Showing posts with label 80s. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 80s. Show all posts

Sunday, July 1, 2012

'The Blues Brothers' (playlist!), 'Stand by Me' and Oakland's Paramount Theater

the lobby of the Paramount Theater
The Paramount Theater in Oakland is one of my favorite places to be. Not only is it incredibly gorgeous, I've seen two of my most favorite movies there this summer: 'Stand by Me' and 'the Blues Brothers' FOR FIVE BUCKS!

CLICK TO LISTEN TO MY 'BLUES BROTHERS' SPOTIFY PLAYLIST (or click play at the bottom of this post)

Both of these movies have two of my most favorite soundtracks of all time. So there has been lots of singing. There has also been boo'ing, cheering and lots giggling. There is something so wonderful about seeing a movie that is near and dear to your heart with a room full of people that love it too.

Check it out for yourself! All movies on Friday nights, 8pm, $5.

July 13 - Apollo 13
August 3 - Ghostbusters
August 17 - Close Encounters of the Third Kind
September 7 - An American Werewolf in London
September 28 - The Breakfast Club

I've blogged about this before, but the Paramount also does tours every first and third Saturdays of the month, also for $5. See my slide show here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Uncoverable songs challenge: "In Your Eyes"

I was chatting with my roommate today when Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" came on the radio. This has always been one of my favorite recordings, it's just perfect. I've often thought how I've never heard a cover of this song that I've really liked, and you KNOW I love me a good cover!

I've heard all sorts of people cover this song including a recent trainwreck of an attempt from opera singer Renée Fleming; and who is Jeffrey Gaines, should I remember? I've heard tons of choral a cappella versions, but I don't know if they count.

What is the key to a good cover? I think it's when an artist takes someone else's song and makes it their own while highlighting the song itself. I especially love it when a crappy pop song is made awesome by an amazing rendition (hello Travis' cover of "Baby One More Time").

I don't really know what it is about "In Your Eyes," It's a quintessential 80s pop tune with those fabulously 80s world music nuances (hells yeah Youssou N'Dour) and there's that repeating reference to churches that seemed like it should bother me, and never did. And come to think of it, I've never heard anyone say that they don't like the song. How can you dislike Peter Gabriel anyway? The man is amazing. (I just saw that he was touring this summer.)

I challenge you to find me a cover of this song that really does this tune justice. One that really ups the ante and shows that "In Your Eyes" is not just one of the 80s best, but a timeless, solid song.

I also challenge you to suggest other uncoverable songs; songs that have been covered, but never in a satisfactory way.

(All that said, I just came across this Sara Bareilles cover of "In Your Eyes." I, um, sort of really like it...still had to post the above anyway.)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hair and Rock of Ages: broadway musicals bound by youth, integrity, and hair

Rock of Ages guitarist Joel Hoekstra is on fire

Hey ya'll, I'm back from my trip to New York City where the weather was hot, humid and nasty. I spent a lot of time in air-conditioned museums and theaters and the Daily Show (I got to ask Jon Stewart a question)!!

We had amazing seats at the musical Rock of Ages starring Lauren Molina (also a University of Michigan Music School alum, read more about her here). She got us backstage! Check out the backstage mockumentaries she's been producing and directing. They are hysterical. Here's the first one:

The length and style of one's hair is a symbol of fashion. But in recent decades it has also been a symbol of ones politics and lifestyle.

In the 60s, having long hair (usually for men) meant that you were one of those hippie freaks that protested the war in Vietnam and smoked the marijuana. But in the 80s, the “sexier Regan era,” it meant that you wore leather, drank a lot and listened to loud guitar music. And according to the musicals Hair and Rock of Ages (ROA) you also had a lot of sex. Or at least you wanted other people to think you had a lot of sex. When I saw both shows last week during my visit to the Big Apple, there was a lot of hip motion on stage. A LOT.

Click here to read the rest of my article on

Constantine Maroulis as Drew in Rock of Ages with guitarist Joel Hoekstra

Lauren Molina (Michigan classmate and star of Rock of Ages) and I backstage

Tamar and I outside of Hair

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Top 5 classic songs of the 80's brought to us by John Hughes movies

Ferris Bueller in the shower: my favorite Hughes musical moment. Danke Schoen Mr Hughes!

I grew up on John Hughes movies just as I know so many of you did. I've watched Ferris Bueller, oh, maybe thirty times?

So many of these movies featured some of the 80s best tunes making them instant classics.

In honor of the late John Hughes, I've made a short list of some of those classic 80s tunes.

Click on the song and it will link to a youtube video.

1) Ferris Bueller's Day Off - "Oh Yeah" by Yellow

2) Weird Science - "Weird Science" by Oingo Boingo

3) The Breakfast Club - "Don't You Forget About Me" by Simple Minds

4) Pretty in Pink - "Pretty in Pink" by Psychedelic Furs

5) Sixteen Candles - "Turning Japanese" by the Vapors

And just for fun, here is one of my favorite musical scenes from any movie of all time: "Twist and Shout" from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

Thanks for the great films Mr. Hughes!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Photo essay and retrospective of Queensryche's show at the Fillmore

I know, I know, this report is months overdue, but I figure better late than never. And since these pictures are pretty good for what I can do with my little Canon Power Shot, I wanted to share them with you.

I am not embarassed to say that I am a Queensrÿche fan. Even though I mostly listened to classic rock and 60s folk rock in high school, something about Queensrÿche's album Empire grabbed me in the early 90s. My older brother gave me his tape and CD because he was soooo over it. But I listened over and over and over. Was it Geoff Tate's insane soaring vocals? Was it the intricate arrangements and guitar lines? What about their unabashed political statements? As a girl whose music tastes were somehow stuck in the 60s, this strange world of Seattle progressive metal was bizarrely appealing to me.

In 2004 Queensrÿche toured through Austin, Texas (where I lived at the time) performing their rock opera Operation: Mindrime. I jumped at a ticket. Yes it was expensive and I went alone since I couldn't persuade anyone else to go with me.

"Queensrÿche? You like them?" people would say.

Yes, I'm crazy. The fans were fascinating, especially these Texan fans. I've never seen so much faux-leather spandex in my life. Metal fans are awesome and the music was not disappointing. The guitars sounded great and Geoff Tate sounded better than ever. This is what singing is all about.

Queensrÿche came through Austin again in 2007 peforming both Operation: Mindrime I and II with theater sets, costumes and props. By then I had met a friend curious enough to come with me and we had a great time.

I saw that Queensrÿche was playing the Fillmore at the beginning of June and I jumped at this show too. They have a fascinating new album out called American Soldier based on recorded interviews conducted by lead singer Geoff Tate with men and woman who have served our country. It was inspired by Tate's father who served in Korea and in Vietnam. Tate told the Fillmore audience that his father never liked talking about his wartime experiences but got him to talk in an interview. This album is not an anti-war album, it's a pro-soldier album.

Tate stated that Queensrÿche has many fans in the armed forces and appreciates what they've done for the United States and "allow us to live the way we live." Earlier this spring they scheduled Military Base Signings open to service men and women only.

These are snippets of Tates's stage banter and photos from the Queensrÿche San Francisco show at the Fillmore on June 4th, 2009.

A highlight of the show was this moment when Tate's stunning 11-year-old daughter Emily joined her father on stage for "Home Again" a song about a series of letters between a father at war and the daughter missing him.

"Vietnam veterans came home to a very divided country. They were called 'baby killers' and people spat in their faces. We've come a long way since then."

"The album Empire is about the war on drugs. [Since the song was written 20 years ago] the money spent on this war as quadrupled. It's obvious that we don't need more money, we need new ideas."

Tate reminised about listening to Queensrÿche on vinyl records and appealed to Bay Area mentality. The audience cheered.

"Are cheering because you like vinyl?" he asked "You mean you like the idea of people being made to sit and actually listen to music? Wow. I'm giddy. The record industy must have it wrong (with mp3s)."

After the show I had the honor of meeting the band. They signed my ticket stub! Check out the the wall of Fillmore posters in the back.

Geoff Tate and me

with guitarist Michael Wilton

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Chunk from "the Goonies" singing and dancing

I just came across a site called Mortified: angst ridden that is "a comic excavation of the strange and extraordinary things we created as kids. Witness adults sharing their own adolescent journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories and more."

Check it out. 

It's blog features a video of Jeff Cohen from the Goonies doing a singing and dancing number. The writer says:
What we love most about this clip is how much fun he seems to be having.

For those keeping score, Chunk (aka: Jeff Cohen) did somewhat end up pursuing a career in music. Today, he's a successful entertainment lawyer. And according to the Hollywood Reporter, he's a damn good one. His firm reps lots of big name entertainers including, yep... songwriters, labels and music publishers.

I love this guy. I also heard at one point that Jeff was on the cheer squad at UC Berkeley, the crowd wanted him to do the truffle shuffle. I don't know if he did or not, but he was thin by then, and it wouldn't have made any sense.

I have an urge to watch the Goonies. Right now.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My LP Collection

I'm going to add a special little section over there on the right where I feature a random record from my LP collection that I'm very excited about. This week I will feature two. People love to get rid of LPs for cheap, so they're easy to come by, so my collection is random and hysterical.  You should see some of these covers.

I've been collecting records since I lived in Washington D.C. in 2003. I was interning for  Smithsonian Folkways, the Smithsonian's record label.  They also run Global Sounds, an itunes for the Smithsonian's record collection and all around music education site. They have some amazing things, a lot of international music, folk musics of the world and singer/songwriter types. Lucinda Williams was on Folkways for awhile. I spent a lot of time with the LPs in the archives. It was just cool being around them..

Anyway, I've bought records for 10 cents, bought records that the Library was selling for $1, found records on the side of the road, and stolen some from my Dad (with his blessing). I'm in the middle of finding the perfect record player (I left the one I got for free in Austin, it was big and crappy) but have been playing them on a friends player.  And I'm adding more pretty often. Like yesterday someone left some out for giveaway downstairs from where I work. 

Two featured LPs from Jamie's collection:
(Just a disclaimer, they are random.  I'll add a song to the playlist over on the right too.)

Fiddler on the Roof Original Film Soundtrack - 2 Record Set, Music Adapted and Conducted by John Williams, 1971. My friends Serena at Grass Routes Travel gave it to me. She writes Eco-Tourism books and is teaching me how to make a t-shirt quilt.

Faith George Michael 1987 featuring "Father Figure" and "I Want Your Sex" I think I found this one on the street in Berkeley. It has a 99 cents price tag on it.  I love me some George Michael.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tequila!: The Champs, Danny Flores and Pee-wee

The scene is classic, the song: immortalized. And after a raucous New Year's Eve in 2001, I will never touch tequila again...

In 1957, a random grouping of musicians gathered in Los Angeles to record a group of songs for Gene Autry's record label Challenge Records. Pictured above Joe Burnas on bass, Dale Norris on lead guitar, Dave Burgess on rhythm guitar, Gene Alden on drums and Chuck Rio (born Danny Flores, the son of Mexican American fieldworkers) on vocals and sax.

"Tequila" was recorded last, and was composed on the spot based on a "raunchy" latin tinged saxophone solo written by Flores, the "God Father of Mexican Rock." The song was released as the B-side for "Train to Nowhere" but skyrocketed up the charts to reach #1 in March of 1958.

This group of musicians went on to become the Champs named after Gene Autry's horse, Champion. In 1959, "Tequila" won a Grammy Award for Best Rhythm and Blues Recording. Flores parted ways with the band soon after due to inter-band feuding and went onto form the surf band, the Persuaders.

Even though he signed the rights away to most of his royalty earnings on the song, Flores has been immortalized by his cry of "tequila!" They played it at his funeral in 2006. His wife Sharee said he never got tired of playing it.

In 1986, the song appeared in Pee-wee's Big Adventure when Pee-wee dances his way out of certain death in a biker bar after knocking over dozens of bikes. He finds "Tequila" on the jukebox and borrows a busboy's ridiculous white platform shoes to rock this scene.