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The Greatest Hits of the 80’s & 90’s

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Rest in Peace, Irene Cara

Have you ever made a friendly wager someone about a moment in pop culture and TOTALLY cashed in?

(That’s where my IRENE CARA story starts.)

It was 7th grade English; Mrs. Haber’s class, Shorewood Intermediate School.  Though we had some great teachers (Mrs. Haber was one), the school always felt like a prison, and had just a depressing sense about it.  That’s why when Mrs. Haber made a passing reference about 80s pop culture (which I was always studied up on at age 13)… “something, something… or singing ‘Flashdance’ like Donna Summer.”

“Um, Mrs. Haber,” I said, “I think Irene Cara did Flashdance.”

(She had that sort of hairstyle that would indicate she probably did a jazzercise class to the song once or twice back in the day.)

“Hmm, I’m pretty sure Donna Summer sang Flashdance,” she said.

“Mrs. Haber, I KNOW Irene Cara sang Flashdance.”

“Oh, well!  You wanna wager a soda on it?”

“Heck yes I will!”

 

I got that Sprite from the teacher’s vending machine thanks to Irene.  And sure, that was a small token of what she gave to the world with her talents.

Irene was born in The Bronx into a Puerto Rican family in 1959 and rose to fame as Coco Hernandez in the film version of “Fame.”  With the song’s meteoric rise, she added more soundtrack songs to her belt, and took “Flashdance (What A Feeling)” right to #1 in 1983.  She continued writing and recording throughout the ’80s, and went back to musical theater in the 1990s.

While her songs and performances through the generations kept fans yearning for more, it is “Flashdance” that stood the test of time with this iconic scene.

 

So, as the line goes in “Fame,” Irene; we’ll remember your name.  You WILL live forever in song.  And thank you for the Sprite.


Lionel rules the night!

He probably should have won this award before.  But last night’s American Music Awards was TRULY Lionel Richie’s night.

The longtime singer-songwriter, who started his career with the Commodores, has most recently been serving as a judge on “American Idol,” continuing to show his prowess and coach the future of American pop stars.

With an honor bestowed upon him by longtime friend Smokey Robinson, they have one thing in common; watch and find out the thing that will always SEEMINGLY bring Lionel and Smokey together.  (Or are they Lionel and Lionel?  Or Smokey and Smokey?)

You be the judge.

Nevertheless, Lionel provides some great inspirational words that we can ALL learn from.  Enjoy it!

 


A 50 foot leg lamp? Yes please!

From the “we don’t need this, but we SURE DO LIKE IT category”… the town of Chickasha, Oklahoma has gone all in on “A Christmas Story” this year, erecting a 50-foot tall LEG LAMP in honor of the iconic item from the movie.

The lamp itself itself is actually fiberglass, anchored by several guy wires so it doesn’t take off in Oklahoma’s signature high winds.  A smaller inflatable one first went up a few years ago, but with covid concerns didn’t get a lot of publicity.  This year, as concerns ease, the photo ops are ON.

And even better?  It has its own Instagram account!

 

 

 

Enjoy.  And remember, if you can’t read the label, “it must be Italian!”


“Met My Old Lover At The Grocery Store…” …and yes, it’s true.

Growing up in Peoria, Illinois, Jill Anderson – later Jill Gruelich – lived a relatively normal life of a teen in the ’60s and early ’70s.  She graduated from Woodruff High School in 1969, where she had dated a nice boy who loved to play the guitar.  She went onto attend Western Illinois University, then married out of college and began life as a teacher.  But a chance meeting on Christmas Eve with that boy from high school changed her life – and changed Christmas music history for the better.

That’s because, that boy was Dan Fogelberg.

Dan first wrote the song about their meeting in a grocery store on Christmas Eve in 1980, and the song, “Same Old Lang Syne,” has gone onto become one of the most talked about “is it or isn’t it” relationships in history.  After Dan died, Jill confirmed – IT IS REAL – with a few subtle embellishments.

The song has stood the test of time…

 

And for those who have gone onto document their story, the bittersweet tune still means so much.

If you’re a fan of the songs reflective nature, know you’re not alone.  And, know that the song has shaped the hearts of many during the holiday season through the years.

And maybe, JUST MAYBE, know that if you’ve had an experience similar to Dan or Jill, maybe it’s time to share your story before it’s too late.


What’s that Christmas song with the acapella and the “Africa” clip?

It’s one of the most iconic Christmas songs of the past few years – with an even more iconic VIDEO that has made the rounds!

That video, in fact, is nearly 25 years old.

Starting in 1996, the acapella group STRAIGHT NO CHASER began performing together at the University of Indiana in Bloomington.  In 1998, the first performed an iconic version of “The 12 Days Of Christmas” that added comedic elements, a clip of “Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel,” and even Toto’s “Africa.”  While they had a cult following at the University and across Indiana and the region, the acceleration of YouTube in the mid 2000s amped up the video on STEROIDS to a whole new audience.

Since this video went viral in the mid 2000s, the group has now recorded several MORE albums, and become one of the MUST-SEE Christmas groups of the season.

Pretty cool for a group of dudes who just wanted to have a little fun together at college.

So share their story with your friends, and keep listening to Throwback Nation Radio’s special Christmas Edition of “The 12 Days of Christmas” and MORE from Straight No Chaser throughout the holiday season.

 


Treat your favorite Vet to a freebie this Veteran’s Day

At Throwback, we believe serving one’s country is one of the most honorable things we can do.  And for our Veterans this Friday, saying a “THANK YOU” or making a phone call seems so simple, yet it is one of those simple things that so many of us forget to do for our friends, family, and acquaintances who have served.  So, let’s start THERE this Friday.

And beyond that, let’s make sure we support and patronize the businesses who are doing great things for Veterans this Friday on Veteran’s Day with meals, bogos, and more.  Here are a few of my personal favorites.

  • Applebees – Free meals when dining in for vets, plus a $5 gift card for future use
  • Cracker Barrel – A free slice of the Coca-Cola Chocolate Cake – that stuff is TO DIE FOR
  • IHOP – Free Red, White and Blueberry pancakes for active and veteran military members
  • Starbucks – Active or veteran military members AND THEIR SPOUSES will get a free 12 oz coffee – brewed OR iced

 

And the list doesn’t end there.  Check out the full list of Veteran’s Day Freebies here – and make sure to thank a vet today!


Rest In Peace, Aaron Carter.

TMZ is reporting this afternoon that pop star-turned TV star Aaron Carter was found dead in his California home earlier today after apparently drowning in his bathtub.  Carter, who rose to fame as the younger brother of Backstreet Boys frontman NICK CARTER, became a pop sensation in the late ’90s and early 2000s.  He later went onto appear in several reality TV shows, and re-entered the music industry in 2017.  He was known for wild partying and drug use, even appearing on an episode of TV’s “The Doctors” in 2013 and touting his drug use.

While it’s hard not to speculate, toxicology reports have not yet been performed.

Aaron leaves behind his son Prince, and legions of sad fans today.

We’ll be wishing peace to his family, friends, and fans today with the news of this sad tragedy.


WATCH: Bruce covers the Commodores and pays tribute to Marvin Gaye in AMAZING fashion

When The Commodores decided to release a tribute to Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson, both of whom died in 1984, the timing seemed right.  The group was led by Walter Orange, who took over after Lionel Richie departed, the world of R&B was reeling, especially after Gaye’s murder by his father, and the song gave a sense of calm and pride in the two singers’ accomplishments.

What we didn’t know back then, is that we’d get a new version of the song 37 years later – and it would be the sort of audio comfort food we’d need all over again.

Just a few weeks back, Bruce Springsteen announced he’d be releasing an album of the great American songbook of the ’60s and ’70s.  Entitled “Only The Strong Survive” (with a cover enclosed of that Jerry Butler track), Bruce does an impeccable job of channeling the vibe, the feel, and the emotion of what made these songs great.

And why does “Nightshift” stand out so well among them?    For me, it’s presentation is the perfect pairing of original Commodores music and intention – plus Bruce’s unique, raspy voice, and connection to the music.  And, there’s something in the air in a time of unsteady like we’re living in right now, that when you hear an icon like Bruce performing an iconic song like this, it’s comfort food for the ears.

Bruce, thanks for this – we needed it.

 

 


Another “Super Freak” sample – and this one is freaky indeed

It’s been over 32 years since Rick James’ “Super Freak” got a second life as the beat, bass life, and sample to MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” – which elevated both songs into the pop culture stratosphere.

Now, we have a NEW sample of “Super Freak” – and this one is a lot FREAKIER like Rick James originally implied.

Rapper Nicki Minaj, never afraid to show her feelings or her sensual side, is taking the original to a whole new level and spelling out EXACTLY what she’s looking for physically with “Super Freaky Girl,” released a few weeks back.  And no, it’s not suitable for work.  But if it’s your sort of thing, let your freak flag fly!

 

The original…

…and the FREAKED OUT 2022 version, “Super Freaky Girl,” by Nicki.

 


LISTEN: “A Very Backstreet Christmas”

Let’s be honest.  The Backstreet Boys aren’t BOYS anymore.  They’ve been “Backstreet MEN” for a long, long time.  But their new Christmas album may make YOU feel like a kid all over again.

The Backstreet Boys’ harmonies have been one of their signature sounds since their early start, and with the melodies of some of the most memorable Christmas songs of all time, they don’t disappoint.  With a version of “O Holy Night” that will harken sentiments of the first night in Bethlehem, to covers of Wham’s “Last Christmas,” this is the sort of album you’ll want to add to your collection.

And if you’re like me, that means a stream (below) is a good start, but you’ll probably want to purchase this on CD, Vinyl, or download to your own collection too.

My picks:

BEST TRACK: “O Holy Night” – it’s just GREAT.  THAT GREAT.

BEST COVER: “Last Christmas” – it’s Wham’s song; no one will ever take that away.  But this version will evoke the same feeling George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley did back in the day.

THE SLEEPER THAT IS REALLY GOOD: “Same Old Lang Syne” – if you like the Dan Fogelberg original, you’ll LOVE it with BSB’s signature harmonies.

BEST ORIGINAL: “Christmas In New York” – It’s something about the visuals and the feel; you’ll want to take that carriage ride through Central Park this Christmas.

BEST “THROWBACK VIBES”: “Happy Days” – it’s not channeling Fonzie and the crew, but it will definitely take you back to a 70s – AND 90s – influenced dance vibe that’s a GREAT turn up.

 

 


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