|80s Boombox via Zazzle|
[Red, White, and Bruised ... er, Blue! Redux] -- The Fourth of July lands on a Monday this year, so many wage earners in the U.S. are given a three-day weekend to celebrate a unique event: when 13 scrappy, English colonies engaged in an act of civil disobedience. Well, it was actually an act of treason. And it was committed by writing a sternly worded letter to King George III, who wouldn't receive his copy until August 30, 1776. Now, I don't know what the Founding Fathers would make of this week's playlist. But there will be plenty of serious fare discussing the events of 1776 on the web, radio, and television. So on the Flashback, we're gong to cut loose and have some fun. If you're ready to celebrate with me in 80s rock style, then read and hear more after the break. We'll enjoy a few tracks that somehow have a little red, white, or blue associated with them.
Please note, I'm re-using a post/playlist is a slightly modified version of the one that originally appeared on Prophet or Madman on July 4, 2014. But, hey, these songs are over 20 years old anyway, so there shouldn't be any problem with me recycling a year-old blog post, right? If you agree, you can read and hear more after the break.
Flashback #1: "Come on, let's fly away where eagles fly."
Sammy Hagar is known as the Red Rocker. That moniker has nothing to do with the Communist Party, so I'm guessing that using it as the reason for our first Flashback of the day is pretty much OK. He even has a song called "Red" in his discography, right on his solo debut album. Unfortunately, it is from 1977, so it falls just short of our decade. "Eagles Fly," however, was the third single from his 1987 solo album, I Never Said Goodbye which was originally titled Sammy Hagar (like his 1977 album). It was renamed I Never Said Goodbye as part of an MTV promotional contest. The album peaked at #14 on the charts, but it wasn't nearly as successful as some of his prior solo efforts. Perhaps that's because -- allegedly, reportedly -- I Never Said Goodbye was released as a contractual obligation, coming out one year after joining Van Halen. In fact, it is the only solo album Hagar released during his tenure with Van Halen (1986–1996), and Eddie Van Halen is credited with bass and backing vocals. "Eagles Fly" hit #82 and #22 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard Album Rock Tracks charts respectively. And it is a nice meditation, perhaps, on America as the land where eagles do, in fact, fly.
Flashback #2: "White rabbit coming."
Our white entry for this red, white, and blue Flashback is the "White Rabbit" from The Airplane Crashers. I don't really have much to say about this tune. It was a 1989 single, it's electronic, and it's pretty much an instrumental (except for the woman's voice that occasionally says, "white ... rabbit ... coming," or something like that). Really, I don't. I mean, this is the entry for the band at bbc.co.uk/artists. There is no entry whatsoever at Wikipedia. However, I can tell you the band is Belgian, but only because this tune appears on the 2010 compilation album, Belgian Dance Classix Vol. 2. And that's one to grow on! (No, it is not).
Flashback #3: ""Son, life is simple, it's either cherry red or | Midnight blue, oh."
During my sophomore year at Penn State, R.E.M. released the brilliant Document (1987). A watershed album in many ways, Document heralded a keener edged, albeit newly polished, sound as well as the band's most politically open lyrics to date. It also marked the band's jump from cult status to mega-popularity. And R.E.M. knew they had an audience. They flexed their pop-culture appeal in service of causes close to their hearts, such as the environment. But they could also have fun. I saw R.E.M. perform at Penn State as part of the Document tour. I think we were all a bit surprised at how animated lead singer Michael Stipe could be. From popping out to perform a duet with the opening act (10,000 Maniacs fronted by Natalie Merchant), to riffing with the folks in the front row, and to their cover of Lou Gramm's "Midnight Blue," which is our final, and blue, Flashback of the day. It might seem odd that R.E.M. covered Lou Gramm, but they apparently liked this under-appreciated song very much. And I've said it before, so I'll say it again: that October 1987 show was probably the best concert I've ever attended ... in a gymnasium.
Once again, I remind you that the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the archives. 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.
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I'll see you in seven!