Roberta Flack – Together Through The Years (Theme from The Hogan Family)
So Valerie Harper is most recognized by her signature character of Rhoda on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and her own spin-off series Rhoda, but to us 80′s kids she was the title character and star to one of the biggest disputes in television history for it’s day..
The television series The Hogan Family (as it would come to be known) ran from 1986 – 1991, but it’s original conception and first season belonged to Valerie Harper as the main character. In fact, the original pre-syndicated title of the show was Valerie! (Then it became Valerie’s Family, then Valerie’s Hogan Family, before being finalized as audiences have come to remember the series as simply The Hogan Family).
To condense a rather long story, Valerie was the star for the first two season’s and she saw it fit to re-negotiate her contract once the show had become a success. Given the fact that the series had her name as the title gave her enough reason to believe she’d have some clout in doing so, therefore she held out during negotiations. Needless to say, she didn’t get her wish and was ultimately fired and killed off the show, whereby actress Sandy Duncan was brought in as an aunt to fill the void. This was an unprecedented situation for the day to have the title character so publicly removed from the show. But since then, stranger things have happened.
To her credit, I had always enjoyed the Valerie Harper era of the show and preferred it more so than the remainder of the series. So that’s gotta stand for something!
The theme song for the entire run was recorded by Roberta Flack, and it’s always been in my list of top TV theme songs. I’d go so far as to say there were times when I liked this song more than I did some of the episodes! Surprisingly enough, there was never a “full version” of the song made available which is strange considering it was done by such a well-known artist and clearly had the ingredients for single success. At the very least you think it would have turned up on one of Flack’s albums, but no :(
Be cool and tell all your friends that there’s yet another of Televisions Greatest Hits of the 80′s being featured at The 80′s Man today.
PLAY: Duran Duran – Wild Boys (Wilder Than Wild Boys Mix)
I liked this song way more when I was a kid than I do now, but it’s still special to me because of it’s memory.
This was the one and only “new” studio track that was included on Duran’s concert LP Arena that was released in the totally awesome year of 1984. It’s popularity as a single and video propelled it as a chart buster, and needless to say Mom was playing it all the time when I was younger.
For whatever reason (who can completely understand the mind of a child) I was totally obsessed with this music video, that fortunately got tons of broadcast time on MTV. The rather dark, almost scary, alienistic-post apocalyptic storyline featured lead singer Simon LeBon tied to a windmill that would cycle his head underwater! If you ever caught the VH1 Behind The Music on these guys, part of the story was there was a moment where the windmill got stuck and he couldn’t breath under the water and they had to feed him air with a tube until they could get the damn thing running again.
Anyway, I’d get Mom to play the record and I’d re-enact this video, playing imagination by hanging my head over the edge of the couch in the living room, pretending I was on the windmill! haha Rest assure I haven’t done this in awhile, but hey, maybe today is the day :)
Here we have the “Wilder Than Wild Boys” mix that was featured on the 12″ single release.
PLAY: Olivia Newton-John – Magic
For me this song goes back to the childhood evenings when I would listen to my radio before falling asleep at night. There were I think 3 different stations that I used to play that all focused on these slower tempo songs; love songs and smooth grooves. This one is more of a bolder statement at times, but you can see how a song like this would end up as part of the program of one of those radio shows. I clearly remember this one being played one night. Not to mention it being on Dad’s Olivia’s Greatest Hits album.
Released in 1980 as part of the Xanadu film and soundtrack, “Magic” is one of the better selections as far as I’m concerned and the public felt that way too (number 1 for 4 weeks and the 3rd most popular single of 1980). The melodic structure is gently flowing, yet it turns rapid at the chorus. Once again (and as always) Olivia’s vocal is spot on to the point you’d think they could not have found a better singer for a song like this. She certainly had it going on back then! Overall it’s a supreme mid-tempo pop ballad.
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New Wave Weekend!!!
PLAY: Thomas Dolby – She Blinded Me With Science (Extended Version)
Wrapping up another New Wave Weekend here at The 80′s Man.
It’s funny, it seems like whenever I’m handing out with family or friends this song seems to pop up satellite radio and before it even gets to the part someone inevitably declares “SCIENCE!!” :)
The hallmark synth selection from the pioneering Thomas Dolby, “She Blinded Me With Science” is undoubtedly a classic from the new wave days of the 80′s. Brash synthesizers and tight beats reside alongside a typically weird vocal style that so many artists of the day were taking advantage of (good singing ability was not a criteria for a lot of the oddball stuff from this time period, but Dolby did alright here).
This is the “extended version” that was issue on the 12″ single back in ’82. Hope you enjoy this elongated mix of an essential 80′s piece.
Thank you all for constantly tuning in to all that this blog has to offer along memory lane of this decade that we all love so very much.
New Wave Weekend!!
PLAY: Howard Jones – New Song
The debut single from Howard Jones Human’s Lib album and the perfect introductory sampling of what was to come from this totally synthesized artists.
This one has been a fan favorite for quite some time, with it’s ultra catchy sing along melody and over the top synth bars from those early keyboard patches, the one’s with those sterile tones.. kind of like a spaceship gone mad. Early new wave at it’s best right here! Having the good fortune to catch Mr. Jones live recently, sure enough, he broke this one out in tall order.
Now there have been a couple of variations with this one, and I have to say I’ve never been pleased with any of the end result mixes that have come out, outside of the original single mix. The original 12″ extended mix was more along the lines of a dub (i.e. mostly instrumental, and kind of screwy when it came to the vocal parts, thus destroying the continuity of the song). This mix is ok if that’s what you want, but not what I want here. Later on there was a “new version” of the song created which was better than the 12″ mix, but it erased a lot of the polish off the synths which is what I loved so much, therefore another disappointment.
Ultimately, I stick with the original version as far as this one goes. So there you have it!
Tell all your friends we’re in the middle of a New Wave Weekend here at The 80′s Man. Send ‘em all over and join in the fun :)
New Wave Weekend!!
PLAY: The Fixx – Saved By Zero (Promo Mix)
Kicking off a New Wave Weekend here at The 80′s Man, starting with the second most commonly known song associated with The Fixx “Saved By Zero”.
This song had been a staple of their shows, lyrics evoking images of a then very logical fear of fallout from The Cold War. As with most pop and new wave of this early part of the decade, the stellar use of synthesizers and beats creates the perfect soundscape for the subject matter.
So there’s variation of this song depending on which medium you are listening to. This particular version stems from the original 12″ promo single which features a slightly different mix and vocal lyrics. Until it’s reissue as a bonus track, this mix was lost to time, but I’m proud to offer it to you here for your listening enjoyment!
Spread the word, it’s a New Wave Weekend here at The 80′s Man.
PLAY: Culture Club – Miss Me Blind / It’s A Miracle (Extended Dance Remix)
I usually don’t go for these medley type versions (i.e. two completely different songs combined into one track) but I figured what the hell.
Two prime cuts off the classic Culture Club LP Colour By Numbers, “Miss Me Blind” and “It’s A Miracle” were favorites each in themselves; poppy bubbly and upbeat tracks (with “Miss Me Blind” being slightly more aggressive with it’s power guitar chords). Interestingly enough both these songs feature similar melody structures which I guess is what encouraged the powers that be to issue this medley special as an “extended dance remix” 12″ vinyl.
Originally as their backup singer before striking out on his own, artist Jermaine Stewart appears here on harmony vocals. He’s buried in the mix, but trust me, he’s in there :)