Tag: 80’s

Retro Round Table: Top 5 Albums of the 80’s


We’re back once again for another Top 5, and this time, we’re talking about something retro lovers universally love, 80’s music!  The music from the 80’s is one thing most nostalgiac folks look back on fondly, and we all have a different take on what the best from that decade was.  Now since everyone has such varying tastes, presenting a list of just my favorite five albums may not be too interesting, I’ve brought in an esteemed panel to widen the choices a little.  As usual, this list is a Top 5, but each pick tops the list for each of these contributors.

On the panel this week we have Eric Vardeman from EricVMusic.com, Jason Gross of Rediscover the 80’s, Scott Keith from Scott’s Blog of Doom, Hoju Koolander from the Sequel Quest Podcast, and myself, The Retro Rambler.  Let’s see what we’ve picked as the top of the 80’s music scene……

Raising Hell

Raising Hell from Run DMC

While there are too many albums I adore to choose an absolute favorite, I’ll choose the one I remember collecting first as a kid. MTV pretty much introduced me to rap and hip hop music and it dominated my collection up through the early 90s. One song in particular, “Walk This Way, by Run-DMC and Aerosmith, had just about everything I loved in music at the time. And the antics of the music video beginning as battle of the bands and ending in a perfect mashup of rock and rap made the song perfect for my young ears.

A neighborhood friend (or maybe his older sister) had Run-DMC’s album “Raising Hell” with my favorite song and it quickly became one I needed to own. Up to this point, I had only collected 45 records thanks to my mother’s ear for Top 40. But one fateful day visiting the record store in the local mall changed my collecting habits and I bought “Raising Hell” on cassette. Side A was primarily what I listened to which included “Walk This Way”, but also tracks I’ve grown to love like “Peter Piper”, “It’s Tricky”, and “My Adidas”. On Side B, “You Be Illin” was by far my favorite with its hilariously woven lyrics and Jam Master Jay’s mix with that horn section riff. “Raising Hell” remains one of my favorite ‘80s albums to this day and truly defines what I believe was the most diverse decade for popular music.

– Jason Gross

Jason is the creative force behind Rediscover the 80’s and is always posting some of the best retro content you’ll find anywhere on the web.  His twitter feed is a heavenly slice of the 80’s, so you should give him a follow there at @rd80s.  He and I collaborated last year to compile out list of our ten favorite episodes of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.  Check out his five here, and then give my five favorites a look too!

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Music Monday – Week of February 12th

Music Monday


I’m a child of the 80’s. I was born in 1970 and graduated high school in 1988 so the bulk of my formative years were spent in what some consider to be the greatest decade known to man. It was right around 1983 that I started really listening to and escaping into music. Among other things, Casey Kasem and his American Top 40 did a fantastic job of helping inform my musical identity at the time. I consider myself somewhat of an 80’s music connoisseur and not a day goes by that I don’t listen to either my 80’s on 8 playlist (443 songs) or my Hair Nation playlist (241 songs). That’s almost 700 songs of 80’s goodness right there.

While those playlists span almost ten years of music, I’ve long contended that 1983 and 1984 were the pinnacle of 80’s music. A large percentage of the songs we consider quintessential 80’s tunes – the stuff that compilation and greatest hits albums are made of – came out of these two years. In an attempt to prove out my contention that those years were, in fact, the halcyon days of 80’s music, I’m going to take some time and walk through the weekly top 40 charts starting in 1983. I’ve built a Spotify playlist that I’ll update every week, I’ll point out some of the songs going up and down the charts and, since I’m a font of useless 80’s information, point out some interesting facts about a tune or two. We’ll try it for a while. If it works it works, if it’s a snoozer we’ll stop. Join me, won’t you?

US Top 40 Singles for the Week Ending February 12, 1983

  • “Down Under” by Men At Work is the number one song. Two weeks ago, it was number one but fell to number two last week. This week, it claws its way back to number one.
  • One of my favorite 80’s songs, “On The Loose” by Saga is climbing the charts.
  • Michael Jackson is beginning his assault on the American music charts. The album Thriller was released in November of ’82 and the first huge single, “Billie Jean”, is climbing.
  • “Mickey” by Toni Basil fell off the charts this week after peaking at number one. To be honest, I never knew it reached the top spot.
  • Roboto” by Styx debuts this week. One of their biggest hits, they refuse to play it in concert now.
  • Take a look up and down the chart and notice all the songs that are regarded as some of the most recognized (if not iconic) songs of the 80’s. This will happen all year long.


Retro Round Table: Top 5 Retro Crushes

Retro crushes


It’s time once again for another Top 5 list, and since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, this week we are looking back at our Top 5 Retro Crushes!  Once again, you not only get my opinion, but the opinions of several other retro luminaries from around the web.  On the esteemed panel this week we have Hoju Koolander of the SequelQuest Podcast, Jason Gross from Rediscover the 80’s, Eric Vardeman from right here at Retro Ramblings as well as Eric V Music, and first-timer Jannet Hadden from Eighties Grooves!  And as always, I’m your host with the most, The Retro Rambler.  Let’s get to the list and see who was crushing on who back in the day…..

Carolyne Heldman

Carolyne Heldman

Biggest crush? If we’re talking junior high, might have to say Mary Lou Retton. I fell head over heels for that little spitfire during the ’84 Olympic games. She may very well be what lit the spark that is now my undying love for the Olympics. Overall, though, I’d have to say my biggest crush from the 80’s was MTV’s Carolyne Heldman. She was on from 1986-88 and was part of the second wave of VJ’s to hit the air. She was typically on in the mid afternoon just about I was getting out of school. I even remember the first video I saw her intro. It was Kyrie by Mr. Mister. BAM…I was smitten. I don’t know if it was the big hair or the fact that she resembled my high school crush but I would sit through video after video just to catch her in between. Carolyne Heldman, ladies and gentlemen:  https://youtu.be/jJjSj_kKlx0

– Eric Vardeman

Give Eric a follow on Twitter at @Eric_Vardeman, and you can find his retro memories right here on Retro Ramblings!  His article on being a music pirate back in the day is a great look back at the 80’s.  He’s also a talented singer/songwriter, and you should check out his music at EricVMusic.  Definitely check out his cover of King of Wishful Thinking while you’re there.  It’s excellent.


Rick Springfield
Rick Springfield

You could say that the summer of 1981 was the summer of Rick Springfield. He played hot new doctor Noah Drake on the popular soap opera General Hospital, and his single Jessie’s Girl, from his fifth studio album Working Class Dog, was climbing up the Billboard Hot 100, eventually reaching No. 1 that August. For a boy crazy girl like myself, it was the perfect storm for a full-blown celebrity crush. I would rush home every day to make sure I was in front of the TV at promptly 3 p.m. for the next episode of GH, just so I could swoon over the playboy doc. And all of my allowance money was spent on Rick’s records and issues of magazines like Tiger Beat with his face plastered on the cover.

Years later, in 2010, I was lucky enough to meet my long-time crush while he was promoting his autobiography, Late, Late at Night. He was very nice in person and, aside from the fact that I had trouble forming complete sentences and he didn’t whisk me off to a private island, it was everything the 80s me would have wanted.

– Janet Hadden

You can keep up with Janet, and all her of her great takes on music from the 80’s on her home on the web, Eighties Grooves.  Also, follow her on Twitter @80sgrooves.

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Retro Round Table: Favorite Stores at the Mall


You may have noticed that the Top 5 Tuesday post was missing earlier this week.  Well, that’s because it’s moving to Fridays now!  And no longer are you stuck with just MY opinion.  Oh no, now you get a variety of opinions on whatever subject comes up for the week, as I’m being joined this week by several luminaries from the online retro community as they share their take and memories of their favorite stores at the mall back in the day.  These guys took some time out of their already busy schedules to join me, so make them feel welcome and appreciated by visiting them at their own establishments.  You’ll surely find plenty to enjoy at their places too.  And, don’t let our five opinions be all that is shared.  Down there in the comments at the bottom, let me know what YOUR favorite store was at the mall in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s too.


Warner Brothers Store

Warner Brothers Store

There’s only one establishment that comes to mind when I think of mall stores that mattered to me in my childhood and that’s the Warner Bros Studio Store. Sure there were lots of Tasmanian Devil shirts and Bugs Bunny mugs on the shelves, but it was so much more than that. In the center of the store was a Marvin The Martian spaceship playhouse with built-in TV screens playing old Looney Tunes shorts, as well as an animation cel studio where you could buy actual framed art from Animaniacs or Batman: The Animated Series for outrageous prices.
Most important of all was that in the wake of the Bat-Mania brought about by Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989 these stores were filled with DC Superheroes merchandise you couldn’t find anywhere else. But I rarely bought anything, I was just there to stare at the decor. On the ledge of one wall made up to look like the Daily Planet they had life-size statues of the Justice League which made me long for live action movies that were as comics accurate as those 3-D sculptures. That made the WB Studio Store was my number 1 stop for any trip to the mall.
– Hoju Koolander

You can follow along with all of Hoju’s retro shenanigans on his twitter feed, @hojukoolander, read a lot of his his fine writing on a variety of retro topics at Retro-Daze, keep up with him at PopGeeks, and listen to his awesomely fun podquest at SequelQuest Podcast!  And if you haven’t seen it, check out Hoju’s very cool Review of Grunt! The Wrestling Movie right here on Retro Ramblings.


Aladdins Castle

Aladdin’s Castle Arcade

I spent many, many hours at the mall when I was in junior high and high school so this was hard to narrow down. Waldenbooks? When I was in junior high, my friends and I would go in there just to read the dirty joke books. Later on, I’d go in there to read the music rags. Corndog 7? I could score free food but not technically a store. The Brass Buckle? I didn’t go in there to shop so much as I went in there because the girl I had a crush on worked there. Hastings Records and Tapes? Bins right down the middle of the store full of LP’s. Walls lined with tape cubbies. Poster racks in the back. “Now Playing” album rack hanging on the wall by the cash register. I used to love to thumb through the heavy metal albums just to see how weird they were. But I digress. I’d have say my absolute favorite was Aladdin’s Castle. Although not technically a store, I did spend many a hard earned dollar there. I spent more time in that establishment than anywhere else in the mall. Every trip would start and end there. Like a heroin addict, getting a fix before I walked the mall then back later for more. Before you could drive, your parents dropped you off and picked you up there. If you’ve seen the arcade scenes in Stranger Things season two then you’ve seen me.

– Eric Vardeman

Give Eric a follow on Twitter at @Eric_Vardeman, and you can find his retro memories right here on Retro Ramblings!  His article on being a music pirate back in the day is a great look back at the 80’s.  He’s also a talented singer/songwriter, and you should check out his music at EricVMusic.  I highly recommend his version of I’m on Fire made famous by Bruce Springsteen.

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Construx – One of the Best Toys of the 80’s

In 1983, Fisher-Price rolled out it’s newest toy creation.  It was called Construx, and was possibly the most versatile building/construction toy since the erector set.  It featured plastic beams in various lengths, multi directional connectors, plates, axles, wheels, pulleys, and much more.  What you could make with Construx was really only limited to your imagination.




Next to Lego, Construx was the greatest building toy that I ever laid hands on, and in some ways, it surpassed Lego. The size of the pieces and the way they were designed allowed for larger projects than Lego could handle, which allowed for such projects as bridges, buildings, and any other thing you could dream up. These were awesome if you had a fertile imagination…which my brother and I did, and we used our Construx to build goose neck trailers for our Tonka trucks to pull along, fork lifts to load those trailers, and a host of other equipment to be used with them.




The first set that I had was the Bridges and Tower set that came out in 1983. I remember it not being exactly easy to follow the directions and complete the build, but not so hard that I had to have help either. I just had to take a little longer than my older brother did to complete it. But when it was done, oh my was it ever a fun thing to play with. He and I ended up using those Construx bridges to enhance the fun in our G.I. Joe adventures. As a matter of fact, just about everything we built with the Construx were to play with some other toy line we had. Rarely did we build anything just for the sake of playing with the Construx. I would put together swords and ninja stars when I would watch a martial arts movie and then let my imagination run wild. I would use them to construct obstacle courses and run my G.I. Joe men through their paces trying to re-enact the latest episode of American Gladiators. We used them to build tunnels and other things to go along with our Hotwheels fun.

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30 Years of Royal Rumble Statistics

Royal Rumble

29 Years of Royal Rumble Statistics

On January 24, 1988, the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) presented their first ever Royal Rumble match.  The event was held in Hamilton, Ontario Canada and kicked off what has now become a yearly tradition.  On Sunday January 28, 2018, WWE will present the 30th annual Royal Rumble on the WWE Network.

The Royal Rumble match itself is a unique wrestling match concept.  It is a battle royal type match, where wrestlers are eliminated from the contest when they are thrown over the top rope, and their feet hit the floor.  To add intrigue to the contest, the match starts with only two wrestlers in the ring.  Then, every two minutes, another superstar joins the match.  The match continues on in this way until all 30 competitors have entered.  A wrestler can be eliminated at any time.

With the nature of the match itself, and with 29 years of history behind it, it’s obviously going to have some interesting historical statistics associated with it.  So here today, we’re going to take a look at some of the more interesting statistics from this great event!

First Man to Win the Royal Rumble:  “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan – 1988

Jim Duggan

The very first Royal Rumble match only featured 20 competitors, and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan was the 13th entrant to the match.  He became the first man to win a Royal Rumble match when he eliminated the One Man Gang.


Multiple Time Royal Rumble Winners:  7

Royal Rumble Winners

Hulk Hogan won the event in 1990 and 1991, Shawn Michaels was the victor in 1995 and 1996, Triple H claimed the top honor in 2002 and 2016, John Cena won in 2008 and 2013, Batista claimed victories in 2005 and 2014, Randy Orton claimed the top spot in 2009 and 2017, but “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is the only man to have won three Royal Rumble matches with victories in 1997, 1998, and 2001.

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