Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday 80s Flashback for September 25, 2015

[30+ Years of Private Eyes] -- September 1981. Simon & Garfunkel performed a free reunion concert in New York City's Central Park. Iron Maiden fired vocalist Paul Di'Anno and hired Bruce Dickinson to replace him. The Rolling Stones opened a US tour in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. And the record industry released nearly 50 new albums. Now, some of those new records were EPs, compilations, and live recordings. However, I'm sure that list of releases is incomplete, so I maintain that we saw a boatload of new material to kick-off Fall 1981. As I looked over the collection of albums released 34 years ago this month, I find many that I have loved (and still enjoy). Only a few, however, stand out as having survived the passage of the last three decades, at least as far as I'm concerned. These are records whose songs jump immediately to the turntable in my brain, and play unabashedly at full volume. But, only one of those records was presumably released this very week in 1981: Private Eyes by Daryl Hall & John Oates. Maybe that record is still part of my music-appreciating DNA simply because the TV show Psych used it for a commercial several years ago. Or, it could be that the songs are still that darn good. More likely, I'm a sucker for nostalgia and blue-eyed soul. So, what tracks have I selected to highlight this week? I'll give you a hint: You won't find "Mano A Mano" when you read and hear more after the break.  

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday 80s Flashback for September 11, 2015

This is a reworking of a post that originally appeared on September 9, 2011.

[I Love NY, on September 11 and Always -- Redux] -- 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 once again remembering 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 04, 2015

Friday 80s Flashback for September 4, 2015

Cover Image from

[Worlds Apart] -- Though I graduated over 20 years ago, Labor Day weekend makes me think of college. I am particularly mindful of bands I learned about within my first two years at Penn State. One such band was Cactus World News. Although they are best known for "The Bridge" -- their very first single (1985) which was produced by Bono (lead vocalist of U2) -- I tend to remember them for "Worlds Apart," the second single of their first full length effort, Urban Beaches (1986). Perhaps that is the more appropriate song as, with each passing year, I am vastly more worlds apart from the self of my college years. I would like to spend more time musing on this, but I'll do so offline. So, this week, I simply offer up three tunes from Cactus World News, but I do so without my customary editorializing. (I'm sure you're all suitably crushed).