Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mr. Mike Project 1982

Buda-Buda-Buda...on restrictions from watching Buck Rogers? Then find yourself some Rock & Roll on the radio.

1982, the year that essentially created this blog. I wasn't doing well in school and was restricted to staying indoors to do homework without access to television or baseball (my two childhood obsessions) to improve my grades. For entertainment the only thing I had was my clock radio, so I left it on while I did homework. Then I started to like some songs more than others, like Blondie's "The Tide is High" or Toto's "Rosanna". At the end of the year, Casey Kasem and America's Top 40 (Billboard) ran a program on New Years Eve counting down the Top 100 songs of the past 12 months. So I decided to sit down and record the whole program (it was hours long and took about all nite). The best songs of the year for free! I played those tapes incessantly afterwards, leading me to buying music resulting 27 years later with what we have in the present (me and a lot of music).

1982 was also the last year of true Arena Rock. The music industry was in a slump, sales were down and the industry complained about home copying as much as possible to anyone that would listen (sounds familiar?). MTV had just started the year before and was a channel dedicated to Rock music only (big controversy at the time) meaning music hadn't been Hollywood-ized yet. Rock bands didn't have to be pretty, just play music well. Michael Jackson's Thriller was released in '82, but it wouldn't be until the next year that there would be a push to put him on MTV and change music forever. But that was in the future, now it's 1982. Here's my picks for Arena Rock CDs for my car.

Disc 1:

Journey - Open Arms

The song most credited with starting the power ballad, Steve Perry makes the girls weep with his special brand of epic sensitivity and pre-American Idol melisma.

Steve Miller Band - Abracadabra

The Bay Area invasion continues, the 70's rocker got his last run at the pop charts in with this synthy dance cut. He heats up and can't cool down. I heard this was written about Diana Ross, wonder if that's true?

Survivor - Eye of the Tiger

Boxing gets a new theme song as this track from Rocky III scores a knockout. I remember the first time I heard it, got dragged into a friend's house after a baseball game because he wanted to play everyone a tape of the rockinist song ever.

Moving Pictures -What About Me

The Australian smash hit ballad did little business here in the U.S., but was a sign of the growing influence of Arena Rock worldwide.

38 Special - Caught Up In You

Don Barnes best vocal in my book, the 38's give Urban Cowboys something romantic to say to their best cowgirls.

Toronto - Your Daddy Don't Know

A kickin' track that...I can't figure out why it matters that your Daddy don't know what your Mama's gonna do tonight. I guess it means you're telling someone their Mom is sleeping around? Not the nicest thing to say! But it makes for a killer Canadian hit. I've read the New Pornographers covered this too.

Asia - Heat of the Moment

Take three of the greatest Prog bands of all time (Yes, ELP, King Crimson), pour into a cup add water and stir.

Spys - Don't Run My Life

While looking for songs for these CDs, I finally got an answer to a lifelong question: what happened to those dudes that were fired from Foreigner? Answer: they formed this band.

REO Speedwagon - Keep the Fire Burnin'

Did you know that there was a band called REO Speed Dealer? Too funny. Oh, this song is freakin' great in that "Roll With The Changes" kinda way.

Judas Priest - You Got Another Thing Comin'

Rob Halford drops another hint to his fans of what's what. And then sells burgers with it two decades later.

Fleetwood Mac - Hold Me

Lindsey Buckingham kicks his production skillz into overdrive for this overdub classic built on yet another sturdy Christine McVie tune.

Bad Company - Electric Land

You know what sucks? I can't find a cheap copy of "No Smoke Without A Fire" anywhere. Anyway, gotta represent the original lineup where I can, so all I got is "Electric Land".

Bryan Adams - Straight From The Heart

Bri Dog's first big hit was this ballad, maybe I should have went with "Lonely Nights"? I included "Heaven" later, did I really need two Adams ballads?

Dio - Rainbow in the Dark

Ronnie James throws his fists skyward and screams about rainbows.

Quarterflash - Harden My Heart

Swanky sax and a Pat Benatar vibe goes the distance on this big hit.

Alan Parsons Project - Eye in the Sky

I asked my wife to sing this song to me recently, it was beautiful. The song itself with it's Orwellian fears, so ahead of its time.

Joan Jett - I Love Rock and Roll

Snarling, simplistic and catchy as hell. Joan Jett "Ow!"s her way to greatness.

Headpins - Just One More Time

Another Canadian band to do decent business up North, I always liked the name of this group. They had this one video where their faces were on bowling pins, it was cool in that early 80's kinda way.

Disc 2:

Aldo Nova - Fantasy

Awesome futurism, I mean the guy's name is ALDO NOVA and he has helicopters and laser guns in his song. Like Buck Rogers with a guitar. Twiki rocks out.

Tane' Cain - Holdin On

Jon Cain's then wife shows Quarterflash a thing or two in the Pat Benatar copycat department. And then becomes a B movie actress appearing in movies like Illicit Dreams 2 and Bikini Academy. Speaking of futurism, she appeared and sang in the first Terminator movie too.

Supertramp - It's Raining Again

The group's final hit with Roger Hodgson was this sing songy confection complete with the children's rhyme at the end.

Axe' - Rock and Roll Party in the Streets

I heard if you take this record and spray it on you that chicks can't resist you.

Steel Breeze - You Don't Want Me Anymore

Blazin' keyboards and fired up guitar, this is what music is about! State of the Art rock for 1982. Where's my Rubik's cube?

Kiss - I Love it Loud

This is a song I got into from hearing it on Music Choice over the past few years instead of listening to it back then. But what the hell, may as well include some makeup era Kiss if I can.

Journey - Don't Stop Believin'

As Sammy Hagar once said, what is understood does not need to be discussed. A song for the ages.

Rainbow - Stone Cold

Downbeat dramatics rule as Joe Lynn Turner and Richie Blackmore get the cold shoulder. Oooh, ice cold.

Foreigner - Waiting For A Girl Like You

Upbeat dramatics rule as Lou Gramm and Mick Jones give a warm welcome. Having those cascading Thomas Dolby synthesizers didn't hurt either. You know that line in the verse "When we make love it's understood", who understands it? I would think the two people having sex already understand they are having sex. Are they having sex in public?

Toto - Rosanna

As I learned from Casey Kasem, that synthesizer solo took several passes of overdubbing to get the right sound. Rosanna Arquette, inspiration to all musicians everywhere.

Golden Earring - Twilight Zone

You know half of that song "Radar Love" kicks soooo much ass. Oh, this was their other hit.

J. Geils Band - Centerfold

So provocative back in the day, Peter Wolf shuffles his feet and fantasizes about girls in girlie magazines. Interesting compared to now where Centerfolds can have their own TV shows and what not. Not that I'm complaining.

Cheap Trick - She's Tight

The Tricksters lay down their last great rock song, Arena Rock with a touch of punky urgency and ribald sense of humor. No accident Green Day ripped off this song years later.

Eddie Money - I Think I'm in Love

A highlight from last Summer when we saw the Money man play at the Santa Cruz boardwalk, the staggering one stands and delivers a straight ahead shot of AOR.

Shooting Star - Hollywood

Before videos took hold, bands would occasionally get ambitious and tell their musical theater dreams on record only. Also ran AORsters Shooting Star were no exception, I bet Dennis DeYoung was ecstatic when he heard this.

Tommy TuTone - 867 5309 Jenny

Is there anything harsher than putting a real phone number in a hit song? And then making it about getting a girl's number off the wall? Burn!

Billy Squier - Everybody Wants You

Squier brings the beats again on this zippy, bangin track. If it's good enough for the CW, it's good enough for me.

John Waite - Change

Proof that Pat Benatar had male copycats too, Waite hooked up with Benatar's guitarist for this rocker that was only a medium sized hit despite two attempts at chart success (in 1982 and then re-released as a single in 1985 for the Vision Quest soundtrack).

And that's it for the year that was 1982. Next up, MTV takes hold of the video and airwaves.


Some Kinda Wonderful said...

Mostly awesome discs, Mr. Mike. I always loved the name of that group Steel Breeze. Whatever, right? I mean, what's it s'posed to mean? Anyway... really great, like I said. There were a few I'm going to have to look up cause I just don't remember. Then again... apparently Florida 80's music was a tad different from California 80's music. You guys seemed to get more Canadian rockers than we did. And oh yeah, congrats on finally getting a budget. Hope it works out, out there.

Jeannie said...

My goodness, it's like your wildest dreams come true- all on a 2 CD set! Every last song here reminds me of you.

I can picture you as a kid, sitting by the radio, and recording all of the songs. I can picture you doing it now too... :D

pamwax said...

Not familiar with most of the songs. Too busy raising kids. I was happy to hear you were a kid who loved baseball. We spent most of the boys youth involved in baseball one way or another. I am one hell of a score keeper...and don't argue...if I say it's a error, it's an error.

Mr. Mike said...

Thanks SKW! I'm just happy to have a state budget. I think the name Steel Breeze comes from a line in Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" but could be wrong there. Canadian rock had limited exposure in California, I just gravitated towards what little I saw because their approach was perfectly in line with what I wanted to hear. For a little while I was convinced Canada was the music capitol of the world! The Bay Area in the early 80's emphasized local bands Journey, Eddie Money, Night Ranger, Eddie and the Tide,etc. and naturally The Grateful Dead. Hope you like the Canadian rock & roll on the list :)

Hey Bunny! Thanks honey, I know you've heard me play these songs millions of times :)

Hi Pamwax! I used to love baseball, as a kid I played Little League and would play about three games a day with other kids in the neighborhood. I memorized team rosters, statistics, pitching rotations. Even had a game called Statis-Pro baseball where I would play a boardgame that would use random numbers and actual statistics to figure out what likely would have happened in an actual game. I wanted to field like Craig Nettles and hit like Steve Garvey.