Key Album Cut Alert!!
PLAY: Michael McDonald – Don’t Let Me Down
This is one of my favorite tracks from blue-eyed soul man Michael McDonald, and a totally under rated key album cut from his No Lookin’ Back album, and it was also the B-Side of that single.
It’s got a great pace to it, with the melody varying nicely from the verse, bridge, and chorus. I love the synthesized hook that catapults the entire piece. Then there’s this raunchy guitar solo in there that helps make it a little more rock.
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PLAY: The Whispers – Funky Christmas
Another fine selection my sister brought to my attention, this one from R&B group The Whispers. It’s completely draped in the last days of disco which is what makes it so awesome; those beats, those notes, those symphonic strings.. this is Christmas on the dance floor! You never hear a great cut like this on the holiday stations and I have no idea why. I love “White Christmas” just as much as the next guy, but throw this one in the mix every now and then would you :)
For other fine holiday selections broadcast radio ignores, as well as some they do seem to like, check out The 80′s Man’s Christmas Catalog.
PLAY: Heart – These Dreams
A Number 1 hit from the sister duo group Heart, and another example of a group having a huge hit on their hands and it not being written by them.
“These Dreams” was composed by Q-Feel’s Martin Page and longtime Elton John collaborator Bernie Taupen. When Heart heard the demo that was passed on by other artists, they were thrilled with it and decided to record it despite usually utilizing their own material. I believe this was also the first time Nancy Wilson took on the lead vocal on a Heart album, while it was usually sister Ann who handled that job. I’ve actually always preferred Nancy’s voice more myself, less intense volume and snarl.
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PLAY: Billy Squier – Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You
Kind of a holiday staple depending on what radio station you listen to. This one tends to turn up on the classic rock stations believe it or not, even though it’s justifiably sugary!
For me this is most memorable as a music video recorded on the set of MTV during the classic years, with all the original VJ’s and cast and crew joining in the singalong. I don’t know if Billy Squier recorded the song prior to this, or this is the actual recording of that live performance that was used or what. Regardless, whenever I hear it I like to think of that video and the good old days when things seemed so jolly!
The 80′s Man Christmas Catalog is where it’s at this holiday season :)
PLAY: Sammy Hagar – I Can’t Drive 55
I think there’s no denying this is the most popular solo hit from the red rocker Sammy Hagar and it’s pretty much a staple on Classic Rock radio stations. It’s all energy and pure rock and roll, with just enough of a pop shine to hold my interest.
I read Sammy’s biography awhile back and he said that this song was true to form and he was notorious as a speed demon. One time he was driving a Ferrari I think and speeding like a mad man out in the desert somewhere and a cop was chasing him down. I think he managed to get out of the ticket that time too, claiming that he was an experienced race car drive and knew how to professionally operate a piece of machinery that was so horse power advanced.
Anyway, you may remember an amazingly awesome cheesy 80′s video that featured Sammy and his then band doing the whole thrown in jail and court room bit, and he’s wearing that atrocious yellow jump suit! Hey I love the crazy fashions of that decade, you all know that, but I gotta draw a line somewhere.
PLAY: Natalie Cole – No More Blue Christmas’
This one I love! While her Daddy Nat is sort of the king of the Christmas song isn’t he, Natalie has her share of holiday selections. I remember when this tune came out back in ’94 from the Holly And Ivy album, and it got plenty of airplay then. The following year, I didn’t hear it once! And you know what, I don’t think I’ve heard it on the radio in December since. So I’m thrilled to give it a proper plug here. It starts as a somber tale, but quickly turns to happiness with a great lyric of found love and a renewed appreciation for the holiday.
You can enjoy all the wonderful holiday selections from The 80′s Man’s Christmas Catalog HERE.
PLAY: The Boys – Christmas Cheer
My cousin introduced me to this one last year. When I first hear it I thought “Is that New Edition?”. Nope it’s The Boys, an R&B group of kids from the late 80′s who contributed this track to a Motown Christmas compilation in ’89. Yes there’s some cheesy old school rapping going on here, before actual singing in this with one of these kids best Ralph Tresvant imitation, even the group members holiday shout outs at the end, much like “Give Love On Christmas Day” so you can see who influenced who here :)
Enjoy the archives of The 80′s Man Christmas Catalog HERE.