Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Digging Your Scene" by The Blow Monkeys - January 31st 80's Quest Song/Band of the Day


Back in 1986, I loooved the song “Digging Your Scene”!  I had the album, and my college roommate, Terri, and I had it in heavy rotation on our dorm room stereo.  Who knows…it may have made it on to some party cassettes that I used to make for various fraternity parties back around that time, because it was very danceable.

The Blow Monkeys were a band formed in England in 1981.  Dr. Robert (real name Bruce Robert Howard) started the band and was their lead singer, songwriter and guitarist with Mick Anker on bass, Neville Henry on saxophone, and Tony Kiley on drums.

Their debut album, “Limping for a Generation” was released in 1984, but they did not have a hit until 1986 with “Digging Your Scene” off their second album, “Animal Magic”.  The lyrics were about AIDS-fueled backlash against gay people (which I actually never realized until researching for 80’s Quest), but the song was very pop and upbeat.  “Digging Your Scene” reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart in August 1986.

The band released a third album in 1987, “She Was Only a Grocer’s Daughter” which spawned some U.K. hits but never charted in the United States.  One song from that album, “You Don’t Own Me’ was featured on the soundtrack to the movie “Dirty Dancing”, and the album was featured in the film, “Police Academy 4:  Citizens on Patrol”.

Dr. Robert released some solo material in collaboration with Chicago House diva, Kym Mazelle, which were hits in the U.K and appeared on their fourth album, “Whoops! There Goes the Neighborhood”.

The band broke up in 1990 after the release of their fifth album.  Dr. Robert went solo and also worked with Paul Weller on Weller’s first solo album.  He also collaborated with Beth Orton.  The Blow Monkeys reunited in 2007-2008 and even released a new album in January 2011 called “Staring at the Sea”.


I just got your message baby
So sad to see you fade away
What in the world is this feeling
To catch a breath and leave me reeling
It'll get you in the end, its god's revenge

Oh I know I should come clean
But I prefer to deceive
Everyday I walk alone
And pray that god won't see me

I know its wrong, I know its wrong
Tell me why is it I'm digging your scene
I know I'll die baby

They put you in a home to fill in
But I wouldn't call that living
I'm like a boy among men
I'd like a permanent friend

I'd like to think that I was just myself again
Why is it I'm digging your scene
I know I'll die baby

I just got your message baby
So sad to see you fade away
I'm like a boy among men
I'd like a permanent friend
I'd like to think that I was just myself again

Why is it I'm digging your scene
I know I'll die baby

"Rapture" by Blondie - January 30th 80's Quest Song/Band of the Day

Today's band is one of my all time favorite bands, and their lead singer, Deborah Harry, was my absolute childhood idol.  Last week Pat Benatar was the artist of the day, and I mentioned that she was an idol of mine, but Deborah Harry was THE idol for me in my younger years. 

I remember Blondie coming on the scene in the 70's with a style that was a mix of new wave/punk/and some danceable songs.  Their music sounded like something “new” in the air.  Deborah Harry was the coolest.  She was beautiful, wore fashionable streetwise clothes, and let her dark roots show through her platinum blonde hair. She had this cool, seductive, disaffected, kind of spaced out demeanor.  I used to get all jazzed up when the band was on television to perform or do an interview.  I used to say, “Look, look!! Blondie’s on!” to which my mother would reply in disgust, "It looks like she's on drugs!".  The fact that Deborah Harry incensed my parents made her even better!  I had my own thing that my parents just couldn't understand, and it was great!   When I was a college radio DJ, they had a weekly show on Friday nights called the Friday Night Filigree on which the DJ would pick a favorite band or artist and devote the entire show to showcasing their songs.  When I did my Friday Night Filigree show, I chose Blondie/Deborah Harry.

I remember going to the Mall, and there were the coolest Blondie and Deborah Harry posters in the record stores.  I would listen to their albums in my room and hear them singing of this place where they lived called The Lower East Side, and wonder about what this cool place must be like.  In interviews it was often noted that the band was from New York City.  I think something got stuck in that little head of mine way back then, that NYC might be a cool place to be.  And now I live there!.  And guess when Deborah Harry is in New York, guess where her apartment is located?  11 blocks away from mine!  I don’t know why, but somehow that is still cool to me as an adult that we are virtually in the same neighborhood now.  I have never run into her yet, but if I do, it will be an exciting day for me. 

After I first moved to New York, she played a show blocks away from me at The Rubin Museum of Art with Jim Carroll and others.  I remember I was struck by how great it was to be in New York and just be able to walk down the street a little ways and be able to see my idol.  She mentioned that she had picked up a slice of pizza across the street before coming to the show, so you never know...maybe one of these days our paths shall cross.

Deborah Harry was born in Miami, and was adopted by Catherine Harry and Richard Smith who were gift shop proprietors in Hawthorne, New Jersey.  Debbie got her associates degree from Centenary College in Hackettstown, NJ and then moved to New York City in the late 60’s.  She worked as a secretary, a waitress at famed musician hangout Max’s Kansas City, and was a bunny at the Playboy Club.  She joined a folk rock group called Wind in the Willows and in 1974 joined another band called The Stilettos and met guitarist, Chris Stein. Stein left The Stilettos  and started a new band called Angel and the Snake with Tish and Snooky Bellomo (now famous for their Manic Panic line of hair dyes and alternative cosmetics).  In 1975 Harry and Stein (who were also involved romantically) formed Blondie with drummer Clem Burke, keyboardist Jimmy Destri and Gary Valentine on bass.  The band took its name from the catcalls that Harry used to receive from truck drivers who yelled out the window to her, “Hey, Blondie!”.  Blondie became one of the pioneering bands in the American new wave/punk scene in New York during the 1970’s playing all the important venues of the time such as Max’s Kansas City and CBGB’s.

Their debut album, “Blondie” was released in December 1976 by small label Private Stock.  In 1977 Blondie bought back their contract and signed with Chrysalis records.  Their first success came in Australia when a television program called “Countdown” mistakenly played “In the Flesh” which was the b-side to the single they had released, “X-Offender”.  Turns out, “In the Flesh” hit a chord with listeners and reached the Australian Top 5.

In 1978 Blondie released their second album, “Plastic Letters”  The first single released was “Denis” a cover of a 1963 Randy and the Rainbows song.  It reached #2 on the U.K. charts and the next single, “(I Am Always Touched by Your) Presence Dear” reached the U.K. top ten.  They were one of the first American new wave bands to achieve mainstream success in the U.K.

Their next album, 1978’s “Parallel Lines” finally achieved mainstream in America charting at #6.  It was the bands most successful album worldwide.  The first two singles were “Picture This” and “Hanging on the Telephone”.  The third release “Heart of Glass “topped the charts in 1979.  It had been a rock and reggae song in the bands repertoire that had been updated with disco elements.  “Heart of Glass” was played extensively on radio stations all over the world and the bands underground status was now mainstream.  The next single released in the U.S. was “One Way or Another”, while “Sunday Girl” was the next single released in England.

Blondie’s fourth album, “Eat to the Beat” came out in 1979.  Singles from that album “Atomic”, “Dreaming” and “Union City Blue” charted, but did not reach the same success as the songs from the “Parallel Lines” album.

Next Blondie collaborated with famed Italian music producer Giorgio Moroder to record “Call Me” which was featured on the soundtrack of the movie “American Gigolo” starring Richard Gere.  It was a #1 hit in the United States and was nominated for a Grammy Award.

 Moving in the 1980’s, Blondie released their 5th album, the more experimental “Autoamerican” which produced two more U.S. #1’s:  “The Tide is High” and “Rapture”.  “Rapture” was released in 1981, and the video for the song has the distinction of being the first rap video every played on MTV.  Being a downtown NYC group, Blondie was very in-tune with the trends and people in the downtown music and art scene.  The video features some downtown biggies such as hip hop pioneer (and later host of the show “Yo! MTV Raps) and graffiti artist  Fab Five Freddy who is mentioned by name in this song, “Fab 5 Freddy told me everybody’s fly, DJ spinning, I said, “My My”…” (and seen at 2:21 into this video spray painting the word “Rap” on the wall), famed NYC graffiti artist, Lee Quinones (seen at 2:14 into this video. He is spray painting his name “Lee” on the wall), and artist Jean Michel Basquiat (seen at 1:56 into this video.  He is the DJ). You will also hear the lyric, “Flash is fast, Flash is cool…” which refers to pioneer rap DJ  Grandmaster Flash (who with his fellow MC’s The Furious 5 recorded the hit, “White Lines”).

 In 1981 Chrysalis Records released a greatest hits compilation called “Best of Blondie”.  That same year Blondie took a break, and Deborah Harry and Jimmy Destri both released solo albums.  Blondie was commissioned to write the theme song for the 1981 James Bond movie, “For Your Eyes Only”, but their submission was rejected and the song was eventually done by Sheena Easton 

Blondie reconvened and released another album “The Hunter” in 1982.  They included their song “For Your Eyes Only”.  The album did very poorly, did not sell well, and only had two slight hits, “Island of Lost Souls” and “War Child”.  They launched a world tour that was cancelled due to low ticket sales.

The band was experiencing many problems.  Tensions were high due to internal struggles, some bandmates’ drug use, the band’s commercial decline, resulting financial pressures, and also due to the fact that Deborah Harry had become so associated with the band’s name that many believed “Blondie” was her name, rather than the band’s name.  The added focus on Harry, annoyed others in the band.  In 1981 Harry released a press release to explain that her name was not Blondie but Deborah Harry.  The band even launched a campaign with buttons that read, “Blondie is a Group”.  On top of all this, Chris Stein came down with a painful and rare autoimmune disease called pemphigus which causes the skin to blister, slough off, and turn into sores.  The band broke up and announced their split in November 1982.

 Harry and Stein retreated from the public and concentrated on attending to Stein’s condition and to clean up their drug use.  Harry did released some solo projects in the late 80’s.  Eventually the couple broke up, but are still friends and work together.

The band reformed in the 90’s and released a new album “No Exit” in 1999 and experienced another hit with the song “Maria”.  In March 2006 Blondie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the band still tours today.


Toe to toe
Dancing very close
Barely breathing
Almost comatose
Wall to wall
People hypnotized
And they're stepping lightly
Hang each night in Rapture

Back to back
Spineless movement
And a wild attack

Face to face
Sadly solitude
And it's finger popping
Twenty-four hour shopping in Rapture

Fab Five Freddie told me everybody's high
DJ's spinnin' are savin' my mind
Flash is fast, Flash is cool
Francois sez fas, Flashe' no do
And you don't stop, sure shot
Go out to the parking lot
And you get in your car and you drive real far
And you drive all night and then you see a light
And it comes right down and lands on the ground
And out comes a man from Mars
And you try to run but he's got a gun
And he shoots you dead and he eats your head
And then you're in the man from Mars
You go out at night, eatin' cars
You eat Cadillacs, Lincolns too
Mercurys and Subarus
And you don't stop, you keep on eatin' cars
Then, when there's no more cars
You go out at night and eat up bars where the people meet
Face to face, dance cheek to cheek
One to one, man to man
Dance toe to toe
Don't move to slow, 'cause the man from Mars
Is through with cars, he's eatin' bars
Yeah, wall to wall, door to door, hall to hall
He's gonna eat 'em all
Rapture, be pure
Take a tour, through the sewer
Don't strain your brain, paint a train
You'll be singin' in the rain
I said don't stop, to punk rock

Well now you see what you wanna be
Just have your party on TV
'Cause the man from Mars won't eat up bars when the TV's on
And now he's gone back up to space
Where he won't have a hassle with the human race
And you hip-hop, and you don't stop
Just blast off, sure shot
'Cause the man from Mars stopped eatin' cars and eatin' bars
And now he only eats guitars, get up!

Monday, January 30, 2012

"Sponji Reggae" by Black Uhuru - January 29th 80's Quest Band/Song of the Day

I have no clue in the world how I got into reggae band, Black Uhuru, but I remember playing their 1981 album “Red” a lot on my stereo.  This particular clip (from 1981) shown today on 80’s quest, is from the Swedish television show Mandagsborsen, and was the only performance by Black Uhuru on Swedish TV.   The line-up of Black Uhuru evolved many times during its 16 year career, but the line-up on the “Red” album consisted of Michael Rose, Sandra “Puma” Jones, and Derrick “Duckie” Simpson.  Sly and Robbie produced the “Red” album, after producing their successful “Sinsemilla” album a year before in 1980.
Black Uhuru were a reggae band from the Waterhouse district of Kingston, Jamaica, formed in 1972 and originally called Uhuru, which is Swahili for “freedom”.  Later they changed their name to Black Sounds Uhuru, and finally Black Uhuru.  Derrick “Duckie” Simpson was the founder, driving force and constant member throughout the years.

Sandra “Puma” Jones, a social worker from South Carolina joined the band in 1977.  She had been a dancer for Ras Michael & the Sons of Negus, and a member of the group Mama Africa.  Black Uhuru started doing a lot of work with Sly & Robbie and recording their most successful singles.  Island records signed them in 1980 and released their “Sinsemilla” album internationally.  The follow-up album was “Red”, and then “Chill Out” in 1982.  During this time Black Uhuru toured with The Rolling Stones. 

Rose had a falling-out with Simpson and left the group to pursue a solo career.  He was replaced by Junior Reid.  The band was signed to RAS Records and took a different more dance-oriented direction with their 1986 album “Brutal” and their single “The Great Train Robbery”.  “Brutal” was nominated for a Grammy Award.
Even though success was at hand, the band began to disintegrate.   They stopped working with Sly & Robbie.  Their next album was never completed.  Sandra “Puma” Jones left the band due to health reasons, and unfortunately died in 1990 from cancer.

There have been some reunion shows (of the original line-up) and other albums released in the 90’s.  In 1989 Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Black Uhuru’s album “Red” as #23 on their list of the “100 Greatest Albums of the 1980’s”.   Other trivial facts:  The song “Great Train Robbery” appears in the Grand Theft Auto:  San Andreas video game on the fictitious radio station K-Jah West.  The song “Sponji Reggae” was featured in a episode on season two of “The Cosby Show” (Denise Huxtable and her boyfriend were watching the video for the song on t.v.).

You bum right here and you
bounce over there sponji reggae
I say you bum right here and
you bounce over there
sponji reggae
I say you rock right here and
you rock over there sponji reggae
I say you punch right here and you
punch over there sponji reggae

A keep trying very hard to succeed
I almost lost my reflex
My barefeet was burn
That I almost lost my nerves
My fingers are shaking as the
day start breaking
I could a never keep it no longer
I had to tell it to one another


You bum right here

Some say I am nuts zooky crazy
Want I to leave the music alone
They say go and look work
I and I are lazy
But I think for a while and
say to my self
It's a time for every style


I may not be a movie star
I don't drive a big fancy car
I can afford only a Winchester cigar
From the day I was born and
given life
I and I a actor genius name it
Genuine character


"TV Party" by Black Flag - January 28th 80's Quest Band/Song of the Day

Black Flag was always one of those bands that was on my radar, but as I was not male, from California, or a hardcore punk, I probably didn't get into them as much as others did, but I liked what they were doing.  They especially came on my radar when one of their songs "TV Party" appeared on what I consider to be one of the best movie soundtracks of all time, for the 1984 underground cult movie "Repo Man" about a punk rocker turned auto repossession agent, which was produced by Mike Nesmith of the Monkees, directed by Alex Cox, and starred a then unknown Emilio Estevez, and Harry Dean Stanton.

Black Flag was a punk rock band formed in Hermosa Beach, California in 1976.  They were essential to the formation of hardcore punk, the do-it-yourself music scene,  one of the premier California punk bands, and key influence on punk subculture.  They played with speed and ferocity that was unprecedented.  Their numerous line-up changes hindered them from mainstream success, but they were revered as an underground band.

Greg Ginn, the band’s guitarist, formed the Black Flag.  He was the major songwriter and only continuous band member throughout the band’s career.   The band was initially called Panic and featured Keith Morris (singer), Chuck Dukowski (bass) and Brian Migdol (drums).  There was another band already called Panic, so they changed their name to Black Flag in 1978 because if a white flag meant, surrender; then a black flag meant anarchy.  Their logo was four vertical black rectangles that looked like a rippling black flag.  Ginn’s brother, Raymond (using the pseudonym Raymond Pettibon), created the logo, as well as the signature artwork for all but two of the band’s releases, their merchandise and gig flyers.

In true DIY-fashion the band spray painted their logo all over Los Angeles.  They pinned up flyers and did all their own marketing.  Greg Ginn started his own record label SST Records,recorded and released their material and made videos.  Because the punk scene was violent, Black Flag and other punk bands had a hard time finding venues that would allow them to play, so the band found their own venues, set up and promoted all their shows.

Drummer Migdol was replaced by a Columbian drummer named Robo.  He wore several metallic bracelets that clicked together when he played and became part of his drum sound.  Singer Morris quit in 1979 (and formed the punk band The Circle Jerks).  After he left the Black Flag, they recruited a fan, Ron Reyes, to be their new singer, recorded an EP called “Jealous Again” and began their first tour up and down the West Coast.  They also appeared in the movie  The Decline of Western Civilization.   This line-up was short-lived as Reyes quit the band in the middle of a gig in Redondo Beach, because things were getting too violent.  After Reyes left the stage, the band stayed on playing the song “Louie, Louie” and inviting audience members on stage to take turns at singing until the end of the gig.

They brought on another fan, Dez Cadena, as their next  singer and began a national tour.  Shortly afterwards in 1981, Cadena’s voice was shot from all the touring, and he decided to play guitar for Black Flag rather than sing.  For the next singer, they brought on another fan from Washington, D.C., who had been corresponding with them, Henry Rollins.  He became their longest lasting singer and brought a different perspective to the band.  Over time goofy songs about apathy and drinking were replaced by more personal, emotional lyrics, and a slower style of music that incorporated some elements of classic rock and blues.  Being the lead singer, Rollins, was often the target of violent audience members, but he was a weight-lifter and became known for holding his own and getting in fist fights with audience members.

With Rollins on vocals, the band began working on their first full-length album, “Damaged” which was released in 1981 on Unicorn Records, a subsidiary of MCA Records.   Problems ensued when MCA refused to distribute the album.  Unicorn Records was so mismanaged and strapped for cash that distributing the album would have actually lost MCA money.  This led to a legal battle that would prevent Black Flag from using their own name on any record after “Damaged” was released. 

On their way home from Europe, their Columbian drummer, Robo was detained in the U.K. by customs and not allowed back into the United States.  This was the end of his career with Black Flag (although he was later allowed back into the country in 1983 and joined the Misfits as their drummer).  Chuck Biscuits was leaving the band D.O.A. and was brought on as the new Black Flag drummer.   Rollins and Biscuits did not get along (Rollins thought he was a “fuck-up”), so Biscuits soon left for The Circle Jerks and Bill Stevenson of the Descendents joined.


T.V. party tonight!
T.V. party tonight!
T.V. party tonight!
T.V. party tonight!

We're gonna have a T.V. party tonight!


We're gonna have a T.V. party alright!


We've got nothing better to do
Than watch T.V. and have a couple of brews

All our friends are gonna hang out here tonight


We're gonna pass out on the couch alright


We've got nothing better to do
Than watch T.V. and have a couple of brews

Don't talk about anything else
We don't wanna know!
We're dedicated
To our favorite shows!

We sit glued to the T.V. set all night
And every night!
Why go into the outside world at all?
It's such a fright!

We've got nothing better to do
Than watch T.V. and have a couple of brews

T.V. news shows what it's really like out there
It's a scare!

You can go out if you want
We wouldn't dare!

We've got nothing better to do
Than watch T.V. and have a couple of brews

Don't talk about anything else
We don't wanna know!
We're dedicated
To our favorite shows!

I wouldn't be without my T.V. for a day
Or even a minute!

Don't even bother to use my brain anymore
There's nothing left in it!

We've got nothing better to do
Than watch T.V. and have a couple of brews

Wait a minute! My T.V. set doesn't work!
It's broken!
What are we gonna do tonight? This isn't fair!
We're hurtin'

We've got nothing left to do
With no T.V. and just a couple of brews

What are we gonna talk about?
I don't know!
We're gonna miss our favorite shows!

Even though they were unable to release any music using the name Black Flag due to the injunction with their record company, the band still worked on new material and released a compilation album, “Everything Went Black” which was credited to the musicians named individually, and not “Black Flag”.  When Unicorn Records went bankrupt the band was released from the injunction and released the album “My War”.  Bassist Dukowski had left the band in 1983, and a new bassist was brought on – Kira Roessler.  The band was on fire in 1984 and released 3 albums and toured constantly. 

The band began experimenting with their sound, and slowing some things down and taking on more of a metal sound.  This irritated some audience members and violence against the band (especially Rollins) flourished.  Others (including many musicians from the early 90’s grunge scene) loved the change and credit  Black Flag’s slowed down style as influential in their own bands’ grunge sound. 

 Roessler was cut from the band due to erratic behavior.  They also lost another drummer.  By 1986 there was a lot of tension and fighting in the band, and members were tired of the relentless touring and living in near-poverty.  Commercial success had eluded them due to their unstable line-ups over the years.  The band played their last show on June 27, 1986 in Detroit, Michigan and later broke up. 
Since the break-up most band members have continued playing music. Rollins has been the most prolific.  There have been some reunion shows.  The history of the band has been written about in a couple of books:  Rollin’s tour diary, “Get in the Van” and a book about several important underground rock bands called “Our Band Could Be Your Life”.

Friday, January 27, 2012

"I Get the Job Done" - by Big Daddy Kane - January 27th 80's quest song/band of the day

I gotta admit, I wasn't much into hip hop and rap back in the 80's; but here and there a song came along that I just couldn't help but like.  "I Get the Job Done" by Big Daddy Kane was one of those songs.  I was DJ-ing college radio on W.U.N.H. 91.3 FM when I first heard him.  He's another one of those 80's performers that you can put in the "Sexy Songs" file.  Hell....you can start a new file called "Dirty Songs" and put Big Daddy Kane in there!  In "I Get the Job Done", after all, he is letting the ladies know he is on the J.O.B, and if their husbands can't satisfy them, they should come looking for Big Daddy Kane to be their tasty side order.  His persona was a stylish playboy who oozed sexuality, but he was also known as an enormously talent battle MC.  He had verbal dexterity and could devour people on the mic. 

Check out the video and you will see some of the hip-hop fashion styles that Big Daddy Kane inspired from the high-top fade haircut, chains, four-finger rings, and velour suits, and colorful suits.  He was always known to be a good dresser.

He was born Antonio Hardy in 1968 and grew up in an area of Brooklyn near the Fulton Mall/Metrotech area called Albee Square, later moving to Bedford-Stuyvesant..  His father was a truck driver, and his mother was a registered nurse.  Some say his sense of style was inspired by his uncle Lenny who was always a dapper dresser in suits and straw hats.

He was fascinated with martial arts as a boy and used to see kung-fu and blaxploitation films at the old Slave Theater that used to be on Fulton Street.  That's where the "Kane" part of his name came from.  It stands for "King Asiatic Nobody's Equal".   The "Big Daddy" part, well, you know.... he says that came from something that happened on a ski trip involving a young lady.

In 1984 he met friend Biz Markie at the Albee Square Mall (which is immortalized in Biz Markie's song "The Mall is Gone Now").  Kane went on to co-write many of Biz Markie's songs.  Both became part of the Juice Crew, a collective based out of Queens lead by producer Marly Marl.  In 1987 Kane signed with Marl's  Cold Chillin' record label and released a 12-inch single called "Raw" which became an underground hit.  He also released his debut album, "Long Live the Kane" on this label in 1988.  The following year he released his most successful album to date, "It's a Big Daddy Thing" which contained this song, "I Get the Job Done".  It charted in the R&B Top 40.  Later albums from the 90's never achieved the success of "It's a Big Daddy Thing" because he switched to a more mellow R&B style that wasn't his strong suit (like rapping was),  at a time when gangster rap had become more popular.  Still, Kane is consistently honored as one of the pioneering and best MC's in the genre.  MTV ranked him at #7 of their Greatest MC's Of All Time list.  In Kool Moe Dee's book, "There's a God on the Mic:  The True 50 Greatest MCs" Kane is ranked at #4.  His personal and rapping style influenced many who came later in his wake.

During the 90's when Kane performed and exited the stage to change outfits, Jay-Z would make  cameo appearances to freestyle until Kane returned to the stage.  Jay-Z was also featured on Kane's song "Show & Prove" from the 1994 "Daddy's Home" album.

During the 90's Kane appeared on Patti Labelle's 1991 album "Burnin" providing the rap chorus to the song "Feels Like Another One".  Around this time he also began acting and appeared in Mario Van Peebles western movie Posse in 1993, and that same year in Robert Townsend's "Meteor Man".

He also perpetuated his sex-symbol status by posing for Playgirl magazine and appearing in Madonna's notorious 1992 photo book, Sex.In 2003 he appeared on English trip-hop group Morcheeba's single "What's Your Name".  In 2004 his song "Warm It Up Kane" appeared in the video game Grand Theft Auto:  San Andreas playing on classic hip hop radio station Playback FM.  In 2005 he was awarded during the VH1 Hip-Hop Honors and performed his song "Warm It Up Kane" along with his old back-up dances Scoob and Scrap.  In 2009 he acted in the movie "Just Another Day", a tale of two rappers:  One poor and young, the other older and successful.  In 2009 he returned to Brooklyn (from North Carolina where he was living) to play a show at Prospect Park in his former home-borough.


[Kane] Hey yo Teddy

[Riley] Yo

[Kane] I ran into a young lady Maliya last night

[Riley] Word?

[Kane] Must have been her husband's payday

[Riley] Heheh

[Kane] because she bought me this here brand new

diamond link that you see me with on

[Riley] Mmm

[Kane] Smooth, you knowhatI'msayin? You know why?

[Riley] Why Kane?

[Kane] Cause I get the job done

Chorus: repeat 2X

"I work" (3X) "I work.. baby!"

[Big Daddy Kane]

The question at hand, is how do I love thee?

I count the ways but girls don't shove me

One by one you can come and caress me

Undress and molest me but you can't possess me

Because I love a young lady that's beautiful

but one that's smart for me, is more suitable

In other words, to make it simple and plain

You gotta have a brain in order to be Ms. Kane

But in the case of not becomin my lady

I take em eight to eighty, dumb crippled and crazy

Crisp and clean with no caffeine

and a pair of spandex or either tight jeans

Couldn't believe the ones with the Chinese*****

but I'll take em with the weave hangin down to they butts

And if you step up in a large sum

Like Martin Luther King, I Shall Overcome

I get the job done

Chorus (+ Kane says "I get the job done!" every two lines)

[Big Daddy Kane]

Some of you ladies make moves too quick

And settle down, without havin a large pick

Rushin to becomin some pooh-butt's wife

and no longer do you enjoy, the married life

Well, I let you know this is a brand new year

so never fear, the Big Daddy is here

To do things in places your husband wouldn't

And do certain things he probably just couldn't

Let me sneak into your life, like a thief in the night

Lick your body all over and squeeze you real tight

Nibble all over your ear and give your back a massage

You'll say, "Oooh I like it just like DeBarge" (how large)

Smooth and mild I'll make you smile

Honey child and if you like then get buckwild

And when I turn her back on, you'll have to say

like Calgon, please take me away

So when your main course is doin nothin for ya

Just look at me as a tasty side order

that came into your life and brought a thrill

Cause any husband won't, I'm a neighbor who will, get the job done..

Chorus (+ Kane says "I get the job done!" every two lines)

[Kane] T.R., take it to the bridge, uhh!

[Big Daddy Kane]

Here's a perfect description of me

Six foot one, and dark and lovely

And if they're sayin black is beautiful, it's true not phony

I'm Brown-er than Bobby so won't you be my +Tenderoni+

And get a whiff of this nymphomaniac

and uhh, the date mack is ready to attack

and prove that I'm a pro and far from a rookie

Ain't no hair on my chest, but I'm one tough cookie

Whoever said you had to be one-hundred percent

masculine in order to be in?

I'd rather be more subtle and smooth and SOOTH

Girl, you won't disapprove

And I promise that you'll never forget

Hmmmmmmmmmmm, now what's a title to fit me?

A champ like Tyson, a Captain like Kirk, no

Employee of the Month, cause yo, I do work

The K-A-N-E is on the J-O-be

An expert, cause I get it D-O-N-E

So lights, camera, action - all hail the one!

That gets the job done

Chorus (+ Kane says "I get the job done!" every two lines)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"In a Big Country" by Big Country - January 26th 80's Quest song/band of the day


Oh man, this was one of the best songs from the 80's.  It got you pumped up when you heard it.  The band had an original sound, unlike any other  - why did we not hear more from this band?

Big Country was a band from Scotland (Dunfermline) formed in 1981.  Their music was anthemic and guitar driven with elements of Scottish folk music like bagpipes and  fiddles.  The band was formed by singer/guitarist, Stuart Adamson, who was born in Manchester, England, but moved to Scotland when he was four years old.  In 1977 when he was 18, he formed a punk band called The Skids.  Later, he got together with his friend Bruce Watson (guitar) who was working as a cleaner on submarines on a naval base and hooked up with studio musicians Tony Butler (bass) and Mark Brzezicki (drums) to form Big Country. 

Their album "The Crossing" was released in 1982.  Adamson was married, and had his first child that same year.   The first and second singles were "Harvest Home" and "Fields of Fire", but the big hit was "In a Big Country"  It was their only song to hit the Top 40 in the United States.  Even though they are often considered a one-hit wonder in the U.S, over the ensuing years they released more albums and remained popular throughout Europe and had a cult following.  The song "In a Big Country" featured heavily engineered guitars that sounded like bagpipes.  The band was also known to use an e-bow which is a device that makes a guitar sound more like strings or a synthesizer.

1984's "Steeltown" album had 3 top 30 hits in the UK, but was a commercial flop in the U.S.  During this time the band toured as a headliner, and also as the opening band for Queen and Roger Daltrey from The Who.  In 1986 they put out their third album, "The Seer", again it did well in Europe, and poorly in the States.  In 1988 in an attempt to appeal to an American audience they worked with Peter Wolf (of the J. Geils Band) to produce their 4th album "Peace in Our Time".  Critics and fans enjoyed the album, but it still sold poorly in the States.  Their 5th album, 1991's "No Place Like Home" was not released in t he U.S. at all.  The band was dropped by their record label, Phonogram that same year. 

In 1996, lead singer Stuart Adamson split with his first wife, Sandra and was drinking heavily.  In 1997 he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and in 1999 got remarried to a hairdresser, Melanie Shelley.  In Nashville he started a new alternative country band with Marcus Hummon called The Raphaels.  Big Country also released 3 more albums before calling it a day.  Their last album was 1999's "Driving to Damascus". Adamson was disappointed and depressed that the album didn't do well, and late in 1999 he disappeared for while explaining only that he needed some time off.  He returned for Big Country's farewell tour. Their last show was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in October 2000.

Adamson's struggles with alcoholism returned with a vengeance.  In September 2001 he holed up in a Gatwick hotel and drank himself into oblivion, then spent 10 days in a detoxification unit in Crawley, West Sussex.  It was not the only time he did something like this.  He had another disappearance and was holed up in a hotel in Nashville.

Adamson was very depressed.  He was due in court on drunk driving charges in Nashville.  His band had broken up, and so had his second marriage.  His second wife filed for divorce.  She was badgering Adamson to sign over their Nashville home and hairdressing business.  Even though he had just finished a stint in rehab and hadn't been drinking for six weeks, apparently he snapped and took off again.  On November 26, 2001 his second wife reported him missing, and the band posted about his disappearance on the Big Country website urging any fans who may have known his whereabouts or been harbouring him to have  the singer to contact the band, or management company. 

Stuart Adamson was found dead on December 16, 2001 at the Best Western Plaza Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii.  He had committed suicide and was found alone on the floor of his hotel room closet.  He was in a seated position with one end of the rope tied to his neck, and the other to the closet pole.  He was 43 years old.

U2's the Edge delivered the eulogy at Adamson's funeral.  Sadly for Adamson's children Callum and Kirsten, who were 19 and 17 respectively at that time and living in Scotland, Adamson died without leaving a will.  His second wife was set to inherit his entire estate and there was a legal battle.  Adamson's first wife fought to secure a share of his estate for the kids.  Not sure how it turned out, but it sure was a sad end to the singer of one of the most upbeat songs of the 80's.  The surviving original members toured again in December 2010 - January 2011 with Mike Peters of the Alarm singing.


I've never seen you look like this without a reason,
Another promise fallen through, another season passes by you.
I never took the smile away from anybody's face,
And that's a desperate way to look for someone who is still a child.

And in a big country, dreams stay with you,
Like a lover's voice, fires the mountainside..
Stay alive..

(I thought that pain and truth were things that really mattered
But you can't stay here with every single hope you had shattered)

I'm not expecting to grow flowers in the desert,
But I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime..


So take that look out of here, it doesn't fit you.
Because it's happened doesn't mean you've been discarded.
Pull up your head off the floor, come up screaming.
Cry out for everything you ever might have wanted.
I thought that pain and truth were things that really mattered
But you can't stay here with every single hope you had shattered.

I'm not expecting to grow flowers in the desert,
But I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime..


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Sex (I'm a...) by Berlin - January 25 80's Quest Song/Band of the Day

File this song under "Sexy Songs of the 80's"....perhaps one of the sexiest.  So sexy that this song was banned from some radio stations at the time.  One of my best high school buddies Anthony loved Berlin and this song. It always makes me think of him, so this one goes out to him today!  It was a fun song to dance to, although I think we heard it more at clubs (or in our own rooms on the stereo), as they obviously weren't playing it at our high school dances.

Berlin was an L.A. band formed in 1978 led primarily by John Crawford who was their primary songwriter, bass and synthesizer player.  The band was largesly influenced by the synthesizer/keyboard heavy music of Kraftwerk and Ultravox.

Other members besides Crawford included Terri Nunn (vocals), David Diamond (keyboards), Rick Olsen (guitar), Matt Reid (keyboards) and Rod Learned (drums) who was later replaced by Rob Brill after the first European tour.

The band released it's first single on a small label in 1979.  Terri Nunn left the band to pursue acting (Earlier she had auditioned for the role of Princess Leia in "Star Wars") but returned to sing with the band again in 1981.  Berlin signed to Enigma Records and had their first hit in 1982 with
"Sex (I'm A...)" off their "Pleasure Victim" EP which also spawned another hit "The Metro" which got a lot of airplay on MTV. Crawford penned all but one of the songs on the "Pleasure Victim" EP.  Due to the positive response to this EP, Berlin then signed to Geffen Records.

They put out a second album in 1984, "Love Life" which contained the hit "No More Words" backed by a Bonnie & Clyde-style video for the song.  Their best-selling single was "Take My Breath Away" from their third album "Count Three and Pray" which was released in 1986.  It was used on the soundtrack for the movie "Top Gun" which starred Tom Cruise. Personnel changes had plagued the band, and by the time this album was released Nunn and Crawford were the only remaining original members left in Berlin.  By 1987 it had all disintegrated.  Nunn and Crawford were not speaking, there were creative differences, and the band broke up.

In 2004 cable television channel VH1 aired an excellent show called "Bands Reunited" on which they would find the members of bands from the 80's, attempt to reunite them, and get them to play a
one-off show together again.  I absolutely loved this show and have no idea why we did not get more than a speckling of episodes.  I wished it would have aired, and aired, and aired for years.  I enjoyed this show a lot.  I found a clip from the "Bands Reunited" episode featuring Berlin (see the link below).  In it Nunn and Crawford explain the break-up and you can see how the band members looked in 2004.


Up until the Band's Reunited episode occured Crawford had stepped away from music for 10 years.  If memory serves me correct he was working doing something with computers (?).  He became a born-again Christian and was married with kids.

Nunn got a Master's degree in nutrition and co-hosts "Between the Sheets" a podcast on Hottalkla.com and is due to have a new radio show in 2012 on KCSN-FM (Cal-State Northride in California) as well as record a new album. 


Feel the fire, feel my love inside you it's so right
There's the sound and the smell of love in my mind
I'm a toy, come and play with me, say the word now
Wrap your legs around mine and ride me tonight
I'm a man, I'm a goddess
I'm a man, well I'm a virgin
I'm a man, I'm a blue movie
I'm a man, I'm a *****
I'm a man, I'm a geisha
I'm a man, I'm a little girl
And we make love together

Slip and slide in your wet delight, feel the blood flow
Not too fast, don't be slow, my love's in your hands

I'm a man, I'm a boy
I'm a man, well I'm your mother
I'm a man, I'm a one night stand
I'm a man, am I bi
I'm a man, I'm a slave
I'm a man, I'm a little girl
And we make love together

Skin to skin, tongue to oooh! come on honey hold tight
Come inside, it's a passion play just for you
Let's get lost in that magic place all alone now
Drink your fill from my fountain of love, wet your lips

I'm a man, I'm a teaser
I'm a man, well I'm a virgin
I'm a man, I'm a one night stand
I'm a man, I'm a drug
I'm a man, well I'm your slave
I'm a man, I'm a dream divine
And we make love together

I'm a man, I'm a goddess
I'm a man, I'm a hooker
I'm a man, I'm a blue movie
I'm a man, I'm a slut
I'm a man, I'm babe
I'm a man, I'm a dream divine
And we make love together
And we'll make love forever

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"You Better Run" by Pat Benatar January 24th 80's Quest Song/Band of the day

I had two idols in my tween and teenage years.  Deborah Harry of Blondie was one of them, and the other was Pat Benatar.  Oh my God, I absolutely LOVED her.  She was one of the few women in music who really rocked!!  She could belt out the songs, and she did it with attitude.  Pat Benatar seemed like the kind of person who wouldn't take anyone's shit, and if they tried to give her any...she would set them straight and not think twice about it.  Yet she wasn't brutish...she had a cool short haircut and really hip outfits.  Just cool, cool, cool!! 

I also learned something really cool about this song while researching for 80's Quest.  I'm sure everybody must know what the very first song/video played on MTV was, right?  ("Video Killed the Radio Star" by the Buggles); but do you know what the second song/video played on MTV was?  THIS ONE!!!  "You Better Run". I also never knew that this song was a cover of a Rascals song.  All I know is that this has always been one of my favorite Benatar songs.  I especially love the whole part that she sings 2:05 into this song until the end.  Pat Benatar seems like a girl who would not sit home crying in her room being all brokenhearted, and I really admired this about her and wished I could be more like that.

Another neat thing about Pat Benatar is that she was born Patricia Mae Andrzejewski  in Greenpoint, an area of Brooklyn that I get to quite frequently these days.  If anyone knows the exact address or street she lived at, I would love to know, so that next time I am walking around the area, I can take a peek.  I couldn't find anything about it online. Greenpoint, is known as "Little Poland" since it is inhabited by the second largest concentration of Polish immigrants in the United States after Chicago.  Her dad was a Polish sheet-metal worker and her mother was an Irish beautician.  The fact that she is half Polish makes her even more cool to me, as I am half Polish too!  Her family later moved to Lindenhurst out on Long Island, NY.

Pat took voice lessons and had classical and theatrical musical training.  She was planning to attend the Juilliard School, but blew that off, and went to college for health education at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.  After only one year she dropped out to marry her high school sweetheart, Dennis Benatar.  Dennis was in the Army.  He and Pat lived in Fort Lee, Virginia where he was stationed for three years.  Pat worked as a bank teller outside Richmond, Virginia at this time.  In 1973 she quit her bank job and began pursuing a singing career again.  She caught a big break when she performed at the Catch a Rising Star comedy club in New York in 1975.  The club owner called her back and became her manager.  Following Dennis's discharge from the Army the couple moved back to New York and Pat became a regular member at Catch a Rising Star for about 3 years before she signed a record contract.  In 1979 she divorced Dennis Benatar.  I read where he suffered PTSS after returning from Vietnam, but I'm not sure how that jives with them being in Fort Lee for 3 years, as mentioned above.

Halloween 1977 Pat attended a costume contest at Cafe Figaro in Greenwich Village dressed as a character from the B-movie "Cat-Women of the Moon".  Rather than changing, she went on stage later that evening at Catch a Rising Star in costume, and it turned out that even though she performed her usual songs, this time she received a standing ovation!  Around this time she also worked recording jingles for commercials for Pepsi Cola among others.  She headlined Tramps nighclub for 2 months in 1978 and caught the ear of several record company executives and was signed to Chrysalis Records.

She recorded her first album "In the Heat of the Night" in 1979.  It included such hits as "I Need a Lover" (the first single to be released).  The third single to be released, "Heartbreaker" became an immediate hit, followed by "We Live for Love". 

In 1980 she released her second album, "Crimes of Passion". "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" became her first single to break the US Top 10.  Other hits included "Hell is for Children", "Treat Me Right" and "You Better Run".  Benatar won her very first Grammy Award for "Best Female Rock Vocal Performance of 1980".

In 1981 she released her third album, "Precious Time".  This contained the hits "Fire and Ice" and "Promises in the Dark" and earned her a second Grammy Award for "Best Female Rock Vocal Performance of 1981".

In 1982 she released the "Get Nervous" album containing the hits "Little Too Late", "Looking for a Stranger", and "Shadows of the Night" (the video for this song featured Judge Reinhold and Bill Paxton, who were then unknown actors, as opposing fighter pilots).  Once again, Pat won another Grammy for "Best Female Rock Vocal Performance of 1982".  She was untouchable at this time!!!

In 1983 she took a musical turn from hard rock to more of a pop sound with her "Live From Earth" album which featured the hit "Love is a Battlefield" and earned her yet another Grammy Award for "Best Female Rock Vocal Performance of 1983.

"We Belong" became her next hit off of 1984's Tropico album.  And "Invincible" (which was also the theme song of the movie "The Legend of Billie Jean") was a hit off her 1985 album "Seven the Hard Way".

Her final album during the 80's was 1988's "Wide Awake in Dreamland" which contained the hit "All Fired Up" and "One Love".  In 1989 "Best Shots" a 15-track greatest hits compilation was released.  Of course, Benatar released albums well after the 80's (her last was 2003's "Go"); however by 1993 she was not receiving much support and promotion from her record label.  Pat had become pregnant around this time (she was remarried to her lead guitar player and collaborator, Neil "Spyder" Giraldo.  Neil had been part of Rick Derringer's band prior to working with Pat), and the record company wanted her to keep this secret so that it would not affect her image.  This may have been part of the reason the support from the record company waned.  Eventually Chyrsalis Records was sold to EMI Records.

Pat and Neil are parents to two daughters Haley (who is now singing herself) and Hana.  In June 2010 Pat wrote a memoir called "Between a Heart and a Rock Place".  I just put it on my wishlist online, and can't wait to read it!


Whatcha tryin' to do to my heart
Whatcha tryin' to do to my heart
You go around, tellin' lies, and now you wanna compromise
Whatcha tryin' to do to my heart
You better run, you better hide, you better leave from my side, yeah

Whatcha tryin' to do to my soul
Whatcha tryin' to do to my soul
Well everything I had is yours, and now I'm closin' all the doors
Whatcha tryin' to do to my soul
You better run, you better hide, you better leave from my side, yeah

I love you, oh I love you so, can't you see, don't you know
I can't stand your alibis, you tell me lies, drive me wild, yeah

I say what are you tryin' to do to my head
Say whatcha tryin' to do to my head
Well now I'm gonna draw the line
'Cause you ain't gonna take my mind
What are you tryin' to do to my head

You better run, you better hide, you better leave from my side
You better run, you better hide, you better leave from my side
I could yell, yeah
I said go away and leave me alone
I can't stand you no more

Monday, January 23, 2012

"No Sleep Till Brooklyn" - by the Beastie Boys January 22nd 80's Quest Song/Band of the Day

In 1986 when this song came out on The Beastie Boys debut album, "Licensed to Ill" - the boys were very different from the socially conscious, married, Buddhism touting boys they are today.  Back in 1986 as a band they were younger, unrulier and sillier (I've even heard them described as the snotty Marx Brothers of rock), as you can see from this video for "No Sleep Till Brooklyn"..  This video is in the vein of rock stars who like to make comical videos a la David Lee Roth and The Foo Fighters, which is always good fun.  In fact, a 2011 New York Magazine quoted member Ad-Rock describing the M.O. of the band over the years as, "“Most of the shit we do is go down to the studio and try to make each other laugh.” This New York Magazine article is a great read, by the way:  http://nymag.com/arts/popmusic/features/beastie-boys-2011-5/  containing all kinds of early remembrances, including some from Molly Ringwald about drinking the Beastie Boys under the table!   

The Beastie Boys:  Mike D (Michael Diamond), MCA (Adam Yauch) and Ad-Rock (Adam Horovitz) were New Yorkers from Brooklyn and the  Upper West Side.  In 1979 Mike D and MCA and some other friends John Berry and Kate Schellenback (later of Luscious Jackson) started as a hardcore punk band called The Young Aborigines.  They later changed the name to The Beastie Boys.  They came up with the name first, and then an acronym for Beastie, which at the time stood for "Boys Entering Anarchistic States Towards Internal Excellence". One of their songs appear on a compilation cassette called "New York Thrash".

In 1982 they released their first EP, Polly Wog Stew, and then achieved some local success with the release of a 12-inch hip-hop single called "Cooky Puss" .  Around this time they began experimenting more and more with rap, Adam Horovitz who had been fronting his own punk band, The Young and the Useless and often sharing bills with The Beastie Boys, joined the band when Berry and Schellenback left to work on other things.  They chose Rick Rubin (then an NYU student, but later to become an important music producer) to work as their DJ.  Rubin later formed Def Jam records in 1984 with Russell Simmons in and signed The Beastie Boys to his label (although after "Licensed to Ill" they moved to Capitol Records).  In 1986 they released "Licensed to Ill" which spawned many hits, such as today's featured song, as well as "Brass Monkey", "Girls" and "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party)" which was the song that really brought them to public attention.

In 1985 the band opened for Public Image Limited (John Lydon's band after The Sex Pistols).  That made sense to me.  They also opened for Madonna on her Like a Virgin tour.  I remember hearing that, and it made no sense to me whatsoever.  Seems to me they were playing to a different audience, especially at that time.  As the Beasties toured the world their on-stage sophomoric antics and smartassery caused lots of controversies, lawsuits, arrests,and accusations of inciting a riot at a London show.

The rest is history.  The Beastie Boys' next album, 1988's "Paul's Boutique" which was produced by The Dust Brothers, is considered to be a landmark recording for its use of samples and multi-layering.  Over the years, the band matured and put out a bevy of well received albums:  "Ill Communication", "Hello Nasty", "To the 5 Boroughs", "The Mix-Up", and "Hot Sauce Committee Part 2".  They are still together after nearly 25 years, and are one of the longest lived and most commercially successful hip hop bands around.  In 2011 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

"No Sleep Till Brooklyn" is one of my favorite songs after Licensed to Ill. My favorite lines (and the way they are delivered) include:

Ain't no faking
Your money I'm taking.
Going cross the country - watch all the girl a'shakin


Ain't seen the light since we started this ban, MCA....get on the mike my man!
Born and bred in Brooklyn, USA. 
They call me Adam Yauch, but I'm MCA.
Like a lemon to a lime, a lime to a lemon
I'm super def ill with all the fine women!

I gotta admit, when The Beastie Boys first came out I wasn't really into them, because I wasn't really into rap.  By the time they released "Fight for Your Right to Party" I was feeling them much more, because I was a college student, and that's what I was doing....partying!  Since then, they have become one of my favorite bands, and regretfully one band that I have yet to see in concert!  Earlier attempts got thwarted (band member's illnesses cancelling the tour), and why-o-why I did not go see them when they played the old McCarren pool site in Williamsburg, Brooklyn?  I will always kick myself about missing that one.  I am really partial to their "Ill Communication", "Hello Nasty",  "To the 5 Boroughs" albums.  The later which was released in 2002, after the 9/11 attacks to soothe New Yorkers and their beloved city after all they had through.  One of my favorite songs from that album is "An Open Letter to NYC":



No sleep 'til - Brooklyn

Foot on the pedal never ever false metal
Engine running hotter than a boiling kettle
My job's ain't a job it's a damn good time
City to city I'm running my rhymes
On location touring around the nation
Beastie Boys always on vacation
Itchy trigger finger but a stable turntable
I do what I do best because I'm illing and able
Ain't no faking your money I'm taking
Going coast to coast watching all the girlies shaking
While you're at the job working nine to five
The Beastie Boys at the Garden cold kickin' it live

No sleep 'til -

Another plane another train
Another bottle in the brain
Another girl another fight
Another drive all night
Our manager's crazy he always smokes dust
He's got his own room at the back of the bus
Tour around the world you rock around the clock
Plane to hotel girls on the jock
We're thrashing hotels like it's going out of style
Getting paid along the way cause it's worth your while
Four on the floor Adrock's out the door
M.C.A.'s in the back because he's skeezin' with a whore
We got a safe in the trunk with money in a stack
With dice in the front and Brooklyn's in the back

No sleep 'til -

[repeat chorus]

Ain't seen the light since we started this band
M.C.A. get on the mic my man
Born and bred Brooklyn U.S.A.
They all me Adam Yauch but I'm M.C.A.
Like a lemon to a lime a lime to a lemon
I sip the def ale with all the fly women
Got limos, arena, TV shows
Autograph pictures and classy hos
Step off homes get out of my way
Taxing little girlies form here to L.A.
Waking up before I get to sleep
Cause I'll be rocking this party eight days a week

[repeat chorus]

Sunday, January 22, 2012

"Mickey" by Toni Basil - January 22 80's Quest Song/Band of the day

"Mickey" by Toni Basil was a really popular song when it came out. It was the kind of song that when it came on over the speakers at dances, all the girls went running on the dance floor.  It really has the potential to be one of those songs that could grate on your nerves, but somehow it never has, for me.  If I'm flipping around and it comes on the radio, I like to listen and sing along every time!

The video I like too.  My older brother played football, so that meant I always had to be dragged along to his games from the East Blue Devils, to the Vikings, and then JV and Varsity games once he was in high school.  I liked all the cute older football players, but I really didn't enjoy football, so the only thing for me to do there to pass the time and not go mad was to watch the cheerleaders.  I liked the outfits and the dance moves and the shakers and megaphones, the stomping and the sing song cheers, the pyramids and the way they would call out the players names and make a cheer out of it:  "Yay, John!  Yay Doe!!  Yay Yay John Doe!  Jooooooohn.   Doooooooe.  John Doe (clap, clap, clap).  I got to learn the whole team that way!  So maybe that's the reason I enjoy the video so.

Or it could just be Toni Basil's skills as a choreographer.  She grew up in Philadelphia.  Her mother was a vaudevillian acrobat, and her father was an orchestra leader.  Toni danced since childhood, and as she got older was a dancer on the "Shindig" show which ran on ABC from 1964 to 1966.  She was also a featured go-go dancer along with actress Terri Garr in the 1964 concert movie The T.A.M.I. Show. 

Toni was the choreographer on The Monkees 1968 movie "Head" (where she also makes a guest appearance as a dancer during the song "Daddy's Song" with Davy Jones), and was assistant choreographer on the 1964 movie "Pajama Party",  and choreographed 1973's "American Graffiti.  In 1974 she choreographed David Bowie's Diamond Dogs tour.

She also acted in movies such as "Easy Rider", "Five Easy Pieces", "The Last Movie", "Greaser's Palace", "Village of the Giants", "Sweet Charity" and "Mother, Jugs, and Speed" to name some.  She even appeared in episodes of "Laverne and Shirley", so keep your eyes open next time you watch any of these.  Maybe you will recognize her.

She began a singing career around 1966 and cut a song that was the title song for the movie "Breakaway".  She was a guest on the first season of "Saturday Night Live" as one of the members of The Lockers (a street dance troupe who you may remember from performing an urban Swan Lake).  In 1982 she decided to cover the 1979 song "Kitty" released by Racey in the U.K., but she changed the name to Mickey and added in the chant, "Oh, Mickey, you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind, Hey Mickey...Hey Mickey!".

The song "Mickey" was recorded in 1980, and Toni directed and choreographed the video for "Mickey" in 1981 (one year before MTV began).  In the video she wears her cheerleading uniform from Las Vegas High School.  Chrysalis Records released the song in 1982 and went to #1 on the charts, knocking off Lionel Richie.  She only made 2 albums.  "Mickey" was the release that was most popular.

Back around that time, she was a big supporter of the band Devo, and was dating Devo band member, Gerald V. Casale.  That led her to record some songs they had written, and Devo performed back-up on. 

After the success of "Mickey" Toni choreographed The Talking Heads' memorable video for "Once in a Lifetime"  (same as it ever was, same as it ever was...).  She choreographed another David Bowie tour, the Glass Spiders tour in 1987, and worked choreographing shows with Tina Turner and Bette Midler.  Most recently you may have seen her as a judge on the Fox t.v. show "So You Think You Can Dance?"


Oh, Mickey, you're so fine
You're so fine, you blow my mind
Hey, Mickey, hey, Mickey

Oh, Mickey, you're so fine
You're so fine, you blow my mind
Hey, Mickey, hey, Mickey

Oh, Mickey, you're so fine
You're so fine, you blow my mind
Hey, Mickey, hey, Mickey

Oh, Mickey, you're so fine
You're so fine, you blow my mind
Hey, Mickey

Hey, Mickey
You've been around all night and that's a little long
You think you got the right but I think you got it wrong
Oh, can't you say goodnight so you can take me home, Mickey?

'Cause when you say you will, it always means you won't
You're givin' me the chills, baby, please, baby, don't
Every night you still leave me all alone, Mickey

Oh, Mickey, what a pity you don't understand
You take me by the heart and you take me by the hand
Oh, Mickey, you're so pretty, can't you understand?
It's guys like you, Mickey

And what you do, Mickey, do, Mickey
Don't break my heart, Mickey

Hey, Mickey
Now if you take me by the, who's ever gonna know?
Every time you move, I let a little more show
There's something you can use so don't say no, Mickey

So come on and give it to me anyway you can
Anyway you wanna do it, I'll take it like a man
Oh, please, baby, please, don't leave me in the damn, Mickey

Oh, Mickey, what a pity you don't understand
You take me by the heart and you take me by the hand
[ From: http://www.elyrics.net/read/t/toni-basil-lyrics/mickey-lyrics.html ]
Oh, Mickey, you're so pretty, can't you understand?
It's guys like you, Mickey

And what you do, Mickey, do, Mickey
Don't break my heart, Mickey

Oh, Mickey, what a pity you don't understand
You take me by the heart and you take me by the hand
Oh, Mickey, you're so pretty, can't you understand?
It's guys like you, Mickey

And what you do, Mickey, do, Mickey
Don't break my heart, Mickey

Oh, Mickey, you're so fine
You're so fine, you blow my mind
Hey, Mickey, hey, Mickey

Oh, Mickey, you're so fine
You're so fine, you blow my mind
Hey, Mickey, hey, Mickey

Oh, Mickey, you're so fine
You're so fine, you blow my mind
Hey, Mickey

Oh, Mickey, what a pity you don't understand
You take me by the heart and you take me by the hand
Oh, Mickey, you're so pretty, can't you understand?
It's guys like you, Mickey

And what you do, Mickey, do, Mickey
Don't break my heart, Mickey

Oh, Mickey, what a pity you don't understand
You take me by the heart and you take me by the hand
Oh, Mickey, you're so pretty, can't you understand?
It's guys like you, Mickey

And what you do, Mickey, do, Mickey
Don't break my heart, Mickey

Oh, Mickey, you're so fine
You're so fine, you blow my mind
Hey, Mickey, hey, Mickey

Oh, Mickey, you're so fine
You're so fine, you blow my mind
Hey, Mickey

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Walk Like an Egyptian" - by the Bangles January 21st 80's Quest Song/Band of the day

I love 80's girl bands, so why didn't I love The Bangles?  I dunno....I always thought they were like a knock-off version of The Go-Go's and the The Go-Go's did it better.  Imagewise, I did not like the Bangles outfits or haircuts (too pouffy and jaggedy).  I thought The Go-Go's had a cooler style, and if given the choice that they would be the funner band to hang around and party with. That being said, there were a couple of Bangles songs that I did like such as  "Manic Monday" which was written for them by Prince, and this song, "Walk Like an Egyptian".  It was popular my Sophomore year of college, so I remember it being played at many a frat party.  Actually it was played almost everywhere you went that year (1986).  It was quite a popular song. 

I like it best in the video when they get people on the street to get into it and do the Egyptian Walk.  Yeah, take it to the streets!!   I am not a big fan of songs that have whistling interludes in them, so I really despise that portion of the song, though.

It was a fun challenge to see if you could learn all the words to this song and sing it the whole way through, and it was a fun little song when you were driving in the car.

The Bangles were an Los Angeles band consisting of sisters Vicki and Debbi Peterson. Susanna Hoffs, and Michael Steele .  They were originally called The Bangs (and had a different member prior to Steele coming into the line-up), but had to change it to The Bangles because of some type of legal problem.  In addition to the songs I named above they had some other hits such as "Going Down to Liverpool", "A Hazy Shade of Winter", "If She Knew What She Wants", "Walking Down Your Street", "In Your Room" and "Eternal Flame". (I don't like any of these songs). 

The girls could not get along with each other, and things only got worse when their record label, Columbia Records put their focus on Susanna Hoffs and began releasing mostly the singles that she sang lead on.  The in-fighting eventually led to the dissolution of the band.  They did finally reunite in 1998 to record a track called "Get the Girl" for the movie, "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me", and apparently they still put out albums together and tour.


All the old paintings on the tomb
They do the sand dance, don'cha know?
If they move too quick (Oh-Way-Oh)
They're falling down like a domino

And the bazaar man by the Nile
He got the money on a bet
For the crocodiles (Oh-Way-Oh)
They snap their teeth on a cigarette

Foreign types with their hookah pipes sing:
Walk like an Egyptian.

The blonde waitresses take their trays
Spin around and they cross the floor.
They've got the moves (Oh-Way-Oh)
You drop your drink then they bring you more

All the school kids so sick of books
They like the punk and the metal band
When the buzzer rings (Oh-Way-Oh)
They're walking like an Egyptian

All the kids in the marketplace say:
Walk like an Egyptian.

Line your feet astreet, bend your back,
Shift your arm, then you pull a clock
Like Sergeant O (Oh-Way-Oh)
So strike a pose on a Cadillac

If you want to find all the cops,
They're hanging out in the donut shop.
They sing and dance (Oh-Way-Oh)
They spin their clock and cruise on down the block

All the Japanese with their Yen
The party boys call the Kremlin
The Chinese know (Oh-Way-Oh)
They walk along like Egyptians

All the cops in the donut shops say:
Walk like an Egyptian
Walk like an Egyptian

Friday, January 20, 2012

"Do They Know It's Christmas?" by Band Aid - January 20th 80's Quest Song/Band of the day

I used to play competitive team trivia, and when it came time for the section devoted to music trivia it used to irk the hell out of me because the trivia host, for some odd reason, held USA for Africa in great esteem and would always ask questions about this group of artists and their song "We are The World" rather than asking questions about Band Aid and their song "Do They Know It's Christmas". As far as I am concerned, Band Aid is the more important project, had the better song, had better artists...and they did it first. USA for Africa copied them and got on the bandwagon afterwards.
Here's how it all went down: In 1984 Bob Geldof, lead singer of the The Boomtown Rats (a band consisting of Irish members who were all living in England), was extremely moved after seeing a BBC news report on the famine in Ethiopia and got the idea to use his music contacts to raise money to aid the people there. Geldof wrote some lyrics, and got help from Midge Ure of the English band Ultravox to create some music, and they persuaded the most popular British and Irish performers of the era to give their time for free to record some tracks so they could make an album which could be sold, and the profits donated to help Ethiopia.

This supergroup of leading artists was given the moniker Band Aid based on the well-known bandage; the fact that the musicians were a band; and knowing that even though what they were doing would be helpful, the problem was so great that it would only be like a band-aid on a very serious wound.
Up until this time, the only other similar effort made by the music community was 1971's Concert for Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden in New York City which had been arranged by George Harrison of the Beatles and Ravi Shankar to aid refugees from Bangladesh. It was the first benefit concert of magnitude.  It was in this spirit that Geldof devised the plan for Band Aid 13 years later.

A recording studio, SARM Studios in Notting Hill (London) donated no more than 24 free hours so Band Aid could make the record. On November 25, 1984 between 11 AM and 7pm the music artists rushed to the studio to record their tracks. A video of the recording was also filmed, and a 12-inch version was mixed by famed English producer, Trevor Horn.

The next morning Geldof was on the radio to promote the record. He promised that every penny would go to relief in Ethiopia. This led to some trouble with the British Government who refused to waive taxes for this, so Geldof publicly stood up to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and took the fight to the headlines. The government was compelled to bow to public sentiment for the project and donated the tax to the charity.

The song that Band Aid cut, "Do They Know It's Christmas" was released 4 days later on November 29th in time for Christmas 1984. It went straight to Number 1 on the U.K. charts and became the fastest selling single of all time there.

I was sooooo excited when I learned about this project because some of my favorite bands and singers were participating. I loved the song when it came out, and bought the 12-inch containing various mixes of the single. I am not even joking when I tell you that every time I have heard this song played since 1984 I get physically moved when Bono from U2 delivers the lyric "Well, tonight thank God it's them instead of you." If I am singing along, my voice gets audibly choked up. It never fails!

Band/members of Band Aid included:
· Bono, Adam Clayton (from U2)
· Phil Collins (Genesis)
· Bob Geldof, Simon Crowe, Pete Briquette, Johnny Fingers (Boomtown Rats)
· Paul Young
· John Taylor, Andy Taylor, Nick Rhodes & Simon LeBon (Duran Duran)
· Tony Hadley, Steve Norman, Martin Kemp, John Keeble, Gary Kemp (Spandau Ballet)
· Midge Ure, Chris Cross (Ultravox)
· Glenn Gregory, Martyn Ware (Heaven 17)
· Jim Kerr, Charlie Burchill (Simple Minds)
· Marilyn
· Keren Woodward, (Bananarama)
· Nik Kershaw
· Paul Weller (The Style Council and the Jam)
· Pete Burns (Dead or Alive)
· Mark Knopfler, John Illsley, Terry Williams (Dire Straights)
· George Michael (Wham!)
· Gary Howard, Paul Windsor, Nick Haines (The Pathfinders)
· Curt Smith & Roland (Tears for Fears - little known fact, the introduction to the song is a slowed down version of a track of Tears for Fears' song The Hurting)
· Sting (The Police)
· Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt (Status Quo)
· Boy George, Jon Moss (Culture Club)
· Noddy Holder, Dave Hill, Jim Lea, Don Powell (Slade)
· David Bowie (participated via a recording that was mailed to Geldof and dubbed onto the single)
· Holly Johnson, Paul Rutherford (Frankie Goes to Hollywood – recorded over the phone)
· Paul McCartney (The Beatles and Wings – contributed via a recording that was mailed to Geldof and dubbed onto the single)
· Stuart Adamson, Bruce Watson, Tony Butler, Mark Brzesicki (Big Country)
· James “J.T.” Taylor, Robert “Kool” Bell (Kool and the Gang) and Jody Watley were the only Americans to perform on the project.
Now here's my rub: After seeing this success, American musicians decided to copy the Band Aid idea from Geldof, get some publicity for themselves and look like they were helping too! So in 1985 Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie copied Band Aid, got a whole bunch of, for the most part, uninteresting and not the most popular/relevant artists of the time, and recorded a lame-o song that really sucked called "We Are the World" and called themselves USA for Africa. The whole thing was a slick production, even the video they recorded. Unlike Band Aid members who showed up at a moment’s noticed looking themselves, the members of USA for Africa showed up all coifed and ready.

Here are some of the yawn-inducing artists who performed in USA for Africa: Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson, Al Jarreau, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry, Darryl Hall, Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, Kim Carnes, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles.

Don't get me wrong, there are some quintessential artists on there such as Bob Dylan and Ray Charles; however, in 1984/1985 these were not the artists that the kids were "into". Band Aid's line-up just seemed more young and exciting, and of-the time!

In the end, the huge profits from USA for Africa which were supposed to be used for famine relief in Africa oftentimes went directly to the military governments of the African countries rather than to the people.

In other years, more versions of the Band Aid song were recorded by top bands/singers of the year and in 2004 the BBC reported that the bottom line is at least £2.43 from each £3.99 CD single was going to charity, but was expected to rise to £3.53 per single.

The Band Aid Trust was set up since the original 1984 single was released and as of 2004, the BBC had reported that it had handed out $144m to famine relief projects around Africa between January 1985 and November 2004. The funds are distributed directly to organizations that submit proposals for sustainable projects to relieve poverty and hunger, and then the trustees approve and subsequently monitor the projects.

In my book, "Do They Know It's Christmas is one of my all-time favorite holiday songs, and Band Aid goes down as the better band, better song, more original, and the ones who handled the charity funds better. I always get angry when people look back and give USA for Africa more credit, because it's just not right!


It's Christmas time,
there's no need to be afraid.
At christmas time
we let in light and banish shade
And in our world of plenty
we can spread a smile of Joy
Throw your arms around the world
at Christmas time.

But say a prayer,
To pray for the other ones.
At Christmas time it's hard
but when you're having fun...
There's a world outside your window
and it's a world of dread and fear
Where the only water flowing is
the bitter sting of tears
Where the Christmas bells that are ringing
are the clanging chimes of Doom
Well, tonight thank God it's them istead of you.

And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas time
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life.
Where nothing ever grows
No rain or rivers flow
Do they know it's Christmas time at all?

Here's to you...
Raise a glass for everyone
Here's to them
Underneath that burning sun
Do they know it's Christmas time at all?

Feed the world...
Feed the world...

Feed the world,
Let them know it's Christmas time again.
Feed the world,
Let them know it's Christmas time again.
(Repeat several times and fade)