Thursday, February 13, 2014
Erika and the Soundtracks of 1985
Neither one of my parents was raised in a financially secure family. No one took dance lessons or learned to play the piano. No one could afford college. But my parents were smart; they started a business, and at least for a couple decades, they did pretty well. I think having music on all the time had to do with something they both wished they had experienced in their youths: formal music training. They both could sing and play a few songs on the guitar, so as adults, playing records, cassettes, or the radio became the norm. It became the soundtrack to the lives they were building. Heck – when they built their ‘dream house,’ they had an intercom system installed… that we pretty much only used for music. There was never a car ride or a day off of work/school without music. And there was never a weekend without movies (you see where this is going). It seemed like there wasn’t a movie that did not have a titular song also playing on the radio.
Is it a coincidence that my very young self’s favorite songs were almost always from popular movies? Even if I had not seen the film, I knew the song. That was (emphasis on WAS) the power of the radio in the '80s.
I miss movie songs and their soundtracks; in a simple manner, they seemed to unify popular culture so that there was always at least one thing people could have in common. Even if a friend hated "Good Enough" from The Goonies (but who could hate that? Seriously!), they at least could connect with other people to share their distaste. Kids in the '80s knew the same pop songs – even if they spent a lot of time digging into whatever personal and sometimes more obscure music, art, or whatever that they liked.
I didn't see many movies in the theater in 1985. I was just a baby! ;) But when I was allowed, watching The Goonies became a favorite pastime. I love that the movie's hit song has the film's title right in the name of the song. The Goonies ARE good enough, Cyndi. They're the best! I know there's nothing new to really say about The Goonies. Including an adventure of finding treasure, saving a beloved home from demolition (certainly the Goonies were not going to be welcome at the Astoria Country Club) and rooting for the underdogs, it just felt like the right movie for kids who were coming-of-age and trying to figure out where they belonged. The thought of the Fratellis in the old, abondoned restaurant still gives me the creeps. But oh, this song. "Old fashioned superstitions/ I find too hard to break/ Oh maybe you're out of place..." I miss the '80s.
(What is going on at the end of the video with the Spielberg cameo? Again, the '80s!!!)
Am I the only one who, even at a very young age, thought St. Elmo's Fire was a Very Important Movie that all the adults were talking about, and therefore, I should see it as soon as possible? It was MANY years before I saw the movie, but I watched the video for Jon Parr's "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" hundreds of times (thank you, VH1). Bring on the "maturing" brat pack and saxophones. (Why isn't Rob Lowe aging?)
OHMYGOSH "The Power of Love" by Huey Lewis. It does not even need a complete sentence. I'm either singing, bopping, and smiling while listening to this song or crying because of how happy it makes me.
Madonna was a busy lady in 1985 (this has nothing to do with Sean Penn, though she met and married him in '85!). Two of her songs were featured in two 1985 movies: "Into the Groove" from Desperately Seeking Susan and "Crazy for You" from Vision Quest. Not a bad year.
Another Very Important Movie the adults were talking about: Jewel of the Nile. Can you believe I have never actually seen the whole movie? I've seen Billy Ocean's music video for "When the Going Get Tough" hundreds of times, though. I guess I was allowed a lot of VH1 time in the '80s (this is true). This is already the fourth video on this (short) list to feature the cast of the movie IN THE VIDEO! I love that.
I was definitely too young to see Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, but I confidently declared Tina Turner's "We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)" as my "Favorite Song ever!!!" (The following year, my favorite song changed, and from that point on I decided I was allowed a new favorite song every year. These kinds of declarations are serious business.) I vividly remember (yes, watching the video) dancing around my family room to this song and wondering how I could get into the children's choir that sings at the end of the song. Why the parentetical title as part of the song title? I don't know what that trend is all about. Anyone?
I hope this is not a spoiler to anyone still hoping to see Rocky IV. When Apollo Creed died, I could not handle it. My cousins were visiting from Pennsylvania, and we were all watching Rocky IV in my aunt's family room. Everyone thought I was sleeping. I think I was actually pretending to sleep. But I was peeking. And listening. And I cried at the death of Apollo Creed. I see the video for "Living in America" very differently as an adult in 2014. "Everybody's working overtime..." James Brown 'got' it. Though I don't appreciate the irony of a song about living right before Apollo Creed dies. Not cool, Rocky IV.
I think I'll stop there and start googling old VH1 80s videos. #nostalgia #saxophones
Any F This Movie! readers have a favorite movie song from 1985 that I missed?
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Simple Minds' Don't You (Forget About Me) from The Breakfast Club. I can never hear that song and not do the John Bender fist-pump.ReplyDelete
Also, Tears For Fears' Everybody Wants to Rule the World always makes me crave popcorn. Thanks, Real Genius.
OMG I meant to include Simple Minds!!! Yes.Delete
Paul McCartney's "Spies Like Us" from Spies Like UsReplyDelete
Duran Duran's "A View to a Kill" from A View to a Kill
Another hit song from Vision Quest, "Only the Young" by Journey
Plus two songs from White Nights, "Say You Say Me" by Lionel Richie, and "Separate Lives" by Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin
Good call on A View to a Kill! That's the only good thing about that movie (aryan Christopher Walken notwithstanding).Delete
Those WHITE NIGHTS songs also make me feel like maybe I was ONLY alive in 1985.Delete
"Don't You (Forget About Me)" and "A View to a Kill" are all-time classics, as is "We Don't Need Another Hero". The "Weird Science" theme and "Man in Motion" aren'tt too shabby, either.ReplyDelete
I learned about "When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going" from its Easy Virtue version. Listening to the original now sounds like a terrible muzak cover.
I love '80's music unreservedly. I am one of apparently 61 people in the known universe who likes the Alan Parsons-produced score for Ladyhawke and at age ten had the cassette (yes, I was a weird kid; shocker!).ReplyDelete
Most of my favorites are already named, and correctly so -- fine taste, all. Even if I'm about to guarantee it all blows up (but really, we all know Ladyhawke did that already) by name checking the glory that is Wang Chung's "To Live And Die in L.A."...
I love "To Live and Die in L.A." (the song and the movie). I'm putting together a compilation of '85 trailers and soundtrack videos for us to watch "in studio" on Saturday and made sure Wang Chung was in the mix.Delete
I've got the To Live and Die in LA soundtrack as well. Big fan of synth scores. I blame Harold Faltermeyer and Jan Hammer.Delete
I must see that video, Patrick. To quote the great Lionel Hutz: "I don't use the word hero very often. But you, sir, are the greatest hero in American history."Delete
(this is a quote I try to use at least once a year -- you earned it!)
JP, I don't know about you, but obviously growing up in the 80's predisposed me to loving synth scores and synth-based songs, and when they came from a movie (love Danny Elfman's "Gratitude" from Beverly Hills Cop, for example) it was double my pleasure for sure.
Not to mention Faltermeyer and Hammer's work. Or the legend that is John Carpenter, for that matter.
And to think, Erika, that in only five years from this point you would hear a soundtrack that would change the lives of you and Dan Gire FOREVER.ReplyDelete
The soundtrack to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles???Delete
So 1985 was the last hurrah for the Greats of Soul.ReplyDelete
Did JB or Gaye doing anything of note after this year?
Just looked it up, Marvin Gaye passed away in 1984 (sad).Delete
I remember that James Brown appeared in MC Hammer's "Too Legit to Quit" video, but not much else, other than TV/movie appearances.
Yeah, Gaye was shot by his dad. very sad.Delete
JB however, became an embarrassment. No Godfather there.
I think soul died in the seventies, and got turned into RnB in a post disco world.
These two songs are pretty neat though, particularly Gaye, but he's always been awesome.
One of my favorite '85 movie songs was "Back in America" by Network, which played during the closing credits of "National Lampoon's European Vacation". I mean, who hasn't traveled overseas, come back to the good o' US of A and felt exactly what this song and this montage are expressing? :-)ReplyDelete