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Archive for the tag “1985”

Quirky T Stumbles Upon a Way to go “Back in Time”

Walking through the center of a small town recently I was shocked to see the famous DeLorean time machine from the fantastic “Back to the Future” movies. There it was (well, a replica) complete with the lightning rod, hoverboard, and the case holding the plutonium needed to fuel it. I took photos but unfortunately they did not come out as well as I had hoped. (I wish I could use the DeLorean to go back to that day and take more and better photos). I did get to sit in the car which was very low to the ground and smaller than I thought it would be. I’m not a car person but it would the coolest car to own.

photo by Quirky T

“Back to the Future” is one of my favorite movies. I wrote about it in the Guitar Train stop called “The Guitar Train Goes ‘Back to the Future’” on May 21, 2015. https://guitartrain.wordpress.com/?s=Back+to+the+Future Part of the reason I loved the first movie was the Huey Lewis and the News soundtrack and Huey’s small part in the movie. I saw Part II when it came out but I didn’t like it was much as the original. I guess that put me off seeing Part III as well as the fact that I don’t like Westerns. I recently watched all three movies. I still love the original. Part II is still not a favorite; too violent for me. So after all these years, I finally watched Part III and I loved it. It had the charm and fun of the original. To see those familiar characters again was great, even in the Old West setting. It was like watching a reunion. I’m a little mad at myself for taking so long to see the movie yet it was a gift to see something so great for the first time.

photo by Quirky T

Of course being in a “time machine” leads to the question of what period of time I would like to travel to. As I wrote in the Guitar Train stop two years ago, I would definitely go back to experience Beatlemania first hand in either England or the Unites States. Even if I wasn’t lucky enough to go to an actual Beatles concert, I could buy their records as they were released as well as buy the Beatles related memorabilia.

photo by Quirky T

As for traveling to the future, I am not sure what I would want to see. I feel like time goes by so fast that the distant future will be here before I know it. The big attraction to visiting the future is for assurances that situations work out well for yourself, family, friends, and the world. So purely for fun and curiosity, it would be interesting to go ahead 50 years and see if Beatles music is still played and praised 50 years after the release of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. I remember June 1987 when it really “was twenty years ago today” and I can’t believe 30 years has passed since then. So 50 more years will be here in the blink of an eye. The future always seems scarier than the past yet humans have endured incredibly scary times in the past. Happiness from listening to Beatles music will always be needed.

 

Guitar Train passengers, where in the future would you take the DeLorean and why?

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The Guitar Train Revisits Live Aid

Live Aid DVD cover

Continuing on the 1985 track, the Guitar Train is stopping to revisit Live Aid thirty years after the epic charity concert. Musician Bob Geldof arranged the concert which was held on July 13, 1985 at both Wembley Stadium in London, England and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Many of the top musicians of the time, including a few women, performed at the two stadiums. I watched the concert live in 1985 on MTV. All these years later, I still remember the performances of Phil Collins, The Cars, Madonna, and the group sing along of “We Are the World”.

 

Upon recently watching the 2004 DVDs from the concert, my overwhelming thought was so many male musicians, so many mullets. There were too many mulleted men to mention but they included Bryan Adams, Bono, David Bowie, Eric Clapton, and Kenny Loggins. My other thought was how much the TV show “Miami Vice” influenced the male musicians’ fashion style. I saw many pants with rolled up cuffs as if the musicians were going to be wading in the ocean rather than standing on a dry stage.

Live Aid Performers List

Now it’s time to take a look at Live Aid from the perspective of my favorite musicians. Huey Lewis and the News had participated in the recording of the charity single “We Are the World” months before and were scheduled to perform at Live Aid in Philly. They had concerns over whether the food bought from the money raised from the song actually got to the needy people in Africa. The band wanted these concerns addressed and fixed before Live Aid so that any money raised from this concert would get to the people who needed it. Since they felt that the issues were not solved, the band cancelled their performance. (They were still listed on the promotional material for the concert). It’s doubly unfortunate both if the food wasn’t getting to the hungry people and the fact that Huey Lewis and the News didn’t perform. It would be great to have seen them at the time and now have their performance on DVD to watch again. Although who knows if their performance would have made the DVD. I have the 4 DVD set of the concert released in 2004 and it doesn’t include all the performances of the 16 hour concert. Back then, they only thought of the one time live performance, not recording the concert for future viewings and for technology that didn’t yet exist.

The Beatles obviously did not perform at the 1985 concert but their music was performed there. In London, Elvis Costello sang “All You Need is Love” while Bryan Ferry sang John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy”. In Philly, The Thompson Twins, Nile Rodgers, and Madonna sang “Revolution” and Patti LaBelle sang “Imagine”. Paul McCartney was at Wembley Stadium where he played piano and sang “Let It Be”. I am surprised that he only sang one song. He certainly had many to choose from between The Beatles and Wings. I definitely would have liked to have heard more from him as I’m sure the audience would have as well.

 

Phil Collins was the talk of Live Aid because he was the only musician to perform at both stadiums as he played at Wembley and then flew on the Concorde to play in Philly hours later. In both countries, he played the same two songs, “Against All Odds” and “In the Air Tonight”. I don’t understand why with three solo albums of songs to choose from, he would repeat songs. Obviously, “I Don’t Care Anymore” and “Do You Know, do you care?” would not be good choices for a concert raising money to help suffering people but he had plenty of other songs to choose from.

In London, Phil Collins played piano for “Against All Odds” and “In the Air Tonight” which struck me as odd because he’s never played piano at any of the solo and Genesis concerts I‘ve attended. He then sang “Long Long Way to Go” from his at the time newly released third solo album “No Jacket Required”. This is the song I really remember from watching the concert at the time; the chorus of the song stuck in my head as a child. Sting joined Phil on that song and Phil joined Sting on his song, “Every Breath You Take”. I thought they were very good together and I wonder why they haven’t done more songs together. Overall Phil’s performance was subdued and not as rocking as it could have been with other songs or with Genesis.

 

Hours later in Philly, Phil Collins played drums for Eric Clapton for three Eric Clapton songs. Phil then did “Against All Odds” and “In the Air Tonight”. It was odd again to see him playing the piano especially on “In the Air Tonight” which is known for his drumming and is always the instrumental highlight in his concerts. I found this version to be too slow and ballady and I felt it needed the drums. It’s also ironic that he wasn’t playing the drums since he just played them for Eric Clapton’s songs and then played them for Led Zepplin. Here’s been much written about how disastrous the reunion of Led Zepplin was at Live Aid. I don’t understand why Phil was blamed for that since he wasn’t the only drummer playing for the band and he didn’t have much time to practice with them. Led Zepplin would not allow the performance to appear on the DVD of the concert so it’s not included.

 

I was familiar with most of the musical acts who played in Philly. However, there were many acts in London that I did not know such as Status Quo, The Style Council, Ultravox, Nik Kershaw, and Alison Moyet. To the British Guitar Train passengers, can you tell me if these musicians were famous in 1985 and did they deserve to perform at Live Aid? Have any of them retained their fame 30 years later?

 

To all Guitar Train passengers, what do you remember from watching Live Aid? What were the highlights and the lowlights for you?

 

The Guitar Train Goes “Back to the Future”

 

The second stop as The Guitar Train goes “Back in Time” to 1985 looks at the great movie that gave us that song – “Back to the Future”. Released on July 3, 1985 this is a classic, must see movie starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. I remember being on line to go into the movie theater thirty years ago and reading the movie poster. The film’s title confused me so I asked my mom, “How can anyone go “back” to the future since the future hasn’t happened yet?” My mom couldn’t answer that question until she saw the movie and understood the very clever premise of the movie.  Almost everything that happens or is talked about in 1985 pays off in 1955 and then back again in 1985.

 

Since this is a music blog, I want to focus on the musical aspects of the movie and Huey Lewis. The music of Huey Lewis and the News is a huge part of this movie as they wrote two songs for the movie, “The Power of Love” and “Back in Time”, which are played repeatedly throughout the movie.   Huey himself appears in an uncredited role in the beginning of the film as a dorky teacher who tells Marty McFly and his band that they are “too darn loud” when they audition by playing an electrified version of “The Power of Love”. The Behind the Scenes feature on “Looking Back to the Future” shows extended footage of Huey’s scene including some of his lines which were cut from the film. Huey is also shown telling Michael J. Fox that his guitar playing is “perfect”. Michael J. Fox had actually been a guitar player since he was a teenager. He was very proud of the fact that he played every note seen on screen in the “Johnny B. Goode” scene.  That leads me to the one aspect of the film that isn’t followed up when Marty returns to 1985. He did get to play guitar for an audience in 1955 but there’s no musical triumph when he returns to 1985. I only saw “Back to the Future Part II” once so I don’t remember if this comes up in that film. I’ll have to watch that one again (as well as Part 3).

 

I have to write more about Michael J. Fox. He was a huge star in 1985 because of his star-making performance in the TV show, “Family Ties”. I loved that show and I bought teen magazines like “Teen Beat” which were filled with photos of him. Because he could not get out of shooting “Family Ties”, “Back to the Future” was actually shot with Eric Stolz playing Marty. Six weeks into filming, production stopped and a deal was made for Michael J. Fox to shoot “Family Ties” during the day and “Back to the Future” at night. So the movie was reshot with Michael J. Fox and he kept up that crazy schedule to complete the movie. He is a great actor and is still acting today. It’s nice that he wasn’t a one hit (or two hit) wonder in 1985 and has had a long, successful acting career.

 

How cool was the DeLorean? I think it would be cool to have just as a car even without it being a time machine. But on second thought, as Michael J. Fox said in the Behind the Scenes feature, it was “not a practical car”. As he pointed out, if you parked next to another car, you wouldn’t be able to open the door to get out. So there’s that and the fact that people would probably expect it to be a time machine and want you to drive 88 mph.

Please Please Me CD cover

 

Let It Be album cover

 

 

 

Writing of time machines, in the Behind the Scenes feature, Huey Lewis was asked where he would go if he could go to another time. He answered the 1950’s which makes sense for him and the style of music he loves. I would go back to 1963 and stay around until 1970 so I could hear Beatles songs as they were first released and everything the band did would be as it happened, not seen in retrospect decades later.

 

Guitar Train passengers, what time period would you go to and why?

The Guitar Train Travels “Back in Time” to 1985

For the glorious month of May, Quirky T is conducting The Guitar Train to travel “Back in Time” to the year 1985. It’s hard (and a little depressing) to believe it’s been 30 years since that great year for music and pop culture. This Guitar Train stop looks at my favorite musicians from 1985. I remember 1985 as being a year when any time I turned on the radio, I would recognize the song being played as well as know whose song it was.

 

Favorite Musicians from 1985:

  1. Huey Lewis and the News
  2. Phil Collins
  3. Tears for Fears
  4. Dire Straits
  5. Whitney Houston

 

Huey Lewis and the News did not release an album in 1985 (their great album, “Sports” was released in 1983) but they did contribute two songs to the soundtrack of the classic movie “Back to the Future”. “The Power of Love” is one of my favorite Huey Lewis and the News songs and stands alone as a great song apart from the movie. The other song from the movie, “Back in Time”, is the opposite as it is basically a summary of the movie. It is still a good song and better than many typical soundtrack songs.

 

Phil Collins - No Jacket Required

Phil Collins – No Jacket Required

Phil Collins released his third solo album, “No Jacket Required” in 1985. As I have written before, this is the first Phil Collins CD I bought and still my favorite of his. I bought a CD player just so I could play this album in CD format since only the CD contained the song “We Said Hello Goodbye” which is still my all time favorite song. Two songs from this album (“One More Night” and “Sussudio”)   as well as a duet Phil Collins sang with Marilyn Martin, “Separate Lives”,   were all #1 hits in 1985.

Tears For Fears tape cover

To continue on the English side, Tears for Fears released “Songs from the Big Chair” in 1985.   It contains three of my favorite of their songs – the #1 hits “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” and “Shout” as well as “Head Over Heels”. Those songs are still played on the music system piped into my workplace and I still like them.

 

Another English group, Dire Straits, also released a classic album in 1985. “Brothers in Arms” contains two of my favorite of their songs – “Money for Nothing” and “Walk of Life”. “Money for Nothing” of course came along with a great video which was very MTV friendly. Tragically, I did not have cable TV in 1985 so I could only see the video on a local channel’s “Friday Night Videos” TV show and obviously that was only on a Friday night. I hesitate to call the video innovative since MTV was so new that every video was innovative in some way. Creative and eye-catching are better adjectives to use to describe this video.

Whitney Houston tape cover

The only female on my list is Whitney Houston who released her self-titled debut album in 1985. What a debut it was! My favorite songs from that album are “All at Once”, “How Will I Know”, and “Greatest Love of All”. My school chorus sang “Greatest Love of All” in one of our school concerts that year. Of course we were nowhere as good as Ms. Houston was; nobody is. She had such an amazing voice and it’s a shame that more great music did not come from her.

 

Other songs I enjoyed from 1985:

 

  1. “Into the Groove” by Madonna from the movie “Desperately Seeking Susan” starring Aidan Quinn (and Madonna)
  2. “We Built This City” by Starship
  3. “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds from the movie “The Breakfast Club”

 

I really enjoyed the music from 1985 and in most cases, still do. What a great time it was to put the radio on and there be a huge chance that I would enjoy whatever song was playing. I miss that time.

 

Guitar Train passengers, what is your favorite song, album, musician, or band from 1985?

 

Hop back aboard The Guitar Train for the next stop as Quirky T continues to travel back to 1985 to look at the great (Huey Lewis related) movie “Back to the Future”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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