The eyes (and mouth) tell the story in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District:
In the mid ’80s, a teenager with guitar skills got his single played on radio across North America: Charlie Sexton with the song Beats So Lonely.
The teenager had learned his guitar skills from well-known musician WC Clark in Austin, Texas, and also had a helping hand from other well-known musicians such as Joe Ely and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Recording with three other musicians, Sexton first was part of the band Maxwell, which recorded the EP Juvenile Junk. His skilled guitar led him to record his first album, Pictures for Pleasure with MCA in 1985.
Unlike the new wave romantic, hair bands or dance music that was dominating the pop charts, Sexton’s song was guitar driven rock n roll and blues, and produced by Keith Forsey, known for working with Billy Idol.
The album’s first single Beats So Lonely, with an eye-catching black and white video, got the double-hit of radio and MTV airplay, pushing his single up the charts, hitting #17 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
With stylish rock n roll looks, 16 year old Sexton definitely got his 15 minutes in the sun. Check the video here. Beast So Lonely by Charlie Sexton
In 1987, Sexton was an occasional opener for David Bowie on his Glass Spiders tour, recorded with Iggy Pop and the Velvet Underground and became a session player for Don Henley, Jimmy Barnes and Bob Dylan.
In 1989, Sexton recorded his follow up album, Charlie Sexton, and had become a well-known guitarist working a wide variety of musicians, but had left the video/pop star spotlight.
In the consequent decades he has been in other bands, worked on well-known albums and was hired by Bob Dylan to be a member of his backing band, so he may not be a pop star, but he’s a skilled musician who had his 15 minutes of ’80s fame.
The Scots ruled the Canadian airwaves in 1975, with the release of the single Magic by the band Pilot.
Formed in 1973 in Edinburgh, two of the members had been in the Bay City Rollers: David Patton and Billy Lyall.
Signing with EMI, their first album, From the Album of the Same Name, was produced by Alan Parsons. Their first single from the album was Magic, written by Patton and Lyall and released in 1974
The song made the top 10 in the UK and US, but it went number one in Canada in 1975, becoming a radio favourite. Want a listen of this song? Magic by Pilot.
Certified gold after selling a million copies, the band’s second single January, was well-received in the UK, giving Pilot its first number one single in the UK.
But for this band with a strong label, well-known producer, and well-known members, this band didn’t stay together, with band members leaving to work with other acts and consequent songs failing to hit the top of the charts.
By 1978, all band members were working on other projects and the two remaining members had recorded Two’s a Crowd in 1977, which didn’t garner any radio airplay.
But the power of the single Magic continues, as one of the mainstays of 1970s classic rock and playlists of the 21st century.
For mystery lovers of the ’80s, the private detective duo of Maddie and David was one of our faves: Moonlighting.
Created by well-known tv producer Glenn Gordon Caron, Moonlighting starred Cybill Shepherd as Madeleine “Maddie” Hayes, a former model who was swindled by her former accountant and now uses her notoreity to attract clients to the agency she owned.
Her co-star is Bruce Willis as David Addison Jr., who owns the City of Angels Detective Agency, and convinces Maddie to become partners in the newly launched Blue Moon Detective Agency.
Caron was inspired by watching Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, wanting to create characters who were comedic and had sexual tension between the two of them. He had to lobby for Willis, as the network wasn’t convinced that there would be tension between him and Shepherd.
ABC TV wanted a detective show, and liked Caron’s work on Remington Steele and Taxi.
Their sidekick was Agnes diPesto played by Alyce Beasley, the office secretary who answers the phone in rhymes and keeps the two informed on what’s going on with their clients and cases.
Debuting in March 1985, the ABC TV series was unique in its combination of drama and comedy, using snappy dialogue exchanges that were reminiscent of screwball comedy films of past and at times had the characters break the fourth wall by asking the audience direct questions.
In the second season, the producers introduced parallel storylines, unravelling a mystery from the ’40s in black and white along with the detectives trying to figure out what happened 40 years later. The episode was introduced by Orson Welles.
The show also did a parody/fantasy episode dedicated to the Taming of the Shrew, and had several guests stars, including Pierce Brosnan as Remington Steele and well-known actors such as C. Thomas Howell, Demi Moore, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Cheryl Tiegs, Peter Bogdonavich and Whoopi Goldberg.
The series was nominated for a Best Drama and Best Comedy Emmy after its first season, and nominated again after its second season, with 16 nominations in 1986. Moonlighting became the talk of entertainment world, and the duo graced the cover of Newsweek Magazine.
As the audience grew, so did the fascination with the sexual tension between the two characters. In season 3, the episode I am Curious was when the characters consumated their love.
But problems affected the production – Cybill Shepherd became pregnant and Bruce Willis broke his clavicle while skiing, which delayed production and even caused the network to show tv commercials of ABC executives impatiently waiting for new episodes.
Season four had very little screen time with both lead characters, and tensions on set contributed to problems as the series tried to move forward. The series went into hiatus due to the writers strike, but when it returned after six episodes, it was cancelled at the end of season five due to poor ratings.
But in its heyday, this show was must-watch television and refreshed the typical detective show with its humour, silliness and snappy dialogue of Maddie and David.