Throwback Thursday – 1986

By 1986, Aerosmith appeared to have had their best years behind them. Sales of their releases that decade lagged significantly behind their hits in the 1970s, and the group’s members were struggling with drug addictions.

They did have fans, though. One was music producer Rick Rubin. He was working with rap group Run-D.M.C., who were known in hip hop circles and with music critics for incorporating rock guitars and beats in their boastful raps, such as “Rock Box” and “King of Rock.”

Rubin suggested Run-D.M.C. do a remake of Aerosmith’s 1977 hit “Walk This Way,” but the rappers had no interest in doing a cover. However, the group’s DJ, Jam Master Jay, was open to the idea, and Rubin called Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry to come into the studio. Perry was familiar with the rappers, as his stepson was a fan. Jam Master Jay convinced Run and D.M.C. to give the remake a shot, seeing as Tyler and Perry were in the studio with Rubin.

The Run-D.M.C./Aerosmith version of “Walk This Way” was not only massively successful, but highly influential as well. It became Run-D.M.C.’s first crossover hit, and the first rap track to make the top ten of Billboard’s Hit 100, peaking at #4, six notches higher than Aerosmith’s original peaked. It opened the door to future song/rap collaborations, something that continues to dominate the charts to this day, not to mention bringing “rock rap” to a wide audience.

Steven Tyler went to rehab in 1986, and the other members of Aerosmith also sought treatment for their drug addictions. On the heels of the success of the “Walk This Way” remake, Aerosmith released the Permanent Vacation album in the late summer of 1987. Its first single, “Dude (Looks Like a Lady),” became the group’s first hit single outside the Run-D.M.C. collaboration since 1978’s “Come Together.” They followed that single with a string of big hits over the next few years, including “Love in an Elevator,” “Cryin’,” “Janie’s Got a Gun,” “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” “Livin’ on the Edge,” and “Jaded.”

This week’s Throwback Thursday playlist spotlights the best of 1986, kicking off with the groundbreaking “Walk This Way,” performed by Run-D.M.C. and featuring Aerosmith’s “Steven Tyler and Joe Perry.


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Ringo + Sam Fox

It’s Samantha Fox’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

In 1982, Carole Ann Wilken of London sent photos she took of her 16-year-old daughter wearing lingerie to the newspaper The Sunday People as part of an amateur modeling contest. The girl, Samantha, placed second. Newspaper The Sun took note of the pics and, with her parents’ permission, soon published topless photos of the teenager on page three of the paper. News. England.

Before long Samantha Fox became a household name in the United Kingdom. In 1986 she released the single “Touch Me (I Want Your Body),” which went to #1 in 17 countries. In the U.S. it peaked at #4.

Her music career graced us with four top 40 hits stateside and nine in her home country. England.

For my money, her best single is easily 1989’s “I Wanna Have Some Fun,” which hit #8 in the U.S., but only reached #63 in the U.K. It was her last solo single to chart there.

In 2009, Fox announced her engagement to her longtime girlfriend/manager, Myra Stratton. Stratton lost her battle with cancer last summer.

Ringo + Sam Fox
Today Tunes du Jour celebrates the 50th birthday of Samantha Fox. Our party playlist should kick off with her best track, “I Wanna Have Some Fun.” However, that track is not on Spotify. Spotify. England. Sheesh.


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Lisa Lisa socks

It’s Lisa Lisa’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Today is National Hat Day. I was unable to find the origins of this holiday online, though to be honest, I didn’t research it very hard. Frankly, I don’t care. I don’t care from where this holiday sprang. For that matter, I don’t care much about hats.

I don’t look good in hats. Some people look great in hats, such as Pharrell Lanscilo Williams. Some people look great without hats, such as Pharrell Lanscilo Williams.

When I lived in New York, I wore a hat when the temperature fell below zero. Saving my ears trumped vanity. (Sorry about the use of a verb form of the word trump.) Now I live in Los Angeles. No hats.

Moving to the other end of my body, I always wear shoes when outside. Sneakers, actually. I’ll wear flip-flops on the beach, but not when I’m off the sand. I also always wear socks, except when I’m wearing flip-flops. On the beach. And I’ll confess to you, my readers, that I’m judgmental toward those who wear flip-flops in public off the beach or wear shoes with no socks. And don’t get me started on people who wear flip-flops in public off the beach WITH SOCKS! I’d love to hear their therapist explain the root cause of that sociopathic behavior.

As I’ve gone from head to toe, I know I should tell you that not only is today National Hat Day, but it is also the 50th birthday of Lisa Lisa Velez.

Lisa Lisa socks
Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. Put on your dancing shoes (no flip-flops) with socks and party down to this twenty-track playlist, kicking off with Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam’s “Let the Beat Hit ‘Em.”


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It’s Paula Abdul’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

I was in my convertible car with my then-friend Victor, sitting in traffic on La Cienega Boulevard just below Sunset. It was late afternoon or evening a few months after I moved to Los Angeles. A convertible containing two young ladies pulled out of a parking garage onto La Cienega. They stopped next to us. One of the women excitedly told us “The lakers won!”

Victor and I looked at the lass and then each other. Neither of us knew to what she was referring. What is a laker? Someone who works on a lake, obviously, but what do they do on/to the lake? Was there an ongoing lake workers’ strike that finally ended when their greedy overlords caved in to their demands? Did the lake workers pool their money to buy Powerball tickets and succeed in matching each number? Who are these lakers, what did they win, and how does this benefit Victor and me?

That we didn’t respond quickly and with equal enthusiasm upset the woman who shared with us this news. “I was going to tell you guys you’re cute, but I changed my mind.” Oh, darn. The traffic moved and off we went. I made a left on Sunset; the woman went right.

Victor and I went for chocolate malts at Mel’s Drive-In, where we learned that the Lakers are a local basketball team. Oh, those Lakers! I heard of them. They gave us Paula Abdul. She was an LA Lakers cheerleader before she became a well-known choreographer/”singer”/reality show judge. If only those ladies said to Victor and me “The basketball team for which Paula Abdul was a cheerleader in the early eighties won a game today,” they may have gotten lucky with two cute guys.

Today Paula Abdul turns 53 years old. We kick off our weekly dance party with “Straight Up.”


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Ringo + Sheila E

It’s Sheila E’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Prince wrote the song “The Glamorous Life” for the Apollonia 6 album. According to Apollonia, he wrote the song about her. Per Nilsen, who has written a couple of book about Prince, quotes Apollonia as saying “He used to make all these stupid jokes, ‘You’re the kind of chick who would wear a mink coat in the summertime.’ To this day I don’t have my own mink coat!”

Prince ended up giving the song to Sheila E. for her debut solo album. Prior to meeting Prince Sheila worked with Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Billy Cobham, Jeffrey Osborne, Con Funk Shun, and her dad, Pete Escovedo.

In 1984 “The Glamorous Life” hit #7 on the pop chart, #9 on the r&b chart, and #1 on the dance chart.

Ringo + Sheila E
Today Sheila E. turns 57 years old. We kick off our weekly dance party with her first hit single.

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Ringo + Livvy 2014-09-25 19.24

It’s Olivia Newton-John’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

I celebrated my thirteenth birthday in 1976. I was your typical heterosexual teenager. My bedroom was plastered with posters of the girls I loved. Diana Ross, Bette Midler, Joan Collins, Joan Rivers, Olivia Newton-John, Donna Summer. Miss Piggy. Girls, girls, girls!

Ringo + Livvy 2014-09-25 19.24I’m not going to mention that I still have the 27 O N-J posters that adorned my childhood bedroom walls. That may sound weird.

Olivia was my favorite. I had a major crush on her. I was in her fan club. I even invited her to my bar mitzvah. On her invitation I wrote “They named a country after you called Bolivia. The ‘b’ is for beautiful.”

She didn’t come.

yearbooks 2014-09-25 11.19My friends in elementary and high school were very encouraging regarding my relationship with Livvy.

In 1984, Olivia married Matt Lattanzi, a muscular dance eleven years younger than she. They met on the set of the 1980 smash film Xanadu. By chance at the newsstand I noticed that Matt was mentioned in Playgirl, a women’s magazine. It was in an article about up-and-coming actors. There was a photo of him leaning against a wall in jeans, no shirt. Nice-looking guy. Good for you, Olivia! Good for you! Out of my devotion to my favorite female singer, I bought a copy of this issue. Sure, as I had the magazine, I browsed though it a handful of times. There were some interesting articles that gave me insight into how females think. Also, I thought the guys were nice-looking, objectively speaking. I can see why girls would like the magazine.

Matt Lattanzi001It could have been me!

In 2008 Olivia performed at West Hollywood Gay Pride. I watched her along with a few hundred other guys who I’m sure also learned a lot browsing Playgirl.

Olivia 106I found many of the guys watching Livvy at Gay Pride nice-looking, objectively speaking.

Today is Olivia’s 66th birthday. We kick off this week’s dance playlist with her smash “Physical.” The song’s video featured Olivia surrounded by a bunch of men who turn out to be gay. Can you imagine?

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Oscar Winners 002

Thank God It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

Oscar Winners 002

The nominations for the 86th Academy Awards were announced yesterday. Who will take home the statuette for Best Original Song? Will it be U2 for “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom? No. Will it be Pharrell for “Happy” from Despicable Me 2? No. Will it be someone or another for “Let It Go” from Frozen? No. Will it be that song that nobody’s ever heard from that movie that nobody’s ever seen? Hell no. Will it be Karen O. and Spike Jonze for “The Moon Song’” from Her? Yes. Yes it will.

How many of you know all five nominated songs? How many of you know any of the nominated songs? What happened to the days when the general public knew the songs that were nominated?

Today’s dance playlist is built around two Oscar winners – “Last Dance” and “Flashdance…What a Feeling.” That’s right – Thank God It’s Friday and Flashdance are Academy Award winning films. Thank God It’s Friday won more Oscars than North By Northwest, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, A Clockwork Orange, Psycho, Singin’ in the Rain, Rebel Without a Cause, Taxi Driver and 12 Angry Men put together. Ah, but nobody ever said life was fair, Tina.

Happy Friday!