I Really DO Love the 80s…II

Quote of the Day: “Then he walked over to the piano and put on a really incredible keyboard track. And not only did Prince make it up right on the spot, he played it with only two fingers. Then he left.” Stevie Nicks, Details 1994

Was turning channels this past weekend and I came across a so-bad-it’s-good flick from 1982 called The Pirate Movie. Starring Kristy McNichol and Christopher Atkins, it was meant to be a pop updating of The Pirates of Penzance (which already had a pop updating on Broadway) but was really just an awful Grease-ripoff. Corny and ridiculous, full of terribly-sung pop-rock ballads and clumsy choreography—I LOVED it when I was a teenager. Watching it now though, I finally know what people mean when they call 80s artifacts cheesy. Here’s the thing though: as bad as it was, I enjoyed the hell out of it. I know, I know. I have bad taste. And I love it. It’s better than having no taste at all…

Smooth Operator: Caught the video of Sade’s “Your Love is King” on VH1 Classic, you know the one with the card tricks, and it took me back to the night I first heard her music, back in 84. We were having a “dinner party” in my freshman dorm at college, meaning we’d gone to the grocery store and bought food rather than trudging all the way to the Ratty for Chicken Tetrazini. My friend Amy stuck a cassette into the boombox and suddenly the room was wrapped in this silky jazzy smooth groove fronted by this smoky chanteusy voice that didn’t sound like anything we’d heard on the radio lately. “Who is this?” someone asked. “Sade,” said my friend, pronouncing it like the third part of Marquis de…Suffice to say, we enjoyed our dinner and felt like mature folks sitting around drinking wine and listening to such sleek adult pop. Been a fan of homegirl ever since. “Is It a Crime?” from the second CD was my theme song for most of sophomore year. Long story to tell, just suffice to say that it involves a very pretty, very sad closeted guy from Chicago and lots of guilty stares on the college green and in the Blue Room.

This Prince is King: In honor of Lost In the 80s (and the way it brings back memories—in this case The Time’s “Ice Cream Castles”), I give you one of my favorite Prince iPod playlists, this one called “Prince and the People”. It includes mostly Prince tracks, mostly from the 80s, and tracks by folks he wrote for, performed with or produced. Hope you like.

1. When You Were Mine by Prince
2. 17 Days by Prince
3. The Belle Of St. Mark by Sheila E.
4. Strange Relationship by Prince
5. Nasty Girl by Vanity Six
6. The Screams of Passion by The Family
7. She’s Always in My Hair by Prince
8. Yo Mister by Patti Labelle
9. Curious Child by Prince
10. Joy In Repetition by Prince
11. Ice Cream Castles by The Time
12. Stand Back by Stevie Nicks
13. Anna Stesia by Prince
14. And God Created Woman by Prince
15. Nothing Compares To You by Sinead O’Connor
16. 4 The Tears In Your Eyes by Prince

Liner Notes: “When You Were Mine” from Dirty Mind is, hands down, my all-time favorite Prince song (altho track 13 “Anna Stesia” is a very close second, well, maybe a 1b). It was the song that convinced me that homeboy was something of a poet the way Smokey Robinson and Paul Simon are poets. I don’t think there’s a rawer, better song about teenage lust and love. It took every thing in my bones not to ask Prince to play this for me when i was out at Paisley Park in 1991. I mean, there we were in the recording studio, listening to Diamonds and Pearls and the guitar was just sitting there. But no. I wasn’t strong enuf….Tracks 2 and 7 are b-sides, by an artist who’s b-sides often rivaled his a-sides and album tracks for sheer beauty and quality…The last track, “4 The Tears in Your Eyes”, is the original from the We Are the World album, NOT the more polished yet inferior re-recording that appears elsewhere…Again, this playlist is meant to be burned onto a standard CD so it goes just about 80 minutes.


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