Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Your Wednesday Tea Break (3 from the 80s)

Sure, most of the great rock songs came from the 50s and 60s -- but not all of them. Here, for your Wednesday Tea Break, are three examples that show there was some good rock 'n roll produced ...even in the 80s!

The first is Jefferson Starship's "We Built This City" from their 1985 album, "Knee Deep in the Hoopla." It has been mocked by a few bluenoses for it's "corporate-rock commercialism" but it is actually a tuneful, fun song that recalls the heyday of rock radio stations broadcasting to teen audiences that couldn't get enough. (In my case, those stations were KIMN in Denver and, late at night, KOMA way down in Oklahoma City.) The song features the vocals of Mickey Thomas and the always lovely, though always loopy, Grace Slick.

Another artist from the 80s that has been the target of sneering snobs is Rick Astley. Why? He made good music: soulful, melodic and in the tradition of classic rock. He didn't do leftist political stuff; he wasn't nasty; he didn't depend on clash or pyrotechnics. Worse yet, he was popular. And that's the one thing the preening poseurs just can't abide. But don't let the the editors of Rolling Stone (or the weird bunch who run the sophomoric Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) set your playlist. Go for talent. And dance-ability. And fun. The example I post here is a live performance of Astley's emotional ballad, "Cry for Help."

And finally, a fellow who certainly knew how to make terrific rock music in the 80s according to the traditions of the 60s -- because he did both, is Paul McCartney. The song is "No More Lonely Nights" which gave a dreamy musical conclusion to one of the three best rock movies ever made, "Give My Regards to Broad Street."