Monday, April 30, 2012

Z is for ZZ Topp

        By the title, you can see it was slim pickings for Z too.  MTV played “Legs” and “Sharp Dressed Man” constantly.  I wasn’t too happy about it.  These guys were the opposite of hot.  But, really, these videos are not to be missed. 


Legs

The bullied girl with the glasses gets a makeover in “Legs”.   She’s the Cinderella of the shoe store.  Why are all the people so mean?  Why is the band playing in the street?  Why are their beards so long?  How are they able to appear out of thin air? Luckily, these “sexy” 80s women come to make her over.  It’s a real Sandy-in-Grease moment. 

 Oh man, I’m watching the video and I remember the whole thing.  Thanks a lot, MTV.  How much important information didn’t have room to make space for this dreck?

"

"

Aww, she winds up with the cute guy.  THE END. 


Sharp Dressed Man 

And not that this band would know anything about it, but their other hit was “Sharp Dressed Man”. Boy, this ZZ Topp car gets a lot of airtime.  And look at all that 80s fashion.  Oh no, the ZZ Topp guys are appearing out thin air again.  Why do three women always have to come and save the day?  And why did we all think that hair looked good? 

This is a makeover video too.  Why do they think the white tux looks better than the black?  I think he was more sharply dressed before.

"
"

What do you think?



Well, what a note to end on.

If only we could have stopped at U. 

Thanks for reading, listening, and watching! 

My A to Z Challenge reflection post will be up on 05/07. 


Love, Theresa xo


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y is for Yes

      Slim pickings for Y.  But I do remember Yes’s song “Owner of a Lonely Heart” got a lot of attention because of the video.  Then MTV took out the gross part (maggots) and ruined the fun.


This version still has the weird stuff:

I just watched it again.  Pretty dark video.  With a hopeful ending?


Yes, that’s all I have to say.


Oh, and Happy Saturday!

Friday, April 27, 2012

X is for XTC


I think everyone questions their faith at some point—especially teens.  The beautiful song “Dear God” spoke to my doubts:


“But all the people you made in your image, see
them starving on their feet because they don’t get
enough to eat from God, I can’t believe in you.”


Depeche Mode, who wrote songs dedicated to faith (“Reach Out and Touch Faith”) about a sixteen-year-old’s suicide, where belief didn’t ease her suffering:



XTC also sang lighter songs:



       There’s nothing I appreciated more than when song lyrics gave voice to my thoughts, doubts, feelings.  I still feel that way. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for Wham!


George Michael as a brunette.


       My friends and I didn’t know what to make of Wham.  Sure, they’re songs were catchy.  But everyone was dancing in those giant white shirts with black block lettering.  Maybe it was the butt slap in the video.  Possibly it was because the song had the word “jitterbug” in it. (I may or may not have owned a block letter shirt way back when.)




       Turns out behind the giant lettered t-shirt and dental ad smile, George Michael is a talented musician. 


When he went solo, he got a better look as seen in “Father Figure”:




And he got the biggest models of the time to be in his video “Freedom”:



He still retained a catchy Wham!-type beat in  “Faith”:




Why did so many of his hit songs begin with the letter “F”? 



Honorable Mention: Whitney Houston

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for Violent Femmes


       
       I hear “Blister in the Sun” by the Violent Femmes so often, I wonder if people in their teens and 20s think the song is more recent.  The song came out in 1983, but the album (which also had “Gone Daddy Gone”) didn’t go platinum until 9 years later. 


Here they are live in the early years.  Cute lead singer:



And here’s Angela from the TV show “My So Called Life” (in 1995) thinking she’s over her crush, Jordan Catalano.  What does one do after such an epiphany?  Dance to “Blister in the Sun” of course:




This “Blister in the Sun” video shows clips from Grosse Point Blank, which came out in 1997 (I’ve loved John Cusack since “16 Candles”, but especially since “Better off Dead”):



       The band pretty much lasted until 2007 when there was a lawsuit between band members over selling the song for a Wendy’s commercial. 

Yeah, I don’t think it works either:




FYI: ABNA Quarter Finals were announced yesterday.  YA started at 5k.  The last round was 250.  But I got cut when it just went to 50.  The NE-SCBWI conference was just this past weekend.  It was the best yet.  I got a request for two partials and I received some feedback from my critique partners the novel academy and the ABNA reviewer at Publishers Weekly, which should make my novel Naked Eye stronger.  I’ll edit the manuscript again, and will query soon.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for U2



When I decided to do an A to Z Challenge about 80s music, 
it was mostly for this band.

       U2 has been my constant for so long.  I don’t know what year I picked up the record album October, which had the song “Gloria”, which I immediately loved.  I don’t know if the album War was even out yet or had just come out.  I was hooked.  Through all phases of pop, new wave, and alternative, U2 was always there.  I loved them most of all because they stood for something.  It wasn’t just about music, but what music could do to make the world a better place.

       Bono has been with his wife since 1975.  Few musicians can boast that.  He was a role model to me back in the 1980s, and I still respect him.  He’s Irish, I’m half-Irish.  If I can’t marry him, then it would be nice if we were distantly related. 

       I didn’t see them in concert until 1997, at a stadium outside in New Jersey.  (The Meadowlands?)  I drove there with two friends from graduate school and it was the first time I’d driven through Manhattan.  We survived.  It was worth it. 

       Every time they come around, they play at enormous stadiums for enormous ticket prices.  I’d love to see them again.  If I could see only one more band play live, I’d want it to be U2. 

       In junior high, I played The Unforgettable Fire album constantly.  In high school, I may have even played The Joshua tree even more. 

       There are too many brilliant songs to list.  There are too many songs that influenced me.  This is just a sample:


U2 performing at Live Aid.  “Bad” is one of my favorite songs.  Ever:



“Pride (In the Name of Love)” is a wonderful tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.:



And here’s a nod to The Beatles playing on the roof from “Let it Be”:



I probably have more songs from U2 on my iPod than any other group or artist.  Unlike many bands from the 1980s, they still create music people listen to, influencing a few generations.  Their 2004 album was popular enough to have a song featured in the iPod commercials: 



U2’s last release was in 2007, so I hope they have something coming out soon.  I hope they play forever.  I can’t imagine U2 in the past tense. 






Thank you, U2




P.S.  Aubrie Dionne is featuring me today on her blog.  

Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for Talking Heads (and Truth Giveaway)

       This was another tough choice.  Tears for Fears had a couple of really big hits.  Twisted Sister’s  “We’re Not Gonna Take It” was a fun video.  ‘Til Tuesday’s “Voices Carry” was an excellent song and I liked the video.

But Talking Head won. 

They were HUGE in the 80s. 

“Burning Down the House” was a cool song:




So was “Psycho Killer” (a very cute guy in my school did an acoustic version of this song in the high school talent show), which is shown here live:



It didn’t matter that some of the songs were from the 1970s.  (Just like Queen) Showing their videos on MTV game them new life and a new audience.

Then they released “And She was”, which appealed to people like my dad.  The video was innovative for its time (like Peter Gabriel’s “Big Time”):



They were a cool band.  I still listen to their older songs.


“Love in an ocean, I can’t forget
My sweet sixteen, I would never regret
I wanna know, can you tell me?
I love to stay
Take me to the river, drop me in the water”

- “Take Me to the River” Talking Heads




If you want to win an ARC of Truth (sequel to XVI) by Julia Karr, just leave a comment telling me so and also let me know where you shared this post (Facebook, Twitter, blogpost).  I’ll announce the winner on the A to Z Challenge reflections post.   (Open to international residents.)


Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for Sting



I had another huge list of musicians.  It was nearly impossible to choose:
Siousxie and the Banshees, Simple Minds, Simply Red, The Smiths, Spandau Ballet, Sting, Suicidal Tendencies, Sonic Youth, Sisters of Mercy, The Smithereens, Squeeze

It was hard not to pick Siouxsie and the Banshees. I had their posters.  I listened to their records. I saw them in concert.

But I had to pick Sting.  The Police was one of the first bands I was aware of way back in junior high (the old fashioned version of middle school).  And Sting was hot—I was aware of it then, even though John Taylor and Simon Le Bon had my heart. 


“Every Breath You Take” was the perfect song to listen to as my parents separated:


I think it was in the Number 1 spot for 13 weeks in a row.


I remember buying a 45 (look it up, kiddos) that had the B side of “Drive to Tears” on it, which gave a hint of the Sting , the solo artist we’d get in the future:


(Oh man, is he hot.  I didn’t appreciate it enough then.)

As my music interests changed, his sound changed too.  I saw him in concert in 1988 and 1997.  Loved him both times. 


I still love this video “Wrapped Around Your Finger”, which would’ve been a perfect wedding song.  Beautiful video too:



Here’s a bio about Sting, where you can read about all his music and causes.  I like that he’s been a big advocate of the environment and other causes.  (Remember him in the Band Aid video?)  He even helped Crusty the Clown:



I don’t care he’s been made fun of for being pretentious.  He was an English teacher.  Nothing wrong with intelligent lyrics.  Others don’t agree with me. Link HERE. 


I remember after September 11th, I worked at GEICO and they asked for volunteers during the benefit concert.  I took calls for donations while the concert played on TV screens around the floor.  Sting sang “Fragile”, which was perfect for how Americans were feeling:




On and on the rain will fall
Like tears from a star, like tears from a star
On and on the rain will say
How fragile we are, how fragile we are.”

Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for R.E.M.


       I loved R.E.M.  Still do.  I was devastated when I heard they broke up a few months ago after being together for 35 YEARS.  Now I have a huge regret that somehow I never saw them in concert.  An article about the end of R.E.M is here HERE. 


Does anyone remember this excellent TV show?  “Stand” was the theme song:




Such a great song:




I was going to post some of the lyrics for "It's The End of the World", but I couldn’t choose.  Lyrics are  HERE.   Such a cool song:





R.E.M. was supposed to collaborate with Nirvana shortly before Kurt Cobaine killed himself.  “Everybody Hurts” came out before, but it felt related: 




       Their last release was “Mine Smell Like Honey” live not too long ago from their last album, Collapse into Now.

R.E.M is one of my favorite bands  
I miss them already. 


“Did you never call?  I waited for your call.
These rivers of suggestion are driving me away.
The ocean sang, the conversation dimmed.
Go build yourself another dream, this choice isn’t mine.”

- “So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry)” R.E.M.  


Honorable Mention: Rick Springfield, The Replacements

P.S.  I'm going to be at the NE-SCBWI conference for the next 3 days.  I plan to comment when I can, but will make sure to visit all your blogs and return comments on the posts I missed ASAP. xo

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for Queen



They were fun. Many of their songs still make me smile. A few here are from the 1970s, but “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” were from the 1980s. Besides, MTV played all these videos. And Queen participated in Live Aid, so they were still relevant in the 1980s.


“Bohemian Rhapsody”:


“Crazy Little Thing Called Love” was on MTV all the time:


You can’t find too many popular songs about a bicycle:


But my favorite Queen song is the duet between Freddie Mercury

(the lead singer of Queen) and David Bowie:


I was saddened when Freddie Mercury died of AIDS. He was diagnosed in 1987, but hid his condition. He made a statement a little over 24 hours before he died:


“Following the enormous conjecture in the press over the last two weeks, I wish to confirm that I have been tested HIV positive and have AIDS. I felt it correct to keep this information private to date to protect the privacy of those around me. However, the time has come now for my friends and fans around the world to know the truth and I hope that everyone will join with me, my doctors, and all those worldwide in the fight against this terrible disease. My privacy has always been very special to me and I am famous for my lack of interviews. Please understand this policy will continue.”


There was controversy because many thought he could’ve spoken about his condition earlier, instead of denying it for a couple of years. There was so much prejudice and misinformation at the time. He could’ve helped.


“Goodbye ev’rybody, I’ve got to go,

Got to leave you all behind and face the truth

Mamaaaaa oooh,

I don’t want to die,

I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all.”

- “Bohemian Rhapsody” Queen


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P is for Prince




If you were me, which band would you choose?

Prince, The Police, Pink Floyd, Pet Shop Boys, Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, Pixies, Psychedelic Furs, Public Image Limited

This was HARD!

In the end, I had to pick Prince.


1) I saw him in concert at Nassau Coliseum in March, 1985. He was excellent. Great performer without lots of props.

2) I listened to the “Purple Rain” soundtrack constantly.

3) “Purple” also begins with P.

4) My friends and I used to share a notebook where we made stories up about the people in Prince and the Revolution and Duran Duran. (Yes, we were that lame. But I’d like to think that’s where I first learned the art of storytelling…)

5) I’m using Sting for “S”, so I’ll cover The Police there.


You’ve got to respect a man who wears makeup and heels + dates taller and attractive women.


Let's go crazy/Prince & The Revolution by gaimon5656


Purple Rain had a big impact on me both as an album and a movie. I still love the music. The movie wasn’t as great. But as a teen, Prince’s need to escape while his parents fought resonated with me.


“Why do we scream at each other?

This is what it sounds like

When doves cry.”

- “When Doves Cry” Prince


His later records never reached the same popularity. And then he had problems with his record label, so he turned himself into “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” in 1993.


Here’s more information about him on Wikipedia


How many of you listened to “1999” on New Year’s Eve?


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for OMD





Which movie did you like better?

Which song do you like better?



“If you leave, don’t leave now
Please don’t take my heart away
Promise me, just one more night
Then we’ll go our separate ways”*

“If you Leave” by OMD (Orchestral Movers in the Dark) is still in constant rotation on some radio stations alone with “Don’t You Forget about Me” by Simple Minds. Both were on soundtracks to John Hughes movies: “If You Leave” from Pretty in Pink and “Don’t You Forget about Me” from The Breakfast Club. It makes sense that they’re still played. Not only did they define a generation, but the lyrics work well for people my age, and the nostalgia we feel looking back to that time.


While I like both of those songs equally (but if you force me to choose a song, I'll choose the Simple Minds one), I thought The Breakfast Club was a better movie. I was so annoyed when Molly Ringwald didn’t end up with Duckie. All Andrew McCarthy did was squeeze his eyes to make himself cry because it was hard to be torn between his rich parents and his poor girlfriend. Puh-lease.


OMD had a few other good songs. This one is a tribute to and has beautiful shots of Louise Brooks, the 1920s film star:


And if you want some extra nostalgia, here’s Simple Minds with clips from The Breakfast Club:



“We’ve always had time on our sides
Now it’s fading fast
Every second, every moment
We’ve got to, We’ve got to make it last”

- “If You Leave” OMD


Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for New Order (and Nik Kershaw)


“I used to think that the day would never come

I’d see the light in the shade of the morning sun

My morning sun is the drug that brings me near

To the childhood I lost, replaced by fear

I used to think that the day would never come

That my life would depend on the morning sun”

- “True Faith” New Order


As I mentioned in the “J” post, New Order was created after the lead singer of Joy Division, Ian Curtis, committed suicide. New Order definitely has a more upbeat vibe. They combined New Wave with electronic music.

“Blue Monday” is one of my favorites. It’s got a bit of darkness from Joy Division with a techno beat:


True Faith’s catchy tune belies a sad memory:


New Order - True Faith by hushhush112


Click to hear more CLIPS.


I listened to more Joy Division back then, but I listen to more New Order now.


I have to give a shout out to Nik Kershaw because “Wouldn’t it Be Good” was one of my favorite songs. When I felt lost and alone, his lyrics made me feel like someone understood:


“Wouldn’t it be good to be in your shoes

even if it was for just one day

And wouldn’t it be good

if we could wish ourselves away”


Here’s the video:


Honorable Mention: Steve Nicks


Saturday, April 14, 2012

M is for Morrissey


“Driving in your car

I never want to go home

Because I haven’t got one

Anymore” *


Every time I hear those words, it makes me laugh.


Morrissey was the front man of The Smiths. Think you don’t know them? Their song is the theme of Charmed, though Love Spit Love covers the song.


The Smiths’s version is better (but no Charmed chicks):


Here they are live with “Panic”:


I thought Morrissey and The Smiths were cool then, and today I still play their constantly. Their songs still hold up. Morrissey could sing a lovely song about a girlfriend in a coma or remind us that everyday is like Sunday.


“And if a double-decker bus

Crashes into us

To die by your side

Is such a heavenly way to die”

- “There is a Light that Never Goes Out” The Smiths


Honorable Mention: Madonna, Michael Jackson, Men at Work, Madness, Mr. Mister


If you missed it and you're interested, yesterday I posted about Live Aid.


Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Live Aid/Band Aid


Yes, Live Aid was a concert in 1985. No, this is not cheating. First, I couldn’t bump the B52s for Band Aid. But Band Aid… all of my favorite singers getting together for a CAUSE. After all those ex-hippie parents wound up being such disappointments, Band Aid gave me belief that we could really change the world.

(I’m aware we didn’t change the world. But I thought I could that year. And though I’m more jaded, I still keep trying.)

I watched the “Do they know it’s Christmas?” video over and over. I bought the 45 (look it up, young uns). It’s a Christmas song that actually tried to help people. I think it’s the only one. (Plus, the video has Bono, Sting, John Taylor, and Simon LeBon.)


My parents went on vacation the week that Live Aid was performing in the US. MY Woodstock. My father thought we were going out that day. Boy was he disappointed when I fixed myself on the couch and watched the color TV in our cabin for the entire concert. Really, he was lucky he’d chosen a place with a television. I may have actually insisted on it.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about Band Aid and Live Aid:

The 1985 Live Aid concert was conceived as a follow-on to another Geldof/Goldsmith project, the successful charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?". In October 1984, images of millions of people starving to death in Ethiopia were shown in the UK in Michael Buerk's BBC News reports on the 1984 famine.[3] Bob Geldof saw the report, and called Midge Ure from Ultravox, and together they quickly co-wrote the song, "Do They Know It's Christmas?" in the hope of raising money for famine relief.[3] Geldof then contacted colleagues in the music industry and persuaded them to record the single under the title 'Band Aid' for free.[3] Performed by a collection of British and Irish musicians, the song was released on 7 December 1984 and became the fastest-selling single ever in Britain and raised £8 million, rather than the £70,000 Geldof had expected.[3] Geldof then set his sights on staging a huge concert to raise further funds.[3]

The concert grew in scope, as more acts were added on both sides of the Atlantic. As a charity fundraiser, the concert far exceeded its goals: on a television programme in 2001, one of the organisers stated that while initially it had been hoped that Live Aid would raise £1 million with the help of Wembley tickets costing £25.00 each, the final figure was £150 million (approx. $283.6 million). Partly in recognition of the Live Aid effort, Geldof received an honorary knighthood. Music promoter Harvey Goldsmith was also instrumental in bringing the plans of Geldof and Ure to fruition.

Live Aid was a dual-venue concert that was held on 13 July 1985. The event was organized by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds for relief of the ongoing Ethiopian famine. Billed as the "global jukebox", the event was held simultaneously in Wembley Stadium inLondon, England, United Kingdom (attended by 72,000 people) and John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States (attended by about 100,000 people).[1] On the same day, concerts inspired by the initiative happened in other countries, such asAustralia and Germany. It was one of the largest-scale satellite link-ups and television broadcasts of all time: an estimated global audience of 1.9 billion, across 150 nations, watched the live broadcast.[2]

Source: Wikipedia


Click on the link and scroll to the bottom to see how many singers and bands performed. It was truly a momentous occasion that raised 150 million dollars.


You can still buy the concert performances: HERE.

After writing this post, I kind of want them.


Honorable mention: LL Cool J, Lindsey Buckingham


Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for Kajagoogoo

Mulletfest!


So…there weren’t many K options…


Seriously, “Too Shy” is a good song. I still crank it on my iPod. Sure, they were a pretty much a one-hit wonder. They have a Duran Duran connection and had some modest successes. Read HERE.


Watch this video. The payoff is all that 80s hair and clothing.

Enjoy! (And find out if she overcomes her shyness.)


Honorable Mention: The Kinks



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for Joy Division



The post-punk band, Joy Division didn’t last long or produce many albums. One of the band members committed suicide in 1980, so the group barely made it to the 1980s. The remaining members became the band New Order.

That didn’t stop me from listening to their two alums over and over when I was in high school. Their biggest song was “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. And, yes, it was as uplifting as it sounds:


The lyrics are apt for a relationship that’s no longer working. Most of us have experienced that, right? I still listen to this song:

“When routine bites hard
And ambitions are low.
And resentment rides high,
But emotions won’t grow.
And we’re changing our ways,
Taking different roads.

Love, love will tear us apart again.
Love, love will tear us apart again.”



This next video has been debated. I think in the lyrics and video, it’s referring to the Ku Klux Klan. Perhaps I’m taking the masks too literal. Could be a metaphor. Could be about religious figures.



There’s a movie about Ian Curtis, who suffered from seizures, and eventually committed suicide: Info about it is HERE.

Here’s a clip of the movie + this bloggers list of top Joy Division songs. Watch it HERE.


Though short-lived as a band, Joy Division had a profound effect on me.



Honorable Mention: Joan Jett, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Journey, Michael Jackson, Olivia Newton John, J. Geils Band