single from Adam Ant's second solo album, Strip (1983). Cool factoid: Phil Collins played drums on "Puss in Boots" and the album's title track. "Puss in Boots" was Adam Ant's last top 10 hit in the UK. It doesn't seem to have been released as a single in the US (if it was, it just didn't chart), but the video did make MTV's rotation. And what a video! Pantomime, pirate costumes, and cartoonish backgrounds all combine to give a fairy tale vibe to this slightly, and humorously, risqué tale.  

Flashback #2"She's deadly man | And she could really rip your world apart."

We're only on the second Flashback, and I'm already reaching to fulfill the theme. Imagine if you will, a grown-up Hansel (of Hänsel und Gretel fame). I'm guessing he might have some unresolved issues from his childhood. Perhaps he might have a skewed perception of the opposite sex. Or, maybe, he has become a magnet for dangerous women with ... strange appetites. If any of my assumptions hold, then Hall & Oates' "Maneater" is a perfect addition to this week's playlist! The monster hit off Hall & Oates' 11th studio album, H2O (1982), "Maneater" spent a total of four weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. It was the biggest hit of their career and it helped push H2O to double platinum status with sales of over two million copies. That's nearly one sale for every variation on Hänsel and Gretel (well, almost).

Flashback #3"Every story's got an ending | Look out ! Here it comes."

Our final Flashback of the day isn't technically inspired by a fairy tale. It is, instead, a clever subversion of a fairy tale trope: the hero. And who better to tackle that trope than the all-female pop rock outfit called The Bangles? Well, maybe another band could tackle this trope equally well or even better than the Bangles, but it doesn't matter because the Bangles actually did it ... and I like this tune. Our final Flashback is "Hero Takes a Fall," and it was a single from the Bangles' first full length album for Columbia Records, All Over the Place (1984). As a single, it didn't quite crack the UK's Top 40, and it didn't chart at all in the US, but the video is filled with mannequins -- which may or may not actually be vanquished Autons -- and it features a spirited (albeit obviously staged) street corner performance. Is a cute and clever subversion of the hero (i.e., charming Prince) trope on the same level as a clever and musical mashup of multiple fairy tales? I don't know, but I needed one more song for this week and this is it!   

(Fun Fact that has nothing at all to do with this Flashback: The video for the album's second single, "Going Down to Liverpool," features Leonard Nimoy as the band's chauffeur!)

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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