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, April 19, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for April 19, 2019

Album cover for Status Quo's 1982 release: 1+9+8+2

[1+9+8+2] -- I have something of a treat for you 80-philes this weekend. English rock band, Status Quo, is anything but the status quo. They formed in 1962 and they are still active -- that's six decades of recording and performing! Seven of their 32 studio albums were released in the 80s. They even performed at Live Aid in 1985. Yes, the lineup has changed over time, and so has their sound. In the 80s, they were still playing the hard boogie rock style they had adopted in the 70s. 1+9+8+2 (1982) was their 15th studio LP, and it represented the 20th anniversary of the first meeting between guitarist Francis Rossi and bassist Alan Lancaster. Hence the XX ("20" in Roman numerals) on the album cover ... and because 1+9+8+2 = 20. Now, even by the 80s, over 30 years ago, there was a sense of "been there, heard that" in regards to Status Quo. Some critics even said the band's late 70s and early 80s works were a parody of their earlier endeavors. And the critics weren't exactly wrong. But, maybe, not every record has to be groundbreaking and trendsetting. Sometimes, maybe, you need more of the same. Something comfortable to slip onto the turntable. And that's certainly the case with 1+9+8+2. It's not bad, but it's fun. You won't be humming these tunes an hour later, but while this record is spinning, you just might bob your head and tap your foot along with it. With that sincere plug, read and hear more after the jump! 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for April 12, 2019



[Your Moody Dreams] -- In April of 1986, the Moody Blues released their 12th studio album, The Other Side of Life. Although the Moody Blues are widely regarded as a 60s progressive band, this was the third of ultimately four records they released in the 80s. That feat certainly qualifies them to be considered 80s artists as well, then, yes? If releasing four albums isn't enough to qualify them, then maybe having seven top 40 rock singles does. And two of those tunes came from this very record. Long time fans of the Moody Blues might have been a bit disappointed, or even confused, by the band's embracing of synthesizers, sequencers, and drum machines over their usual more symphonic sound. But new fans flocked to the record. The Other Side of Life peaked at #9 on the US Billboard 200 albums chart and it went platinum, meaning it sold well over 1,000,000 units in the US alone. Of course, the Moody Blues later proved they still had those symphonic chops with a live performance at Red Rocks, Colorado (1992). But, back to The Other Side of Life, "Your Wildest Dreams" was a massive hit for the band peaking at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. And the title track, "The Other Side of Life," reached #11 on the Mainstream Rock chart after being released as a single in August 1986. "The Other Side of Life" was decidedly more plodding and introspective than "Your Wildest Dreams," so you might not recall that one. But I bet you're hearing the chorus of "Your Wildest Dreams" in your head now that you've read the title just a few times. Well, it's the very first track of this 33-year-old album, so if you join me in revisiting The Other Side of Life, you might purge that earworm by the time you finish the other eight songs.  

Flashback: The Other Side of Life (1986) by the Moody Blues 




That's all till next week, folks. 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.

I'll see you in seven!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for April 5, 2019


[That's the Book, That's the Book] -- I'm sorry, but the name of this week's band always makes me think of a particular song by ABC. Now, with that out of my system, we'll move forward with the post in earnest. Book of Love's self-titled debut album hit stores 33 years ago this week. This synthpop band came together in Philadelphia in 1983 with vocalist Susan Ottaviano and three keyboardists -- Ted Ottaviano (unrelated?), Lauren Roselli, and Jade Lee. Their first two singles -- "Boy" and "I Touch Roses" -- preceded the release of Book of Love (1986) by a year, and both did well on the US Club Play chart. The band's chart activity earned them a spot opening for Depeche Mode in 1986, also prior to them having an album. But when Book of Love was finally released, it got very little notice. Their third single failed to chart while their fourth and final single barely made the Top 20 -- again, speaking of the US Club Play chart, not Billboard. They would release one more album in the 80s, Lullaby (1988), and two more in the 90s -- Candy Carol (1991) and Lovebubble (1993) -- before disbanding in 1994. I consider them an unsung hero, or team of unsung heroes, of the 80s electronica and dance scene. So, what better way to revisit their debut release than spinning the entire record? 

Flashback: Book of Love #1



Boy - 0:00 Counting The Rosaries - 7:22 I Touch Roses - 10:31 Modigliani - 16:09 Witchcraft - 23:01 Lullaby - 25:55 Tubular Bells - 29:21 Pretty Boys and Pretty Girls - 32:08 Alice Everyday - 36:43 You Make Me Feel So Good - 40:42 Die Matrosen - 45:37 Book of Love - 48:30
Note: Top image from Lansure's Music Paraphernalia entry on Book of Love. 



That's all till next week, folks. 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.

I'll see you in seven!

Friday, March 29, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for March 29, 2019


[R.I.P. Ranking Roger] -- This week 80s fans mourned the loss of Ranking Roger (born Roger Charlery), vocalist for The Beat (aka The English Beat) and General Public. You can read more about his background and rise to 80s stardom at the previous link, at the Guardian, the New York Times, and various other sites. Roger had suffered a stroke last year. And just this past January, fans were informed that he had been diagnosed with two brain tumors as well as lung cancer. At the time of his death, he was only 56 years old. He leaves behind a catalog of nine studio albums, two of which were solo records, as well as compilations, live records, and collaborations with other artists. He also leaves behind five children, two of whom -- son Ranking Junior (Matthew Murphy) and daughter Saffren -- had performed with him in a revival band. Ranking Roger was musically active from 1978 to 2019. So there's no way I can do complete justice to his career. Still, I've selected a few of my favorite 80s tracks so we can attempt a proper sendoff. What's featured today? Read and hear more after the jump.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for March 22, 2019



[Talking a Good Show] -- The Go-Go's were the first all-female band to top the Billboard album charts by writing their own songs and playing their own instruments. Yes, folks, there were several "girl groups" with writing and playing chops before The Go-Gos, but none of them cranked out hits quite like these ladies. And 35 years ago this month, they released their third studio album, Talk Show (1984), which peaked at #18 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Although the album was critically well-received, it was a commercial disappointment. Not sure that was due to a slight change in style or too many half-realized songs (as AllMusic claims), but Talk Show still has its gems. Talk Show also marked the last time the original lineup would record an album together ... until 2001. So, what tracks have I selected from the Go-Go's last album of the 80s? Read and hear more after the jump.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for March 15, 2019



[What is Love?] -- In light of the racially motivated terror attacks on two Christchurch mosques during Friday prayers, I just don't have the heart to go forward with my planned Flashback post. Instead, I'm taking a single track that was featured in my 11/4/2016 post on Electric Sun (Heavy Metal Hippie). To my knowledge, "What is Love?" was never released as a single. And I believe the world is poorer for that. Musically, this track muscles its way through nearly three and a half minutes of tasty guitar runs and just enough of a beat to bob your head or tap your foot in time. Roth's lead vocal isn't amazing, but the harmony vocals provided by the combo of Michael Flechsig, bassist Ule Ritgen, and Rainer Przywara more than make up for Roth's shortcomings. Lyrically, well, it lacks in philosophy, but it has that plaintive seeker mojo in spades. Or is that in crystals? You tell me.

What is love? Well, it's not in the actions of those cowardly stains who feel the need to gear up and shoot people who are guilty only of looking or worshipping in a different way. I do see love, however, in the outpouring of support for this and other maimed communities. This must increase. We must all strive for peaceful solutions in defusing hatred. We must believe that one day we can and will live together in harmony. If you're interested in that, too, click on over to New Zealand's Give Nothing to Racism campaign.

And now, let's give a spin to "What is Love?" from Beyond the Astral Skies (1985) by Uli Jon Roth and Electric Sun!

Flashback"What is Love? | Does anybody know the answer?."




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.

I'll see you in seven!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Friday 80s Flashback for March 1, 2019



[RIP Mark Hollis] -- This week we lost Talk Talk co-founder and enigmatic pop singer, Mark Hollis (1/4/1955 – 2/25/2019). Hollis was Talk Talk's primary songwriter and lead singer. Under his direction, the band moved from its New Romantic and synth pop origins in 1981 to increasingly more experimental outings in their 10-year history. Compare the pop stylings of The Party's Over (1982) with the art rock of, for example, Spirit of Eden (1988). After five studio albums and 23 singles, Talk Talk disbanded in 1992. Hollis recorded and released one self-titled solo album in 1998, but retired from music, and largely disappeared from public life, shortly thereafter. His death this week came "after a short illness from which he never recovered."

To commemorate Hollis' death, I'm taking a cue from Gordon Skene's site, Past Daily, and sharing the audio of Talk Talk's Hammersmith Odeon appearance from May 8, 1986, as broadcast by the BBC:




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.

I'll see you in seven!