PLAY: Lou Gramm – Midnight Blue (Extended Remix)
After a bit of fuss with his fellow band mates in the band Foreigner, lead singer Lou Gramm decided to embark on a solo project, the result would be the album Ready Or Not and this rock and roll jam!
“Midnight Blue”, a solid Top 10 hit for Gramm that year (even higher at #1 of the rock charts), possesses little comparison to the work of Foreigner if you ask me. While yes, vaguely similar, after all we’ve got the same singer’s voice here, but the instrumentation and production is pretty different. As far as this piece is concerned, it’s much more rock anthem oriented than some of the stuff the band was releasing.
Here we have the “extended remix” from the 12” single which I think is excellent. I’d go so far as to say I prefer this mix over the standard issue which was a little more tame. Don’t think this tune gets much exposure these days, and this mix is definitely ignored. So give it a whirl would you, and if you dig it as I do, please share it.
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PLAY: Boz Scaggs – Look What You’ve Done To Me
Here is a gem of a cut by my ears. The Boz Scaggs & David Foster collaboration as penned for the soundtrack of the John Travolta/Debra Winger romantic drama Urban Cowboy.
Legend has it this was a rush composition, hired in one day to score the music for a scene that was being shot for the movie the following day! Fortunately with two master musicians, what they came up with was absolutely superb, a deep ballad of broken heart. From the haunting piano notes to the whimsical guitar refrains, this tune is sonically special.
Whats’ also very noteworthy is the cast of players behind the session, for not only Scaggs and Foster are present on this recording, but also members of Toto on instruments, and those of the Eagles providing back round vocals. Now that’s talent!
Interesting note here, the version featured on the soundtrack is a completely different recording than the single version. On the soundtrack, he has a female vocalist, whereas the version Boz released as a single which became the hit and the one that’s always recognized as “the” version features The Eagles.
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PLAY: Laura Branigan – Gloria
It’s the signature song right? And the one that put Laura Branigan on the map back in ’82. It even got plug in a sequence in Flashdance the following year.
You’ll always find it on an 80′s compilation and there’s merit to that. Big bold synthesizer hook, and an excellent celebratory vocal from Laura. I was always partial to that fun little bass line after the bridge vocal where she say’s “You really don’t remember..” though it goes by all too quick!
I remember back in the late 90′s, VH1 did some kind of a stupid countdown of worse videos of all time, and the one for this one ranked in the Top 10… stupid idiots! Sure it’s low budget, minimalist design with a few spinning disco balls, and it’s merely a performance piece, but it’s from 1982, videos were still pretty much in their infancy. Should’ve cut her some slack jack!
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PLAY: Billy Idol – Rebel Yell
Just another rockin’ 80′s classic from bad-ass Englishman, Mr. William Idol :)
The single and title album track “Rebel Yell” was initially inspired by hanging out with members of The Rolling Stones who were swigging back on Rebel Yell Bourbon. Billy thinking it was a cool title, took to writing the track with his guitarist Steve Stevens and a pulsating rocker was born.
There’s actually some really interesting carpentry in the structure of this song. Really raunchy guitar hooks, with just the slightest touch of synths to fill out the sub floor, and there’s decent variation from the verse and chorus. And then the middle bridge where he gives the shout out to 7-11, yeah, you just got to love it! Stevens would use a similar gangling guitar riff when he worked with Simon F. on “I Want You Back” the following year.
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PLAY: Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes
For a track that was released on a classic album from Peter Gabriel in 1986, it would reach classic status three years later when it turned up in a now famous scene in the film Say Anything. That image of John Cussak holding up the boombox for Ione Skye is somewhere in the list of most iconic images of the 80′s.
I remember reading that the moment almost didn’t happen.. director Cameron Crowe said in an interview that originally different music was intended for the scene and it just didn’t feel right. As fate would have it, he had a cassette mix of songs that were from his wedding (then to Heart’s Nancy Wilson), and “In Your Eyes” was on that tape and the song got worked into the scene. But again, it almost didn’t make the cut as Cussak was getting tired of holding up the boombox take after take trying to get it right. Remember those things were heavy! In the end, it got finished, and a classic scene was born.
For me this song was a track on one of Mom’s “Mixed Bag” cassette tapes from back in the day, and got regular play during car rides to who knows where (everywhere).
There was a “special mix” issued for this one which was kind of odd; spoken word passages and native tongue chanting, with little comparison to the album or single version. Thus we go with the hit mix here today!
PLAY: Taylor Dayne – With Every Beat Of My Heart (Extended Remix)
Another big single for Taylor Dayne on string of hits from the late 80′s, this one from her second album, the Can’t Fight Fate LP.
This is one of those tracks that instantly takes be back to the school bus of all places. 1989/1990 this song seemed to be playing at least twice a week, maybe more, it’s like those radio DJ plan to play the exact same records at the exact same times on exact same days. Which, FYI, they do! And my bus driver during those years always had the same station playing no matter how much you begged her to change it from time to time. In hindsight, this was probably a good thing because there was a lot of crap brewing in ’89, so to be on the safe side I’d rather stick to the pop station :)
Presented for you here is the “extended remix” from the 12″ single, which features Taylor looking pretty damn hot on the cover! Heightened use of synthesizer here on the hooks, which I kind of like as it really emphasizes the dynamics of this dance track. Hope you all enjoy!
PLAY: Bryan Adams – Run To You
In 2003, or was it 2004, I caught Bryan Adams live in concert.. well, let me rephrase that, I heard Bryan Adams live in concert! I don’t remember the particulars as to why, but for whatever reason we decided not to go into the show which was an outside arena and ended up hanging out in the parking lot, outside the entrance listening and eyeballing whatever we could from the big screen above the side of the stage. Foolishness. We didn’t have tickets (which might have been the reason, but they were selling them at the door) so I don’t know, unfortunately, no show.
Anyway, as I remember Bryan opened with this one. A favorite of mine and a Top 10 hit for him from back in late ’84, and the crowd was up in a roar. Even from outside, in the open air of the summer nights sky, it still sounded pretty good. The instrumentation was tight, and his voice, the ever present snarl was in full form. I thought this was a great selection for an opener, like a storm of rock rolling in!
I have to say all these years later, it irks me that I don’t have a concert stub in my collection for that one. (Same thing happened with Eric Clapton, but that’s another story). Guess there’s only one way for me to right this wrong, catch his concert next time I can :)