Classic portrait of the old New Edition and fine a$$ Ray Parker Jr. around 1980s. Question…. Did you know that it was Ray Parker Jr. that produced “Mr. Telephone Man” for New Edition? Yup, learn something new every day!
Aaahh Culture Club! One of my truly favorite bands of the 80s. I really love these nostalgic photos, they really do bring back a lot of memories. It is said that all of the Jacksons where huge fans of Culture Club. In fact, one of the Jacksons was thrilled to meet this awesome musical group at a benefit gathering Circa 1980. Pictured in this portrait from left to right, LaToya Jackson, Boy George, and his then very handsome boy friend John Moss. They’ve made so many great hits throughout their career. Check them out when you get a chance. Listen to their first album using your Spotify app here.
I don’t know why this song popped in to my head yesterday. I remember playing this song a lot, you couldn’t play this and not dance. I’m not sure the year this song came out; their greatest hits album with this song in it was released in 2008, but I think “Sopa De Caracol” came out in early 1990? I’m having a hard time pinpointing a date, because it seemed like EVERY single Spanish group had a version of this song out. I’m not even sure who recorded it first. However, this is one of the best versions I remember hearing back in the day. You know, I love this song because it reminded me of an era when music was actually fun. Actually, it was also a fun time when both Spanish and people from the island were really connected to their culture. This was evident in the music, because Americans normally don’t write songs about food, unless they are making fun of themselves or someone else, ie, “Weird Al Yankolvic.” The band “Los Fabulosos Cadillacs” is from Argentina, and has a lot of great danceable hits.
Ok guys!! Rant time!! Haven’t done one in a long time. When it comes retailers and their high markups for their accessories, can kiss my @ss 😡. I’m specifically referring to Samsung’s OEM earbuds. Anybody that’s a die hard, true music lover knows that, no matter how much you pay for a pair of headphones, THEY NEVER LAST!! I know that a lot of my readers maybe brand-loyal, but trust me, ALL major brand headphones crap out within 2 years of consecutive use, 3 years if your lucky. Some may last longer, but they still don’t last long enough, when you weigh the amount of money we spend for them.
Every retailer I’ve ever purchased these Samsung headphones from were all $30. On average, I’d say I squeeze about 4-6 months of life out of them before buying a new one. So, 90 dollars a year is a lot of money to spend for an accessory, that’s not even sturdy, or child proof even! I know I probably sound like a spokes person for Amazon, but, I keep telling you guys, BUY FROM AMAZON! They sell almost everything up to 4 times cheaper in a store. Retailers get you because their convenient. You hear a little crackle in the left ear, just go to any electronic store or T-mobile store and pay for a $30 new one. Amazon has these same OEM buds for $7. You can buy 3 of them for and still come out cheaper. Sad part is, these are the ONLY in ear buds that fit comfortably in my ear. Don’t say I didn’t tell you so, cause I know a whole lot of you will still gonna spend full retail price anyway, after I told you not to. Shaking my head 😕
You know, now that I’ve built up quite a bit of content, it’s kind of hard to remember whether or not I’ve discussed the same topic or not. But I guess it doesn’t really matter, because there will always be something someone hasn’t seen yet, or noticed. When it comes to classic content, I believe there is a sort of “Ying and Yang.” While more and more out of print *music* and film are being resurrected in the digital world, believe it or not there are still issues finding them. Some of my biggest concerns are:
- Not enough seasoned people are using computer technology, and sharing their memories with us! (biggest issue I feel).
- We have a situation where the last several generations of children were not exposed to classic entertainment history, therefore there is absolutely no interest by young people (with the exception of an occasional Marvin Gaye song). So sad.. 😥
- Because classic music is no longer played like it used to be, there is a severe decline in fandom. Yes more vinyl are being sold, but consider the biggest number appears to be from the UK (which is very telling about the decline of our own interest in American music and cinematic culture, foreigners appreciate our music more than we do as a whole). This is why seasoned folk are so important to the internet, especially when we talk about Black entertainment.
- Especially in terms of Black entertainment, there just isn’t enough bloggers of color on the net, period. And I’m afraid it is a direct reflection on the fact that a significant amount of people of color don’t read. And if I remember correctly, the school statistics still show this. Click here.
- I also think Facebook has made people lazy. People rather copy and paste, rather than actually take the time to write something of value using their own words.
- Blogging takes a certain level of dedication. I’ve seen soo many blogs that haven’t had any posts since more than 8 years. Their blogs are just sitting in cyberspace dormant. Like space debris, it’s just there.
- We don’t share other bloggers that are creating awesome new content about our classics! We’re working hard to keep both music and cinematic history alive! So few of us are doing it, please make the extra effort and share us. Show your appreciation. The Black community is notorious for not supporting each other. Hint, hint.
- Many Facebook group owners don’t show love to bloggers as much as they should.
- Many classic blogger’s sites themselves are sooo old, they’re not optimized for search engines. This is is just a matter of not being HTML and CSS savvy.
- Last biggie is, many old school artists/studios still don’t fully understand today’s digital culture, and lock their gems away in license/copyright bullshit. If you charge too much for your license so that no one can see your historical work, who’s benefiting? Absolutely no one!! Not even the studio. Daaahhhh.
So, despite the difficulties in finding new/old written content on the net about many of the classics we grew up with, how can we rediscover our music so we can relive them? There are actually a few ways.
- Search and find news letters where “classics” is the subject matter.
- Subscribing to blogs is the same as receiving newsletters.
- I’ve rediscovered classics from listening to podcasts on iTunes.
- Cable TV has awesome music channels. You can Shazam as much as you like!
- Old shows such as MTV are great to use with Shazam!
- 70’s and 80’s parties are a great source too! Actually, this is something else we should do more often. However, try to find parties where the music is diverse.
- I’ve said earlier, explore internet radio. There is an infinite wealth of music stations that play a range of oldies! All day and every day. Rare oldies, the kind of oldies that’ll make you say “Oh Shit! I haven’t heard that in ages!” There’s nothing more fun to hear a favorite song you’ve forgotten about!
- Explore foreign internet radio! I’ve found quite a few of non-English radio stations that exclusively play American classic music.
- 8Track is a wonderful legal website were users can upload their music (non-DRM). No computer generated playlist can take the place of hand picked music! They no longer offer unlimited listening, you get about an hour a month (if I remember correctly).
- YouTube has almost every song on the planet. I guess this is one of the flip-side benefits of the illegal uploading. We get to enjoy the music we would not hear otherwise (if legal streaming doesn’t have it).
- Old magazines! Yes, old magazines. Why? They will often have old celebrities you’ve forgotten about, that can open a flood of memories, and songs you loved.
- Barbecues and cookouts!! You are bound to hear some oldies there.
- Most churches (Black churches in particular) consistently have seventies themed parties, or play at least a sizable number of oldies.
- Sift through your Twitter Accounts.
- Sift through your Google Account. Google isn’t heavily active with classic content, but it is a decent source.
- Don’t forget that the Shazam application itself has suggestions of music similar to what you’ve just Shazamed! A great way to discover even more music.
- Facebook has a wealth of classic music groups. Sometimes they can get a bit repetitive, but occasionally you do find that goldmine, from a real classic fan. The only thing I should say is that, they do tend to have members of mixed age groups. So many things that are shared you’d never consider as classics, so sometimes some groups require a bit of sifting, but most times it is worth it.
- Streaming services like Spotify, Napster, Beats, etc, all have suggestion features, based on similar songs. They’re not always super accurate (in fact most of them aren’t), but then again, maybe they shouldn’t look for music exactly the same. Why? ‘Cause this is an opportunity to expose true music lovers to the kinds of music they were not privileged to.
- Gather with some old friends and discuss some of your memories of your favorite performers, and or movies.
- We don’t think about it much, but Documentaries can also be a great source. Free video streaming such as TubiTV has music documentaries that may play music you really like.
- I’ve came across a lot of videos on YouTube that contain “Top Ten Rock Music,” Or “Best Music From The 80s,” etc. Sometimes you’ll find a lot of gems there too.
- For movies, I think going to a Matinee every once in a while is a great idea to find oldies film.
- Of course, you know your Roku box is filled with hidden gems. All it takes is a little effort, and actually search. Stop being lazy.
- IMDB great choice.
- Sites that have rating systems.
- Movie bloggers.
- Sites that have articles on Sound Tracks.
- Your local library.
- Movie biographies.
- Books of “Best Movies For 19xx.”
- TCM and AMC
- Netflix offers DVD/Blu-Ray suggestions for every movie you add to your list/inquire.
- Vudu always offer “classic specials.” They also offer 99 cent rentals. They also now offer some FREE movies with commercials.
- Friends almost ALWAYS have movie recommendations.
- Visit and sign up for Blu-Ray.com, users add their movie and TV show collections to their profiles. Sift through their collections and discover mass treasures. You’d be surprised how many people are in to classic movies. Connect with other users, and strike up a conversation to locate rare, special edition, or obscure movies. It is basically a FREE movie fan site.
- Order movie catalogues. You don’t have to necessarily buy anything from them. Just use them to find interesting movies, then simply add them to your Netflix account. Why would you buy anything now-a-days just to watch it only one time? Unless it is a collector’s item, and it has additional material that a true fan would want. If Netflix doesn’t have it, fill out an online request form. Your only other option is to see if Amazon or Vudu has it for low rental.
- Don’t forget that you can use Shazam for a lot of movies and TV too.
Wow! I worn myself out remembering all these resources and ideas.. LOLOL.. I do hope tho, that the seasoned folks who are not exploring the internet like they should, understand what they’re missing in terms of not accessing classic music and film. Do you realize you no longer have to break your neck finding album stores (that will one day become extinct) that have that one rare album, or stores that will charge you an arm and a leg for an album you can most likely get from Spotify? Legally! And free! And the artist gets credit! Oh yeah, did I mention FREE on Spotify, that offers FREE accounts?!?! At no charge?!?! Hypothetically, if Spotify would get rid of their free accounts, $10 a month is still a steal!! $10 dollars to listen and or download anything you want! I’ve seen offers for On-Demand radio for $5 a month. Come on now guys!! A lot of visitors that may be reading my article spend more money than that on cancer sticks!! Yet a lot of you hypocrites talk about “supporting Black business,” and you refuse to invest $5 a month to listen to your favorite Black artist. I digress. So, for the last 10-15 years or so, all the albums I’ve really wanted bad enough, I’ve had to order all of them via the internet (Amazon). I don’t even think these massive record stores exist in NYC anymore. Many of the ones I remembered closed down.
The fine and talented Ginuwine! Although, I have to be honest, when I saw his first music video (I can’t remember the name of the song, all I remember he was dancing in the rain (or some thing like that)), I said to myself, he’s going to be a huge success! But, after that first video, I quickly realized that Ginuwine, was not really genuine at all. 😅😅 You see, although I thought he was a great singer, and a very talented dancer, a significant number of his music videos looked too much like he was trying too hard to be like Michael Jackson. So much so it was almost impossible to separate the two, because his movements seemed like Michael. In fact, I think I do remember watching an interview with him, and he did state that Michael was a huge influence. But in my opinion, he wasn’t just an influence, he was almost a copycat. Proof of this is when I heard him record a remake of Michael Jackson’s “She’s Out Of My Life.” Not only that, I said to myself, why would you pick the saddest song Michael has ever made? Anywayzzzz…..
Ginuwine worked with many producers that give him some of his greatest hits. And most of those hits probably came from Timberland. Ginuwine’s birth name is Elgin Baylor Lumpkin, and is almost as old as I am. He was born in 1970. His career took of once he hit around twenty years of age (ruffly the early 90s). He started with a group called the Swing Mob, also sometimes known as “The Basement Cru.” From there he developed good work relationships with the likes of Missy Eliot and many more. This group was his stepping stone to a good music career. There are many songs I love from him, and recommend that you find a “Best Of,” or “Greatest Hits” CD. If you have music streaming, I think “100% Ginuwine” is good to start off with. It has most of the hits that I really like. Such as, “What’s So Different,” “So Anxious,” “Two Sides To A Story,” and finally “Same O’l G.” Listen to this album on Napster here.
Let me start off by saying, I’ve never been a fan of hardcore hip hop. That isn’t a statement to put down people who do, it’s just a matter of musical taste. The kinds of hip hop I used to enjoy was I guess what you would call “Bubble Gum” rap today. Anything past Will Smith, Queen Latifah, Dug E. Fresh, Chub Rock, and sometimes Rakim isn’t my cup of tea. How I feel about hip hop today, is like how I feel about R&B. After Berry Gordy sold Motown, the quality of music has slowly went down hill after that. Sorry, just my opinion. Anyway, the reason why I’m writing about Easy E, is because someone posted a photo of him on a Facebook group I belong to. Now, please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying, I don’t think people should always think negative about celebrities. However, every time I see someone mention anything about Easy E., it’s always about how great his music is….. Fine…. But why do my people from my generation almost totally over looked the fact that he rocked the rap industry, when it was revealed he had A.I.D.S.
I mentioned this because this was also a huge part of Easy E’s life that we shouldn’t ignore or forget about. It taught a huge lesson to both the rappers and the fans of rap, because this was at a time where it was thought of as impossible that a rapper can get A.I.D.S. Rap was and still is anti-gay, and the mentality was (and sometimes still is) that only gay people got A.I.D.S. Which kind of opens a segway in to what a really wanted to talk about, which is the attitudes the rap industry still have about women. Unfortunately, there also exist women who are all so eager to entertain the degradation of other women, never seeing the importance of demanding respect. I digress…… Actually, after the announcement of both Easy E. and Magic Johnson’s status, the rap industry appeared to have put all sexual activity on lock-down. It’s a shame that Easy didn’t have the money that Magic Johnson had to stay alive, but then again rap had not reached its peak yet. Today, I can’t recall anyone that was just as famous as Easy E. who contracted the virus. However, I just wanted to say that straight woman are just as much of a victim of this deadly disease as gay men, and I just wished that there was still messages from the hip hop community about protecting themselves while “getting their freak-on.”
Let me start off by saying, I’ve always loved Donna Summer ever since I’ve heard her song “Try Me, I Know We Can Make It (1976).” I was about eight years old then. I remember one day in my grandparents house, sitting in one of the rooms with my little tape player, and singing all of side A and side B of Donna’s “On The Radio (1979)” cassette. After I finished, I would turn it over and do the whole tape again, as if I were performing a concert. As young as I was, her music really connected with me on so many levels. I naturally connected with her. As I got older I’ve discovered almost every gay person on the planet loved Donna Summer! LOL. You know, over the years I’ve always questioned her fashion choices 😀 I said to myself, Donna I love you, but what they hell are you wearing!?!?!? When I saw this album, I said to myself WTF??? If I didn’t love her so much, I don’t think I would have purchased this album.
This happened to be one of my many favorite albums from Donna. There aren’t many artists that we can say that spits out a lot of albums were we love almost ALL their songs. Donna has been pretty consistent, but then again, she’s re-released a lot of her same music too. Witch is quit interesting when you think about it. Why? There has been only one other artist I can think of, that can put out so many re-releases and still make money from them, and that’s Barbra Streisand. This speaks to the level of dedicated fans she had, now even more after death. I think my most favorites from this masterpiece is #1 “Loves About To Change My Heart,” it’s such a beautiful song, Donna’s voice made it so romantic, yet the danceable beats made it fun to listen to. #2 “Whatever Your Heart Desires,” another romantic and danceable tune. #3 “This Time I Know It’s For Real.” And lastly #4 a song called, “Another Place And Time,” which is a much more mellow song, and is one of those reflective songs (after the fact) I always speak of. Listen to her album on Napster here.
I would like to pay a little homage to little known about, Rebbie Jackson. Rebbie Jackson is the oldest sibling, born in 1950. In my opinion, out of all the Jacksons in the family, Rebbie is the most talented Jackson (vocally) than all the other Jacksons. Unfortunately, she only made about 4 albums before she decided to called it quits. I was so disappointed, because I know had she stuck to it, there is no doubt in my mind she would have been joining the ranks of her brother MJ. Her biggest hit she is remembered for is an 80s song called “Centipede (1984).” If I’m not mistaken, Michael actually written the song specially for her. The song starts off seductive and sexy, and by the end of the song, you get to hear a glimpse of the true power of her voice. I have to be honest, Centipede was the only song I ever liked. I was not impressed with the albums that came after.
I think that’s what pissed me off the most! the fact that she had the most powerful voice out of all the Jacksons, yet she could not seem to take her career to the next level. If I didn’t know any better, it was almost as though it was done on purpose, to make sure she didn’t outshine Michael. Well, it wouldn’t totally be a crazy idea, since Joe Jackson (very controlling and manipulative) was still managing them at the time (I think). Joe Jackson saw Michael as the cash cow (or more accurately “The Jackson 5” brand). Another clue as to the politics that went on in the family, was how Janet broke away from her father Joe. It was the theme of Janet’s 80s album “Control.” It was a big deal when the Jacksons started to fire their father one by one. Again, don’t interpret what I’m saying as no other Jackson can sing; I’m just saying dynamically, Rebbie had more range and power. I guess there’s also that possibility that she didn’t want to be in show business, and she was just doing it out of pressure. “She’s a Jackson, let’s see what she can do!” Listen to Rebbie’s Centipede on Napster here.
Today, I’d like to honor the dynamic husband and wife duo, the late Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson (living). Nick always reminded me of the lion from the wizard of oz. When I was a kid I actually thought he was the guy that played him for awhile. Woow, talk about a once one of the greatest musical couple groups, and now no one plays their music anymore… Oh boy. Ashford and Simpson was so popular, it is amazing some of the many people I’ve talked to thought of husband and wife team Peaches and Herb before they thought of Ashford & Simpson. How does that happen? Nick and Valarie have been married for about 40+ years, and have continued to be the role model for married couples everywhere. They’ve been performing together since the late sixties and early seventies, up until Nick’s death in 2011. Valarie recently expressed that she is still having a very hard time with the loss of her longtime partner. However, she did manage to come out with a solo album, which sounds really good! I’m proud of her. Many people who have performed with someone for that many years, don’t usually come out solo for fear they no longer represent the “full package.” Good for her.
I don’t there is enough time in one day to calculate how many hits they have spit out. “Street Corner,” “Solid,” “Is It Still Good To Ya?” “Send It,” and “Love Don’t Make It Right” are just a few of their hits that I love. Listen to a rare interview of Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson given by MetroTV Part 1, & Part 2. Also, Ashford & Simpson performing on David Letterman W/ interview on YouTube. They harmonized flawlessly! When they performed, you can see the pure love they’ve had for each other. Listen to more of their music on Napster here.
Ok guys! We have to take a moment to reflect on another forgotten group, The Delfonics. The Delfonics was a Philadelphian group, and had tons of hits spanning 1965 to about 1979. The group originally started with Randy Cain, William and Wilbert Hart, and Ritchie Daniels. Randy left the group and was replaced with Major Harris (Love Won’t Let Me Wait). In the early 70s Cain had a hand in putting together the Blue Magic. Today, to my understanding what’s left of the group is still performing on special occasions from time to time. Their last recording was sometime in 1990, and at that time, music has changed so much, it did not do well as their earlier albums.
Not too long ago, a badass song came on the radio. Wouldn’t you know it, it was from The Delfonics, and it was called “Ready Or Not, Here I Come (Can’t Hide From Love).” I absolutely LOVE this song, it truly is badass, from the lyrics down to the musical composition. This particular song is a huge change from the typical “I’m begging you please, baby, baby” songs that plagued the radio in the 60s/70s. This song said, I’m not begging no one, I’m coming to get you, and you’ll be mine! This song was with purpose, instead of whining and hoping to get the girl. I almost forgot to mention that I liked how Lauren Hill added the bridge medley to one of the songs to the Fugees first album (I believe). Some of my other great favorites from this group are, “I’m Sorry,” “La La Means I Love You,” “Didn’t (I Blow Your Mind This Time),” and “Hey Love.” Listen to The Delfonics on Spotify.
I was thinking, when was it the last time I actually purchased an album, or a CD? Wow! I really couldn’t remember! The best estimate I can make is some time about the beginning of the 1990s, which is still a pretty long time. Now, this goes to show you how technology has effected all of us, especially me. When I think about the kind of person I am, in terms of being a heavy fan of the classics, I almost never gone a month without buying something, even if it was a single or a remix of something. The 80’s were huge for me, because I used to buy a lot of both records & CDs of disco, club, and acid-house music. Now because of digital technology, I can only remember making 2 physical CD purchases since the 1990s, and that was only because they were a replacement to music I used to have. I must say technology has also changed the way I think of memorabilia too. Now, I just prefer to purchase all my entertainment on digital where it can be stored. Cassettes and CDs really do appear to be a hassle now (in terms of traveling). Wow, I just laugh when I think back on how I used to bring cases of CDs with me everywhere I went, because I never knew what musical mood I was going to be for that day. However, I don’t miss my cassettes being tangled up though. LOL 😀
You know, the one thing I am extremely happy about (at least when it comes to music), because of music streaming and how the music business is now setup, it’s pretty hard to do anything illegal. I mean although I complain about YouTube a lot, the reality is there are many factors as to why YouTube is one of the very few entities that are allowed to getaway with a lot of things. However at this stage, it doesn’t really matter what those factors are, the end result is that people can listen to music free, and as a listener you have absolutely no outwardly known legal obligations, or bound to any contract (other than not illegally RIPping the song straight off YouTube, but if it’s free already, why would you even bother doing that? It’s more work than it’s worth). Just listen and share on social media and the artists (and sometimes songwriters) get paid and marketed at the same time, though the power of fandom. I know I’ve said this a number of times before, but it’s so true, “if you still use torrents to download music illegally, you’re pretty much out dated and doing it because of habit and not necessity.” While the streaming world isn’t going to have every classic music (and for obvious reasons they will never have), to be able to go on Amazon and find that one song you want for download, and only pay just $1.29 at the most for that song (I’ve seen some classic songs for as low as .69¢), that is a steal! Then enjoy everything else on Spotify or YouTube. The music industry has made a complete 360° turn around, sad to say though, it was done not because they wanted to do right by fans, it was to save the industry. Finally, music is for ALL fans of music, and not only for the elite who can afford it. Now, we just need to work on the movie industry.