In June of 1981, a few months before the premiere of MTV, The USA Network started airing a late-night weekend variety show called Night Flight. The show featured music videos, cult and B movies, music-themed documentaries, animation, stand up comedy and a program that is now somewhat legendary among the early shows of cable, New Wave Theater.
Originally airing on KSCI in Los Angeles, the show featured LA-based New Wave, Punk and underground bands and artists. Well known acts such as X, The Blasters, Fear, The Circle Jerks, 45 Grave, and The Dead Kennedys appeared on the show. It was hosted by musician and songwriter Peter Ivers.
New Wave Theater usually aired during the last hour block of Night Flight. With that late time slot, Iver’s offbeat monologues, and the public access look about the program, you truly did get a feeling that this was underground television being piped into homes all across the nation via this new thing called cable tv. It truly brought the LA alternative scene to folks who previously could only read about it in music magazines.
Sadly the show came to an end with the death of Peter Ivers. He was found bludgeoned to death in his apartment on March 3, 1983. The case remains unsolved to this day.
When music historians and writers talk about the history of New Wave, the mid-seventies scene at CBGB’s night club in New York will always come up. Bands like Talking Heads, Television and Blondie will always be mentioned, and rightfully so. Some will even go back further and bring up names like The Velvet Underground, The Modern Lovers, and The New York Dolls. Anytime you talk about the history of New Wave it should be mandatory that you also have to talk about the first album from The Cars which was released on June 6, 1978.
The band and legendary producer Roy Thomas Baker created a masterpiece that fused rock, pop and synthesizers that perhaps more so than any other record set the tone for the early 80’s new wave heyday. The self-titled debut featured three singles, two of which hit the top forty. All three songs, while never going any higher than #27 on the singles charts in America all became classics. Just what I needed, My Best Friend’s Girl and Good Times Roll have never left the airwaves becoming staples of album-oriented and classic rock radio.
Three other songs, You’re All I Got Tonight, Moving in Stereo, and Bye Bye Love, while never being released as singles also became mainstays on rock radio. The eighties classic film Fast Times at Ridgemont High featured Moving in Stereo in a memorable scene featuring Phoebe Cates and Judge Reinhardt. The album went on to become six times platinum.
The Cars should be in the mix of every true New Wave fans music collection. The album was ahead of its time then and still sounds fresh forty-one years later.
For the month of October, all of our Flashback Friday Music Videos will be horror-themed. Today’s video is a true MTV classic, it’s Jeopardy by The Greg Kihn Band from 1983
Jeopardy went as high as #2 on the singles chart and was kept from the top spot by Michael Jackson’s Beat it. Along with Jackson’s Thriller, which also featured Zombies, it’s one of the best know music videos of the 80’s that had a horror theme. It was the band’s only top 10 hit on the singles chat.
The following year, Weird Al Yankovic released a paraody of the song called I lost on Jeopardy, which featured a cameo by Greg Kihn.
For the month of October, all of our Flashback Friday Music Videos will be horror-themed. Today’s video is Dream Warriors by Dokken.
The song appears on the band’s fourth album, Back for the Attack. It is also featured in the film, A Nightmare on Elm Street #3: Dream Warriors. The song hit # 22 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks. The video features a young Patrica Arquette as well as Robert Englund portraying Freddie Kruger.
For the month of October, all of our Flashback Friday Music Videos will be horror-themed. Today’s video is Joan Crawford by Blue Oyster Cult.
The song appeared on the band’s 1981 gold album, Fire of Unknown Origin. That album also featured Burning For You, the band’s last top 40 hit. Joan Crawford went to #49 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart. The video was banned by MTV because of a “suggestive” scene.
Last month, every Flashback Friday Music Video was from the late seventies or early eighties, so this month we will focus on the late eighties and early nineties. The video this week is Love is by Alannah Myles.
The song is from Myles’ 6x platinum self-titled debut album which was released in December of 1989. In her native Canada, it was the lead single, but everywhere else it was the follow up to her huge worldwide hit, Black Velvet. In America, the song peaked at #36 in 1990. It was a top twenty hit in Canada and Australia.
Love Is was the 2nd and last top forty hit for Myles in America. In Canada, she had ten songs hit the top forty on the pop and adult contemporary charts including two #1 hits. Her signature song, Black Velvet, only went to #10 in Canada.
Our pick for the Flashback Friday music video today is a tribute to Ric Ocasek, vocalist, guitarist, and co-founder of The Cars, who passed away this week. The video is Emotion in Motion.
The song is from Ocasek’s second solo album, This Side of Paradise which was released in 1986. Emotion in Motion was his only solo top forty hit and it peaked at #15. It also hit #1 on the Top Rock Tracks charts and #8 on the Hot Adult Contemporary charts.
The music that Ocasek and The Cars created in the late seventies helped set the stage for the New Wave scene which was so prominent in the early eighties and during the first few years of MTV. With his distinctive look and lead vocals, along with the classic songs and music videos from his band, he truly was an icon of the Gen X era.
Last month, every Flashback Friday Music Video was from the late seventies or early eighties, so this month we will focus on the late eighties and early nineties. The video this week is Joyride by Roxette.
Roxette is a Swedish duo comprised of Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle. Joyride was the lead single and title track off their third album released in March of 1991. The album has sold more than 11 million copies.
Joyride was their fourth and final #1 hit in America. It was the duo’s first #1 hit in their home country of Sweden. The song also topped the charts in fourteen other countries. The Vancouver Canucks used the song as their intro music during the 1994 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Stream or purchase Joyride by Roxette via Amazon by clicking on the image below.
Last month, every Flashback Friday Music Video was from the late seventies or early eighties, so this month we will focus on the late eighties and early nineties. The video this week is Wild Thing by Tone Loc.
Wild Thing was a single off of Loc’s 1989 debut album, Lōc-ed After Dark. The song went to #2 on the hot 100 charts in America and hit #1 in New Zeland. The single went on to sell over two million copies.
The song contains a sample of Jamie’s Crying by Van Halen that was not approved by the band. This lead to a civil lawsuit that was settled out of court. The settlement was reportedly in the amount of $180,000.
The music video was rumored to have only cost $500 to make. It was directed by Tamra Davis who later went on to direct such films as BillyMadison and Half Baked. The video also featured actress Tracy Camilla Johns who is best known for being the leading lady in She’s Gotta Have It.
One of the co-writers on the song was Marvin Young. He’s better known as rapper Young MC who also had a massive hit in 1989 with Bust a Move.
Stream or purchase Lōc-ed After Dark by Tone Loc via Amazon by clicking on the image below.
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