Bookended by Cats was named after Milo and Otis. They are the short, orange, and furry brothers who, upon entering our lives in 2003, often bookended us on our couch. And who are we? We're a geek couple living in PA. 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, June 14, 2024

Friday 80s Flashback for June 14, 2024

[A Pagan Place] -- This week's Flashback was released either at the end of May, or the beginning of June, 1984. Most sources point to June, particularly June 1. Therefore, this record is 40 years old by now, and we're revisiting it today!  

While working on something of a solo album under the name of The Waterboys in 1983, Mike Scott actually did assemble a band. The core of that band continued to work with Scott, and they released their second studio album, A Pagan Place, in 1984. According to Record Collector magazine, the album received "unanimous critical acclaim." That critical acclaim did not move records, so the singles didn't exactly chart, and the album itself peaked at the bottom of the UK charts. 

However, the record did reach fans of college rock. And the album received the remaster treatment in 2002. The music is sincere. The band's talent is more than obvious. Maybe they just didn't get the PR necessary to jump from college radio to chart success. If you're a fan of bands like The Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen, and Simple Minds, you might like The Waterboys, too. 

Give this album a try. For such an obscure gem, it really doesn't sound dated. The album has aged surprisingly well (in my opinion).  

FlashbackA Pagan Place (June 1, 1984)




And 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!

Friday, June 7, 2024

Friday 80s Flashback for June 7, 2024


[Still Glamorous] -- Prior to the 1980s, Shelia E. had been recording with her father, legendary percussionist Pete Escovedo, and performing with The George Duke Band. But then she started her collaboration with Prince in 1983, and that led to her first pop-funk solo album being released 40 years ago this week. Now, anyone who did not know about Shelia's career prior to meeting Prince might be excused for thinking she was just another "sexploitive Prince disciple who was entertaining but had limited ability" (AllMusic's Alex Henderson). So, while Shelia E. may not have exhibited remarkable vocal prowess, she was a seasoned musician and performer, and her ability as a drummer/percussionist do come across live. 

The Glamorous Life (June 4, 1984) peaked at #28 on the US Billboard 200 and #7 on the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. And "The Glamorous Life" landed in the top 10 of both the US Billboard Hot 100 and the US Hot Black Singles charts while also seizing the top spot on the US Dance Club Songs chart. Additionally, this title track snagged two Grammy Award nominations and three MTV Award nominations (the latter nominations were, of course, for the music video). 

FlashbackThe Glamorous Life (June 4, 1984)




And 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! 

Friday, May 31, 2024

Friday 80s Flashback for May 31, 2024


[What's Love Got To Do With A Private Dancer?] -- Forty years ago this week, Tina Turner (November 26, 1939 – May 24, 2023) released her fifth solo studio album. Private Dancer (May 29, 1984) lifted Turner into the heights of a bonafide superstar. In the US alone, Private Dancer reached #3 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts while also reaching the top 10 in several charts around the world. And with its multi-platinum certifications, this album is still Turner's best-selling album in North America to date. 

This record also boasted Turner's biggest-selling single of her career: "What's Love Got to Do with It." In addition to topping the US Billboard Hot 100, and holding the #1 spot for three weeks, "What's Love Got to Do with It" also peaked at #8 on the US Adult Contemporary, #21 on the US Hot Dance Club Songs, and #2 on the US Hot Black Singles charts. It also climbed several charts around the world. And, as if that wasn't enough, this single also won three Grammy Awards in 1985: Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year. 

But this album was far from a one-hit wonder. The other gems on this album include the title track, "Private Dancer," "Better Be Good to Me" (another Grammy winner!) and several cover tracks – such as Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," David Bowie's "1984," and the Beatles' "Help!" And if you want to hear the divine Ms. Turner really cut loose marrying her 1960s roots with the 1980s mood, look no further than "Steel Claw" (which really should have appeared on a soundtrack or something). And if you don't agree with me on that, maybe after you view Turner's live performance of "Steel Claw" you'll at least agree she was a helluva performer.  

FlashbackPrivate Dancer (May 29, 1984)




And 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! 

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Dead Boy Detectives - Netflix

I’m going to start with the paw rating for this one

4 paws and a tail for one cat and

4 paws and a tail for another cat

One for each dead boy detective

This show is spectacular. 

I was sad when we found out that the actors from Doom Patrol were not cast in this Netflix show but, no offense to those actors at all, but … this crew is phenomenal. I am 100% in love with all of them. They are a wonderful family of misfits and I want to be adopted by them so much!

I absolutely adore the relationship between Charles and Edwin and then how Crystal and Niko fit in along with Jenny. Simply superb relationships and the most intense love between people. 

The show is quite violent and even gory at times but it can’t distract me from the incredible personal stories and the incredible relationships between the main group of characters. 

Here’s hoping for a season two. 

Friday, May 24, 2024

Friday 80s Flashback for May 17 and May 24, 2024


[Flashback Times Two] -- There was no Friday 80s Flashback last week. Rather than focus on the multiple factors that  led to me missing a post, let's focus on the fact that, this week, you get a twofer. That's right, two Flashbacks in one post! And just in time for Memorial Day Weekend! 

Both of this week's records were released 40 years ago last week. So, let's take them in release order.

Chicago – the band, not the city – completed their transformation from rock (or jazz-rock) powerhouse into soft/pop rock hit machine with their fourteenth studio album, 17. Released on May 14, 1984, 17 released four singles, all of which were top 20 hits and three of which ("Stay the Night," "You're the Inspiration," and "Hard Habit to Break") had music videos in heavy rotation on MTV. Seriously, how many times did you hear "Hard Habit to Break" in the mid-1980s? (And how many times did I use it for an audition song? Um, that's a story for ... maybe never). 

Well, thanks to that hit and the other singles, 17 remains one of Chicago's most commercially successful albums. It's also the most David Foster of Chicago albums, with its decided lean into power ballads and the adult contemporary market. It peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 and it reached the top 40 in many countries. It certainly logged many hours on my turntable – and I still own my vinyl copy. On the other hand, 17 ended up being the last album with Peter Cetera, Chicago's founding bassist/vocalist, who went on to focus on his solo career. 

My favorite non-single track from this album was "Remember the Feeling." What was yours?

Flashback #1: 17 (May 14, 1984)




Next up in our two-fer weekend is Couldn't Stand the Weather, the sophomore album by blues rockers Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble. Released on May 15, 1984, Couldn't Stand the Weather peaked at #31 on the Billboard 200 album chart. MTV put the music video for "Couldn't Stand the Weather" into regular rotation, which helped drive album sales. Reviews were mainly positive, but there was criticism for the lack of original songs – Vaughn wrote only half of the original release's eight tracks. 

Anyway, while "Couldn't Stand the Weather" and Vaughn's cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" got most of the attention, or press, I recall being more interested in "Cold Shot," the song written by W.C. Clark and Mike Kindred. At least, I remember that one a whole lot more. 

Flashback #2Couldn’t Stand the Weather (May 15, 1984)




And 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!

Friday, May 10, 2024

Friday 80s Flashback for May 10, 2024

[Still Twisted] -- Once again, my inner (glam) metalhead comes to the fore. This week, it's for Stay Hungry, Twisted Sister's third studio album which was released 40 years ago today. Even if you know nothing else of Twisted Sister, you probably know "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock," the first two singles off this album, both of which became the band's signature tunes. These two tracks remain staples of 1980s hair metal. "We're Not Gonna Take It" peaked at #21 and #7 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and US Mainstream Rock charts respectively, while "I Wanna Rock" languished near the bottom of both charts (#68 on US Billboard Hot 100 and #35 on US Mainstream Rock). Those songs, and their music videos, helped propel Stay Hungry to Platinum sales, and a spot at #15 on the US Billboard 200, making it Twisted Sister's most commercially successful album. 

At the time, "We're Not Gonna Take It" was considered controversial and it was targeted by the PMRC in their crusade against violent and sexual lyrical content. The PMRC's efforts in the 1980s led to Twisted Sister's vocalist,, to appear at a PMRC senate hearing. And, yes, that was the same hearing at which Frank Zappa appeared. Both Zappa and Snider spoke out against censoring rock lyrics, and made the PMRC look like absolute fools.

The notorious reputation of "We're Not Gonna Take It" has diminished over time, leading Dee Snider to claim that it "...has become almost a folk song, but the message has gotten lost" (via rock107.com). And when right wingers really didn't get the message, Dee had to spell it out for them.

Still, at this point in 1984, Twisted Sister had finally achieved fame and acclaim, and their album was blasting from radios and cassette players for most of the year. 

FlashbackStay Hungry (May 10, 1984)




And 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!

Friday, May 3, 2024

Friday 80s Flashback for May 3, 2024


[Goodbye Dad - Redux] -- I am taking another break from revisiting albums that turn 40 in 2024. This week is the 11th anniversary of my father's death. And, just as it did 11 years ago, May 3 falls on a Friday. So, I will pull the same three tracks I shared on that day, as well as two additional songs. They are the songs I picked to work through, and continue to work through, that sense of loss. If you care to join me, read and hear more below.


Flashback #1"My body bruised, she's got me with | Nothing to win and | Nothing left to lose."

First up, we have U2's "With or Without You" from their 1987 album, The Joshua Tree. It is one of the band's most recognizable songs. It can be interpreted either as a love song or about spiritual need. Or, perhaps, surrendering to love or spiritual faith. Therefore, just as I did back in 2013, I dedicate it to both my mother and my father.




Flashback #2"You don't have to put up a fight."

OK. It's another U2 song, and it's not even from the 80s. However, "Sometimes You Can't Make it on Your Own" (from their 2004 album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb) is simply perfect for today. So many people traveled with me, and supported me, on the journey during which I lost my father. I could not make it on my own, and I did not have to. 




Flashback #3"If you're lost, you can look, and you will find me."

Sure, Cyndi Lauper made "Time After Time" famous, but I think Tuck & Patti recorded the greatest version of this song. You can find it on Tears of Joy, the acoustic duo's 1988 debut album. 



Flashback #4Instrumental

"Last Train Home" is an instrumental by guitarist and composer Pat Metheny. It was first recorded by the Pat Metheny Group on their 1987 album, Still Life (Talking). My father is responsible for me being a fan of Pat Metheny. And because this track really has the sound and feel of a moving train, and my late father loved trains, I can imagine it is part of the soundtrack that played him on to his next home after his terrestrial life. 




Flashback #5"It's hard living life on this memory-go-round."

Sure, you might laugh that I'm ending this Flashback with a song by Night Ranger, but is there any better line about losing a loved one than "memory-go-round"? Well, there might be, but I can't think of it right now. "Goodbye" can be found on 7 Wishes (1985).




And 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!