Thursday, January 31, 2013

Christopher Cross - Another Page

After his phenomenal hit selling, self-titled debut record from 1979 (click here for that review) and a number 1 hit song with the title theme from the 1981 film Arthur, Christopher Cross had a lot riding on his follow up album. Today (January 31st) marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Another Page, his second studio album.

The record went Gold in both the US and the UK. Chart-wise, it climbed all the way to number 12 in Sweden, number 11 on the US Billboard Hot 200, number 9 in New Zealand, number 7 in the Netherlands, number 6 in Australia, number 4 in the UK, number 2 in Germany and number 1 in Japan.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Genesis - Abacab

Happy sixty-second birthday today (January 30th) to the English singer-songwriter, drummer, pianist and producer Phil Collins.

Between his 1981 solo release Face Value (click here for that review) and his 1982 Hello, I Must Be Going! (click here for that review), Collins rejoined his Genesis bandmates Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford for their eleventh studio album Abacab. Released on September 14th of 1981, it charted at number 11 in Sweden, number 7 on the US Billboard Album chart, number 6 in Germany, number 4 in the Norway and number 1 in the UK.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Thomas Dolby - Blinded By Science (30th anniversary)


This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Blinded By Science, a five-song EP (extended play) album by Thomas Dolby. Timed when his videos were hitting heavy rotation on MTV, it really helped garner him additional fans here in the United States.

For my full review of this one, please click here.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Triumph - Never Surrender

Today (January 28th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Never Surrender, the sixth studio album from the Canadian rock band Triumph (guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Rik Emmett, bassist/keyboardist Michael Levine, and drummer/vocalist Gil Moore). The album was certified as Gold in both Canada (where it charted at number 29) and the US (where it charted at number 26 on the US Billboard Hot 200).

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Belle Stars - The Belle Stars (30th anniversary)


Tomorrow (January 28th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of the self-titled full-length album The Belle Stars from the all-female British rock-ska band. The record features a mix of original tunes and covers of classic songs.

Click here for my complete review of this album.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Happy Birthday, Eddie Van Halen

Welcome to another edition of Seventies Saturday.

Today (January 26th) we celebrate the fifty-eighth birthday of Dutch-born songwriter, producer and keyboardist Eddie Van Halen. He is also considered one of the world's greatest rock guitarists, ranked at number 8 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the Top 100 Guitarists and ranked number 1 in Guitar World magazine's poll of the greatest guitarists of all-time.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Tubes - The Completion Backward Principle

Today (January 25th) marks the sixty-third birthday of Michael Cotten, synthesizer and keyboard player for the San Francisco band the Tubes.

In April of 1981, the group released The Completion Backward Principle, their sixth studio album and first on the Capital Records label. The record went to number 36 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and gave the group their first Top 40 hit single as well.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Happy Birthday, Neil Diamond

Happy seventy-second birthday today (January 24th) to American singer-songwriter Neil Diamond. Now into his sixth decade of performing, Diamond has been given such honors as induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (in 1984) and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (in 2011), receipt of the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award (in 2000) and a Kennedy Center Honors honoree (in 2011).

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Soft Cell - The Art of Falling Apart

After their 1981 debut album Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret (click here for that review) and the follow up EP in 1982 Non-Stop Ecstatic Dancing (click here for that review) , the English synth pop duo Soft Cell (Marc Almond and David Ball) released their second full length album in January of 1983. Today, for its thirtieth anniversary, we will take a look at The Art of Falling Apart.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Malcolm McLaren - Duck Rock (30th anniversary)


This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Duck Rock, the first album by British impresario Malcolm McLaren. Today (January 22nd) also would have marked his sixty-seventh birthday, however he passed away back on April 8, 2010.

To pay tribute, today I present my review of this album (click here for that).

Monday, January 21, 2013

Q-Feel - Q-Feel

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the self-titled debut album Q-Feel. This British synth pop group was made up of Martin Page (bass and vocals), Brian Fairweather (guitar and vocals), Chris Richardson (keyboards and backing vocals) and Trevor Thornton (drums). Q-Feel released a single in 1981 called "Doctor on the Radio" but became known thanks to the releases on this record.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Def Leppard - Pyromania (30th anniversary)


Today (January 20th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Pyromania, the third studio album from English rock band Def Leppard.

Click here for my full review of this 80's classic and get ready to rock (rock) 'till you drop.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Oak Ridge Boys - American Made

Tomorrow (January 20th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of American Made, the ninth studio album from the American country band the Oak Ridge Boys (Duane Allen, Joe Bonsall, William Lee Golden and Richard Sterban). The record went to number 51 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and number 2 on the Billboard Country charts. It also generated a pair of number 1 country hits in the US.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Bryan Adams - Cuts Like a Knife

Today (January 18th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Cuts Like a Knife, the third studio album from Canadian rocker Bryan Adams. The Platinum seller went to number 52 in Australia, number 24 in Germany, number 22 in Sweden, number 21 in the UK and number 8 in both Canada and the US Billboard Hot 200.

This record became a breakout hit for Adams, exposing him to a wider audience. A number of popular music videos running on MTV at the time certainly helped as well. In Canada, it earned him a Juno Award for Composer of the Year.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Haysi Fantayzee - Battle Hymns for Children Singing

Happy fifty-first birthday this week to English DJ and singer Jeremy Healy. In the early 80’s, he was one half of the pop duo known as Haysi Fantayzee; his partner was singer/photographer Kate Garner. The group, however, had a third rarely seen member as well. Paul Caplin (Kate’s then boyfriend) played all the music for the group.

After a number of successful singles in the UK in late 1982, they put out their sole full-length album in early 1983. Battle Hymns For Children Singing, a title which Healy made up on the spot during a radio interview, charted at number 53 in their native UK. Thanks to a quirky video on MTV, they also sold albums over on this side of the pond. Today we will give this one a listen to celebrate its thirtieth anniversary.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Randy Newman - Trouble In Paradise

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Trouble in Paradise, the seventh studio album from singer-songwriter Randy Newman. It climbed to number 64 on the US Billboard Hot 200 chart. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it at number 67 on its list of the 100 Greatest Albums of the 80's.

Newman had a number of guest performers on the record. Appearing on vocals are Lindsey Buckingham, Don Henley, Rickie Lee Jones, Christine McVie, Linda Ronstadt, Bob Seger, Wendy Waldman and Jennifer Warnes. On the music side, the record also featured Steve Lukather and Jeff Porcaro of Toto, Waddy Wachtel and many more.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Grand Funk - What's Funk?

1983 marked the end of the line for the American rock band Grand Funk Railroad. What’s Funk? was the last studio album of original material to date from the trio of Mark Farner (vocals, guitars and keyboards), Don Brewer (vocals and drums) and Dennis Bellinger (bass and backing vocals). Later that year, the band broke up with Farner moving on to a solo Christian rock phase and Brewer joining Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band.

Today, we will look at this album for its thirtieth anniversary.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Nena - Nena

Today (January 14th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of the self-titled debut album Nena. The German rock band featured Gabriele Kerner on lead vocals, Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen on keyboards, Carlo Karges on guitar, J├╝rgen Dehmel on bass and Rolf Brendel on drums.

Reviewing this 1983 album would have proven to be a challenge in the pre-Internet days as I do not speak German, the native language that Nena performs in. Luckily, there are websites that translate the titles and lyrics, making it a bit easier to enjoy this new-wave release.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Howard the Duck (soundtrack)

Welcome to another edition of Soundtrack Sunday.

On August 1st, 1986, I was attended a summer session in college. Still, I took the time away from academics to hit the movies to see the big budget theatrical release Howard the Duck. The film was produced by George Lucas, and starred Lea Thompson (as Beverly), Tim Robbins, Jeffrey Jones, Holly Robinson, Liz Sagal, and Chip Zien (the voice of Howard). The science fiction comedy was based upon the Marvel comic book of the same title. The musical score was done by Academy Award winner John Barry and also featured songs by Thomas Dolby.

With all those talents connected to the project, you would have expected this film to be a major hit, right? Sadly, the box office did not get it. I have more thoughts on the film after we talk about the music.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Police - Reggatta de Blanc

Welcome to another edition of Seventies Saturday.

After a strong debut record the year prior (click here for that review), the Police was back on October 5th, 1979, with their second album Regatta de Blanc. Like its predecessor, it too went Platinum. Chart-wise, it hit number 25 on the US Billboard Album chart, number 21 in Sweden, number 16 in Germany, number 4 in New Zealand, number 3 in Canada, and number 1 in Australia, the Netherlands and the band’s native UK.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Weather Girls - Success

R&B singers Martha Walsh and Izora Armstead started out as backup singers for disco performers like Sylvester before breaking out on their own. They first recorded under the name of Two Tons o' Fun in the early 80's, having a number of Billboard Dance hits.

In late 1982, they hit number 1 on that chart with their signature single. Around the same time, they changed their name to the Weather Girls and recorded the album Success. Paul Jabara, who co-produced the record, also had his hand in writing most of the tracks. Also noted for working on it were Paul Shaffer (on keyboards) and Patti Austin and Deniece Williams (on backing vocals).

Today we will look at this 1983 release to celebrate its thirtieth anniversary.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dire Straits - ExtendedancEPlay

Today (January 10th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Extendedanc
EPlay
, the first extended play from the British rock band Dire Straits. In some markets it was known by the title of the first track - Twisting By the Pool. The UK version featured three tracks totals. The US version, which went to number 53 on the Billboard Hot 200, featured four tracks. It was the first record with drummer Terry Williams joining the group; he replaced the departed Pick Withers.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Smokey Robinson - Touch the Sky

In January of 1983, Motown legend Smokey Robinson released Touch the Sky, his twelfth solo studio album. It charted at number 50 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and number 8 on the US Billboard R&B charts. Today, we will look at this one to celebrate its thirtieth anniversary.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Toni Basil - Toni Basil

On the heels of her Gold selling debut Word of Mouth (click here for that review), Toni Basil released her self-titled second album a year later in January of 1983. Unlike her debut, which was fueled by the number 1 hit "Mickey", this one failed to make any major chart impacts? Today, for its thirtieth anniversary we will give Toni Basil a listen.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Red Rider - Neruda

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Neruda, the third studio album from the Canadian rock band Red Rider. Like the previous two albums, this one too went Platinum in Canada, selling move than 100,000 copies. It also reached number 66 on the US Billboard Hot 200.

Tom Cochrane was the band's lead singer as well as songwriter and guitarist. Rob Baker was on drums and Ken Greer was on guitars and vocals. Jeff Jones played bass and Steve Sexton played keyboards.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Wiz (soundtrack)

Welcome to another edition of Soundtrack Sunday.

On October 24th, 1978, a big budget Hollywood musical adaptation of popular Broadway musical The Wiz rolled into movie theatres. This urbanized-retelling of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz starred Diana Ross (as Dorothy), Michael Jackson (as the Scarecrow), Nipsey Russell (as the Tin Man), Ted Ross (as the Cowardly Lion), Mabel King (as Evilene, the Wicked Witch of the West), Lena Horne (as Glinda, the Good Witch of the South) and Richard Pryor (as the Wizard).

A few weeks prior, on September 18th, the double-record soundtrack album was released. This record went to number 40 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and number 33 on the Billboard R&B charts. Today, we will give it a listen.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Supertramp - Breakfast in America

Welcome to another edition of Seventies Saturday.

On March 29th, 1979, the British rock group Supertramp released Breakfast in America, their sixth studio album. This was the group’s best selling album ever, going Diamond in Canada, Platinum in the UK, and four-times Platinum in the US. Chart-wise, it hit number 3 in Italy and the UK, number 2 in Japan and Sweden, and number 1 in Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and on the US Billboard Hot 200.

While nominated for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, it did win Best Recording Package and Best Engineered Album Non-Classical.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) (30th anniversary)

Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) was the second studio album from the Eurythmics. While released on January 21st of 1983 in the US, today (January 4th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of the album's release in the duo's native UK.

Click here for my full review of the album.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson - Poncho & Lefty

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Pancho & Lefty, the chart-topping 1983 country album from Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. It went to number 1 on the US Billboard Country charts and crossed over to number 37 on the US Billboard Hot 200 as well. It also generated a pair of hit singles.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Stranglers - Feline

Happy New Year and welcome to 2013. This year, we'll be focusing on the thirtieth anniversary of albums released in 1983 (a landmark year for me as it was the year I graduated from high school and started college). I hope I can discover a few new classic gems to add to my music library as I did last year.

Today (January 1st) back in 1983, the English rock band the Stranglers released Feline, its seventh studio album. The record charted at number 52 in Germany, 39 in the Netherlands, number 18 in New Zealand, number 16 in Norway and number 4 in the UK. The group's line-up at the time consisted of J.J. Burnel (bass, vocals), Jet Black (drums), Hugh Cornwell (guitar, vocals), and Dave Greenfield (keyboards, vocals).