Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Housemartins - London 0 Hull 4

Happy forty-ninth birthday today (July 31st) to British DJ, musician and record producer Fatboy Slim. But before he gained popularity in the late 1990’s under that name, he was Norman Cook and the bassist and vocalist of the English indie pop band the Housemartins.

Formed in 1983 by Paul Heaton (vocals) and Stan Cullimore (guitar), the duo was soon joined by Ted Key (bass) and Justin Patrick (drums). Patrick was then replaced by Chris Lang, and Key left the group in 1985 to be replaced by Cook. Hugh Whitaker then replaced Lang, and this would be the line-up for the group‘s first album.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (soundtrack) (30th Anniversary)

This week, we are doing Matinee Monday.

Today (July 30th) marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the soundtrack album to the seminal 80's teen film Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

For my review of this album, please click here.

So, let's all put on our checkered Vans and chill out with Spicoli, Brad, Stacy, Damone, and Mr. Hand.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Aretha Franklin - Jump To It

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Jump To It, the twenty-eighth studio album from the legendary Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin.

Co-produced by Franklin and Luther Vandross, this Gold-certified record from July of 1982 went to number 23 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and number 1 (for seven weeks) on the US Billboard R&B charts. Vandross was involved with the writing of four of the eight tracks.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Rachel Sweet - Fool Around

Welcome to another edition of Seventies Saturday. Today (July 28th) we wish a happy fiftieth birthday to American singer, writer and actress Rachel Sweet.

The Akron, Ohio, born Sweet started out doing commercials at age six and was an opening act as a singer for Bill Cosby by age twelve. Her first recording was in 1974 in the category of country music. However, she switched over to rock music and was signed to the Stiff Records label.

On October 6th of 1978, at the age of sixteen, she released her first studio album Fool Around. Both the UK and the US versions of the album had eleven tracks. Two of the tracks from the UK release were swapped out with two different ones on the US version. For my review today I will focus on the US track listing.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Kids From "Fame" - The Kids From "Fame"

In January of 1982, the NBC network began running a television series based upon the 1980 motion picture Fame. The show followed the students and faculty of the New York City High School for the Performing Arts, combining drama with great musical performances. The first few seasons of the show starred Debbie Allen, Lee Curreri, Erica Gimpel, Albert Hague, Carlo Imperato, Carol Mayo Jenkins, Valerie Landsburg, Gene Anthony Ray and Lori Singer.

The show proved to be so popular that RCA Records released The Kids From “Fame” in July of 1982, the first of a number of albums with songs taken from the show. This month we celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of that record which went to number 1 on the UK album charts.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mick Jagger - She's The Boss

Happy sixty-ninth birthday today (July 26th) to English musician, singer, songwriter, and actor Mick Jagger.

On February 19th, 1985, Jagger released She’s The Boss, his first solo album away from the Rolling Stones. The record was a Platinum seller, spending eleven weeks on the UK charts where it peaked at number 6 and twenty-nine weeks on the US Billboard Hot 200 where it peaked at number 13.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Earth, Wind & Fire - Raise!

Happy sixty-first birthday today (July 25th) to bass guitarist Verdine White. Along with his older brother Maurice, Verdine founded the American R&B group Earth, Wind and Fire.

On November 14, 1981, EWF released Raise!, their eleventh studio album. The Platinum selling album went to number 37 in Australia, number 25 in Canada, number 19 in New Zealand and number 14 in the UK. In the US, it peaked at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 200 and number 1 on the Billboard R&B charts.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Larry Elgart & His Manhattan Swing Orchestra - Hooked On Swing

American born jazz bandleader Larry Elgart, also an alto saxophone player, formed his first professional ensemble in the mid-1940’s and made his first recorded album in 1953.

In June of 1982, thirty years ago this month, Elgart and his Manhattan Swing Orchestra released Hooked On Swing, which combined the style of music he had playing for decades with the recently popular medley-style of dance music made popular by such acts as Stars On 45. The album went to number 24 on the US Billboard Hot 200.

Monday, July 23, 2012

TV: Eureka season 2

So, my son and I are continuing our summer viewing by working through the series Eureka (click here for my comments on season one).

So, with this season we get an additional cast member in character Zane Donovan (played by Niall Matter), a rebel genius. This is a good addition as it adds some interesting character dynamics and conflicts with an already solid group of characters.

Billy Squier - Emotions in Motion

Today (July 23rd) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Emotions in Motion, the third studio album from rocker Billy Squier. Taking the momentum from 1981's Don't Say No (click here for my review of that record), this one continued his Platinum selling trend in the US and Canada. Chart-wise, it reached number 5 on the US Billboard Hot 200.

The album cover was created by renowned artist Andy Warhol. I think the red mark, with its angular shape, over his right eye makes me think he looks a bit like Paul Stanley of KISS.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (soundtrack)

Welcome to another edition of Soundtrack Sunday.

Thirty years ago this weekend (July 23rd, 1982), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas made its big screen debut. Based on the musical of the same name, the major motion picture starred Dolly Parton, Burt Reynolds, Jim Nabors, Charles Durning, Dom DeLuise, and Robert Mandan. Durning was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. The film and Parton were both nominated for Golden Globe awards.

The soundtrack album to the film was released on the same day.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Parliament - Mothership Connection

Welcome to another edition of Seventies Saturday. This weekend we also wish a very happy seventy-first birthday to George Clinton, born July 22nd in 1941.

Clinton and his Detroit-based funk super group Parliament released Mothership Connection, their fourth studio album, on December 15th, 1975. The Platinum selling record went to number 13 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and number 4 on the US R&B charts. It also generated a trio of R&B hit singles including their biggest crossover track.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Scott Pilgrim vol. 1: Precious Little Life

Back in 2004, Canadian cartoonist Bryan Lee O'Malley published the first of his independent digest-sized comics through Oni Press. Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life introduced readers to a twenty-three year old guy from Toronto who lived with his gay roommate and was the bass player in a band called Sex Bob-omb. Scott is dating a seventeen year old high school girl named Knives Chau when a mysterious American woman named Ramona Flowers literally rolls into his life.

Talk Talk - The Party's Over

When the English rock band Talk Talk first came on the scene, they consisted of Simon Brenner on keyboards, Lee Harris on drums, Mark Hollis on vocals, and Paul Webb on bass. Today (July 20th) happens to be the fiftieth birthday of Harris.

This month also marks the thirtieth anniversary of The Party's Over, the group's debut album. Colin Thurston, best known for his work on the first two Duran Duran albums, produced the July 1982 release. The record went to number 21 in their native UK, number 47 in Sweden, number 94 in Australia and number 8 in New Zealand. Here in the US, the album stalled at number 132 on the Billboard Hot 200.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

TV: Eureka Season 1

In typical fashion, I am often late to discovering cool television programs. That is the case with Eureka, an original television series that has been running on the Syfy channel since the summer of 2006.

This week was the airing of the final episode of the series. Luckily, Netflix has the show on its cue (up through season 4 though I would expect the fifth and final season to show up soon as the DVDs for it were released the day after the finale). As I started watching the show this week and have gotten through season 1, I thought I would offer my thoughts on the series (attempting to avoid major spoilers for those who have yet to get into it).

Donna Summer - Donna Summer

Today (July 19th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of the self-titled Donna Summer. This 1982 release, produced by Quincy Jones, was the late R&B singer’s tenth studio album and contained a variety of musical styles across its nine tracks.

The record sold well and had good chart performance across the globe. It went to number 45 in Australia, number 37 Germany, number 32 in Canada, number 20 in Japan, number 13 in the UK, number 4 in New Zealand, number 3 in Norway and number 2 in Sweden. In the US, it reached number 20 on the Billboard Hot 200 and number 6 on the R&B charts.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Kim Carnes - Mistaken Identity

Happy sixty-seventh birthday later this week (on July 20th) to American singer-songwriter Kim Carnes.

In April of 1981, Carnes released Mistaken Identity, her sixth studio album. It went to number 26 on the UK, number 4 in Canada, and number 2 in Australia. It spent four weeks at the number 1 spot of the US Billboard Album chart(from June 27th to July 24th that summer). The album earned Carnes nominations in two Grammy categories the following year - for Best Pop Female and for Album of the Year.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Nicolette Larson - Nicolette

Today (July 17th) would have been the sixtieth birthday for American singer Nicolette Larson. She passed away on December 16, 1997, due to complications from cerebral edema triggered by liver failure.

The Montana born Larson worked with a number of artists in the early 1970’s including Neil Young, Hoyt Axton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. On September 29th of 1978, she released her first studio album entitled Nicolette. It soared up the US Billboard Hot 200, settling in at number 15. It also scored a number 1 on the Canadian album charts.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Bionic Man volume 1: Some Assembly Required

Jamie Sommers, Oscar Goldman, Dr. Rudy Wells and, of course, Colonel Steve Austin are all here in The Bionic Man, a comic book series that began publishing in the summer of 2011 by Dynamite Comics.

Being released at the end of July of 2012 is The Bionic Man volume 1: Some Assembly Required, a trade paperback collection of the first ten issues of the series.

Warren Zevon - The Envoy

Today (July 16th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of The Envoy, the fifth studio album from the American singer-songwriter Warren Zevon. After strong showings on the charts for his previous two albums (both top 20), this one showed a remarked slide in public favor. It only got as far as number 93 on the US Billboard Hot 200.

Zevon has help from a number of musicians on the record, including vocal harmonies from Don Henley (tracks one and five), Lindsey Buckingham (track two), J.D. Souther (tracks six and eight) and Graham Nash (track eight). His band for the album included Waddy Wachtel (guitar, percussion), David Landau (guitar), Leland Sklar (bass) and Jeff Porcaro (drums).

Sunday, July 15, 2012

America - View from the Ground

Today (July 15th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of View from the Ground, the tenth studio album from the American folk rock group America. At this point, they were a duo consisting of Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell (found Dan Peek left the band in 1977).

In a number of ways, this was viewed as a comeback album for the group. It peaked at number 41 on the US Billboard Hot 200 (their previous two releases didn’t crack the top one hundred). It also provided them their last top 10 hit single to date.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Devo - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!

Welcome to another edition of Seventies Saturday. Today (July 14th) is the sixtieth birthday of Bob Casale, guitarist and keyboardist for the Akron, Ohio, new-wave band Devo.

Gerald Casale was attending Kent State University in the late 1960's along with Bob Lewis; they both knew people killed in the May 4th, 1970, shootings on that campus. They felt that event marked a devolution in societal ways. A few years later, they formed a band with brothers Mark and Jim Mothersbaugh, and Gerald's brother Bob. By the time group, who called themselves Devo, signed to record an album, Alan Myers replaced Lewis on drums.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Leo Sayer - World Radio

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of World Radio, the ninth studio album from English singer-songwriter Leo Sayer. This 1982 release hit number 35 in New Zealand, number 30 in the UK and number 4 in Norway.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Billy Idol - Billy Idol (30th anniversary)

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the self-titled album Billy Idol.

For my review of this album, please click here.

So, spike up your hair, crank up the stereo and get ready to thrust your fist in the air in defiance.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pointer Sisters - So Excited!

Today (July 11th) we wish a very happy sixty-second birthday to Bonnie Pointer. In 1977, she left the group she founded with her older siblings to pursue a solo career.

This month, the Pointer Sisters also celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the release of So Excited!, their ninth studio album. Anita, June and Ruth (along with a whole slew of studio musicians) put together a 1982 release that went to number 59 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and number 24 on the R&B charts.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

X - Under the Big Black Sun

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Under the Big Black Sun, the third album by the Los Angeles based punk band X. The quartet consisted of John Doe (bass and vocals), Exene Cervenka (vocals), Billy Zoom (guitar, saxophone and clarinet), and D.J. Bonebrake (drums and percussion).

The groups first two releases were done on a smaller, independent label with limited distribution. This July 1982 record was their major-label debut, and it climbed as high as number 76 on the US Billboard Hot 200.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Soft Cell - Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret

Happy fifty-fifth birthday today (July 9th) to English singer/songwriter/musician Marc Almond. In the early 1980's, he was one half of the synth-pop duo Soft Cell, along with instrumentalist David Ball. Almond has gone on to sell over 30 million records worldwide over the past three decades.

Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret was their first album released on November 23rd, 1981. It soared up various charts, peaking at number 55 on the US Billboard R&B chart, number 25 in Sweden, number 22 on the US Billboard Hot 200, number 7 on the New Zealand charts, and number 5 on the UK charts. It was so groundbreaking that it ended up on the "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die" list as well as College Music Journal's "Top 25 College Radio Albums of All Time" list.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Night Shift (soundtrack)

Welcome to another edition of Soundtrack Sunday.

Thirty years ago this month, the Ron Howard directed comedy about a former stock-broker (played by Henry Winkler) who is forced to take a job in a New York City morgue. There he is partnered on the night shift with a wildly exuberant co-worker (played by Michael Keaton). Together, along with a struggling prostitute (played by Shelley Long), they turn that morgue upside down.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Bus Boys - American Worker

Hailing from Los Angeles, California, the Bus Boys started out as a Top 40 cover band before branching out into their own original material. The group consisted of brothers Brian (keyboards, vocals) and Kevin O’Neal (bass, vocals), Gus Louderman (vocals), Mike Jones (keyboards, vocals, Victor Johns (guitar) and Steve Felix (drums).

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the group's second studio album American Worker.

Friday, July 6, 2012

DeBarge - All This Love

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of All This Love, the second studio album from DeBarge. Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, the DeBarge family was successful on the Motown Records label in the early 80's. The group was made up of siblings Etterlene ("Bunny") on vocals, Mark ("Marty") on trumpet and saxophone, William ("Randy") on bass, Eldra ("El") on vocals and keyboards, and James on keyboards. They were also supported by a number of studio musicians.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Huey Lewis and the News - Sports

Happy sixty-second birthday today (July 5th) to American singer, songwriter and actor Huey Lewis.

After the moderate selling self-titled debut album Huey Lewis and the News in 1980 (click here for that review) and the stronger Picture This in 1982 (click here for that review), the San Francisco based band knocked it out of the park with their next release.

Sports hit record stores on September 15th, 1983, and has gone on to be the group's biggest selling album to date. The record went Platinum seven times over in the US and Diamond in Canada. Chart-wise, it went to number 40 in Sweden, number 29 in Germany, number 23 in the UK, number 19 in New Zealand, and number 6 in Norway. In North America, it topped out at number 3 in Canada and number 1 on the US Billboard Hot 200.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Josie Cotton - Convertible Music

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the debut album Convertible Music by Josie Cotton. Born Kathleen Josey in Dallas, Texas, she sang with a number of bands before moving out to Los Angeles, California. In 1981, she recorded a debut single on the Bomp Records label and that, in turn, got her attention from Elektra Records who signed her. Chart-wise, the album went to number 147 on the US Billboard Hot 200.

A number of tracks from this album were picked up for the soundtrack of the 1983 film Valley Girl, and Cotton was even featured in the film’s prom scene singing them.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Depeche Mode - Speak & Spell

Happy fifty-second birthday today (July 3rd) to English musician and songwriter Vince Clarke.

In 1980, Clarke formed a band with Dave Gahan (vocals), Martin Gore (keyboards, guitars), and Andy Fletcher (keyboards). Together, they took the world of synth-music by storm as Depeche Mode.

The group’s debut album Speak & Spell was released on October 5th, 1981. Clarke composed all of the tracks on the record which went to number 49 in Germany, number 45 in New Zealand, number 28 in Australia, number 21 in Sweden, and number 10 in the group’s native UK. In the US, it barely cracked the Billboard Hot 200 (only going to number 192) though it did find popularity on college radio stations.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Elvis Costello and the Attractions - Imperial Bedroom

Thirty years ago today (July 2, 1982), Elvis Costello and the Attraction released their seventh studio album Imperial Bedroom.

The album went to number 29 in Australia, number 45 in the Netherlands, number 37 in New Zealand, number 30 in both Sweden and in the US, number 18 in Norway and number 6 in the UK. It was voted best album of the year in a critics’ poll in New York City‘s The Village Voice. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it number 38 on its list of the 100 Greatest Albums of the 80’s, and number 166 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Film: Ted (2012)

This weekend was the opening of Ted, the first motion picture written, directed and produced by Seth MacFarlane. You might know him as the creator behind the FOX animated shows Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show. As an animator and writer, he got his start on such Hanna-Barbera shows as Johnny Bravo, Cow and Chicken, and Dexter's Laboratory.

Ted stars MacFarlane as the voice of the title character, a talking stuffed animal wished for by a lonely child. The two grow up together as best-friends forever, but things get complicated for John Bennett (played by Mark Wahlberg) when it is time to get serious with his girlfriend of four years Lori Collins (played by Mila Kunis).

Debbie Harry - KooKoo

Happy sixty-seventh birthday today (July 1st) to American singer-songwriter and actress Debbie Harry.

On July 27th, 1981, the famed lead singer of the new-wave rock band Blondie put out her first solo album KooKoo. This release scored very well on the charts, going to number 24 in Norway, number 17 in both Canada and New Zealand, number 7 in Sweden and number 6 in the UK. In the US, it went all the way to number 25 on the Billboard Album charts.