What images race through your mind when you hear “MTV Classic?” Martha! Alan! Nina! JJ! Mark! The Buggles! Video Countdown! Too bad that’s not what MTV Classic will be.
Instead, MTV has announced plans to turn VH1 Classic into MTV Classic and focus on the ‘90s and early 2000s. The changeover happens on August 1, a real slap in the face to ‘80s fans who recognize that date as the anniversary of original network back in 1981. Why sully the name "Classic" for this experiment? Had someone already trademarked MTV Slacker.
I get it. The whole ‘90s nostalgia movement has to come sometime. MTV just can’t sit on that “treasure chest” of videos by the Spin Doctors, Hanson and Nickelback forever.
According to the official announcement, MTV Classic will focus on series like Total Request Live, MTV Unplugged and their pseudo-reality “shows” like Beavis & Butt-head and Laguna Beach.
No thanks. To me, MTV jumped the shark when it let the original veejays go and began replacing the music with dark-humored programming like Remote Control. Eighties nostalgia is still as strong as ever thanks to series like Netflix's Stranger Things and the upcoming movie Ready Player One. Since the late '80s, MTV has been more wrong than right, so I guess this "MTV Classic" debacle shouldn't be any surprise.
I guess the only way to experience our MTV these days is tuning into ‘80s on 8 to hear Alan Hunter, Mark Goodman and Nina Blackwood or IHeartRadio for Martha Quinn. And we’ll just hope that satellite radio kills the video star this time around. …
Oh how we love Martha Quinn and relish any chance to drop her name on the Stuck in the '80s blog. A topic covered in the oral history books about MTV is the romances of Quinn during her VJ tenure, including the curious pairing between her and Stiv Bators - lead singer of the Lords Of The New Church and their near hit Dance With Me.
Who would ever thought that America's sweetheart Martha Quinn would fall for a Goth rocker from Cleveland? Bator was leader of The Dead Boys that helped create the CBGB sound of the late '70s where Bator made his reputation for outrageous and dangerous behavior on stage. At the start of the decade he formed the Lords Of The New Church that had a more accessible dance sound with songs like DanceWith Me that peaked at No. 85 on the pop charts in 1983.
The video for Dance With Me borders on creepy with voodoo and other odd characters. Though not a pretty face, Bator's bad boy routine caught the eye of our favorite young pixie VJ. Quinn and Bator would part ways around the time Quinn was released from MTV in 1986 and in 1992 Quinn married Jordan Tarlow, a guitar player from the Fuzztones.
The Guns N’ Roses reunion tour might not be everyone’s cup of tea (or whatever hardcore liquor the band drinks these days), but they seem to be defying our lowered expectations by showing up on time and giving the fans what they paid for. Our Stuck in the ‘80s Atlanta correspondent Dee Paige caught their show at the George Dome on Wednesday, July 27. Here’s her review:
I bought tickets to the Guns N’ Roses show on a lark. I was never the biggest fan of the band, but I do like their music. So July 27 found my bestie and me in the cheap seats of the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, happily awaiting the show. Admittedly, I wasn’t sure which version of the band I was going to get. We all know the stories about the tension between members, and the last few times I’d seen Axl, I wasn’t sure he would still have the energy — or the pipes — to pull it off.
I was wrong.
Rather than starting on time, GNR actually started 15 minutes early and rocked the Dome hard for nearly three hours. Starting with “It’s So Easy” and making a smooth transition into “Mr. Brownstone,” Axl wailed and wiggled and performed with an energy that felt like 1987 again. By the time they got to “Welcome to the Jungle,” it was evident that whatever issues this band had in the past, they weren’t there now.
Dressed in ripped jeans and a series of t-shirts he kept changing into because the last one was completely drenched, Axl brought it. He was clearly having a blast, and the audience knew it. We had a blast, too.
The rest of the band matched Axl’s energy beat for beat. None of the band ever seemed to slow down or stop moving, working all parts of the stage to give the audience what we were screaming for. Some highlights included Duff covering The Stooges’ “Raw Power,” Slash and Richard Fortus dueting on Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here,” Slash performing an amazing rendition of the theme from “The Godfather,” and Axl and Slash covering of the coda “Layla” that morphed into the intro to “November Rain.”
In short, the show was fantastic. It was loud (my ears rang for hours), and it was sexy. The hits were there in full force, and the energy coming from that stage was unmistakable. It was definitely worth the ticket price. I don’t know if I’ll ever see them again, but I’m really glad this is the tour I chose to see.
GUNS N ROSES SETLIST - ATLANTA:
It's So Easy Mr. Brownstone Chinese Democracy Welcome to the Jungle Double Talkin' Jive Estranged Live and Let Die Rocket Queen You Could Be Mine Raw Power This I Love Civil War Coma Speak Softly Love (Love Theme From The Godfather) Sweet Child O' Mine Better Out Ta Get Me Wish You Were Here November Rain Knockin' on Heaven's Door Nightrain
During the spring we featured Replacements Week were we talked about the Replacements rivalries with other bands. Without a doubt, the Replacement's biggest rivalry was with R.E.M. In the rivalry, the real winner was the music fans as we all were treated to the Replacements working class songs and idealistic R.E.M. tunes like Fall On Me.
Like Husker Du, the Replacements were friendly and partying partners with R.E.M. in the early '80s. Peter Buck of R.E.M. was among the Mats biggest supporters and without his guest guitar skills, the Replacements song I WillDare may have never become one of the band's most cherished songs. Things were always not so cool between Paul Westerberg of the Mats and R.E.M.'s lead singer Michael Stipe as Stipe was more high-brow and always seemed to resent Westerberg's luring the other members of R.E.M. - Buck, Mike Mills and Bill Berry - into hard drinking nights. …
Ludwig van Beethoven in the '80s? His musical genius is so timeless it's no surprise that Ludwig V pops up in the '80s, so roll over Beethoven and explore today's curiosity Midnight Blue by Louise Tucker.
Many of us '80s kids remember getting down and funky with Walter Murphy's discofied A Fifth ofBeethoven that hit No. 1 in 1976, but the '80s saw several nods to Beethoven starting with Midnight Blue by Louise Tucker. Tucker is a opera singer and together with Charlie Skarbek they borrowed the melody from Beethoven's Sonata Pathetique to create Midnight Blue - not to be confused with two other Top 10 Midnight Blues - Lou Gramm's from 1987 or Melissa Manchester's from 1977. …
I had NO IDEA they were still actively making Lava Lamps. Truth be told, I always wanted on when I was in college. But for some reason, after buying bamboo curtains, black lights, obligatory Beatles poster for the wall, my remaining funds couldn’t accommodate such a luxury.
So imagine the rejoicing when I saw a website today for lavalamp.com with the catchphrase: “What’s your size of fun?” Lavalamp.com is selling SIX sizes of lamps, from 12 ounces all the way to 250 ounces. They’re also offering 20 percent off any premium lamp through July 31. (Promo code: SUMMERFUN)
And if I could go back in time, there’s no doubt which lamp I’d pick: The Beatles one!
For those of you out there in '80s Nation with college-aged kids headed back to the dorms soon, do them a favor: Don’t turn them into middle-aged bloggers regretting the past. Buy ‘em a Lava Lamp (and tell them to take a pass on those dreaded bamboo curtains.)
Over the last few years, few touring artists from the ‘80s have impressed me as much as Midge Ure. And if you’ve missed him to date, you’re lucky because Ure just announced another North American tour for the fall.
The frontman from Ultravox (and Live Aid co-founder) dazzled fans on the Retro Futura Tour a few years ago - hey, while we’re at it: Bring back Retro Futura please! His voice is stronger than ever, and you’ll get chills when he performs classics such as Reap The Wild Wind, Dancing With Tears In My Eyes and, of course, Vienna. (This acoustic version always gives me chills.)
If your town didn’t make the cut this fall, don’t worry: A second leg is planned for January 2017. Click here to see more show dates around the world. (And listen to my podcast interview with Midge - one of my favorite chats to date!) …
This just in: Morrissey announces world tour! Coming soon: List of places where you can get ticket refunds after he cancels your town's date. Ah, the jokes never get old.
The former Smiths frontman-turned-vegan-solo-artist has become sort of infamous over time for canceling big swaths of tour dates and not because he has a girlfriend in a coma (though it’s usually some other illness.) Though it does sound like Moz put a helluva show on in St. Petersburg back in 2014.
Sadly no Florida dates on this tour, but like I said, that might not matter anyway.
One of the most iconic songs of the '80s is Soft Cell's Tainted Love with Marc Almond on lead vocals. On most conventional radio stations, Tainted Love is the only Soft Cell song that has ever been played, so it's about time we took a chance on the smooth voice of Almond and listen to Tears Run Rings.
Soft Cell is considered a one-hit wonder in America, but not in England where they had ten Top 40 hits before Almond went solo in 1986. In 1989, Almond hit the U.S. Top 100 chart for the only time with Tears Run Rings that reached No. 67.
While Tears Run Rings lyrics are about world peace, the video finds Almond with angel wings transporting a young couple when they can't resist temptation and things get steamy much to his discomfort of Almond. As a solo artist, Almond would end up having nine singles hit the U.K. Top 40 and continues to release new material.
Normally when we talk Journey here, it’s all about the eternal battle over whether Steve Perry will or won’t return to the band as its frontman. (He won’t. Give it up, Perry fans.)
So imagine our surprise to see Journey founder Neal Schon talking about something other than the future of the lead singer. Schon spoke to the Nashville newspaper The Tennesseean about why the band turned down the chance to perform at last week’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
"It seemed like it was just going to be some small, private gig that nobody would find out about, like a lot of bands do corporate things, and nobody cares about it,” Schon told the paper. (Journey did play the 2012 RNC in Tampa.) “But the more I thought (about) what was going on, I bailed. (Drummer) Steve Smith and Arnel (Pineda) were with me too, and (manager) Irving Azoff agreed with the three of us. … I'm not into taking any one side with politics, and having politics get in involved with music. Some bands are all about that, and we're not. We're like a feel-good band. It's about hope, joy, love and good things in life, and not politics. No matter which way you go, you're gonna p--s somebody off if you take a side.”
Click here to read the full interview. Not a single mention of Perry. How refreshing. …
I tell ya this: Forget what Dennis DeYoung sang in the early ‘80s, THESE are the best of times. Well, not politically, or socially, or in any way actually EXCEPT when it comes to the re-release of video game consoles from the ‘80s.
Ah yes, the best of times are when I'm alone with you, Sega Genesis. Some rain some shine, we'll make this a world for two.
First Nintendo announced its release of a mini NES featuring 30 pre-programmed games. Now Sega is jumping in field with a re-release of Sega Genesis, rebranded as Sega MegaDrive, with will hold 80 games. There’s also going to be a handheld version.
The original Sega Genesis game unit was released in Japan in 1988, with the American release coming a year later.
The new units are expected to cost about $65 each. Shipping is expected to begin in October.
For a full list of the Sega games included and to pre-order, click here.
Did Rick Springfield sell his soul to get "Jessie’s Girl?" Not possible, because as it turns out, Springfield himself is the devil - at least on TV. Even Satan needs “The Human Touch,” it seems.
The Hollywood Reportersays the ‘80s rockster will be the “new Lucifer” for season 12 of the CW series Supernatural.
"Lucifer is going to try out different vessels and the first one he feels comfortable in is a rock star named Vince Vicente," Supernatural’s executive producer Bob Singer announced Sunday at the San Diego Comic-Con.
Springfield previously played an aging rocker on the cable series Californication and in the recent film Ricki and the Flash (in addition to his longtime gig as Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital). He has already shot his first scenes for Supernatural, THR reports.
Supernatural’s new season debuts Thursday, Oct. 13, at 9 p.m. on CW.
This has been a big year for 30th anniversaries - both of good movies and bad ones. But rarely has such a truly awful film come around that generates the hatred and concentrated loathing as this fantastic email that we received from “Brock in North Dakota.” So rather than try to top him, I instead present Brock’s take on Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive, released on July 25, 1986. Enjoy.
Up to this point Stephen King screen adaptions set the bar very high with Carrie, Cujo, The Shining and Firestarter to name a few.
Then King tried his hand behind the camera, making his one and only attempt at directing from an adaption of a short story he penned, titled "Trucks." Maximum Overdrive has a 17 percent Rotten Tomatoes approval rating and was nominated for two Razzies - one for worst actor, Emilio Estevez, for his portrayal of the movie's hero Bill Robinson, and another for King himself for worst director. They both would have probably won the prestigious award if it wasn't for Prince saving the day with Under a Cherry Moon.
The plot of the movie starts with the earth traveling into the path of a comets tail, which somehow makes machines come alive. The story then centers around a group of people trapped inside the Dixie Boy truck stop by a bunch of vehicles, enslaving the group until they refuel the trucks.
You know the movie didn't go well when in a later interview King himself stated he was “coked out of [his] mind all through its production, and [he] really didn't know what [he] was doing." The movie had a budget of $9 million and made 7.4 million at the box office.
The saving grace of this movie is the soundtrack. If you like AC/DC, I have a sneaky suspicion you will like the soundtrack. AC/DC wrote the original song Who Made Who for the album along with a couple less-known instrumentals. The rest of the soundtrack is pretty much an AC/DC's greatest hits fiesta with Hells Bells, You Shook Me All Night Long, Shake Your Foundations, Ride On and For Those About to Rock.
To this day every time I hear Who Made Who I can't help but picture a semi with a goblins face circling around a truck stop!
Star Trek Beyond had a big weekend at the box office, proving that the masses still love stories set in space. Today we push the limits of '80s videos set in space with the magnificent cheesy Boys Do Fall InLove by Robin Gibb.
Robin Gibb is the twin brother of Maurice Gibb and together with older brother Barry, the Bee Gees became one of the most popular musical acts in history. As a solo artist, Robin hit the Top 40 twice, first with the Beatles remake Oh! Darling from the 1978 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band movie and Boys Do Fall In Love that reached No. 37 on the charts in 1984.
Boys Do Fall In Love finds Gibb following the musical trends trying to skew young by setting his video in future while sporting sunglasses at night and singing about young love. Shedding the Bee Gees disco sound that dominated the late '70s, Boys Do Fall In Love is more bubblegum pop and was co-penned by the Gibb twins.
Robin would release seven solo albums, but no singles charted after Boys Do Fall In Love. Gibb died at age 62 in 2012 from cancer.
This weekend, the big movie release is Star Trek Beyond, the third in the series of the JJ Abrams reboot that has a mostly positive approval from the Stuck in the '80s Nation. But Star Trek in the '80s is more than the reruns we watched as a kid and the Shatner-Nimoy movies of the '80s, so today we dust off the long lost novelty hit - Star Trekkin' by The Firm.
The Firm is the English songwriting duo of John O'Conner and Grahame Lister. They had a U.K. novelty hit in 1982, but their universe exploded in 1987 when they decided to have fun with the Star Trek franchise. Lister handled much of the music chores and O'Connor provided the voice for Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy while a man named Dev Douglas voiced Spock. The rest of the voices were pitched in by other friends and family, including a studio engineer who voiced Scotty's part and O'Conner's wife, Shelley, voicing Uhuru. …
Relive the '80s music, movies and culture with Tampa Bay Times correspondent Steve Spears. A teen during the greatest decade ever, Steve is obsessed with everything from Duran Duran to Journey, John Hughes to John Cusack, and parachute pants to big hair.