Archive for December, 2014

Merry Christmas from Billy Squier. “Christmas is the Time to say ‘I Love You'” performed in the MTV studio in December of ’81.

 

“Our Lips Are Sealed” has the distinction of being a hit by two different artists within two years. The song was first recorded by the Go-Go’s for their 1981 debut album Beauty and the Beat, and then by Fun Boy Three two years later for their second album Waiting. The Go-Go’s version reached the top 20 in the US, while the Fun Boy Three version made the top 10 in the UK. The song was co-written by Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Go’s and Terry Hall from Fun Boy Three. It arose out of a brief affair between Wiedlin and Hall while the Go-Go’s were supporting Fun Boy Three on a US tour. Hall had a girlfriend at the time and sent the unfinished lyrics to Wiedlin who finished the song and wrote the music. Quite different from the upbeat Go-Go’s version, the Fun Boy Three version is gloomy and dark with an almost ominous feel. The video has Hall at his morose best while amongst an audience of bopping club goers.

 

It’s time to post more cold war videos. As I had mentioned in a previous post on the subject, the ‘80s were filled with videos of nuclear war, nuclear bombs, and world annihilation. During the early ‘80s, the threat of war was an integral part of our lives. We saw it on TV, read about it in the papers, heard about it in songs – and there was no shortage of songs on the topic. So here are a few more videos about the dreaded destruction of the planet that poured out of our television sets at the time.

“Stand or Fall” is the first single off the The Fixx’s 1982 debut album Shuttered Room. Singer Cy Cumin wrote the song out of frustration over decisions being made by Ronnie and Margaret. The video, directed by Rupert Hine, was banned by some UK shows due to what some considered a violent depiction of a horse falling to the ground. The horse in question had been in several movies and was trained to fall on command. As luck would have it, on the day the video was shot the horse would not comply with the command to fall and was brought down by a rope. In the early days of pre-MTV Europe, most videos were shown on kids’ TV shows and this was deemed too graphic, as they felt the horse looked as if it was dying. The song charted both in the US and the UK but was particularly successful in Canada, reaching the top 40.

 

The video for the 1983 Men at Work song “It’s a Mistake” doesn’t ponder the question of whether or not war will take place but a matter of when and how. Meant as a parody of Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, the video takes place in an underground bunker as the future of the world is considered. The song was the third single from the album Cargo and reached #6 in the US but only reached #34 in their native Australia. In the video, Colin Hay portrays an officer wondering whether or not his men will be called to go to war. The video ends with Hay accidentally pushing the “button” by stubbing out a cigarette in an ashtray unfortunately placed next to the button.

 

Although the OMD song “Enola Gay” references the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, it was meant to bring attention to the cold war of the ‘80s. The song was the only single released from the 1980 album Organisation, the group’s second album. Upon its release, “Enola Gay” received critical praise. Critic Dave Thompson called the track a “perfect synth-dance-pop extravaganza” and NME listed it as one of the best 100 songs of the ‘80s. The song also caused controversy as some who were unfamiliar with the bombing of Hiroshima thought it had a pro-homosexual meaning. As a result, the song was banned on some radio stations in the UK. Regardless, the song was a huge international success and became the group’s first top 10 UK hit.

 

The first weekend in December is when we host our annual holiday party. This year we decided on a theme near and dear to my heart – ‘80s new wave music (with a dash of ‘70s). So with plenty of hairspray and makeup on hand, my husband and I prepared for the night. The drinks consisted of Sex on the Beach, Kamikazes, Fuzzy Navels, and wine coolers. In the weeks leading up to the party, I went back and forth on what to play. Should the playlist be filled with popular classics or should I pull out the deep cuts? In the end, the playlist consisted of what I hope was a good balance of popular and a bit of the obscure. The dance floor was active all night; it helps to have guests who love ‘80s music. Below is the party playlist.

1. So Long – Fischer-Z (1980) 30. Kids In America – Kim Wilde (1981) 59. Everything Counts – Depeche Mode (1983)
2. Big In Japan – Alphaville (1984) 31. Lucky Number – Lene Lovich (1978) 60. Just Like Heaven – The Cure (1987)
3. Here Comes The Rain Again – Eurythmics (1984) 32. 99 Luftballons – Nena (1983) 61. Pop Muzik – M (1979)
4. Doctor! Doctor! – The Thompson Twins (1984) 33. Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream) – Icicle Works (1983) 62. Fashion – David Bowie (1980)
5. Love My Way – The Psychedelic Furs (1982) 34. I Will Follow – U2 (1980) 63. Girls On Film – Duran Duran (1981)
6. Dance Hall Days   – Wang Chung (1984) 35. In a Big Country – Big Country (1983) 64. Politics Of Dancing – Re-Flex (1982)
7. Things Can Only Get Better – Howard Jones (1985) 36. Church Of The Poison Mind – Culture Club (1983) 65. Lips Like Sugar – Echo & The Bunnymen (1987)
8. Who Can It Be Now? – Men At Work (1981) 37. Lover Come Back (To Me) – Dead or Alive (1985) 66. Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid (1984)
9. Save It For Later – The English Beat (1982) 38. China – The Red Rockers (1983) 67. Mad World – Tears for Fears (1982)
10.  Senses Working Overtime – XTC (1982) 39. Heaven – The Psychedelic Furs (1984) 68. It’s My Life – Talk Talk (1984)
11. One Thing Leads To Another – Fixx (1983) 40. Smalltown Boy – Bronski Beat (1984) 69. The Look of Love, Pt. 1 – ABC (1982)
12. I Got You – Split Enz (1980) 41. A Little Respect- Erasure (1988) 70. The Walk – The Cure (1983)
13. Oh L’amour – Erasure (1986) 42. Just Can’t Get Enough – Depeche Mode (1981) 71. Ahead – Wire (1987)
14. Johnny and Mary – Robert Palmer (1980) 43. The Safety Dance – Men Without Hats (1983) 72. Channel Z – The B-52’s (1989)
15. She Blinded Me With Science – Thomas Dolby (1982) 44. Messages (Single Version) – OMD (1980) 73. Beautiful World- Devo (1981)
16. Der Kommissar – After the Fire (1982) 45. Peek-A-Boo – Siouxsie & The Banshees (1988) 74. Living On Video – Trans-X (1983)
17. The One Thing – INXS (1982) 46. Revenge – Ministry (1983) 75. Digital – Joy Division (1978)
18. (Keep Feeling) Fascination – The Human League (1983) 47. Lucretia My Reflection – The Sisters Of Mercy (1988) 76. Dreaming – Blondie (1979)
19. Promised You A Miracle – Simple Minds (1982) 48. Nemesis – Shriekback (1985) 77. Never Say Never – Romeo Void (1982)
20. Do You Want To Hold Me? – Bow Wow Wow (1983) 49. Obsession – Animotion (1984) 78. Age of Consent – New Order (1983)
21. Always Something There to Remind Me – Naked Eyes (1982) 50. Destination Unknown – Missing Persons (1982) 79. Electricity – OMD (1979)
22. Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You) – A Flock Of Seagulls (1983) 51. Tainted Love – Soft Cell (1981) 80. People Are People – Depeche Mode (1984)
23. Shout – Tears for Fears (1984) 52. Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses (1981) 81. Planet Earth – Duran Duran (1981)
24. West End Girls – Pet Shop Boys (1986) 53. Let Me Go – Heaven 17 (1982) 82. Dancing With Tears In My Eyes – Ultravox (1984)
25. Goodbye Horses (Clerks II Remix) – Garvey (feat. Q Lazzarus) (1988) 54. How Soon Is Now? – The Smiths (1985) 83. Send Me An Angel – Real Life (1983)
26. The Dead Heart – Midnight Oil (1986) 55. Legal Tender (Album Version) – The B-52’s (1983) 84. The Promise (Studio Version) – When In Rome (1987)
27. The Cutter – Echo & The Bunnymen (1983) 56. Nowhere Girl – B-Movie (1982) 85. Space Age Love Song – A Flock Of Seagulls (1982)
28. I Die: You Die (Video Version) – Gary Numan (1980) 57. The Metro – Berlin (1982) 86. It’s A Sin – Pet Shop Boys (1987)
29. Lawnchairs – Our Daughter’s Wedding (1980) 58. Cars – Gary Numan (1979) 87. Don’t Go – Yaz (1982)