Moral Majority

12 May

Jerry Falwell
Jerry Falwell Moral Majority 1979-1989

Take one part political neo conservatism, one part Fundamental Christian mix with American Patriotism and you have the Moral Majority.  Often confused with a religious group due to the founder Rev Jerry Falwell’s over the top brand of Evangelical Christianity they were actually a political lobby group with the agenda of unseating the liberal left of the 60’s and 70’s.

RISE OF THE MORAL MAJORITY

Falwell, a Pastor in Virgina at the Thomas Road Baptist Church had a successful religious radio show that morphed into  a national Sunday TV sermon  with the “Old Time Gospel Hour” with an audience of  7-10 million viewers.  Claiming a support base of 50 million, 80,000 affiliated  preachers and 4.5 million financial contributors.  The Majority boasted it raised a million dollars a day through its media outlets and claimed they added 3-4 million registered conservative voters to the Regan and Bush presidential campaigns of the 80’s.

The Moral Majority supported 2 parent family values, prayer in school, free enterprise, creationism education, Israel, the  military and the Bible.   It opposed Communism, Gay rights and homosexuality,  sex education, pornography, the Equal Rights Amendment and abortion.

 Falwell Quotes and Scandal

The loose based organization of the different chapters  and Falwell’s love for provocative speeches on TV news  led to frequent public gaffes that  prevented the Moral Majority from attaining a high insider status with the Republican Party.

6.5 million dollar illegal bond scheme to fund the church, later overturned as intent to fraud could not be proved.

“Grown men should not be having sex with prostitutes unless they are married to them.”

Falwell fearing a communist revolution called Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu a “phony”  “as far as representing the black people of South Africa”.

Took over the PTL televangelist  club in 1987  after the Bakers were involved in sex and financial scandals.

 “He is purple — the gay-pride color, and his antenna is shaped like a triangle — the gay pride symbol.” –from a “Parents Alert” issued in Jerry Falwell’s National Liberty Journal, warning that “Tinky Winky,” a character on the popular PBS children’s show, “Teletubbies,” may be gay.

Defended the Reverend Sun Myun Moon of the Unification Church who was in prison for tax evasion and endorsed  The Washington Times, the Unification Church-owned paper.

“Billy Graham is the chief servant of Satan in America.”

In New York the Moral Majority director made an anti-Semitic comment about the “almost supernatural ability” of Jews to make money.

Falwell was the driving force behind a 1988 campaign to collect 2 million signatures for a pardon for Oliver North. He requested assistance from 32,000 Baptist pastors from around the country.

“many evangelicals believe the Antichrist will, by necessity, be a Jewish male. This belief is 2,000 years old and has no anti-Semitic roots. This is simply historic and prophetic orthodox Christian doctrine that many theologians, Christian and non-Christian, have understood for two millennia.

“I think Muhammad was a terrorist.”  “I concluded from reading Muslim and non-Muslim writers that Muhammad was a violent man, a man of war.”

By 1989 The Majority had lost most of its base and was out of money.  Jimmy Swaggert and Jim and Tammy Faye Baker with their multiple scandals ended the reign of TV evangelists and neo con  politics mixed with fundamental Christian religion.

Girl Bands of the 80’s

25 Apr

 

Prior to the 80’s there was plenty of  female solo artists but only a few All Girl Groups that had hit songs,  most of these were part of RnB sound of Motown featuring African-American  women.   Not until the “Runaways” of the late 70’s did an all girl band  write, sing and play their own music  make it to the top of the charts.  The decades to follow made the “Girl Bands” a  commodity but in the 80’s it was still rare for all female groups to have any commercial success.  The Spice Girls, En Vogue,  All Saints, Pussy Cat Dolls, Girlicious, Dixie Chicks, Be Good Tanyas, Destiny’s Child, Girls Aloud and Bikini Kill all owe some respect to their sisters from the 80’s.

Bananarama

The British trio consisting of life long childhood  friends  Siobhan Fahey and Keren Woodward met up with  Sara D while studying fashion journalism together in 1979; recorded their first hit “Cruel Summer” on their 2nd album   featured in the Karate Kid soundtrack in 1983.  The bands original image  British Tomboy Punk  later gave way to a more sexually aggressive and slick image in 1986 for the hit song and video “Venus”   as the music became more dance oriented.  The girls biggest hit “I Heard A Rumour” 1987 was a full-blown glam dance video straight from Madonna with wardrobe and boy toy background dancers to match.  Banarama appeared in the original Band Aid video “Do They Know Its Christmas” and Band Aid II in 1989.  They continue today as a duo.

Bangels

Sisters, Debbie and Vicki Peterson were joined by Susanna Hoffs and Annette Zilinskas formed in Los Angeles in 1981 as “The Bangs” changing the name to “The Bangles”  due to a legal issue.  Zilinskas was replaced in 83 with Michael Steele from the “Runaways”  The Bangels had numerous hits with the quirky “Walk Like an Egyptian” and “Going Down to Liverpool”  as it featured Leonard Nimoy in the video.    Manic Monday written by Prince was their 2nd best-selling single after “Eternal Flame”.

Go Go’s

The Go Go’s had a classic 80’s new wave pop sound that made music history as the first all women band to both write their own music and play instruments to a billboard #1 song.  Fronted by Belinda Carlisle with Jane Wiedlin, Kathy Valentine, Gina Schock and Charlotte Caffey this early 80’s band had many hits that preceded the music video.   The debut album “Beauty and The Beat” 1981 went double platinum selling more than 3 million copies.  The band split in 1985 due to personality conflicts and creative differences but in reality it was due to the ongoing drug addiction of some of the band members mainly Belinda Carlisle that would not be openly discussed until 20 years later.   All members of the group went on to successful solo careers  and write for todays popular stars;  Charlotte Caffey penned hits for Keith Urban and Gina Schock for Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez.  There have been many reunion tours over the years including a new one in 2011.

Vanity 6 

Susan, Vanity and Brenda. Vanity 6

 

The purple great one “Prince” said he created this trio in his own musical image as female.  Denise Matthews, Susan Moonsie, and Brenda Bennett survived for only one album.  Along the way Mathews a Canadian B movie actress took the stage name Vanity and Prince tarted the group up to perform in high heels and lingerie; lyrics of songs matched their appearance. Their second single release “Nasty Girl” was featured in “Beverly Hills Cop” and hollywood teen sex romp “Private School” 1983.  Vanity and Prince appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in the same year.  Vanity who was dating Prince at the time was staring opposite him in the film “Purple Rain” abruptly quit and ended the relationship when offered a solo record deal.  Apollonia took over lead duties of the band and in the movie.  The band was renamed Apollonia 6.  The six is rumoured to be used as it represented the number of breasts in the band.

Salt-n-Pepa

1985 saw the first all female rap group form and make hit records for the next 15 years.  Cheryl James (“Salt”, now Cheryl Wray), Sandra Denton (“Pepa”), and Deidra “Dee Dee” Roper (Spinderella)  were overtly sexual and controversial in their songs, ushering in a new era and genre of music for women. Salt n Pepa continue on today celebrating their 25th anniversary on Oprah.

Expose

Initially formed  in Miami (1984) Expose released a 12 inch single to take advantage of  the new radio format of  House/Club/Dance mixes for major urban markets that evolved into  “Freestyle”.  The group was reformed in 86 with an entire new lineup of women Jeanette Jurado, Gioia Bruno and Ann Curless and signals the first commercial  packaging of an all Female Group as they were selected by Miami Disc Jockey and Producer Lewis Martineé along with his partners at Pantera Productions.   The group was the first to hold the record of  4 top 10 billboard hits from a debut album.  They disbanded in 1995 after only 3 albums but with sales of 25 million records.

Pointer Sisters

Once again a Sister Act makes it big in the 80’s.  The Pointers, Ruth, Anita, June and Bonnie began as a quartet in 1973 reaching commercial success in the 80’s as a trio recording 10 top 10 hits between 1979 and 1985; Bonnie left to pursue a solo career.  With the advent of MTV the sisters were put into heavy video rotation with now classics “Im so Excited”  “Jump”  and “Neutron Dance” which was featured in Eddie Murphy’s movie hit  “Beverley Hills Cop”

Seduction

Another very late 80’s girl group in the freestyle genre assembled as a studio project  by Robert Clivillés and David Cole (C+C Fun Factory) for the dance club scene, had an unexpected hit and thus the group was put together with  April Harris , Michelle Visage , and Idalis DeLeon.

Sweet Sensation

Sisters Margie and Mari Fernandez joined with Betty LeBron to form this all female Puerto Rican  Freestyle  Dance music group based out of New York in 1986.  Mari was replace in 1989 with Sheila Vega and in 91 Margie & Sheila were replaced by 3 new members, Belle, Maya, & Jenae, making them a quartet.  By 1992 the group disappeared. Their debut album Take It While It’s Hot  1989 spawned 5 hit singles

 Cover Girls

Another New York based Freestyle Dance music trio formed by music promoter and dance club owner Sal Abbatiell that went through 8 performers from 87-96.  ” Show Me” the debut album, 1987 released 5 singles, 2 became top 100 hits “Because of You” and “Promise Me” a 12 inch single named after the album. 

Klymaxx

Started in 1981 this funk dance oriented group had a few hits that broke the top 100 on the charts, doing a bit better on the RnB charts. 1984 – 1987 saw the most activity with 3 albums and nine singles.  By the end of the decade the group of six was a trio.

Klymaxx

 

 Company B

Company as a Trio

And yet another Freestyle group from the late 80’s from the producer driven trend of all girl dance groups.  Company B had a #1 hit on the Dance charts that crossed over to the pop chart making it to #21.  They were able to hold it together long enough to record 4 albums with 6 singles released and 8 girls rotating through the band.  They were known for platinum wigs.

 Vixen

 

Formed in 1980, spending most of the decade as an opening act for Ozzy, Scorpion and Bon Jovi they got their shot when EMI signed them to a record deal in 1988 to get a piece of the pie from the growing commercial success of other all girl groups. Their self titled album was followed by one other in  1990. “Edge of a Broken Heart” is there only hit.  What makes the band unique was Glam and Hard Rock has had only a handful of  female bands over the past 30 years. 

Mary Jane Girls

The protogees of “Rick James”  this funk, disco and RnB group were to take on Prince and Vanity 6.  They stuck around just long enough to record two albums that went gold in 83 and 85 with 8 songs that cracked the top 100 chart in either the dance or RnB list.  “In My House” made it to #7 in the US and #1 on the dance chart.

80’s Teen Pop Stars

17 Apr

Justin Beiber

Justin Beiber

Nothing new here that was exclusive to the 80’s.  Teens and pop music have been around  since Frank Sinatra.  Long before the numerous American  Idol and  Americas Got Talent TV shows;  the Beibs, Miley Cyrus the Jonas Brothers and a hundred others there was Star Search 1983 – 1995.  With the assistance of the hot new media at the time the “music video” the 80’s managed to produce a few teen pop sensations. Without Twitter, You Tube and other social media sharing platforms to perpetually market the mediocrity of the talent  many to the 80’s teen stars shone brightly for a very brief time.

 

TIFFANY (Darwish)

The original 80’s singing star went by just Tiffany.  Not to be confused with the numerous other Tiffany’s that are around: Selby, Evans, Keys, Fallon, Mulhern, Taylor, Thiessen most of which appear to be Playboy playmates.  In 1987 Tiffany released her first album and had a a hit with the cover  “I Think We Are Alone Now”.  Like all great teen pop stars there were immediate follow-up albums in  88 and 89 but no more hits.  She went on to pose in playboy in 2002 and appear in 2007 VH1 Celebrity Fit Club going from 152 lbs to 124.

Tiffany

Tiffany hit single I Think We Are Alone Now

 

Debbie Gibson

Debbie Gibson made history the same year as Tiffany 1987,  as the youngest female (17) to write , produce and perform a #1 hit single on the Billboard chart.  Debbie had some talent recording 6 songs that made the top 10 in the late 80’s.  She continued into the 90’s without further hits.  She dabbled in  TV and Movies for the past 20 years and did record a hit in Japan in 2010.  Debbie also did the Playboy pose in 2005.  Debbie and Tiffany starred together in Mega Python vs Gatoroid 2011.

Debbie Gibson the 80s

 

Debbie Gibson 2005 Playboy

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

MENUDO

Bonus marks to you if  you remember Menudo, the Puerto Rican all Boy Band formed in the late 70’s reaching stardom in 1981 with the Album Quiero Ser.   Menudo is a popular Mexican  soup of jumbled bits from the cow’s stomach and possibly other parts explains the ever-changing line up of singers as they were kicked out upon  their 18 birthday. Menudo did not release an English language album untill a full year after touring the United States in 1983.  Ricky Martin is a Mendo alumni 1984-1989.  A total of  31 boys were part of the band between 1977 and 1995.  By the mid 90’s the   Boys were slightly older, up to 20 years in age and from many different Spanish-speaking countries.  It is unknown if any members have posed nude.

Menudo late 70s

  

Menudo with Ricky Martin

Teen Idols of the 80’s #2

12 Apr

Willie Aames teen years

Well this is a tough one Hunky Men or Teen Idol category, Willie was both.  Born in 1960 Aames was an adult by the time the 80’s rolled around but came to stardom in the TV family drama “Eight is Enough” playing Tommy Bradford 1977-1981.

Charles in Charge

A minor success opposite Scott Baio in “Charles in Charge”  (who also falls into the Teen/Hunky Men category)  and a series of  forgettable movies including the unforgettable “Paradise” only because it starred Phoebe Cates in numerous nude scenes.  Paradise was a blatant copy of the Blue Lagoon starring Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins another teen idol that did not make it to Hunky Men status.

Aames and Cates in Paradise 1982

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Child Star Syndrome

Willie made his acting debut at the age of 11 in the” Odd Couple”  and went on to appear in some of the top rated TV shows throughout the 70’s  “Adam 12″, “Gunsmoke”, Medical Centre”, “Waltons” and the Voice of Jamie Boyle  on the animated show “Wait Till Your Father Gets Home”.  In his memoir “Grace is Enough” co-written with his then wife Maylo Upton,  Aames reveals the sad saga of  a hollywood  child star;   molested at 11, drinking and using drugs while filming Eight is Enough with co-star Grant Goodeve, making $1 million a year, own home at 18, married and divorced,  filed for bankruptcy in 2008, attempted suicide, lost his house and car, had garage sale to raise money and unemployed for almost 3 years.  After years of drug and alcohol abuse Aames became straight and sober,  a born again Christian and met his 2nd wife Maylo who was also seeking addiction treatment at the  time.  In 2008 Aames was working as a construction labourer and since has found a job with a cruise line with the entertainment staff.   No matter what decade the hollywood child star story is almost always tragic.
 
 

The Cosby Show

10 Apr

The Cosby Show - The Huxtable Family Original Cast

The Cosby Show dominated the airwaves in the 80’s; 201 episodes aired from 1984 – 1992 earning 20-30 million viewers per episode and one of only 3 TV shows to be #1 five years in a row.  This 30 minute sitcom was ground breaking and trendsetting at the same time.  The affluent and professional couple Claire (Phylicia Rashad) and Cliff (Bill Cosby) in the role of “Lawyer Mom” and “Doctor Dad” portrayed African American life as it was never seen before on TV, a normal everyday family that just happen to be black, this was not Sandford and Son.  Sometimes  criticized for not being “Black” and reflecting the the real state of race relations in the US the Cosby show  was not overtly political or racial but subtle in Family Values and African American culture largely based on Cosby’s own family and comedy routine.  The show highlighted Cosby’s observations, facial expressions and family interactions  with the younger cast members for humour avoiding the standard sitcom one liner and canned laughter.  When they did tackle issues of the day they were family issues and not specifically related to race.  The show could have been the “Waltons” with darker skin.  The show was praised by many of all colours for it’s  positive portrayal of family and  parenting.

The Cosby Kids, The Bill Cosby Show, The New Bill Cosby Show

Cosby was one of the first Stand Up Comedians to have and star in their own sitcom show named after them self and based upon their comedy routine, Sienfeld, Roseanne, Drew Carey and Ellen were all to follow.

Bill Cosby for Jello

Cosby was extremely popular as a stand up act in the 70’s and had a number of  unsuccessful TV shows, 3 in total with variations of his name in the title prior to The Cosby Show,  most notably Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.  He was  also fondly remembered as the spokesperson for Jello.  Cosby’s personal interest in jazz led to 0ver 50 special guest star appearances: Lena Horne, Stevie Wonder,  Placido Domiongo, Dizzie Gillispie, Tito Puente  and Sammy Davis Jr. along with current and soon to be acting celebrities, John Ritter, Debbie Allen, Rita Moreno, Sonia Bragga, Robert Culp, Adam Sandler, Robin Givens, Naiomi Cambell, Alicia Keys, Danny Kaye, Red Buttons and Christopher Plumber to name a few.

The Cosby Show came to an end as all great shows do with ratings in decline and a spin off   “A Different World” featuring Lisa Bonet as she leaves the Huxtable home and begins her university education at Hillman college, it aired for 6 seasons.  The final episode aired during the 1992 race riots in Los Angeles.

Yikes! Yuppies!

4 Apr

1980's YUPPIEThe ” Young Urban Professional Person”  aka the YUPPIE became the most desired and hated demographic since the hippies of the 70’s.   The word Yuppie rose to pop culture status after Jerry Rubin founder of the 70’s radical Youth International Party  “YIPPIES”  turned wall street stock broker organizing a business networking group at the fabled New York  disco “Studio 54″ that played classical music during their meetings.

In the Early 80’s the Yuppie was something to aspire towards; a baby boomer, man or women in their 20’s or 30’s, well educated, professional, career oriented, socially liberal but fiscally conservative, possibly married with no children making them DINKS. (double income no kids)  typically white and living in large urban centres. This class largely would have been the preppies in their college or university years.

The Yuppie became the subject of many 80’s movies, Wall Street, Fatal Attraction and War of the Roses being the most successful and  loathed due to their characterization of the  yuppie lifestyle.  It was the lifestyle that eventually turned the word Yuppie into a negative stereo type and media target as they became synonymous  with;

Conspicuous Consumption

Career Opportunists with no real skills

Self Absorbed

Electronic Gadgetry

the 1987 Wall Street Crash and early 90s’ recession

Obsessed with Status and Outward Appearance

Neglectful of  Family to pursue money and career

Cocaine Use

1983 Yuppie Handbook

Yuppies gave rise to many of today’s luxury brands and fads that are now normal social activities. BMW, Volvo, Burberry, Channel, Polo, Ralph Lauren, Perrier water, yoga, massage, sushi, organic foods, day spas, high end  kitchen and bathroom renovations.

Time magazine wrote an obituary to the Yuppie in 1991 as a  backlash had made being a Yuppie unpopular and Yuppies after all just wanted to be popular regardless of what popular was.  The Yuppie class was the ultimate worst of the 80’s and has unfortunately made a small comeback in 2010/11

Teen Idols of the 80’s

26 Mar

Christopher Atkins, Blue Lagoon 1980

Teen Idols were not the sole domain of the 80’s, they have existed ever since  teens were invented.  The 80’s  probably did not have more teen  idols than other decades just an increase in ones with little talent fuelled by music videos, similar to any of  todays reality TV personalities.  A New medium always needs new content.

Christopher Atkins

Chris is an easy target as he is a two time winner of the Golden Raspberry Awards for worst

Christopher Atkins Playgirl

 actor in 1983 and worst supporting actor in 1989.   He did get his fair share of the spotlight in the early 80’s beginning with the Blue Lagoon starring alongside a teen Brooke Shields.  The plot as thin as Brooke’s string bikini has the two shipwrecked on a tropical island from childhood and eventually falling in love as they reach adolescents.  The topless, semi nude and nude scenes of both actors earned the movie an R rating, nonetheless it went on to do $58 million at the box office.

Other Gigs

Atkins went on to do a few more movies The Pirate Movie 1982 with Kristy MacNichol another teen star best remembered from her days on the TV show Family.  Despite her acting talent the movie flopped.  He posed for playboy twice in 82, did a full season 83-84 of the TV show Dallas as the young stud having an affair with an older woman and so the roles went.  Another movie playing a college student stripping his way through college; he was unable to find an acting gig where he kept his shirt and sometimes pants on.

After the 80’s

The curly blond hair, the result of a perm went darker and straighter. Numerous cameos on TV and bit parts kept him busy along with a few TV commercials.  A review of his acting bio claims over 50 acting gigs and reveals he is set to appear in 7 movies or TV shows in 2011.  DVD’s of his movies and autographed photos are available from his official website.   Only die hard fans should bother to click.

Hair Bands

20 Mar

Whitesnake

Every musical era has its corresponding hairstyle… Beehive, Pompadour, Afro, Mop Top, long, short, straight or curly but the birth of the music video pushed music and hair into a symbiotic art form.  The relationship between hair and music cut across all the music genres of the 80’s with one defining characteristic shared  “Big Hair”.   This led to the term “Hair Band” to describe bands that were noted as much for their hair as music.  Hair Bands are often singularly associated with Glam and Metal music but some of the best Hair came from the New Wave and Punk movement. Whether spiked, teased, gelled, mohawk, coloured, beaded or rat tailed the 80’s had a lot of hair.  Here are some of my favourites from bands that may have not gotten their full recognition in the 80’s.

Flock of Seagulls, Mike Score

Platinum Blonde

Mary Jane Girls

Kid n Play

Billy Idol

Twisted Sister, Dee Snider

Taylor Dayne

Boy George

Bananaramma

RATT

Thompson Twins

Howard Jones

Helen Blows Her Top

12 Mar

May 18, 1980 Mnt. St. Helens

Helen actually blew more of her side than her top. I can remember watching a 35mm film in Geography class with a crew cut scientist showing pictures of the pressure bulge on the side of the mountain and the possibility of a volcanic explosion, the film was 20 years old.    The resulting explosion lasting 9 hours on may 18, 1980 sent ash and debris 22 km into the air, wiped out 300 km of road, 25 of rail lines, 250 homes, thousands of  acres of  forest  and killed 57 people.

The crater has been turned into a US National Monument.  I had the opportunity to visit t in 86, on my way from Mexico to Vancouver.  Even though much of the mountain was still closed to visitors the remnants of the Volcano were still spectacular.  25 years later I can still visualize the day I spent hiking and riding around the mountain.  It was a day filled with both beauty, enjoyment and somber.    The US dept of Forest was studying the mountain at the time and captured the explosion.   The mountain has seen volcanic activity again in 86 and 2004  and smaller but frequent seismic activity often registering  2 on the richter scale.  For those of you that are reflective on life and its possible meaning, Helen my shed a bit more perspective.   If you are ever in the Pacific North-West stop by and pay respect to the forces of nature and the 57 that lost their lives.  Mount St. Helens is truly a North American natural wonder not to be missed of the 1980’s or any decade.

Mnt St. Helens and the Resulting Crater

Freedom 30 Space Shuttle Retires

11 Mar

1981 Launch

January of 86, I was in Florida on my way to Mexico by motorcycle when I had the opportunity to see the space shuttle launch.  I had tickets to view the launch from the cape but the mission was scrubbed.  I ended up watching from a few kilometers down the coast a couple of days later as the extremely cold, and very early morning ride was too much to be repeated.  Two weeks later Jan 28, I was in Houston heading to the Mexican border when the shuttle Challenger blew up.  All 7 aboard were killed including the first and last civilian NASA  allowed into space  teacher Christa McAuliffe. The cause was later revealed to be linked to frozen o rings  from the unseasonable cold weather Florida was experiencing.  There were 5  shuttles altogether but another accident in 2003 involving the Columbia on re-entry left Endeavour, Discovery and Atlantis.  At  the tender age of 30 the space shuttle program is being retired, June 2011 is the last planned flight.    A total of 132  missions were flown with 32 taking place in the 80’s.  Another best and worst moment of the 80’s.

Challenger disaster January 28, 1986

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