Showing posts with label urban cowboy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label urban cowboy. Show all posts

Friday, November 3, 2017

1980 In Country Music...and Super Kid

It's hard to remember a particular year until one is reminded of the cultural touchstones of the day. By June 1 of 1980, I'd begun my new "career" as a hospital worker. It doesn't sound fancy, but it was by far the best job I'd had in my whole nine years of working life. Once my youngest child was old enough for me to feel safe leaving him in the distracted hands of his father, I'd begun looking for second shift jobs.

Retail came first. Please be nice to retail workers -- they get shitty pay and have to park a mile away in order to leave the prime parking spots for actual customers. On moonless nights in North Dakota in January, it's a long cold walk at nine thirty p.m. Of course, January is the dead time for stores, once all the unwanted Christmas gifts have been returned for store credit, so although one might be scheduled for eighteen working hours for the week, she will most likely get a phone call from her department manager at the last minute, informing her that "things are slow" and therefore she won't be needed that night. There was no vacation pay and certainly no health insurance, so I mentally had to calculate which monthly bill would not get paid on time.

The hospital, on the other hand, offered actual benefits. And "customers" weren't surly. They appreciated every single little kindness offered. And face it, the job was interesting. I was able to learn more than simply how to punch numbers into a cash register.*

*I learned something from every job I ever had. Don't discount life experiences.

 I would begin my shift at 3:30 in the afternoon, which left plenty of "kid time" during the day. My sons were four and two. We had no exciting "outings". We were poor, so a trip to the mall was our farthest journey, and it rarely ended well. Attempting to corral a toddler and a pre-schooler while browsing Woolworth's aisles only resulted in disapproving glares from store personnel. If I was feeling flush with cash, I'd purchase a '45 single from the record department and hope to make it all the way home without a tussle ensuing in the back seat, crushing my precious purchase to shiny black shards.

Cable TV was like manna from heaven, even though the fanciest channels available were WGN in Chicago and WTBS from Atlanta, which broadcast black and white reruns of James Garner's "Maverick" late at night. On June 1 something called a "news channel" debuted. Dave Walker and Lois Hart anchored its first newscast, which was memorable for Lois's hairdo. Imagine getting news anytime one wanted! What an alien concept! The channel called itself "CNN". Everyone said it wouldn't last; that it was a novelty. But we tuned in because it was new. 

Back home, my little brother had discovered something called a Rubik's Cube. It was a frustrating little box puzzle and thus "stupid". I hated that thing, but still I persisted in twisting it around, hoping a miracle would happen (it never did). 

Mom and Dad had bought a "VCR" and showed it off. I couldn't afford seven hundred dollars for an electronic gizmo, but I sure coveted theirs. My whole life I'd wanted the newest gadgets, because they would transform my life, and I scratched and clawed to get them. It wouldn't be too long before I bought a damn VCR, because I couldn't miss St. Elsewhere, which would be sacrilege, since I knew how hospitals worked!

I don't know why I attended movies with my mom. It's an alien concept to me, because Mom and I were never what you'd call bosom buddies; but we saw "Coal Miner's Daughter" together, which I've since seen approximately 10,000 times. (Did I mention we had HBO?)

Mom and I also saw "Urban Cowboy", which leads me (in a painfully roundabout way) to the top country songs of 1980.

Country music was dominated by Urban Cowboy. If one does not own the soundtrack album, they would not know.  Urban Cowboy and Kenny Rogers -- that basically sums up 1980. We country fans were on a quest to find something, anything, that would justify our faith in music. Country consisted of the old standbys and by those "new kids" who performed on the UC soundtrack...and by Eddie Rabbitt. 

And we actually tolerated songs like this:

Super Kid wanted badly to be a super-hero. He was four years old. He thus dived off an orange velvet La-Z-Boy rocker smack-dab onto the corner of the coffee table. And thus he broke his nose. I saw it happen in slow motion but was unable to stop it. A trip to the emergency room ensued. 

Thankfully, he was consoled by his all-time favorite TV show OF ALL TIME:

There were, of course, songs for us grown-ups, too.

And songs played on a PlaySkool record player, as rendered by the Chipmunks:

1980, to me, will be forever memorialized by Dolly Parton confronting Mister Hart; by Tommy Lee Jones; by a superkid breaking his nose, by Eddie Rabbitt and by Kenny Rogers and his white beard. By slender youth. By a chubby toddler mesmerized by a goofy LP recorded by Alvin and the Chipmunks.

By a faux-walnut paneled home and rooms separated by paper-thin walls. 

By a mother's heart-piercing love.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Movie Music

Did you ever hear a song in a movie and search it out? I have.

There's something about the context of a movie that makes a song seem so much better. It's that tugging at the heartstrings thing, I guess. Listening to the song in isolation isn't near as nice as seeing it played out on the screen, usually during the big dramatic ending.

I was re-watching Rain Man awhile back, and heard this song, and I honestly couldn't even remember hearing it the first few times I'd watched the movie. I had to search it out, because I had no idea who the singer was. Turned out it was that annoying falsetto singer from the early sixties, Lou Christie. Who knew? He actually is a good singer. Wonder how he ended up saddled with all those crummy songs.

There is no video available of Lou performing the song, but I did find a nice homemade video:

Remember the movie, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles? Steve Martin and John Candy. Timeless John Hughes movie. John Hughes was a great filmmaker, and he also instinctively knew just the right songs to include to enhance his stories. Here's Paul Young:

Speaking of that movie, which will always have a special place in my heart, how about this one from Ray Charles:

Remember Beetlejuice? Featuring a very young Alec Baldwin. Here is Harry Belafonte:

This is a great song, with our without the movie, but I confess, I am a Patrick Swayze fan. Here are the Righteous Brothers:

I could include lots of John Travolta movie moments, but I'm not going to go with the obvious. Here's Boz Scaggs (love Boz Scaggs!) with a song from Urban Cowboy:

There are so many great movie soundtrack moments. But bear with me. Sorry if I've posted this before (and I know I have), but this is my favorite:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

CMA Awards - 1979

We've done it! We've gotten to the last of the seventies! I've never spent so much time reliving the seventies since.....since, well, when I was actually living the seventies.

Luckily (or unluckily, as the case may be), we've got a movie to reference as we stumble through the year that was 1979.

What movie, you ask? Oh, how easily we forget!

Yes, kids, 1979 was the year of Urban Cowboy! Yee-haw! And the CMA awards certainly bear that out!

(I'm using exclamation points because Urban Cowboy music was lame!)

But, to be fair, the Urban Cowboy Soundtrack had a lot of good music on it. After all, there were the Eagles, Bonnie Raitt, Joe Walsh (as a solo), Bob Seger, Boz Scaggs; a lot of good stuff. The problem was, all we ever got to hear on the radio was that damn "Looking For Love"! And it wasn't even a good song to begin with!

When I say that Urban Cowboy music was lame, I'm referring more to the whole mindset, rather than to the soundtrack itself.

But this guy coming up and his band are good; real good, so here we go..............

Let's start with the INSTRUMENTALIST and INSTRUMENTAL GROUP OF THE YEAR. Yes, this guy was on the Urban Cowboy Soundtrack!

He also had the SINGLE OF THE YEAR, and this was actually good!

So, three awards in 1979 for the Charlie Daniels Band!

Oh, before I forget to mention it, the single of the year was "The Devil Went Down To Georgia"!

Oh, and this guy was on the soundtrack, although not with his duet partner:


Kenny Rogers & Dottie West

Not to mention that he also won MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR, ALBUM OF THE YEAR, and he recorded the SONG OF THE YEAR (written by Don Schlitz). I think some of that old Urban Cowboy magic must have rubbed off on him!

The Gambler

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, man, Kenny must be sick of singing that song! I agree! I think he got so sick of singing that song, that his eyes dropped out of his head, so therefore he had to have that weird cosmetic eye surgery, and now he looks like a space alien! All thanks to "The Gambler!"

Guess who won VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR! Not the Oak Ridge Boys! (Wow, their reign was rather short-lived!)

No, wrestling the statuette away from the ORB (they're wiry, but they're strong!) were the Statler Brothers!

Yes, they're back! Here's a cute song they released around this time, and, boy, is it a time capsule of the seventies or what! All the names they reference in this song were straight out of the 1970 - 1979 CMA's! Here's, "How To Be A Country Star":


Barbara Mandrell

Well, this is the first of (sigh) many, many awards for Barbara (just wait for the eighties!) I like Barbara! It's just that, well, she started winning over and over and over again, and she started getting really fakey and patronizing in her acceptance speeches.

Sort of like, "If it wasn't for you, the dear, sweet fans out there, I couldn't have accomplished this remarkable feat. I'm very humbled....and proud.......yes, that's it. Humbled and proud. I promise to work very diligently this coming year, so that, the lord willing, I will have this wonderful, and may I say, surprising honor bestowed upon me once again. Let us pray."

I think the association members finally stopped voting for her because they just couldn't stand the sight of her anymore.

Be that as it may, I still like Barbara. And here's a cute performance from earlier in her career. (notice how the word "cute" pops up every time we talk about Barbara Mandrell?) Well, she was cute. Like a Barbie Doll.

Here's "Show Me":

That brings us to ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR.

Well, here's a guy that just keeps goin' and goin'. He's still out there doing his one-night stands. Still recording songs with every person, male or female, who ever, even one time in their lives, released a record. He's an interesting guy and a great songwriter and a perserverer. Who is it? Who else?

Willie Nelson


Hubert Long

Sure, you don't know who he is, do you? Well, I didn't either, although I'd heard his name before. Turns out Hubert Long was a talent promoter and a music publisher. He at one time worked for Decca Records, and later for RCA Victor. He promoted Eddy Arnold. He signed both Webb Pierce and Faron Young to management contracts. And he was a founding member of the Country Music Association, so you'd think it wouldn't have taken them so long to recognize him. But I guess they weren't playing favorites.

Hank Snow

Well, you do know who Hank Snow is, right? Man, this guy started recording in 1949 and continued through to 1980! That's a long career! Hank was from Canada, which may explain his unusual voice. And they say that Webb Pierce sang "nasally"! Admittedly, Hank's voice is an acquired taste, but he had some big hit records, and here's one of them (and take notes, Lynn Anderson!)

Here's the one he's most famous for (and in this video, he introduces it as a new song!)

So, there you have it! Not only 1979, but we've gotten through the seventies!

And I've used more exclamation points in this post than I've ever used in my life! I hate exclamation points!

I wonder what the eighties will bring. I never cheat and look ahead, but I'm optimistic!