Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The CMA Awards - Lookin' Alive in '85!

Twas the night before Thanksgiving, and what were we thankful for in 1985?

Well, certainly not world events. Quickly scanning the list, I find that there were a bunch of hijackings and other terroristic activities. We don't want to really dwell on that, though. This is supposed to be happy!

So, we (thankfully) move on to pop culture. On the TV front, this was one of the most popular shows; theme song sung by Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams. And featuring some unknown kid named Michael J. Fox (Sit,Ubu, sit!)

In movies, coincidentally, here is the trailer for the biggest movie of the year; also starring that kid, Michael J. Fox. Wow! This trailer really wants to make me see the movie to find out what happens! (Ha! I kid! I've seen this movie about 1,537 times, and I still love it.)

Hello! McFly!

So, I'm thankful for "Back To The Future".

I'm also thankful that I get to see all the pop stars of the eighties, all in one place! This was one of the most popular recordings of 1985, and also won the Grammy award for record of the year.

And, as I said, they're all here; from Lionel Ritchie, to Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Tina Turner, Billy Joel (my favorite and yours), Michael Jackson in an isolation booth, so he doesn't "catch" anything; Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson (representing the country crowd), Al Jarreau, an overwrought Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry (!!), Daryl Hall (unfortunately John Oates was relegated to the "chorus"), Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, Kim Carnes, Bob Dylan (who was told to sing it more like "Bob Dylan"), and, of course, Ray Charles.

There were others there, too, but they, I guess, weren't good enough singers to warrant a solo. I mean, I can see Dan Ackroyd not getting a shot, but Smokey Robinson? Anyway, the song was writ' by Lionel and Michael, and the whole kaboodle was directed by Quincy Jones (you know, the dad of the girl who used to be on The Office? ha ha)

So, here you go; enjoy (especially Bruce and Bob - I know I do).

And, you know, the CMA's were not to be outdone. In 1985, they introduced a new category, MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR. So, seeing the writing on the wall, Hank Williams, Jr. thought he'd get a bunch of people together, too - although it just didn't have the same cachet as We Are The World.

So, let me see. As I watch this, I see that little Paul guy who wrote "Evergreen". What's his name again? Oh, sorry. Paul Williams. Then I see that Ernest guy, from all those dumb Ernest movies, who used to do radio commercials, where he was always talking to "Vern". There's ol' George Jones on a riding lawn mower (as if that's not a cliche). William Lee Golden (and his boots) are hitchhiking. Little Jimmy Dickens is there, too, but then, he's in every country music video (right, Brad?) Not to be outdone by William Lee, the other three Oak Ridge Boys arrive by limo (and can you blame them for making William Lee hitch a ride?) Even Waylon and Willie are there! Grandpa Jones is cleaning his window (that he always takes with him), Jim Varney shows up, because at that point, he'll take any gig offered to him). Hey, wait a minute - isn't Jim Varney the "Ernest" guy? Now I've gotten my corny comic actors mixed up! I'm missing someone - help!

But moving on, Cheech Marin stumbles out of a limo. And whaddya know? There's Kris Kristofferson and Bobby Bare! Porter shows up. And even M-M-M-Mel.

So, it sort of would be the "We Are The World" of country in 1985, had it not been for the ringers, and of course, had it actually been for something benefitting humanity, and not just a prelude to Monday Night Football. But, as it is, All My Rowdy Friends Are Comin' Over Tonight won the very first music video of the year award at the 1985 CMA's.

Does it seem like this post is all about name dropping? Well, I am going for the record!

An oddity of 1985 was that an actual "duo" got shoved into another category to make room for this one-time pairing. And even after watching the video, nothing has jogged my memory about this. But here is the VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR, Anne Murray and Dave Loggins:

Hey, I like both Dave Loggins and Anne Murray, but number one, this is not country, and two, a one-time duet doesn't deserve an "of the year" award, per se.

So, moving to the VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR podium were The Judds (and this was even before Wynonna gained her weight - so it was difficult to categorize them as a "group".)

Here they are at the 1985 Music City News Awards:

Did I mention that Chet Atkins was named INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR? Well, that's a given at this point, really.

And, oh, by the way, Ricky Skaggs and his Band* were once again named INSTRUMENTAL GROUP OF THE YEAR.

As for FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR, well, Reba McEntire won again! If you recall, back around 1985, Reba was still "country". She was good then! And she looked "natural", as opposed to whatever she's done to herself lately.

This song is from the year that the award was bestowed, but alas, there is no actual video available. I thought it was good enough to include this "picture retrospective", however. At least we can listen to the song together, while we look at the pictures.

As the CMA was wont to do around this time, it liked certain things so much that it awarded them twice! And that's the case with the SONG OF THE YEAR. I can't actually begrudge them doing it. It's just that I maintain there were enough "new" songs/singers/et cetera to choose from, making it unnecessary to engage in reruns. Nevertheless, they liked this one a lot (and rightly so, I guess), to give the award again to Lee Greenwood for "God Bless The USA".

Last time around, I featured a live performance of the song by Lee. This time, I found the actual music video for the song. But to be honest, I can't believe this is the real music video. Because when I think about being proud of my country, the first thing I think of is not football. So, this is probably another one of those promotional things, but here it is anyway:

The SINGLE OF THE YEAR happens to be one of my favorite country songs. But wouldn't you know it, there's no video to be found of The Judds singing this live, or even in a music video.

So, let's watch the out-of-focus pictures as we listen to one of my favorites, Why Not Me.

The HORIZON AWARD went to a workhorse band, Sawyer Brown. Of course, in 1985, no one realized what a workhorse band they were. But believe me, I saw the band in concert more than a few times, so I know they were out there on the road a lot.

I don't know why, but it's really difficult to find Sawyer Brown videos anywhere. But thanks to Windy, I found a site with lots of cool Sawyer Brown videos. Click here:

Mark Miller is a cool guy. And did you know that the band got its start on a show called "Star Search", emceed by Ed McMahon? Well, I remember it. And they were a completely different band at that time - more "jaunty"; less "country". But they redeemed themselves. I just don't know why they don't allow any of their videos to be posted anywhere. But I'm sure they have their reasons.

I have sort of been saving these two awards, cuz well, this is one of the best country singers of ALL TIME. But alas, the available videos are sparse. This has something to do with MCA Records and their short-sightedness. Not to judge, but they could make George's videos available for embedding. I mean, what's it gonna hurt? For pete's sake.

But we work with what we've got (which isn't much). The MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR and ALBUM OF THE YEAR were awarded to George Strait. And no, this song isn't technically from the album of the year, Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind, but go ahead and try to find any videos from this album. Good luck. So here's another song from around that time:

This was 1985, mind you. Now it's 2008, and George is still scoring number one records. So, hmmm.......I guess we know who is a legend and who's but a flash in the pan.

That brings us to the ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR. And I do believe this is the longest CMA post that I've done, and hopefully will ever do again. I don't know how this post got out of hand, but it did. In spades.

Nevertheless, the entertainer of the year was Ricky Skaggs. And here's a number one song by Ricky - an oldie - with his mentor, Bill Monroe:

Tonight, I downloaded a bunch of Ricky Skaggs recordings from Amazon. These posts are influencing me! I had forgotten how much I liked Ricky.

Hall Of Fame

Flatt and Scruggs

Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs brought bluegrass into the mainstream. And yea, they did it partly by providing the backdrop to that sixties chestnut, The Beverly Hillbillies.

But that's not Flatt and Scruggs' only claim to fame.

Here's an old video:

One of the biggest movies of 1967 was "Bonnie and Clyde". And this song set the tone:

Yes, "Foggy Mountain Breakdown".

Marty Stuart started out touring with Lester Flatt as a mere tyke. And Marty won't steer you wrong. So, take it from Marty, and take it from "Bonnie and Clyde". This bluegrass group is a legend.

Thus ends our (long) look back to the CMA's of 1985. Either there was a lot of stuff to talk about, or I have lost my editing ability. But there it is. I don't think 1986 will be quite so wordy, but time will tell.


Unknown said...

here is a link to a whole lot of Sawyer Brown videos. There are NO ads on the web site. This won't let me post the link
It is a home school project dedicated to Sawyer Brown and has been on-line for around fifteen years.
ps your word verification doesn't show a word in firefox. I had to bring up IE to see one.

richfarmers said...

Thank you for the link to the Sawyer Brown videos. I searched forever, and could only find one video on the web. Thanks again. Looks like an interesting site!