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11/29/11

80s Literal Music Video: "Just A Friend"

Rapper Biz Markie's one and only hit "Just A Friend" reached #9 on the US charts back in 1989. Now, parody rapper Seanie Mic will give us his hilarious literal interpretation of the video.




Visit Parodyrapper.com for more stuff from Seanie Mic


11/28/11

80s Exam: Name That Movie Line

If you are an 80s fan, you should be able to name the movies from the following scenes. But can you also name the famous movie lines that are spoken in each scene? Post your answers in the comment section below!
#1

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11/27/11

80s Art By Christopher Tupa

G.I. Joe carwash
I recently came across some great 80s artwork by Christopher Tupa. He has taken some great TV shows, cartoons, and toys from the 80s and really made them his own. I really enjoy his work and appreciate him allowing me to post a few here. If you want to see more, visit Ctupa.Com. You can also find a store for his artwork, a blog, and a podcast. You can also find hundreds more originals on his Flickr page. Enjoy!
M.U.S.C.L.E. Skating Party
Calvin & Hobbes as He-Man & Cringer
Knight Rider at play
Cobra crazy races

11/25/11

"Total Eclipse Of The Heart" Flowchart


11/24/11

80s Metal Version TV Themes

We all know the great television show themes of the 80s. You can pretty much tell me the name of an 80s TV show and theme will pop in my head.

The A-Team.........
Knight Rider........
Magnum P.I.........

Recently I found Sylvian Cloux's channel on Youtube. Cloux has taken many of these 80s TV themes and reformatted them into metal versions. As a fan of rock music and the 80s, I gotta say these are outstanding. Cloux plays all guitars and drums on these cover versions and if that wasn't enough, he has also combined his new sound with the original opening video footage on many of these videos to give us the following 80s greatness....









Go check out Sylvian Cloux's channel on Youtube for more themes including movies like Back To The Future, Indiana Jones, Star Trek, the Godfather, Pirates of the Caribbean and James Bond.

11/23/11

Ultimate 80s Girl Names Playlist

T-shirt layers, leg warmers, spandex shorts, stone-washed denim, high top sneakers...those '80s girls really knew how to turn heads and steal hearts. So much so, that some songwriters felt the need to express their affection for their gal pals through their music. With many to choose from, I've found my "sweet sixteen" 80s songs that feature names of girls. Slide your sunglasses down your nose and take a long look at these totally awesome girl tunes featured in the Ultimate 80s Girl Names Playlist....

Starship "Sara" (1985)
Fresh off legal proceedings and a name change, Starship had back-to-back #1 hits in the US with "We Built This City" and "Sara" in 1985-86. It was sung by Mickey Thomas and named for his wife at the time.

Toto "Rosanna" (1982)
Although "Rosanna" never reached #1 in the US (peaked at #2 for 5 consecutive weeks,) Toto received a Grammy award for Record of the Year in 1983.

Steve Perry "Oh Sherrie" (1984)
Written for his then girlfriend Sherrie Swafford, it was Perry's biggest hit as a solo artist reaching #3 in the US. It's been mistaken labeled as a Journey song because its sound and that it was released while Perry was still with the band. Co-writer Bill Cuomo, who performed the keyboard melody, is also know for riff performed on Kim Carnes' hit "Bette Davis Eyes."

Ready For The World "Oh Sheila" (1985)
The first of 2 top ten hits in the US, the song features spoken words at the beginning in what sounds like an Australian accent. A "sheila" in Australian slang is a woman or girl.

Aerosmith "Janie's Got A Gun" (1989)
Originally titled "Danny's Got A Gun" after a friend of Steven Tyler, the song did not perform well on the charts reaching only #61 in the US. However, the music video was very popular and earned the band its first 2 MTV VMAs and also its first Grammy in 1991. the video is highly regarded at one of the top 100 ever made.

Europe "Carrie" (1987)
After reaching the top ten with "The Final Countdown" in 1986, this power ballad made it all the way to #3 in the US. (Man, I sound like Casey Kasem) Early versions consisted only of keyboards and vocals.

Michael Jackson "Billie Jean" (1983)
#1 on the US charts for seven weeks, it was a large contributing factor for making the album Thriller the best selling album of all time. It also produced two of Jackson's record of eight Grammy awards in 1983. Jackson explained on numerous occasions that he based the song on "groupies" he encountered while he was with the Jackson 5.

Oak Ridge Boys "Elvira" (1981)
(Yes, I did just purposefully include a country song on this playlist.) This crossover hit peaked at #5 on the US mainstream charts and forever instilled us with the lyrics "ba-oom papa oom papa oom papa mow mow." The song was actually a cover tune,originally written and released by Dallas Frazier in 1966.

Boston "Amanda" (1986)
The only #1 hit for Boston stayed atop the charts for two weeks in 1986. One of the rare 80s songs that reached #1 with no music video being produced.

Richard Marx "Angelia" (1989)
He proved he was one of the great balladeers of the late 80s with this song reaching #4 on the US charts. I'm not ashamed to say that the first real concert I ever attended was when my mom asked me to go see Richard Marx on his Repeat Offender tour. Laugh all you want, but Marx was the first recording artist to have his first seven singles reach the top 5 on the US charts.

John Cougar Mellancamp "Jack & Diane" (1982)
Written in part about his own life experiences, "Jack & Diane" became the most popular couple in America for 4 weeks on the US charts. I made a connection this song as a kid because my hometown in PA had a Tastee-Freez. Although, I preferred pizzaburgers to chili dogs.

Dexy's Midnight Runners "Come On Eileen" (1983)One of the most celebrated one hit wonders of the 80s, this song managed to knock "Billie Jean" off its seven week perch atop the charts in 1983. Although the very next week, Michael Jackson would then replace it with "Beat It."

Laura Branigan "Gloria" (1982)
Originally written and recorded in Italian, Branigan's English version reached #2 on the US charts and also became an top ten hit in 7 other countries. It would stay on the US charts for 36 consecutive weeks, breaking a record at the time for a female recording artist.

Tommy Tutone "867-5309 (Jenny)" (1981)
Another celebrated one hit wonder, "Jenny" would peak at #4 on the US charts and cause everyone in America to attempt to call the number. Band members have given conflicting stories of whether the girl or phone number was real. Either way, it's still used in pop culture, tv shows, and video game cheat codes until this day.

Elton John "Nikita" (1985)
Sir Elton's crush on an East German borderguard (you can be the judge of the gender) vaulted this song to #7 on the US charts. George Michael contributed the backup vocals.

Steve Winwood "Valerie" (1982 & 1987)
The "King of the 5 Minute Song" as I like to call him, Winwood benefitted from a re-release on this single. The song made it only to #70 on the US charts in '82, but a remixed version was included on his Chronicles compilation album and charted all the way into the top ten in '87.

11/22/11

80s Car Art

I love the 80s, but these people really know how to show it!!

Rubix Cube
Pacman
Voltron
Thundercats

11/20/11

Atari 2600 Humor

I was surfing the net recently and stumbled across a fun site, Atari 2600 Label Maker. On the site, you can customize (and print) your own Atari 2600 game labels. For guys like me, this is hours of fun. It also made me think that I'm probably not the only one who sees the fun here and there must be others who have already used this site....and I was right. Here are some of the best fake Atari 2600 labels that I've found. Enjoy!!



11/19/11

G.I. Joe Casual Fridays

Courtesy Wizard of X on Flickr

11/18/11

The 80s Arcade: Double Dragon

Billy & Jimmy Lee's quest against The Black Warriors

The 80s arcade would not be complete unless we include one of the classic "beat 'em up" or brawler arcade games. Probably the most popular and widely known in this gaming genre is Double Dragon. With fists flying and legs kicking, our quarters would lead us into streets and back alleys on a quest to rescue a buxom girl in a red dress. In my teenage mind, it quickly became THE popular game to play with a friend and it would continue build on that gaming experience for nearly a decade. Although not the first of its kind, Double Dragon brought fresh new features to 2D arcade gameplay in 1987. In fact, at the peak of its popularity, the crime fighting martial arts franchise would extend into cameo appearances in other arcade games, crossover games, and even beyond the gaming world to the big screen. 
In 1984,  Kung Fu Master became the first widely popular brawler arcade game. I remember playing it at a local ice cream shop, trying to fight my way through a dojo full of karate kids to save the girl. That same year, Hollywood would also feed our martial arts side with the film the Karate Kid. Then in 1986, game producer Taito would build on the popular martial arts culture and release the game Renegade. Its format and gameplay would turn out to be the direct precursor to Double Dragon, which was released by Technos Japan a year later in 1987. Double Dragon would use elements from both of its predecessors, such as a scrolling screen and backdrops of streets and alleys. It would also add some firsts like two player coop play and the ability to use enemy weapons, such as baseball bats, whips, oil drums, and dynamite sticks. One other unique feature for two player games was after the final boss had been laid to rest, a showdown for kidnapped Marion's affection was held between Billy & Jimmy Lee to determine the true winner of the game.



Although the plot was relatively the same as previous brawler games, Double Dragon was the first of its genre to have that "initials quality" in my opinion. I believe it was mainly because of the variety of maneuvers you could perform during game play and not just the ability to punch, kick, and jump. Headbutts, elbows and throws from the headlock position, and the ability to grab an enemy from behind to let your partner unleash hell were the elements that really made the game unique as you progressed through each stage. Double Dragon was produced for the NES in 1988. It wasn't really comparable to the arcade version, mainly based on the capabilities of the console system itself. The main missing ingredients were the two player coop gameplay, being able to keep enemy weapons into upcoming stages, and not having a full arsenal of maneuvers at the beginning of the game. Sega would produce its own version for the Master System that same year with better graphics and some improved gameplay that would compare more to the arcade version. Also that year, Double Dragon II: The Revenge would be released to arcades. This time, the brothers would be avenging Marion's death at the hand of the Black Warriors. The sequel would provide a new button setup providing directional attacks (as in Renegade) and also new stages, weapons, and maneuvers like the "hurricane kick."

I remember the sequel translating well to the NES in 1989, which was a favorite of mine for many years. It had the coop play and also added many stages to the four used in the arcade version. By this time the Double Dragon brothers were very well known and showing up in other games like Super Spike V'Ball  for NES and as crowd spectators for the arcade hit WWF Superstars. The third and final arcade sequel Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone was released in 1990. It reverted back to the 3 button attack of the original release and used many new maneuvers, without keeping familiar moves from the previous two games. The plot sent the brothers and new character Sonny around the world to collect three sacred stones and defeat a new mysterious enemy in Egypt. DD3 was also released on NES in 1991 and Gameboy and Sega Genesis in 1992. Marvel Comics also got in on the popularity of the franchise in 1991 and released a series of six Double Dragon comic books from July to December.

Although no more arcade games were released after DD3, the franchise still released games for home consoles. Super Double Dragon was produced exclusive for SNES system in 1992 and the crossover game Battletoads & Double Dragon in 1993. Also jumping on the bandwagon that year was animation producer DiC Entertainment which released the first 13 episodes of Double Dragon the animated series. It would last 26 episodes in all over the course of 1993-94. The show was mainly associated with the arcade games by name and characters only. However, a few episodes did loosely follow the NES game plot.  The main premise of the show was that the brothers, who were raised by opposing ninja masters, join forces and use their magical swords to combat the evil Shadow Master. 

1994 was the last year that Double Dragon really made an impact on the gaming world and pop culture. On the heels of the cartoon, Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls was produced. It went away from the traditional style of the games before it and was developed as a head-to-head fighting game like Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter II, which were very popular at the time. Also released that same year was the Double Dragon feature film starring Scott Wolf and Mark Dacascos as the Lee brothers, a blonde-haired Alyssa Milano as Marian, and Robert Patrick as the villain Kugo Shuko. It was truly a flop at the box office, grossing only about $2.5 million total over the course of its release. It holds a 0% Tomatometer rating on RottenTomatoes.Com  and just a 3.3/10 rating on IMDB. One final Double Dragon game for the Neo-Geo console would be released in 1995 based on the feature film. That would turn out to be the final game before Technos Japan went out of business. The Double Dragon franchise had a great run over the course of the late '80s and early '90s. For me, it definitely deserves a spot at the 80s Arcade.

Thanks as always to Arcade-museum.com and Wikipedia.

11/16/11

80s Exam: Name This TV Theme!




HINT: This was the original theme for the TV show's pilot and first 9 episodes.
It was then changed to the theme widely known today.

11/15/11

80s Literal Music Video: "You Spin Me 'Round"

Here we go again! Here is another hilarious literal music video, this time from Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me 'Round (Like A Record)." It reached #11 in the US in 1985. The song is also widely known for Adam's Sandler's performance during the opening credits of the Wedding Singer. Although they did chart one other song in the top 15, Dead or Alive is widely considered as a one-hit wonder of the 80s.




Rediscover Dead or Alive's Greatest Hits (or Hit) by clicking here

11/11/11

Ultimate 80s Veterans Day Playlist

ALL GAVE SOME & SOME GAVE ALL

Friday November 11, 2011 is Veterans Day in the US and I decided to dedicate an Ultimate 80s Playlist to those who have sacrificed so much for my country and freedom. I never had the calling to serve in the military, but over the last 10 years, I've grown to deeply appreciate my friends, family members, and acquaintances who have served our country. It is a sacrifice...one that can only be made known truly to those who have experienced it. We who have not experienced it first hand, are fortunate to have films, stories, and music to communicate the life of a soldier. This playlist is not your typical patriotic playlist. There are songs that talk about the great country we live in, but also songs that talk about what it takes to defend it and the aftermath. 

The more we do to learn and appreciate our country's history, the more this holiday (and Memorial Day) mean to us. Which in turn, will also mean more to our veterans when we simply say..."Thank You." 

(Click the song titles to view the lyrics.)

LEAVING HOME

Billy Joel "Good Night Saigon" (1982)
Joel wrote this song to depict the attitude of United States Marines while training and then experiences in combat during the Vietnam War.

R.E.M. "Orange Crush" (1988)
This song's title refers to the chemical weapon Agent Orange used in the Vietnam War. Wikipedia cites that Michael Stipe once explained that the song was about a young American football player leaving the comforts of home for the war in Vietnam.

THE BATTLE

Kenny Loggins "Danger Zone" (1986)
Forever linked to the Top Gun film, this song puts you in the cockpit of an F-16 taking off from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier and flying into a dogfight battle.

Huey Lewis & the News "Walking On a Thin Line" (1984)
In concert, Lewis has often dedicated this song to those who lost their lives and veterans of the Vietnam War. It talks about the thoughts and memories of a soldier during war. 

THE AFTERMATH OF WAR

Metallica "One" (1989)
Band members and writers James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich used the 1939 novel Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo for theme and lyrics to this song. The book is a story of a World War I soldier who has been severely wounded by a mortar shell and awakes a prisoner of his own body.

Bruce Springsteen "Born In The USA" (1984)
One of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. This song is widely known for being misinterpreted, famously by President Ronald Reagan. Springsteen wrote this song as a tribute to his friends that were lost in the Vietnam War and also the hardships of veterans who returned.

AMERICAN PRIDE

John Cougar Mellancamp "Pink Houses" (1983)
Mellancamp got the inspiration for this song while driving to his home in Indiana from the Indianapolis airport. This song is also ranked as one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time by Rolling Stone. 

James Brown "Living In America" (1985)
From the film Rocky IV, it was used to communicate the patriotism of the character Apollo Creed.

Lee Greenwood "God Bless the USA" (1984)
Greenwood is quoted as saying he "wanted to write it my whole life....I called my producer, and I said I have a need to do this. I've always wanted to write a song about America."

11/10/11

80s Exam: Name These 80s Helicopters!!

Can you name which 80s TV shows/movies these helicopters where in?
Leave a comment with your answers!

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11/9/11

The 80s Arcade: Pole Position

Prepare To Qualify!

Pole Position, the grandfather of modern racing games, was a must-play at the 80s arcade. It had everything you needed to feel like you were behind the wheel of a Formula 1 racecar...the steering wheel, the gas pedal, the low-high gear shifter, the high speed crashes! It truly was a slot machine for 9 year olds that paid off every time. But I also remember playing during my high school years in the early 90s, even though it was introduced ten years earlier. A good friend and I frequented a hole-in-the-wall burger and ice cream shop that had an attached game room. It had all old school arcade and pinball games. (The pool table was even 50 cents per game.) Pole Position was one of the games and it was always one that we played every time we visited. Even after playing over many years, it still had what I call "initials quality," meaning that getting your three initials on the high score screen was still meaningful.   

Pole Position was released in Japan by Namco in 1982. They approached two gaming companies in the United States, Bally Midway and Atari, Inc to produce either Mappy or Pole Position. After Bally Midway chose Mappy, Atari produced Pole Position, which turned out to be a fortunate circumstance. Even though it wasn't the first to have the 3rd person "look from behind" gameplay (Turbo by Sega in 1981), the driving simulator quickly became the most popular game on the planet in 1983. Atari not only released an upright model but also a "cabinet" or cockpit style model that included a brake pedal! Though the game play was primarily the same, the beautiful racing scenes on the outside and automobile-like feeling on the inside combined for an awesome experience.

To say that Pole Position's gameplay was ahead of its time is really an understatement. It was the first racing game to feature a qualifying lap before the actual race took place. The better the qualifying lap you had (if you could complete it), the better your starting position in the race. Combine that with the time limit, the AI cars, and the course being based on a real racetrack, Pole Position had the blueprint for many racing games to come.  


Pole Position has one sequel by name, Pole Position II in 1983, which was similar to the original but with 3 additional racing courses. Many consider Atari's TX-1 in 1984 to be the third installment, primarily based on the similarities, but it was never officially classified as a sequel. That same year, Pole Position had become so popular that DIC Entertainment produce a Pole Position cartoon. Only 13 episodes were ever produced, even though it did make a comeback in reruns in 1986. The official third installment to the arcade game was Final Lap released in 1987. It became the first arcade game to offer a networked multi-cabinet, multi-player gaming experience. That is, two players could sit at one game and also be linked to 3 other cabinet machines, offering up to an 8 player race. (Amazing to think that was possible almost 25 years ago!) Final Lap would spawn three more sequels, ending Namco's F1 racing arcade game series in 1993. 

Atari also released Pole Position to its 2600 console gaming system in 1983. Most people would agree it was a tough transition without the steering wheel and gas pedal experience of the arcade version. I believe it was an important one though, seeing the success of modern day racing franchises like Project Gotham Racing and Gran Turismo. Pole Position's transition to a console based game could have been the first baby step in shifting the popularity of playing video games at the arcade versus at home. But those of us who grew up in the 80s, and even earlier, are lucky to have first hand knowledge of what is was like to first experience our favorite games in the arcade. That is the lasting childhood memory of Pole Position that I am grateful for experiencing.

Thanks as always to Arcade-museum.com and Wikipedia.
 
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