All posts by Jason Lent

Electric Barbarellas

When Rhonda asked me to switch blog days this week, I didn’t think much of it as I had planned to share some words on Live Aid since the anniversary falls this weekend. However, her post yesterday was so good that I wanted to pick up the thread. If you still fancy some words on Live Aid, you can read my post from last year at Hard Rock’s now-extinct music blog RPM on the women who rocked Live Aid. But today, I want to add a male perspective to how the band’s use of models in videos impacted us then and now.

If I had to point to two moments as a child when I felt the first stirrings of puberty, it would be the early Duran Duran videos and the cover of Madonna’s Like A Virgin album. And that is what both were designed to do. The patriarchal laws of commerce have always relied on using sex to sell. When you’re about to become a teenager, those forces are hard to resist. As you get older, you (hopefully) realize how dangerous and stupid this can be (if you don’t, re-read Rhonda’s blog from yesterday, I’ll wait). So, why does Duran Duran continue to use models? At this point, it won’t sell any more records and we are all a bit wiser.

The three in question: Electric Barbarella, Falling Down, and Girl Panic are all visually reminiscent of the band’s earlier work. There is a loose storyline and beautiful models. However, the band isn’t exploiting this so much as they are poking fun at themselves (and men in general). The most problematic for me will always be Falling Down because it seems to be a jaded commentary on how so many female celebrities end up in rehab when just as many, if not more, male celebrities are the ones who need the most help – something Duran Duran experienced themselves.

Like Rhonda, I don’t blame Duran Duran (really, their management) for casting beautiful women in videos to move product in the 80s. That is the sad reality of the business and one we are still struggling to move away from. As artists like Fiona Apple, Billie Eilish, Lorde and Lana Del Rey continue to release incredible music, perhaps real change will eventually reach the mainstream industry but that seems unlikely. However, we can continue to push for that change in the purchasing decisions we make.

Rhonda asked why it was important for the band to show their female audience that they were desired by other women. Well, apart from the male ego, that provides market validation and feeds itself. Sell yourself as desired and if the singles are hits, you become desired. It worked on us male fans as well. We saw these guys having adventures in Sri Lanka while being chased by beautiful women. Of course we wanted that!

Ironically, the common phrase thrown at male Duran Duran fans was “gay” because of the colorful outfits and make-up the band wore. So, as a kid just learning to process all of this, being “gay” seemed to lead to traveling the world with beautiful women. Straight or gay, it seemed like a pretty cool lifestyle. Don’t discount bands like Duran Duran helping shape a generation of male music fans who are far more open to different lifestyles. Had the band not helped shape me into an understanding and tolerant man willing to acknowledge the dangers of the patriarchy he benefits from, I doubt I would have ended up marrying a London girl beautiful enough to be in a Duran Duran video. So, yeah, I’ll defend the electric Barbarellas but I might not defend the machismo guitar player who left the party…..

Do You Know What It’s Like To Be Hunted?

Woman, you want me, give me a sign

And catch my breathing even closer behind

“Hungry Like the Wolf” – Duran Duran

A few weeks ago, I attempted to make peace with the narrator of “Save A Prayer” and what his intents were (you can read it here). In the discussion of that, someone on Twitter (@_editionsofme) made a good point about “Hungry Like the Wolf” being more troubling for a lot of listeners from a lyrical perspective. It is true and something that stayed in my head. It was still percolating in my brain when I realized that another band I follow had already written the perfect response to the song.

Cowboy Junkies first released “Hunted” in 1992 and it has since grown into a high-point of their live shows with one of the most blistering mandolin solos ever heard (I’m serious!). Inspired by true events, the lyrics outline the many different ways women are forced to navigate a world where men are hungry like the wolf. The lyrics and video are below if you care to dive in. The way vocalist Margo sings it today is nothing short of fierce. She sings the line “to go visit their father” with such disgust that it tells us that many of her female friends probably married the wrong misguided angel (“Misguided Angel” being one of their biggest hits if you don’t dabble in the alt-country scene).

Where does that leave “Hungry Like the Wolf”? Fair question. It’s an undeniably memorable song with some troubling overtones – not an uncommon artifact in the pantheon of rock-n-roll. The band certainly didn’t write it with poor intent but it does reflect how they, and most of us, were taught gender. Perhaps, it’s important that we keep the song alive within popular culture as an example of how an innocent hit song can offer a deeper, more important insight into the issues of our society. More importantly, we need to amplify the songs that aren’t hits as they are often the ones that can teach us the most. As a male, finding songs like “Hunted” and “Me & a Gun” by Tori Amos in the early 1990s helped shape my worldview far more than “Hungry Like the Wolf” and I am grateful for that. So, do you know what it’s like to be hunted?

Emma's in a part of town
where she doesn't recognize the streets
named for famous native sons
and out of every crevice comes creeping
a threat in her direction
Lucy's outside her home
heading towards her corner store
she stays on well-travelled paths
and is always making sure
that she doesn't develop patterns

There are trap lines
running up and down Main Street
wire snares thirsting for your neck and feet

Susan doesn't like the way her curtains
are blowing in the wind
She swears she locked that window
before she went out dancing
she stands frozen in her doorway
Judy hears a sound coming from the other room
she knows she should be alone
'cause the kids left at noon
to go visit their father

Quick to your phone dial 911
invite a strange man into your home
who'll be carrying a gun

Leslie's working late
she's got a deadline to meet
In walks her boss,
upon her desk he puts his feet
and says alone at last
Reanne's got a new boyfriend
and they're getting along
until he locks the door and says don't struggle,
I'm stronger than you are.

Just one question I'm dying to ask, you said,
do you know what it's like to be hunted?
Cowboy Junkies – “Hunted”

The Encores Club – Premiere

Tomorrow, the first episode of The Encores Club will go live! Will there be a red carpet massacre at the premiere party? Let’s hope not. As Rhonda said earlier this week, the idea behind the show is to share new music with “experienced” music fans who might be too busy to search for what they love amongst the unlimited racks of records that streaming and the digital age provides.

If you love Duran Duran, some of the albums we cover will tickle your fancy but a lot won’t. The idea is to share music from all genres that connect with us on some level. Our guests will come from (roughly) the same age range as Rhonda and myself so there is a shared experience in music that we build from. If you grew up loving 80s music and watching MTV, there is a good chance you’ll find something to listen to each month.

You will recognize some names and faces throughout the series with David O. (from the D-Side) and Amanda (from right here) joining us on episodes. Each month, we hope to invite more music fans on the show and explore music we might not otherwise hear. Tune in and let us know what you think at @encoresclub on Twitter.

The Encores Club – Episode 1

American Science – Ranking The Albums (Part 1)

Welcome to American Science – a scientific study of the Duran Duran discography. How scientific? Well, I came up with a formula based on five categories: Songs, Artwork, Videos, Fashion, and Nostalgia and analyzed each album. Songs were rated 1 (ewww) to 5 (yes!) and then averaged for the album. The score is 60% of the overall album score as Duran Duran is always more than just music. Each of the remaining categories was scored 1 to 5 and given 10% weight. The results surprised even me. This week, we start at the bottom of the list…..

Save A Prayer & The Desperate Narrator

“Definitely a song written by a lonely guy desperate to hook up with … somebody … ANYBODY“

Simon LeBon on Twitter discussing “Lonely In Your Nightmare”

“sounds like da lonely guy is beginning to get desperate …”

Simon LeBon on Twitter discussing “Hungry Like the Wolf”

When it comes to Duran Duran lyrics, Simon LeBon rarely shows all his cards but last week’s listening party shed a little light into his creative process. I was already working on this article when the Tim’s Twitter Listening Party for Rio appeared in my Twitter feed Wednesday morning. I raced home from the record store (felt so good to be in one after two months) to tune in. It was a really fun hour with a lot of familiar names on Twitter but it didn’t change the somewhat uncomfortable relationship I have with “Save A Prayer”.

As a preface to this, I admit that I still love “Save A Prayer”. I still want to hear it during every Duran Duran show and it still tugs on my heartstrings when it comes on the radio. I think it is as good as a ballad as they have ever written. But I also think the lyrics are worthy of some serious contemplation. How romantic of a song is it really? Does the music’s ability to evoke a mood overshadow some uncomfortable truths? 

The framework with which I examine the song relies on Seymour Chapman’s model of narrative communication which places the constructs of Implied Author – Narrator – Narratee – Implied Reader between the Real Author (in this case LeBon) and the Real Reader (the listener). Here, the Implied Author is the persona of Simon LeBon, aspiring pop star, and the Implied Reader is the female Duranie screaming in the front-row of a sold-out show. 

Simon’s tweets about other songs on Rio (see above) seem to validate my own interpretation that the difference between Real Author, Implied Author and Narrator within the song are often the same person (LeBon). With little to no artifice, LeBon was writing lyrics that reflected how he felt as well as how he wanted to be seen by the reader. However, this creates a problem of narrative authority almost as soon as “Save a Prayer” begins:

You saw me standing by the wall,
Corner of a main street
And the lights are flashing on your window sill
All alone ain't much fun,
So you're looking for the thrill
And you know just what it takes and where to go

If we choose to read this verse with LeBon in the role of protagonist, the issue of authority remains unresolved. How can he know the intent of the women watching him from her window sill or ascertain that she knows how and where to find her thrill? In a way, he is declaring that she is “hungry like the wolf” and he has become the hunted – insisting that desire works in both directions. This reveals the mindset of the Implied Author – “a lonely guy desperate to hook-up” if we take LeBon at face value. 

What if the “me” standing by the wall isn’t LeBon the person but an advertisement for the band and the “you” being the collective youth of the era? A flashing billboard outside “your” window could be an offer to “escape” reality which certainly ties into the band’s underlying ethos of escapism as encapsulated in the videos for this album. In that case, the thrill “you’re” looking for lies in the band, not necessarily LeBon’s bed. While that might better explain the narrator possessing knowledge of another character’s mindset, I don’t think for a second that was LeBon’s intention when writing this song. 

Don't say a prayer for me now,
Save it 'til the morning after
No, don't say a prayer for me now,
Save it 'til the morning after

The melancholic mood of this ballad and having it near the end of the record could symbolize a sense of awareness that wasn’t present on the earlier songs when, again using Simon’s words, the narrator was a “lonely guy desperate to hook-up”. Now that he has had a one-night stand, does he start to realize the emptiness of the experience despite his attempt to romanticize it and call it paradise? It certainly doesn’t stop him, hence the narrator imploring the reader to not say a prayer just yet. But maybe there is an arc of learning across Rio for LeBon as author and narrator.

Feel the breeze deep on the inside,
Look you down into your well
If you can, you'll see the world in all his fire
Take a chance
(Like all dreamers can't find another way)
You don't have to dream it all, just live a day

But then again. Maybe not. Hard to read this as anything more than the narrator trying to seduce someone. While the lyrics aren’t cringe-worthy like “Read My Lips” on Liberty, there is certainly little room for interpretation other than the obvious. LeBon remains the “lonely guy” trying to find comfort in her well. 

Pretty looking road,
Try to hold the rising floods that fill my skin
Don't ask me why I'll keep my promise,
Melt the ice
And you wanted to dance so I asked you to dance
But fear is in your soul
Some people call it a one night stand
But we can call it paradise

The music quickens as do the pulses in the third verse. The urgent desire from LeBon is matched by Roger Taylor’s more conventional drum pattern with the snare on the 2 and 4 replacing the rim shot of earlier verses. In the video, LeBon, clearly acting as the narrator, kisses the sleeping woman goodbye on the “I’ll keep my promise” line which seems to imply that he won’t as he leaves in search of another pretty looking road. 

My final thought on the intention of the narrator within “Save A Prayer” centers around the public vs. private voice and the possibility that the verses and chorus are different voices. The music supports this idea with a key change from D-minor in the verse to B-minor in the chorus. In the verses, we are shown the private voice of the Implied Author – the lead singer of a band on the road looking to keep loneliness at bay by having one-night stands. However, in the chorus, the Real Author takes over and speaks not to the individual women in the verses but to the Real Reader (us, the listener). He is asking us to not judge him for actions he knows he will soon regret. 

This layer of guilt could reflect the Real Author’s true emotional state that cannot be dismissed with a joke on Twitter about being a “lonely guy trying to hook-up”. The Implied Author/Narrator (Simon LeBon the rock star) would be expected to act as he does in the verses. Patriarchal society all but demands that of someone in his position. While fulfilling those expectations, a little voice in the back of the Real Author’s mind seems to be raising an alarm and he seeks our prayers in the chorus. Does this warrant our sympathy? That is up to each individual listener. For me, challenging the lyrics and dissecting the author’s mindset when writing the song only make me appreciate it more. No matter how one reads “Save A Prayer”, there is no happy ending with the couple forever in love but that is exactly the fantasy it manages to sell us despite the words that say otherwise. That, my friends, is the magic of popular music. 

MTV ’82: A Live Chat

I’ve been burning time during this pandemic by watching old MTV recordings and I’ve been surprised by how much I don’t remember and in awe of how wonderfully under-produced the channel was during the golden years from 1981 to 1984. This week, I invited along a musician and writer who was too young to experience it in real time to see her impression. What follows is a live chat we had as it played. The entire segment can be viewed below but I also added a few of the videos discussed at the end. Ladies and gentlemen, rock-n-roll.

April 12, 1982

And we’re live from April 12th, 1982!

Jason: George Harrison “All Those Years Ago”. Don’t remember this. The Beatles seemed so old to us kids.

Aurora (italics throughout): I didn’t realize he made a music video.

It’s actually just a photo montage with music more than a video.

The Beatles solo stuff didn’t really work except for Paul and George when “Mind Set On You” took off. Otherwise, they seemed lame to me as a kind (who didn’t know Beatles music).

 I think aside from Ringo they all did some interesting solo stuff. But, I’m not sure if it would be as redeeming if they weren’t Beatles first. It’s weird that this is his solo video and its all Beatles footage.

This would have lost me as, let’s see, a 9 year-old at the time. And just turned nine a few days before this aired!

Squeeze – Tempted

Now this was cool then and even cooler now!

This is a good song. I’ve never seen the video.

Squeeze were around before MTV but handled the transition well. They had a sense of humour and that helped. 

I like the wiggly dancers.

Very English. I didn’t realize I was ingesting so much English culture at the time but it makes a lot of sense now.

 Were early videos mostly just performance footage?

A lot were. This was less than a year into MTV so bands were just beginning to see the possibility. A lot of these were already around before 1982 but I had no idea. I just assumed everything MTV was showing was new music. Which is why timelines for Genesis, Heart, ZZ Top, etc. confuse me. They were huge in the 70s?!

Did you ever enter any of those? Sweepstakes?

Definitely. I forget which ones I mailed stuff off. And I definitely called radio stations a lot but never won anything.

Commercials were so much better.

YES!!!!! And Martha Quinn still seems like the cool older sister.

(MTV News segment featuring B-52’s on Guiding Light)

The B-52’s on a soap opera!!!!

 So weird. They’re so cool though.

Pleasantly subversive to see them on Guiding Light. And this is how we used to get tour dates!

 Crazy. I think I kind of remember that though.

Pat Benatar – Precious Time

Benatar was all about narrative drive videos. A pioneer.

I like that. It feels more genuinely like a music video rather that concert footage.

Oh where is she? 

Clearly, Mars! 

Are there two of her? 

This is pretty impressive for 1982. She was always ahead of the curve with videos.

The video is interesting. This song is kind of awful though. Eh chorus is better.

It is awful. I don’t remember this one at all.  

I like the video though.

Neil Girardo dressed as the Iron Sheik for a guitar solo? What is happening?!

What is with that guitar? I hate it, but I also kind of want it. It’s a great guitar solo.

Not going to lie, I’ve lost the plot of the video. Unhappy marriage?

I think it’s pretty clear, Jason. Pat is a martian and she is observing the suburbs from her planet. And there are two of her. 

Ahh yes. Sort of like Bowie in the Man Who Fell to Earth!

I’m just realizing those were giant – whats the word? For those timers that have sand? That’s what she was surrounded by on Mars.

Hourglasses! 

Yes!

ELO – Wild West Hero

ELO seemed old by the time I first saw them on MTV. Definitely enjoy them now but this was so dull compared to the New Wave videos.

The facial hair and smoke machines are awesome. Oh man – There’s weird wild west animation now?

It didn’t take much to get on MTV in 1982. They were so desperate for content from anyone other than Rod Stewart. Is that a cello? This is terrible.

 Yes. I like it. 

Prog rock does not work on MTV.

I disagree. Sick harmonies. Some light orchestration. Random cartoons. It’s the best one we’ve seen so far.

This is not the MTV I remember. I want men dressed as humanoids. I need some Gary Numan, stat.

I think there can be a place for all of that. It doesn’t have to be that singular in its genre. 

 It did when I was nine. Actually digging this variety. Weird how my brain only remembers the New Wave stuff.

Is this a commercial? Planes crashing. Bombed out buildings on fire? This was entertainment!

I couldn’t tell if it was a commercial or what it could be. Just random footage thats slightly disturbing? I guess these days anyway. 

ASIA – Only Time Will Tell

Oh a gymnast! 

This video WAS HUGE!!!!! The use of televisions felt so futuristic….

I haven’t heard this song before. It’s so good.

This is peak 1983 MTV. 

 THIS IS SO COOL. I love that the gymnast is doing front flips on their tv bodies. This would be really cool even now.

The fact that it’s a prog-rock supergroup is so in your wheelhouse! Anything King Crimson appeals to you. LOL! 

Sorrrrrry that musical proficiency is appealing to me.

I can’t make fun of this one. The song was so good and I remember really enjoying it. Hell, I even bought a Yes album when the Owner of a Lonely Heart video hit MTV.

 OH! I’ve never seen that video. 

It’s really creepy and well done. Might be more 1984? We shall see if it pops up.

Greg Kihn Band

Hmmm this song sounds familiar. Greg Kihn made MTV work for him. The Jeopardy video was so brilliant before Weird Al turned it into a joke.

I vaguely remember this song. It’s good. 

I bet we never see more than two rows of the crowd. Looks very staged!

Most of these videos that are mostly performance shots look totally staged. 

Even Livin’ On A PRayer was but I didn’t know that as a kid. I just assumed Bon Jovi was selling out arenas even though they weren’t huge until after that song.

Are they wearing matching outfits? Cute.

Horizontal stripes were very cool. Not a good look for the husky boys of the age (i.e. me).

Michael Stanley – He Can’t Leave You

Do not remember this one AT ALL.

 Oh intense sax solo.

He is a janitor. Hard-working blue collar man probably singing about a woman he cannot win.

She’s a nurse apparently. 

OH MY GOD. Soloing through the ER.

This is a great video! Stupid but charming. Exactly what MTV should be.

I agree that it’s charming, but again, I don’t think MTV should be one thing.

This would make a great Meatloaf song.

No it wouldn’t.

Huey Lewis & the News – Do You Believe In Love

So good!!! 

Who are they singing at? Is she sleeping? Dead? 

Dreaming! And they are the sirens sweetly singing to her? Maybe.

That seems more like a nightmare.

OK, this is a little creepy. Six guys in her bed while she sleeps…

And by the looks of it, she isn’t waking up.

You forget how many excellent songs Huey did. Great songwriting. Great band.

The song isn’t bad. The video is strange. The poor girl is just trying to sleep and get ready and an entire band is singing at her.

MTV News Break

FRIPPPPPPPP

Martha Quinn talking about Fripp?! This could get interesting. For you!

I am so excited.

Frippertronics. LOL!!!!

So he basically invented the loop pedal.

Actually, that is basically this so maybe! 

I want to watch more Fripp.

REO Speedwagon

These guys were all over MTV. Bigger than Journey at first in terms of MTV.

 I can’t stop thinking about his wacky jumpsuit. Nothing else exists to me right now.

And now these guys are central to the last season of Ozark. Who would have known?

Spoiler alert? I’m not there yet.

Apologies! Switching gears. I saw Cigarettes After Sex open for Garbage and they did an ehtereal cover of Keep On Loving You by REO Speedwagon. Amazing. 

I love that version. It’s a great cover.

This is generic arena rock done well. Like a good bottle of mustard.

Generic is a great way to describe it. It’s kind of borning. They aren’t bad, but they aren’t doing anything interesting or memorable either.

This is pure content. The band had the videos already so it got shown.

Heart – Even It Up

Ohhhh, Heart before they entered their hair metal sex kitten phase!!!

It’s surprisingly bluesy and cheesy.

Is Nancy dressed as a sailor or the Pillsbury dough girl?

Definitely dough girl. It’s the exact same outfit. Wait – Is the Pillsbury dough boy a sailor? 

Mind. Blown. Maybe he baked on the submarine? I like this song!

I don’t love it. 

You can see why the record label was so hell-bent on an image makeover for them. Their styles are all disjointed.

Good call on the record label’s end.

Sadly, then it went too far. By the late 80s, Ann gained some weight so they started hiding her behind props in the videos. It was obvious even to me as a kid. Shitty.

Super shitty. She’s an amazing musician. 

Ten minutes left in this hour of MTV….hope it ends strong!!!

Kim Wilde – Kids In America

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yesss!!!! 

Her brother is in video. He wrote it. Their dad is a huge star in the UK. This is one of the first truly amazing MTV videos for my generation.

Why is her band behind a cage?

I think they assumed American boys were dangerous?

 I think that might be a reach. But I wasn’t even born yet, so what do I know? Oh! Now shes behind bars. 

Geographically. I would challenge the East California line. Not sure anything trendy was happening in Barstow….

Ha I would say that is true even now.

Years later, I read that they used it because it sounded cool.

Graham Parker – Local Girls

This was on, alot. Not sure why…..but now I know not to bother with a local girl.

Is this advocating mail order brides? 

Must have worked. I married a Brit!

Top of the hour means we are done!

Nothin’ But A Good Time

One of the upsides of being furloughed is a lot more time to sit and enjoy radio. I joined Sirius/XM a few weeks ago and I try to tune into Feedback with Lori Majewski and Nik Carter each day. Yesterday, they spent the morning talking to the always-positive Bret Michaels of Poison. I still consider Poison one of my favorite bands and during the show, I started to think that they are the Duran Duran of the hair metal era.

Hear me out. Both bands faced a huge critical backlash when they hit the scene. Both were dismissed as pure image over talent by “serious” critics who have never trusted the taste of young women. Both bands achieved massive success only to fall apart at the seams due to high-octane lifestyles. They even both have somewhat questionable covers albums lurking in their closets. But most importantly, they are still selling out shows. And it’s fun!!!

At the end of the day, it is the songs, not an image, that weave themselves into the fabric of popular culture and Poison, like Duran Duran, have the songs that still hold-up. In fact, I’d put Poison and and Cinderella over Motley Crue when it comes to quality songs that still sound great. The Crue have a few timeless songs but they also have a lot of album filler. I can listen to any 80s Poison album front to back and not get bored. Same goes for every Duran Duran album in the 80s.

It seems like both bands have outlasted the critics and there is a begrudging respect for both these days. Does that prove we were right all along? Probably not. The flashy images in the videos certainly helped sell both bands but there is no denying that their songs have withstood the test of time. So don’t be surprised if you see me at a Poison show when this pandemic blows over. Here are a few shots from the last time I saw them!

The Slow But Hungry Wolf

On this day in 1982, Duran Duran performed Hungry Like the Wolf on Top Of the Pops. Shortly thereafter, the single peaked at #5 in the UK. It would be almost a year before the wolf had reached its peak in North America (February 1983). That gap in time is one of the most crucial periods in the Duran Duran story and one that would never happen in today’s industry.

The single initially flopped in the U.S. when it was released there in June of 1982 and Rio‘s success was in dire straits internationally. Everyone knows the impact MTV ultimately had on the single and the album. Without a show like Top of the Pops, MTV was a new lifeline for bands trying to break America and Duran Duran played their cards perfectly in that regard. However, the remixed version of Hungry Like the Wolf by David Kershenbaum might have been just as critical in breaking Duran Duran in a massive scale.

As a whole, I don’t love the Kershenbaum remixes but in the case of Hungry Like the Wolf, I think the remix (basically, a night version) that appears on my US pressing of the album is better than the original. For one, I love the longer intro which helps build the energy coming out of Lonely In Your Nightmare. Secondly, and headphones really bring this out, the Kershenbaum remix has a lot more of Roger’s hi-hat work in the mix which adds to the excitement of the track.

In essence, this remix takes a New Romantic pop single that rocketed up the UK charts and makes it more radio friendly based on what US audiences were expecting to hear in late 1982. However, within the context of the Rio album, I think the remix ends up working better in that regard as well. Like I said earlier, I do not always think that with re-worked albums. I much prefer the debut with To The Shore and the night version of My Own Way is the better version to my ears. But in this case, Kershenbaum delivered a perfect remix that helped break the band beyond MTV in America. Do you agree?

Hunky Dory Like The Wolf

Tune in Saturday and maybe win your very own Punk Masters shirt!

I promise, this blog isn’t all self-promotion. Just wanted to toss it out there that Fade To Grey is back on Saturday and Daily Duranie has partnered with Punk Masters, yes, that Punk Masters for this weekend’s show. What does that mean? Well, it means that the amazing Patty Palazzo is giving away one of her custom shirts as seen on every member of Duran Duran.

Here’s the inside scoop for the Daily Duranie readers. I’ll be giving away the shirt during the 9pm EST show later in the day because the shirt can only be shipped to a US address. The current situation with the virus has disrupted international shipping too much. It will be trivia and it will be Duran Duran themed. Hope you can make it. Sirius/XM DJ and Mad World author Lori Majewski was in the chat last Fade To Grey so come hang with Daily Duranie’s intern DJ Velvet Rebel.

But, it’s Wacky Wednesday which means I owe you a blog. So, last night I put on 60 minutes of videos from May of 1983. I like to go back and watch videos to discover stuff I missed (sometimes) or forgotten (often) when I was a young, wide-eyed kid. It helps fuel my growth as a music writer and gives me new ideas as a DJ. And it keeps me occupied so the wife can relax. Haha!

Here are some of the highlights and lowlights. And if you want to watch along, here is the link.

  1. Mick Jagger and Bette Midler duet on “Beast of Burden”. This definitely falls in the things I sort of remember but forgot for a reason category of these exercises.
  2. The theme, the flag on the moon, the voice of Mark Goodman. I am nine again.
  3. Hall & Oates trying to act tough in “Say It Ain’t So”. Honestly, their videos are better than they should have been pretty consistently.
  4. Friday Night Video Fight this week: Phil Collins vs. The Cars
  5. “Who Can It Be Now?” by Men At Work is an example of a band that makes such good videos that it distracts from how good the songs were. Colin Hay was Elvis Costello held hostage by a koala bear.
  6. Mr. Mister “Hunters of the Night” is why I spend nights in 1983! Don’t remember this song at all and it’s a new wave nugget of detached AOR cool that suburban me was all about.
  7. Robert Plant “Big Log” is a video that I hated as a kid. What was Led Zeppelin and why should I care who Plant is? So, so naive was I.
  8. 1983 commercial: “You are the coffee generation” as I look at the stars on my Starbucks app….damn right we are the coffee generation!
  9. The Alan Parsons Project was on MTV? “Don’t Answer Me” is yacht rock gold.
  10. Someone tell me where to model for “Stray Cat Strut” ended up. There has to be a blog about it somewhere.
  11. RATT “Round & Round” is on and this seems so much earlier than I thought hair metal infiltrated MTV. Hmmm….
  12. German schoolteacher Nena. German never sounded so cool.
  13. We get about three seconds of .38 Special before someone stopped their VCR. Glad it wasn’t just me. I didn’t like them in 1983 and that’s before I discovered how awesome Lynyrd Skynyrd was.
  14. Blancmange in MTV News. Wife tells me they were huge but I really didn’t remember them when I heard them a few years ago.
  15. “No Artificial Color” was a selling point in 1983 for soda. I think soda is the last thing we worry about in 2020.
  16. Ray Charles selling laser disc players with “Rio” on the television. Ladies and gentleman, 1983.
  17. Queen “I Want to Break Free” is so amazing. Why wasn’t I into Queen in 1983. This is the best video all so far.
  18. Phil Collins with the Against All Odds song. Is that a decent film? Bueller? Bueller?
  19. Couldn’t finish on a Phil Collins video so going past one hour.
  20. If you asked me what the first video from Paul Young on MTV, I would have bet a bottle of rum that it was “Every Time You Go Away”. I stand corrected. Fun Fact: this video was filmed at the famed Hammersmith Odeon in London. I know this because I went to see Spandau Ballet there for my wife. And Shirley from Wham! was next to me in the concession area. That was awesome.