PLAY: Mr. Mister – Is It Love? (Dance Mix)

mr_mister_is_it_love_dance_mix_1985_the80smanThis is the third hit from Mr. Mister’s Welcome To The Real World LP from ’85, and the one that is often forgotten even by most 80′s people. They remember “Kyrie”, they remember “Broken Wings”, but this last one always seems a stretch to pull up in the old memory bank for some reason. I blame radio, because I’m pretty sure nobody plays this one anymore.

“Is It Love?” is a little different from those before mentioned hits. While those kind of varied their tempos from verse to chorus, this track is steadily upbeat and expertly executed.

This here is the “dance mix” from the 12″ single release. I think I may like this version more than the album one, as I tend to give this one the spin more often. The instrumentation is allowed to breath more here, and in that you get to delve more into the layers of the mix which is excellent. Especially those bass parts! Hope you all enjoy this as I do, and if so please share it with a friend or two!

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Soundtrack Selection!!

PLAY: Kenny Loggins – Meet Me Halfway

kenny_loggins_meet_me_halfway_1986_the80smanSo this one comes from the soundtrack to the 1986 Sylvester Stallone flick Over The Top. He’d done movies about boxing, wrestling, so why not, this time he does one about arm wrestling! The movie which centers around Sly’s character of Hawk, an estranged father and his attempting to reconnect with his son, is plagued with challenges and even opposition from the boy. Hawk’s a trucker and he takes the kid on the road with him, and it’s all build up to a big face-off arm wrestling competition at the end. And in true Hollywood movie making for the day, it’s a happy ending. Man do I miss the 80′s and cheese like this!

As you may recall, Kenny Loggins was kind of the king of the soundtracks back in the 80′s, with several reputable tracks to his merit, and this was definitely among them. Leaning more towards a power ballad “Meet Me Halfway” is an excellent cut in a sappy kind of way. Positive message of love and compromise, and an excellent selection for the heart of the movie.

If you’ve enjoyed this post than you know what to do, SHARE IT!! :)

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PLAY: Al B. Sure – Nite & Day (Dusk Mix)

al_b_sure_nite_and_day_dusk_mix_1988_the80smanThis track got a lot of play towards the end of the 80′s. And this guy, under the moniker of Al B. Sure (who these days is a successful music producer) got plenty of exposure with it, even getting Grammy Nominated. It was a Top 10 hit back then but I don’t think it gets too much play these days, if at all.

Now my tastes for music from the 80′s usually favor, generally, pre-1987. Actually more like from 1985 back!  So there’s a bunch of so-called hits from say 1988 and 1989 that have a particular “flavor” to them, that while yes they can make me think back to that time, but musically I’m not as enthusiastic about. Still good, just not at the same level of appeal as others from earlier in the decade. This is one of those such hits. However, it’s a far cry better than ALL of the hits of today, therefore I’ll give it props for simply being retro cool :)

For your listening pleasure today I give you this, the “Dusk Mix” featured from the 12″ single release. Perhaps you’ve never heard it before. And perhaps you’ll tell a friend that you just heard it here on The 80′s Man!

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Lost Gem Alert!!

PLAY: Breakfast Club – Never Be The Same (12″ Remix)

breakfast_club_never_be_the_same_12_inch_remix_1987_the80smanThe self-titled debut album from The Breakfast Club (the band, not the movie) is an interesting LP in the world of 80′s lost gems.. yet it was their only full length release! Remember this was a group that was nominated as a “Best New Artist” in ’87, a group consisting of members of two bands that Madonna was once associated with, including drummer Stephen Bray who co-wrote many Madonna hits. Still this little band would fade as quickly as their light shined.

While some may say all the songs sound the same, I’d argue there’s more of a continuity to it. Sticking to a particular sound that works for them (“sophisti-pop” :) .. rather than trying to dabble in other related genres like so many artists do on albums, almost trying to prove they have diversity. The production is sleek and the pop dynamic!

The track “Never Be The Same” opens the album. It was released as a single late in the game and didn’t seem to do much, which is unfortunate. Still I believe it sets the tone for the album perfectly, as it’s that great melting pot of real instruments and synthesized electronics. And there’s even the well deserved appearance of a saxophone solo which makes my day :)

For the 12″ release, this is another of the few instances where remix producer Shep Pettibone got it right and did a decent job with the mix. While I’m much more partial to the album version, I figure it’s worth shedding the light on this mix since so many of you 80′s kids enjoy these rare versions. Enjoy!

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Once upon a time, a long long time ago (though not really) there were these wonderful places called music stores, where you’d actually have to go to a physical location and root through shelves, alphabetically, and find the artist and album (or CD, or tape) you wanted and base your purchase on the cover and track listing alone, that is unless you had prior knowledge or a cool listening station in the store as we had in the store that I worked in.. what now seems like forever ago, and a minute ago all in the same way.

At a certain point during my all too brief tenure there, I was promoted to an assistant manager which at the time I was pleased about as it was a sign that I was doing a good job and that my dedication to the regular sales position didn’t go unnoticed. As with all promotions comes added responsibility, which meant being an authority to the other employees. This was not a particular criteria of the job I was looking forward to. As someone who is very anti authority I didn’t want to be “that guy”. Fortunately I found strong footing with my co-workers in being the fun friendly wise ass I was before, and only being a hard ass when absolutely necessary (which thankfully was seldom, because everyone there was cool).

common_thread_tales_from_a_music_store_vol_5_the80smanSo on to my story… one week we get a big delivery of one particular title, and it was way too many. Basically we shouldn’t have received an additional box of something (and when I say box I mean upwards of 100 pieces of the same exact title). For the life of me I can’t remember who the artist was or what the title was, as it was some rap crap that I didn’t give a damn about therefore it was easy to forget. But I remember my boss being on the phone with the corporate office (aka The Bastards That Be) saying how “we weren’t suppose to receive all this, you can’t expect us to sell all of this (to make the certain numbers we were expected to keep), why can’t we send it back? blah, blah, blah”. In the end we were stuck with a box of merchandise that we were “expected” to move.

The next day when I’m mining the store with two other associates, I explain the situation and came up with what I thought was a great a idea; “Whoever sells the most of this title by the end of the sales quarter will get $20 from me!”.

It was a gimmick, it was a game. A game to not only attempt to move at least some of the product, but also to encourage healthy competition amongst out little team. And how could that be bad! It was their business about how to go about it, they’d have to take the initiative. And as I recall they came up with some interesting ideas in terms of  up-selling and hanging signs. A few other things that now escape me. But it was great, and I’d keep written track of each one’s they sold and tally them up. Sure I’d be out 20 bucks in the end, but you know what I didn’t care. In those days I would have just blown it on beer or something stupid for my car anyway. It was a one shot deal that was buying me and the staff a little joy in the job. I knew I was into something good with my people. And while there was the quite knowing that everyone was against each other, ultimately they were all in it together and you could feel the energy. That made it totally worth it.

This lasted two days… until my boss came back from his days off and caught wind of what was going on. Thinking he’s be impressed that we all cooked up an energized solution to our little dilemma was extinguished by the look on his face.. that of being upstaged. We had a “discussion” in the back room which was just a ridiculous difference of opinion where he felt I was trying to buy my end of the “good boss” role.. not only with the sales associates but also with corporate once they found out what was going on. And how it wasn’t right for me to put him in the position of “un-fun” by not shelling out money, which he couldn’t even spare financially at that time anyway. Being a little older than me and having more advanced financial responsibilities that I had yet to experience, I began to comprehend. But this wasn’t a heated discussion by any means. If anything the underlying truth was that the guy felt hurt. Based on that, I did begin to see it from his perspective and I know that it was a combination of jealousy and the lack of resources that wouldn’t have even allowed him to do the same thing.

It’s funny, I honestly had no agenda in terms of being anyone’s favorite based on those actions. Hell, I was their favorite already :) But I certainly wasn’t setting out to make my boss look bad. I’d never have wanted to do that, because he was cool guy too. And I wasn’t at all thinking in terms of corporate praise as far as my role in this “game” personally. If praise was going to come down from corporate I wanted it to be for the store, for the sales team, the one’s who moved the product. That’s all I was thinking about when this crazy scheme came my way. Corporate didn’t even need to know the “how” we sold them, just that we did it.

But in the end, we didn’t. The game got scrapped as we agreed it was too biased. The politics of professionals I guess. I still wonder how that would have turned out? All I know is if it had been MY music store, the game would have been played. Then again, I wouldn’t have order too many of something :)

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Lost Gem Alert!!

PLAY: Gary Wright – Really Wanna Know You

gary_wright_really_wanna_know_you_1981_the80smanWhen I first discovered this song it was playing on the overhead speakers of a department store I was strolling through one day. And through the horribly muffled system, all I could audibly comprehend as far as an artist association was the high notes where I thought “Is that, maybe, a Steve Perry solo song I don’t know about?” Close, but not really :)

Gary Wright, most famous for his hit “Dream Weaver” in the late 70′s, was also an accomplished session musician (he played keyboards on George Harrison’s masterpiece All Things Must Pass among others).. he scored himself a dignified #16 hit with this cut back in 1981, yet since then it’s faded into unjustified obscurity.

With all due respect to Mr. Wright and the valid hit he garnered himself, I still think Steve Perry would have knocked this one out of the park had he done a version, circa ’84-’85.

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PLAY: Steve Winwood – Roll With It (12″ Remix)

steve_winwood_roll_with_it_12_inch_remix_1988_the80smanA classic track from the solo career of Mr. Steve Winwood in the late 80′s.

The title cut from his 1988 album release, the song would be issued as a single and skyrocket to a #1 record for 4 weeks aboard Billboard’s Hot 100 in addition to being an Adult Contemporary success.

Taking a kind of side step from the electronic drums and synthesizers as found on his previous hits the few years prior, “Roll With It” goes back to basics in a sense. It employs a very Motown feel, harking back those the early feel good days. Very organic rhythm section here, with additional highlights being the structured piano and mild horns. The lyrical message is one of optimism, to roll with the punches, no matter what life throws at you. And that certainly makes for a feel good song now doesn’t it!

This is the very cool 12″ remix where you get to explore the initial construction better. The instrumentation is fantastic, and it’s a great variation from the standard album and single version. Watch your volume on this one as it plays a little loud. Hope you all enjoy as I do. And if you do, please be so kind as to share it with another who would enjoy it too. Thanks-a-mill :)

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Eddie Murphy – How Could It Be (1985)

February 22, 2015

PLAY: Eddie Murphy – How Could It Be Did you happen to catch that Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special this past Sunday? Being a fan of this long running American television institution that is SNL, particularly those classic early years, I was excited to tune in to this broadcast. And being the critic that […]

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Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll (1981)

February 20, 2015

PLAY: Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll The signature song, and yup it’s a cover! I guess you can get a bit more mileage out of a cover version when it isn’t that well known (like say Blondie’s “The Tide Is High”) as the majority of people, or your target […]

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Nell Carter – Theme from “Gimme A Break!” (1983)

February 19, 2015

Soundtrack Selection!! PLAY: Nell Carter – Theme from “Gimme A Break!” I recently caught a rerun of Gimme A Break! not having seen this show in ages. I wasn’t really a regular watcher of this show as I was others way back in the day, but it definitely got watched from time to time, no […]

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