PLAY: Fleetwood Mac – Seven Wonders (Extended Remix)
One of the great cuts and singles off the Mac’s critically acclaimed Tango In The Night album from ’87, and I must say one of the better Stevie Nicks performances on a Fleetwood Mac album from the 80′s.
For me this one is all about that synthesizer hook. It’s brilliantly perfect, mystical and alluring, and oh so 80′s awesome! Were this catchy little part missing, I doubt I would pay much attention to the song honestly, though it carries along quite well in your typical mid-tempo way.
Like all the singles off that record, this one too got the remix treatment which I present to you here from the 12″ single.
PLAY: Yello – Oh Yeah
Somehow someway this oddball new wave track became a fixture of 80′s pop culture.
Released in late ’85 by the Swiss band Yello, it would clock in at #51 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1986 even making it to #36 on the dance chart.
Used in countless movies from The Secret Of My Success, to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, to She’s Out Of Control to name just a few one’s off the top of my head.. it was also in TV commercials, most memorable to me was for Twix candy bars.
Nothing more than a novelty song to my ears, I know it’s a classic piece of nostalgia in the 80′s archives. There was a dance mix available for this one, but to tell you the truth, for a song like this I think it should be a short edit to nothing over 2 minutes. I mean come on it’s the same bit over and over, no need to drag it out!
PLAY: The Doobie Brothers – Real Love
The Doobie Brothers were once prided long haired-blue jeans rockers known for their good ‘ol boy quality with hits like “Listen To The Music”, “Black Water”, and “Long Train Runnin” to name but only a few from their impressive early catalog. Once the man, Mr. Michael McDonald joined the fold with his keyboard.. it was more about sports jackets and an R&B flavor. Being a fan I appreciate both era’s of the Doobie’s.
By the start of the 80′s, the band was beginning to wain with tension amongst it’s members and Michael having his sights on a solo career. Their last proper studio album (before reuniting years later) featured this great cut and single; “Real Love”.
The intro is excellent as far as I’m concerned.. this droning build up of notes before the drums affirm the pace, followed by the stylized keys which I love so much before launching into the body of the track.
The lyrics are profound. A confession of emotional absence whereby the physical connection is there but with no real affectionate connection, no real love. And the desire to have some semblance of such if only just a falsehood.
“Darling I know, I’m just another head on your pillow. If only for tonight girl, let me hear you lie just a little.. Tell me I’m the only man that you ever really love. Honey take me back in my memory, a place where it was so very right, so very nice”
PLAY: Madonna – Like A Prayer (Extended Remix)
First let me superficially preface this post by saying I much prefer bleach blonde Madonna better than brunette Madonna :)
The lead single and title track from Madonna’s 1989 release, “Like A Prayer” is a dramatic departure from the more bubbly pop stuff she was doing previously. This was a calculated effort to move her career in a more “mature” themed arena. As she was growing so was her audience.
Yet the thing that remained consistent was her pursuit of pushing the envelope and causing all sorts of controversy (which undoubtedly was also pre-plan by this reigning hit queen of the 80′s) with a memorable music video that threw all sorts of religious implications into the mix.
While I tend to lean more towards the more pop era of Madonna (’83-’87) “Like A Prayer” is a solid cut, with it’s gospel choir chorus and somber melody verses. Here for you today is the “extended remix” from the 12″ single.
PLAY: John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band – On The Dark Side
The song that was an even bigger sensation than the film is was to represent.
So it’s 1983 and the film Eddie & The Cruisers is released. A so-so tale about a band and it’s late leader, told partly in flashback, about the relationships of it’s members and their rise to brief stardom before Eddie’s questionable death and unreleased recordings that are in hot demand. All featured music of The Cruisers was actually provided by John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band.
Upon it’s release, the film was a modest flop. It wasn’t until months later when cable stations on TV started playing the hell out of it that it picked up true momentum in popularity and almost a cult appreciation.
The “big” song of the film and soundtrack was Cafferty’s “On The Dark Side”. A powerful uptempo rocker loaded with energy that was vaguely familiar.. I can only imagine people calling into radio stations and asking record store clerks “Yeah can I hear that new song from Bruce Springsteen; On The Dark Side”.. seeing as their style and vocals were easily comparable by the untrained ear. I also think Mellencamp pinched the riff for “R.O.C.K In The U.S.A.” :)
PLAY: The Stray Cats – Rock This Town
Probably the best hit released from The Stray Cats and always the first one I think of.
There really isn’t too much describe here other than how awesome it is. Pure positive energy that just gets everyone up and dancing around. Total throwback sound to the rockabilly of the 50′s with a new wave twist! And real simple too, a good old trio – just guitar, stand-up bass, and drums – yet in this minimalism there’s basic rock and roll at it’s roots and that’s what makes it great!
I think it would be interesting to see an act that could duplicate something like this today. That means picking up “real” instruments and learning at least 3 or 4 chords :)
Lost Gem Alert!!
PLAY: Rick Astley – Cry For Help (Extended Version)
Alright so I’m cheating again here with this one, 1990, actually I’m really stretching it here (recorded in 1990, released early ’91).. but whatever, it’s Rick Astley and that’s 80′s as far as I’m concerned.. and maybe because this one technically came out in the 90′s that’s why it’s often forgotten when we initially think of Rick’s catalog.
This soulful pop ballad is a dramatic departure from the production beats and synths of his earlier work. I mean we’ve got a gospel choir in there! With it’s delicate piano and heartfelt vocal, Rick scored another hit with this one and I clearly remember it getting a lot of radio airplay at the time.
This is the “extended mix” from the 12″. It’s a little screwy at times if you’re real familiar with the single edit, but I know a lot of you guys dig the 12″ versions so here you go! Hope I’m reintroducing this one to a lot of you. Definitely a Lost Gem as far as I’m concerned.