Men Without Hats – Safety Dance

9 Jun

The Safety Dance was released in 1983 and became a major hit for the Canadian New Wave group Men Without Hats. Although there are different interpretation, which regard the song as a call for safe sex or an anti-nuclear protest song, the singer and writer Ivan Doroschuk explained the real background: In the 80s pogoing became a new trend in the night clubs. As this style of dancing looked dangerous, the doormen didn’t like it and often intervened. The song is a protest against doormen stopping dancers pogoing and a call for freedom of expression. To me it’s one of the coolest 80s and it always makes me wanna dance.

 

We can dance if we want to
We can leave your friends behind
‘Cause your friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance
Well, they’re no friends of mine

Say, we can go where we want to
A place where they will never find
And we can act like we come from out of this world
Leave the real one far behind

And we can dance
Or sing!

Click here to read full lyrics

U2 – Rattle and Hum

4 Jun

Rattle and Hum“It’s a music journey.” That’s how the members of U2 describe Rattle and Hum in the opening scene and in my opinion this sums it up pretty good. The documentary accompagnies the band on their 1987 North America Tour, elated by the success of the recently released Joshua Tree album. Rattle and Hum is no typical concert recording. Live performances are mixed with short interviews other behind the scenes footage of U2 on their trip round the United States.

One of the goals, U2 pursued with this film, was to travel back to their musical roots – Rock ‘n’ Roll, Blues, Country, Gospel. As an homage they start with the Beatles song Helter Skelter and alter their own songs with pieces of the Rolling Stones and Van Morrison. They perform together with Blues legend  B. B. King (one of the highlights on Rattle and Hum) and visit Graceland, which was a very emotional experience for the great Elvis fan Larry Mullen jr. Together with a huge Gospel choir the band presents a breathtaking new version of I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, which underlines the Gospel influences on the song.

The film also offers some interesting “behind the scences” insights, as we watch the band on a short rehearsal in the tour bus or on a recording session in the legendary Sun Studios in Memphis. At this place, where the spirit of legends like Elvis Presley or Johnny Cash is omnipresent, they record Angel of Harlem.

But it’s the music that really matters. The live performances, which come from gigs at different cities, are full of energy and atmosphere. The black and white footage and the atmospheric light on stage add to the impact of the songs and make the whole video look like an artwork. From the first second on Bono sings with power and emotion and I’m the biggest fan of the Edge’s guitar style. Although you are just watching a video, the music reaches you with its emotions and you feel as if you were right in the middle of things. Everything seems honest and not put-on.

The choice of songs contains 11 songs that didn’t appear on the album Rattle and Hum, such as With Or Without You, Bad and Where The Streets Have No Name. Although it’s hard to pick out one single highlight, the Gospel version of I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For and Sunday Bloody Sunday with Bono’s emotional speech against the Remembrance Day Bombing in Enniskillen are surely among the top moments.

Rattle and Hum is an overall well-made music documentary, which is not only recommendable for U2 fans, but for everyone who loves good music.

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Song Quiz

11 Mai

Song Quiz

It’s time again for a little song quiz. I hope you still have fun with this category. Today’s song was released in 1985 and the artist was the first woman, who had a No. 1 hit in the UK charts with a self-written song.

Happy Birthday, Bono!

10 Mai

The U2 singer, whose real name is Paul David Hewson, turns 54 today. To celebrate his birthday, here’s an awesome live version of Sunday Bloody Sunday, taken from U2’s concert movie and documentary Rattle and Hum.

A few weeks ago Adam Clayton told in an interview that U2 had been in the studio a lot and that they are planning to release their new album by the end of the year. Let’s hope that they also come on tour again.

Flashback Friday: 09/05/1984

9 Mai

It’s Flashback Friday again. Today we enter our time machine and travel back to the year 1984. The Top 5 of the British Single Charts were full of great hits on this day. We have two timeless ballads: Hello by Lionel Richie and Against All Odds by Phil Collins, which was the title song for the movie of the same name. Queen were regular guests in the charts of the 80s. This time they are on No. 3 with I Want To Break Free. Duran Duran have just climbed the pole position with their hit single The Reflex.

 

1. Duran Duran – The Reflex

 

2. Phil Collins – Against All Odds

 

3. Queen – I Want To Break Free

 

4. Lionel Richie – Hello

 

5. Pointer Sisters – Automatic

Midnight Oil – Beds Are Burning

8 Mai

Beds Are Burning was released in September 1987 by the Australian rock band Midnight Oil. It’s a political song about giving Australian land back to the Aborigines and became a No. 1 hit in New Zealand and South Africa. Midnight Oil took their name from the Jimi Hendrix song Burning of the Midnight Lamp respectively from the proverb “Burning of the Midnight Oil” (which means “working until late at night”).

 

Out where the river broke 
The bloodwood and the desert oak 
Holden wrecks and boiling diesels 
Steam in forty five degrees 

The time has come 
To say fair’s fair 
To pay the rent 
To pay our share 

The time has come 
A fact’s a fact 
It belongs to them 
Let’s give it back 

How can we dance 
When our earth is turning 
How do we sleep 
While our beds are burning 

(Click here to read full lyrics)

Simple Minds – Live in the City of Light

5 Mai

Simple MindsIt’s not long ago that I discovered my love for vinyl records and all the advantages of that medium. One of the first albums to become part of my collection was Simple Minds – Live in the City of Light, because the digital download I already owned didn’t live up to the brilliance of the album.

Live in the City of Light was recorded at Le Zenith in Paris (except one track, which was recorded in Sydney) in August 1986 during their Once Upon A Time tour. At that time the Simple Minds were at the peak of their commercial success and had already made a name for themselves as fantastic live band. The first time I became aware of the Simple Minds as a live band was, when I watched the Live Aid video. I remember myself thinking: “Oh, poor band, they put you on the video right after Queen. You have no chance, but to lose.” However, Jim Kerr and his boys impressively proved I was wrong.

But let’s get back to Live in the City of Light.

Sometimes it’s criticized that the album doesn’t deserve the labeling “live”, as there has been so much post-production and overdubbing. It’s true that the violin parts of Lisa Germano on Someone Somewhere in Summertime were overdubbed later in the studio and that former band member Derek Forbes contributed some bass-guitar overdubs. But reworking the recorded live material and adding some things in the studio is a usual process, which has been done on other live albums before and afterwards. Besides, the outcome couldn’t have been that brilliant, if the original material hadn’t already been very good.

Authentic live material or not, this Simple Minds record is a great listening experience. The sound quality is chrystal clear, whereas this is often a problem on other live records. The arrangements are harmonious and reflect that typical Simple Minds sound, the perfect balance between guitar and keyboards. But somehow they have an even wider sound range than the studio versions, which gives the songs the opportunity to unfold their full potential. Many of the songs sound more vivid and have more atmosphere than on the studio album and Jim Kerr sings even more powerful and passionate.

The choice of songs contains (at that time) brand new Once Upon A Time material as well as songs from older albums like Sparkle In The Rain, New Gold Dream and Sons and Fascination, so that Live in the City of Light could also work as a Greatest Hits album.  There are definite highlights such as Waterfront, Promised You A Miracle, Don’t You and Book OF Brilliant things, but there is no song you would like to skip. You can listen to Live in the City of Light from start to finish and enjoy every song.

Live in the City of Light is a must-have for every Simple Minds fan, but also for casual listeners who are looking for a nice compilation of Simple Minds hits.

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