PLAY: Def Leppard – Animal (Extended Version)

def_leppard_animal_extended_version_the80smanOne of the earliest singles released from Def Leppard’s awesome Hysteria album.

This song actually dates back to 1984, as does most of the material for this now classic album, with a ton of recording and mixing and trying to get things just right. Legend has it that three different producers attempted to get this recorded the way they (and the band) wanted it to sound. And while not as popular as some of the other cuts, “Animal” is a great pop rock track.

Here we have the “extended version” that was issued on the UK 12″ Single, as well as some of the then-new CD Singles of the day! (Which by the way, unless there was a specialty mix like this or say a non-album B-side as it were, that you really-really wanted.. they were a total rip-off given their price. A few more bucks and you could just buy the album! :)

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PLAY: U.S.A. For Africa – We Are The World

Note: This post was suppose to go live yesterday on the actual 30th Anniversary of this historic recording, Jan. 28 1985, but due to an error on my part in scheduling my posts, they went up out of order :(  Regardless, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it all the same :)

u.s.a_for_africa_we_are_the_world_1985_the80smanMuch can, and has been said, about the legendary coming together of some of the biggest names in popular music at the time following the American Music Awards to record a benefit song for African famine relief that would echo around the world. The short version, and one no one ever words the way I  would, is Bob Geldof did the “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” benefit two months earlier with his ensemble of UK pop stars.. and US pop stars across the pond were like “Hey we need to do something like that?!!”. Jealous? Perhaps.. yet, all for a good cause in the end. In fact, Geldof was recruited for his consulting on the U.S.A. For Africa project, that was really spit fired by Harry Belafonte & Quincy Jones, then commissioned to Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson to write.

That said, the amount of talent assembled in the room that night is unmatched. Though many have tried over the years, in my opinion, it can’t be done. The “We Are The World” recording is an unlikely unity of a number of artists you’d otherwise never hear together on record, and that’s a large part of what makes it special. I mean can you just imagine the level of energy that must have been in the studio that night.

I think it’s safe to say that this was a BIG deal at the time.. between Band Aid just before, and the legendary Live Aid concerts coming up that summer, 1985 was a real turning point for the 80′s. The halfway point. A time still filled with glamor, but also that of a global consciousness.

Main vocalists in order of appearance (though I always felt it got a little sloppy there at the end.. I mean why REPEAT artists, when there we’re SO many others there eager to sing!) :

Lionel Richie
Stevie Wonder
Paul Simon
Kenny Rogers
James Ingram
Tina Turner
Billy Joel
Michael Jackson
Diana Ross
Dionne Warwick
Willie Nelson
Al Jarreau
Bruce Springsteen
Kenny Loggins
Steve Perry
Daryl Hall
Michael Jackson (again)
Huey Lewis
Cyndi Lauper
Kim Carnes
Bob Dylan
Ray Charles
Stevie Wonder (again)
Bruce Springsteen (again)
Ray Charles (again)

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Lost Gem Alert!!

PLAY: Sweet Sensation – If Wishes Came True (Album Mix)

sweet_sensation_if_wishes_came_true_album_mix_1990_the80smanHere’s a cheat (1990) and one that doesn’t get any play anymore, despite it being a pretty big hit at the time.

Sweet Sensation, an all girl Latin influenced dance group had to go pop to find chart success, particularly on the Adult Contemporary charts, with “If Wishes Came True”.. a hybrid sound of say Expose’ at that time, not to mention Debbie & Tiffany. This power ballad with it’s distinctive late 80′s synths and charging guitar hooks had all the lighters in the air during a concert I’m sure!

This is the album mix, which features some additional synthesizer and flamenco guitar in the intro that was usually chopped off on the radio edit.

Make sure you share this Lost Gem with someone cool today :)

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PLAY: The Police – Wrapped Around Your Finger

the_police_wrapped_around_your_finger_1984_the80smanThis was kind of the swan song for The Police in terms of single release from the Synchronicity LP in early ’84, although I’m pretty sure the public didn’t know it at the time. Following what was a highlight concert at New York’s Shea Stadium, The Police called it quits. At least for the time being anyway, they’d reconnect briefly in ’86 for the “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” remake, but it would be another 20 years before they toured as a band again (Fortunately I got to see them twice during that run. Totally awesome!!)

“Wrapped Around Your Finger” is an excellent song, though eerie and haunting musically, with Sting’s usual wordplay lyrics sealing the deal. I can’t listen to this song without thinking of what was a really cool video for the time. It’s the one where there’s tons of standing candles all lined up in rows, while the guys are strategically placed playing among them. The perfect imagery for the tune indeed!

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Lost Gem Alert!!

PLAY: Dr. Hook – Girls Can Get It

Ok yeah so, this is novelty. But oh, ain’t it the truth! So this is part novelty song and part poetry!!

dr_hook_girls_can_get_it_1980_the80smanGirls have it made, girls have more fun
Girls have their way, to get lovers anytime they want
Anytime she needs some loving
Anytime she just gives the sign
It won’t take her long to find a man to oblige

Guy’s got to plot, guy’s got to plan
Guy’s got to lie, cheat, steal, do anything he can
Anything to get her loving, anything to make her agree
That’s the way it’s been since Adam and Eve

Girls can get it, anytime they want
Girls can get it, where a man often won’t
Everybody’s always after some loving now and then
A woman gets it faster than any man can

Girls can get it, anytime they like
Girls can get it, a fact of life
If she calls you for some loving in the middle of the night
She can get a man running at the speed of light

We all look for love, somewhere, sometime
Girls find it first, they find it morning, noon and night
And its a wonder of nature, eighth wonder of the world
That a man’s got to chase her if he’s gonna get the girl

When a woman wants love, a woman gets love
And its for sure she’s gonna find it before the sun comes up

Girls can get it, they pick and choose
Girls can get it, men are always in the mood
If she calls you for some loving in the middle of the night
She can get a man running at the speed of light

Girls can get it, anytime they like
Girls can get it, a fact of life
Oh you know she’ll find it easy, you know that she can
It’s like givin’ a little water to a thirsty man

Girls can get it, anytime they want
Girls can get it

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PLAY: Baltimora – Tarzan Boy (Summer Version)

baltimora_tarzan_boy_summer_version_1986_the80smanThe debut single from Italian based band Baltimora, and their only hit here in the States in early ’86. And it’s been exploited through various means ever since, from TV commercials to sporting events.

I’ve always debated if I really like this one or not.. the chorus, if you can even call it that with it’s “oh-oh-oh-oh’s” is very-very novelty for me, so much so that under normal circumstances I’d dismiss this track as such. However, the verses and bridges have an excellent melody and great vocal tone. Kinda Wang Chung you know!

There were a few different mixes made available for this one.. all of which are crap as far as I’m concerned, except for this one, the “Summer Version” that resides more along the lines of a proper extended mixes, especially in that intro where you really get to here how that nice layering was developed between the instruments.

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Soundtrack Selection!!

PLAY: Billy Joel – Big Man On Mulberry Street (Extended Version)

There was a rather famous season 3 episode of the dramedy Moonlighting from ’86 titled “Big Man On Mulberry Street” where Cybill Sheppard’s character of Maddie Hayes has a dream  sequence where she envisions Bruce Willis’ David Addison character and an assortment of other credible players in one of the most elaborate choreographed dance routines shown on television at the time.

Keeping in mind that Moonlighting had one of the heftiest scripts for a one-hour TV show, with the most fast paced dialogue there was.. it’s amazing the effort that must have gone in to Bruce having to learn all of these expertly executed dance moves on top of his already abundant work load as far as remembering his lines were concerned.

billy_joel_big_man_on_mulberry_street_extended_version_1986_the80smanThe song that was used for this shows sequence was that of the same name, performed by Billy Joel and released, more or less as a key album cut, on his The Bridge album that same year. However, the version that was used in the show was that of an “extended version” with additional instrumentation, particularly horn parts, necessary to fill out the dance routine. The “extended version” was never issued on a single or otherwise, thus the episode is the only source of this incredible track.

Needless to say, what I present to you here is a dub from said episode. My Dad actually ripped it from the DVD of the series. It’s the best you can get and I felt it was a real treat for such a rarity. If someone out there wants to take the time and tinker with the sound quality of this “extended version” from the episode, I’d love to hear it :)

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Bryan Adams & Tina Turner – It’s Only Love (1985)

January 21, 2015

PLAY: Bryan Adams & Tina Turner – It’s Only Love This was a pretty interesting duet. Bryan Adams was riding a peak at this stage of his career, and Tina Turner was high on the comeback trail. I don’t know who initiated this brilliant collaboration, but given Bryan gets first billing (and co-wrote it and […]

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Gordon Lightfoot – Stay Loose (1986)

January 20, 2015

Lost Gem Alert!! PLAY: Gordon Lightfoot – Stay Loose This is a great “soft rock” cut that I discovered way late in the game. I would have missed it totally if not for it’s inclusion on a Gordon Lightfoot compilation of Greatest Hits. Lightfoot, who’s brilliantly brawly voice was famous in the 70′s singer/songwriter era […]

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Split Enz – Message To My Girl (1983)

January 18, 2015

New Wave Weekend!!! PLAY: Split Enz – Message To My Girl Split Enz had far more success in their native homeland of New Zealand and other parts of the world than they ever did here in the States. Their exposure seems marginal as compared with their eventual spin-off group, Crowded House. But thanks to a […]

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