Tuesday, April 7, 2009

80s Influence

The decade of the 80s began with a backlash against disco music in the United States, and a movement away from the orchestral arragements that had characterized much of the music of the 1970s. Music in the 1980s was characterized by unheard of electronic sounds accomplished through the use of synthesizers and keyboards, along with drum machines. This made a dramatic change in music.

With the transition from soul and disco to R&B (which can also be called urban pop) in the early to mid 1980s, we see a new genre of music form. This newer style combines elements of soul, funk and dance. A major star of this Michael Jackson, who is known as the "King of Pop" and continues to have an influence on the music we have today. Female R&B singers such as Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, and Tina Turner became very popular during the second half of the 1980s.

Also in the second half of the 1980s teen pop has its first wave. Bands and artists include New Kids on the Block, Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, Tommy Page, New Edition, Stacey Q, The Bangles, Madonna and more.

Considering MTV was just formed, fans could see what was in fashion according to their idols. Madonna was titled the "Material Girl" and many teenage girls looked up to her for fashion statements. She first emerged on the dance music scene with her "street urchin" look--short skirts over leggings, necklaces, rubber bracelets, fishnet gloves, hairbows, long layered strings of beads, bleached, untidy hair with dark roots, head bands, and lace ribbons. Michael Jackson also inspired teenagers to replicate his "Thriller" look, inspired by his record breaking album, Thriller. This look included matching red/black leather pants and jackets, one glove, sunglasses, and jheri curl. Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" video and other dance-themed television shows and movies created a dancewear fashion sense--professional dancewear, such as leggings and leg warmers, were word as streetwear. We can see now that the fashion from that era is inspiring our era today.


The Playlist

Michael Jackson- "Thriller"
Madonna- "Like a Virgin"
Cyndi Lauper- "Girls Just Want To Have Fun"
Olivia Newton-John: "Physical"
Dead or Alive- "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)
Wham!- "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go"
Paula Abdul- "Straight Up"
Eric Carmen- "Hungry Eyes"
Irene Cara- "What a Feeling"
Duran Duran- "Hungry Like The Wolf"
Belinda Carlisle- "Heaven is a Place On Earth"
Tina Turner- "What's Love Got To Do With It"
Madonna- "Like a Prayer"
The Human League- "Don't You Want Me?"
Alphaville- "Forever Young"
Michael Jackson- "Beat It"
Bangles- "Manic Monday"
Madonna- "Holiday"
The Pointer Sisters- "I'm So Excited"
Patrick Swayze ft. Wendy Fraser- "She's Like The Wind"
The Weather Girls- "It's Raining Men"
Michael Sembello- "Maniac"
Eurythmics- "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
Michael Jackson- "Billy Jean"
Madonna- "Into the Groove"

Michael Jackson: Thriller

"Thriller" reached #4 in the U.S. singles chart and has so far sold over 1.15 digital-downloads in the United States. However, it's main craze was held in the 14-minute music video. In the Guinness World Records (2006) it was listed in as the "most successful music video," selling over 9 million unites. Jackson won two Grammy's for the Best Video, Long Form and Best Video Album and 3 MTV Video Music Awards in 1984 for Best Overall Performance in a Video, Best Choreography, and Viewer's Choice. Thriller has been credited for transforming the music video into an art form and a promotional tool. Michael's video inspired pop culture in cinema, television, video games, theme parks, and other artists in the music business. You can see this full list of references at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thriller_(music_video). In the early 1980s, Michael became a dominant figure in popular music and the first African-American entertainer to amass a strong crossover following on MTV. Michael will be forever known as the "King of Pop" and is one of the world's most famous men. Jackson's highly publicized personal ife, coupled with his successful career, has made him a part of popular culture for almost four decades.

Michael Jackson, Thriller. Thriller. Epic Records, EK 38112, 1982.

Watch the music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtyJbIOZjS8
Sources: picture- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thriller_(album)http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/mediazone/pdfs/entertainment/061114_michael_jackson.pdfhttp://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/mediazone/pdfs/entertainment/061114_michael_jackson.pdf

Madonna: Like A Virgin

At the 1984 MTV Video Music Awards, Madonna made music history when she appeared in a bridal gown atop a giant wedding cake. The climax of her performance found her humping and rolling around on the stage. "Like a Virgin" became Madonna's first of 12 number-one hits on the Billboard Hot 100, and remained there for six consecutive weeks. The album Like A Virgin remained in the Top 10 for nine weeks. Madonna is regarded as "one of the greatest pop acts of all time" and dubbed the "Queen of Pop." Recording Industry Association of America ranked her as the best-selling female rock artist of the twentieth centry. On March 10, 2008, Madonna was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Madonna's look and manner of dress, performances and music videos became influential among young girls and women. Defined by lace tops, skirts over capri pants, fishnet stockings, jewelry bearing the Christian cross, and bleached hair, it became a female fashion trend in the 1980s.
Madonna, Like A Virgin. Like A Virgin. Warner Bros. Records, 7599 25181-2, 1985.

Cyndi Lauper: Girls Just Want to Have Fun

"Girls Just Want to Have Fun" was the first major single released by Cyndi Lauper. It is a synthesiser-backed anthem about the roles of women in society and is considered by many to be a feminist classic of the era. The song has been covered on either an album or in live concert by over thirty other artists. It reached number one in many other countries and number two in the United Kingdom and the United States. There are also tons of references to the song in pop culture. It was former WWE Women's Champion Wendi Richter's them song and was featured in many cartoon series (The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, The Simpsons, and Sesame Street), TV series (The Golden Girls, Miami Vice, Gilmore Girls, Bones, and friends), and movies (Shrek 2 and Girls Just Want to Have Fun-performed by Deborah Galli, TAmi Holbrook, and Meredith Marshall).
Cyndi Lauper, Girls Just Want to Have Fun. She's So Unusual. Portrait Records, 9R9-39610-S1, 1983.
Watch the music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVwFeQpy_Us

Olivia Newton-John: Physical

"Physical" first rose to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1981 and stayed there for 10 weeks. The song was the most popular single of her career and Billboard ranked it as the number one pop single of 1982. "Physical" was the most successful song on the Hot 100 during the entire decade of the 1980s. "Physical was a big dance hit and spawned a music video. The video feature Olivia in a tight leotard, working out in a gym with overweight men, who eventually transform into attractive muscular men. The video won a Grammy Award for Video of the Year in 1983. Aerobics was also just gaining popularity when it came out and became a theme song for the excersise. As seen in the video it inspired many fashion statements.
Olivia Newton-John, Physical. Physical. MCA Records, MCA-51182, 1981.
Watch the music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQXECBdPgEA

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Dead Or Alive: You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)

"You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) was the first UK number-on hit for Dead or Alive and in the US it peaked at #11. The song still remains a club favorite over two decades later. Sonic markers of this song are the synth rock arranging, electronica and disco influences, and the use of techno synths. It's been used in today's pop culture and was included in the movie "The Wedding Singer," although it was sung by Adam Sandler. The song also is used as a basis for rapper Flo Rida's Billboard Hot 100 #1 hit, "Right Round."

Dead Or Alive, You Spin Me Round (Like a Record). Youthquake. Epic Records, EK 40119, 1985.

To listen to song, check out music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJv5qLsLYoo
Sources: picure: http://www.discogs.com/Dead-Or-Alive-Youthquake/release/128229

Wham!: Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

"Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" became Wham!'s first UK number one hit. The song also went to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. The catchy song was written by group member George Michael. The music video was memorable for the clothes, which bacame a lasting sartorial image for the 1980s as a decade. T-shirt designs, which said "CHOOSE LIFE" and "GO GO", became such sought-after fashion items of the year. "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" is continued being used in pop culture. Shows like The Peabrains, Saturday Night Live, Family Guy and movies like The Wedding Singer and Talladega Nights. Its also in the film Zoolander, which plays in the background during a gasoline fight scene which results in some models deaths. It's obvious this song has a continuous impact on society and is continued being used in other cultural references.
Wham!, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. Make It Big. Columbia Records, FC 39595, 1984.
To listen to the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hksil-KkebQ

Paula Abdul: Straight Up

"Straight Up" was the third single released from her debut album, Forever Your Girl. The record spent three weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and was ranked fourth in the Top 100 hits of 1989, becoming one of the biggest hits of the year. The music video was choreographed by Paula herself and won Best Female Video, Best Editing, Best Choreography, and Best Dance video for the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards. The song appears in other medias like TV (appearing in Family Matters, Full House), movies (appearing in The Jetsons: The Movie), and video games (Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol). This song is just the beginning of what becomes hip-hop and R&B. Because of this song exploding onto the charts, she has been a popular singer/dancer ever since.
Paula Abdul, Straight Up. Forever Your Girl. Virgin Records, 7-99230, 1989.

Eric Carmen: Hungry Eyes

"Hungry Eyes," was featured in the film Dirty Dancing and peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts in 1988. The soundtrack became a huge commercial success in the USA. It spent 18 weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200 album sales charts and went platinum eleven times. The film Dirty dancing became a legacy and various images and line from the film have worked their way into pop culture. Johnny Castle's line "Nobody puts Baby in the corner" has been sused in song lyrics, and was the title of an episode of the TV series Veronica Mars. "Hungry Eyes" will be included in this legacy because of the soundtrack selling 32 million copies worldwide.
Eric Carmen, Hungry Eyes. Dirty Dancing Soundtrack. RCA, BD 86408, 1987.

Irene Cara: Flashdance... What a Feeling

"Flashdance... What a Feeling" is an Academy Award winning song from the 1983 film Flashdance, which was performed by Irene Cara. In addition to topping the Billboard Hot 100 (the song stayed at #1 for six weeks) and earning a platinum record in 1983, the song also won a Gold Globe Award for Best Original Song in 1984 and a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female. The instrumental backing tracks of the song make extensive use of synthesisers. The song ranks at #26 on Billboard's All Time Top 100, and has become a major American pop-culture influence.

Irene Cara, Flashdance... What a Feeling. What a Feelin'. Geffen Records, GHS 4021, 1983.
Listen to the song during this Flashdance video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=El3koivWVkY&feature=related

Sources: picture- http://www.discogs.com/Irene-Cara-What-A-Feelin/release/346515

Duran Duran: Hungry Like The Wolf

Initially, Duran Duran failed to break into the U.S. market. However, MTV placed the "Hungry Like the Wolf" video into heavy rotation. The group then gained much exposure that the song peaked at the third spot of the Billboard Hot 100. The music video won the first Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video in 1984. The music video was described as lush and cinematic. Duran Duran were getting zero radio airplay at the time, and MTV wanted to try to break new music. The instruments used are keyboards, bass guitar, drums, and guitar.
Duran Duran, Hungry Like The Wolf. Rio. EMI Records, EMI 5346, 1982.
Watch the music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lv6Cr5LZStE

Belinda Carlisle: Heaven Is A Place On Earth

"Heaven Is a Place on Earth" hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Belinda Carlisle's only U.S. chart-topper with or without The Go-Go's. It has since been in the media whether it be for movies (Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, American Wedding, and Safe) or for the popular dancing game, Dance Dance Revolution: SuperNOVA. The album became a Top 5 bestseller in the UK and Australia and was nominated for a Grammy Award.

Belinda Carlisle, Heaven Is A Place On Earth. Heaven On Earth. MCA Records, MCAD-42080, 1987.
Watch the music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQahvFdQVu8
Sources: picture-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heaven_on_Earth_(album)

Tina Turner: What's Love Got To Do With It

"What's Love Got to Do With It" went straight to number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and remained there for three weeks, becoming Turner's first number one hit. As Turner was 45-years-old when the song went to number one, it made here the oldest artist to place a number-one singel on the Hot 100 (Although that record was broken later on, by Cher). The song was honored with the Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 1985 Grammy Awards.
Tina Turner, What's Love Got To Do With It. Private Dancer. Capitol Records, CDP 7 46041 2, 1984.
Listen to the song by watching this Grammy performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFQlZht2DU4

Madonna: Like A Prayer

"Like a Prayer" is the first single from Madonna's fourth studio album, Like a Prayer. The song notably feature a gospel choir that helps sing the chorus. It became one of Madonna's highest-selling singles in her career, selling over five million coppies worldwide at the time of its release. The album itself incorporates rock, dance, pop, soul, and funk elements into the album and Rolling Stone magazine hailed it "as close to art as pop music gets." The highly controversial music video attracted criticism for its subplot of Madonna making love to Saint Martin de Porres--which some perceived as being a black version of Christ. In addition, the use of Catholic iconography, including a scene where Madonna developed stigmata, and cross burning imagery, but also garnered praise for its interpretation on discrimination, rape, and faith.
Madonna, Like A Prayer. Like A Prayer. Sire Records Company, PRO-CD-3448, 1989
Watch the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ro52LgM64MI

The Human League: Don't You Want Me?

"Don't You Want Me" has become the Human League's most commercially successful recording to date and sold over 1,400,000 copies making it the 25th most successful single of all time in the UK. Today the song still sells well and fans expect the group to play the track whenever they perform live. It's widely used in popular culture like commercials, movies and TV. One might recognize it from the 2009 Swiffer commercial that still plays on TV. It's also been used in the popular movies of Ocean's Thirteen and He's Just Not That into You.

The Human League, Don't You Want Me? Dare. Virgin Records, V 2192, 1981

Watch the music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arUqoKjU3D4

Sources: Picture: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dare_(album)


Alphaville: Forever Young

Initially, "Forever Young" was not a popular hit with music listeners. Although it failed to reach the American Top 40 despite three separate U.S. single releases, "Forever Young" became something of a pop standard and has been covered by numerous artists since its 1984 debut. It has been performed by numerous musical groups, in different versions, and has appeared in television series (Passions, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Queer as Folk, One Tree Hill, and Big Love), movies (Listen to Me, and Napoleon Dynamite), and advertisements. Anyone can relate to the lyrics of "Forever Young" has to deal with always wanting to be a little kid/teenager. The instruments used are synthesisers and drums.
Alphaville, Forever Young. Forever Young. Atlantic Records, PR 2464, 1988.

Michael Jackson: Beat It

"Beat It" was a worldwide commercial and critical success; becoming one of the best-selling singles of all time. At the 1984 Grammy Awards, the song earned Jackson two of eight awards-Record of the Year and Best Rock Vocal Performance. The track won the Billboard Music Award for favorite dance/disco 12" LP in 1983. The lyrics are about defeat and courage and the music video was Jackson's first treatment of black youth and the streets. The music video also helped establish Jackson as an international pop icon and became famous for its mass coreography. The video also shows off the "thriller" fashion look with Jackson's red leather jacket. The instruments in the music are guitar, drums, bass, and synthesiser.
Michael Jackson, Beat It. Thriller. Epic Records, EK 38112, 1983

Watch the music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uqxo1SKB0z8

Sources: picture- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thriller_(album)


Friday, April 3, 2009

Bangles: Manic Monday

"Manic Monday" was the first hit single from the Bangles. It reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The lyrics tell of someone waking up Monday morning, and facing a hectic journey to work when she would rather be relaxing on Sunday-her "funday". The sonic markers involved in the song is guitar, drums, synthesiser, and bass. It is influential in today's cultures as it is used in TV shows/movies.
Bangles, Manic Monday. Different Light. Columbia Records, FCT 40039, 1986.

Madonna: Holiday

"Holiday was Madonna's first hit song. It went on to become the first on a long list of Madonna singles to reach #1 on the Hot Dance Club Play Chart. The sonic markers involved in this song are guitar, drums, synthesiser, and bass. The lyrics are about taking a holiday and celebrating, as most of Madonna's lyrics are upbeat and about the happiness of life.
Madonna, Holiday. Madonna. Sire Records Company, 9 23867-2, 1983.

The Pointer Sisters: I'm So Excited

Spanning over three decades together, The Pointer Sisters repertoire has included such diverse genres as pop music, disco, jazz, bepop, blues, country, soul, funk, dance, new wave, and rock. When the song "I'm So Excited" first came out, it only peaked at #30 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, after re-releasing it, it subsequently reached #9. The catchy melody and lyrics put this song on the list. It is also included in many shows and movies and people still make reference to it. Some movies it is included in is National Lampoon's Vacation, Working Girl, Hot Shots! Part Deux, and The Nutty Professor. It is obvious this song has been/is influential.
The Pointer Sisters, I'm So Excited. So Excited! Planet Records, ND 90255, 1982.

Patrick Swayze ft. Wendy Fraser: She's Like the Wind

"She's Like the Wind" was co-written by Swayze and Stacy Widelitz in 1984, originally for the soundtrack of "Grandview, USA," not "Dirty Dancing". However, it wasn't used in the film. The song reached #3 on Billboard Hot 100, #1 on Audult Contemporary, and was a hit around the world. This is a great example of how soundtracks of movies get just as much fame as the movies. The soundtrack was at #1 for nineteen weeks. This shows how influential music was in the 80s and continues to be influential today.

Patrick Swayze ft. Wendy Fraser, She's like the Wind. Dirty Dancing Soundtrack. RCA Records, BD 86408, 1987.

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfg97-5uhFQ


The Weather Girls: It's Raining Men

The song "It's Raining Men" is hailed as a camp classic, a dance anthem, and as a classic female anthem. The song shows how 80s pop music transformed from the 70s disco era into a pop/dance era. This song shows disco roots and even went number one on the US Hot Dance Club Play (US Disco Chart). The catchy melody and lyrics show why this is an international hit, selling over six million copies worldwide. Sonic markers in the song are keyboard/synthesiser, bass, and drums.

The Weather Girls, It's Raining Men. Success. Columbia Records, 44 04150, 1983.

Michael Sembello: Maniac

"Maniac," by Michael Sembello, was used in the 1983 film Flashdance and was inspired by the 1980 horror film Maniac. An earlier version of the chorus was, "He's a maniac, maniac, that's for sure. He will kill your cat and nail him to the door". "Maniac" reached number one in the Billboard Hot 11 in September 1983 and is one of the highest grossing songs ever written for a film. The soundtrack of Flashdance has gone platinum six times, with "maniac" being the third-top grossing song from a movie soundtrack to date. The sonic markers in the song are a synthesiser, guitar, drums, and bass.

Michael Sembello, Maniac. Bossa Nova Hotel. Warner Bros. Records/Wounded Bird Records, 92-3920-1, 1983.
Click to watch video from the movie "Flashdance": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5x1K5UH2nek

Picture: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bossa_Nova_Hotel

Eurythmics: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

"Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)," provided the group Eurythmics with their breakthrough into commercial success. Eurythmics brought a soul music twist to the electronic sound, which proved popular with broader audiences. Sonic markers in this song are the synthesiser, bass, guitar, and E-drums. Eurythmics had a dodgy, rock past and they confidently leaped into a new age of electronics and synthesizers, spearheading a 1980s revolution with a ground-breaking record that would change the face of music.

Eurythmics, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This). Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This). RCA Records, 56115, 1983.

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQHrspjw4aA




Michael Jackson: Billy Jean

Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" was a worldwide commercial and critical success. It became one of the best-selling singles of 1983, dominating the US and UK charts simultaneously. "Billie Jean" was written by Jackson and the lyrics referred to a real life experience, in which a female fan claimed he fathered one of her twins. "Billie Jean" rose to prominence through the distinctive bass line and Jackson's vocal hiccups. Considered one of the most revolutionary songs in history, "Billie Jean" was certified platinum in 1989. The music video was the first video by a black artist to be aired by MTV. The video also introduced white viewers to black music. "Billie Jean" aided Thriller in becoming the biggest selling album of all time.

Michael Jackson, Billy Jean. Thriller. Epic Records, EK 38112, 1982.

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=En-cHBv7UpA


Picture: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thriller_(album)


Madonna: Into the Groove

"Into the Groove," by Madonna, is from Madonna's first major feature film, Desperately Seeking Susan. The song became one of Madonnna's signature hits. The song is principally about dancing and mentions about a boy getting off his feet "to prove his love". In the video, you can see Madonna's fashion choices, which can be compared to the fashion that is "in" today (leggings with skirt, sneakers, etc.). The sonic markers in the song are the keyboard, electric guitar, and drums, which is typical for 80s pop music.

Madonna, Into the Groove. Like A Virgin. Warner Bros. Records, 7599 25181-2, 1985.

To see the live performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpVzt-zgScQ&feature=related


For Picture: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Like_a_Virgin