Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday 80s Flashback for January 23, 2015

[Jack Your Weekend] -- As previously mentioned here, the calendar dates for 1981 and 1987 line up with those of 2015. So, I'm using chart activity from '81 and '87 as my Flashback guide. Now, two of the top three slots on the Billboard Hot 100 for this week in 1981 remain unchanged from two weeks ago. And, frankly, the chart toppers for this week in 1987 do not interest me. So, instead of focusing on a trio of songs that hit it big this week in a prior year, I've chosen a more eclectic triumvirate for your aural pleasure: an action hero's album, a milestone in house music, and a Nebraska dream-pop outfit's debut, all from this week in 1987. 

Flashback #1"If you don't respect yourself  | ain't nobody gonna give a good  | Ca-hoot na na na oh oh | Respect yourself."

By 1987, Bruce Willis was a popular TV actor (playing P.I. David Addison Jr. on Moonlighting), starred in the  Blake Edwards film Blind Date, and recorded his debut album, a bluesy pop record titled The Return of Bruno. The album was released in conjunction with a faux documentary about Bruno Radolini, a '60s rock singer who was supposed to have had a major influence on rock music. On the record, Willis performed as the fictitious Bruno. The lead-off single, "Respect Yourself," hit #5 on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, #20 on the Hot Black Singles chart, and #22 on the Adult Contemporary chart. It was also a huge hit in the UK, peaking at #7. The single drove the album to commercial success as well (unlike the mockumentary): The Return of Bruno peaked at #14 on the Billboard 200 album chart and #27 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.  

Flashback #2"Jack, jack, ja jack jack your body."

On January 24, 1987, "Jack Your Body" by Steve 'Silk' Hurley became the first house music record to reach #1 on the UK Singles Chart. And it stayed in the #1 slot for two weeks. With this single, which had been released in December 1986, the Chicago house music scene had officially gone global. Maybe I'm overstating things, but it seems like kind of a big deal when a new genre breaches another market. And it's odd that it was "Jack Your Body" to have this success overseas considering that it didn't even reach the top 20 in the US (it peaked at #25 and #37 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play and U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales charts respectively). Also, "Jack Your Body" was released on a 12" single that was over 25 minutes long, so it should have been classified as an album (because it was too long to be a single).

I could not find a copy of the 12" on YouTube. You can check out the video of a shorter mix below, or you can jam to a remix that clocks in nearly at seven minutes (though still far short of the original release).

Flashback #3"yeah, that's right | that's the way it is."

The midwestern trio, For Against, released their first full-length album, Echelons, on the same date that Bruce Willis released his debut: January 20, 1987. But while Bruce's name is firmly lodged in your slate of pop culture references, this dream pop outfit from Lincoln, Nebraska, probably doesn't rate a blip on your radar. Of course, they didn't have a burgeoning TV and film career to boost their sales or name recognition. But their album did score a Grammy nomination ... for its jacket design. Still their sound -- brightly textured pop with a hint of shadows and driven by a tight rhythm section -- can be recognized in later post-punk inspired outfits. They just needed a better lyricist. 

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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