Throwback Thursday: 1984

Madonna! Prince! Bruce! Michael! Chaka! Cyndi! Rockwell! Boy! The best of 1984’s pop stars/hits made a mark that remain part of our consciousness nearly forty years later. The influence of upstarts who didn’t crack the Hot 100 – The Smiths, The Replacements, Run-D.M.C. – has been acknowledged in the years since. For those who wish to relive those days, for those who wish they were living then, and for those who wish to associate 1984 with something other than a misunderstood piece of classic literature or the most recent Wonder Woman movie, this playlist is for you. Happy Throwback Thursday!

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Ringo + T4F

It’s Curt Smith’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Tears for Fears, the duo consisting of Roland Orzabel and Curt Smith, released their debut album, The Hurting, in 1983. In their native England the album spawned three top five singles, “Mad World,” “Change” and “Pale Shelter.” In the US, their most successful single, “Change,” peaked at #73 on the Billboard Hot 100.

When it came time to do their second album, they wanted to break the US market. Needing one more song to round out the record, the duo’s producer, Chris Hughes, suggested Orzabel flesh out a song sketch he brought into the studio. Orzabel did so, and while he didn’t think much of the finished piece, Smith and Hughes thought this is the song that would change their fortunes stateside.

This song, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” was the first single released in the US from Songs from the Big Chair. It went to #1. The song that was the album’s first single in much of the world, “Shout,” was the second US single from the album, and the duo’s second #1.

Ringo + T4F
Today, Curt Smith of Tears for Fears turns 55 years old. Tunes du Jour’s weekly dance party kicks off with a song on which Smith sings lead, Tears for Fears’ #1 breakthrough hit “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”

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It’s Michael Hutchence’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

There’s a dead bird on my balcony. I don’t know the bird. I don’t know how he or she died. I raised the shades on Tuesday morning and saw the bird underneath one of the two lounge chairs I bought at Ikea ten years ago.

I don’t know what to do with the dead bird. I’d like to alert his or her family, who for all I know are keeping a vigil, hoping to see their loved one come home to roost, or whatever non-chicken birds do when they return home. More so, I’d like the dead bird off my balcony, as it makes me sad to see him or her whenever I have the shades up. Dead bird aside, I like to have the shades up.

It would be great if a huge breeze came along and blew the dead bird off of my balcony and into a neighbor’s backyard, where he or she would no longer be my problem, but that seems unlikely. We were promised that El Niño would hit Los Angeles in mid-January and wreak havoc through mid-May, also bringing about some much-needed rain to our drought-ridden state, but our hopes for miserable weather have been dashed. Yesterday was sunny and in the mid-seventies with nary a breeze in sight (in feel?), and today is a mere five degrees cooler.

If I were still living on the east coast, I’d be preparing for a huge blizzard right now, one in which dead birds are blown far away, or at the very least covered in snow, where they can’t be seen when one raises their shades. Count your blessings, east coasters. Each and every morning I’m forced to face a dead bird, and by extension my own mortality, while you get to lock yourselves up inside your tiny apartments, never to again set foot outdoors. Lucky.

You may be wondering what all of this has to do with the late Michael Hutchence, who was born on this date in 1960. I’ll tell you. Michael Hutchence was the original lead singer of INXS, and New York is expecting INXS of ten inches of snow over the next twenty-four or so hours.

If you’re in New York, or elsewhere on the east coast where blizzards are expected, stay inside and dance. If you’re on the west coast, where dead birds mysteriously show up on your balcony beneath one of the two lounge chairs you bought at Ikea ten years ago, stay inside and dance. Everyone else should stay inside and dance. Here is your Michael Hutchence-inspired Friday dance playlist.

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It’s David Bowie’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Our weekly dance playlist kicks off with a track that was inspired by a song from the 1952 film Hans Christian Andersen. In the movie, Danny Kaye performs the Frank Loesser’s “Inchworm.” While schoolchildren sing “Two and two are four / Four and four are eight” etc., Kaye sings to the titular worm “You and your arithmetic/ You’ll probably go far,” and asking “Could it be you’d stop and see
how beautiful they are?” Singer-songwriter David Bowie told Performing Songwriter magazine “You wouldn’t believe the amount of my songs that have sort of spun off that one song. Not that you’d really recognize it. Something like ‘Ashes to Ashes’ wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t have been for ‘Inchworm.’ There’s a child’s nursery rhyme element in it, and there’s something so sad and mournful and poignant about it. It kept bringing me back to the feelings of those pure thoughts of sadness that you have as a child, and how they’re so identifiable even when you’re an adult. There’s a connection that can be made between being a somewhat lost five-year old and feeling a little abandoned and having the same feeling when you’re in your twenties. And it was that song that did that for me.”

Today is David Bowie’s 69th birthday. Put on your red shoes and dance the blues with this playlist of club tunes.

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Throwback Thursday – The Hits of 1984

Madonna debuted “Like a Virgin” with a performance on the MTV Video Music Awards in September 1984, weeks before the record was released. Watching her on television rolling around the floor in a wedding dress with a Boy Toy belt buckle, the song’s writers, Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg, thought “We’re doomed now. This is an embarrassment. This is never going to succeed.”

“Like a Virgin” spent six weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, her first single to top that chart.

Kelly and Steinberg didn’t meet Madonna until around five years later. At a party they saw her, and asked Steve Bray, who wrote Madonna’s hit “Into the Groove,” to introduce them.

Bray did so. “Madonna, I want you to meet Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly. They wrote ‘Like a Virgin.’”

Steinberg said “Oh Madonna, I’ve wanted to meet you for so long.”

Madonna replied “Well, now you did,” and walked away.

“Like a Virgin” kicks off this week’s Throwback Thursday playlist, spotlighting the hits of 1984.

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