Sunday, January 30, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 32 - Pet Shop Boys (Always On My Mind)

Yes, I will start by saying THIS is the best version of this song.  Forget Brenda Lee...  Forget Gwen McCrae...  Forget Elvis Presley.

Following on from my last blog post, I'm keeping with the Pet Shop Boys because Always on my Mind stands out as not only being one of the best cover songs ever made but possibly one of the greatest pop songs of the 1980s (perhaps all time?)  It's also a massive favourite of mine since I was a wee lad.

The song was released in November 1987 and spent an impressive 14 weeks in the UK singles charts.  Even more impressive is that it reached number 1 and stayed there for 4 weeks, making it Christmas number one of that year, and beating Fairytale of New York by The Pogues.  

Why can't modern groups produce belters like this anymore, instead of the usual Crap Factor wannabe turds?

Also, you've got to love the video, featuring clips from their rather bizarre movie "It Couldn't Happen Here", starring De Nomolos himself (from Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey) Joss Ackland, and even Biggles (Neil Dickson).

"Where are you going?"

 "I'm going there....  But I like it here wherever it is".

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 31 - Pet Shop Boys (Heart)

The Pet Shop Boys were a band I was never particularly into back in their heyday, which is surprising when you consider the similarities between them and my favourite synth group Erasure.  Sure, I loved West End Girls, It's a Sin, Always On My Mind and pretty much every track on their "Please" and "Actually" albums, but I never paid much attention to what they produced after that until only a few years ago.  Boy, was I missing out!

Having said that, I always had a fondness for Heart.  Released in 1988, it entered the charts in March at number 30 before rightfully reaching the number one spot the following month where it stayed for a few weeks.  

Pop Quiz - When not being Gandalf, what famous actor played Nosferatu in the Heart music video? 

The answer....  Well, I didn't realise until only recently that it was none other than Sir Ian McKellen. 

Ahhhhhh...  I was just 11 years old at the time.  Life was so much easier (and less stressful) back then.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Game Covers - Magicland Dizzy (Commodore 64)

DIZZY's cartoon adventure in MAGICLAND!  Explore WIERDHENGE, PRINCE CHARMING's castle, Vampira's ICE PALACE, Wicked WITCH's island and jump thru' THE MAGIC MIRROR!  Find EXCALIBUR, wake SLEEPING BEAUTY and more!  Starring all the YOLKFOLD in he latest INCREDIBLE TALE!

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Game Covers - Fantasy World Dizzy (Commodore 64)

Join Mega-Star DIZZY and the YOLKFOLK in their latest Adventure in Fantasy World!  Incredible Dragons' Lairs, Wizard's Cloud Castle, the Evil King's Palace & Dungeons, Mysterious new Worlds, Volcanoes, and more.  INCREDIBLE PLAYABILITY.

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Friday, January 21, 2022

Game Covers - Treasure Island Dizzy (Commodore 64)


Explore the mysterious island's deserted Tree House Village, Fabulous Gold Mines, Huge Caves, Magic Shops and Secret Treasure!  You can even go underwater - but remember your snorkel!

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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Game Covers - Bionic Granny (Commodore 64)

She lurks outside the school gates waiting to surprise any unsuspecting kids.  When the hands on the school clock reach 4 o'clock her fun begins.  Despite all the efforts of teachers and lollipop ladies she sometimes manages to "Zap" the kids with her laser powered brolly!  Better run for your life before she gets you too!

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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Game Covers - Spindizzy (Commodore 64)

"Spindizzy combines marvelous graphics, testing puzzles and a large playing area to make a stunningly original and challenging game." AA RATING 96% - AMSTRAD ACTION

"Spindizzy is quite simply one of THE most impressive games on ANY home micro."  OVERALL 98% - AMTIX

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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 30 - Madness (Cardiac Arrest)

For the 30th in my list of favourite songs, I've gone with Madness and Cardiac Arrest.  In all fairness, I could have gone with any of their major hits from the early 1980s as I've always enjoyed listening to my Dads "Complete Madness" album going back to when I was little.

Now, why have I gone with this particular track?  Simple really....

a)  I absolutely love it
b)  This song could very well be the soundtrack to my life!

From what I can work out, the song is about a family man (average husband, with wife and kids - sounds familiar) who lets his work take over his life and who has become a workaholic (yep... definitely sounds familiar).  He is shown becoming rather agitated and stressed over simple things like the bus running late, and getting to work for an important meeting.  Ultimately it ends with him suffering a heart attack on the way to work.  I can honestly say it's a carbon copy of my life at the moment, just without the heart attack... yet!

Sound advice really - Don't let work take over your life and ruin your family time.  Perhaps I should heed the advice given by Suggs and the rest of the gang and change the way I look at work.

Easier said than done. 

The song was released on the 12th February 1982 and remained in the charts for 10 weeks, peaking at number 14.

Anyway, enjoy this 40 year old classic!

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Game Covers - Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Commodore 64)

Pick up your trilby and trusty bullwhip and don the mantle of the legendary Indiana Jones!  Prepare yourself for your most dangerous adventure yet - to storm the evil Temple of Doom ad rescue the imprisoned children and the magical Stones of Sankara!  Beware the foes and hazards that block your way.  The Thuggee guards will fight to the finish and poisonous cobra snakes will rise up in front of you.  You will traverse perilous ledges, ride the underground railway, and cross the bottomless fiery pit in pursuit of your quest!

You will call on all your reserves of courage, strength, and skill.  Push yourself o the limit, ride your luck and the magical stones may just be yours!

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Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 29 - Russ Abbot (Atmosphere)

Possibly the cheesiest song ever to come out of the 1980's.  Yet it is so much better than the utter rubbish that continues to fill the charts today.

Russ Abbot was quite a celebrity during the 1980's.  He had several primetime comedy sketch shows on the BBC (Remember Cooperman, C.U. Jimmy, and Basildon Bond).  He also released a number of (unremarkable) singles, the most popular being this one.

Yes, the image of Russ Abbot arriving at a party on a bike, wearing a sweater, and showing us his moves on the dance floor will forever be imprinted in my memory until the day I die (and many others too it seems since it managed to peak at number 11 in the charts during February 1985 - obviously quite a few people went out and bought this).  It's a fun song, and not to be taken seriously. 

Come on, who is going to admit to having this in their vinyl/cassette singles collections?

Proof that good ol' Russ was actually beating Bryan Adams, Phil Collins, and even Tears for Fears for a time.  Go Russ!

Friday, January 14, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 28 - Edelweiss (Raumschiff Edelweiss)

Erm....  Where do I start with this one?

I'm feeling a bit down at the moment and while going through my vast library of songs on my hard drive, I was trying to find some tunes to cheer me up and put a smile on my face.  After a bit of searching, I found and remembered this one...

...  So...  My next favourite track is a rarity from the Austrian dance group Edelweiss which never actually made it into the UK charts.  It was released in 1992 but I didn't get to hear it until early 1995 during a Star Trek documentary on MTV to coincide with the then imminent release of the movie Star Trek Generations.

The song in question is...  "Raumschiff Edelweiss", or in English, Starship Edelweiss. 

Edeweiss were a popular eurodance/pop group in Europe during the late 80's and early 90s.  I don't suppose many readers of my blog will know who they were and you might be surprised to hear that their hit song Bring Me Edelweiss actually reached number 5 in the UK charts back in May, 1989, beating the likes of The Bangles (Eterna Flame), Queen (I Want It All) and many others.  Now, I'm no expert on the group, and as far as I can tell they only ever released one album - but what an album!

Raumschiff Edelweiss is a Star Trek-inspired spoof song (which in my opinion is miles better than The Firm's Star Trekkin') and features the original Star Trek theme, mixed with plenty of yodeling (which Edelweiss are well known for), a dance track, and a music video with some whacky visuals that could only have been made with the use of certain recreational drugs and high levels of alcohol consumption.

Have a listen, and give it a chance....  It's not all that bad!

AND if you liked that...  The song had a follow up - called Planet Edelweiss (featured below) which I swear sounds like something that could have been 'tracked' on a Commodore Amiga!  That’s a good thing by the way.  

Yes they're cheesy, but I'm proud to admit I actually have this album in my music collection, and it always makes me smile.  It's also the only place you will ever get to see a Klingon rapping and singing reggae! 

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 27 - Men Without Hats (The Safety Dance)

The Safety Dance, from Canadian new wave band Men Without Hats will be forever in my childhood memories, as well as the memories of many people who grew up in the 1980's simply from its memorable video which accompanied the song featuring frontman Ivan Doroschuk and dwarf actor Mike Edmonds prancing about West Kington near Chippenham, South West England (amazing what you can find out from Wikipedia) showing the local townsfolk how to dance by repeatedly forming an "S" sign (S for Safety) by jerking both arms into a stiff pose. 

The music video alone is pure 80's cheese but in my opinion, is better and more creative than anything produced today.  The song is quite catchy too!  If only they still made stuff like this!  I'd buy it.

I love this song so much, I'm even going to post a video from the Status Quo cover. A damn good version from a band I'm not particularly keen on. 

AND FINALLY.....   I even have to admit that I quite like this version from Glee too!  Sad or what!ARRRGGGGHHHHHH!

Game Covers - Head Over Heels (Commodore 64)


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Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 26 - Ace of Base (The Sign)

I have always felt that my childhood pretty much ended the day I walked out of my secondary school on Friday, June the 25th 1993 following my last GCSE exam, and some songs/bands remind me quite vividly of this time in my life,  Ace of Base being one of them.

"The Sign" came out in November that same year, and will forever be imprinted in my memory due to the constant air time it had on the local radio station (Essex FM) when I was doing my work experience at the Evening Echo newspaper during my brief time at Basildon College in 1994.

The song was a big hit for Ace of Base, reaching a very impressive number 2 in the UK charts, and an even more impressive number 1 in the US Billboard Hot 100 singles.  It stayed in the charts for 16 weeks.

Now for me, the 90's wasn't really a great decade.  Sure, it had a few good things going for it, but the music wasn't one of them.  During the early 90s, my interest in music was almost non-existent apart from listening to Erasure, Jean Michel Jarre, Mike Oldfield, and a few movie soundtracks.  I suppose this song, along with The Beloved's Sweet Harmony are the two songs that really define my musical tastes from those early years of a decade that to me will always be fondly remembered by me for playing my Amiga 500, getting my head around playing Magic The Gathering (some card game) with my friend Dan, ogling over Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax in Star Trek Deep Space Nine) and watching Noel's House Party on a Saturday evening.

Anyway, on a separate note - I do really hope to update my blog with more posts over the next couple of weeks (and not just music and game covers).  Work has been considerably busy and stressful and has pretty much taken over my life.  I'm literally living and breathing servers, and computers to the point where I'm even losing sleep!  Yes I know it's not healthy, but what can I do....  It pays the bills!!! 

Onwards and upwards, and don't forget you can check out my other favourite songs by clicking here.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 25 - Nik Kershaw (Wouldn't It Be Good)

Nik Kershaw was (still is?) one of my sister's favourite artists and like Howard Jones, he was heard many times through the thin walls that separated our bedrooms.  Released way back in 1984, Wouldn't It Be Good was released as the second single from his Human Racing album (the others being I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me, Dancing Girls, and Human Racing).  I was never really that fond of the song when I was younger, but that was probably due to hearing it over, and over again.  However, as with many things from my childhood, it has grown on me immensely and I've really come to appreciate and enjoy Nik's work.  Perhaps it's the nostalgia that comes with listening to him or the feeling of reliving the 80s again?  Either way, it's a really good song.  Modern musical artists should take note.

It spent 15 weeks in the charts, peaking at a very impressive number 4.  The music video is memorable for featuring Nik Kershaw as an alien wearing an insanely bright (and animated) suit, created using chroma key technology.  

"Wouldn't it be good to be in your shoes
Even if it was just for one day
And wouldn't it be good if we could wish ourselves away
Wouldn't it be good to be on your side
The grass is always greener over there
And wouldn't it be good if we could live without a care"

Also, check out this insanely brilliant version of the song, recorded at the 80s Classical event in Leeds 2019.  Nik Kershaw performs Wouldn't It Be Good with the Orchestra of Opera North.

Sunday, January 09, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 24 - Mental as Anything (Live it Up)

Live It Up was a big hit for Australian new-wave group Mental as Anything and was released back in 1986.  It reached number 3 in the UK charts, and was featured in the Paul Hogan movie "Crocodile Dundee". 

As with Invisible Touch by Genesis, this is another song that reminds me of family nights out walking from Leigh-On-Sea to Southend.  Many of the pubs we visited would play this on the jukebox whilst I drank my beverage of choice (a pint of orange juice) and played classic arcade games. 

Ahhhhhhh the memories.  

It's fun and lively - typical mid 80's pop, and definitely one of my favourites.

Saturday, January 08, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 23 - Genesis (The Brazilian)

The 23rd song in my list of favourite songs is this little-known instrumental from UK rock band Genesis.  "The Brazilian", featured as the last track on their four-times platinum UK hit album Invisible Touch from 1986.

Name a Genesis song from the mid-1980s and most people will probably say Invisible Touch or Land of Confusion, but ask them if they've heard of The Brazillian and they will just look at you with a confused look.  Yes, Genesis also did some amazing experimental instrumental work too.  

As great as their more familiar songs are, I've always had a soft spot for this track, but then I think it's because I've always preferred instrumentals to songs with vocals in.  This is just great, especially Mike Rutherford's guitar finale.  A perfect excuse to turn the volume up to maximum, and let those goosebumps appear.

The track was featured in an episode of Magnum, P.I, used extensively by the BBC during their TV coverage of the 1987 World Athletics Championships, and in 1987 it had a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Performance, but lost out to Harold Faltermeyer and Steve Stevens with the "Top Gun" anthem.  Sorry Top Gun fans, but I prefer this!

Big thanks to my sister Stephanie for introducing me to this song all those years ago.  Enjoy.

Game Covers - Leader Board Par 4 (Commodore 64)

A Classic celebration of the greatest series of golf simulations ever produced, including - 4 games, 14 courses, unique free-standing holeguide, club length chart, and scorecards.

Leader Board

Welcome to the exciting world of professional golf with Leader Board.  With amazing realistic 3-D animation, golfers will face multiple 18-hole golf courses that demand strategy, total concentration, and control to come in under par.

Leader Board Tournament

You will find these four courses more difficult than those in Leader Board and each requires excellent shot-making ability to stay out of trouble.  If you're looking for a challenge Leader Board Tournament will deliver all you can handle.

Leader Board Executive Edition

Leader Board Executive Edition brings another dimension in excitement and graphics as you battle to master sandtraps, trees, water hazards, and rough with a gameplay that's frightening in its demands and realism.

World Class Leader Board

Now you have the opportunity to play the same courses that have challenged golf's greatest legends - St. Andrews, Doral Country Club, and Cypress Creek.  The fourth course designed especially for "World Class" is the "Gauntlet Country Club."  Only those who have mastered the best courses in the world should expect to come close to par at "The Gauntlet".

As easy to follow, easy to use, colour guide helps you to tackle these fantastic courses.

A full colour reference chart assists with quick club selection and wind calculations.

Record those memorable rounds forever in a pocket scorebook.

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