Saturday, March 31, 2012

Buckner & Garcia - Pac-Man Fever (30th anniversary)

March of 2012 marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Jerry Buckner and Gary Garcia's novelty album Pac-Man Fever. The duo scored with a Top-10 hit with the title song in January of 1982 and followed it up a few months later with a ten song album paying tribute to video games that were lighting up the arcades at the time.

For my review of this album, please click here.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Book Review: The Hunger Games

As I noted here on my blog, last weekend our family went and saw The Hunger Games movie in the theatre (click here for my review of the film). I mentioned then that my wife had read the series and my teenaged son was flying through the books too. So, I decided to dive in and read the series as well.

Last night I finished the first of the books by author Suzanne Collins. I thought I would take a few minutes and offer my thoughts on the book, how I felt it compared to the film, etc.

Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast

The English heavy metal band Iron Maiden got its start in 1975. The group was at the forefront of a British wave of metal in the early 80’s.

Their third studio release The Number of the Beast just celebrated its 30th anniversary on March 22nd. The 1982 album went Platinum in a number of countries and charted quite well (number 1 in the UK, number 11 in Canada, and number 33 on the US Billboard Hot 200). It also marked two turning points in the band: it was the final appearance of drummer Clive Burr with the band, and it was the debut of singer Bruce Dickinson.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sparks - Angst In My Pants

Sparks is an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California, in the late 1960’s. At the core were brothers Russell (vocals) and Ron (keyboards and synthesizers) Mael. Their sound floated from rock to electronic and back again as their first dozen years of recording passed.

On March 29th, 1982 (exactly thirty years ago today), they released their eleventh studio album Angst in My Pants. The record peaked at number 173 on the US Billboard Hot 200. On the album the brothers worked with Bob Haag (guitar), Leslie Bohem (bass) and David Kendrick (drums).

TV: Survivor - One World (ep. 7)

Last week's episode Survivor: One World had the grand mastermind Colton going out on a medical pull. That threw the remaining twelve back together in a single tribe of equal sides: six men, six women.

The title of the episode this week is "The Beauty In a Merge". The previews say another bold move will happen at tribal council. But first we have to get there.

Let's look at the episode...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Salt-N-Pepa - A Salt With a Deadly Pepa

Happy forty-eighth birthday today (March 28th) to rapper and actress Cheryl “Salt” James.

After their popular 1986 debut Hot, Cool & Vicious (click here for my review of that album), Salt-N-Pepa followed it up with 1988’s A Salt with a Deadly Pepa. The album sold as well as their debut, and reached number 19 on the UK charts, number 38 on the US Billboard Hot 200, and number 8 on the US Billboard R&B charts.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Stacy Lattisaw - Take Me All The Way

In 1986, Stacy Lattisaw moved from the Cotillion record label, where she got her start, over to Motown. In August of that year, she released her seventh solo studio album Take Me All The Way. The record went to number 131 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and number 36 on the Billboard R&B Album charts. It generated two top 10 hits on the R&B and Dance charts in the US.

Monday, March 26, 2012

TV: Once Upon A Time (ep. 17)

Once Upon A Time continued to move all the story lines along well last week. This week's episode is entitled "Hat Trick".

In the land of Fairytales, we learn the story of the Mad Hatter and how he has been charged with a secret mission by Queen Regina to steal a prize from the ruling regent of Wonderland, the Queen of Hearts.

In Storybrooke, Emma searches for Mary Margaret who has gone missing from the jail cell at the end of the last episode. However, she gets sidetracked when she herself is kidnapped by a man with an obsession for hats and questionable sanity.

Let's get to the episode breakdown, shall we?

Aerosmith - Aerosmith

Happy sixty-fourth birthday today (March 26th) to American singer, songwriter, musician, front-man, actor and reality show judge Steven Tyler.

In honor of the big event, today we’ll look back at the 1973 self-title debut album Aerosmith. The record was a Platinum seller in both the US (where it reached number 21 on the Billboard Hot 200 Album chart) and Canada (where it reached number 58).

Film: The Hunger Games (2012)

On Friday, my family (my wife, my teenaged son, and me) took in a movie. It was the opening day for The Hunger Games, a sci-fi, action-drama film directed by Gary Ross and based on the 2008 novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins.

The cast of the film includes Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz and Donald Sutherland.

Collins has crafted a dystopian reality where the nation of Panem has risen up from a war-torn and ravaged North America. There is a controlling, lavish Capitol surrounded by twelve poverty-stricken districts. As punishment for a rebellion, the Capitol holds an annual Hunger Games tournament where twenty four youths (one boy and girl from each district) compete in a battle to the death.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Breakfast Club (soundtrack)

Welcome to another edition of Soundtrack Sunday.

In 1985, John Hughes presented the second in his teen drama films. The Breakfast Club follows five high school teenagers, all from different social cliques, as they are forced to spend an entire Saturday together in detention. The film starred Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy as the students, with Paul Gleason as the school principal and their jailer for the day.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Nick Lowe - Labour of Lust

Happy sixty-third birthday today (March 24th) to English singer, songwriter and producer Nick Lowe.

In 1979, Lowe released his second solo album Labour of Lust. While the name on the album is Lowe’s, the effort includes all of his band mates from Rockpile (Dave Edmunds and Billy Bremner on guitars and backing vocals, and Terry Williams on drums).

Friday, March 23, 2012

Rick Springfield - Success Hasn't Spoiled Me Yet

Australian singer, songwriter, musician and actor Rick Springfield got his musical start as the 1960’s were coming to an end. As a teen idol, American audiences first got to know him via the ABC Saturday morning cartoon series Mission: Magic!; the show featured him singing original songs each week. In 1981, he landed the role of Dr. Noah Drake on the hit soap opera General Hospital which in turn helped him revitalize his recording career.

Thirty years ago today (March 23rd, 1982), Springfield released his Platinum selling album Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet. The album reached number 28 in his native Australia, number 6 in Canada, and number 2 on the US Billboard Hot 200 album charts. It generated a number of hit singles as well.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cameo - Alligator Woman

Today (March 22nd) marks the 30th anniversary release of the funk/R&B band Cameo’s eighth studio album.

1982’s Alligator Woman features Denise Matthews, also known as Vanity, as the cover model. The album was certified Gold in the US, reaching number 23 on the Billboard Hot 200 and number 6 on the Billboard R&B charts.

TV: Survivor - One World (episode 6)

Last week's episode Survivor: One World shook things up by realligning the tribes. That forced a number of players to rethink their game strategy and set up new alliances. I think it was a good move for this point in the season.

The title of the episode this week is "Thanks for the Souvenir". According to the previews, a serious injury takes out another player. I wonder who it will be.

Let's look at the episode...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

DVD: The B-52's - With the Wild Crowd

Last October I reviewed here on the blog the CD release of The B-52's - With the Wild Crowd live in concert (click here for that review).

This month, Eagle Rock Entertainment has issued the accompanying DVD of that concert, recorded from Athens, Georgia, on February 18th, 2011.

Eddie Money - Eddie Money

Happy sixty-third birthday today (March 21st) to Brooklyn born American rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, pianist and saxophonist Eddie Money.

After a couple years as an officer with the NYPD, Money decided to pursue a music career. After playing in small venues around California for almost a decade, he met music promoter Bill Graham who felt the performer had what it took to be a big recording artist.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Men Without Hats - Rhythm of Youth

Today (March 20th) marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Rhythm of Youth, the debut album from the Canadian synth-pop band Men Without Hats.

At the time of this 1982 release, the band consisted of brothers Ivan and Stefan Doroschuk as well as percussionist Allan McCarthy.

TV: GCB (episode 3)

Last week's episode of GCB held the number of viewers from its debut. That's good news. Also, we got a lot more character development as well.

This week's episode was entitled "Love Is Patient". Amanda finds herself dealing with her past in a church seminar about relationships. Heather sets her sights on a new client, a former high school nerd named Andrew. Carlene, meanwhile, is trying to deal with her own marital disappointments by meddling in the marriages of both Sharon and Cricket.

Let's look at this week's episode...

Monday, March 19, 2012

TV: Once Upon A Time (ep. 16)

Last week I was very impressed with Once Upon A Time as we learned the true history about Red Riding Hood. And it ended with some interesting speculations in the investigation of missing Kathryn.

Tonight's episode, "Heart of Darkness", continues with that later storyline as Emma is forced to arrest Mary Margaret as a suspect in Kathyrn's murder. The young teacher turns to Mr. Gold to represent her as her attorney.

In the land of Fairytales, Prince Charming continues his search for Snow White whose memory is now clouded, thanks to drinking Rumpelstiltskin's potion. Snow is on a mission to assassinate the Evil Queen.

Let's get to the episode breakdown, shall we?

Deniece Williams - Niecy

Today (March 19th) marks the 30th anniversary of the release of R&B singer Deniece Williams’ sixth studio album Niecy. This 1982 release went to number 20 on the US Billboard Hot 200 Albums chart and number 5 on the US Billboard R&B Albums chart.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fun Boy Three - Fun Boy Three

Happy fifty-third birthday tomorrow (March 19th) to UK-born singer Terry Hall.

From 1981 to 1983, three former members of the Specials formed their own group. Hall (vocals), Neville Staple (percussion and vocals) and Lynval Golding (guitar and vocals) became Fun Boy Three, a band that worked in Ska and heavy percussion into their music. They also helped launch the musical career of Bananarama who provided some backing vocals.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Laura Branigan - Branigan

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the debut album from American singer-songwriter Laura Branigan. In March of 1982, Branigan hit the charts and did well in the US (number 34 on the Billboard Hot 200), Canada (number 14) and Australia (number 50).

Friday, March 16, 2012

Public Enemy - Yo! Bum Rush the Show

Happy fifty-third birthday today (March 16th) to rapper and television personality Flavor Flav (the stage name for William Jonathan Drayton, Jr.).

The roots of the rap/hip-hop group known as Public Enemy stem from New York City in the early 80's. Chuck D and Flavor Flav started out as local MCs trying to make a name for themselves; Chuck D had a demo tape called Public Enemy #1 which is where the group’s name would eventually come. The duo hooked up with the Bomb Squad (Hank and Keith Shocklee and Eric “Vietnam” Sadler), Professor Griff and a local DJ named Terminator X.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Asia - Asia

In 1981, a British rock super group was formed with members from a number of former progressive rock bands. Keyboardist Geoff Downes was a member of Yes and the Buggles. Guitarist Steve Howe was a member of Yes, GTR and Tomorrow. Drummer Carl Palmer was a member of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and Atomic Rooster. Lead singer, bassist and guitarist John Wetton had previously been a part of King Crimson, Uriah Heep, and Roxy Music. Together, the quartet became known as Asia.

On March 15th of 1982, thirty years ago from today, the group released their self-titled debut Asia. The record went multi-Platinum in the US and Gold in the UK. Chart-wise, it reached number 15 in Japan, number 11 in the UK and number 1 on the US Billboard Hot 200 chart (it spent seven non-consecutive weeks at the top spot). In fact, Billboard has gone on record to say that it was the best-selling album in the US for the year of 1982.

TV: Survivor - One World (episode 5)

Last week's episode Survivor: One World was epic. We saw a first in Survivor history - a tribe who won immunity giving it up to the other side so they could go to tribal to take care of an immediate problem. My jaw dropped just as much as Jeff's did.

The title of the episode this week is "A Bunch of Idiots". I can't wait to see who utters this phrase but I am betting it will be one of the smarter women since Colton and the guys are about to have their alliance rocked to its very core.

Let's look at the episode...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Richard and Linda Thompson - Shoot Out the Lights

Tomorrow (March 15th) marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Shoot Out the Lights, the sixth and final studio album from the British husband and wife folk duo Richard and Linda Thompson. Due to complications, the couple soon split but remained a professional couple to get through the promotional tour for the album in 1982.

According to my research from Rolling Stone magazine, as of 2003 the album had sold just under a half a million copies. While many music fans might not remember this album (and I count myself in that category), the record was a critical hit. It appeared on many year-ending best of lists in 1982. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it at number 9 in its list of the 100 Best Albums of the 80’s and at number 333 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Neil Sedaka - The Hungry Years

A very happy seventy-third birthday today (March 13th) to American singer/songwriter and pianist Neil Sedaka.

Growing up, I can fondly remember hearing the classic 60’s songs by Sedaka on the radio, both ones he recorded himself and those he wrote for others.

In 1975, he released his second album on Elton John’s Rocket label. Hungry Years was the American edition of his earlier release Overnight Success on the British Polydor label. This continued his renewed presence on the US Billboard charts after a decade-long absence period from 1964 to 1974.

TV: GCB (episode 2)

Last week's debut of GCB pulled in a 7.56 share (11 million viewers). Not a bad start for a show that has a lot of great talent and potential for some dark comedic moments.

This week's episode was entitled "Hell Hath No Fury". Last week, Amanda embarrassed Carlene at church with the revelation that one of her holding companies including the "Boobilicious" restaurant. This week, Carlene decides to get even.

Let's look at this week's episode...

Monday, March 12, 2012

TV: Once Upon A Time (ep. 15)

While the rest of the shows typically take March off after February sweeps, Once Upon A Time was back again this week with an all-new episode. This week's episode is entitled "Red Handed".

In the land of Fairytales, it finally time for us to learn the backstory of Red Riding Hood. This young woman yearns to get away from her grandmother to find her own true love, but that goal is blocked by the bloodthirsty wolf who is threatening her village.

In Storybrooke, Ruby is tired of being stuck working at the diner for Granny. Sheriff Emma tries to help her out by making Ruby her assistant. Meanwhile, David is questioned about Kathyrn's disappearance.

Let's get to the episode breakdown, shall we? **warning: some big plot twists this week so if you plan to watch it, do so before you read the following**

The Jam - The Gift

Today (March 12th) marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the Jam’s sixth studio album The Gift. Despite being the British band’s final studio album before their breakup later that year, it was one of the group’s best selling efforts. While it only went to number 82 on the US Billboard Hot 200, it went to number 22 in Canada, number 14 in the Netherlands, number 10 in New Zealand, and number 1 in the UK (a spot it held for three weeks amidst a top spot run by Barbara Streisand‘s Love Songs).

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Cheryl Lynn - Cheryl Lynn

We’re doing a little Seventies for this Sunday to celebrate the fifty-fifth birthday today (March 11th) to R&B, disco and soul singer Cheryl Lynn.

Lynn got her start as a professional singer as a backing vocalist in the touring company of The Wiz and moved up to the role of Evillene (the wicked witch) for six months on the national tour. She also appeared in an early 1976 episode of the Gong Show where she won with a performance of Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful”. When the episode aired, she got a call from a record company who was interested in signing her to a contract.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Dr. Hook - Players In the Dark

Thirty years ago this month, in March of 1982, Dr. Hook and his band the Medicine Show released their eleventh studio album Players In the Dark. The group was into their second decade of recording by this point with signs of the end coming soon (they would only put out one more non-compilation album after this one). This record went to number 118 on the US Billboard Hot 200 thanks to two strong selling singles.

Friday, March 9, 2012

ABC - How to Be a...Zillionaire!

Happy fifty-fourth birthday today (March 9th) to singer/songwriter Martin Fry.

After their smash selling debut The Lexicon of Love in 1982 and the follow up Beauty Stab in 1983 (click here and here respectively for my reviews of those two), ABC released their third album How to Be a…Zillionaire! in October of 1985. The album went to number 36 in Canada, number 28 in the UK and number 30 on the US Billboard Album chart.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

TV: Survivor - One World (episode 4)

After last week's episode of Survivor: One World, Jeff Probst teased on Twitter that this week's episode would have a big move and a history making moment. He should know, right? He is very close to the show and knows how things played out on the island.

The title of the episode is "Bum-Puzzled". The synopsis from TV Guide says: an unforgivable betrayal rocks one tribe and forces its members to make a drastic move.

Let's look at the episode and see if this lives up to the hype...

Scorpions - Blackout

In March of 1982, the German heavy-metal band Scorpions released its eighth studio album.

The Platinum selling Blackout went to number 12 on both the charts in both Switzerland and Finland, number 11 in both the UK and Canada, number 10 in both Germany and on the US Billboard Hot 200, and number 1 in France.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Peter Wolf - Lights Out

Happy sixty-sixth birthday today (March 7th) to singer, songwriter and musician Peter Wolf.

In 1984, in between gigs with the J. Geils Band, Wolf recorded his first solo album with co-producer Michael Jonzun of the Jonzun Crew (an electro-funk hip-hop group). He also got some musical help for Maurice Starr, Mick Jagger and the P-Funk Horns on some of the tracks. The resultant record Lights Out reached number 24 on the US Billboard Album chart.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Thomas Dolby - The Golden Age of Wireless

Hailing from England, keyboardist/composer Thomas Dolby released his first full-length studio album The Golden Age of Wireless in March of 1982. The album reached number 65 on the UK charts, number 45 on the US R&B charts and number 13 on the US Billboard Hot 200.

Depending upon when you discovered this one, the record might be slightly different. There were actually five total releases that changed up between covers (a cartoon version and one of Dolby on a stage) as well as track listings (to include the songs that were becoming popular due to radio and MTV airplay). However, since what I want to celebrate is the original’s 30th anniversary, we will go with the first UK and US releases for this review.

TV: GCB (episode 1)

So, Pan Am has been pulled from ABC's Sunday at 10pm time slot. No surprise since ratings had been on a steady dive since the start.

In its place, the network has decided to go a little more funny and a little more racy with GCB. It is about the lives and loves of women in Dallas. The series is based on the book Good Christian Bitches by Kim Gatlin and produced by Darren Starr of Sex and the City.

It stars Kristin Chenoweth (broadway actress and occasional Glee guest star), Leslie Bibb (who started out on Popular), Jennifer Aspen, Miriam Shor, Marisol Nichols, and the always amazing Annie Potts (from Designing Women and numerous films like Corvette Summer, Pretty In Pink and more).

Let's look at the pilot episode...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Teena Marie - Wild and Peaceful

Today (March 5th) would have been the fifty-sixth birthday of American singer-songwriter and producer Teena Marie. She passed away on December 26th, 2010.

At age twenty, the California born singer was introduced to a producer working for Motown where she recorded some demos. Rick James who was also with Motown was impressed by her sound and decided to co-produce her debut (along with Art Stewart). Teena’s debut album Wild and Peaceful was released on that famed record label on March 31st, 1979. It did fairly well, going to number 94 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and number 18 on the US R&B charts.

TV: Once Upon A Time (ep. 14)

I really dislike these two week breaks between episodes of Once Upon A Time. I am so glad it looks like we're slated for five new ones in a row starting with this week.

This week's episode is entitled "Dreamy".

In the land of Fairytales, we learn more about the Seven Dwarves and Grumpy's forbidden romance with the lovely yet clumsy fairy Nova.

In Storybrooke, Mary Margaret and town troublemaker Leroy work together to help some nuns sell candles for the Miner's Day Festival. Sheriff Emma meanwhile investigates Kathryn's disappearance after the car accident.

Let's get to the episode breakdown, shall we?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Atlantic Starr - Brilliance

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the fourth studio album by Atlantic Starr, an R&B group that originated in the White Plains, New York area. Brilliance was certified Gold in the US, reaching number 18 on the Billboard Hot 200 and number 1 on the R&B album charts. It produced a quartet of singles, three of which did very well on the R&B charts.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Tone Lōc - Lōc-ed After Dark

Happy forty-sixth birthday today (March 3rd) to American rapper and actor Tone Lōc.

Born in Los Angeles, California, the rapper with the deep, gravelly voice made a huge musical debut with his 1989 album Lōc-ed After Dark. The multi-Platinum release went to number 1 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and number 3 on the R&B charts. Around the world, it reached number 11 in Australia and New Zealand, and number 22 in the UK. It earned him a number of nominations at that year’s MTV Video Music Awards, the Grammy Awards and the American Music Awards.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Bon Jovi - Bon Jovi

Happy fiftieth birthday today (March 2nd) to singer-songwriter and actor Jon Bon Jovi.

In 1980, Jon was working at a recording studio co-owned by his cousin Tony Bongiovi. There he made several demos but failed to get any bites from record labels. In 1982, while working at a New York City FM radio station, one of deejays heard Jon’s demos and added the song “Runaway” to a compilation album of local talent. After getting some local airplay, Mercury Records signed Jon.

Happy Birthday, Dale Bozzio

Happy fifty-seventh birthday today (March 2nd) to singer Dale Bozzio.

Born in Medford, Massachusetts, Dale Frances Consalvi had aspirations to be an actress. However, she switched gears when she stared working at the Playboy Club in Boston (where she was named Bunny of the Year in 1975). She was invited to Los Angeles at the request of Hugh Hefner which allowed her to expand her circle of contacts.

In 1979, she was hired to sing in Frank Zappa's rock opera Joe's Garage. It was through that she met future husband Terry Bozzio and guitarist Warren Cuccurullo. The trio founded the band Missing Persons.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

TV: Surivor - One World (episode 3)

Week three of Survivor: One World. So far, the women have been easily shown up by the men. Will their losing trend continue?

This week's title "One World Is Out The Window" and there is definitely problems around the shared campsite. Could we finally get back to the tension that episode one so richly provided?

Let's look at the episode...

Nik Kershaw - The Riddle

Happy fifty-fourth birthday today (March 1st) to English singer-songwriter Nik Kershaw.

Following his March 1984 debut album Human Racing (click here for my review), Nik Kershaw followed it up on November 10th of that same year with his second album The Riddle.

The album had some strong chart presence. It spent thirty-six weeks on the UK charts, topping out at number 8. It spent thirty-three weeks on the New Zealand charts, also topping out at 8. It spent eighteen weeks on the Canadian charts with a top position of 45, seventeen weeks on the Norwegian charts reaching number 5, and seven weeks on the Swiss charts with a top spot of 23. In the US, the album spent ten weeks on the Billboard Hot 200 with a highest spot of only 113.