Archive for the '’80s Music' Category

KLOS `Too Hip’ Stickers, Circa 1979 – 1984

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Greg at Lefty Limbo wrote the go-to post about these stickers years ago. KLOS is a radio station in Los Angeles that was, in the late ’70s and early ’80s, the premiere rock station and a youth culture landmark. The distinctive “rainbow” design still hits me hard in the fond memory zone—they even smelled beautiful.

As Greg notes, virtually every kid at the time sent multiple SASEs to KLOS requesting as many stickers as he/she could get. If I’m remembering correctly, the station kept a log of requester addresses, so after the first request you had to use the address of otherwise uninterested family/friends. A few days later, there they were in the mail. (The giddy anticipation of waiting for an envelope or a package filled with free prizes is yet another feeling my kids won’t have in a technological age that abhors delays of any kind.) The stickers with the band names were sold exclusively at concerts, and often had coupons on the paper backing (“Save $1.00 on any Rush album/tape at any Licorice Pizza including their newest `Moving Pictures’ with this coupon“).

The stickers were known collectively as “Too Hip” stickers, a phrase that came from KLOS DJ Frazer Smith, who would close out his show by saying, “Too hip. Gotta go.” The stickers achieved their iconic popularity during his first stint at KLOS, from 1979 to 1984. There was also a Too Hip Fan Club, and I signed up for it. The only thing I remember about it is the ID card below.

Too Hip

When we moved out of our condo in the early ’80s, I stuck this card—signed by me, of course—in the inside molding of my bedroom closet door. I’m not sure why. Maybe I wanted the place to remember me, or maybe I wanted to make sure I remembered the place. For many years I’ve wondered if the card is still there.

(Images via eBay and the San Diego Reader)

Album Covers: Megadeth’s Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying? (1986)

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Guess what I’m listening to? The artist is Ed Repka.

The term “Megadeath,” according to the OED, was coined in 1953 and means “The death of a million people, esp. as a unit in estimating the possible effects of nuclear warfare.”

Lincoln High School Students, 1982

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All of the photos were taken by Gary Fong as part of a 1982 fashion shoot for the San Francisco Chronicle. Peter Hartlaub resurrected them for a three-part “flashback project” at SFGate. Abraham Lincoln High School is a public school, obviously. “Local 69 Muff Dive” didn’t fly in prep land, where all the rich kids wore pink shirts with little alligators on them.

You want to know if I found all the t-shirts the kids are wearing, right? I did.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Michael Jackson Rub n’ Play Transfers (Colorforms, 1984)

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Rub Mike 1984

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Rub ’em here! Rub ’em there! Rub ’em EVERYWHERE! Ages 3 and up (4 and up if you want a piece of the “rubbing tool”).

Too easy, people. Too easy. Now beat it!

(See more Rub n’ Play “magic” here.)

Buckner & Garcia Perform `Pac-Man Fever’ on American Bandstand, 1982

The boys performed—I use the term loosely, as I don’t believe the cords on those instruments or that microphone are plugged into anything—on Solid Gold later that day: March 20, 1982.

Get Victimized by R. Cade and the Video Victims (Arrival Records, 1982)

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It should not surprise you that R. Cade and the Video Victims only made the one album. Why not subject yourself to the whole thing on Spotify, like I did? R. Cade & The Video Victims – Get Victimized.

It’s not Arcade and the Video Victims, mind you. It’s R. Cade and the Video Victims. Get it?

“Video magic, you were there all the while. Put my quarter in, and you made me smile. Whoa-oh-oh-oh ah…”

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: First Quest – The Music (Filmtrax, 1985)

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One of the most obscure pieces of D&D merchandise from the Gygax era, First Quest: The Music is a soundtrack to, and narration of, an adventure outline printed inside the LP (and cassette). The music is instrumental and electronic, most of it reflecting “the forbidding and grim atmosphere of the plot.” The author of Blogonomicon, where I found most of the images above, uploaded the album to YouTube, and I made a playlist featuring the songs in the order they appear on the LP. Give it a listen here.

I have to admit that I love it all, even the bits that are overdone or amateurish. It’s such a brilliant evocation of the time. If John Carpenter or Tangerine Dream had scored a Dungeons & Dragons film in the ’80s, it might have sounded something like the best parts of First Quest (recorded on better equipment.)

David Miller, who wrote the adventure (“It is not meant to be a cake-walk!”) and a lot of the music, and who appears to be the principle organizer, recalls approaching Gary Gygax about the project in a comment at Blogonomicon.

Greetings – my name is David Miller and I was one of the contributors/organizers of/for/to this album. It was a lot of fun getting it together. As anyone who’s played D&D knows, you can’t really play a loose, free-wheeling game to the constraints of the flow of the tracks but it was a gas, nevertheless. As part of all this I went to Los Angeles and visited E. Gary Gygax to get his blessing and support. He lived (as you might expect) in this weird, large old house that did, in fact, look somewhat spooky. As I knocked on the door I heard the sound of a very large and intimidating dog barking from somewhere inside – that was somewhat unsettling… Eventually Mr. Gygax let me in, listened to the album and he was well into it. He also demonstrated for me a variety of manoeuvers by which one could dispatch a varying quantity of orcs, depending on how they approached you, what armaments they were carrying and what mood they were in […]

[…] There were also First Quest T-Shirts (of which I have a couple, still unwrapped) and other stuff, I’m sure. I was responsible for bringing Valentine Dyall on board, more because I’ve always been a huge Goons fan and he was on those recording from time to time sounding quite menacing even amidst the madness. I’m afraid I wrote his voice-over script, which is, indeed, especially mediocre and I cringe even to this day when I hear it. He deserved much better than that, especially as he passed on soon after…not the most fitting swan song. My belated apologies to him. He hadn’t been getting any work for a long time and I hear he was very grateful for this so I’m glad of that, at least. I would have loved to have met him but was out of town when his recording sessions occurred.

Miller is in a “psychedelic synth pop” band called Expandis, whose first EP, Mystic Man, was released in 1983. Phil Thornton, another contributing artist to First Quest, is also in Expandis. Filmtrax was a small British record label active during the 1980s.

The narrator of the quest is Valentine Dyall (1908-1985), a famous British screen and voice actor well known for his portrayal of the Black Guardian in the Tom Baker-era Doctor Who.

The LP cover art is from Jeff Easley’s Dungeon Masters Guide (1983 printing) cover. The sprawling gatefold art is also by Easley.

The Slush Puppie Video Game Game Card (1982)

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Grand prize: Intellivision video game unit, 34 game cartridges, Intellivoice and 3 voice cartridges. Second prize was Mattel’s Synsonics Electric Drums. With some tweaking, these things made some very cool sounds, and synth artists still use them today. Check out the commercial and a demo below.

 

(Images via Atari Age)

Music Videos: Fingers – `Video Games’ (1982)

 

New Jersey band Fingers released one EP (AXO Records, 1982), and this is the title track. I listened to the whole album on Spotify and enjoyed it—straight ahead power pop with some catchy melodies. The message here is pretty obvious: video games have changed the nature of youth and young love. Or have they? Separated at first by our hero’s addiction to the games, boy and girl are reunited in the end—when girl succumbs to the allure of the arcade and their respective games are over (and all the quarters are gone).

“You knew that I was different from the start. You look inside and see Space Invaders in my heart. It’s never been the same since video… It’s never been the same since video…  It’s never been the same since video games.”

I can make out Pleiades and Armor Attack cabinets in the arcade.

Fingers 1982

Dan Aykroyd and Duran Duran Playing Video Games, 1983

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Duran Duran 1983

From Vidiot #5, 1983. Vidiot, “The Magazine of Video Lunacy,” was an offshoot of rock magazine Creem, and lasted only 6 issues.

It just so happens that Space Duel and Gravitar are two of my favorite cabinets. I’m a sucker for vector graphics. Space Duel also appears on the front and back covers of The Who’s It’s Hard (1982).

 


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