memories of the ’80s – Cry by Godley and Creme

Seasoned musicians for decades, and a stint in the band 10cc, the duo Godley and Creme had their one hit wonder of the 1980s with the song Cry.

Having worked and performed together for years, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme celebrated 25 years of their professional partnership with the album History Mix Volume 1, released in 1985.

Working with JJ Jeczalik from The Art of Noise, the duo remixed their past songs, playing with different beats and sounds to reinvent their backlist. But there were also two singles on the album, including the song Cry.

The single hit it big with radio airplay, but got even bigger because of its music video. The twosome had plenty of experience with the medium, producing videos for many Brit artists including Duran Duran, Ultravox, Wang Chung and The Police since 1979.

The video used a technique called analogue cross fading – shot in black and white, the faces of the singers morphed into faces of other individuals – old and young, different ethnicities and both genders – all to sing the song.

Check out the video here.

It became Godley & Creme’s only top 40 hit on the Billboard charts as well as earning them one hit wonder status on the pop music charts around the world for this distinctive ballad.

memories of the ’70s – Feelings by Morris Albert

The sounds of the 1970s included many soft rock classics, including a one hit wonder from Fall 1975: Feelings.

Composed by Louis “Loulou” Gaste, the original song was “Pour Toi” (For You), with lyrics by Albert Simonin and Marie-Helene Bourquin. The song was created for French singer Dario Moreno, a popular performer in the mid 1950s.

Moreno sang “Pour Toi” in the film “Le Feu aux Poudres”, directed by Henri Decoin. Although the film wasn’t a success, the song became popular, and was also covered by Gaste’s wife, French singer Line Renaud.

In 1975, Brazilian artist Morris Albert recorded Feelings in English, hitting top five lists around the world with the love song. Check it out here.

Feelings was soon covered by a wide variety of artists including Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. In 1977, Gaste went to court to sue Albert, saying “Feelings” was identical to his creation “Pour Toi”.

It took over 10 years, but the courts ruled in Gaste’s favour. The majority of royalties earned from the song were all repaid to Gaste.

But its Albert’s version that ruled the radio airways in the rest of the world to become a memorable one hit wonder of the decade.

memories of the ’80s – Chic by H.I.S.

For those fashionistas who couldn’t afford Sasson or Calvin Klein denim, they turned to the mass market brand of Chic by H.I.S.

A company that originated in the 1920s under the name Henry I. Siegel, in the 1960s saw the change in women’s fashion and started producing pants and other garments traditionally associated with men for women.

In the late 1970s, under the direction of Jesse Siegel, the company stopped manufacturing denim for men and focused the on the women’s line. By the early 1980s, Chic was the third-largest manufacturer of jeans, after Levis Strauss and H.D. Lee.

Accessing more customers was the key – and Chic did it with introducing a wider range of sizing and relaxed, slim and classic fit. TV commercials showed customers the wide range of sizes, fit, colours and textures, for example here.

Chic also introduced gift with purchase – like in this commercial from 1986. The mass market appreciated the offers and the jeans were the affordable option for those who couldn’t go for the bigger brands.

In 1986, new CFO Burton Rosenberg changed the brand’s strategy to lower prices to go up against their rival Gitano, making their jeans $20.00 retail.

By 1988, H.I.S. posted profits of $233 million and by the early 1990s, posted profits of $304 million. And for the mass market, it was all about being chic in Chic.

memories of the ’80s – The Golden Girls

Despite the fixation on youth culture, 1980s tv featured four women who were seniors – and certainly unabashedly living their lives to their fullest: The Golden Girls.

Created by Susan Harris in 1985, the girls were Dorothy (Bea Arthur), an outspoken divorcee with two children; Sophia (Estelle Getty), who is Dorothy’s mother and a opinionated widow who had lived in a retirement home but moves in with the girls; Blanche (Rue McClanahan) a widow with six children and sex on the brain; and Rose (Betty White) a soft-spoken widow with five children who works as a grief counsellor.

The girls share a house in Miami, Florida and their lives, with episodes revealing the reality of aging, women’s issues, dating, health, children, money as well as the hilarity of how all these issues intersect.

The girls also deal with one another personalities, each one offering their own perspective of the world and how society has changed. There’s plenty of poking fun at each other’s stereotypes, much to the delight of viewers.

This show was an immediate hit after its debut in September 1985. For seven seasons, the girls were bound by love and death and laughs, and were rewarded with 68 Emmy nominations, including 11 Emmy wins, as well as each actress winning an Emmy for their acting.  It is one of three television shows in history to have awarded every lead actor an Emmy Award.

In the time on air, The Golden Girls was ranked in the top 10 for tv series each year until their final seventh season.

And despite not being young actresses or those involved in a dramatic evening soap opera style series, The Golden Girls was everyone’s favourite way to spend a half hour in front of the television.

memories of the ’70s – Maude

And then there was Maude.

A spinoff of 1970s’ All in the Family, Maude Finlay is the cousin of Edith Bunker and her notable appearances from 1971 resulted in her own sitcom, debuting on CBS in 1972.

Created by Norman Lear and played by Bea Arthur, Maude is bold, opinionated and doesn’t let anything stand in her way to share her views of the world.

Married to her fourth husband Walter, Maude also has her two adult kids living with her – Carol (played by Adrienne Barbeau) who is recently divorced and Phillip (played by Brian Morrison).

Carol is equally outspoken like her mother, both Democrats and feminists. The next door neighbour, Dr. Arthur Harmon (played by Conrad Bain) is a staunch Republican, and often gets into verbal debates with Maude and Carol, while Walter and Phillip try to mediate the situations.

Arthur is Walter’s best friend and his wife Vivian (played by Rue McClanahan) is often shown as a sweet but not too bright.

This series tackled all kinds of issues from divorce and death to women’s rights, sexuality, abortion, prejudice, civil rights and the changing face of society.

Maude’s housekeeper Florida (played by Esther Rolle) became a popular character as she battled with Maude on stereotypes and prejudices, and was spun off to her own show – Good Times.

In six seasons, Maude kept viewers laughing and when the ratings finally dropped, the series was cancelled in 1978, but not without leaving a mark on pop culture.

memories of the ’80s – The A Team

Action, adventure and ex-soldiers trying to help people, on the run from the US military and work as soldiers of fortune – that was the premise of The A Team.

Created by popular TV producer Stephen J. Cannell and Frank Lupo for NBC TV, the series was Cannell’s first after being fired by ABC TV for Brandon Tartikoff.

The series was inspired by previous shows and films like Mission: Impossible, The Magnificent Seven, Mad Max and The Dirty Dozen, and based on a reference to special teams during the Vietnam War.

Airing its first episode after the Superbowl in January 1983, the series starred George Peppard as Lt. Col Hannibal Smith, Dirk Benedict as Lt. Templeton “Face” Peck, Dwight Schultz as the pilot, Capt Howling Mad Murdock and the strongman/mechanic member of the team Sgt. First Class BA Baracus, played by Mr. T.

There was a token woman – Amy Allen, a reporter, played by Melinda Culea in the first season and Marla Heasley as Tawnia Baker in the second season.

The team would have to routinely avoid the military police and each episode showcased their talents, as they fought, flew and conned their way out of situations, usually with a lot of gunfire and explosions, but with rarely any severe injuries or showing any deaths on-screen.

Peck would routinely use his charm on women to acquire things and people, especially Murdock, who was a resident of a mental hospital, while Baracus was unusually strong and a crack mechanic but refused to fly and would have to be knocked out before being transported, usually tricked by Hannibal, who was a master of disguise.

The first three seasons were successful with the series, especially scoring high with male viewers. The cult devotion to Mr. T also helped the show, which had spun off plenty of merchandise, and used the infamous lines “I love it when a plan comes together” and “pity the fool!” from the characters to become integral to current pop culture.

After four seasons the series lost viewers and 1987 was cancelled by NBC TV. The series was  heavily syndicated in North America and around the world, making it a successful series of the 1980s and a memorable contributor to pop culture for its comic style and unique characters.

memories of the ’70s – Baretta

File:Baretta Title Screen.jpgAn oddball cop who got the job done – in the 1970s Baretta was a unique cop show.

Played by Robert Blake, Det. Anthony (Tony) Baretta lived in a non-descript apartment with his cockatoo Fred, and is a regular undercover cop exposing the bad guys.

The series Toma, showcasing a highly realistic view of cop life and played by Tony Musante aired in 1973-74 and although popular, was criticized for its extreme violence.

Musante left after one season and the ABC TV series was reworked to become Baretta with Blake in 1975. Although still gritty, the series toned down the depictions of violence but didn’t shy away from the reality of crime from theft and organized crime to drugs, prostitution and murder.

Blake’s character had several catch phrases including “You can take dat to da bank” and “And dat’s da name of date tune”. Every episode showed him in disguise and when not on the job, he wore a trademark t-shirt, jeans and cap.

He used his neighbourhood pals as informants to make his job easier, including Rooster the pimp, Little Moe the shoeshine guy and Mr. Muncie, who owned the local liquor store, while keeping an eye on Mr. Nicholas, the local mob boss.

At the precinct, Inspector Shiller, Lieutenant Hal and Detective Fats kept their eye on Baretta while Detective Foley was always watching to see if Baretta would make a mistake.

After four seasons, Baretta’s run was done, but the realistic view of the world of cops was once again shown on the small screen.

memories of the ’80s – Dr. Ruth

At the beginning of the 1980s, radio listeners were mesmerized by a woman who wanted to talk about health, psychology and sex; Dr. Ruth Westheimer.

Struggling radio station WYNY FM in New York City decided to take a risk, with hiring Dr. Ruth Westheimer to do a 15 minute late night show on Sundays, which was named Sexually Speaking.

Guests could send in their questions, and the tag line “I have a letter from a listener who asks…” became the the key for Dr. Ruth. Her wit, knowledge and humour made the difference and the show was expanded to an hour and went live.

Within a year, Dr. Ruth Westheimer was more popular than many morning drive shows, and guests asked everything and anything in their questions, which often ended with Dr. Ruth’s popular comment – Get some!

And this wasn’t someone who was fly by night – Dr. Westheimer has a masters in sociology from The New School, an education degree from Columbia University Teachers College and a PhD in human sexuality at New York Presbyterian Hospital with Helen Singer Kaplan, a pioneer in sex therapy.

As her popularity spread across the US, Dr. Ruth also started appearing on television, thanks to Late Night with David Letterman, who had her appear several times.

Lifetime TV soon hired Dr. Ruth for a series also called Sexually Speaking, a 15 minute series that started airing in 1982, and Westheimer worked on her first book, Dr. Ruth’s Encyclopedia of Sex and also created a board game, Dr. Ruth’s Game of Good Sex.

For this decade and the future, this tiny lady made it ok to ask about sex and learn not only the mechanics but also the emotions.

memories of the ’70s – The Joy of Sex

With the matter of factness of an academic and the influence of a cookbook, British author Dr. Alex Comfort made information very accessible with the publication in 1972 of The Joy of Sex.

Modelled on the same layout as The Joy of Cooking, this sex manual included distinctive black and white illustrations and colourful paintings and was divided into sections like “Starters” and “Main Courses”.

Subtitled ‘A Gourmet Guide to Lovemaking’, the manual offered information and advice on sexual subjects such as oral sex, swinging and bondage, as well as incorporating Japanese and Indian erotic images and practises.

Unlike previous books, this manual celebrated sex, and moved away from the strictly clinical discussions. Comfort’s creation was a publishing success, spending 11 weeks as the number one bestseller on the NY Times list, and over 70 weeks in the top five.

In 1973, Comfort released an updated version, More Joy of Sex, A Lovemaking Companion to the Joy of Sex, adding more details and addressing queries that had resulted from the first book’s publication.

And although the sexual revolution was well underway, controversy about this book, especially in the United States, has led to several libraries trying to ban the book and consequent editions.

But for readers, this book was a witty, often funny and instructional manual that encouraged finding joy and pleasure in sex.

memories of the ’70s – The Apple Dumpling Gang

File:The Apple Dumpling Gang-1975-Poster.jpgA novel by Jack Bickham from 1971 about a group of orphans who use a gambler to survive was turned into a fave film of 1975: The Apple Dumpling Gang.

Produced by Bill Anderson for Walt Disney Productions, Bill Bixby played Russell Donovan, a gambler who was happily making money during the California gold rush, until he inherits three orphans.

The three kids discover a large gold nugget and realize they don’t want to keep it, and decided they want to give it to two outlaws, Theodore and Amos, played by Don Knotts and Tim Conway, which leads to an elaborate series of mishaps, problems, fights, laughs and the kids figuring out how to get their nugget out of the bank vault.

Actor/cowboy Slim Pickens plays evil Frank Stillwell who tries to kidnap the kids for the gold, while Harry Morgan plays the Sherriff who is trying to figure out the twisted story of everyone involved.

Released in July 1975, Disney Studios marketing machine made this simple film into a box office hit, with ticket sales exceeding $35 million, making it one of the most successful films for Disney in the 1970s.

One of the first films released on videocassette in 1980, it continued to make the studio money in a new form, as kids discovered the funny antics of two outlaws and three kids trying to steal a gold nugget from a bank.