CLOSE YOUR EYES. TAKE A DEEP BREATH. OPEN YOUR HEART.

SHADY DEL KNIGHT, ADMINISTRATOR

SHADY DEL KNIGHT, ADMINISTRATOR
High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight
HELLO STRANGER ... IT SEEMS LIKE A MIGHTY LONG TIME!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Swept Away ....... by a New Wave ....... of Pure Energy! It's Parr for the Course with Shady's Eighties Greaties, Vol. 3!


 It's time to revisit one of my 

 favorite decades, the 1980s! 

By 1990 I had lost interest in modern music, stopped listening to current hits on the radio, stopped buying newly released material and concentrated on filling the gaps in my oldies collection. In this four part series I am presenting the best and most memorable recordings to emerge in the ten years before I turned off and tuned out.


 Let there be music! 

 Experience Eighties Greaties! 


 DIANA ROSS 

I didn't pay much attention to Diana Ross during the 1970s when she was starring in movies, recording movie themes and releasing weepy ballads. Diana's "Reach Out and Touch," "Good Morning Heartache" taken from Lady Sings the Blues, "Do You Know Where You're Going To" (from Mahogany) and "Endless Love," a duet performed with Lionel Richie, were all fine recordings. Isn't "fine" the word you ladies like to use? Well, I can't emphasize enough how fine those songs were.
I enjoyed hearing them whenever I rode the elevator. The problem is they didn't resonate with me. I wanna rock, and easy listening love ballads make me want to rip and destroy. (Picture John Belushi smashing that guy's acoustic guitar in Animal House.) And so, when those songs came on the radio I ran. I ran! I ran! I ran! I ran as little Jimmy Grimaldi ran the other day. (Don't ask what that was all about.)


In the late 70s and early 80s Diana Ross won me back when she turned the beat around (and Upside Down,) cranking out an impressive string of disco and urban club dance singles.



In 1982 Lady Di put some muscle in her music when she recorded a song written and produced for her by Michael Jackson. "Muscles," a song named after Mike's pet snake, slithered serpentine into the Top 10. In 1984, Diana "Swept Away" the club crowd with a dance single co-written by Daryl Hall of Hall and Oates.



 "Swept Away" - Diana Ross (August 1984, 
 highest chart position #19 Hot 100
 #1 Dance/Club Play




 JOHN PARR 

English singer/guitarist John Parr initially earned his stripes with bands in his home country, then came to America in 1984, wrote songs for goth rocker Meat Loaf, and began a solo career. Parr's first hit record is particularly memorable for me because the video was heavily requested and frequently played at the MTV style television station where I worked as head of production in the 80s and 90s. The phat part is early on when Parr's vintage 'Stang rounds a street corner and the hubcap flies off, a moment symbolic of the wild abandon that is the essence of rock and roll.

 "Naughty Naughty" - John Parr 
 (February 1985, highest chart position 
 #23 Hot 100, #1 Mainstream Rock chart) 



The success of Parr's "Naughty Naughty" led to an offer for him to record a song that became the theme of the hit movie St. Elmo's Fire, a brat pack feature that turned Demi Moore, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Andrew McCarthy, Judd Nelson and Mare Winningham into stars. "St Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" was written in honor of Canadian wheelchair athlete Rick Hansen, an activist for people with spinal cord injuries. Although the song was not directly related to the plot of the movie, it resonated with audiences, became an international hit and garnered a Grammy nomination.

 "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion) - John Parr 
 (August 1985, highest chart position 
 #1 Hot 100, #2 Mainstream Rock, #6 UK) 




 PAUL HARDCASTLE 

It has a great beat and you can dance to it. That was the impression the first time you listened to "19," a synthpop club record that was on the chart the same time as John Parr's "St. Elmo's Fire." Performed by English composer/musician Paul Hardcastle, "19" filled dance floors, but the irresistible beat could not mask the disturbing message conveyed by the song. Using sound bites from a TV documentary, "19" called attention to the plight of Vietnam soldiers stricken with a condition called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The record became an international sensation, spending multiple weeks at #1 in the UK, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands and New Zealand and topping the Dance Club survey in the USA.

 "19" - Paul Hardcastle (July 1985, 
 highest chart position #15 Hot 100
 #1 U.S. Dance Club Play




 AGNETHA FALTSKOG 


Like Rick Springfield, former ABBA member Agnetha Faltskog only got better with age. Agnetha matured from a girl into a woman when she embarked on a solo career and recorded three terrific albums during the 80s. Aggie had been wildly popular as the star attraction of the Swedish super group but, for some reason, her solo recordings failed to catch on stateside. Her 1983 album Wrap Your Arms Around Me went triple platinum in Sweden but bubbled under at #102 on the domestic album chart. Agnetha's "Can't Shake Loose" was the only single that charted in the U.S., reaching the top 30. I can't help thinking that two of my favorite songs from the album might have become hits in America if they had been released as singles. The first, "Once Burned, Twice Shy," is as good as any other power pop recording produced during the decade.

 "Once Burned, Twice Shy" - 
 Agnetha Faltskog (from the 1983 album
 Wrap Your Arms Around Me




"Stand By My Side" is another track that positioned Aggie as a female pop artist who also knew how to rock!

 "Stand By My Side" - Agnetha Faltskog 
 (from the 1983 album Wrap Your Arms 
 Around Me




 BILLY IDOL 

Sneering, snarling English rocker Billy Idol was perfect for MTV. The man with the whiplash smile had video hits with "White Wedding," "Hot in the City," "Eyes Without a Face," "Dancing With Myself, "Rebel Yell," "Cradle of Love" and "Catch My Fall," all of which were frequently requested at
my TV station. I used Billy's hit "Flesh for Fantasy" as the opening theme of our hard rock/heavy metal show inspired
by MTV's Headbanger's Ball. "Don't Need a Gun," a track from Idol's third album Whiplash Smile, is another favorite of mine. Released as a single, "Gun" triggered enough media play and record sales to reach the U.S. top 40 early in 1987.

 "Don't Need a Gun" - Billy Idol 
 (February 1987, highest chart position 
 #37 Hot 100, #10 Mainstream Rock
 #26 UK) 




 INFORMATION SOCIETY 

My good friend Belle will be interested to know that the late 80s synthpop dance hit "What's On Your Mind (Pure Energy)" included sound samples from two Star Trek episodes: Spock's (Leonard Nimoy's) voice from "Errand of Mercy" saying "pure energy" and Dr. McCoy's (DeForest Kelley's) voice taken from "I Mudd" uttering the words "It's worked so far, but we're not out yet!" Information Society looks and sounds like an English New Wave act. They were instead a Minneapolis based band influenced by the so-called Second British Invasion (primarily New Wave) and part of the 1980s American response to the movement. "What's On Your Mind" cracked the top 5 in the fall of 1988 and was used by illusionist David Copperfield in his shows.

 "What's On Your Mind (Pure Energy)" 
 - Information Society (October 1988, 
 highest chart position #3) 




 Three down and one to go! 

 Don't miss Part 4 of Shady's  

 Eighties Greaties coming soon! 

Have a Shady day!

28 comments:

  1. Gosh, I knew most of these this morning! You've got some gems for us. Be still my heart for Billy Idol! It's been a long time since I've heard anything from him. And Agnetha is still such a talent. I, too, wondered why she never caught on as a solo because she (IMO) was the biggest talent of ABBA.

    It was a pure pleasure to listen to these great ones this morning, Shady. My brain was firing on all cylinders as the music settled into the once familiar nooks and crannies.

    Thank you, friend, for the most enjoyable start to a Monday morning~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Shelly! Billy Idol's live performance of "Gun" is one of the best clips of the decade. Did you see that drummer? I have all three of Aggie Faltzkog's 80s solo albums and they're packed with tracks that could have and should have become hits in the USA. I'm glad I got your work week off to a rockin' start, dear friend Shelly. Thanks so much for being here!

      Delete
  2. I didnt realize any of the ABBA members went solo so it was a treat to listen to Agnetha Faltskog's tunes. I'm a big fan of ABBA (thanks in large part to the film Mamma Mia) and am digging Faltskog's tracks almost as much as I like their group stuff. Other than Billy Idol and Diana Ross, I wasnt familiar with the other artists so thanks for the intro. I know you kinda stopped tracking artists in the 90s but I hope you've gone back and discovered some of the music from that era. Its got some great stuff!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there, Amber Blue Bird! Thanks to you and your Friday tune fest I am discovering plenty of great music from the 90s and the new millennium. You should listen to all three of Agnetha's 80s albums. They are loaded with great material in a variety of styles. Aggie's 80s output included many potential American hits but her record company dropped the ball and never released them as singles. She could have been as popular as Cher, Laura Branigan, Debbie Gibson, Tiffany or any of the other female pop stars of the decade. You're a sweetie for coming by, dear friend Amber. I always appreciate seeing your smiling shoes here on my doorstep. Have a wonderful afternoon and I'll be seeing you soon over at your blogspot. Toodles!

      Delete
  3. I know nothing of the eighties so this was all new music for me. I'm kind of shocked that my favorite song was the Billy Idol one! He is gross to watch but that song had a great beat and music. I didn't know St. Elmo's Fire was written for Rick Hansen. We went out to see him arrive in Kelowna and followed him to the City Park. He is a hero here in his home province of BC. All our sidewalks in Kelowna were changed to be wheelchair accessible after his tour. I also like the song.

    I've never heard of Pure Energy, but I did like the song and it was funny hearing Spock and Bones on it! I also did not know the girl from ABBA went solo. I've always loved her sweet voice and agree those would have been hits if they would have promoted her better. Thanks Shady for all the fun today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, Belle, I learned something from you today. I didn't know about Rick Hansen's ties to your community and province. It's funny how you could react the way you did to Billy Idol, saying he's gross to watch while Shelly wrote "be still my heart." I'm still raving about his drummer in that video. What an exciting performance clip! I'm glad you appreciated the use of those sound bites from Star Trek in that trendy recording by Info Society. It's hard to believe they originated in the Twin Cities rather than somewhere in Europe. Thank you very much for making time for a visit and a listen, dear friend Belle, and please stay safe in your travels tomorrow!

      Delete
  4. So we are into the eighties now dear Tom. It was so good to hear these songs today, and I especially loved the two by Agnetha from Abba. I really think that she was so under=rated as a solo artiste. St Elmo's fire was another one that I really liked. You really do have such a wide knowledge of music over the years Tom - I am in total awe of you! Sending smooches your way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hallo, dear Thisisme, and smooches back across the pond to you, my friend! I'm glad you and the other commenters agree that Aggie F. continued to produce quality work long after she left ABBA. I might add that in 2004 she also released an album called My Colouring Book which I also bought and enjoy. It contains cover versions of boomer era (and older) songs such as When You Walk in the Room, originally by the Searchers; Sealed with a Kiss, the Brian Hyland classic; Fly Me to the Moon; Past, Present and Future (presented on my blog a while back by the Shangri-las); and The End of the World, a big hit in 1963 for Skeeter Davis. It's so good to see you, dear Thisisme. I trust you're safely back home from France now and hopefully enjoying some sunny weather as your English summer winds to a close. Blessings to you!

      Delete
  5. I was doing pretty good with Diana and then it happened again good buddy.?????? I enjoyed the rest but was in new territory again. It really amazes me how many talented people were around that I didn't even know existed. Another great one as usual.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Odie! I hope you checked out "19" for scenes from Vietnam and a tutorial about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among the young soldiers who fought the war. Diana Ross, more than most 60s singers, was able to adapt to the changing times and produce a string of very successful singles and albums throughout the 70s and 80s. I'm glad you enjoyed. Thanks for coming over, good buddy, and enjoy the rest of your week!

      Delete
  6. Me again Tom! I am definitely going to see if I can still download Colouring Book, because I love all those songs you mentioned. Thank you and, yes, arrived home in Monday to a lovely spell of weather. Take care dear friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Thisisme! Yes indeed, I think you'd enjoy Agnetha's My Colouring Book album. It's very nicely produced and Aggie renders the songs in a gentle, wistful manner. Another song from the album that you might enjoy is "Love Me With All Your Heart" which was a 1964 hit for the Ray Charles Singers and a 1966 hit for England's vocal group The Bachelors. Finally, my favorite song from the album and one I think will touch your heart, is the exquisite ballad "If I Thought You'd Ever Change Your Mind" which was a top 20 UK hit for Cilla Black in 1969. You can find that song and most or all of the other tracks from My Colouring Book on YouTube. Thank you very much for the follow-up, dear friend, and I'll be chatting with you again soon!

      Delete
  7. We got back into more familiar territory this time! In the 80's I was raising my kids, and they were getting old enough to appreciate the music of the day. I remember well the music from St Elmo's Fire, ABBA (although I didn't know about the solo career) and Diana Ross's later hits. And Billy Idol - love me some Billy Idol! Information Society reminds me of driving my oldest down to Chapman College for his Junior Youth Symphony Orchestra rehearsals (he played french horn but quit at 14 to play football. Broke my heart, but that's another story.) and that's the type of music he loved to listen to. Well, that and Guns 'n Roses... Fun post! Enjoyed this very much. Hope all is well. I guess Tampa is quiet after all of those crazy Republicans left town? We are a party lovin' bunch *sarcastic smile*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll take your sarcastic smile any day of the week, dear karen, because I love having you here. Yessum, the major downtown streets of Tampa have reopened in the wake of the RNC and traffic is flowing once again. I was hoping you'd be able to catch this 80s post because I figured the offerings would be more familiar to you. It's so cool that you remember "Pure Energy" and I agree that Billy Idol exuded an animal magnetism that made his MTV videos and live performances must see. Once again it's great having you here, dear friend karen, and I'll be seeing you soon over at your space.

      Delete
  8. Billy Idol is one of my 80s favourites!As you know Tom, the 80s are my music not so guilty pleasure, much to Donnacha's dismay! I watched a film with a great 80s soundtrack last night, American Psycho. It has New Order, Huey Lweis and the News, Phil Collins and Whitney Houston, all the classics :)

    Emma x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Emma! Thanks so much for hopping across the great pond to see me. My TV station played Huey Lewis & the News videos in heavy rotation. "If This is It" (with all the sight gags on the beach) stands as the most memorable clip for me. Phil Collins was also a heavy hitter at my station with "Against All Odds," Easy Lover" with Philip Bailey and "Sussudio" coming to mind. Remember when his earlier hit "In the Air Tonight" made a splash on Miami Vice? Thank you again, dear friend Emma, for taking time from your busy day to visit, listen and comment. Enjoy the rest of your week!

      Delete
  9. Just a little note to let you know I've been reading your comments for a long time to our mutual friend THISISME.Your comments are so nice.Isn't She a Dear.I think I've secretly always wanted to be from anywhere in England or Ireland.I find your blog fun to read too-Denise from Coffeeberry Cottage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello and welcome to Shady Dell Music & Memories, Denise! Thisisme is indeed a dear woman and a wonderful friend and it is a pleasure to meet you as well. I am honored to know you enjoy reading my comments to her and that you have fun reading my blog from time to time. If you'd like to meet a fine young woman who lives in Dublin just click on "Emma" in my comments above and take a look at some of the lovely pictures of Ireland she posts on Ole Green Eyes. Thank you very much for introducing yourself, dear Denise. I hope you'll come here back again soon and I hope to see you this weekend at Southhamsdarling for Sunday Snaps!

      Delete
  10. Hi, Shady! Like you, I loved Diana Ross tunes but, you forgot my favorite, "Touch me in the Morning"! I thought I knew all her tunes but somehow "Swept Away" escapes me.
    Like you, I loved those ballads but, (like you) I had a need to rock out and shake my head (hair) front, back, side to side--Violently!!!
    When you look back now at those 80's glam rock videos, it looks silly but boy, we loved 'em back in the day!
    "Naughty, Naughty" was also a very "FINE" song and fun to dance to.
    In the 80's, one dance craze was basically just jumping straight up and down, sometimes shaking your head fast but just slightly side to side (can you picture that? LOL!).
    I did that to most of all the Billy Idol songs named, not to mention, it was a great aerobic workout!
    The 80's had some great tunes but ohhhh the fashion!!!!!
    Unlike you, I didn't stop my "record collection" in the 80's. I went through the 90's to present. I love to hear the "next big hit"!
    Now you're hitting my past , Shady, thank you --it's always fun to reminisce!

    p.s. who is Jimmy Grimaldi???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, hello there, Toni! It's great to see you back here checking out my jukebox. I forgot to list "Touch Me in the Morning" as another of those "fine" Diana Ross songs that made me run like Jimmy Grimaldi. That, by the way, is a very dated reference to a line of dialogue from the 1955 sci-fi horror picture Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Miles had just kissed a sleeping Becky in the cave and realized, to his utter dismay, that she had forgotten to bring along her breath mints. (LOL) Yessum, I remember jumping straight up and down and shaking my head side to side, but it wasn't on the dance floor. I was in a very long line waiting to use the Dell men's room! (LOL) I am delighted to see you again, dear friend Toni, and happy to know you could relate to these Eighties Greaties. Stay tuned for Part 4 coming soon!

      Delete
  11. So you finally get around to the Supremes! Well, they were a welcome sight for us girls...although, we had Mary Wells and Martha and the Vandellas, whom I did like better. Martha had such a natural rhythm presence, you believed she really liked what she did. It's just that Diana had such a unique voice, and, we all wanted to sing like her. Her hairstyle was so different, and there were a lot of haircuts going on in my school too! I got away from Diana Ross, but have to say she was a great actress/songstress in 'Lady Sing the Blues' and Mahogany, and, I will watch them again. My favorite song of hers was a cover 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough'. She did a fabulous job with it.

    I didn't remember John Parr until I listened to 'St. Elmo's Fire'...brought chills! And, I did listen to 'Naughty Naughty'-that is a good song too, both songs have such good beat.

    You know, I don't know much of Billy Idol's stuff...I think I just can't get past his stage presence to listen appropriately, lol! I mean it, he has some kind of aura that just stops me cold, (I can't take my eyes of him) but, I totally love his version of 'Mony Mony'...that song makes me sit up an listen too! Some people can't tell the difference between his version and Tommy James recording.

    Good post Shady! We're at 102° today, hope you're staying cool! Thanks for the great variety you brought us!♫

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Susan! Florida's temp is way down in the frigid 90s! (LOL) Sorry you're having a "Heat Wave" as Martha & the Vandellas would shout. Yes, Billy Idol did a super high energy version of "Mony Mony" and it's hard to decide which is the definitive, his or Tommy James'. Diana Ross also impressed me with "Ain't No Mountain." I love her squeal near the end. I was also very impressed with her fierce performance in that terrible thunderstorm during her Showtime concert in Central Park in 1983. Diana also proved herself as an acresss and I saw those two films you mentioned. Thank you very much for stopping by, dear Susan, and please try to keep your cool over there. Fall and winter are coming!

      Delete
  12. I love 80s music! Probably because both my parents grew up in the 80s so that's what we listened to growing up. I need to catch up on parts 1 and 2!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Ashton! How's the bride to be? You seem to have eclectic taste in music. I remember you telling me you enjoy 60s stuff, too. The 80s decade was an exciting time and MTV deserves much of the credit. I studied big budget videos and incorporated their imagery into my own productions. This four parter is dedicated to bringing you some of the best in New Wave, rock, power pop, dance and other popular categories of the era. I hope you'll check out the earlier installments and stay tuned for Volume 4. Thanks so much for coming by, dear Ashton!

      Delete
  13. Hi Shady!! I apologize for showing up so late, my friend! We've been busy getting my little guy ready for his first day of school - which is today! He was so happy to start this morning and I'm happy to have some free time to catch up with my blog friends! :)

    I'm excited because I recognized almost all of the songs you shared today and so many are connected to wonderful memories of my mother. I love Upside Down and Ain't No Mountain, but my favorite has to be Love Hangover (?) I'm not sure if I have the name right. My mom was always playing Diana Ross records, and yes, even her "finer" songs, but the word I used was "sappy," LoL ;) I actually appreciate her music more now than I did back then.

    "What's On Your Mind" often pops into my head for no apparent reason at all. This also happens with that "Safety Dance" song, which I believe was also released in the 80s. I like Abba more today than I did back then. I'm ashamed to admit that I listened to a lot of the "hair bands" back in the 80s. Oh, the shame of it!! (LOL!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Jenn June! I'm so excited to see you and to know that your little man is enthusiastic about his first day of school. God bless him! With his positive attitude, his curiosity and a caring mom like you I am sure he'll enjoy school and get a quality education. "Love Hangover" is the correct title of Diana's big disco hit. My favorite part is when she giggles. Ad libs like that giggle or her squeal in "Ain't No Mountain..." can provide the hook that makes a hit record. I well remember "Safety Dance" because it was popular at the same time I went to the hospital for surgery. Please don't feel ashamed to admit that you listened to hair bands. I love that type of music and am currently in the process of adding to my collection, purchasing CD's by bands such as Kiss, Def Leppard, Ratt, Tesla, Savatage, Scorpions, Cinderella, Britny Fox, Ronnie James Dio, Krokus, AC/DC and Motley Crue. Thanks so much for showing up for me today, dear JJ. I truly appreciate your friendship and support!

      Delete
  14. WoW! Those names sure bring back memories. I still really love Tesla and Cinderella was one of the first bands I ever saw in concert, when they opened for Bon Jovi. I can't stomache Bon Jovi too much anymore.

    These days Jack White really has my musical heart, though. Check out "Level" by The Raconteurs if you ever have a minute. Some people have said that he sounds like a banshee screaming from inside a tin can filled with nails, and that is true at times but his music is very diverse and I think his singing has improved greatly since his early years in The White Stripes. His guitar skills are undeniable. The Black Keys are another you may find interesting, I don't know.

    I hope you're having a great day! Time for me to go pick up my boy and hear about his day. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Jenn June! I agree about Bon Jovi. Maybe it's overexposure. Maybe I'm into a harder and heavier sound these days and their material tends to be too teen pop-melodic. I'm not sure, but that's why I left that band off my CD purchase list. Tesla and Cinderella were two of the bands that I actually met when they came to my TV station for promotional interviews. Savatage, a local Tampa band with a fabulous sound, also dropped by our studios occasionally. Check out their Hall of the Mountain King album. Our station also hosted Pennsylvania's bad boy band Poison along with Ratt, Faster Pussycat and many other hair metal bands of the day. We also went on location and landed a pre-show interview with Eric Carr, the drummer of Kiss. Kiss was topping the bill that day along with W.A.S.P. and we mixed and mingled with both bands backstage. I just finished listening to Jack White and The Raconteurs performing "Level" and I loved it! Thanks for the tip! It reminded me a little of another Detroit rocker, Ted Nugent, and his "Stranglehold." Look that one up on You/Tube and listen to the 8 minute studio version if you have time. It's great chatting with you again, Jenn June, and I am eager to find out how your little man made out at school today. God bless!

      Delete

You talkin' to me?