Thursday, 30 December 2010

Boney M singer Bobby Farrell dies

BBC News - Boney M singer Bobby Farrell dies aged 61

Bobby Farrell, lead singer of the 1970s disco group Boney M, has died at the age of 61, his agent has announced.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Spandau Ballet - To Cut A Long Story Short, 30 years this month


30 years ago (can it really be so?) this was Spandau's first hit. Number 5 in the charts and still sounds (and looks) great!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Jackie: The Party Album


The Jackie brand is still amazingly potent long after the girls’ magazine to which it referred ceased publication. As I’ve said before, I was a regular writer for Jackie back in the ‘80s and so I guess I may feel some kind of personal connection with the various Jackie-branded books and CDs that are still being launched in the 2000s...

The latest, released today, is a three CD collection called Jackie The Party Album. This contains a wide-ranging selection of hits, mainly from the ‘70s and ‘80s with occasional forays into the ‘60s, encompassing everything from ABBA to Black Sabbath. I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever been to a party where both those particular artists have been played and nor, to be entirely honest, am I entire sure that Black Sabbath’s Paranoid is the obvious choice of music to pack the party dance-floor. Anyhow, that gives you some idea of the scope of this collection.

The sheer diversity of the songs is both the strength and the weakness of this set of CDs. As you listen through them there will be some tracks that will surely make you think, with plesaure, “Wow! I haven’t heard that one for a long time!” and others that will make you think, “Eeek! I was hoping I’d never hear that one again.” Personally, I have to admit that I’ve made frequent use of the Next Track button to skip over some teeth-gritting songs (I really could have done without David Bowie’s Laughing Gnome).

There are some definite party classics here: Norman Greenbaum’s Spirit In The Sky, Jeff Beck’s Hi Ho Silver Lining, Little Eva’s Locomotion; plus some Glam Greats: T. Rex’s Children Of The Revolution, Wizzard’s See My Baby Jive, Sweet’s Blockbuster; and some nice tacky pop classics such as Middle Of the Road’s Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum and Baccara’s immortal Yes Sir, I Can Boogie.

There is, in short, something for everyone; though bear in mind that there is also pretty sure to be something that just about everyone really doesn’t want to hear too!

Friday, 29 October 2010

BBC News - What happened to Rod Stewart the songwriter?

BBC News - What happened to Rod Stewart the songwriter?
"The last original song the man behind global smash Maggie May released was the title track of 1998 album When We Were the New Boys. It was the only original on an album full of tracks written by other artists."
The BBC wonders why Rod's creative juices seem to have dried up.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Marilyn's Affair With Gavin Rossdale

"Bush singer Gavin Rossdale has said he had a gay relationship with 80s star Marilyn. Both had denied the claims in 1995, when Boy George said the pair were former lovers. Marilyn, real name Peter Robinson, said last year that they had been together for five years before Bush became famous. He said he had reluctantly agreed to lie about the relationship to avoid damaging Rossdale's career and added that the singer had been "love" of his life."

More on Pink News

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Back To The Future Without Michael J Fox

According to CNN, it was originally going to be made with Eric Stoltz playing Marty McFly. They did five whole weeks of filming before deciding to change the casting!

Video - Back To The Future as It Might Have Been!

Friday, 8 October 2010

BBC News - Taking on A-ha classic

BBC News - Taking on A-ha classic

3,000 drawings, 25 Years later and still looking (and sounding) good.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Heaven 17 Interviews and Tour

H17 are interviewed “live” on the Funk & Soul Show from 8-8:30pm on BBC 6 Music. Martyn Ware and Glenn Gregory will do a face to face in-studio interview with Craig Charles in London. H17 are mentioned on the BBC 6 Music web page here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0072ky7. Listen Online.

The band’s interview on BBC Radio 2’s Radcliffe & Maconie Show will now air on Wednesday October 6th at approximately 9:10pm. H17 and mentioned on the Radio 2 web page here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006wr8d/episodes/upcoming. Listen Online.

Both interviews will discuss Heaven 17’s forthcoming “Penthouse And Pavement” UK Tour which starts on November 22nd, and the release of “Penthouse And Pavement: The Collector’s Edition” a 3-disc set that will released on November 22nd by EMI Records.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

From Borat To Queen

Sacha Baron Cohen is to play Freddie Mercury in a film about Queen. The actor who is best known for his comic characters, Ali G, Borat and BrĂ¼no, will begin work on the film next year, according to the BBC.

Which is the perfect excuse for us to play this Queen video...

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Stranglers' Cornwell on tour

Former Stranglers front-man Hugh Cornwell hits the road for a series of UK dates from April 6th 2011, performing his critically acclaimed solo album Guilty, plus the following Stranglers epics The Raven, Schoolmaam, Down in the Sewer, Toiler on the Sea, Walk on By all performed by Cornwell in their entirety.

"The idea for this tour came from my fans,” says Cornwell. “The requests for Guilty haven't stopped since it was first released. Now the fans have heard my interpretation of Rattus, they're demanding to hear the other Stranglers epics ‘a la Hugh’. I can’t wait to perform them.”

Tickets go on sale from Friday September 17th at 9am by calling the National Ticket Hotline: 0871 230 1101, or book online from www.thegigcartel.com or www.seetickets.com. A 24 hour ticket pre-sale will be launched via Planet Rock Radio on Thursday September 16th at 9am - http://tinyurl.com/322whuo.

Tour dates include: Portsmouth South Parade Pier (April 6), Gasteshead Sage (April 7), Manchester Academy (April 8), Glasgow Academy (April 9), Sheffield Academy (April 10), Clitheroe The Grand (April 12), Leamington Assembly (April 13), Bath Komedia (April 14), Wolverhampton Slade Rooms (April 15), Islington Academy (April 16), Brighton Komedia (April 17).

Monday, 6 September 2010

Tainted Love, three decades later

1981! Can it really have been so long ago? Yes, Soft Cell's Tainted love was Number One this week in 1981. I always loved Marc Almond's wrist movements...

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Bollywood on the raunchy side

I'd always thought that Indian musical films were pretty tame back in the '80s. This clip proves that I was wrong. This is from the 1986 Bollywood film, Janbaaz. The second song in this clip is my favourite...



Gunther and The Sunshine Girls, eat ya heart out!!!

Friday, 6 August 2010

August 1980, It's ABBA!!!

I'd just graduated and was wondering what on earth I'd do next. I ended up (bizarrely) working as a market research executive for a year. It wasn't really me, though. Which is why I quit and became a pop music journalist. Anyway, in the UK this was the song that I was singing in August 1980. It went to the UK Number One stop on the 9th of August. Enjoy!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

JoBoxers, Frank Bruno and Diana Dors!

Chris Bostock of JoBoxers wrote to tell me about the newly revamped JoBoxers web site. This has lots of new stuff for JoBoxers fans including videos featuring boxer Frank Bruno and star of stage, screen and Adam Ant's Prince Charming video, the one and only Diana Dors! Just to whet your appetite, here's the video of Diana and the boys...



For more go to The JoBoxers web site: http://www.joboxers.net/

And remember, you can also read my in-depth interview with Chris Bostock on the 80s Empire web site:

Friday, 2 July 2010

Peter Murphy of Bauhaus is a Vampire!

True. Here's the picture to prove it...


Pete gets a small but important part in the new Twilight film, Eclipse. Pete has a vampiric history, of course. He previously featured in the film, The Hunger, singing about the legendary Hollywood vampire in "Bela Lugosi's Dead". More over on the BBC site: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment_and_arts/10490847.stm

Monday, 21 June 2010

Have Yourself A Merry '80s Christmas

The sun is blazing and already we're looking forward to Christmas? Why...?

Here are a few good reasons: Kool and the Gang, Sister Sledge, ABC, Howard Jones, Go West, T’Pau and The Christians. Those are a few of the people who'll be performing in the '80s Rewind Christmas Tour.

Tour Dates (and booking numbers) are:
  • November 30th Birmingham LG Arena 0844 338 8000
  • December 1st Wembley Arena 0844 815 0815
  • 2nd Manchester MEN Arena 0844 847 8000
  • 3rd Newcastle Arena 0844 493 6666
  • 5th Glasgow SECC 0844 395 4000
  • 6th Sheffield Arena 0114 256 5656
  • 8th Cardiff CIA 02920 224 488
  • 9th Bournemouth BIC 0844 576 3000

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Trunkie The Toilet Lives!

I just discovered that there is a Trunkie The Toilet web site! Hurrah! For the uninitiated, I should explain that Trunkie was a cartoon toilet whose adventures graced the cult '80s mag Flexipop! (for which yours truly was a boy reporter) back in the early '80s. My Trunkie The Toilet keyring is, to this day, one of my proudest possessions.

Relive those golden days on http://www.trunkiethetoilet.co.uk/

Welcome to the House of Fun

Number One this week in 1982. Great stuff! :-)

Friday, 28 May 2010

Duran Duran TV Special

BBC2 (UK) tonight (28th May) at 10 o'clock 'Top Of The Pops 2 has a Duran Duran special. If you can't see it, well, here's a video to help over come your disappointment... ;-)

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Heaven 17 Radio Show!

Heaven 17 will host the Absolute 80s Happy Hour radio show between 12:00 – 13:00 from Monday May 31st to Friday June 4th. More details here - http://absolute80s.com/.

Martyn Ware and Glenn Gregory will select some of there favorite 80s songs by other artists of that era. A few Heaven 17 hits will also be thrown in for good measure including Penthouse And Pavement, Temptation and more. Tune in from at 12:00 GMT from Monday May 31st to listen to the Happy Hour show with Heaven 17.

Listen out for an exclusive radio session with Heaven 17 on the sister radio station Absolute Radio when the band perform three songs on the Geoff Lloyd Show on Thursday June 10th between 7-8pm. The band will perform Let’s All Make A Bomb, Temptation, and an acoustic version of Geisha Boys and Temple Girls.

Friday, 14 May 2010

It’s Boy George (or is it...?)

If you live in the UK, you may want to tune into BBC 2 TV this Sunday at 9:00 in the evening for what promises to be rather an interesting dramatisation of the youthful days of one George O’Dowd.

“Worried About The Boy” features actors playing Boy George, Marilyn, Steve Strange, Jon Moss and a host of other stars from the early ‘80s Blitz scene. George is played by 17 year-old Douglas Booth. According to Booth: "No-one has said that I don't look like Boy George. We had the original clothes and make-up artists, and had his friends around us, so I think we've got it right,.”

What do you think? This is Booth in the role...



The BBC web site has more here:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8677997.stm

and here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/tv/2010/05/boy-george-what-i-thought-of-w.shtml

Thursday, 13 May 2010

John Foxx Back to the Future

Interesting article about John Foxx on the BBC web site today. Foxx first came to musical prominence in the '70s with his band, Ultravox, before going solo and releasing some very innovative albums such as Metamatic and The Garden in the '80s.

Now he's bringing back that '80s analogue synth sound to a new audience.

Foxx is curating the Short Circuit festival of electronica at London's Roundhouse in June. The all-day event culminates with Foxx playing the original Moogs, ARPs and drum machines that he used on his 1980 album.

"There's a great surge of interest in electronic music. I don't know why that's happened, but it's fortunate for me because I did it a long time ago," he says.

Read the article here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8659215.stm

Meanwhile, to get you in the mood, here's a track from Metamatic (the 2010 edit)...

Monday, 10 May 2010

Heaven 17 Tour

Heaven 17 has announced the 30th Anniversary November UK Tour of their 1981 concept album Penthouse And Pavement which they will perform in its entirety. Tickets go on sale Wednesday May 12th at 9am. Ticket Hotline: 08700 603 777. Book Online: www.seetickets.com.

Featuring original members Glenn Gregory (lead vocals) and Martyn Ware (synthesizers, vocals) and a full six-piece band, Heaven 17 starts their UK tour at the Edinburgh HMV Picture House on November 22nd. The tour follows the ultimate super-luxury edition of Penthouse And Pavement, released by EMI in the autumn. The show will include an LED wall featuring visuals by famous graphic artists and designers matched up to each track.

Dates include Edinburgh HMV Picture House (Nov 22), Glasgow O2 ABC (Nov 23), Manchester Ritz (Nov 25), Birmingham HMV Institute (Nov 26), London HMV Forum (Nov 28), Oxford O2 Academy (Nov 29), Brighton Corn Exchange (Nov 30) and Bristol O2 Academy (Dec 1). The concert will also include a greatest hits encore, including the band’s massive hit single Temptation.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Stand And Deliver - Number One this week in 1981

What a great song! Adam really was one of the best 80s pop stars. The video is great too but here, for a change, is a live performance...



For more 80s stuff, be sure to join the 80s Empire Facebook Group!

Monday, 3 May 2010

Owen Paul + Ex Simple Minds = Tour

Just heard that Own Paul McGee is teaming up with Derek Forbes and Brian McGee (formerly with Simple Minds and Propaganda) for a UK and European tour this year. Owen Paul is a singer, producer and co-writer of the 1986 hit "My Favourite Waste of Time". For more info go to: http://www.owenpaulmcgee.com and www.exsimpleminds.co.uk.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Boy George Snogs Jon Moss (Flexipop!)

A couple of posts ago I happened to mention an old issue of Flexipop! (a fab mag for which I used to write) from the early '80s that featured a picture of Boy George snogging Jon Moss. Fortunately, this is one of the issues in my antique Flexipop! collection. And here it is...


The chap on the left, by the way, is a typical Flexipop! reader ;-)

Kid Creole Back In Action

"It is so good to be here in London, England, where our overseas fame all started. To come back as a cult figure for a new generation is…” His pencil-thin moustache quivers. “Flattering. Especially when I was looking at my retirement."

Short interview with Kid Creole (August Darnell) in today's Daily Telegraph.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Strange interview with Boy George

Almost in the good old Flexipop! style. I think Flexipop! was the first magazine to have a photo of Boy George and Jon Moss kissing (remember this was almost 30 years ago - things were different then). It would be fun to do another Boy George interview some time. If you are reading this, George, I'm available! :-) In the meantime, this interview will have to do instead...

Buck's Fizz Double-take

There is, to my mind, a rather gruesome video being plugged by British political bloggers 'of a certain age' at the moment, which shows a range of politicians and assorted hangers-on desperately trying to mime to the Buck's Fizz classic, Making Your Mind Up. If you have a strong stomach, here it is...



The excuse for the embarrassing spectacle appears to be that the song was a hit at just this time in 1981 and now there is a general Election coming up so (are you getting the drift?) it's take for making your mind up! (groan)

Anyway, here to lift your spirits is the fabulous original:

Monday, 12 April 2010

Kids In America - was it so long ago?

Hard to think how long ago this was! This week in 1981, Kim Wilde had a Number Two hit in the UK with Kids In America - which is as good an excuse as any for playing this video!



But why didn't she make Number One? Well, she was kept off first by Shaking Stevens (This Ole House) and then by Bucks Fizz (Making Your Mind Up). Heck, there was so many good pop songs back in those days!

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Gene Hunt for Prime Minister?

This must be the weirdest election poster ever! Britain’s ruling Labour party is launching its election campaign this week with a poster that depicts the opposition leader, David Cameron, playing the part of Gene Hunt - the star of 80s detective series, Ashes To Ashes.



Cameron is seen sitting on the bonnet of a red Audi Quattro, the iconic car that Hunt drives in the TV series. The slogan says: “Don’t let him take Britain back to the 80s”.

This poster is wrong in so many ways I hardly know where to start. For one thing, a lot of us have very fond memories of the ‘80s; compared to the grim recession-hit Britain of 2010, the prospect of bringing back the style, the music and the sheer fun of the ‘80s doesn’t seem all that bad. For another thing, Gene Hunt is one of the most popular characters on TV. He’s tough, funny and (so I’m told) sexy (?) - at any rate, compared with the dull and gloomy image presented by the Labour leader, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, being portrayed as “just like Gene Hunt” is an astonishingly positive image.

Which idiot at the Labour Party gave the go ahead to this poster? Truly amazingly stupid...

Friday, 2 April 2010

Ashes To Ashes (Finally)

At last the another season of the ‘80s time-travelling detective series, Ashes To Ashes, starts on UK TV station, BBC 1 tonight. Once again we’ll have the fab fashions, a decent sound-track of ‘80s music and the ever-wonderful cop-you-love-to-hate, Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister), screeching through the mean streets in his turbo-charged Audi Quattro.




For more info see the Radio Times.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

80s Empire - Now On Facebook!

All fans of all things '80s can now mingle, chat, upload photos and generally socialize with other 80s fans in the new 80s Empire Facebook group. Come and join us: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/group.php?gid=108322832529794

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Boy George Drama on the Beeb

BBC TV is making a drama about Boy George. According to the BBC web site...

"The 90-minute drama will focus on how the star went from a cloakroom attendant to a cultural icon... Marc Warren, best known for Hustle, and Mark Gatiss, from The League Of Gentlemen, will also appear alongside newcomer Douglas Booth, who has landed the role of the pop star himself."

Read more: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8500917.stm

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Jackie Love Songs CD Set


For a magazine that's been dead for well over a decade and a half, Jackie continues to have a surprisingly long afterlife, not least in the form of a brand-name which, for British girls of a certain age, instantly conjures up a warm glow of nostalgia for times when David Cassidy was every girls’ (and a few boys’) ideal sex symbol and the Bay City Rollers’ half-mast trousers were thought to be quite fashionable, actually...

And now here comes yet CD collection of Jackie-branded songs to help us relive those distant days. This 3 CD set is called ‘Jackie - Love Songs’ and it is what one might call an ‘eclectic’ collection, which is another way of saying there really is no discernable connection between these songs and, what’s more, they have nothing whatsoever to do with Jackie Magazine. Well, apart from the fact that most of the artists no doubt appeared in pictures in the pages of Jackie.

You can find the full track listing here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jackie-Love-Songs-Various-Artists/dp/B0033PRSS6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1265485648&sr=1-1

This is a ‘70s themed collection with some great songs from the likes of ABBA, Bryan Ferry and Lindisfarne (though I’m not entirely sure that Lady Eleanor is my idea of a ‘love song’!) and some not so great songs from The Osmonds. Oh, and there are (of course) a couple of songs from the ever-lovely David Cassidy (swoon)...

David Cassidy also featured on the last Jackie CD set which I reviewed a little while back. You can see that review on the old ‘80s Empire Arena’ site:  http://www.80sempire.com/arena/archive/2009-11-08/jackie__the_annual_2010

 Oh, by the way, welcome to the new blog. The 80s Empire Blog has now moved to this new site on Blogger. The old blog is still online (for now, anyway) but from now all the new Blog-type stuff will appear here so, 80s fans, be sure to update your bookmarks!