SHAME ON SHADY!
It occurred to me recently
that I've been neglecting
the 1980s, conveniently
forgetting that I have a
few younger followers
(baby Dell rats) who were raised on 80s
rock, new wave and pop. I hope to correct
that injustice with a four part series called
In this series as in others my intention is to present artists, recordings and videos that you might not have even thought about in a while along with a few that might be new to you.
Experience Eighties Greaties!
Let's begin our Eighties Greaties salute by flashing back
to the start of the previous decade.
With its bright neon pink color and new age design the 1970 Kama Sutra record label resembled a psychedelic poster.
A Kama Sutra single by a band called the Jaggerz ushered in the "me" decade with a song about a Shallow Hal prototype called "The Rapper." Strange but true: Western Pennsylvania native Donnie Iris and I went to different schools together (dated, obscure reference to the title of the Jaggerz' second album). Iris wrote the group's big hit "The Rapper" which began a three month chart run at the end of January 1970 and wound up in the top 5. "The Rapper" was sitting pretty, positioned on the chart at #2 with a bullet; but despite its momentum the Jaggerz' record was denied the coveted #1 spot by Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and three other meteoric singles that leapfrogged over it in
a single week: "Let it Be" by the Beatles, "Instant Karma
(We All Shine On)" by John Lennon (recording as John Ono Lennon), and "ABC" by a hot new Motown group called the Jackson 5.
"The Rapper" - Jaggerz (March 1970,
highest chart position #2)
The Jaggerz were never able to repeat the success of "The Rapper" and joined the ranks of one hit wonders. After a stint with Wild Cherry, Donnie Iris went solo just in time to join the MTV revolution. Donnie's first solo album Back on the Streets spawned the hit "Ah! Leah!" and the accompanying video is a classic nerd meets beauty scenario.
"Ah! Leah!" - Donnie Iris (February 1981,
highest chart position #29)
With his act billed as Donnie Iris and the Cruisers, Donnie cranked out his second album, King Cool, another collection of yummy, radio friendly pop rock candy nuggets.
"Love is Like a Rock" - Donnie Iris
and the Cruisers (August 1981, highest
chart position #9)
The Donnie Iris power pop factory reached peak production during the early 80s. In his trademark eyeglasses, Iris was the Buddy Holly of the MTV generation. Donnie's next album Fortune 410 was named after the brand of specs he wore and yielded the MTV hit "Do You Compute?"
"Do You Compute?" - Donnie Iris
and the Cruisers (June 1983, highest
chart position #64)
"(I Can't) Breakaway" was the only American hit for Big Pig,
a seven member pop/rock band from Melbourne, Australia. "Breakaway," an edgy club dance record with an alternative, experimental feel, features an incendiary performance by
lead vocalist Sherine Abeyratne combined with feverish tribal chanting and relentless pounding of the drums, all seemingly aimed at summoning King Kong from his lair to meet his new bride, Fay Wray. The bizarre conceptual video that you are about to view was broadcast on MTV and on NBC's Friday Night Videos. The rad soundtrack and intense, sometimes nightmarish images put me into sensory overload every time
I watch it!
"Breakaway" - Big Pig (April 1988,
highest chart position #60 Billboard,
#55 Cash Box)
As half of the duo Loggins and Messina, Washington state's Kenny Loggins cracked the top 5 in 1972 with "Your Mama Don't Dance." In 1984, as a solo artist, Kenny reached the #1 spot with the title song from the hit movie Footloose.
Kenny Loggins recorded two other movie themes that I like even more. Who can forget the lethal laugh combination of Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and his fur covered nemesis, the mischievous dancing gopher in the wildly popular comedy Caddyshack?
"I'm Alright" - Kenny Loggins (October 1980,
highest chart position #7 Billboard Hot 100,
#4 Cash Box, from Caddyshack soundtrack)
Top Gun which revolved around macho young men training to be jet fighter pilots. Kenny Loggins just missed another chart topper with the movie's theme "Danger Zone."
"Danger Zone" - Kenny Loggins (July 1986,
highest chart position #2, from Top Gun
Calling Elizabeth "E.G." Daily multitalented would be an understatement. The beautiful Los Angeles native is a movie and television actress, voice actress, singer, songwriter and musician (proficient on guitar, harmonica, keyboards and percussion instruments). I remember her in the role of Loryn in the 1983 Nicholas Cage teen romance movie Valley Girl. Elizabeth was the voice star of Babe: Pig in the City and the voice of Buttercup in the animated feature The Powerpuff Girls Movie.
My favorite memory of E.G. Daily is the MTV video produced for her #1 ranked club/dance single "Say it, Say it." The clip features Elizabeth and other actors performing a brilliant parody of the 1962 Stanley Kubrick film Lolita. Check it out. This guy does James Mason better than James Mason does James Mason!
"Say it, Say it" - E.G. Daily (1986, highest
chart position #70 Billboard Hot 100,
#1 Hot Dance/Club Play)
[Humbert decides to rent the room]
Charlotte: What was the decisive
factor? Uh, my garden?
Humbert: I think it was your
Stay tuned! Parts 2, 3 and 4
of Shady's Eighties Greaties
are coming your way soon!
Have a Shady day!