We're a geek couple living in PA with our two boys -- Milo and Otis -- who are short, orange, and furry. Oh, and they're the cats we're bookended by! We love music, movies, TV, comics, books, and comic cons. And, from time to time, we'll share our thoughts on these nerdy things.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Friday 80s Flashback for November 3, 2017



[Back for the Anniversary] -- In the "Things that Make Me Feel Old" Department, November 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of Dokken's fourth studio album, Back for the Attack (1987). According to at least one source, this album might have been released on November 2, 1987, so it could very well have turned 30 as of this very week. But, not every source marks the month and day, so we won't dwell on such particulars. Although it didn't pack highly catchy tracks like previous releases, Back for the Attack ranks among the band's best-selling albums. It even reached #13 on the Billboard 200 for that year. Maybe that chart success is due to Dokken going for a tighter and harder edged sound. Maybe it's due to the lack of ballads (well, there is one on this record) and a lesser reliance on trying to score pop-radio leaning singles. All I know is that this album has some delicious guitar work and probably the cleanest, albeit simplest, rhythm work of their whole catalog.

You can listen to the full album here. If you want to know which tracks I chose to celebrate this 30-year anniversary, you can read and hear more after the jump.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday 80s Flashback for October 20, 2017

[Goodbye Mom] -- I was more than two thirds of the way through writing my latest Flashback post, but I no longer want to use it. Not this weekend. You see, here's the thing. My sister called me around 5pm yesterday and told me that our mother was gone, that she had unexpectedly died overnight. Sis had gone over to Mom's house to check on her, as per usual, but instead found ... well, she found that Mom never made it out of bed that day.

So, my one and only flashback song for this weekend is for the memory of our mother. I'm cribbing both the tune and the write-up from a previous Flashback post, but so be it. It is probably no surprise that I could reliably turn to Disney for a song that honors the very heart of motherhood. Well, I sort of turned to Disney. I turned to Hal Willner, an American music producer with several tribute albums and live events listed among his many credits. In 1988, Willner released his fourth tribute album, Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films. Stay Awake featured new recordings of Disney tunes by a whole range of performing artists, from Sun Ra to Michael Stipe, and from Buster Poindexter to Ringo Starr. This is still one of my favorite CDs from the 80s. At the time, I loved it because it made a somewhat adult soundtrack out of songs originally created for kids. Almost 30 years later, I still love it for the milestone in my life that it represents. The second track on Stay Awake pairs Bonnie Raitt with Was (Not Was) on "Baby Mine" from the 1941 film Dumbo. And it never fails to make me think of my own mother. 

"You're so precious to me | Cute as can be | Baby, you're mine."




That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday 80s Flashback for October 13, 2017


[October Sting] -- I thought about doing a more spooky theme for that rare occasion that the Flashback crosses paths with Friday the 13th, but I wasn't in the mood. But then I found that Sting's second solo album, ...Nothing Like the Sun, was released on this very day in 1987. That means one of my favorite records turned 30 today! This release finds Sting continuing the pop-jazz explorations of his fantastic debut album, The Dream of the Blue Turtles (1985), but stretching his chops to mix in a little reggae and funk as well as some standard acoustic, rock, and dance elements. All five singles from the album charted, with two peaking as top 40 hits. The album peaked at #9 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and and #52 on U.S. Billboard R&B Albums. And if the songs themselves weren't enough to merit this album's place in my heart, then the story of how Sting named it surely would do the job. The title comes from from Shakespeare's Sonnet No. 130, which Sting had used in response to a wandering drunk who kept accosting him with the question: "How beautiful is the moon?" You can read that brief story in the November/December 1987 edition of Spin. And for this week's selections, you can read and hear more after the jump. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Friday 80s Flashback for September 29, 2017




[TNG for the Masses] -- On 9/28/1987, the first new television episode of a Star Trek series was beamed into our television sets.Thirty years agoStar Trek: The Next Generation (ST:TNG or just TNG for short) introduced a new crew and a new ship with "Encounter at Farpoint." It was a clunky and awkward birth, but the basic elements were there: A stalwart captain, a dedicated first officer, and a top notch doctor. Other original series elements took on a slight twist: The alien on the bridge was a Klingon raised by humans, not a Vulcan-Human hybrid; the most logical officer was an android seeking humanity, not a Vulcan-Human hybrid; and the sensing bridge officer was an empathic half-Betazoid, not a telepathic ... well, you get the idea.

But, as big a Trek fan as I am, I usually deal with music here for the Friday 80s Flashback. And so I continue in that vein this week. You see, there was an album released on the very same day as the TNG premiere: Depeche Mode's sixth studio album, Music for the Masses. If you know me, you might be surprised to learn that I don't recall if I saw the first broadcast of "Encounter at Farpoint," but I very much recall purchasing a vinyl copy of Music for the Masses. It was the first Depeche Mode record that I purchased fresh on its release date.

So, now, you have a choice. You can celebrate Star Trek: The Next Generation and listen to music from the series. Or, you can check out a few tracks from Music for the Masses. To go with that latter choice, read and hear more after the jump. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Friday 80s Flashback for September 22, 2017



[Cowboy George] -- The other day, "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" by Culture Club was playing in the office cafeteria. It was still wafting through the speakers as I walked up to pay for my lunch. The cashier, who had been singing along with Boy George, told me, "I want to karaoke with him."

"Who?" I asked. "Boy George?"

"No. Jimmy ... something ... I think." She replied.

And that launched a brief exchange in which we finally uncovered that she wanted to do Carpool Karaoke with James Corden. With that sorted, I told her, "All I could think of was that time Culture Club appeared on an episode of The A-Team." Well, it was quickly obvious that neither the cashier nor anyone else in line remembered that particular cameo. The cashier was shocked: "No! The show with George Peppard? For real?" Yes, for real. This pop culture gem was "Cowboy George" (Season 4, Episode 16) with an air date of February 11, 1986, according to IMDb.


Now, I won't go through a recap. If you're interested in that, you can find a great one here. No, I'm going to delve into some music, of course. Can you guess which Culture Club tunes made the cut this week? Well, read and hear more after the jump. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Friday 80s Flashback for September 16, 2017 (On a Saturday)



[Sun City] -- December 1985 saw the release of "the most political of all of the charity rock albums of the 1980s" (per AllMusic). I wrote about it on it's 30th anniversary, but given what we're seeing in the news on a regular basis, I think now is a good time to revisit it. It's a damn good reminder of how far we've come ... and how much further we still have to go ... as a society.

Sun City (1985) was a protest album driven by Steven Van Zandt (perhaps best known for his affiliation with  Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band) and Artists United Against Apartheid. The name pretty much tells you what the group was all about. They recorded two versions of the song, "Sun City," and other material for this album. The personnel assembled by Van Zandt reads like a who's who of popular and critically acclaimed artists of the mid-80s. For example:
  • Little Steven (Van Zandt) – vocals, guitar, drum programming
  • Kool DJ Herc, Peter Wolf, Pat Benatar, Joey Ramone, Jimmy Cliff, Daryl Hall, Lou Reed, Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan, Nona Hendryx, Kashif, Peter Garrett, Malopoets, Gil Scott-Heron, Afrika Bambaataa, RubĂ©n Blades, Bono, George Clinton, Peter Gabriel, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Bonnie Raitt, Run DMC, Bruce Springsteen, John Oates, Michael Monroe, Darlene Love, The Fat Boys, and others – vocals
  • Zak Starkey, Tony Williams, Ringo Starr – drums
  • Sonny Okosuns – talking drums
  • Keith LeBlanc, Benjamin Newman – drum programming
  • Pete Townshend, Stanley Jordan, Keith Richards, Ron Wood – guitars
  • L. Shankar – double violin
  • Clarence Clemons – saxophone
  • Miles Davis – trumpet
  • Herbie Hancock, Richard Scher, Robby Kilgore, Zoe Yanakis – keyboards
  • Doug Wimbish – bass; Ron Carter – acoustic bass
  • Jam Master Jay, DJ Cheese – scratches
Sun City didn't achieve great commercial success, but it did peak at #31 on the Billboard 200 pop albums chart. It did, however, receive critical acclaim in abundance, reaching #5 on the Pazz & Jop Critics Poll (yes, that's really the name) for albums for that year. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Friday 80s Flashback for September 8, 2017



[Flashbackiversary!] -- I started posting the Friday 80s Flashback on September 3, 2010. That's seven years ago as of last week! From 9/3/2010 through 4/29/2016, I made these Flashback posts over at Prophet or Madman. On 6/24/2016, I moved the Flashbacks here to Bookended by Cats. This may be surprising to you, but my very first flashback had no commentary whatsoever. It didn't even have a theme! The weekly theme didn't become part and parcel of the flashback until the fourth entry, on September 24, 2010 (a two-fer: Angry Edition and Uplifting Edition). Sample lyrics first appeared in the November 5, 2010, flashback (Politics Schmolotics). And header images made their debut with the December 10, 2010, flashback (Winter Holidays: Week 2).

So, do you remember what songs I featured seven years ago this week? It might be fun to revisit them, so read and hear more after the jump!