Showing posts with label Music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Music. Show all posts

Monday, May 23, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 57 - New Order (Blue Monday)

Blue Monday is an amazing piece of 80s electronic synth-pop music and has to be included in my list of favourite songs.  Released in 1983, it peaked at number 9 and spent 38 weeks in the top 75.  It fared slightly better when it was re-released in 1988, and reached a much better number 3 in the UK charts.

As soon as this song comes on in the car, the volume goes straight up!

A small bit of personal trivia - Blue Monday was one of the very first songs I attempted to 'track' on my Commodore Amiga in the early 90s due to its simplistic bassline.


Thursday, May 19, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 56 - Markus Captain Kaarlonen (Space Debris)

Today's song is a blast from the past for me - 1991 to be precise.  

Way back, before I got a Commodore Amiga in 1992, I used to look forward to visiting our family friend Colin who wowed me on each visit with his Amiga 500.  He would show me the latest fantastic audio/visual demos on that computer.  Remember, I still only had an 8-bit Commodore 64 at that point, so hearing (and seeing) a home computer play back music that featured realistic sounding instruments and effects was totally mind-blowing.  These demos were part of the massive 'demoscene' that dominated the Amiga and other micros in Europe during that time.

At its peak in the late 80s to mid-90s, the Amiga demoscene featured some fantastic songs, many of them created using the freely available Sound Tracker software and saved in .mod format.  Most were released during demoscene parties that took place all over Europe.  

Countless .mod files were made for the Amiga, but one of my all-time favourites is a track called Space Debris, written by Markus Captain Kaarlonen.  The song took part in a music competition during the Anarchy Easter Conference Party in 1991and came first place unsurprisingly.  Besides having a fantastic melody, the song really pushed the Amiga and proved you could create incredible music with only 4 voices playing at the same time.

Sound Tracker made writing and composing music so much easier and accessible to people like me who had an interest in writing music, but not the skill of being able to perform or the money to buy fancy hardware and sequencers. Space Debris and many other mods are what got me into writing my own 'tracked' music.

Computer and VGM (Video Game Music) may not be everyone's cup of tea, but give it a listen if you've not heard it before.  Remember, this was created on a computer that came out in 1987!

And if you think that version sounds a bit dated, then try this amazing modern remix by D4XX

Monday, May 09, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 55 - Jerry Goldsmith (Star Trek - The Motion Picture)

Star Trek The Motion Picture gets a lot of slack and negativity, but it has (in my opinion anyway) quite possibly the best soundtrack to any movie I have ever seen, and no - I am not just saying that because I am a big Trekkie.  Jerry Goldsmiths' signature theme to the film is iconic (yes more so than that other sci-fi franchise with Star in the title) and will forever be the 'theme' to Star Trek, even more so than the original title song from the 1960s.  

It, of course, became the theme tune to Star Trek The Next Generation in 1987, and featured in 3 of the 4 TNG movies, but this version is by far my favourite and also features the beautiful "Ilia's Theme" heard during the end credits.

If you like movie soundtracks and have never given this one a go - try it.  You don't have to be a Trekkie to appreciate one of Jerry Goldsmiths' best scores

Sit back, crank up the volume and prepare to boldly go.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 54 - Tears For Fears (Everybody Wants to Rule the World)

Here's another song from Tears for Fears, and probably one of their most well-known tracks.  I loved this song when growing up in the 80s and it will always remind me of a great 80s comedy flick called "Real Genius" that starred a young Val Kilmer and featured the song playing over the credits at the end (and a house full of popcorn!)

The song was released in March 1985 as a single from their second studio album "Songs from the Big Chair" and peaked at number 2 on the UK charts a month later.

This song is one of the defining new-wave/synth-pop tracks of the 1980s and is one of my all-time favourite songs.


Friday, April 15, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 53 - Tears For Fears (Mad World)

Today's song is a favourite of mine from 1982 by Tears For Fears.  Mad World was a single from their debut album "The Hunting", and it reached a pretty good number 3 in the UK charts.

A classic 80's track, and definitely one of my favourites.

Thursday, April 07, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 52 - El DeBarge (Who's Johnny)

Today's track is from one of my favourite 1980s movies - Short Circuit.  Who's Johnny by El DeBarge was released in 1986 and reached number 3 in the US Billboard Top 100 Charts.  

I remember the song not being as widely available in the UK (I don't think it even charted here), and this was in a time before the internet, so opportunities to listen to it were rare.  As I recall, the song only appeared a few times in the film (incomplete) - in a short scene when Stephanie Speck, played brilliantly by Ally Sheedy, is showing Johnny 5 around her home, and later when Johnny 5 has commandeered a Nova Robotics van.

A great tune, from a great movie.

Tuesday, April 05, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 51 - Ace of Base (Never Gonna Say I'm Sorry)

Whoa, this is one I haven't heard in a very long time, and one I am definitely including in my favourite music list.   In fact, the only reason I am adding it here is because I heard it for the first time in over 20 years just the other day, and it's been stuck in my head ever since.  Another song I loved back in the day, but forgot about as I got older.

Released as a single from their 1996 album "The Bridge", it never even charted in the UK (shame on us brits for not buying it)., but it did reasonably well in the rest of Europe and the US.  

Pure 90s.  The Swedes sure know how to make good music.  Abba...  Ace of Base....


Saturday, April 02, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 49 - Ace of Base (Life is a Flower)

There aren't many tunes from the 1990s that will make my list of favourite songs, but I can be pretty sure that anything by Ace of Base will make it! 

This is one of my favourite tracks from Ace of Base.  Released in April 1998, it went straight to Number 5 in the UK Charks in July.

A happy song, from a happy time.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 48 - Erasure (Sometimes)

So here we are with my 48th track, and it's surprising that I've only had one Erasure song on the list so far considering how much of a fan I am of the synth-pop duo.  Well, here we are with track number two!

For me, 'Sometimes' is one of the defining synth songs of the mid to late 1980s.  It's amazing and deservedly sat in the UK charts for an impressive 23 weeks, peaking at Number 2 in December 1986, and only being beaten from the top spot by Europe's "The Final Countdown".

Guaranteed to cheer me up when I feel down (which is a lot these days, but hey ho),  

It does make me think back to a comment my son Kieran made a few weeks ago about how happy songs sounded in the 1980s compared to what is in the popular charts today.

"It's not the way you lead me by the hand into the bedroom
It's not the way you throw your clothes upon the bathroom floor
Been thinking about ya, I just couldn't wait to see
Fling my arms around ya as we fall in ecstasy"

You know the rest :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 47 - Sophie Ellis Bextor (Murder on the Dance Floor)

Today's track is a guilty pleasure of mine, but I am struggling to come to terms with the fact that it's now over 20 years old.  Sophie Ellis Bextor's Murder on the Dance Floor will always remind me of the time I met my wife Michelle.  It came out in December 2001 and remained in the charts for 23 weeks, peaking at an impressive number 2.  It was played on the radio quite regularly at the time Michelle and I started dating which is why I look back on this track with fond memories.

And guess who we named our daughter Sophie after?  :)

It's murder on the dance floor
You'd better not kill the groove
DJ, gonna burn this goddamn house right down.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 46 - Pet Shop Boys (Integral)

Today's song is a fantastic track by the Pet Shop Boys from their 2006 'Fundamental' album.  To be honest, I only found out about this song a few years ago, which makes it unsurprising that it only reached 197 in the UK Singles Chart of that year.  

Obviously not one of their more popular tracks, but that doesn't mean it's not any good.  Far from it.

I love blaring this one out.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 45 - The Piranhas (Tom Hark)

While searching for Zambezi by the Piranhas, their cover of Tom Hark popped up and instantly took me back in time to over 40 years ago.  Man, I forgot how much I loved this song when I was little.  It entered the charts in August 1980 (I was three years old), and remained there for twelve weeks, peaking at number six.  It was The Piranha's biggest hit.  Check the video out and enjoy the nostalgia.

"Does anybody know how long to World War III?
I wanna know, I gotta book me holiday
They want me in the Army but I just can't go
I'm far too busy listening to the radio"

What great lyrics!

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 44 - The Piranhas (Zambezi)

Flipping heck... this is a blast from the past!  I remember loving it when I was a kid

A cover of Zambezi by Lou Busch and his Orchestra, this version was released back in 1982 by The Piranhas (and featuring Boring Bob Grover - The Man With The Golden Trumpet) where it entered into the UK Top 40 in September/October.  I was but a 5 year old lad with obviously no decent taste in music.

"Well if my bank should phone, tell them I ain't at home,
Just say I packed my plastic bag and went away.
As for the landlord's rent, I spent it on a tent,
So if he's asking questions, you'll know what to say.

 You don't get lyrics like that anymore.

Wednesday, March 09, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 43 - The Carpenters (Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft)

Today, we go back to when I was VERY little with The Carpenters' version of "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft", originally released by them in September 1977 (I was only 7 months old), and is in fact a cover from a song by Klaatu which was used by the pirate radio station Radio Caroline as an opening song for their midnight transmissions - Thanks Wikipedia.  The original is not a bad version, but I prefer The Carpenters cover, especially with the All Hit Radio intro.

I vaguely remember first listening to this one night in the 80s when my Dad put it on, and I've loved it ever since.

Enjoy this, the recognized Anthem of World Contact Day.

Hey babe, what would you like to hear?

Saturday, March 05, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 42 - Phil Collins (Don't Lose My Number)

Whilst reacquainting myself with Phil Collins's excellent "No Jacket Required" album, Don't Lose My Number has given me a massive flashback feeling.  Gosh, I forgot how much I love this song, and how good an album it is.

As already mentioned, the song comes from his excellent No Jacket Required album, but wasn't actually released as a single in the UK.  It did reach an impressive number 4 in the US, and ranked 64th in the US Top Pop Singles for 1985

Anyway, here's the music video.  Stick with it...  the song begins around the 1 minute and 30 seconds mark.

Wednesday, March 02, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 41 - Nik Kershaw (Dancing Girls)

As I've probably mentioned before in a previous post, my sister was a massive fan of Nik Kershaw, and quite often when I was a young lad in the mid-80s I would be able to hear his tunes coming through the wall between our two bedrooms.  At the time, I was not a fan but over the years I've grown to really like his music.

Whenever I listen to Dancing Girls, I have a vivid memory of helping my sister write a "Nik Kershaw" lyrics program on our Commodore Plus 4 computer in BASIC, a program I still have stored on one of hundreds of old cassettes to this day, named "Nik 16"

Released 38 years ago, on April 2nd 1984, Dancing Girls was a single from his excellent "Human Racing" album and peaked in the UK charts at No. 13 around the same time as classic favourites of mine such as Queen's "I Want To Break Free", Depeche Mode's "People are People" and Blancemange's "Don't Tell Me"


Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 40 - Johnny Hates Jazz (Shattered Dreams)

There are a large number of songs that constantly remind me of family walks from Leigh-on-Sea to Southend, mostly because we used to stop off at different pubs on the way, and most had the songs of the day playing over the speakers.  This was around the mid to late 1980's where we'd jump on a Class 302 from Laindon, get off at Leigh-on-Sea, and stop for a quick drink at the Peterboat, Ye Olde Smack, and then onwards towards Southend-on-Sea with a quick stop at the Cliffs Pavilion for another bevvy - or in my case, another pint of orange squash!.

Shattered Dreams by Johnny Hates Jazz is one of those songs that was played a lot in those pubs at the time.  It was released in March 1987 and went straight to number 97 in the UK charts.  Only through lots of airtime on the radio did it finally reach a deserving number 5 two months later.

An absolute stonker of an 80s track.  Enjoy.

And as a bonus for those like me who also like some classical/orchestral music, here is the track from the 80s Classical live event in 2019.

Monday, February 28, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 39 - Freiheit (Keeping The Dream Alive)

Released in 1988, "Keeping The Dream Alive" peaked at number 14 in the UK Charts during December of that year and was their only UK hit.  It's often played on the radio at Christmas and features on many festive compilation albums mainly due to it being released around that time of year, despite the song having absolutely nothing to do with Christmas!

Crank up the volume and listen to that awesome orchestral sound.  It definitely has a hint of ELO to it with some 80s Paul McCartney thrown in too!


Sunday, February 27, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 38 - Feargal Sharkey (A Good Heart)

Whenever I feel down, I usually resort to listening to some 80s music, and this is one song I can always count on to cheer me up.  Today, I have decided to pick Feargal Sharkey's "A Good Heart" which reached number 1 in the UK Charts in November 1985, and where it stayed for 2 weeks.  It was his only UK number one, and what a great song it is too.

It will always remind me of family walks along the seafront at Southend.  Many of the 'watering holes' where we would stop off between Leigh-on-Sea and Southend-on-Sea would play this on the jukebox whilst I drank my pint of orange squash and spent countless 10p's on the arcade machines.  Happy days.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Now That's What I Call Stuart's Favourite Music 37 - Carly Simon (Why)

Here's another song that always brings back nostalgic memories of when I was a wee lad in the early 1980s.  There's nothing special about the song - in fact, the video is three and a half minutes of cringe-worthy footage of Carly prancing along a street (back in the days when music videos could be done on the cheap and still be successful).   Still, it has a nice melody and I remember listening to this on the radio when it came out.  I guess that memory has just stuck with me ever since. Whenever I hear it, I think back to happy times when I was little.

Released in 1982, it reached number 10 in the UK charts in August of that year....  I was only 5 years old at the time.  Gosh, I feel old.