dirty martini

old music for new people

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. 


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.


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)


school disco June 5, 2007


who can forget school discos…now, I’m not talking high school prom style antics with spiked punch and big meringue dresses battling for supremacy on the dancefloor. quite frankly, in the uk, school discos are best left alone past the age of 12. although I do remember a gcse leaving party that saw our entire year get lashed with the enthusiastic support of the teachers, who looked fairly trolleyed themselves.

at this particular event I drank almost an entire bottle of malibu and you can imagine the rest. however, this example is out of context. in fact, real school discos, the ones people remember fondly, took place much earlier, at junior school in the mid-late 80s (for us anyway). and i did get my coconut fix then too but it was a long lost fizzy pop called coco pina.

authentic junior school discos had several essential elements – boys, girls, the assembly hall, the tuck shop. it would be decided days, possibly weeks in advance, who you would dance with. you would be jealous of the people who lived near school, as they would be allowed to walk home without their parents arriving to embarrass them.

one of the most authentic things about 13 going on 30 was the fashion. the six chicks looked exactly how me and my friends did. of course, in the US there’s no school uniform so they probably dressed like that every day.

for for uk kids, seeing people out of their school uniform was hilarious.

the boys adopted a miami vice look complete with hawaiian shirts for the brave, or rolled up sleeves on pastel coloured suits with contrasting t-shirt. mullets of course, were present, as were spiky hairdos and wham style big hair. i always remember a ginger classmate who had no luck with girls, turning up in a leather jacket, clearly in a bid to impress. ‘oh yeah i always dress like this out of school…’

the girls, well, anyone who thinks fashion obsessed 10 year olds are a new phenomenon clearly didnt attend school in the 80s. witness a spectacular array of outfits we screamed and nagged our way to. i think for my first junior school disco we all dressed as madonna – lace, fingerless gloves, leggings, backcombed hair. basically as close to the above picture as possible. then came the chino invasion and we posed in our little pastel coloured chino skirts and logo tops.

download your step by step guide to the 80s junior school disco

a-ha – take on me

hmm, not quite sure how to dance to this one. probably why the dj played it as everyone was arriving…and wishing they’d worn something else. i didn’t see any peach chino skirts in tammy, where did she get that from?

rick astley – never gonna give you up

things are warming up a bit now but you’d have to really want to dance to this song whilst everyone else is in their collective gangs, checking that everyone they fancy has turned up and eating refreshers in case someone kisses them later.

madonna – la isla bonita

the £40-a-night dj, obviously used to better audience participation in the social clubs he usually plays in, banks on anything madonna to get the girls onto the dancefloor. it works.

billy joel – uptown girl

the song that used to require everyone standing in a line with their arms linked, walking from side to side kicking their legs out like drunk uncles at a wedding. don’t be fooled by the proximity, this was as friendly as it would get.

mel and kim – respectable

stragglers – this dance is easy, you’ve no excuse. just strut up and down like a supermodel and leave the fancy bit to the pros. the first couple of the night get together (and do nothing) in the curtains, and another girl starts crying.

nu shooz – i can’t wait

now the dj targets the boys, most of whom have been lingering waiting ‘for something good to come on’. 80s discos rarely played proper breakdance music so this would suffice. a couple of hawaiian shirts would start walking towards each other and a circle would form. he’s going to ruin those white trousers….

bros – i owe you nothing

before someone injures themselves, the dj puts on some girl friendly boy pop and the dancefloor fills up again. the shadow of someone throwing up outside after too many cola cubes can be clearly seen through the assembly hall curtains.

pepsi and shirlie – heartache

you were likely to have a dance made up already for this. you are outraged to find that groups of girls across the entire school have copied your moves. you have spent the last eight lunchtimes practising for nothing.

wham – i’m your man

several of the boys, high on too much cherryade, will do a bizarre chest-pounding, lionistic tour of the dancefloor and the decent looking ones will get groups of adoring girls dancing along with them, whilst the others will just get booted off the dancefloor.

tiffany – i think we’re alone now

ok girls, this is your last chance to look cool. if you fail, you will end up crying into the curtains whilst someone else dances with your man.

whitney houston – saving all my love for you

this is it, the erection section. except, you don’t quite know what that means yet. if you’re dancing with someone, try not to look too smug. if you’re not, grab a friend and waltz ironically, pretending not to care that someone else got your man. there’s always next term…