Monday, March 22, 2010

Retro Mixtape of Love - A Cassette Retrospective

Ever find yourself getting upset that your current mp3 player can only hold 1200 songs or that the battery is only good for about three days on a single charge? I can't say that I feel your pain. Reason is I grew up before we starting storing our songs on memory chips. Back in the 70s, 80s and better part of the 90s, society had to get by with the cassette tape.

This miracle that followed the 8-track and reel to reel concept allowed people to record their vinyl albums and put only the songs they really wanted all onto one handy, dandy portable medium just slightly larger than a cigarette pack. That was pretty tiny in those days. You could record up to 120 minutes of your favorite tunes on one single cassette. It allowed you to create the perfect blend of tunes to keep that party going or to offer up as a token of your love to that special someone with groovy titles like, "Midnight Love Mix Pt1" or "Fantasy Voyage of Love".
With the proliferation of audio cassettes came the boom box craze that saw all kinds of spikes in battery usage and weird sights like the one below. All you needed to be cool in the 80s was a big ass radio. Well.... it was a good start.
Eventually the good folks at Sony realized that a personal sized cassette player would use less batteries, be easier to carry and be less of an annoyance in your daily commute. The Sony Walkman was born and ushered in a whole new category in the electronics stores - the personal music player. Since then the quest to go smaller and pack more music per square inch has never stopped and it changed not only how we listen to music but how it's marketing, sold and distributed.
For a more detailed nostalgic look at the audio cassette in society, click the cool Walkman below:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Retro Video of the Day - Twilight Zone

Today we got a double shot for you with two songs with the same title but vastly different styles yet both are extremely cool tracks and ooze retro with every note.
First up is Twilight Zone by Golden Earring which was a hit in 1982 and had pretty heavy rotation on all the video music channels back when they actually played videos.......those were good days. It reached number 1 in the US Billboards Top Tracks and number 10 on the Hot 100.




The second Twilight Zone comes from Two Unlimited and was released ten years later and also got heavy rotation on the video channels. The song is pretty much the opposite side of the spectrum to the Golden Earring version yet was a big hit in many countries and became a workout staple due to the very catchy high energy hook. It made it to number 5 on the U.S. Billboards Hot Club Play charts and only 49 on the Top 100.

So what's the connection? They are both Dutch groups. Enjoy.





Wednesday, March 10, 2010

R.I.P Corey Haim (1971 - 2010)

Canadian born actor Corey Haim was found dead today in his mother's apartment in Oakwood, California of an apparent prescription drug overdose. Wow this blog is really turning into a retro obituary column but it really sucks when you're writing about someone who didn't need to die.

Corey Haim was one of the two Corey's, who along with fellow child star Corey Feldman, starred in many films in the 80s and early 90s like The Lost Boys, License To Drive, Murphy's Romance, Dream a Little Dream and Lucas. He later became a reality TV star on A&E with Corey Feldman in "The Two Corey's" as the show chronicled the comeback attempt of both Coreys. Tragically it only showcased the spiraling descent that eventually claimed Corey Haim's life.


Corey's Full Page Ad in Variety Magazine Feb 2008

Although he was working, none of the films or appearances were able to recapture the fame that his early career brought at a young age. This is what kept him turning to drugs both illegal and eventually prescription.

This is sad and senseless. In this day and age, there is ample proof that drugs are bad and NEVER result in a positive and healthy outcome. There is help, there is treatment and there are alternatives. Not to sound preachy, but if you are an addict - get help. Just ask for it. The other lesson here of course is if you are a young actor that find early success, don't give up on studying for a fall back option in the event your career comes to a screeching halt. It happens far too often and the aftermath is never pretty.

Here's a look at some of Corey Haim's work during happier times.









Monday, March 1, 2010

The Way They Was (Part 2)

In part one of this series (Click here to go to Part 1) we looked at how a few celebrities looked in their younger years before they made it big. It was kind of inspiring since it was obvious that most were pretty average looking and evolved into the glitterazzi we all know and love today.

This batch is no different except we threw in a few that were pretty bright eyed and fresh looking in their youth before being run over by the steamroller known as age. Once again it is inspiring to know that celebrities are just like us. Enjoy.

John Travolta

Growing up in the 70s, who didn't want to be John Travolta? Growing up in the 2000's nobody wants to be John Travolta. Okay that was a bit harsh....... he's still cool and takes on pretty daring roles. Gotta love Barbarino.


Terry Hatcher
I'm still amazed she was actually a Bond girl. She's looking pretty thin lately - a bit too thin which tends to be a wee bit off putting but she still has her moments on Desperate Housewives where she's almost attractive.......almost.

Michelle Pfeiffer
Michelle is stunning and was pretty darn cute when she was younger as well. She had that all American girl look and grew up to be one of the sexiest Hollywood villains ever. She is Catwoman. Grrrooowl! (I digress)

Madonna
I'd say something bad about her except for two things - first, she kind of scares me and could probably take me in a fight (look at those biceps!) and secondly she's still freakin' awesome. Her body of work (and body) have pretty much spoken for themselves over the years but she could skip a few workouts and pop a couple of glazed donuts once in a while.

George Clooney
Wow - what to say? George is the embodiment of every bad grade school picture ever taken but thankfully that picture provides hope for the countless size 8 bowl haircut wearing geeks everywhere - you too can grow up to look like George Clooney........though not likely.



Retro Video of the Day - Gold

Sadly the Vancouver winter Olympics are over and there's nothing left to do but count the cash and clean up the mess. I do have to say that the whole event ran pretty smooth with the exception of a few technical glitches, lack of snow and a couple of deaths - other than that, it was mint.

Seriously though it was sad to see a young athlete lose his life though it was while doing something he loved - how many of us will be lucky to die doing something we love? As a tribute to him and all the athletes who competed, here's a retro classic from 1983 by Spandau Ballet that takes it's title from the one thing everyone strives for during the Olympics - Gold.