This is the Blogging outpost of The 80s Empire

Learn Aikido in North Devon

Learn Aikido in North Devon
The Hartland Aikido Club (Instructor: Huw Collingbourne - Creator of The 80s Empire!)

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Cum On Feel the Noize

Here's another great 80s cover version for you. In 1983, the hard rock band Quiet Riot recorded Cum On Feel The Noize and had a top ten hit with it in the USA. But in Britain, the band Slade (who wrote the song) had a Number One hit all of ten years earlier in 1973. Queit Riot later went on to record another Slade song Mamma Weer All Crazee Now but that was not such a big hit for them. Anyway, see what you think. Here is Quiet Riot's version of Cum On Feel The Noize...

And here is Slade's original...

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Judas Priest's Rob Halford - the Danny La Rue of Heavy Metal!

Rob Halford of Judas Priest only came out as gay in 1998. But in the early '80s he gave me an interview that was, how shall, I say, well, at least a bit suggestive. Actually, I had a lot of fun interviewing Rob. My interview style was a bit on the cheeky side and he went along with the spirit of it - giving funny and outrageous answers to my impertinent questions. Here is a part of that interview....

My interview with Rob Halford from Flexipop! magazine

When I met Halford I could hardly avoid noticing that he was wearing more black leather, chains and studs than I'd seen anywhere outside of certain, um, 'special interest' nightspots. So naturally, I asked him about it. He was only too happy to talk.

"When we first started I use to wear all silk and satin," he told me, "They were really quite elaborate costumes too! I used to get all my clothes from the Birmingham theatrical costumiers. I'd just go along and pick up anything I fancied - some of my outfits were really bizarre.

"When we did concerts I used to tear off after every second number to go and put on something different. Often I'd do as many as six or eight costume changes in one show. It was like Danny La Rue [a British female impersonator] backstage - quite outrageous!"

I asked when he decided to throw away all his silks and satins and slip into some figure hugging black leather.

"I think it started off with me wearing a leather jacket and feeling really good in it. Then suddenly the time came when we were all completely dressed in leather and stuff, I think we were probably the first group to take it on in a big way."

So, naturally, I asked Rob if there was any sexual angle to it all?

"I wouldn't deny that there are pretty strong sexual overtones to this sort of gear but there is a lot of raw sexual energy in the music too. I would say that Heavy Metal has got all the qualities that sex has got to offer in all its various forms and delights."


"Well, maybe not all of its various delights. Although we have had a few odd incidents at some of our concerts when people have been discovered gyrating with more than ordinary dance movements!"

So why do many chains and studs?

"As far as I'm concerned it's all a bit of fun. There's often a sense of competition between different Heavy Metal groups, with everyone boasting 'I've got more studs than you have, mate!' or 'I've got more lengths of chain around my neck than you have.' --- though I have to say that when I'm in my full regalia I can give anyone a good run for their money."

Cheekily, I asked Rob is he might ever be tempted to trade in the leather and go back to all the satin frills and flounces.

"No, I don't think so," he told me, "I can't see myself doing all those costume changes in future. So fans needn't worry. I shan't be dashing off after a number and coming back on wearing a sequinned cocktail dress!"

Brian May sings Rainbow

This blog post the first in a new series I'll be doing on great cover versions of classic songs. Now I have an admission to make. This song wasn't a hit in the '80s. It was just ahead of the decade in '79. But the band that made it a hit (Rainbow) were big in the '80s and the man doing the cover (Brian May) was part of one of the biggest of all bands at the time - Queen. So I think I may be allowed to cheat a bit. The song Since You Been Gone was actually written in 1976 by Russ Ballard. You can can Ballard's performance HERE. The definitive Rainbow version is HERE. And this is Brian May's version...

Friday, 22 January 2016

Sigue Sigue Sputnik

An alternative recording of "Success". Just something to keep your feet tapping!

Friday, 4 April 2014

Cyndi Lauper and the gay porn magazine!

This is the story behind one of her hit songs. WARNING: if you're easily shocked, don't watch!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Van Halen The Studio Albums 1978-1984' - new box set

Box of six albums: £23.81

Buy on Amazon

Look, I’m not going to tell you if the music is any good. You’ve had about thirty years to make up your mind about Van Halen. If you are a dedicated fan, you’ll already have these discs. If (like me) you know their singles but are less familiar with the albums, this set may be just the thing to help your rock your way through the bleak, cold days of February and March…

So what do you get? The set comprises Van Halen’s first six albums. Each disc is contained in a card sleeve showing the original album cover, and these are all packed inside a sturdy cardboard box. The downside of reproducing the album covers in CD format is that the credits on the sleeves are printed in such tiny characters that they are almost unreadable – this is especially so on the sleeve of Van Halen II where the tiny text is printed in an almost illegible light pink over dark blue!

The discs all contain the original track listings and there are no extras: no alternative or extended tracks and no additional goodies in the box such as booklets or photos. What you get is just the plain vanilla editions of the six albums, exactly as they were originally released.

The albums are: Van Halen, Van Halen II, Women and Children First, Fair Warning, Diver Down and 1984. These are all from what many fans regard the ‘classic’ period when the band was fronted by Dave Lee Roth. This set ends with Dave Lee Roth’s  final album before he was replaced by Sammy Hagar. There are lots of the band’s most popular songs here – including several songs from the first five albums that were chart hits in America and Canada – such as ‘(Oh) Pretty Woman’, ‘Dancing In The Street’ and ‘You Really Got Me’. However, it wasn’t until the release of the sixth album, ‘1984’, that Van Halen really made a big impression on the UK singles charts. That album contain several international hits ‘Panama’ and ‘Hot For Teacher’. But undoubtedly their biggest and, to this day, their most memorable hit was ‘Jump’. And if you need any reminder of that, here it is…

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

OMD, Enola Gay and a new album

"I was always uneasy about the fact that Enola Gay was a bright, perky pop song about a nuclear holocaust, but it was insanely catchy..." says Paul Humphreys, of the OMD hit, Enola Gay.

"The subject matter caused consternation within the band," according to Andy McCluskey, "Our manager even threatened to resign if we released it as a single. I researched the subject in the library; it's not the way most people write songs – but couched the lyric in metaphor and emotive language. I thought the line "Is mother proud of little boy today?" was so terribly clever, because it had several meanings. It referenced the fact that the plane was named after the pilot's mother, and the bomb was codenamed "little boy" – while also asking whether a mother would be proud of what her son was doing. I was ambivalent about this: would you fly a plane to kill all those people because you thought you were going to save even more?"

For more, see The Guardian newspaper. OMD's new album, English Electric, is due for release on the 8th of April and their tour starts later the same month.

Meanwhile, here's that song...