PLAY: Madonna – Holiday (The Holiday Mix)
When Madonna got her first singles deal with Sire records, she put out “Everybody” which is what started the buzz, particularly in the dance clubs. “Burning Up” followed and she had an awesome video for that one, rolling around in the street! But it seems to be that “Holiday” was her first real mainstream breakthrough and radio success and put her on the map. And this image of Madonna, with the rubber bracelets and sort of scrappy street-wise girl style, started to enter the musical terrain.
There have been several different mixes of this track available over the years, Ive lost track of the differences, which were usually very subtle. In my archives I seemed to have always favored this one which was included on a limited UK only release album around the time The Immaculate Collection came out that was called The Holiday Collection. More of an EP which included this mix of “Holiday” as well as “Causing A Commotion”, “Who’s That Girl” and “True Blue”. Basically tracks that The Immaculate Collection SHOULD HAVE included.
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PLAY: David Lee Roth – Just Like Paradise
There was a period in the 90′s when the solo career of David Lee Roth was target for joke after joke by every wanna be rock ‘n’ roller, would be comedian and talk show host for his (by then) sub-par albums and the dramatic shift from an arena headliner to a Vegas lounge act. While there was some validity to this, it seemed ridiculous to dismiss the earlier solo efforts as garbage. They were truly “Dave” in that of character, and a good old fashion “hey let’s have a lot of fun here” attitude, even if it was at times hokey and corny.
In 1988 he released the Skyscraper LP which is most memorable for this fantastic pop rock track “Just Like Paradise”. There’s nothing bad at all about this cut and it’s pure energy. When it was released as a single it climbed (just as Dave did on the cover!) to a very respectable # 6 on the Billboard Hot 100.
From time to time I believe this song does still receive some airplay on Classic Rock radio station, as it should, because it’s a hell of a lot better than anything coming out now.
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PLAY: Johnny Mandel – Theme from “Too Close For Comfort”
There’s a few TV shows that I remember watching to excess in my earliest childhood days.. we had this one channel, TV38 that aired out of Connecticut which in the afternoon had a block of these reruns of shows that weren’t all that old (yet)… Too Close For Comfort was among them.
The sitcom surrounding cartoonist Henry Rush (played by Ted Knight) and his wife, and their dealing with their early 20′s daughters who lived in the apartment downstairs from them, in the same house (one of these mother-daughter houses) set in San Fransisco. Throw in the girls friend Monroe (who I just thought was nothing more than a funny fellow at the time) who became a comedic foil for Henry, and you’ve got yourself a wholesome family sitcom. The show ran steadily from 1980 to 1986, by which time the girls had left and the show was re-branded The Ted Knight Show briefly before Ted sadly passed away during production, ultimately ending the series.
Watching reruns of this show recently, it simply amazes me the contrast of plots and dialogue compared to television nowadays. It was such a simple time, an innocence really. And more often than not a moment of drama to balance the comedy, which in my opinion is crucial for entertainment.
The standout then, and the standout now is this cheesy early 80′s instrumental by Johnny Mandel for the theme song. Great horns indeed!! Kind of makes me think of the intro and hook to Bobby Caldwell’s 1978 hit “What You Won’t Do For Love”.
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Smooth Groove Alert!!
PLAY: Neil Diamond – Heartlight
So Neil Diamond, one of the most accomplished songwriters of the great American songbook, see’s the motion picture classic E.T. upon it’s release in ’82 and is so moved by the movie he’s compelled to write a song based on his emotions. He teams up with fellow friends and songwriters Burt Bacharach and then-wife Carole Bayer Sager and the result a Top 10 hit as well as an Adult Contemporary classic which remains Neil’s most recognized selection from the 80′s.
While the song was not featured in the movie, whenever I hear it I think of E.T. with it’s references of friendship, looking for home, and “gonna take a ride across the moon, you and me”.
It’s a delightful little smooth groove that I’ve always been fond of, that childlike heart of mine :)
PLAY: Fine Young Cannibals – Good Thing
This is probably the second most known song from F.Y.C. with “She Drives Me Crazy” obviously being the first. Released as a single off their The Raw And The Uncooked album in 1989, the track was a number one record on Billboard Hot 100 that summer.
New knowledge to even me, this song dates back to ’87 when the band appeared in a film called Tin Men which apparently takes place in 1963, and they were the performing band in some nightclub. They played this song and three others, hence the sort of retro vibe the song has to fit the context of the movie.
This is kind of ironic considering I always thought this song had a musical riff or tone or something pinched from the 60′s song “The Boy From New York City” by The Ad-Libs.
There was a despicable mix of this issued on the 12″, total waste of time, so I’m obviously going with the album edit and hit version here.
Smooth Groove Alert!!
PLAY: The Pointer Sisters – I Need You (Extended Version)
I always seem to gravitate towards the ballads with a lot of artists. To me they’re just more emotionally rich, if that makes sense. That’s definitely the case when I’m talking about R&B and some of the great smooth groove jams that came out of the 80′s, specifically the early 80′s.
Next to “The Love Too Good To Last” this song “I Need You” is my favorite Pointers Sisters song. Musically it starts with the initial carpentry.. those beats that carry through the piece, interjected by this guitar and bass rapport that works ever so elegantly as the groove we must surrender to.
Lyrically it’s an emotional expression confession.. an out pouring of upset and unease, yet a realization of a deep connection of attachment and a desire not to disband “You know I need you, You know I want you, I gotta have you by my side”.
This is the extended version that was featured on the rare 12″ single and also managed to make it’s way onto the early versions of their Greatest Hits collections.
Lost Gem Alert!!
PLAY: Ric Ocasek – Emotion In Motion
I don’t know, maybe it’s me, but I don’t see too much distinction between The Cars and the solo works of it’s members.. I mean take the great track “Stay The Night” from bassist Ben Orr, it’s like the brother of “Drive”.. and now this solo cut from Ric Ocasek, it’s some relative to say “I’m Not The One”.
Released in 1986, this solo effort found it’s way onto the American Top 40 at #15 that November, but in the grander scope it’s seems to be forgotten by the masses therefore is given Lost Gem status here on the blog.
It’s a very mellow cut, intricately layered with beats and melodic synths, which offer a music box quality. Certainly worth the nod and I hope I’m shedding some light on this one for a number of you.
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