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Beds Are Burning – Midnight Oil

Beds Are Burning – Midnight Oil

When the oddly-titled “Beds Are Burning” became a US Top 40 hit in 1988 (peaking at Number 17), it apparently even took at least one member of the very Australian band Midnight Oil by surprise. After all, a song about the plight of the Aboriginal peoples at the hands of the colonists would seem to be an unlikely one to gain a foothold on the US charts, as Midnight Oil’s songs were about the mistreatment … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1980s, Rock

The Politics of Dancing – Re-Flex

The Politics of Dancing – Re-Flex

The world needs more synthesized drums. At least that was the sentiment when Re-Flex released “The Politics of Dancing” in 1983. “The Politics of Dancing” is one of the definitive new wave songs of the early 1980s with its mix of mildly distorted guitars, British-accented vocals, soaring synthesizers and the distinctive Simmons Drum kit. Love the antiquated sound of synthesized drums. The Simmons SDS-V with its octagonal design became the go-to electronic drums for bands … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1980s, Pop

Valley Girl – Frank Zappa

Valley Girl – Frank Zappa

With a sharp sense of humor that skewered everything from politics to TV commercials to Beatles’ album covers and song titles such as “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow,” “Stevie’s Spanking” and “I Don’t Want to Get Drafted,” Frank Zappa was one of the most unlikely artists to put a song anywhere near, much less in, the hallowed Top 40. But there it was in 1982 when “Valley Girl” made it to Number 32 on the Billboard … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1980s

Tane Cain – Holdin’ On

Tane Cain – Holdin’ On

Today’s one-hit wonder is another example of marriage helping result in a Billboard Top 40 hit. Tane Cain was a journey-woman singer with middling success in Los Angeles and San Francisco-based bands. It was her marriage to Jonathan Cain that helped her secure a solo record deal back in 1982 and her only Top 40 hit. While you may not know Jonathan Cain’s name, I’m willing to bet you a dozen bagels you recognize his keyboard … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1980s, Pop

Mr. Sandman – Emmylou Harris

Mr. Sandman – Emmylou Harris

Emmylou Harris is one of the all-time great female country singers. She has won Grammy Awards, Country Music Association awards, notched 14 #1 Country songs, released more than 40 albums through 2011 and is generally considered one of the grand dames of country music. Given all that success, it’s a bit of a shock that her only Billboard Top 40 hit is a cover of “Mr. Sandman” from 1982. It’s not that there is anything … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1980s, Country, Pop

Who’ll be the Fool Tonight – Larsen/Feiten Band

Who’ll be the Fool Tonight – Larsen/Feiten Band

“Who’ll be the Fool Tonight” by the Larsen/Feiten Band has to be on Toto’s forgotten third album titled Turn Away. Or maybe it’s on their second album, Hydra. Or maybe I heard it as b-side from Steely Dan’s 1977 masterpiece, Aja. Or possibly it’s an out take from one of Boz Scaggs’ late 1970s records. No matter what late 1970s or early 1980s pop reference you choose, “Who’ll be the Fool Tonight” is immediately recognizable–even if … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1980s, Pop