It Came from the 80s, Part 4

Hey, catch up on Parts One, Two, and Three!

Picking up where we left off with the M’s…

Madonna – Crazy for You

Now this was a middle-school slow-dance tune to end all middle-school slow-dance tunes.

Madonna – Into the Groove

Well, speaking of grooves, this song has a good one. Nice use of synth-drums, which I usually hate.

Madonna – Borderline

Another one of the rare Madonna songs that I actually like, this one’s from her first album. Who would have thought that in twenty-five years she’d be affecting a British accent?

Madonna – Like a Virgin

I think it would be illegal in some states to make an 80s compilation without including this song. Probably not in Alabama or Mississippi, though. Not a bad song. Of course, the MTV Video Music Awards performance raises the overall grade.

Men at Work – Down Under

What the hell does “chunder” mean? And if someone gives me a Vegemite sandwich, should I not throw it back at them? That shit sounds nasty to me.

Nevertheless, a great song. And Colin Hay is the man.

Michael Jackson – Billie Jean

This would be my concession to the greatness that was Michael Jackson in the 80s. Yes, I had a vinyl copy of Thriller – the first and last MJ album I ever owned, although my brother and my wife have occasionally dabbled. And regardless of what I think of the man now or any of his music, this song kicks ass. And that’s even without the iconic lighted-sidewalk video.

And yes, I busted my ass until I learned to moonwalk. I will now express my shame by committing seppuku.

Mr. Mister – Broken Wings

I don’t know what it is about this song, but I like it. It’s so typical of the time period…a muted longing expressed through synthesizers.

Mr. Mister – Kyrie

Sing it with me! “Carry a laser down the road that I must travel…”

Huh? Bullshit.

Motley Crue – Home Sweet Home

This song was, quite literally, my introduction to heavy metal. In ’87, when I was in junior high, a new kid had moved to the neighborhood and I was gradually getting to know him; a freak January ice storm had the schools out for the day. So we all grabbed our sleds and went down the road a bit to where the hill got a little steeper toward the creek bottom. The road was completely coated in ice, so one guy’s dad stood at the top of the hill to keep an eye out for traffic as we all went Mach 1 down the asphault toward the bridge.

During all of it, the new kid was singing “Home Sweet Home.” I was fascinated; he said “No prob, man, I’ll loan you the tape.” He did. Two tapes, actually. One was a dub of the “Theater of Pain” album on one side and Ozzy’s “Ultimate Sin” on the other, and the second tape was a dub of Ozzy’s “Tribute” live album. My musical interests took a distinct turn from pop/R&B at that moment.

The guy became probably my best friend on the face of the earth for a few years. And damn, do I miss him.
Motley Crue – Wild Side

Now this is some serious 80s hard rock. I love this damned song. The drum work in particular is just fantastic. And by the way, if you’ve never read it, you should go pick up a copy of the Crue’s autobiographical tome, The Dirt. That is one damned awesome book.

Motley Crue – Girls, Girls, Girls

Not my favorite song on the album (see above) or even my second favorite (for some reason, I have a fixation with “All in the Name of…”) but definitely had a lot of airplay in the 80s. And it’s supposedly still a stripper anthem from hell. Not that I’d know anything about that.

Motley Crue – Kickstart My Heart

While “Dr. Feelgood” from the ’89 album of the same name is the better tune, my wife loves this song, so it goes here instead. And, of course, it was the show opener that one night in the Dean Dome at UNC in 1990 when my buddy Howard and I saw our first rock show. Let me tell you, walking through a crowd of female Motley Crue fans as a 15-year-old boy is an experience everybody should have. And yes, the show was excellent.

New Order – Blue Monday

I already mentioned that the industrial band Orgy had the same idea I did to do a heavy cover of this tune. Damn it. The chord and rhythm structure of this song just BEGS for a double-bass drummer and some detuned distortion. Even the lyrics could work with ye olde cookie-monster death metal growl. “How does it feel? Tell me, now, HOW DOES IT FEEL?!?!?”

Nu Shooz – I Can’t Wait

This song makes even me want to dance. Of course, most of the western world would say that’s something that should be criminal.

Night Ranger – Sister Christian

This song was all over the airwaves the first time I ever really had a lot of time to watch MTV, when I took a family vacation to Florida in ’85 or so. Beautiful. The piano, the guitar, the drum fills leading into the chorus, all beautiful.

And in more recent cultural history, I think the “Boogie Nights” scene is awesome.

Pat Benatar – We Belong

This is a great ‘oh, it’s great to be young lovers’ tune, isn’t it? The “whatever we deny or embrace” line is a particularly good one, I think. I would have never thought to put those words together, but they work.

Pat Benatar – Love is a Battlefield

I admit, I like this song a lot better when I can NOT think about the whole shoulder-shaking dance in the video. Man, that thing is horrid, isn’t it? Otherwise, the song is solid, and definitely a classic from the days when I used to hang around the roller-skating rink with the other 12-year-olds.

Steve Perry – Oh Sherrie

Love this damned song. Thank God there were no cute girls named Sherry in my school back then so I didn’t get totally obsessed with this song. Now the Sherry from my senior year of high school…oh well. Damn my buddy Chris for saying we were equally crazy and therefore would be perfect together, because it made me realize he was probably right. And while we’re at it, damn the 21-year-old she was dating the entire damned year.

Paul Carrack – Don’t Shed a Tear

Isn’t this song cool? Especially if you’re shaking off a crappy middle-school relationship? And you only need to hear the first two notes to immediately recognize this tune. That particular synth tone has never been re-used as far as I can remember.

Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes

What? This was in a movie? You’re joking.

Yep, this is another one of those that transcends the decade, regardless of one iconic Cusack pose. Jeffrey Gaines’ acoustic solo version is also excellent, if you want to hunt it down someday.

Phil Collins – I Wish It Would Rain Down

This is a decent song, and Phil is pretty good in it. The introductory part of the video is really hysterical. But the main reason I love this song is because of Clapton’s guitar work…I honestly think it’s as good as any he ever recorded. The phrasing is absolute perfection. And the tone is positively godlike.

Phil Collins – One More Night

Phil Collins – Against All Odds

I admit it, I was a huge Phil Collins fan in the 80s. And both of these were fantastic songs about lost love. Of the two, “Against All Odds” is probably the better, but I love ‘em both.
And I don’t have “In The Air Tonight” in digital, damn it. Not yet, at least.

Phil Collins – Take Me Home

At least four times in my life I’ve heard this song in moments of depression and been almost moved to tears. “Take me home…because I don’t remember…” The funny thing is, that sentence is never completed. Don’t remember what? It doesn’t matter. Fill in the blank…it’s just that feeling of being lost that this song drives home to me.

Poison – Talk Dirty to Me

Poison – Every Rose Has Its Thorn

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, these songs belong here. The first is the classic late-80s party song, and the second is the classic late-80s post-breakup song. And I will shamefully admit to singing them both in the back of a school bus as a 14-year-old to impress 14-year-old girls.

It almost worked.

Prince – 1999

Remember when 1999 seemed so far away? Boy, I do.

I love the way Prince and the Revolution split the verses in three parts. Very nicely done.

It turned out that, for me, partying like it was 1999 wouldn’t have been a big thing. Especially on New Years’ Eve…I had a newborn son then. Not so much on the partying for us.

Prince – When Doves Cry

Oh yes, the iconic scene of Prince rising from the bathtub. I’m sure it turned some girls on, but personally, even as an impressionable young kid, I couldn’t see anything all that sexy about Prince’s little androgynous-midget ass emerging from the steam. Great song, though. Forever tied in my mind to my elementary school classmate Ali (boy, did she have a unique name – this was her spellable and pronounceable nickname) lip-synching it in lace gloves during the sixth grade talent show.

If I remake this tape, I may switch this out for “The Beautiful Ones” (just plain awesome) or “Take Me With You” (always loved the beat), but this tune definitely belongs here based on airplay and cultural influence.

Prince – Little Red Corvette

This song is just plain fun.

Prince – Let’s Go Crazy

Excellent opening song from an excellent album. Bonus points for my own musical development for its sampling for Public Enemy’s “Brother’s Gonna Work It Out.” (I still love the “Fear of a Black Planet” album.)

I’ve mentioned this before, but “Purple Rain” was the first album I ever had on cassette. (I think “Thriller” was the first pop album I owned on vinyl. And “Nevermind” the first on CD. Maybe this trend will continue, and the first album I buy on the next big new medium will be a landmark album as well.)

Prince – Raspberry Beret

I remember our music teacher (that I hated) playing this song for our music class in 6th grade. And my principal calling me in (I was the school president…ah, the power, the POWER, mwuhahahah! Oh, shit, there was no power. Damn it.) to question whether or not there were any bad words on it. Another Prince song that is just plain fun.

Prince – Darling Nikki

Now this was a little more than just plain fun. I admit, when I heard this in 1984, I only understood about two thirds of it. The more I understood, the wider my eyes got, I tell you. And I had the same question as a kid that my wife did. When he said “I met her in the hotel lobby masturbating with a magazine…” exactly HOW did he mean? I think my visual was a little messed up.

Yep, we’re more than halfway home, but still a couple more to come!

The party continues with Part 5.

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8 Responses

  1. I’ll tell you right now, vegemite IS disgusting. I tried it once when I was younger. We had these two Aussie counselors at this church camp I used to go to and one of them let me try it. Yuck, yuck, yuck!

    It LOOKS positively FOUL. And there were those urban legends about people getting high by putting Vegemite under their eyelids? I was like, “No thanks, I think I’d rather take heroin through a Foley catheter or something.”

  2. The “Girls, Girls, Girls” song makes it for the video alone! I agree it’s not really that awesome of a song. I was always (still am to be honest) a big George Lynch (Dokken) fan. Fun posts.

    Oh yeah, now you’re making me want to break out “Mr. Scary.” My wife’s a pretty big Dokken fan as well.

  3. Okay, I was going to jump on you for not having “In the Air Tonight”, but since it’s because you don’t OWN it and you would have put it on the list if you DID own it, I forgive you. Later tonight when I’m not on AcronymCo’s server I’ll post my favorite version of ItAT on my blog. It’s AWESOME. It has STRINGS. Also? Not only did I learn how to moonwalk, I learned how to BREAKDANCE.

    Ooh, sounds good! I used to laugh at this VH-1 Classic commercial that showed “Somewhere in 1982 [or whatever the year],” and gave an overhead shot of a kid at a desk listening to that song JUST before the big drum break-in, and the kid hits all his books and lamps with his pencils along with the music. Yep, did that.

    I learned how to moonwalk. I never learned how to breakdance.

    Notice I didn’t say I never tried to breakdance. I just never really LEARNED. Well, I could kinda do the worm a little bit. I think if I tried it now, I’d throw out my back or something.

  4. I’m about to not comment on the music but on a book. I read The Dirt, and think it is probably one of the most awesome band biographies I’ve ever read. But, in case you haven’t already read it, I recommend The Heroin Diaries about Nikki Sixx. That man was seriously messed up while he was writing The Wild Side.

    I’ve been meaning to check it out…with your recommendation, I’ll move it up my list a few notches!

  5. *I was a big Madonna fan for a while. My friend, Stacy, and I used to sing “Like a Virgin” to the radio while her dad was driving us to church on Wednesday nights. Very odd. Then she filmed part of A League of Their Own in my hometown and didn’t have anything nice to say…that coupled with some egomaniacal tendencies pretty much ended the fascination. I’ll still listen to her music (I really liked “Vogue”), but it’s not the same as it was back then.

    Singing “Like a Virgin” on the way to church? I think my grandmother would have had me terminated for such a thing. I heard “Vogue” on the radio in the grocery store this weekend…I’ve never liked that song. At all. Oh well.

    *”Thriller” was the 2nd cassette I ever owned (after Cyndi Lauper)…I had a poster of Michael on my door (head hung in shame).

    Yeah, well, you, me, and about 50 million other people are hanging our heads together.

    *Oh man, I loved that “Broken Wings” song. I think they played that on Silver Spoons after Ricky got his heart broken.

    Sadly, I can barely remember anything from “Silver Spoons” except the time Ricky lost money gambling with a bookie and sold one of his dad’s three-legged buffalo nickels to pay him off. Why in the hell I remember that ONE THING so specifically, I have no idea.

    *I watched some kind of biography about Pat Benatar on VH-1, and I was very impressed with her as a person…I started listening to Matt’s Benatar compilation because of that.

    Sorry I missed that. And yes, she seems like somebody who made it through with her perspective, her health, and her integrity. Can’t say that about many people in the music biz.

    *I too loved Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds” song. A lot.

    *”Raspberry Beret” by Prince. I actually named my Cabbage Patch Koosa Rasberry Beret because of that song (and the fact that he was raspberry-colored). The misspelling here is intentional, because I unknowingly omitted the “p” back then.

    WTF is a Koosa?!? I must have missed that one while I was busily playing with my Cobra Rattler.

  6. Ohhhh there is SUCH an art to Vegemite that Americans, wellll, any other country really, will never understand. You have to put a reasonable amount of butter or marg on the bread, and Vegemite CANNOT be too thick. It’s better to have not enough that too much. Some freaky people get off on Vegemite and cheese sandwichs- I myself would not inflict my taste buds with this. It’s funny, as an Australian I adore Vegemite and eat it at least once every day, but flatly refuse to eat the New Zealand version of it, nor other bastardised versions. Probably wouldn’t want to try Bovril either. By the way, to chunder is to hurl, to barf, to vomit, to spew, to throw up etc.

    Go Rossi!!!! Bout time he won a race!!

    Thanks for the cultural explanation, Ellie! Oh, and damn straight about Rossi winning again! I’m also actually glad that Melandri seems to be doing better – it must have been damned embarrassing to be so thrilled to finally get that Ducati ride, and then flounder on it.

    I’m also already developing a strong dislike for Lorenzo. Can’t he and Pedrosa torpedo each other?

  7. Sweet, your wife rocks then. I could go for the solo in “In My Dreams” right about now!

    Come on, join in!

    “Don’t you know that it’s…OURRRRR LOVE…that’s”

    Can’t stand not being able to complete the line, can ya? 🙂

  8. Dude, come on, where’s “Your Love” by The Outfield? (Unless that would go under “T”)

    It’s under “T” for “The.” Along with a HOST of others.

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