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Throwback Tracks--December 1, 2016


The Guys from {MUSIC}

Throwback Tracks--December 1, 2016

Shaun Cordingley

Happy December Everyone! 

Today I am unabashedly getting my 1980s pop music on, so buckle up for me to geek out a little bit...PLUS the November Apple Music Playlist is available at the end of the list, as per usual. 

The Guys From do not hold the rights to any of these songs, it is more our hope to expose our readers to new (*cough*) and different retro music, or re-expose them to things they may have forgotten about.

At the top of each section, will be the song name, followed by the artists' name linked to their website (if possible...which is totally hit and miss with oldies), so you can fall down the rabbit hole, finding and supporting what you dig. 

If This is It - Huey Lewis and the News

For me, it is hard to think about the music of the 1980s, and not to have Huey Lewis and the News come to mind. It's pop-rock with a soul/duwop backup to it, and...while every song (including "If This is It") is very, very 80s, they're still 100% amazing to listen to: superbly catchy, really clever musically, and Lewis' voice is just so uniquely fun. It's like my childhood in a sound...

"If This is It" was the fourth hit single off of their 1984 smash album Sports, and is an excellent example of Huey Lewis and the News at their best: it's spotless, radio-friendly pop rock, featuring a great duwop-infused chorus and Huey Lewis singing his heart out.
Not to mention the iconic video featuring the band buried up to their necks in sand on the Santa Cruz Beach (which I may also recognize from the crazy film Amazon Women on the Moon...where they parodied themselves). 

Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now - Starship 

I've gushed about Grace Slick before, because she is one of the best vocalists of all time (as far as I'm concerned) and Starship's 1986 #1 hit "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now"--which you may recognize as the theme song from the film Mannequin-- is yet another example of just how talented she is.

Jefferson Airplane became Jefferson Starship, became Starship by 1984, thanks to personnel changes (and legal naming requirements established after the last remaining member of Jefferson Airplane left the band), and they continued to make music that shifted and fit into whatever musical era they were in. "Nothing" is a great example of this: an 80s rock ballad/duet between Slick and Mickey Thomas, complete with snyth, and those electronic drums everyone seemed to love at the time. In the end, for me, the song is all about Grace Slick, who at age 47 when this track was released, was the oldest woman to ever have a #1 song (until Cher broke that record in 1999). 

I realize it's weird that I talked about "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" before "We Built This City" when it comes to Starship...but it was just where my head was at, plus I can assure you I will get to it...  

I Wanna Dance With Somebody - Whitney Houston

Speaking of the greatest vocalists of all-time...

Whitney Houston was one of the absolute best, and I have to say that I have always had a giant soft-spot in my heart for "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)", an awesome dance-pop/R&B cross which became a #1 hit in 13 countries in 1987, and winning Houston a Grammy (despite the mixed critics reviews...but what do they know)--"Dance" was actually Houston's biggest success until "I Will Always Love You" in 1992. It's dance pop musically, but Houston can elevate anything with her voice into something special.

This may have been one of the hardest songs for me to write about, primarily because I need to stop and sing along to it EVERY TIME, and there's no way you can sing Whitney "small"...honestly, any musical theatre person in the world who doesn't lip sync to at least some of "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" is dead to me. 

You Make My Dreams - Hall & Oates

Daryl Hall and John Oates (Hall & Oates) have been making music since 1970, and their unique combination of rock, r&b, and blue-eyed soul produced a pile of successful records, with most of their most well-known work being from the 1970s and early 1980s. "You Make My Dreams (Come True)" came out in 1980 on their ninth studio album Voices (and then was released as a single in early 1981). This is one of those songs that I was probably made award of thanks to it's use in films like The Wedding Singer, but it is just one of those songs that you can instantly recognize (That synth opening!), and everyone seems to know. 

I've always liked how "Dreams" used the backup vocals to really balance off Hall's sound, and to be honest, this is just one of those songs that even though I probably had to play it at 90% of the weddings I DJ'd, I'm still not tired of it (which is the mark of a great song). 

Freedom! '90 - George Michael

I recently watched Keanu, which is a quite good sketch film by Key & Peele, wherein one of the characters' jam is George Michael, which means that a lot of the music featured was Michael's...which has inevitably led me to need to talk about my favourite song of his solo work: "Freedom! '90".

Released in 1990 (shock) as the third single off of Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1, "Freedom! '90" is a great, uptempo song (heavily featuring a great rhythm/piano combination) where Michael is lyrically dealing with/addressing his earlier success with Wham!, and moving on as a solo artist (who is much more cynical about the music business). 
I never realized this until I was putting this song into this list here, but George Michael never actually appears in his own music video for "Freedom! '90"; rather it is a random bunch of supermodels...enjoying the hell out of the song. they should. It's a great track. 

Here is the November 2016 Throwback Playlist--again we're lucky enough to get every track on the list, which is one helluva 90 minute experience (little bit of everything, and some epic swings).

In case you missed our previous Throwback Track playlists, here they are:

October 2016 Throwback Playlist,

September 2016 Throwback Playlist

August Apple Music Playlist

July 2016 Throwback Playlist

June 2016 Throwback Playlist

May 2016 Throwback Playlist

April 2016 Throwback Playlist

Remember, as I use Apple Music, that is where the playlists live, but if you want me to look into other services, just hit me up on Twitter and we'll chat about it.

See you again next Thursday with some new....oldies...*cough*

-S (@Shauncord

photo credit: Heinrock 20160323-M via photopin (license)