PLAY: Rick Astley – Together Forever (Lovers Leap Extended Remix)
One of a few tracks that helped propel Rick Astley to being a big deal in ’87/’88.
The second US number 1 single from the Whenever You Need Somebody album, following “Never Gonna Give You” which shared similar comparisons thanks entirely to the production of beats and synths that were essentially the foundation of popular music in the late 80′s. I have very clear recollections of this tune being played constantly on the radio stations I grew up listening to, and even today this song still manages to turn up from time to time.
This is the “Lovers Leap Extended Remix” as found on the original 12″ maxi single.
PLAY: Autograph – She Never Looked That Good For Me
Kind of a forgotten rock cut from the mid 80′s band Autograph, and yet another soundtrack selection from one of my boyhood favorite films growing up, Like Father Like Son.. in fact the band, as themselves, actually performs this song in the movie!
I generally shy away from a lot of what I refer to as “eyeliner rock” of the late 80′s. You know, that same look and sound that seemed to be carbon copied by a number of hair bands during that period. A lot of it wasn’t terribly brilliant to me, but as with most genres I make exceptions here and there, this being one such track.
I think it’s the humorous (and yet sometimes true) scenario of a significant other not looking their best until after the couples demise which makes this tune appealing to me. Ooow, that’s a rough one!
PLAY: Cheap Trick – The Flame
The rock group Cheap Trick made their mark on the music scene in the late 70′s and early 80′s with a distinct sound that melded rock and new wave, but they also incorporated a retro feel harking back to the early days of pop. Classic rock radio still gives props to Cheap Trick with regular airtime for such cuts as “The Dream Police”, “Surrender”, and regular staple “I Want You To Want Me”.
So by 1988 when “The Flame” came out, this lush and melancholy power ballad with the usual cries over love lost (as many ballads go), I think it took everyone by surprise with a “That’s Cheap Trick??” response.
This number 1 single was all over the place during the late 80′s. And I have to say I didn’t much care for it at the time. I really don’t know why, I guess there was just something about it that I felt was rather drab. My attitude towards it has greatly changed since then obviously, and rightly so. I recognize it these days as a truly great piece of music which it is, and I hope you all enjoy as today’s featured hit selection.
PLAY: Vanity 6 – Nasty Girl
Yet another pet project protege’ from the purple one, Prince..
Released in 1982, this female trio delivered the Prince penned and produced “Nasty Girl” (though Vanity was given songwriting credit) and had themselves a hit, though it be an under the radar hit of sorts on varying charts due in part to it’s graphic nature and explicit lyrics (how odd for a Prince song right :)
These days lead singer Vanity (under her real name Denise Matthews) is a born again Christian preacher and completely denounces this song and her time in the spotlight with shame. I can understand her point of view especially when someone evolves, and we all regret things we did when we were younger. Unfortunately when they are done in such a public way they never really go away. Especially when 80′s fans such as ourselves draw attention to it :)
PLAY: Stephanie Mills – Never Knew Love Like This Before
A little something from Ms. Mills at the start of the decade, during the introductory days when music still had a bit of that left over disco feel. And very nicely done on this track (after all I love disco!) This song was written and produced by two of the guys from the group Mtune who helped give it that great R&B sound. I always get a kick out of the way she sings the closing lines of “never knew” and it sounds like “never knew who?” :) This cut got a lot of airplay on one of the more popular music stations I grew up listening to as a boy. So much so, I mistook it for a song that was more current at that time. I don’t hear it played as often anymore, that is until I fire up my iTunes and then there it is :) Still I’m pretty sure it’s regarded as her most popular song selection and biggest hit, and here it is for you to enjoy today.
PLAY: Stephen Bishop – Walking On Air (The Boy Who Could Fly Version)
I love the 1986 tear jerker The Boy Who Could Fly. It’s the sweet story of an autistic boy named Eric who is befriended by the new neighbor, a cute girl named Millie and the special relationship that grows between them, the culmination of which is the revelation that this boy has the ability to fly. Yes, it does have an after school special quality to it. But whenever I see it I’m instantly teleported back to the youthfulness of being a adolescence, wishing I was still there.
The closing song sequence was “Walking On Air” performed by Stephen Bishop. It’s a very fitting track for this film of childhood fantasy, and the perfect way to wrap up the credits.
But now here’s the thing, the song was never properly released at the time, as there was no soundtrack available. Not long after Stephen would re-record the song accompanied by Phil Collins on drums which made the track much more heavy, with it crashing cymbals! He even sings “walking on air” in the chorus. You all know I’m a fan of Phil, but the end result of that official release is just awful. It’s melody is a little off and it’s just a bad production. Completely buried the delicate lofty feel of the original track, which was perfect and sappy.. much like the film.
Therefore, as my post for today I submit the original version, or as I like to call it The Boy Who Could Fly Version, dubbed right from the movie itself.
“All you need is the very first kiss.. and you’re walking on air.. Love won’t let you come down”
PLAY: Journey – Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)
Forever a Greatest Hit from Journey and a long lasting chart rider back in ’83. While this track receives great a acclaim for it’s heavy rock sound, complimented superbly by those synthesizers, and catapulted by Steve Perry’s outstanding vocal.. it’s also most memorable for what’s regarded on many fronts as one of the worst music video ever made!
For those who weren’t fortunate to be watching back in the day, the video depicts the band chasing after a girl, who seems to not give a damn about them, all while they are singing along and playing air instruments in embarrassment. I mean sure, Perry’s checkered T-shirt is pretty cool.. but the rest of the video is awesomely 80′s cheese :)