memories of the ’80s – Money for Nothing by Dire Straits

In the mid ’80s, Brit rock band Dire Straits gained a new group of fans with its blues/pop song that was all about music videos with the single Money for Nothing.

Written by Dire Straits singer Mark Knopfler, the song refers to a not-so-smart working class guy, who watches the newfangled music videos and comments on the images portrayal of apparently idyllic lives of these fictional characters.

Released as the second single from their album Brother in Arms in May 1985, the song gained radio airplay on rock and contemporary radio stations because of the lyrics as much as the addition of Sting from The Police as a co-vocalist on the track.

Knopfler had to be convinced to do a video, which he thought would destroy music, and the concept was to animate the title character of the song. This unique concept convinced Knopfler and the video was released to MTV in the US for heavy rotation and became the first video shown on MTV Europe when it debuted in 1987.

The video was my lure to the music – with its cool animation and the haunting voice of Sting on the chorus, I was hooked on this song and played it endlessly.

The single hit the Billboard Hot 100 number one spot in mid September 1985, staying at the top for three weeks. The album Brothers in Arms sold one million copies and was one of the first albums of the era that was focused on the new format compact disc.

The album has become the eighth bestselling album in UK history, certified nine times platinum in the US and won two Grammy Awards in 1986. The album sold 30 million copies and would become the band’s last album of the decade, before reuniting in 1991.

memories of the ’70s – Rhinestone Cowboy by Glen Campbell

For a songwriter of the mid 70s it took a major recording star’s interest in his song to get to the top of the Billboard charts: Rhinestone Cowboy by Glen Campbell.

Written by Larry Weiss in 1974, the song appeared on his album Black and Blue Suite, but had no impact on radio or the music charts. Meanwhile Campbell was touring through Australia when he heard the song.

Returning to the US, he went to his label, Capitol Records, to ask to record the song. He identified with the song’s themes of pursuing his dream for the brass ring reward.

Recorded in February and March 1975, the single Rhinestone Cowboy was released by Capitol in May, charting from its release on both the country and pop charts throughout the summer.

In mid September 1975, Campbell’s Rhinestone Cowboy was the first song since 1961 to hit both number on on the Hot 100 pop and the Hot 100 Country Billboard charts. The song also hit number one on the Hot 100 Adult Contemporary charts, and hit number one in Canada and Ireland.

The single was certified gold and silver and became a popular addition to Campbell’s catalogue of music. In recent years, the song has been covered by Radiohead, Soul Asylum, Belle and Sebastian, Charley Pride, Loretta Lynn and David Hasselhoff.


memories of the ’80s – The Journey of Natty Gann

Journey of natty gann movie poster.jpgIn the mid 1980s, Disney was trying to revive its kids film business, and launching the career of young actress Meredith Salenger with The Journey of Natty Gann.

Written by Andrew Bergman and Jeanne Rosenberg, and directed by Jeremy Kagan, the film was historical, putting the main character, 12 year old Natty Gann played by Salenger,  in the Great Depression.

With her lumberjack father trying to find work in 1935, he travels with to Washington State, leaving his daughter to survive on her own under the care of Connie played by Lainie Kazan, the hotel manager where the two had been living.

Overhearing Connie reporting her as an abandoned child, Natty heads off a journey of her own, to go find her Father. Involved in a train car crash, she’s thought to be dead, but continues on her journey protected at times by Jed the wolf and Harry, a young drifter, played by John Cusack and a mountain man.

Opening in September 1985, the film hoped to make a big splash on the box office, but despite positive reviews the film was shunned by kids and teens for being too sentimental and old-fashioned for their notice.

Cusack, who had finished several teen movies, was transitioning into adult roles and left the teen movie genre behind him, while Salenger never made it into the big time after this Disney film.