[Food, Family, and More Food] -- Sure, today is Black Friday, but I prefer to dwell on the holiday that just passed. Thanksgiving is a time to gather with loved ones for a communal meal, reflect on ones blessings, share our largesse, and then lapse into a food coma. Now, there aren't too many Thanksgiving-specific tunes from the 80s, so I had to be a little creative for this post and focus on the theme of Food and Family (and, of course, more food). If you have recovered from your food coma and you need a break from the insanity of Black Friday, then check out this week's selections after the break.
Flashback #1: "Life's been so good to me | Has it been good to you?"
In 1984, the film Beverly Hills Cop launched a wise-cracking Eddie Murphy to international stardom. Beverly Hills Cop debuted at #1 and it was one of the highest grossing films of 1984. Although a complete version of the film's score is still unavailable, the movie soundtrack featured a who's who of 80s music stars, was #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart (1985), and earned a "Best Album" Grammy for original score (1986). What does all of that have to do with Thanksgiving? Nothing. It was all background material. But Beverly Hills Cop: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack (1984) has a tune that almost fits with the theme of Thanksgiving: "Gratitude" by Danny Elfman. Yes, that Danny Elfman of Oingo Boingo, the Simpsons theme, and numerous film soundtracks. Now, maybe the lyrics of "Gratitude" don't exactly mirror the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am thankful that a bouncy tune like this exists.
Flashback #2: "In my life | Why do I give valuable time | To people who don't care if I live or die?"
For many people, Thanksgiving is a time of dread. The more dysfunctional the family, the higher the anxiety about spending hours with kith and kin. Now, I'm not one of those folks, but I sympathize with them. And I know that noone in the world does a "Oh, my god, I'm so alone and embittered" type of song more beautifully than Morrissey with a little help from 80s band mates, The Smiths. So, for all you 80s-philes who dread family time, I have the song for you: "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now." Initially a non-album single in 1984, it reached #10 on the UK Singles chart. It is available on the compilation album, Hatful of Hollow (1984), which you really should have if you own no other Smiths records. Here are Morrissey and the boys performing the song on Top of the Pops:
Flashback #3: "Open up your mouth and feed it."
"Eat It" is a hit single by parody artist "Weird Al" Yankovic. It is a parody of the song "Beat It" by pop star Michael Jackson. The single reached #1 in Australia, and it was his highest-charting U.S. single on the Billboard Hot 100 at #12 until "White & Nerdy" peaked at #9 in October 2006. "Eat It" earned Yankovic a 1984 Grammy Award in the Best Comedy Recording category. According to Yankovic, when he presented his lyrics to Jackson for permission for the parody, he didn't know what kind of reaction he'd get. Jackson allegedly thought it was amusing, and agreed to allow the parody. On October 19, 1989, the RIAA certified "Eat It" as a gold single."Eat It" also outranked "Beat It" in overall highest position on the Australian Aria Charts, with its highest rank being number 1, while "Beat It"'s highest is 3rd.
If "Eat It" is not an ode to the overeating that occurs on this national holiday, I don't know what is.
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 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!