Content tagged '80s'
Always & Forever (Album of the Day)
Randy Travis' debut took the country world by storm, and a year later he very nearly topped it with ALWAYS & FOREVER. The 1987 Warner Bros. set boasted strong songs across the board, and “Too Gone Too Long,” “I Won't Need You Anymore (Always and Forever),” “Forever and Ever, Amen” and “I Told You So” each topped the Billboard Country chart. Travis' sturdy baritone is remarkably pliant; he wrings every drop of emotion from these ten tracks, and Nashville production gloss is kept to a minimum. An album of undeniable quality, ALWAYS & FOREVER helped country music cross over to a mainstream audience, and we'll cue it up again now to wish Randy Travis a happy birthday.
"What's Love Got To Do With It" (Album of the Day)
Songwriters Terry Britten and Graham Lyle had offered “What's Love Got To Do With It” to singers including Cliff Richard, Donna Summer and Phyllis Hyman, but it's impossible to imagine anyone doing half of what Tina Turner did with it. In her hands, it was an anthem of survival and reinvention, embodying Tina's emergence from the shadow of Ike Turner and into the spotlight of MTV as a solo star. Released in May 1984, the track became the 44-year-old performer's first No.1 hit and earned three Grammy Awards, including Record and Song of the Year. Sparking a comeback that included the multi-platinum PRIVATE DANCER album and a Hollywood biopic that drew its name from the iconic single, Tina Turner's “What's Love Got To Do With It” will endure for as long as hearts can be broken.
Remain In Light (Deluxe Version) (Album of the Day)
“And you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?” The amazing “Once In A Lifetime” only hinted at the burst of creativity on Talking Heads' REMAIN IN LIGHT. The 1980 Sire album finds the quartet incorporating African polyrhythms into its music, as well as making innovative use of loops and samples as instrumental tracks. Brian Eno returns as producer (guitarist Adrian Belew and funk keyboard great Bernie Worrell also contribute to the album), helping strike an appealing balance between danceable grooves (“Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On),” “Crosseyed And Painless”) and more experimental fare (“Houses In Motion,” “The Overload”). The Deluxe Edition of REMAIN IN LIGHT adds four previously unreleased outtakes to the landmark alternative rock album; we'll give the collection a spin now to wish Heads frontman David Byrne a happy birthday.
1999 (Album of the Day)
When Prince issued his first double album, he was far from a household name – but 1999 helped turn him into one. The breakthrough Warner Bros. set (the performer's fifth) made both his ambition and craftsmanship undeniable; while it featured extended tracks and wide-ranging lyrical concerns relative to previous releases, the collection also included hook-filled singles like “Delirious” and “Little Red Corvette,” which became the Purple One's first Top 10 single on this day in 1983. And though we're well past the year that the hit title song predicted would mean “party over,” the set's synth-driven electro-funk still runs at full power. Prince would soon go on to scale even greater heights, but 1999 assured his place in the music history books.
SONG OF THE DAY - This Must Be The Place (Album of the Day)
Released 35 years ago this month, Talking Heads' SPEAKING IN TONGUES was the group's commercial breakthrough following a trio of acclaimed albums with producer Brian Eno. The collection includes the quartet's first Top Ten hit, “Burning Down The House,” but follow-up single “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” is equally noteworthy. Atypically for the band, “it's a real honest kind of love song,” said lyricist David Byrne. “I don't think I've ever done a real love song before.” The melody is purposefully simple, with group members switching from their usual instruments to play it, and that simplicity may explain its popularity in soundtracks and cover versions. Cited by Pitchfork as one of the 50 best songs of the 1980s, "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" is our song of the day.
Pretenders (Album of the Day)
The 1980 self-titled release by Pretenders was a record that classic rock, new wave and punk fans all could love. Its dozen tracks include such distinctive originals as “Precious,” “Kid,” “Mystery Achievement” and the hit single “Brass In Pocket,” as well as an inspired cover of The Kinks' “Stop Your Sobbing.” That former music journalist Chrissie Hynde would prove an outstanding songwriter may not have been a surprise, but her alternately tough and tender vocals surpassed all expectations; throw in a top-flight guitarist (James Honeyman-Scott) and rhythm section (bassist Pete Farndon and drummer Martin Chambers) and you have a band ready to take on the world. PRETENDERS made the Top 10 on the Billboard chart, went platinum and is still cited as one of the greatest debuts of all time. We'll give it another spin now in honor of Farndon, who was born on this day in 1952.
The Ballad of Sally Rose (Album of the Day)
For years, Emmylou Harris used “Sally Rose” as an alias on tour, so when she started writing songs about a singer whose lover and mentor - a hard-living, hard-drinking musician - is killed while on the road, the name was a natural fit. Based loosely on her time with influential singer-songwriter Gram Parsons, 1985's THE BALLAD OF SALLY ROSE was Harris' first self-composed album and remains one of her favorites. Highlights include the singles “White Line” (which reached #14 on the country charts) and “Rhythm Guitar” with Waylon Jennings on lead guitar. In addition, Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt sing harmony throughout the album. Now available from Rhino, a two-disc Expanded Edition of THE BALLAD OF SALLY ROSE features a newly remastered version of the original along with unreleased demo recordings for 10 tracks, most of which feature the stripped-back intimacy of Harris alone on acoustic guitar.
Full Metal Jacket (Album of the Day)
Stanley Kubrick movies are noted for their brilliant visuals, but their soundtracks are equally distinctive; case in point: FULL METAL JACKET. For the harrowing tale of fresh recruits transformed into killing machines during the Vietnam war, the legendary director combed through the Billboard singles charts of the mid-1960s to come up with such period classics as “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'” and “Surfin' Bird.” Along with a terrific version of “The Marines Hymn,” the film features dark and atmospheric music scored on the Fairlight CMI synthesizer by “Abigail Mead” - a pseudonym for Kubrick's daughter Vivian. The 1987 film brilliantly juxtaposes the horror and absurdity of war, and the FULL METAL JACKET ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK shows both of those sides to striking effect.
SONG OF THE DAY - "Sharp Dressed Man" (Album of the Day)
Veteran Texas trio ZZ Top scored the biggest album of its career in 1983's ELIMINATOR, which went 10x platinum thanks to heavy rotation on both radio and MTV. Such iconic tracks as “Sharp Dressed Man” were tailor-made for music videos; this one features an L.A. nightclub worker whose luck with the ladies improves after some encouragement from the band. As you'd expect, Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard display a lot more sartorial style than in their TRES HOMBRES days, and the anthem has been adopted as the title of at least one ZZ Top book. If you're stuck for ideas about what to get dad for Father's Day, take a lesson from our Song of the Day and get him something nice to wear - 'cause everybody's crazy 'bout a “Sharp Dressed Man.”
Wild Streak (Album of the Day)
Though he qualifies as country music royalty, Hank Williams Jr. refused to be shackled by tradition on WILD STREAK. Released 30 years ago today, the Warner Bros. collection displays a strong rock influence, with a boisterous spirit that will be familiar to Hank Jr. concert fans; nowhere is this more apparent than on the cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd's “Tuesday's Gone” that closes the album (and features Gary Rossington on guitar). Williams also came up with some tasty southern rock originals, including singles “Early in the Morning and Late at Night” and “If the South Woulda Won,” which ranks among Bocephus' best. A gold-certified Billboard Country chart-topper, WILD STREAK has enough energy and assurance to rouse the rebel in any listener.