Your crusty chronicler is still wildly waxing nostalgic. Having seen lots of young’uns in the Los Angeles area wearing vintage rock band t-shirts, it seemed a good idea to educate these kids about the assorted artists advertised across their chests. With the number of classic rock stations surviving in the L.A. area as well as all the remakes by popular artists, sampling and cover versions on hit shows like Glee it seemed like a good idea.
Hence this series: “Retro Rock: Do You Remember?” Here your favorite record reviewer lists and describes actual songs (on 45s/singles) personally purchased over the years. The songs here will be presented in the order in which they were purchased not necessarily the order in which they were actually released. (So read on and by all means leave a comment if YOU remember any of these tunes!)
“Tuff Enuff”—The Fabulous Thunderbirds: This is the 1986 hit single by the Grammy-nominated, American Blues rock band, formed in 1974. This tune was the title track from their 1986 album and was used in such motion pictures as Gung Ho and Tough Guys. It’s also been used several times on the TV show Married With Children. To date, it is the group’s only Top 10 hit. In fact, it actually peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. (Your crusty chronicler was working in a now-defunct retail establishment known as Jamesway while finishing a second degree at Penn State and received a special discount on records sold there.)
“Hot For Teacher”—Van Halen: This is a track from the band’s 1984 album, 1984. This song is famous for the accompanying music video. The sexual suggestiveness of the tune had The Parents Music Resource Center protesting the video and the song itself. They wanted it pulled off the air (—and, of course—encouraged true Americans such as MOI to make sure to support it and promote it.) More recently, (2009), it was named the 36th best hard rock song of all time by VH1. Digital Dream Door designated Alex Van Halen’s drumming here at number 12 on their list of 100 Greatest Rock Drum Performances. It has also been mentioned on the animated show Family Guy and included in the video games Guitar Hero World Tour and Guitar Hero Van Halen as one of the hardest tunes on the setlists. (Having almost completed a degree in Secondary Education when the song was first released, this was a natural choice for your rockin’ writer, of course!)
“That Was Then, This Is Now”—The Monkees: This was actually a song recorded in 1985 by a band named The Mosquitos. (Somewhere yours truly had heard of the band and this song somehow sounded familiar.) The Monkees sing was backed with “(Theme From) The Monkees” which might explain why a tune written and record by only half the band—Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork—was credited to “The Monkees”. That and it was actually included on a compilation album titled Then & Now… The Best of The Monkees in the summer of 1986. It was actually a hit and took the number 20 slot on the Billboard Hot 100 and the number 24 slot on the adult contemporary chart. That initial success of a mere “half-Monkees” hit has earned it inclusion on most Monkees compilation albums ever since. (Your randy reporter may have even included the tune on a mix tape for his now EX-wife—but hey—let’s not dredge up old memories about a woman who divorced him merely because his man-monster was ultimately too much for her and bruised her internally. This is not so much bragging as just demonstrating how easy it is to get a divorce in California!)
“Your Wildest Dreams”—The Moody Blues: This is one of their 1986 singles and was written by Justin Hayward, the lead guitarist. It was enough of a success as a single that it was later added to their album The Other Side of Life. it took number nine in the US. It was their first top ten tune since their 1972 hit “Nights in White Satin”. It was a number one hit on the Adult Contemporary charts and slotted in at number two on the Mainstream Rock chart. This was also the first single to not feature Ray Thomas’ flute work. The video for the song scored a Billboard Video of the Year award and was in heavy rotation on MTV.
“Love Touch”—Rod Stewart: This was also released in 1986 and slotted in at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was also known as the them e to the Robert Redford romantic comedy, Legal Eagles, and was off of Stewart’s album, Every Beat of My Heart. It slotted in at number 14 in Germany, 27 in the UK and 26 on the Mainstream Rock chart. Oddly, while the track is one of his most successful tunes to date, he hardly ever does it in concert. (It was probably a single that ended up in my collection solely because of the title. It just sounded like something that would be good on a music mix—LOVE touch—yeah, well, ya know . . .)
Do YOU remember any of these songs? What are YOUR memories of these tunes? Let your favorite record reviewer know if any of this struck a chord with you!
My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.