dirty martini

old music for new people

the hit factory October 25, 2008

if you are too young to remember the late 80s, or young enough not to question, you might be under the illusion that stock, aitken and waterman were cool. they were never cool.

almost no one over the age of 13 would have admitted to liking any of their music, apart from the artists who glossed over their involvement – princess, i do mean you.

all of saw’s artists had a story. kylie and jason were aussie soap stars who denied being an item, sonia was from liverpool and had starred in bbc comedy ‘bread’, rick astley had been a teaboy…etc

some of the music, surprisingly, stands up 20 years on. the reynolds girls, the twins and stefan dennis did not make this list. funny that.

download here

bananarama – venus

big fun – can’t shake the feeling

brother beyond – the harder i try

dead or alive – you spin me round

jason donovan – nothing can divide us

kylie minogue – je ne sais pas pourquoi

lonnie gordon – happenin’ all over again

mel and kim – flm

pepsi and shirlie – goodbye stranger

princess – say i’m your no1

rick astley – whenever you need somebody

sonia – you’ll never stop me loving you

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the other side August 3, 2008

 

you know all those bonus tracks that surface once an album is released? we used to get them as b-sides. occasionally an instrumental would be bunged on there, or a remix, but in the 80s, you were pretty much guaranteed at least an album track if not something which didn’t make the cut.

for kids with only a few 7 inches to entertain them throughout the summer, this could mean that you were as familiar with an artist’s rarities as you were their hits.

some b-sides i miss:

karyn white – language of love (superwoman)

sister sledge – hold out poppy (frankie)

download here

five star – love gamesb-side to rsvp

janet jackson – he doesn’t know i’m aliveb-side to what have you done for me lately

madonna – pretenderb-side to material girl

mai tai – rules of love – b-side to body and soul

mel and kim – systemb-side to showing out

michael jackson – can’t get outta the rainb-side to billie jean

new edition – jealous girlb-side to popcorn love

nkotb – valentine girl – b-side to step by step

pepsi and shirlie – dreamingb-side to heartache

prince – 17 daysb-side to when doves cry

whitney houston – moment of truthb-side to i wanna dance with somebody

wham – where did your heart gob-side to edge of heaven

 

madonna should have retired in the 80s July 23, 2008

i’m updating this post as the download link expired.

i’m not even going to pretend or aspire to a real appreciation of anything that madonna did after 1989.

at the start of her career, madonna represented a backlash against society. it was punk for people who didn’t like punk music. madonna swore, acted stupid and girly, married a bad boy and wore what the hell she liked.

for me, things started to go downhill when she tried to morph into marilyn monroe for her true blue album in 1986. by the end of the decade she was making good music but the controversy she incited was planned, not accidental. the religion baiting ‘like a prayer’ was pepsi endorsed , ‘justify my love’ had a full length video by jean baptiste-mondino. there was none of the grit left of a girl who worked in dunkin’ donuts to support herself while she recorded a demo.

we loved the electric, synthesised beats, raw vocals and a unique style. we don’t need to see madonna in jean paul gaultier or d&g, anyone with money can wear those labels. messy dirty blonde hair, stretch lace, ripped tshirts and leggings – all of these were her signature style but after desperately seeking susan she seemed to distance herself from the very image that made her.

if madonna had retired almost twenty years ago in 1989, and lets face it she could afford to have done, would her legacy be greater? the erotica phase was an embarrassment, the little girls who had idolised her were rapidly growing into young adults and didn’t need to see their childhood inspiration acting like a depraved teenager. the whole kabbalah thing is a joke, and the marriage to guy ritche makes her seem more likeable, which was never the point of madonna.

the only songs i have really liked from madonna post-dick tracy have been ‘deeper and deeper’, ‘take a bow’ and ‘don’t tell me’. but i could have lived without them. and then – i contradicted myself by listing ten songs by madonna post-gambler that i don’t hate

download madonna originals here

get up

very early 80s pop, almost post-disco soul with a blondie inspired copycat rap at the end. possibly penned as an ode to her time in new york pre-fame. its a long way from this to abba-sampling on ‘hung up’. now that was something i never expected…

crimes of passion

could have fitted easily into ‘like a virgin’ but wasn’t really dancey enough for her debut i suppose. if this had been leaked in 1985 we’d have been in raptures.

don’t you know

this song, recorded in 1981 along with ‘stay’ amongst others, was eventually incorporated into the version of ‘stay’ on the ‘like a virgin’ album. i like this demo, it’s bouncier and has nice zaps and bleeps.

ain’t no big deal

recorded to be madonna’s first single, but left off the album entirely due to a dispute with ex-boyfriend stephen bray, but later rerecorded and used as a b-side.

lucky star – original 12″ mix

posted in its full glory as you can’t have too much ‘lucky star’. one of my favourites and deceptively child friendly which is probably why my parents let me buy it. i wasn’t allowed to dress like she did in the video though. 

spotlight

we didn’t hear this until the ‘you can dance’ remix album in 1987, but it was recorded for the ‘true blue’ album. of course these days it would leak along with the album. makes you wonder what else exists. back then we literally only heard what artists wanted us to.

burning up – original uk version

when i bought ‘the first album’ on cd i was confused. i thought i remembered ‘burning up’ being better, and dancier, than this. it seems in the US and rest of the world, they used a guitar driven mix that I’d never heard. on the UK tape version, we had what was apparently used on only early vinyl copies. its so much better. but the demo version, which i recently discovered, is nice and sparkly, rather than grungey, as well.

physical attraction

i love the bleepy almost aquatic sound to this track. or maybe its because i got back from swimming on the day i was bought ‘the first album’ as an early birthday present and that’s just the association i’m making…this is the full album version cos i love the spoken bit in the middle. i was too young to understand or appreciate the sentiment.

borderline – first album version

again, the version those of us in the UK will be most familiar with as it was on our version of ‘the first album’. i really love this song, more so now.

gambler – dance remix

many people seem to forget about this track as unless you were going to buy the ‘vision quest’ soundtrack, and let’s face it no one was, you could only get this on vinyl. but it’s madonna at her best, the exact reason why we loved her and parents didn’t. at the point this was released, madonna could have sneezed and gone top 10.

crazy for you – soundtrack version

the perennial end-of-the-disco favourite. this song, along with ‘into the groove’ and ‘holiday’ was in the top 10 for most of the summer in 1985 and i played them incessantly. i was in my first year at junior school and madonna was like nothing else we’d seen before. this version goes on a bit longer than the single version i had, i think that’s the only difference

into the groove – original version

it took a while for me to realise that the version on the ‘immaculate collection’ is not the original. its obviously different, and utter crap, but we weren’t so finely tuned to recognise remixes back then. anyway, once i realised, i got rid, and replaced it with this far superior original. shep pettibone should be ashamed of himself.

dress you up – formal mix

this is a very 80s 12″ – ie. a bit longer, some extra beats, a few sound effects. its appeal has been tarnished somewhat by featuring in a gap ad but don’t let that put you off.

angel – 12″ mix

another very 80s 12″, but this one provides some much needed oomph, much as i loved the original.

 

true school July 19, 2008

you went to junior school in the 80s if:

  • you had a jelly bag to match your jelly shoes – basically a bag full of holes. practical, no?
  • you wore scrunchies without irony
  • every time grease was on tv it restarted a major craze…
  • …until dirty dancing
  • you wore furry earmuffs for fashion reasons, not to please your mum
  • you spent your cash on smash hits stickers, not alcopops
  • you wanted to go to degrassi junior high, but didn’t understand the us school system
  • your parents thought madonna was a bad influence, and back then she actually was
  • you tried to get your mum to buy your clothes from chelsea girl, snob and tammy girl
  • you didn’t need to do retro, you did 80s

download here

air – high school lover

average white band – schoolboy crush

dazz band – straight out of school

funn – school daze

john david lewis – high school lady

maelstrom and napz – soul school

musical youth – schoolgirl

prince and 94 east – you can be my teacher

raydio – goin’ through school and love

rosie gaines – skool ology

sister nancy – gwan a school

sylvers – high school dance

 

songs to make your ipod melt in shame… July 1, 2008

i have bad taste for miles. is that ‘music’ in inverted commas?

download here

britney spears – you drive me crazy

less gothic sounding than baby one more time. god i can’t believe this is nearly ten years old…shit…although i can when i see a pic of britney now.

deeelite – groove is in the heart

i’m not saying deee-lite are shit. i love them but this song is all most people know and its played out. but you have to have it there. i don’t have to have ‘love shack’ though, i will so survive…

divinyls – i touch myself

i probably only like this cos its rude, since its a style of music i usually don’t care for. yeah that must be it.

emf – unbelievable

emf are one of the worst examples of early 90s madchester, baggy, whatever you want to call it…at the time though, there may not have been a distinguishable difference between them and the happy mondays.

5ive – slam dunk da funk

5ive were your archetypal wannabe r&b boy band who were more chesterfield than atlanta. so, they were fab in a way only a british boy band can get away with.

four tops – loco in acapulco

the four tops were way past their prime when this was recorded and it was included on the soundtrack to phil collin’s buster, a terrible movie. it’s summer 1988 in three and half minutes, however.

inner circle – sweat

top class cheesy summer reggae. no doubt a purist’s nightmare, but hey, i’m no purist.

joey lawrence – nothin’ my love can’t fix

yes that’s joey from blossom. the one who had a mullet well into the 90s and was endearing for being thick, like so many other joeys before and since. uk people of a certain age – ‘joey!’ hands up who didn’t even know the origin of that insult when they used it?

kylie minogue – better the devil you know

this was covered by steps, and i’m not quite tragic enough to have them on my ipod. kylie is definitely better than steps…i think. yeah, lisa scott-lee is in steps and she’s the epitome of desperation. agreed.

nkotb – step by step

the main reason i love this is the bit in the middle: ‘step one! we can have lots of fun.’ wait – was that sung by a donkey? well, danny wood was a donkey, horse, camel, depending on who you asked. this was obviously before jay-z and just about the same time as tony adams, so any of the titles were up for grabs.

pulp – disco 2000

i should hate jarvis cocker for so many reasons. he’s dandy – i don’t get that, i really don’t get the russell brand thing. oh and he should really have given us another ten years – this was only released in 1995, five years before we were supposed to be fully grown. fat chance, i’m not even there yet.

wiley – wearing my rolex

my only real objection to this song, as with countless other bassline tracks, is that i love it. hear me out. i’m getting on, i did speed garage (for that it what this is, kids) the first time round in my uni days. you’re making me feel old…

A history of my one woman campaign for people to listen to what the hell they want:

once i admitted to having bad taste..

…i then found myself unable to stop

…and ended up sharing too much…

then tv made guilty pleasure ok again

 

i love 1987: love don’t cost a thing June 26, 2008

i love the john hughes movies, all of which gave my pre-teen self a fascinating window into the lives of the older girls and boys. of course, not only did things change by the time i reached a similar age in the mid 90s, but these were american, not british experiences.

can’t buy me love, starring patrick dempsey aka dr mcdreamy and long lost actress amanda peterson, wasn’t a john hughes creation, but it was perhaps the best of the genre. if the stereotypes the other films had drilled home were true, ronald miller was too cute to be considered a real geek and cindy mancini was too nice to be a real cheerleader but it just worked. they were believable as a couple.

the whole movie is exactly as i remember 1987 or at least, what i aspired to. a pastel coloured bedroom, curly hair, the cheerleader/high school prom experience. its almost as though i didn’t see the sulky uk teenagers smoking fags outside circle k and realise that was what was really in store for most of us.

i know the rumours about a pretty in pink sequel have been doing the rounds for years, but patrick dempsey has said this is the only sequel he would consider. amanda must need the cash by now surely?

download here

alexander o’neal and cherrelle – never knew love like this

donna allen – serious

exotic – i’ve got to be your lover

five star – made out of love

georgio – sex appeal

jellybean and elisa fiorillo – who found who

jets – curiosity

karyn white – facts of love

lisa o – so delicious

michael jackson – the way you make me feel

narada michael walden – divine emotions

starpoint – object of my desire

i love 1986

i love 1985

i love 1984

i love 1983

i love 1982

i love 1981

i love 1980

 

forgotten soundtracks of the 80s June 24, 2008

a long time ago in a galaxy far away (let’s say, circa 1985), the internet didn’t exist.

music wasn’t free, it was only available in record stores, for those who had the £££. and let’s face it most ten year olds didn’t. those who didn’t have whsmith birthday tokens (books? yeah right) would spend hours hovering over the red record button on their ghettoblaster waiting for the songs they wanted to come on the radio. this could take days and you always missed the intro, and most of your summer holiday, if you were dedicated.

some clever, if clunky, editing was required to retain as much of the song as possible before the dj started smarming again. for the 80s preteen generation this was usually bruno brookes and mark goodier on radio 1, the former last seen presenting a fishing show on sky sports 3. what if the tape ran out before the end of the song, and this was before 1987 when tapes didn’t flip over to the other side automatically? don’t smirk, generation y, that was the height of convenience and technology back then!

add this to the equation – there were some songs that were never played on the radio. you’d have to fork out for the whole tape to get one song. there were even some songs that weren’t commercially available because they were used on a soundtrack which didn’t get released. so what did you do? you waited three to four years until the movie arrived on tv, that’s what you did, then you recorded it to video. then you played it back and shoved your ghettoblaster right up to the tv speakers. repeat process until you managed to get the whole way through the song before being interrupted by a rogue family member. if you were smart you locked the living room door.

for all of the 80s kids nodding along to this post, here are some of those songs in glorious, convenient mp3 format…

ten hard to get 80s soundtracksdownload here

can’t buy me love (1987)
atlantic starr – one lover at a time

randy hall – all night
the best john hughes movie that never was, and i think, the most underrated of all the 80s teen movies. the atlantic starr track is from the scene near the beginning when the cheerleaders are practising. i wanted this song so i could copy cindy mancini and co’s dancing. what happened to amanda peterson? she was a great actress, reversing the hollywood trend of twentysomething highschoolers, actually being younger, at 15, than her senior year character. the second track is the setting for ronald‘s public premiere of the infamous ‘african anteater ritual’ dance. a truly legendary moment – think david brent‘s ill-advised office high-kicks set to a high school dance. 

mannequin (1987)
belinda carlisle – in my wildest dreams
alisha – do you dream about me

 everyone knows the big tune released from this movie – soft rock singalong ‘nothing’s gonna stop us now’ by starship. it went to number one across the world but this wasn’t enough to warrant a full release for the soundtrack. belinda carlisle provided an unreleased track for the memorable cartoon intro that sees emmy transformed from egyptian spinster to 80s department store dummy. the second track is from 80s pop star alisha‘s second album, and was used in the scene where andrew mccarthy and kim cattrall scamper around the department store after hours. which i was so jealous of.

coming to america (1988)
levert – addicted to you
michael rodgers – i like it like that

back then, eddie murphy was a comic genius. as soon as you’d stopped laughing at his standup tales of ice cream vans and drunk uncles, he introduced you to soul glo, crazy barbers who argue about boxing champions and that reverend, jacked by countless comedians since (richard blackwood, i am so talking to you). the first song is from the club scene where akeem and semi find out that every woman in queens is severely unhinged. the second is from the scene where lisa receives the $500,000 earrings. while her sister prances about in big plastic earrings worthy of pat butcher, oblivious to the injustice.

 cocktail (1987)
leroy gibbons – this magic moment
jimmy cliff – shelter of your love
by the time this movie was released, tom cruise was invincible. (oh, this was way before he discovered scientology and keeping impressionable young women hostage…) which was just as well because as much i love it, the plot is sketchy at best. from what i can gather, tom visits an old bar colleague in jamaica and also meets elisabeth shue. then they dance and drink a lot. fair play to them. both of these songs are from scenes in balmy, outdoor clubs that make you want to head on over to www.sunshine.co.uk to book your next getaway.

 vision quest (1985)
madonna – crazy for you
madonna – gambler
fortuitously (or not, for the rest of the cast) this release coincided with the exact moment when madonna blew up in the uk. rosanna who? in the hot summer of 1985 holiday’, ‘crazy for you’ and ‘into the groove’ were simultaneously in the uk charts. i would boom them out of the living room as i kicked, spun and crawled across the carpet in leggings and fingerless gloves. i used to think my mum hated madonna. it turns out she was similarly impressed by her music, but was afraid of her effect on my behaviour. can’t think why…oops, we haven’t talked about the movie. despite her brief cameo as a nightclub singer, it was and still is, all about madonna.

update: 3 bonus tracks* – download here

randy hall – as long as i can last (can’t buy me love)

the system – coming to america / eddie murphy – i got it (coming to america)