Tag: Music

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.

 

Heisenberg: My 80’s Contraband Life

Heisenberg

I read an article last week talking about the fact that cassette tapes were making a comeback. In fact, cassette tape sales were up over 130% in 2017. I used to love cassette tapes. They were my musical modus operandi all through junior high, high school and into college. While the renewed interest in this antiquated technology may be nothing but a passing fancy, reading the article brought back some fond, fond memories for me.

I was a late bloomer, musically. I didn’t really get into music till around the age of thirteen. Up to that point (and even after), my parents had tried to head the rock and roll devil off at the pass by pushing me towards Christian music. Early in 1984, though, I heard two songs that cemented my rock and roll fixation forever: “(You Can Still) Rock In America” and “The Reflex”. One day, while at a mall with my family, I spent some of my hard-earned lawn mowing money at Hastings Records and Tapes on two cassettes. I bought Midnight Madness by Night Ranger and Seven and The Ragged Tiger by Duran Duran. My parents promptly made me return them, opting instead to take me to the Christian book store where I plunked down my hard-earned cash on a couple of tapes from a little known Irish band called U2, October and War  (the jokes was on them with that purchase…but I digress).

 

Night Ranger

 

I didn’t matter though. I was hooked. I found a friend at school who had the album versions of both the tapes I tried, unsuccessfully, to purchase and paid him a dollar a tape to record them for me. I started recording everything. I had cassettes full of songs recorded off of the radio as well as television. I also soon discovered that a local radio station, KMOD in Tulsa, Oklahoma, would play albums from beginning to end in the wee hours of Sunday night/Monday morning. I started recording those as well. I would set a watch alarm under my pillow so I could wake up and change the tapes out when I needed to. On several occasions I scored the mother lode. One night, they played four Van Halen records back to back (I, II, Diver Down and 1984). Recorded them all. Another night, they played four Ozzy Osbourne records (Blizzard of Ozz, Diary of A Madman, Speak of The Devil and Bark at The Moon). Got them too. On and on and on.

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