Showing posts with label lionel richie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lionel richie. Show all posts

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Kenny Rogers

I think Kenny Rogers stumbled into country music.I read his autobiography, and as a musician he was many things, but primarily he was a jazz artist. His career soared when he became a member of the New Christy Minstrels in the sixties and then accidentally became the First Edition's lead singer. His "Just Dropped In" will live forever, thanks to the Coen Brothers and The Big Lebowski. Maybe it was when the group decided to record Mel Tillis's "Ruby" that the thought of a country music career pinged in Kenny's mind.

I don't remember when I became aware of Kenny Rogers as a country artist, perhaps in 1977 when Lucille hit the charts. He didn't exactly sound "country", but Lucille was a damn good song.

By the time "The Gambler" came around in '78, Kenny was firmly ensconced in the folds of country music. Is there a bigger earworm than "you gotta know when to hold 'em; know when to fold 'em"?

Through no fault of his own, or perhaps because of my country proclivities, I came to disdain subsequent Rogers singles. He was exactly what was wrong with country in the late seventies/early eighties.I didn't stop listening to country because of Kenny Rogers - he was simply a symptom of a widespread virus infecting Nashville.Nevertheless, while on vacation in Duluth, Minnesota with my tiny kids and my parents, when my mom learned that Kenny was set to appear in concert, we scooped up the last remaining tickets. We ensconced ourselves in the nosebleed seats and aimed our binoculars. Frankly my only memory of the concert was that Kenny definitely had a command of the stage. I wasn't impressed with Lionel Richie's "Lady" or "You Decorated My Life". This was hardly country.

It was but a year later that Kenny released my all-time favorite Rogers single:

I remember steering my Chevy Malibu up Divide Avenue in 1983 when this next song came on the radio. It sounded eerily like The Bee Gees (duh). Little did I know that I would hear it ten thousand, five hundred and eighty-eight more times. Regardless of its repetitiveness, you gotta give it credit.

I didn't necessarily love Kenny Rogers, but I respected him. Respect is good. He understood the music business like few others.

He has left a legacy. And he never shied away from embracing it:

Rest in peace, Kenny. 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Ahhh, 1984

The eighties. Some people love 'em, some hate 'em. I loved them. In music, that is. And life in general was pretty good. We had a good president, a more or less unified country. People were essentially happy.

There are times in music that reflect people's state of consciousness. The late sixties were angry, raucous; and thus was the music. The seventies lulled everyone into a quiet catatonia, which gave rise to artists like John Denver and the Carpenters. Times were bad. People had to wait in line to fill their cars with gas. While Jimmy Carter quietly read his Bible in the White House, everyday folk were clawing to put food on the table for their kids and bemoaning that the world was going to hell. The soft strums of Denver's twelve-string helped to quell the bitter bile that rose in people's throats.

The nineties were a blur. No one stood for anything. The nineties were a static line. Not bad; not necessarily good. They just existed.

I am a firm believer that the mood of the populace at any given time can be gleaned from its music. We are reflections of the life we live.

I hadn't yet turned thirty by 1984, so life was alive with possibilities and new wonders. I had two boys who were turning out quite nicely; I never had much money -- I had a little credit union account at the hospital where I worked, in which I would deposit a little money from each paycheck to save for our summer vacation, which invariably took place in the Black Hills of South Dakota -- camping in a pop-up trailer. Camping beneath the tall pines. Granted, I've always been a creature of habit, but if you find a place you love, why only visit it once? The blacktop on the way there was hot and dusty, our car had air conditioning that worked "sometimes" -- at least until it froze up and then we'd roll down the windows and let the hot breath of July whisk the sweat from our sunburned faces. We played Mad Libs, the boys tried their best to annoy one another; we joked and bantered.

And we had the music.

I expected this song to be the number one hit of 1984, as much as we heard it. I mean, as much as we heard it. Over and over and over again. But surprisingly, it was only number six. I eventually formed a raw hate for the song, but that happens anytime one is forced to listen to something ad nauseum. We didn't have choices; no iPods and certainly no cell phones. What? A phone one can take with you? When our camper blew a tire along Highway 83, we couldn't punch up a highway helper. Instead we limped along to the first town on the map; thumped rubber for eighteen miles 'til we got to a truck stop that, mercifully, had a tire in stock that fit. If Van Halen was playing on the radio somewhere along that eighteen-mile chug, I'm sure I punched a tiny fist-sized dent in the car speaker.

I loved Huey Lewis & The News. Huey always seemed to me like the accountant who got pulled onto the stage on karaoke night and was mortified, but decided to just go with it. And he knocked everybody out and found himself the talk of the office come Monday morning. "Who knew?" Good old Hugh from down the hall. The guy with the pocket protector!"

I don't get it, but this song was only number forty-four:

When I first saw this next video, I thought, "what a quirky girl!". Cyndi Lauper was definitely different. She wasn't Madonna (that's a good thing). She was her own self, and nobody was complaining (#15 on the year). Totally the vibe of the eighties:

Culture Club was certainly different, but that was a-okay. Boy George was a pretty girl; soft, feminine. It didn't even cross my mind to make any judgments. I liked their music. This song was number ten for the year:

Confession:  I never saw this movie. I may have seen a part of this movie, but never the whole thing. And that's just not like me. I'm all about guys dancing -- from Saturday Night Fever to Dirty Dancing to Grease. Men won't understand this, but women love to see a guy dancing. It's sexy, maybe because it's so rare. It takes an elegant confidence for a man to get out there and do it. John Travolta did it (twice), Patrick Swayze did it with awesomeness. And Kenny Loggins also did it (in the guise of Kevin Bacon):

And then there is this:

An aside -- practically every movie soundtrack from the eighties featured Kenny Loggins. It was decreed.

Ghostbusters:  Had to buy the t-shirts; my kids demanded them. The red circle crossing out the ghost in the middle. Ghostbusters was a touchstone of the eighties. I didn't get it then; later I watched the movie and still didn't get it. I love Bill Murray, but this movie is essentially lame. It has...count 'em...two laughs in its entirety. It was an eighties thing, which requires no explanation. It just was:

There are two artists who essentially dominated the eighties. Like 'em or loathe them; it's how it was. There are tons of hits from 1984 and I'm just scratching the surface, but let's give credit where it's due. And it's due here:

Courtney Cox was just some girl in a music video who was pulled onstage by Bruce Springsteen. Who knew she would later become mega-rich and would live on in reruns forever. Nevertheless, this video is about Bruce, not Courtney. And Bruce was, only after Lionel (sorry) almost the biggest name of the eighties:

Yep, somebody's sorely missing. Trouble is, he was pathologically private about sharing his music online. Sad for many reasons, but primarily because he had the biggest hit of 1984. I'll try next time around to find something of his to post. Or, failing that, maybe I'll just post his picture.

Nineteen eighty-four:  happiness.

It's gonna be a hard year to beat.

Friday, March 22, 2013

I Still Want My MTV

Yep, we've been feeling a bit nostalgic lately.  If you read my previous post, you were no doubt transported back in time, to those bygone days, when times were so much more innocent.

Sort of like this:

I'm just kidding, of course.

There were a lot of music videos that particularly struck my fancy (or at least my funny bone) way back in the 1980's.  Here are a few:

I heard this next song one day on my car radio, and it struck me:  this could be a country song  (seriously)!  Of course, that would just ruin it, but I'm just saying, this song is structured like a country song:

I must include two by Springsteen, because both of these videos are nostalgic for me, and one of them features Courteney Cox (because I love trivia):

And this next one just makes me feel good:

In my book, I noted that we choose to remember the '80's as the time of Springsteen and Michael Jackson; when in actuality, they were the time of Genesis and Lionel Richie.  Every time I flipped my TV on, there was Lionel.  Like this:

So, I just wanted to set the record straight on that.

Moving on, however; I don't care who says Huey Lewis and the News are kitschy.  Not to me!  I love them!

And this one was "fun":

Both the hair and the music are excellent on this one; although the split screen tends to make my head throb:

I don't even know how I forgot about this, but in addition to Genesis and Lionel Richie, the 1980's were SO all about Whitney:

BLOGGER'S NOTE:  While I love, love Prince, I definitely do NOT love his stingy ways.  Prince (a Minnesotan, alas, like me) chooses to not make his videos available to anyone.  I do not know why, but I've been down this road before, and I've yet to find an official Prince video online.  And I'm not about to risk a computer virus trying to find a bootleg copy.

Speaking of Genesis (not to change the subject), an unusual phenomenon occurred in the '80's:  Phil Collins discovered (much to his surprise!) that he was suddenly a sex symbol.  And thus, he left his bandmates (and his drum kit) behind, and stepped into the spotlight as a solo artist:

Of course, I didn't forget Michael Jackson!  I succinctly remember all the pre-video hype about Thriller; how MTV got us all worked up with regular news flashes and every-five-minute promos.  I'm not going to post all 13 or so minutes of Thriller, though.  Feel free to search it out on YouTube.  I do like this one a bunch, however (and believe it or not, it's more memorable to me than Thriller ~ maybe it was the moon walk):

I'm realizing that this post is becoming a tome, so I need to stop; although the more I think about MTV videos, the more I say, hey!  That one!  What about that one!  That one was great!

So, I will end by posting a couple that are either fun or just plain cool.  You be the judge:

And my favorite....Yea, Shania did a takeoff of this video, which was actually cool, even if derivative.  But nothing beats the original:

Bottom line, for me, is; I do love the eighties and my MTV.   My music tastes are perhaps odd.  My times were the sixties; the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and Motown; the eighties (and my MTV!), and strangely, eighties country (Dwight, George, Nitty Gritty, Rodney, et al).  I know those don't seem to go together, but I just like what I like. 

And I like reliving good times.  Those three categories reflect "good times" for me.  Maybe it was me; maybe it was the music.  Maybe it was just both.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

More Eighties Rock!

I did a previous post about eighties rock, and I promised more to come. Well, I kind of got sidetracked with other stuff (did I mention I have a short attention span?)

But tonight, as I'm sitting here, with basically nothing to do, I thought I would delve further into the wonderful world of rock and roll in the eighties.

There were so many memorable songs during that period that it's really difficult to narrow it down. I think I started off quite well on my first post, but then I got tired and had to go to bed.

But I'm back! And I always like to get the party started right, so here we go!


Ahh, the 80's. When people still knew how to have fun. Wouldn't we all like to spend Saturday night at the "Love Shack"?

I must say, too, that I'm impressed with Fred Schneider's way with the "spoken word". Notice that he doesn't actually "sing".

I've got me a Chrysler that seats about TWENTY
So hurry up and bring your juke box MONEY

I remember there was a debate way back when about what exactly Kate Pierson was saying toward the end of the song. Because it's not real clear. But I think it was determined that she was saying, "Tin Roof. RUSTED" (in case you were wondering).

While we're all just dancing around, I thought I would add this one, from 1984.


I have to admit, I never actually saw this movie. But the video looks nice. I guess it was about some hick town where Kevin Bacon wasn't allowed to dance. And I guess he REALLY wanted to dance. So, this tells me that the movie is pure fiction. Because did you ever know a guy who actually WANTED to dance? Somehow, I can't picture my husband "busting a move", you know? The last time we actually danced together was about 10 years ago, and it was sort of just shuffling around the floor. But in theory, I guess you could call it "dancing".

While we're on the subject of "Footloose", I found this fun video on YouTube of the cast of "The Office" (my favorite show, by the way), dancing and just basically being uncomfortable as usual, backed by Kenny Loggins' song.


I gotta say, kudos to nikki8907, whoever you are, for a GREAT editing job on this!

I can't let this opportunity go by without including this video from the 1987 movie, "Dirty Dancing".

This is one of my favorite movies (I guess it's a "chick thing" - I find that men don't have the same fondness for this movie that women do - for some strange reason).


"Nobody puts Baby in a corner."

I guess we'll close out the "dancing" portion of our show with this final video, by Lionel Richie:


Lionel had quite the career going in the eighties. Sadly, he's now only known as the father of one of those rich, spoiled kids. Ahh, how times change.

Now, on to some "non-dancing" videos.

Speaking of careers, here's another guy who did quite well for himself back then. I hear all these Chicago "purists" talk about how he basically ruined the band, blah, blah, blah. Hogwash. He's a great singer. And really, if it wasn't for Peter Cetera, Chicago would have dried up after "Saturday In The Park". No offense to Chicago.


Speaking of great singers, to me, this is one of the greatest voices of all time in rock:


While we're on the topic of great solo singers, here's one that I love:


If you've never seen the movie, "Planes, Trains and Automobiles", please rent it or get it from your local library. Steve Martin, John Candy. It's a comic classic. A John Hughes movie. And this song is from that movie.

Another particular favorite of mine:


Again, like Peter Cetera, denigrate this singer all you want, but I bet you'd like his money, wouldn't you? Did he do every soundtrack from the eighties?


I think we'll close this out with a song that I really like. Duran Duran was a band that I didn't get into too much, but I think this is a really good song. I started to write about the connection this song has to a certain true crime book that I read many years ago, but then I thought, why spoil the vibe?

So, here's: