Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from August, 2009

Retro Video of the Day - I Just Can't Get Enough

What better way to start a Friday than with a Retro classic from the early 80s from an influencial band that is still around today? Depeche Mode's "I Just Can't Get Enough" from their album Speak and Spell was the first single they released in the U.S. though they released two others songs before this in the U.K.

The song reached number 8 in the Uk Singles chart and number 26 on the U.S. Hot Dance Music / Club Play charts. This was the final song written by Vince Clark before he left to team up with Alison Moyet to form Yazoo (later changed to Yaz) and is the only Depeche Mode video to feature Vince Clark. It's also the last video anywhere with Vince Clarke featuring a full head of hair with no shaved areas. I tend to nit pic with my trivia at times.





Retro Bonus Video - It's a rare one!

Retro Celebrity Disses and Put Downs

When you watch the chemistry between a couple of actors at the top of their game on the big screen you tend to think to yourself what a wonderful life they must have and how great it must be to be working opposite other famous actors. You figure they can't possibly have the same problems you do in your job like dealing with the obnoxious slob in the cubicle next to yours or the whiny girl in accounting that always seems to be at your desk just as you're about to head out to lunch.
Well guess again. Although many actors have great experiences while filming with their co-stars, others have less than happy thoughts after the fact and aren't afraid to express themselves. Here are a few for your consideration. Susan Sarandon once said of Mel Gibson, "He's somewhere to the right of Atilla the Hun. He's beautiful, but only on the outside." Ouch. I'm pretty sure Mel mentioned something about her outer beauty as well and how he wanted to go all Atilla on her but…

Before They Were Famous Part 3

Many a young actor has been faced with making commercials as a way to pay the bills that can hopefully lead to something bigger and better. If they're lucky, it will be an advertisement that is classy and have artistic merit that they can proudly look back on. On the other hand, it may be something they regret ever doing and hate anyone for bringing it up.

Here's a look at a few more examples of commercials featuring celebrities before they made it big - you decide what category they belong in as mentioned above. To check out the first installment, click here and the second installment, click here.


Before hanging with friends as Joey Tribiani, Matt LeBlanc did a Heinz Ketchup commercial that was actually pretty cool. Even back then you could almost picture the classic line oozing out of him made famous years later on Friends, "How yooooou doin'.....?"




Bruce Willis made an appearance on our second installment, with hair, dancing away in a Levi's ad. Here he is ag…

Retro Video of the Day - I Want You To Want Me

Okay here's the deal - more often than not Mondays kind of suck for various reasons and to varying degrees. What's needed is a happy, go lucky feel good song with no strings attached to help either jump start your day or to give you the extra push to help you survive the next few hours until quitting time. Allow me to help.

Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me" was a song from their second album, Colors, released in 1977 but failed to chart in the U.S. It did however reach #1 in Japan along with a few other of their songs prompting them to perform a few concerts at the Buddakan in Tokyo which they ended up recording and releasing as a live album. The live version of "I Want You To Want Me" went Gold and finally broke the top 10 in the U.S. reaching #7 on BillBoard's Hot 100 in 1979 - two years after it's initial release.


Retro TV Ad of the Day - Smash Up Derby

These days there are so many regulations, safety standards and laws in place to try and keep children's toys safe from harming kids and even with all that in place, you still hear about toys being recalled due to risks of chocking or burning and so on. However, back in the 70s and 80s, there were toys that almost seemed like the manufacturers were trying to compete on developing the most dangerous toys possible.

Case in point was the Kenner Demolition Derby play set that featured two fair sized cars that were designed to blow apart into little pieces when they were smashed into each other at a pretty good speed. So whenever you smashed them together, little bite sized pieces of the cars with sharp edges would go flying in all directions, perfect for taking out an eye or being found by a toddler and choking on it. Having said that - you wanted one.......you really wanted one.



Candies You Grew Up With That May Gross You Out Now (Part 1)

Being a kid in the 70s and 80s allowed you to experience certain candies that may no longer be produced but some of the stuff you grew up with is still around and there are even some specialty stores and websites that cater to making available the treats of your youth. However, just because you can still get them, doesn't mean you should. Your adult palette is vastly different than your youthful taste of what was gross and what was really cool.

While eating some of the stuff on this list today may remind you of your youth, it may also provide startling and sobering realizations that you may not have been firing on all cylinders when making choices while spending your hard earned allowance at the candy counter as a kid.


Bazooka - Not only was this gum cheap, 2 for a penny back in the day although I may be seriously dating myself, but it also came with a small comic featuring Bazooka Joe, who wore an eye patch and a bunch of his freaky friends including Mort who wore his turtleneck pu…

Retro Video of the Day - Baby Don't Forget My Number

The buzz that surrounded the sudden emergence of German dance group Milli Vanilli back in the late 80s was huge. Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus, the faces (notice I didn't say lead singers) behind Milli Vanilli took the dance floors by storm when they dropped an album out of nowhere that spawned a number of hits, massive international sales, numerous American Music Awards and a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1990.

For a couple of guys who just won a Grammy - they don't look too thrilled.
Then it all imploded when it was revealed that they didn't actually have anything to do with the creation of the album nor did they sing a single note on any of the songs either in the studio or live. When producer Frank Farian put the project together, the original group lacked what he felt was a marketable image so he found Rob and Fab to front the group in videos not realizing the huge success that would come and the demand for live performances that followed.

During a "concert", the…

Movie Rolls That Could Have Been

When you think of certain roles in classic films, there are actors that take the role and truly make it their own for all time. You watch the film and you can't imagine any other actor in that role because they just seemed to have nailed the character in every way and have in many cases made the character an icon who no other can portray.

Here are a few examples of casting attempts that almost changed some iconic characters in American cinema.


Al Pacino - His body of work is impressive and second to none. He's brought to life some classic characters in his career such as Michael Corleone in the Godfather, Tony Montana from Scarface and Colonel Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman to name a few. He was also offered, and turned down the lead roles in Pretty Woman, Crimson Tide and the part of Han Solo in a little movie that came to be known as Star Wars. "Here they come Chewie - Hoo Haaa!"


Gene Hackman - One of the most versatile character actors working in film today, Gene c…

Woodstock Dropouts - Bands That Said No and Probably Regretted It

Much has been written about the "Three days of Peace and Music" that took place on a 600 acre dairy farm just north of Bethel, New York. The Woodstock Music Festival took place 40 years ago this past weekend, and as the saying goes, if you remember it - then you weren't there.

Rolling Stone listed it as one of the 50 Moments That Changed Rock and Roll and for good reason. The lineup was a who's who of the best artists of the day with 32 acts performing in front of over 300,000 people. The movie and soundtrack of the event went on to be top sellers and some artists credit their success to their appearance at the event.

What isn't really talked about are some of the big names that decided not to appear at the event for various reasons. Some didn't really suffer much in terms of their own success but in some cases, it may have been exposure that could have taken them to the next level. Let's look at some of these acts:


Led Zeppelin - Their manager refused sin…

Father of Electric Guitar Les Paul Dies (1915-2009)

It's a sad day for guitar players and recording artists with the passing of one of the originators of the hard body electric guitar. He was Lester William Polsfuss but musicians around the world knew him as Les Paul. He considered himself an inventor first and a musician second though he was an exceptional guitar player. In fact, he actually taught himself to play the guitar in order to experiment with some of his theories on converting an acoustic guitar into what we now know as the electric guitar. He became one of the most respected and innovative guitar players with many of the greatest guitarists citing him as a major inspiration.

Some other innovations Les Paul gave the world include multi-track recording, overdubbing, delay and phasing effects and also created some original guitar playing techniques used to this very day. He's inspired generations of musicians and many fine guitars still bear his name to this day while some of the earlier models are in the prized possess…

Retro Video of the Day - You Sexy Thing

What better way to start off a Friday morning than digging deep into the retro archives? Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing" was actually released as a "B" side to another song you probably never heard of - "Blue Night" since the producer didn't think it had hit potential. Further proof that anyone could make it in the music business back then.

You Sexy Thing reached number 2 in the UK charts in 1975 and number 3 in the U.S. a year later. It's enjoyed a resurgence in recent years thanks to a cover version by Dee-Lite and also being featured in "The Full Monty" in 1997 which prompted the song to chart again. In fact, it is the only song in the UK to enter the charts in the 70s, 80s and 1990s. Not even Elvis or the Beatles did that.







Vintage Ads From A Simpler Time - That Are Sexist As Hell

In a previous post we covered retro ads from a simpler time that were among the creepiest I've ever seen. (Click here to see that post) Let's now take a look at some ads that were done in a time when it was considered a man's world and women were here only to serve men, be a perfect wife, do all the house work, try not to do stupid things and always be fresh and pretty regardless of what they were doing.

We all know that not only does such a Utopia not exist (I'm kidding ladies) but in retrospect, the people behind the creative direction of these ads really missed the mark not only conceptually but the ad wording (or copy in technical terms) is just plain awful. Clearly, these ads were designed by men, written by men, sold by men and bought by men.



"Husbands admire wives who keep their stockings perfect." I love how this ad implies that being married is no reason for a woman to let herself go and should always look her best. Especially since the guy took the…

Classic Retro Wendy's Ads

The late, great Dave Thomas created the Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers franchise (who knew old fashioned hamburgers were square!?!) after making a name for himself with Kentucky Fried Chicken. Working with Colonel Sanders himself, Dave was responsible for trimming down the menu offerings, and focusing the restaurant on specializing on chicken and turned the business into one of the most successful fast food franchises in the world.

Taking what he learned with KFC, he poured all his energy into making Wendy's (named after his daughter) more than just a pain in McDonald's and Burger King's side. It was because of him that other fast food restaurants had to change certain processes and begin offering certain things that were never done before, like the larger sized portions (yeah - thanks for that Dave), salads and the super value menu.


The real Wendy (Melinda actually)
Wendy's was also pretty creative in the marketing department as well. Before Dave became the spokesm…

Retro Video of the Day - Blind Vision

There are many bands that truly embody the 80s electro-synth sound and Blancmange would have to be high on that list. Riding the wave of the 80s electro revolution, Blancemange was growing in popularity alongside the likes of Depeche Mode, Ultravox, Soft Cell and other bands forging a new sound for the decade.

Although their first real major hit was "Living on the Ceiling", they did have some other decent songs that charted fairly well. "Blind Vision" reached number 10 in the UK in 1983 thanks in part to this creepy video. The group recently reformed and are working on new material for a new album.




Scan for other cool blogs using Condron at www.condron.us

Retro Arcade Game of the Day - Pac Man

One of the all time greatest arcade classics, Pac Man brought the video games out of the arcades and into the public consciousness. Even though it was critically not well received, it was the hottest selling game for the Atari 2600 and one of the biggest games in terms of revenues at the arcade for it's time.

The simple game play yet challenging levels meant hours of fun for people of all ages and was simple enough for anyone to play. Here it is again in the original arcade version.Just click start to begin and use the arrow keys to control the little yellow quarter bandido.




arcade

Retro Video of the Day - Can You Feel It

When they were known as the Jackson 5 signed with Motown, Michael Jackson and his brothers only received less that 3% of the Royalties so when they made the jump to CBS, papa Joes made sure the boys received a massive 20% which obviously changed quite a few things for the now renamed Jacksons and their family.

Even with the success of albums like Destiny and Triumph, Michael still cranked out solo work that outsold the Jackson's work by a significant amount. When Thriller was released, instead of going on tour to promote the album, he rejoined his brothers for the Victory tour which meant if you wanted to see Michael doing Billie Jean, you had to go see the Jacksons.

"Can You Feel It" was released from the Triumph album in 1981 and charted well in many countries reaching number one on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart until Cool and the Gang pushed them off with their monster hit, "Celebration". The video was voted one of the Top 100 videos of all time i…

Retro '80s Fashion Trends

When you think back to the '80s you will no doubt look back on many things with fond memories and in some ways yearn back to those simpler times. Nothing really defined the '80s as much as the fashion. Some was really good, some - not so much. Here now is a look at some trends you may have forgotten about but likely were into back in the day.

Big Hair
When I say big, I mean large. Perm, fluff, spray - repeat. Not sure who to thank for this look but most videos from the '80s by female artists were well represented by massive hair. This was a particularly dangerous look if you were a smoker. Rubber BraceletsIf you owned a rubber gasket company in the '80s you suddenly had a new demographic besides mechanics and plumbers. Suddenly teenagers everywhere were wearing little black rubber rings as bracelets (thanks Madonna!) and were asking for funky colors besides black (cue the neon again). The more you wore the cooler you looked (and the longer it took you to get ready in the …

Before They Were Famous Part 2

Here's the second installment of a glimpse into famous celebrities early start in show business thanks to the retro miracle of VCRs. When you're first starting out, any role you land to try and pay the bills is a good one.

In our first installment we featured the McDLT commercial with Jason Alexander. Here he is again in another commercial with Bruce Willis for Levis's Jeans.




Before suffering Growing Pains or sinking on the Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio was just a cute kid who liked to chew gum and listen to really big boom boxes.




The late Farrah Fawcett was one of the most beautiful women on television. Before her big break on Charlie's Angels, Farrah took really good care of her most second famous attribute besides her hair, her teeth.



Retro Video of the Day - No Promises

If you've been following my retro videos of the day, you'll notice I tend to steer towards some of the more obscure and not overplayed tracks. Today is no exception. Australian synth-pop group Icehouse's first single from their 1986 Measure to Measure album was a sleeper hit called "No Promises". It reached #9 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts. This album featured the help of Brian Eno which was very evident on many of the songs on this album.



Steven Tyler Hopes To Walk This Way Soon

Steve Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith was showing his age the other night when he fell off the stage while doing his little dance during a performance at the"Buffalo Chip Campground and Trailer Park" - What the hell did I just type? A campground? My how things change. How do you go from playing the Superbowl to a campground?

The 61 year old front man was air lifted to hospital after suffering minor head, neck and shoulder injuries after falling off a catwalk of the stage onto some fans. Back in the day that was called crowd surfing but at 61, that's just falling into a crowd. The clapper can't be too far behind at this point.










Cartoon Flashback - Battle of the Planets

It seems that many of the cartoons kids watch today are based on Japanese Anime which all seem to have a similar look to them. Often times you see faces locked in an expression with only the lips moving (never in sync with the audio) and many scenes seem to be repeated actions from episode to episode. A time honored recipe dating back to the early '70s.

Battle of the Planets came out on U.S. television in 1978 as a repackaged version of the 1972 Japanese anime program Kagaku ninja tai Gatchaman (which translates into Science Ninja Team Gatchaman). Ninjas in space? Awesome.




Battle of the Planets was based on the story of five "remarkable" teenagers, Mark, Jason, Tiny, Princess and Keyop, known as G-Force (not to be confused with the hamster movie of the same name) who spent their days trying to protect Earth from the evil planet "Spectra" and other attacks from "beyond space". Their mother ship, The Phoenix, was aptly named for it's ability to transf…

Retro Video of the Day - Rockit / Holiday

Herbie Hancock is an accomplished Jazz keyboard player who in 1983 released a real groundbreaking track that changed a few things. "Rockit" from his Futureshock album was a very unique sounding song but what took it over the top was the futuristic and slightly disturbing video and the use of a technique that would eventually be better known as "scratching" as well as other turntable techniques. Many scratch DJs that made it big in the 90s and today cite Rockit as the record that turned them on to the turntable as an instrument.

The video was directed by Godley & Creme who were two of the creative minds behind the group 10cc and had a number of hits of their own during that time. The video won numerous awards including five MTV video music awards in 1984.

It reached #1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play for three weeks until it was knocked of by a song by a new artist you may have heard of - "Holiday" by Madonna.


Retro Bonus !



Director John Hughes Dies (1950-2009)

Retro lovers around the world will be sad to hear the passing of one of the most prolific write and director of '80s teen movies along with other great comedies. John Hughes passed away yesterday of a heart attack while walking in Manhattan.

His credits as a director include such classics as The Breakfast Club, 16 Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Weird Science, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Uncle Buck and Curly Sue.

As a writer and producer, the list includes some of the above along with Pretty in Pink, Home Alone, Maid in Manhattan, National Lampoon's Vacation, Some Kind of Wonderful, 101 Dalmatians and much much more.

Before his career in film, he began as a joke writer for people like Rodney Dangerfield and Joan Rivers. His impact on our pop culture is undeniable thanks to his strong emphasis on using pop music in all his films creating not only a great mood for the film but amazing soundtracks as well.

He will be missed. Here are a few memorable examples of his work.