A member of the songwriters Hall Of Fame, J.D. Souther has made it rain hits for other artists. Today we uncover a lost chestnut by Souther who tries to make his own rain with Go Ahead And Rain.
A native of Texas, Souther moved to L.A. and struck up a friendship with future roommate Glenn Frey and the connection led to Souther penning smash hits by the Eagles like New Kid In Town, Best Of MyLove and Heartache Tonight as well as co-writing John Waite's If Anybody Had A Heart from the About Last Night soundtrack. Souther also hit the charts with his own songs too, like You're Only Lonely from 1979 and his duet with James Taylor in 1981 entitled Her Town Too which reach No. 11 in 1981.
In 1984, Souther embraced the video age when he released his single Go Ahead And Rain. The song only made it to No. 104 on the singles chart. The video for Go Ahead And Rain features Souther showing off his impressive beard while making a bold fashion statement with his peach jacket and shirt collar way up while eyeballing a cute waitress in a roadside diner.
A part of our childhood died today. Gene Wilder, star of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, passed away at his Connecticut home of complications from AlzHeimer’s disease, Variety reports. He was 83.
Though Mr. Wilder’s work is multi-generational, he’s beloved by the ‘80s generation for pre-decade classics such as Willy Wonka, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein and The Producers. During the ‘80s, he gave us Stir Crazy, Hanky Panky, The Woman in Red, Haunted Honeymoon and See No Evil, Hear No Evil.
I’ll always remember Mr. Wilder for two movies: Stir Crazy, the first R-rated film I ever snuck into (and was quickly kicked out of) and Willy Wonka, particularly the scene were he softly sings Pure Imagination. So beautiful and so sad at the same time.
A lot of words will be written in the coming week about the comedic brilliance of Gene Wilder and absolutely none of it will be overstated. He was one of the great ones. An no-so-everyday hero. He gave us “pure imagination.” And he will be missed.
When people give me grief for the hatred I heap upon The Material Girl, I usually respond with just two words. No, not those words. These words: Shanghai Surprise.
Released on Aug. 29, 1986, Shanghai Surprise co-starred then-newlyweds Madonna and Sean Penn. 30 years later, ‘80s fans don’t know what’s harder to believe - that Penn could make a bad movie in the ‘80s or that anyone would believe Madonna playing a missionary.
The scorn was nearly universal. Shanghai Surprise was nominated for six Golden Raspberry Awards (with Madonna winning one for worst actress). The movie holds a 14 percent “fresh rating” at Rotten Tomatoes. New York Times film critic Janet Maslin, writing in her review, did note one positive thing about Shanghai Surprise: “You can watch it (in theaters) in near-total privacy.” (The movie recovered only about $3 million of its reported $17 million budget at the box office.)
Here are five things you probably didn’t know about Shanghai Surprise on its 30th anniversary:
1. Former Beatle George Harrison was the film’s executive producer and performed five songs on its soundtrack. He also makes a cameo early in the movie as a lounge singer.
2. Meanwhile, Madonna, who usually contributes at least one song to every movie appears in, didn’t contribute at all the soundtrack. (And alas, the original soundtrack was never released.) She did, however, sing a song for another Penn movie in 1986 - At Close Range.
3. Though Penn’s movie career had already taken off by 1986, he wasn’t the producer’s first choice for the lead role. (Tom Hanks was.)
4. Filming of some interior scenes had to be moved from Macau to London after Penn kept scuffling with the press on the set. Another "surprise," right?
5. Madonna’s Razzie award was the first of two consecutive wins for her. She won it again in 1987 for Who’s That Girl?
Just like Peter Sellers in Being There - "We like to watch" - and cinema has devoted many a film to that fascination. Whether it is a classic movie like Rear Window or an '80s movie like Body Double, the temptation to spy on our neighbors is always a plot device that is always ripe for our fantasies. In the '80s, Kim Carnes tapped into that vice with her minor hit Voyeur.
Kim Carnes ruled the charts of 1981 with her No. 1 album Mistaken Identity and the biggest song of the year with Bette Davis Eyes. In 1982, she faced the daunting task of trying to find equal success with the release of Voyeur. The lead single was the title track and Voyeur only made it to No. 29 on the singles charts.
The video for Voyeur is a thriller with Carnes witnessing a crime and running for her life to escape the clutches of killer. Set in the seedy streets of L.A., the gravelish voice of Carnes and techno beat of the song all come together to create nice tension for the sexy video of Voyeur.
Debbie Gibson in a bio-pic based on her life as an ‘80s pop princess? Only in my dreams. Actually, if you have the Hallmark Channel, it’s actually a “Summer of Dreams.”
Billboard.com reports that Gibson will star in Summer of Dreams, a “part tongue-in-cheek mirror” of her real life. Well, that’s out of the blue.
The TV movie will include a ballad version of her hit song Only in My Dreams and a new song, Wonderland.
Summer of Dreams premieres this Saturday (Aug. 27) on the Hallmark Channel at 9 pm Eastern. Robert Gant and Pascale Hutton co-star. (See a sneak preview here.)
BTW, rumor has it that her once “rival” Tiffany gets a nod in this movie. Oh, and they’re both scheduled to appear on the 2017 version of The ‘80s Cruise. So that’s one more thing for us all to gab about onboard the Celebrity Summit.
In the U.S., there are scores of songs that didn't chart well in the '80s but still emerged as signature songs of the decade. Songs like I Melt With You and What I Like About You never broke the Top 40 but still are some of the most (over)played songs on retro radio today. Australia was no stranger to that phenomenon as they had Wide Open Road by The Triffids.
The Triffids from Perth, Australia, had been making music since the late '70s, but it wasn't until 1986 that they caught some airplay with Wide Open Road. The song was inspired by the desolate stretch of highway in Western Australia between Caiguna and Norseman and Wide Open Road started off as only a minor hit, reaching No. 64 on the Australian singles charts. However, it has emerged as one of the endearing songs of Australia and has been names on various lists as one of the top songs in Australian music history.
Named after the menacing venomous plant, The Triffids stopped making music in 1989, but are reuniting this fall for the 30th anniversary of their most popular album, Born Sandy Devotional, that contains Wide Open Road.
The Stuck In The '80s blog and podcast, now in its 11th year, has been a great meeting place for those to relive their glory days and the music and movies of our youth. Even in the '80s, we started to feel the nostalgia and perhaps you might see a little bit of your past in Noisework's In My Youth.
Noiseworks was a popular band in Australian in the late '80s. Their second album in 1988 was Touch and their fourth and final single from that album was In My Youth that only made it to No. 44 on the Aussie charts. More of a sing-along song rather than their usual rockers, the video for In My Youth paints a picture of carefree days of recreation, sports, romance, arcades and menial part time jobs that we can all relate to whether we surfed on a beach in Australia or grew up in the states.
Noiseworks broke up in 1992 and from 2000-03, lead singer and New Zealand native Jon Stevens was the lead singer for INXS becoming the first official lead singer INXS had after the death of Michael Hutchence.
Can you believe we just missed the 30th anniversary of Night of the Creeps? Wait … you didn’t see in theaters back in 1986? That’s okay, nobody really did. And yet the world’s first sci-fi/horror/zombie/alien/comedy has managed to develop a cult following in the three decades that have passed.
Written and directed by Fred Dekker (who also helmed The Monster Squad), Night of the Creeps is a story about …. well, it’s about … well, heck, I’m not even sure anymore. IMDB describes the plot very efficiently as: “Alien brain parasites, entering humans through the mouth, turn their host into a killing zombie. Some teenagers start to fight against them.”
Yeah, that about sums it up.
Horror fans love it because it’s full of homages. (Pay attention to the character’s names, which are all based on famous directors of the genre. Regular ‘80s fans might still enjoy it because, hey, we’re suckers for a time in Hollywood where everything wasn’t a blatant remake.
Here’s the trailer of Night of the Creeps, released Aug. 22, 1986:
If you could go back in Spearsy's podcast time machine, would things really be simpler in the '80s? Maybe so since as teens we lacked the burdens and responsibilities of being an adult in 2016. But even in the '80s, one could concede that The World Seems Difficult - or at least in the opinion of Mental As Anything.
Mental As Anything is best remembered in the U.S. for Live It Up that was featured in CrocodileDundee, but in their home country of Australia they had a mountain of hits, including 1989's The WorldSeems Difficult that reached No. 19 in 1989.
The video for The World Seems Difficult is pleasing as lead singer, Andrew "Greedy" Smith - who looks more like a financial planner than a lead singer for an Australian rock group - battles a steady rain along with his band mates . Bordering on a ballad, the video for The World Seems Difficult is not taken so serious even though it is a song about loneliness and miscommunication. Mental As Anything has a reputation of having a great sense of humor and they present their video with smiles on their faces.
Sometimes it's the artists who have been interviewed the most who have the best stories. Tiffany has been interviewed since she was 10 years old. The former Star Search runner-up was one of America's pop princesses in the late '80s (along with Debbie Gibson) and still maintains a busy recording and touring calendar today.
She also has the honor of being the first artist to be invited back to The '80s Cruise. Just check out that photo above of a star-struck fan who realized the singer was next to her at another band's performance onboard. Though she performed as a singer on the 2016 voyage, Tiffany will return to the 2017 cruise as a "special event host." …
Yesterday we featured Underneath The Radar, a song that was huge only in Australia. Since the Aussies have excellent and perhaps superior taste in music, let's fill out the week with other songs that were hits only in Australia. Australia is so cool about their '80s music that the entire country is just one Cool World.
On Lost and Found, we have been on a Mondo Rock kick this year as this makes the third appearance for the Australian band in 2016. Earlier this year we featured the original version of State Of The Heart that was covered famously by Rick Springfield. After scoring a hit with State Of The Heart, Mondo Rock's next single off their Chemistry album was Cool World. It was also a Top 10 smash in Australia peaking at No. 8 in 1981.
The video for Cool World is well, cool, as a things get off to a good start with a bespectacled guitarist emerging from a pool and the dapper gents of Mondo Rock make looking cool easy.
Michael Keaton was a god in the ‘80s, right? Mr. Mom. Gung Ho. Night Shift. I mean mostly, right? (Hell, I even liked Clean and Sober.) So imagine my surprise today when I realized Aug. 22 is the 30th anniversary of Touch and Go, a film I had completely forgotten about.
In Touch and Go, Keaton stars as a pro hockey player who is nearly mugged by a gang of teens. María Conchita Alonso plays the mom of one of the tiny thugs. And yeah, of course they fall for each other. So yeah, you can probably see why this flick doesn’t stick out. (Apparently, the movie sat on the shelf a few years before it was finally released to theaters, where it also went mostly ignored.)
Tough and Go has a 34 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And yet, famed film critic Roger Ebert found something there that few others did, writing in his 3 1/2 star review: “What makes this movie so special is the quality of the performances. This is Keaton's best role, because it's his most human role; for once he allows us to see that the glib wisecracks conceal a sensitive inner nature.”
Check out the trailer and you decide: Is Touch and Go work another look?
You know Don't Stop Believing and 99 Luftballons by heart, so on Lost and Found we target the '80s songs that 30-plus years later, still remain underneath the radar. Today's song by Underworld literally is Underneath The Radar.
Underworld is an U.K. electronic group led by singer Karl Hyde and keyboardist/mixer Rick Smith. After leading the band Freur (Doot Doot) in the early '80s, the duo established a dance sound in 1988 with their first single Underneath the Radar. In their home country, the single failed to chart but is was a huge hit in Australia making the Top 5. It even made the charts in the U.S. peaking at No. 74 and was featured in an episode of Miami Vice. …
The biggest hit in the U.S. by The Alan Parsons Project almost never was released at all. The song Eye in the Sky was a top 10 hit in 1982 so why the near omission?
According to Songfacts.com, Alan Parsons didn't think much of the song and had to be talked into including it on their upcoming album. He reportedly also made a bet with his guitarist that Eye in the Sky would never be a hit. (It would reach No. 3 on the Billboard 100 chart in October 1982.)
As for the song's meaning, there are several theories. One is that the idea of an "eye in the sky" is borrowed from the George Orwell book 1984. However, aside from the song's title, there's seemingly little else in the song to support that theory. The lyrics instead describe the bitterness following the end of a relationship.
In one interview, Parsons said the song's title came from its vocalist and co-writer Eric Woolfson, who spent a lot of time in Las Vegas about that time. …
We all loved Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in 1978's Grease, so it was exciting news in 1983 when the two teamed up again for movie magic with their new release Two Of A Kind. After all, what could go wrong?
While Two Of A Kind was panned by critics and a box office bomb, the soundtrack was a platinum success and maybe a candidate for the just conceived SIT80's podcast series of "Bad Movies with Good Soundtracks" show. The first single off the Two Of A Kind soundtrack, Twist Of Fate, was a Top 10 hit and the second single, Living' In Desperate Times, was a minor hit only reaching No. 31 on the singles charts.
The video for Livin' In Desperate Times is almost as cringe-worthy as Two Of A Kind as not so subtle giant words of anxiety provide the backdrop for some extensive choreography and bright costumes. Despite the excessiveness of the video, ONJ has never looked any better and her honey voice singing combined with a new wave beat makes Livin' In Desperate Times an irresistible lost hit of the '80s.
Relive the '80s music, movies and culture with Tampa Bay Times correspondent Steve Spears. A teen during the greatest decade ever, Steve is obsessed with everything from Duran Duran to Journey, John Hughes to John Cusack, and parachute pants to big hair.