Back to the 80s

Back to the 80s: I is for INXS.

INXSThis month for my Back to the 80s challenge, I’m featuring another Aussie band. INXS came to my attention back in the summer of 1980/1, after the release of their single ‘Just Keep Walking’. Listening to this song would forever remind me of Christmas holidays down the south coast and hot summer days upon the beach. The song became their first Australian Top 40 single.

INXS were formed in Sydney in 1977, and were originally named The Farris Brothers. They began to regularly support local pub bands such as Midnight Oil and in 1980, released their first, self-titled album. By 1984, they had released three more albums, which began to see them receive international airplay and success, including Canada and the U.S. ‘Original Sin’ from their album The Swing, became their first No.1 single.

In 1985, they performed for the Oz for Africa concert, as part of Live Aid and later that year released their album Listen Like Thieves. Their album Kick was released in 1987, which made them popular worldwide, reaching No.1 in Australia, No.3 in the U.S and No.9 in the U.K. After the success of this album, they went on to release four more. By now they had reached international success, but sadly, on 22 November, 1997, lead singer Michael Hutchence was found dead in his hotel room in Sydney. A state funeral was given and televised. Months later, the State Coroner ruled his death to be that of suicide. Despite this verdict, there is continued speculation over his death.

INXS would continue to perform over the coming years with various lead singers and in 2012, announced they would no longer be touring. Throughout their career, INXS won seven ARIA music awards and in 2001, was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.

I was fortunate to see them live in Sydney during their Kick concert at the height of their career. Down near the front of the stage, I couldn’t help but notice that Michael Hutchence definitely had a kind of presence about him (sounds corny, I know, but it’s true). His untimely death was a great loss to the Australian music industry and the world. May he rest in peace.

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter I include:- Icehouse, Ian Durry and the Blockheads, I’m Talking.

Is there a song or particular type of music that reminds you of summer? What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter I can you think of?

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Back to the 80s

Back to the 80s: H is for Hunters & Collectors.

Hunters & CollectorsFor the challenge this month I’ll be featuring another Aussie band. Hunters & Collectors are one of my favourites and I recall back in the early 80s, one of my friends saying ‘You like them?’, as if there was something seriously wrong with me (eh, I guess even back then I was being an individual). Years later, she eventually learned to change her mind, though. 😉

Back in the early 90s, my husband and I saw them live at the State Theatre in Sydney. It was a good concert, and we both found it amusing to watch the teeny-boppers at the front of the stage, particularly when the band began playing some of their earlier stuff. There was a highlight that we have not forgotten. Standing next to us was Australian television personality Andrew Denton, who my husband began talking to. When the band began playing their iconic song ‘The Slab’, or ‘Betty’s Worry’, the teeny-boppers looked bemused and sat down, however my husband and Andrew Denton got right into it and yelled the lyrics into each others faces. Priceless!

Hunters & Collectors were formed in Melbourne in 1981. They released two albums in the early 1980s, neither one reaching the Top 50 in Australia and the band briefly disbanded. They soon reformed and released another album, Human Frailty in 1986, which became their first Top 10 album. The song ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’, would eventually become one of their most popular songs. They went on to release another half a dozen albums, were nominated in six categories at the ARIA Music Awards in 1990, and supported Midnight Oil’s tour of the U.S. during the same year. Internal tensions grew within the band a few years later and they would eventually disband in 1998, undertaking their final Australian tours in the same year. In 2005, Hunters & Collectors were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter H include:- Huey Lewis and the News, (The) Human League, Hoodoo Gurus, Haircut 100.

What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter H can you think of? What bands do you like that make you a ‘little different’ to your friends? Do you have some memorable moments at concerts you’ve been to?

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Back to the 80s

Back to the 80s: G is for Goanna.

GoannaJanuary is quickly coming to its end already this year and this month for the start of 2016, we’re kicking off with the letter G, featuring another Aussie band.

Goanna were formed in Melbourne in 1977 and with their increasing popularity, signed with WEA Australia in 1982. They released their first single ‘Solid Rock’ during the same year after some reluctance due to its political subject. It went on to reach No.2 in Australia and remained in the Top 50 for 26 weeks. Months later, they released their debut album Spirit of Place, which also reached No.2 in the album charts. A year later, the band won three awards including Best Debut Album, Best Debut Single and Best New Talent. In 1985, they released their second album, but during this time there were band changes and issues with their record label. Eventually the band disbanded, with their final tour in 1986.

Unfortunately, the political subject in ‘Solid Rock’ is controversial to this day, but one that is still worth thinking about. Given that we celebrate Australia Day on the 26th of January, I feel it is an appropriate choice this month.

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter G include:- (The) Go-Go’s, Guns N’ Roses, Genesis, GANG Gajang, Go West, (The) Go-Betweens.

What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter G can you think of? What are your plans for Australia Day? How do you celebrate your national day?

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Back to the 80s

Back to the 80s: F is for Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

Frankie Goes to HollywoodIt’s hard to believe that we’ve almost reached the end of the year and thinking about Christmas. With my Back to the 80s challenge, after an absence last month due to NaNoWriMo, we’ve reached the letter F.

My band of choice this time around wasn’t too difficult, for one of their songs in particular I think, should reflect the mood around this time every year (besides, I’m just not all that into Christmas carols).

Formed in 1980, Frankie Goes to Hollywood released their debut single ‘Relax’ in 1983, which was banned by the BBC a year later for being too controversial. It quickly shot to No.1 in the UK charts, where it stayed for five weeks. The BBC lifted their ban towards the end of 1984. By this time, they had released two other singles ‘Two Tribes’ and ‘The Power of Love’, which also went on to become chart toppers. Their album ‘Welcome to the Pleasuredome’ was released in 1985, with the title track reaching No.2 in the charts. Another album was released in 1986, but by then problems had arisen within the band, leading to the departure of lead singer Holly Johnson.

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter F include:- Foreigner, Fine Young Cannibals, Fiction Factory.

What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter F can you think of? What are your plans over the Christmas break this year?

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Back to the 80s

Back to the 80s: E is for Eurythmics.

EurythmicsThis month we’re diving into the letter E and with this band I sometimes wonder if I ever saw them live or not – hey, I saw a lot of bands in the 80s and that decade is known for being one big party! In all honesty though, I really don’t think I did, but at the time, they were a band that I did consider going to see.

Eurythmics were a British band formed in 1980, consisting of Annie Lennox and David Stewart. In 1983, their commercial breakthrough came with their second album, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) . The title song reached No.2 in the UK and later topped the US charts. Later that same year, they released another album, which became their first No.1 album in the UK and included three hit singles. Throughout the 1980s, they released a total of eight albums and collaborated with various other musicians. In the early 1990s, after strenuous years of touring and recording, they disbanded; each going on to begin their solo careers.

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter E include:-Eurogliders, (The) Escape Club, Echo and the Bunnymen.

What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter E can you think of? What bands did you wish to see, but didn’t?

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Back to the 80s

Back to the 80s: D is for Divinyls.

DivinylsGoing back to the 80s and rediscovering the music of that decade, it was certainly a time when Aussie music came into its own. There was an abundance of Australian talent, which became recognised both nationally and internationally (and as an Aussie, it’s only natural that with this challenge I’ll be highlighting some of that talent). 😉 This month, we’re diving into the letter D with another Aussie band, which unfortunately came to a sad end.

Formed in Sydney in 1980, Divinyls played in pubs and clubs and it was during this time that they signed with record label WEA. They provided the soundtrack for the movie Monkey Grip in 1982, which included the songs ‘Boys in Town’ and ‘Only Lonely’. As well as the Monkey Grip EP, Divinyls released another three albums during the 1980s. They released another album in 1991, which included the single ‘I Touch Myself’, and despite its controversy, became a success in the US and UK and reached No.1 in Australia.

By the end of 1996, there was a falling out between some band members, yet the band did not officially break up. In 2006, they were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, and reformed shortly afterwards. In 2007, lead singer Chrissy Amphlett revealed she had multiple sclerosis and the band disbanded in 2009. In 2010 Chrissy was diagnosed with breast cancer and died in 2013. May she rest in peace.

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter D include:- Duran Duran, Dire Straits, Depeche Mode, Dragon, Do-Re-Mi, Def Leppard, Devo, Dead or Alive, Dear Enemy.

What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter D can you think of? Do you worry if a band’s music becomes controversial?

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Back to the 80s

Back to the 80s: C is for Cameo.

cameoWe’re going back to the 80s once again, and with this challenge, I’m finding that not only do I have to wrack my brains around band names, but which bands to feature. There are just so many good bands and music to chose from! This month, we dive into the letter C , and with my band of choice, we’re going to get funky. 😉

Cameo began with ten band members in the 1970s, under the band name of New York City Players (so it’s a good thing they decided to change their name). A soul influenced funk group, their first album, ‘Cardiac Arrest’, went gold and their music became popular on the dance floor. Their biggest hit, ‘Word Up’ was released in 1986 to critical acclaim. During the 1980s, they released up to nine albums, but during the early 1990s, members of the band began to go their separate ways. As of 2009, some of the original band members continue to perform.

What’s not to love about the clip for Word Up?  There’s LeVar Burton, better known as Geordi La Forge of Star Trek: Next Generation fame (yes, I’m a Trekkie). Then there is the policeman doing a strip tease, but seriously, you just can’t go past that bright red cod-piece!

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter C include:- Culture Club, Crowded House, (The) Cure, Cold Chisel, Choir Boys, (The) Church, Cheap Trick, (The) Clash, (The) Cars, (The) Communards, Cutting Crew.

What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter C can you think of? What are some music video clips you enjoy watching?

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Back to the 80s

Back to the 80s: B is for Boom Crash Opera.

boom_crash_operaContinuing this month is my A-Z Challenge theme of 80s bands. This month, the letter B put me in a bit of a conundrum – I couldn’t decide which one of two 80s bands to base this blog post on; the two bands in questions being The B52s and Boom Crash Opera. Both bands played a big part in my life during this decade. Sure the B52s are known as ‘The World’s Greatest Party Band’ (which is appropriate for the 80s) and are great to see live, yet when I think of Boom Crash Opera, I’m reminded of listening to them whilst driving around in my first car – a feeling of freedom and independence.

An Australian band, Boom Crash Opera were formed in 1985, and their debut single ‘Great Wall’ was released the following year. It would go on to win Best Debut Single and a self titled album followed in 1987. The album would go on to become gold and in 1989, they released the single ‘Onion Skin’ ahead of their second album ‘These Here are Crazy Times”. This album spent 40 weeks in the Top 50 and achieved double platinum status. In the years that followed, they released a couple more albums, but the band at this time were beginning to break up. The band continue to perform and release material; some of their songs have even been remade or used during political campaigns.

It is believed that this song is meant to be about drugs, but hey – it’s just a darn good song (and my favourite). 😉

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter B include:- The B52s, The Bangles, Big Pig, Blondie, Bronski Beat, Bananarama, Bros., Blancmange.

What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter B can you think of? Is there a particular band that stands out when you think of your own independence during your teenage years?

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Back to the 80s

Back to the 80s: A is for A-ha.

A-haA few months ago, I was considering taking part in the A-Z Challenge for the first time. In the end, I didn’t take up the challenge, however, I did come up with a theme. As some of my stories are set during the 1980s, I thought it would be fun to challenge myself in coming up with names of bands popular during that time (and some letters in the alphabet were quite a challenge).

Starting this month, I’ll begin with the letter A and post each consecutive letter once a month. I’ll be focusing on one particular band each month, with a video of one of their songs.

A Norwegian band, A-ha were formed in 1982 and achieved their biggest success in 1985. The song ‘Take On Me’ became an international No.1 hit, and the music video was ahead of its time, winning six awards at the MTV video awards in 1986. Their second single ‘The Sun Always Shines On TV’ was also a success, and the video became another award winner. In total, the band released three albums during the 1980s. In 1994, the band had a break, only to reunite in 1998. The band split after a world wide concert in 2010.

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter A include:- ABC, AC/DC, Australian Crawl, Adam and the Ants, A Flock of Seagulls, Aerosmith.

What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter A can you think of? Have you ever taken part in the A-Z Challenge?

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Back to the 80s, Movies/Television

Back to the 80s: Is Hollywood Out of Ideas?

Back to the 80s: Is Hollywood Out of Ideas?With the recent release of RoboCop; a movie from the 1980s that was so successful it spawned a franchise, it is startling to see how many more movies from the 1980s Hollywood is bringing back to life.

Personally, I loved the 80s; it was a fun time and looking back on that decade is a great piece of nostalgia.Yet, that’s exactly the point; is Hollywood really interested in being sentimental over that period in history, or has Hollywood simply run out of ideas? The thought of remaking some of these films either fill me with dread or shaking my head in disgust. Remakes such as Endless Love, Dirty Dancing (apologies to Patrick Swayze, may he rest in peace) and Romancing the Stone, make me question why? Sure the special effects in such films as The Terminator and Highlander may be dated when you watch them now, but there are some things better left alone. Remakes do not necessarily mean a better film.

Many of these films help define the decade and helped make it what it was. If we really wish to revisit them or see them for the first time, isn’t it best to see them in their original form? We do this with many older movies – such as black and whites, classics and the ‘golden age’ of Hollywood. The trouble with remakes usually means changing things to suit modern audiences, therefore changing what we loved about that film in the first place.

Okay, so maybe I’m being overly sentimental, but I believe that some things are better left the way they are; not only does it preserve a piece of cinematic history, it also captures the era itself.

Do you think Hollywood has run out of ideas? Do you prefer to watch original versions or the remakes? What is your favourite film from the 1980s? Are the 1980s a decade you’d rather not relive?

Image copyright Universal Studios.