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Category: The 80s

“After All”: Peter Cetera and Cher hit #1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary charts 33 years ago this week, April 22, 1989

BrianWilkins.org
April 29, 2022

The 1989 movie “Chances Are” isn’t exactly a classic. But it’s definitely weird and worth a watch if you’re bored one night. The short, spoiler version is that Louie Jeffries was a young lawyer in the 1960s. He was married to Corrine Jeffries, played by Cybill Shepherd. Louie get killed when he’s hit by a car while crossing the street. But when he goes to the “pearly gates” after death, he slipped through the cracks and was instantly reincarnated as baby Alex Finch (Robert Downey Jr.). read more

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Did You Know? Richard Dawson, the original host of Family Feud, met his second and last wife, Gretchen Johnson, in an episode of the show in May 1981

BrianWilkins.org
April 24, 2022

Once upon a time, circa 2000, I downloaded 90 episodes of Family Feud via Napster because I was bored and had broadband. The original show ran from 1976 to 1985. It was a daytime game show, wedged between a bunch of soap operas. So I only saw it when I was faking sick or really sick, and at home from school. There were a few prime time (night) special episodes of Family Feud, like the Three’s Company vs. The Love Boat vs. Soap vs. Eight is Enough casts episode in 1978. I saw the re-reruns, as obviously I was too young to remember this live. read more

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Blondie: “Call Me” reached number-1 on the Billboard Hot 100, 42 years ago this week, April 19, 1980

BrianWilkins.org
April 23, 2022

The year 1980 is to the oldest of Generation X, as 1990 is to the youngest of Generation X (i.e. ME). Those years transitioned from one era to the next. I talked about Disco Demolition Night in another blog post and in a 2006 podcast I created while a student at Arizona State University.

Disco (circa 1972-1980) was one of the grooviest eras in music history; and the last truly creative genre of Black American music. Synthesizers came along in the 1980s and trivialized pure music talent, meaning people who played actual instruments. The 80s, by far, is my favorite decade of music. But it was nowhere near the most talented decade for artists. read more

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The Facts of Life: 41 years ago today, November 26, 1980, Season 2 debuted and introduced Jo Polniaczek (Nancy McKeon)

BrianWilkins.org
November 26, 2021So the headline isn’t 100% true. The Facts Of Life Season Two debut aired on November 19, 1980. But it was a two-part series. “The New Girl: Part 1” aired on November 19. Part Two aired on November 26, 1980.

Jo Polniaczek (Nancy McKeon) joined Blair Warner (Lisa Whelchel), Dorothy “Tootsie” Ramsey (Kim Fields), Natalie Green (Mindy Cohn), and housemother Edna Garrett (Charlotte Rae) at Eastland, a private, upscale all-girls high school in upstate New York. read more

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39 years ago today, November 20, 1982, Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes were #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Up Where We Belong” for the third consecutive week

BrianWilkins.org
November 19, 2021

I watched “An Officer and a Gentleman” way late at night on Cinemax or HBO in 1983. My calendar journal from that year has a little side note on the August page. It says “Paul’s mom looks like the Officer Gentleman woman.” I don’t recall who exactly Paul (or his mom) is.

I had no idea what was going on in that movie, or what I was watching. Most 8-year-old kids wouldn’t. But something about it, particularly the soundtrack, stuck with me. I still love it today. read more

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38 years ago today, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the fourth and final week

BrianWilkins.org
October 18, 2021

I implore every child to keep calendar journals starting right now. Because I couldn’t write these stories without my own journals from childhood.

1983 was a great year for me as an 8-year-old. I was making “good” money from my paper route (about $30/week) and another $5 to $10 per week from golf ball hunting/selling during the summer months. Sure I mostly bought Star Wars action figures, Legos and comic books (the first Transformers toys didn’t come out until 1984). But one of my paper route customers held a garage sale on July 8, 1983; and I bought a used walkman and a tape recorder. At the time, walkmans were still too expensive for an 8-year-old kid to buy brand new with his paper route money. read more

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39 years ago today, “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts was #1 for the fifth of seven weeks in 1982

BrianWilkins.org
April 15, 2021

Damn I’m getting old! I remember so vividly playing Pac-Man at the bowling alley down the street from my house in Marshalltown, Iowa when I heard this for the first time. I got the quarters to play the arcade game from selling golf balls. We used to go golf ball hunting across the street from the golf course, and golfers would buy them. That’s Gen X economics for kids.

Some argue “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” is the greatest song of the 80s. Billboard ranked it #56 of all-time in 2008. It’s a classic for sure, with lots of childhood memories tied to it. But many people don’t know that Joan Jett neither wrote the song, nor originally performed it. Those honors go to 1970s glam rock band The Arrows. Lead singer Alan Merrill and guitarist Jake Hooker wrote the song and first performed it in 1975. read more

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The NeverEnding Story: the most influential film of my life

BrianWilkins.org
May 18, 2020

Atreyu and Falkor the luck dragon.

The summer of 1984 was a banner time for movies. See Ghostbusters, Sixteen Candles, Revenge of the Nerds, Karate Kid, et al. The Orpheum theater in Marshalltown, Iowa had a new movie playing called “The NeverEnding Story” (NOTE: last movie I saw at the Orpheum was Caddyshack II in 1988). I had $5.52 in my pocket from my paper route job. That was enough for a movie ticket, popcorn and pop in those days.

I watched “The NeverEnding Story” by myself, with only 40-50 other people in the theater. It shaped me forever. All I wanted from that point forward was to save my Childlike Empress (aka Moon Child). read more

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George Benson performed “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You” in 1985, before Glenn Medeiros

BrianWilkins.org
April 30, 2020

In all fairness, neither George Benson, nor Glenn Medeiros wrote the song. That honor belongs to co-writers Michael Masser and Gerry Goffin. Masser wrote several hits for Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Natalie Cole and many others. Goffin wrote several number-1 pop hits including “The Locomotion” and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.”

George Benson performed the song in 1985. It was on his 22nd studio album 20/20. The album peaked at #45 on the Billboard 100 album charts on February 15, 1985. But “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You” was only released as a single in Europe. It reached #29 in Belgium and #43 in the Netherlands. It’s unclear why the single was never released in the USA. read more

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Dirty Dancing: (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life “was an accident”

BrianWilkins.org
April 28, 2020

Unpopular opinion: Dirty Dancing sucked. Jennifer Grey’s character was named “Baby.” It reminded many Gen X kids of that cheesy dinosaur movie, Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend, two years earlier.

There’s also a very popular opinion about the film – its signature soundtrack tune is an 80s classic.

“(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 28, 1987. It also reached #1 in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Holland and South Africa. But the song was supplanted from the #1 spot in the U.S. after only one week, thanks to Belinda Carlisle and “Heaven Is A Place On Earth” (which contains one of my favorite lyrics of all time: “…and lift me up in a wave of love”). Regardless, every American age 40-50 probably has a story associated with either the movie Dirty Dancing or its signature soundtrack song. read more

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