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Category Archives: 1980s

“Sailing by Christopher Cross”

“Sailing by Christopher Cross”

Christopher Cross (born Christopher Charles Geppert; May 3, 1951) is an American singer-songwriter from San Antonio, Texas. His debut album earned him five Grammy Awards. He is perhaps best known for his US Top Ten hit songs, “Ride Like the Wind”, “Sailing”, and “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)”, the latter recorded by him for the film Arthur starring Dudley Moore.[1][2] “Sailing” earned three Grammys in 1981, while “Arthur’s Theme” won the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1981 (with co-composers Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, and Peter Allen).

Career

Early musical career
Cross first played with a San Antonio-based cover band named Flash (not to be confused with the early 1970s English band of the same name) before signing a solo contract with Warner Bros. in 1978.[3]

The first album, and immediate success
Cross released his self-titled debut album, Christopher Cross, in 1979. The Billboard Hot 100 top 20 hits from this album included “Ride Like the Wind” (featuring backing vocals by Michael McDonald), “Sailing”, “Never Be the Same”, and “Say You’ll Be Mine” (featuring backing vocals by Nicolette Larson). Due to the almost immediate success and popularity gained by his first album, he was nominated for several Grammy Awards, garnering him five.

He also made Grammy history by winning all four General Field Grammy awards (Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist) in the same year. To date, he is the only artist to have won those four awards in the same year. He also won a fifth for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s), sharing this award with producer and co-arranger Michael Omartian for the song “Sailing.”

The second album
Cross’s second album, Another Page (1983), included the hit songs “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” (on the CD & cassette versions only, as a bonus song), “All Right”, “No Time for Talk”, and “Think of Laura”. “All Right” was used by CBS Sports for its highlights montage following the 1983 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, while “Think of Laura” is used as a reference to characters on the soap opera General Hospital. Another Page sold well, getting Gold Certification. He also co-wrote and sang the song “A Chance For Heaven” for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games.

The curse of the MTV generation Edit
After 1984, Cross’ star quickly dimmed. As music television station MTV grew to dominate the mainstream music scene in the U.S., Cross’ physical appearance and style of music proved to be “a bad fit” for the network, and Cross’ brand of adult contemporary music declined in popularity.[4]

Cross’ next two albums, 1985’s Every Turn of the World and 1988’s Back of My Mind did not produce any top 40 hits and did not sell as well as his first two albums.[citation needed]

The 1990s
Cross made three more albums in the 1990s, and although some of his releases have gained critical response, he has not been able to attract the mass audience he once enjoyed. After his decline in fame in the mid-1980s, he toured and opened for various acts during the 1990s.[5][6]

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Ride Like the Wind – Christopher Cross

“Ride Like the Wind” is a song written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Christopher Cross. It was released in February 1980 as the lead single from his Grammy-winning self-titled debut album. It reached number 2 on the US charts for four consecutive weeks, behind Blondie’s “Call Me”.

On the album’s inner sleeve, Christopher Cross dedicated this song to Lowell George, formerly of the band Little Feat, who had died in 1979. It features backing vocals by Michael McDonald and a guitar solo by Cross.

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Posted by on 04/10 in 1980s, rock

 

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Prince – “When Doves Cry”

Prince – “When Doves Cry”

When Doves Cry” is a song by American musician Prince, and the lead single from his 1984 album Purple Rain. It was a worldwide hit, and his first American number one single, topping the charts for five weeks. According to Billboard magazine, it was the top-selling single of the year. It was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, shipping two million units in the United States.[6] It was the last single released by a solo artist to receive such certification before the certification requirements were lowered in 1989.

The song ranked number 52 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and is included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.[7]

Following Prince’s death, the song re-charted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at number eight, its first appearance in the top 10 since the week ending September 1, 1984. As of April 30, 2016, it has sold 1,385,448 copies in the United States.

 
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Posted by on 04/10 in 1980s, pop music

 

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“Boz Scaggs – Look What You’ve Done To Me”

“Boz Scaggs – Look What You’ve Done To Me”

Look What You’ve Done to Me” is a 1980 song recorded by Boz Scaggs, composed by Scaggs and David Foster for the movie Urban Cowboy. It reached #14 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in November, #13 on the Cash BoxTop 100,[1] and went to #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart.[2] The song reached #30 in Canada.
The song, reflecting on a broken romance (as depicted in Urban Cowboy), features the Eagles on background vocals and instrumentation by Don Felder on guitar and members of Toto and David Foster on keyboards. Two versions of the song were released. The more widely available version of the song (as released on Scaggs greatest hits compilations) places more emphasis on the Eagles’ background vocals, plus additional background vocal stylings by Scaggs towards the end of the song. The version as heard in the Urban Cowboy film (as well as its soundtrack) replaces the Eagles’ vocals with a female chorus.

Urban Cowboy is a 1980 American romantic drama film about the love-hate relationship between Buford Uan “Bud” Davis (John Travolta) and Sissy (Debra Winger). The movie captured the late 1970s/early 1980s popularity of country music.

Bud Davis (John Travolta) moves to Houstonfor a job in the city’s oil refinery industry. He hopes to save enough money to move back to his hometown of Spur, Texas and buy some land.[4] Bud stays with his Uncle Bob (Barry Corbin) and his family, with whom Bud is close. Bob takes Bud to the local honky tonk, Gilley’s (at the time, an actual bar in Pasadena, co-owned by singer Mickey Gilleyand his record producer Sherwood Cryer). Bud quickly embraces the local nightlife there. Bud gets a job at the oil refinery where Bob works and quickly befriends his co-workers.

At the club, Bud meets Sissy (Debra Winger), who asks if he is a real cowboy. They fall in love, and soon after Bud asks Sissy to marry him. Their wedding reception is held at Gilley’s, and they immediately move into a brand new mobile home. Although they are in love and passionate, Bud and Sissy have many quarrels. Sissy is a feisty, independent woman while Bud believes in traditional gender roles. However, their lives settle into a routine of work by day and Gilley’s at night, where Bud takes a liking to riding the mechanical bull. When Sissy also wants to ride, he forbids her from doing so.

Wes Hightower (Scott Glenn), is released on parole from Huntsville Penitentiary, lands a job at Gilley’s running the mechanical bull with his old friend and Gilley’s employee Steve Strange (James Gammon). He openly flirts with Sissy, who is flattered and attracted to Wes, but a drunken Bud is enraged at the insult and ends up in a fist fight with Wes. Sissy, against Bud’s wishes, spends time at Gilley’s during the day with Wes, Steve, and her friend Jessie (Jessie La Rive) learning how to ride the mechanical bull. Meanwhile, at the refinery Bud has a serious accident and is sent home for the day. That night at Gilley’s, Jessie and Wes convince Sissy to ride the bull. She does it to impress Bud but he becomes angry and resentful that Sissy defied and lied to him and he challenges her. When Bud falls off during his second ride in that challenge, Wes intentionally swings the bull around fast, breaking Bud’s arm. At home, Bud asks Sissy if she is having an affair with Wes which she denies and Bud forbids her from riding the bull anymore. Sissy accuses Bud of being jealous because she rides the bull better than he can. Bud slaps her and throws her out of the trailer.

The next night Sissy and Bud see each other at Gilley’s but an angry Sissy refuses to talk to Bud. To make Sissy jealous, Bud introduces himself to a beautiful girl named Pam (Madolyn Smith) and dances with her, while Sissy dances with Wes. Bud and Pam leave together to have sex but Sissy, hurt and upset, declines Wes’ sexual advances. Later, Sissy moves out of Bud’s trailer and into the run-down trailer behind Gilley’s where Wes lives.

Bud wants to enter the mechanical bull riding rodeo at Gilley’s to win the $5,000 prize and starts training with his uncle Bob, a former rodeo champion. One night while working at the refinery, Bob advises Bud to swallow his pride and make up with Sissy citing his own past behavior nearly cost him his wife and children. Bob is killed that night when lightning strikes the refinery. Meanwhile, Sissy returns to their mobile home to pick up her things, but she also cleans house and leaves Bud a note saying she hopes they can get back together. Pam arrives and after Sissy leaves throws the note away. Meanwhile, Sissy arrives home and catches Wes having sex with her friend Marshalene (Connie Hanson), another Gilley’s employee. Wes orders Sissy to cook him a meal and when she, hurt at his infidelity, angrily refuses Wes becomes physically abusive.

At Bob’s funeral, Sissy tells Bud that Wes was fired from Gilley’s for hurting too many people with the mechanical bull and is unable to find another job. They plan on going to Mexico after Wes wins the $5,000 prize at the bull riding rodeo. It is Bud who wins the contest, however, and Pam, realizing that Bud still loves Sissy, admits that Sissy cleaned the trailer and that she tore up a card Sissy left for him out of jealousy. She encourages him to reconcile with Sissy. Bud leaves to find Sissy before she departs for Mexico with Wes.

Sissy refuses to go to Mexico with Wes, but relents after he hits her. He orders her to wait for him in her car behind Gilley’s. Unknown to Sissy, Wes is inside Gilley’s stealing the entry money. Bud finds Sissy in the parking lot and tells her he still loves her and apologizes for hitting her. She reciprocates and they embrace. Seeing Sissy’s bruised face, a furious Bud goes after Wes and a fight ensues at the bar entrance. The fight causes Wes to drop his gun, and the stolen money falls from his jacket. Bud overpowers Wes punching him several times and pins him down on the floor. Gilley’s staff, having discovered the robbery, apprehend Wes. Bud and Sissy, reconciled, go home together.

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 “Foreigner – Cold As Ice (Official Lyric Video)” 

 “Foreigner – Cold As Ice (Official Lyric Video)” 

Cold as Ice” is a 1977 song by British-American rock band Foreigner from their eponymous debut album. It became one of the best known songs of the band in the US, peaking at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was initially the B-side of some versions of the “Fee

“Cold as Ice” was used as the soundtrack for a skit on the March 25, 1978 broadcast of Saturday Night Livethat showed a man being attacked by a woman in a number of grisly ways. Host Christopher Lee introduced the segment as being “not for the squeamish”.[1]

The song was later sampled by Scott Brown in the song “Ice Cold 2”.[2] It was also sampled by M.O.P. in their song “Cold as Ice” from the Warriorz album.[3]It is featured in the video game Rock Band 3. American rapper and producer Kanye West used a sample of the record as part of an intro for his song “Cold” during his set at the Glastonbury Festival 2015. A cover version is heard in a commercial for Wendy’s that debuted during Fox’s broadcast of Super Bowl LI on February 5, 2017. Rapper B.o.B sampled the chorus of the song in 2010.[4]

The single version is a little shorter than the album version, but adds an orchestra track.

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Posted by on 04/10 in 1970s, 1980s, rock

 

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“Africa” song by Toto

“Africa” song by Toto

Africa” is a song by the American rock band Toto. It was included on their 1982 album Toto IV, and released as a single on September 30, 1982. It reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart on February 5, 1983 (the band’s only number one there), and number three on the UK Singles Chart the same month. The song was written by the band’s keyboardist/vocalist David Paich and drummer Jeff Porcaro.

Background

The initial idea and words for the song came from David Paich. Jeff Porcaro explains the idea behind the song: “a white boy is trying to write a song on Africa, but since he’s never been there, he can only tell what he’s seen on TV or remembers in the past.”

Songwriter David Paich said:

At the beginning of the ’80s I watched a late night documentary on TV about all the terrible death and suffering of the people in Africa. It both moved and appalled me, and the pictures just wouldn’t leave my head. I tried to imagine how I’d feel about if I was there and what I’d do.

In 2015, Paich explained the song is about a man’s love of a continent, Africa, rather than just a personal romance. In 2018, Paich explained the song is about a person flying in to meet a lonely missionary. As a child, Paich attended a Catholic school. Several of the teachers had done missionary work in Africa, and this became the inspiration behind the line “I bless the rains down in Africa”.

Paich was playing around with a new keyboard and found the brassy sound that became the opening riff. He started humming a melody and by the chorus the words just came to him.

Musically, the song took quite some time to assemble, as Paich and Porcaro explain:

On “Africa” you hear a combination of marimba with GS 1. The kalimba is all done with the GS 1; it’s six tracks of GS 1 playing different rhythms. I wrote the song on CS-80, so that plays the main part of the entire tune.[8]

So when we were doing “Africa” I set up a bass drum, snare drum and a hi-hat, and Lenny Castro set up right in front of me with a conga. We looked at each other and just started playing the basic groove. […] The backbeat is on 3, so it’s a half-time feel, and it’s 16th notes on the hi-hat. Lenny started playing a conga pattern. We played for five minutes on tape, no click, no nothing. We just played. And I was singing the bass line for ‘Africa’ in my mind, so we had a relative tempo. Lenny and I went into the booth and listened back to the five minutes of that same boring pattern. We picked out the best two bars that we thought were grooving, and we marked those two bars on tape. […] Maybe it would have taken two minutes to program that in the Linn, and it took about half an hour to do this. But a Linn machine doesn’t feel like that!

Porcaro also acknowledged that he was influenced by the sounds created by fellow Los Angeles session musicians Milt Hollandand Emil Richards. He also described the influence the drummers at the Africa pavilion at the 1964 New York World’s Fair and a National Geographic Special.[9][10]

I was about 11 when the New York World’s Fair took place, and I went to the African pavillion with my family. I saw the real thing … It was the first time I witnessed somebody playing one beat and not straying from it, like a religious experience, where it gets loud, and everyone goes into a trance

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Posted by on 04/10 in 1980s, music, rock

 

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A-Ha – Take On Me 

A-Ha – Take On Me 

Take On Me” is a song by Norwegian synthpop band A-ha. The self-composed original version was produced by Tony Mansfield, and remixed by John Ratcliff. The second version was produced by Alan Tarney for the group’s debut studio album Hunting High and Low (1985). The song combines synthpop with a varied instrumentation that includes acoustic guitars, keyboards and drums.

The original “Take On Me” was recorded in 1984 and it took two versions and three releases to finally chart in the United Kingdom, reaching number two on the UK Singles Chart in October 1985. In the United States in October 1985, the song became the only A-ha song to reach the top position of the Billboard Hot 100, due in no small part to the wide exposure on MTV of its innovative music video, directed by Steve Barron. The video features the band in a pencil-sketch animation method called rotoscoping, combined with live action. The video won six awards and was nominated for two others at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards.

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