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30 years later, neither 'Soul Man' (or Bill Cosby) is very funny

Soul Man

Oh no, he’s not really going to go there. Calling the movie Soul Man a classic? It can be called a lot of things - racist, lame-brained - but classic? No, no, no. It's definitely not a classic.

But yes, Soul Man was released Oct. 24, 1986, making it exactly 30 years (and one week) old today. C. Thomas Howell starred as a rich SoCal kid who gets into Harvard Law School only to find out his parents won’t pay his tuition. So he does something that feels just as creepy today as it did 30 years ago: He overdoses on tanning pills to pose as an African-American so he can get a scholarship that so far nobody else has claimed. What could possibly go wrong? 

Well, for starters, it's “blackface” - something that hasn’t been acceptable since … well, it should never be acceptable. And yet Soul Man was a respectable hit at the box office. Why? “This is the Cosby decade. America loves black people!” Howell’s character crows at one point. Thirty years later, that’s a joke that has lost its punchline.  …

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15 Best Halloween Songs of the ‘80s

Thriller

You might not think of the ‘80s as being a good decade for Halloween-appropriate songs. We don’t have that “Monster Mash,” do we? No “Black Magic Woman.” No "Werewolves of London." No "Don’t Fear the Reaper." Heck, even “Runnin’ With the Devil” by Van Halen was late ‘70s. 

But truth is actually there were a ton of spooky tunes in the ‘80s that are best played each year on Oct. 31. Here are some of our favorites, ranked by the random spirits and spooks of the darkest hour: 

15. A NIGHTMARE ON MY STREET (DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince): Watch the video

14. TEENAGE FRANKENSTEIN (Alice Cooper): Watch the video

13. BARK AT THE MOON (Ozzy Osbourne): Watch the video

12. TWILIGHT ZONE (Golden Earring): Watch the video

11. HALLOWEEN (Siouxsie and the Banshees): Watch the video

10. GHOST TOWN (The Specials): Watch the video

9. ZOMBIE DANCE (The Cramps): Watch the video

8. FRIGHT NIGHT (J. Geils Band): Watch the video

7. THE FUNERAL PARTY (The Cure): Watch the video

6. ALL YOU ZOMBIES (The Hooters): Watch the video

5. NUMBER OF THE BEAST (Iron Maiden): Watch the video

4. BELA LUGOSI’S DEAD (Bauhaus): Watch the video

3. THRILLER (Michael Jackson): Watch the video …

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Single-most important anthem of ‘80s - maybe - turns 30 years old today

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What is the best song of the ‘80s? Is that a question that can even remotely be answered? Oh, people have tried. NME.com says it’s New Order’s Blue Monday. For Rolling Stone magazine, it’s Prince’s When Doves Cry, which ranked No. 52 on their list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (which was the highest rank for any ‘80s tune). 

But for VH1, one other song towers of the rest: Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer, which was released 30 years ago today. The cable network long ago named this tune as its pick for best song in the decade, thus spawning fights among the '80s generation that won't be resolved soon. Anyway, back to today's story...

Written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, and Desmond Child, Livin’ on a Prayer wasn’t an instant hit for the band after its Oct. 31, 1986, release. Rather it took until end of January 1987 for it finally to reach the No. 1 spot on the rock charts and February for it to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. …

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Podcasts with no heart: Our annual Halloween episodes of Stuck in the '80s

Sorry, no special Halloween episode today. But don’t whine. Stuck in the ‘80s has given you plenty of podcasts over our 12 years for this special day. So while we didn’t cook you a new one, please enjoy one of these classics.

EPISODE 63 - HALLOWEEN IN THE ‘80s: Our first Halloween show, including our favorite 80s horror movies, pranks, stories and costumes. (Listen now)

EPISODE 145 - ‘HALLOWEEN’ COMMENTARY: No, Halloween isn’t an ‘80s movie, but did we let that stop us? Our infamous film commentary, featuring Sean Daly’s “Loooonie … Loooonie” rant. (Listen now)

EPISODE 249 - THE LOST BOYS: A Halloween tribute to our favorite vamp movie, 1987's The Lost Boys. (Listen now)

EPISODE 296 - AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON: Steve and Brad are joined by guest host Jim "Dr. Dim" Fitzsimmons to discuss John Landis' 1981 classic horror / comedy film An American Werewolf in London. (Listen now)

 

 

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Curse of the crazy ex-ghoul friend: The infamous Marc Price interview

The SIT80's podcast is pretty good on giving treats, however every once in a while, we get a trick. Back in 2012 on podcast episode No. 260, the intriguing guest interview was Marc Price, whom we all better known as Skippy on Family Ties.

The podcast was part of an effort on Price's part to promote his upcoming comedy dates in Florida. By most accounts, the podcast was not one of Steve Spears' favorites and the concerts never materialized. What better way to celebrate that trick than to feature Price's 1986 movie Trick or Treat with treat being the title song by Fastway.

After years of being Alex P. Keaton's second banana on Family Ties, Marc Price got his chance to be the leading man when he starred in the horror film Trick Or Treat. Making his directorial debut on Trick Or Treat was Charles Martin Smith, so good as an actor in such '80s movies such as Never Cry Wolf, Starman and The UntouchablesTrick Or Treat was a modest success at the box office ranking No. 92 in receipts for all 1986 movies. However, most remember the film for two of its stars not named Price: Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne.

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Concert review: Platimum Blonde makes Montreal comeback

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Here in the U.S., we sometimes forget about all the amazing music still being performed by bands just north of us in Canada. Stuck in the '80s correspondent Peter Ryan, based in Montreal, is always happy to help us by attending the shows we'll never get to see down here. Here's his review of Friday night's concert by Platinum Blonde.

New wave bleached haircuts were the order of the evening on Friday as Platinum Blonde provided approximately 1,000 music fans in Montreal with a thrilling show at the intimate setting of Theatre L'Astral. Lead singer Mark Holmes apologized to the eager audience for the band's 16-year absence from Montreal, but certainly made up for lost time over the two-hour gig.

Following a somewhat peculiar opening act in the form of a DJ mixing hits from the early '90s, Platinum Blonde hit the stage, kicking off their set with a superb rendition of Hungry Eyes, from their Alien Shores album. This was followed up by two of their most popular power ballads, Not in Love and Sad Rain.   …

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It's Halloween time, so have a heart ... even an artificial one

There is a clear separation between those who like horror and those who don't. Today's Lost and Found song is only for those who like horror. For those who don't mind a good scare, it's time to view one of the most startling music videos of the '80s with the little known Artificial Heart by Soul Asylum.

In 1989, Soul Asylum released an EP called Clam Dip And Other Delights that included atypical songs from the Minneapolis band including the folk ditty P-9 that was featured on Lost and Found last year. Besides the different sounding songs, unique videos were filmed for many of the songs; however none weirder than the video for Artificial Heart.

With quirky music and more scary campfire reciting than singing, Artificial Heart spins an urban legend about a 17-year old girl with an artificial heart who is abducted and dismembered. Despite the grisly events, her artificial heart keeps beating laying the groundwork for some gruesome Frankenstein-like surgery. Co-directed by lead singer Dave Pirner, the video for Artificial Heart is graphic and not for the faint of heart, but it is also incredibly inventive for a low budget video. …

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Halloween's best duo of the '80s? Alice and Jason

On the SIT80s blog and podcast, we make lists the iconic songs, movies, catch phrases and commercials of the '80s, but have we ever charted the most iconic "sound?" As Halloween approaches, I nominate this one sound as iconic and all you need to hear is the whisper of "che, che, che, cha, cha, cha." You can hear that sound in today's Lost and Found song of the day with Alice Cooper, because He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask).

While there were gory horror movies in the '70s with Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween, for better or worse, history has viewed 1980's Friday the 13th as the start of the "slasher" horror movie era. With a budget under a half million dollars, the original Friday The 13th grossed more than $20 million at the box office, and in total there have been a dozen Friday The 13th movies centered around Jason Voorhees. …

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Dead Or Alive frontman Pete Burns dead at 57

Pete Burns, the iconic frontman of Dead or Alive, died Sunday from a massive heart attack, his spokesman has confirmed via Twitter:

“It is with the greatest sadness that we have to break the tragic news that out beloved Pete Burns of (Dead or Alive), died suddenly yesterday of a massive cardiac arrest. 

“All of his family and friends are devastated by the loss of our special star.

“He was a true visionary, a beautiful talented soul, and he will be missed by all who loved and appreciated everything he was and all of the wonderful memories the has left is with.

“We have no more words, we will make a further statement when we have had a chance to come to terms with our devastating loss.

“He will live forever in our memories.”

Formed in Liverpool in 1980, Dead or Alive found great success both in the UK and in the U.S. with hits such as You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) and Brand New Lover. Burns found further fame in 2006 when he became a popular cast member of the UK's Celebrity Big Brother. …

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’13 Going On 30’ returning as Broadway musical

13 Going On 30

13 Going On 30

Just when the naysayers were ready to bury the ‘80s nostalgia movement, there’s proof that there’s plenty of air left in these lungs: The 2004 movie 13 Going On 30 is coming to Broadway as a stage musical.

Deadline.com reports that Revolution Studios is working with producers Andy Fickman, Dean Stolber and Todd Garner on the project. The musical will be based on the film that starred Jennifer Garner as a teenager in the '80s who - in a moment of social despair - makes a wish to be whisked into adulthood.

The tough part of staging the musical, Deadline points out, is licensing all the original ‘80s tunes from the movie, including Michael Jackson’s Thriller, which plays a pivotal part in the plot.

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Weird Al breaks the Internet with debate parody 'Bad Hombres, Nasty Women'

Just when you're about to give up all hope on Western Civilization, along comes Weird Al Yankovic to save the day. His latest video parodies the final presidential debate (yay!) between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It's called "Bad Hombres, Nasty Women."

Rolling Stone says Weird Al teamed with Songify to create the video - very impressive considering the spin from Wednesday's debate is only just now beginning to cool off. This is the first and only time in my life that I endorse the use of Auto-Tune.

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Still a lot of 'hot love' between Dee Snider and his wife

Dee and Suzette Snider

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Dee and Suzette Snider

Today we wish happy anniversary to Dee Snider and his wife Suzette as Oct. 21 is their 35th wedding anniversary. To honor the occasion, we feature the Twisted Sister video Hot Love, which centers around Snider and the rest of the band ogling after a hot blonde in tight clothing. Does that sound like a rude and unfitting choice? Hold on, because the video vixen in Hot Love may not be just some random lady.

While hair metal was starting to explode in 1987, Twisted Sister saw their commercial appeal falling. Unlike their two previous albums that reached gold status, Twisted Sister's Love Is For Suckers failed to reach gold sales status and the lead single Hot Love was only a minor hit on the Mainstream Rock Charts. Still, Hot Love is a fine melodic rock song and the video has some amusing moments.

In the video for Hot Love, it seems that Dee Snider is obsessing over finding a hot blonde who loves street racing her corvette. If several sources on the Internet are to believed, the blonde is Suzette Snider. The twist in the video comes late in the song as we finally learn where Dee's real obsession lies. …

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Richard Marx, ex-wife slash price for 9-bedroom mansion

Zillow

Richard Marx and ex-wife Cynthia Rhodes (Flashdance, Dirty Dancing) have been “right here waiting” for someone to buy their suburban Chicago mansion for a while now. This week, they tried to put to those "endless summer nights" by slashing the asking price by $2 million. 

Before you break out your checkbook, you’ll still need $12 million to purchase the 9-bedroom, 29,475-square-foot home sitting on 5 lakefront acres in Lake Bluff. Of course the mansion also includes a recording studio. 

According to the Chicago Tribune, the home was built back in 1931 and also includes 19 fireplaces and a home theater. Marx has since married Daisy Fuentes and lives in SoCal, but he’s still a little nostalgic for his former residence.

"I'm not someone who looks back. I'm grateful for the great times we had there, and I made great records there and had a great time raising kids there," Marx told the Tribune. 

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Here’s who Jennifer Grey would cast in ‘Dirty Dancing’ remake

Dirty Dancing

ABC has been working on a TV remake of the classic ‘80s flick Dirty Dancing for a while now, but the co-star of the original 1987 movie is finally sounding off on who she would cast for the various roles. 

Jennifer Grey, who famously played “Baby” in the original opposite the late Patrick Swayze, told radio host Jenny Hutt that Natalie Portman and Ryan Gosling are her picks for the leading roles. People magazine reported the news online this week. 

“I don’t know if she’s young enough to play that virgin thing, but she’s so gorgeous,” Grey said of the 35-year-old Portman. “She’s just the best, most beautiful, amazing — and a great dancer.”

As for Gosling, “The Gos has just got something, you know what I mean? He’s just got something and he’s that very mysterious.”

BTW, ABC’s remake will star Abigail Breslin as Baby, Colt Prattes as Johnny, Sarah Hyland as Lisa Houseman and Debra Messing as Marjorie Houseman. A premiere date hasn’t been announced yet. 

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The legend of Rossington Collins and 'Don't Misunderstand Me'

Rossington Collins

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Rossington Collins

On this day in rock history in 1977, tragedy stuck when the plane carrying Lynyrd Skynyrd crashed in Mississippi on its way to Baton Rouge only three days after releasing their latest album. Six people perished in the accident including two members of Skynyrd including lead singer Ronnie Van Zant. Amazingly, six other members of Skynyrd survived and from the ashes of the plane crash emerged Rossington Collins with their forgotten '80 tune, Don't Misunderstand Me.

Four of the surviving members of Lynyrd Skynyrd decided to resume making music but didn't want to call themselves Lynyrd Skynyrd out of respect for their fallen band mates. Instead they became the Rossington Collins Band named after guitarists Gary Rossington and Allen Collins. One big change was the addition of a female lead singer - Dale Krantz. Their 1980 debut album went gold, and its lead single Don't Misunderstand Me reached No. 55 on the singles chart.

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