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George’s Journal’s pick of the flicks and top of the pops ~ 1985-89

July 21, 2020

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It’s nigh-on impossible to think back to the 1980s – especially its latter half – and not instantly have images and sounds flash through your mind of Americana. The visuality of TV gems like Miami Vice, Cheers, Cagney And Lacey and The Refrigerator winning the Super Bowl. In addition to über-macho movies like Die Hard, Top Gun, Lethal Weapon and Batman (as well as, of course, the feminist yuppie fairy tale that’s Working Girl). All of it joined by a soundtrack driven by Madonna, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Guns N’ Roses and the exciting, emerging hip hop of Public Enemy and Beastie Boys. And yet, that’s far from the whole story…

In this then, the latest in a long line of long posts, each charting this blogger’s choices of the very best tunes and films from a semi-dectet of times past (check out here the posts covering 1950-54, 1955-59, 1960-64, 1965-69, 1970-74, 1975-79 and 1980-84), we cast our eyes and ears back to 1985-89. A loud, florid, varied five years punctuated by Reaganism and Thatcherism, the rise (and, to some extent, fall) of the yuppie, the build-up to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the humble-ish beginnings of the mobile phone, Oprah, The Simpsons and ‘satellite TV’ coming to Blighty.

For, yes, ’85-’89 wasn’t just about Americana. After all, it also saw the rise of the biggest rock band of the last 30 years – hailing from Ireland – as well as a particular purple patch for Euro cinema (fuelled by the Provence-picture-postcard-perfect Jean de Florette/ Manon des Sources and the sweatily sexy Betty Blue) and Australian soaps beguiling British TV viewers. All right, in retrospect, maybe we could have lived without that last one.

All the same, there was a heck of a lot going on – so, why don’t we start, each and every one of us, by throwing our headphones on, slamming down our Walkman’s ‘play’ button and skateboarding our way back into 1985…?

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CLICK

on the film and song titles for video clips…

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1985

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Gorbachev becomes Soviet premier; Live Aid rocks; hole in ozone layer found;
Rainbow Warrior is sunk; Titanic is located; tragedy at Brussels’ Heysel Stadium;

EastEnders and Neighbours debut; UK mobile networks launch; New Coke hiccup

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Film:

Back To The Future

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Directed by: Robert Zemeckis/ Starring: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd,
Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover and Thomas F. Wilson/ Country: USA/
Running time:
116 minutes/ (Sci-fi-teen-comedy-adventure-drama)

What George says: An impossible-to-resist slice of entertainment, this is an expertly executed, much-loved ’80s classic that perfectly blends Hollywood teen comedy with time-travel adventuring, thereby masquerading as an inevitable blockbuster. But it inevitably became a blockbuster because of its quality; its smart, witty script, pitch-perfect comedy, tone, score and direction are all spot-on. This was the movie that sent Michael J. Fox stratospheric, made Johnny B. Goode essential all over again and almost rescued the DeLorean’s reputation – all by delivering unadulterated joy to audiences everywhere.

What the critics say: “It’s every kid’s fantasy come true, and Zemeckis exploits its possibilities with delicious abandon, deriving considerable humor from the [narrative] situation’s unseen generation gap. There’s even shades of an Oedipal It’s a Wonderful Life … From its uproarious, Rube Goldberg-esque opening sight gag to its race-against-time finale, Back to the Future remains a trip worth returning to.” ~ Kirk Ellis

Oscar count: 1

Oscar’s Best Picture pick this year: Out Of Africa

The public’s pick this year: Back To The Future (global box-office #1)

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Read about the making of the Back To The Future trilogy here

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George’s runners-up: 2. Witness; 3. Brazil4. 乱 (Ran); 5. The Color Purple

   

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And the rest: After Hours; The Breakfast ClubDesperately Seeking SusanThe Emerald ForestFletch; The Goonies; Insignificance; Kiss Of The Spider WomanMitt Liv Som Hund (My Life As A Dog); My Beautiful Launderette; Out Of AfricaPale Rider; The Purple Rose Of CairoPrizzi’s Honor; Shoah

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Song:

Everybody Wants To Rule The World ~

Tears For Fears

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Writers: Roland Orzabal, Ian Stanley and Chris Hughes/ Released: March 1985

What George says: Is there a better proponent of ’80s pop than this classic? So flushed with über-synthesised goodness is it, it features a real drumbeat on top of a drum machine and so richly studio-polished breezily bouncy, with its shoe-shuffle-like shamble, it makes even the bluest-sky of blue-sky, summer days better. ’80s politically fashionble, its lyrics also make vague counterpoint sideswipes at excess and authoritarianism. In the end, then, it’s a stylistic masterpiece that’s a bit fatuous – ensuring it’s such a slice of ’80s gloriousness, it totally deserves to have ruled the world’s airwaves for 35 years.

What the critics say: “Tears For Fears synthesise … intricacy, romance, psychology, and politics … on … Everybody Wants to Rule the World. … The song [was put] together in a week, astonishing because the track has so many components … the genius of [it] is how it escalates, how each part increasingly amplifies the passion of the music.” ~ Tal Rosenberg

Chart record: US #1/ UK #2

Recognition: Ranked #15 for 1985, #232 for the 1980s and #1,477 for ‘all-time’ on acclaimedmusic.net’s cumulatively ranked ‘top songs’ lists/ won ‘Best Single’ at the 1986 Brit Awards

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George’s runners-up: 2. Running Up That Hill (Kate Bush)/
3. Into The Groove (Madonna)/ 4. Head Over Heels (Tears For Fears)/
5. There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart) (Eurhythmics)

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And the rest: And Dream Of Sleep; The Big SkyBrazilCloudbusting (Kate Bush)/ Alive And KickingDon’t You (Forget About Me) (Simple Minds)/ All You Zombies (The Hooters)/ Back In Time; The Power Of Love (Huey Lewis and The News)/ Back To The Future Overture (The Outatime Orchestra)/ Bad Boy (Miami Sound Machine)/ Bit By Bit (Theme From Fletch) (Stephanie Mills)/ The Boy With The Thorn In His Side; How Soon Is Now (The Smiths)/ Broken WingsKyrie (Mr Mister)/ Brothers In ArmsMoney For NothingSo Far AwayWalk Of Life (Dire Straits)/ Building The Barn; Witness (Main Theme) (Maurice Jarre)/ Can’t Fight This Feeling (REO Speedwagon)/ Close To MeIn Between Days (The Cure)/ Crazy For YouMaterial Girl (Madonna)/ Cry (Godley & Creme)/ Don’t Bang The Drum; Old England; Spirit; The Pan Within; This Is The SeaThe Whole Of The Moon (The Waterboys)/ Easy LoverOne More NightSussudio (Phil Collins)/ The Edge Of Forever; Life In A Northern Town (The Dream Academy)/ Everytime You Go Away (Paul Young)/ Fletch, Get Outta Town (Dan Hartman)/ Fletch Theme (Harold Faltermeyer)/ Glory Days; Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town (Bruce Springsteen)/ A Good Heart (Fergal Sharkey)/ The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough (Cyndi Lauper)/ Heaven; Summer Of ’69 (Bryan Adams)/ Heaven Is One Step Away (Eric Clapton)/ Holding Back The YearsMoney’s Too Tight (To Mention) (Simply Red)/ I Believe (Tears For Fears)/ I Know Him So Well (Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson)/ I Want To Know What Love Is (Foreigner)/ I’m Your Man (Wham)/ It’s Alright (Baby’s Coming Back)When Tomorrow Comes; Would I Lie To You? (The Eurythmics)/ It’s Christmas (All Over The World) (Sheena Easton)/ Johnny B. Goode (Marty McFly with The Starlighters)/ Johnny Come Home (Fine Young Cannibals)/ Just Like Honey (The Jesus and Mary Chain)/ Kayleigh (Marillion)/ Lay Your Hands On Me (Thompson Twins)/ Lean On Me (Ah-Li-Ayo) (Red Box)/ Live Is Life (Opus)/ Loving The Alien (David Bowie)/ Main Title (I Had A Farm In Africa) (John Barry)/ Miami Vice Theme (Jan Hammer)/ Move Closer (Phyllis Nelson)/ Nightshift (Commodores)/ Nikita (Elton John)/ 19 (Paul Hardcastle)/ Oh Yeah (Yello)/ One Night In Bangkok (Murray Head)/ One Vision (Queen)/ Part-Time Lover (Stevie Wonder)/ People Are People; Shake The Disease (Depeche Mood)/ The Power Of Love (Jennifer Rush)/ Rhythm Of The Night (Debarge)/ Road To Nowhere (Talking Heads)/ Rock Me Amadeus (Falco)/ Saving All My Love For You (Whitney Houston)/ See The Day (Dee C. Lee)/ She Sells Sanctuary (The Cult)/ Sisters Are Doin’ For Themselves (Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin)/ Slave To Love (Bryan Ferry)/ Smalltown Boy (Bronski Beat)/ Some Like It Hot (The Power Station)/ Something About You (Level 42)/ St. Elmo’s Fire (Man In Motion) (John Parr)/ Take On Me (a-ha)/ That Ole Devil Called Love (Alison Moyet)/ Theme From The Goonies (Dave Grusin)/ Time Bomb Town (Lindsey Buckingham)/ A View To A Kill (Duran Duran)/ Voices Carry (’Til Tuesday)/ Walls Come Tumbling Down! (The Style Council)/ We Close Our Eyes (Go West)/ We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome) (Tina Turner)/ Welcome To The Pleasuredome (Frankie Goes To Hollywood)/ Who’s Zoomin’ Who (Aretha Franklin)/ Wide Boy (Nik Kershaw)

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1986

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Glastnost and Perestroika; Challenger space shuttle disaster; Chernobyl; 
London’s ‘Big Bang’; Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’; Oprah on TV; Hailey’s Comet;

Chicago Bears and ‘The Refrigerator’ win Super Bowl XX; Channel Tunnel gets go-ahead

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Film:

Blue Velvet

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Directed by: David Lynch/ Starring: Kyle MacLachlan,
Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern and Dean Stockwell/
Country: USA/ Running time: 120 minutes/ (Neo-noir mystery-psychological horror)

What George says: In one of the weirdest and, arguably, most visceral and violent of 1980s movies to have come out of the US (or, frankly, anywhere), David Lynch does here what Tim Burton would do in a few years’ time (in the likes of Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands), in peeling back the veneer of respectable, vanilla America to reveal the darkness and ugliness beneath; only in a full-throttled, adults-only manner. At times visually beautiful, at others utterly vulgar, Blue Velvet’s like a Hitchcockian thriller as dreamt after a cheese feast – and it’s full of unforgettable moments and iconic images.

What the critics say: “Watched again over 25 years later, Blue Velvet looks even more bizarre than ever, a disorientating palimpsest of moods and eras and genres. It’s an intensely ’80s film in many ways… [yet] … the rest of the time it could, of course, be a Forties noir … but there is something in the infectious and mesmeric weirdness of David Lynch which makes it feel all right.”
~ David Bradshaw (writing in 2012)

Oscar count: 0

Oscar’s Best Picture pick this year: Platoon

The public’s pick this year: Top Gun (global box-office #1)

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George’s runners-up: 2. Platoon;
3. 
Jean de FloretteManon des Sources; 4. Aliens; 5. The Color Of Money

 

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And the rest: Children Of A Lesser God; Crocodile DundeeFerris Bueller’s Day OffThe Fly; Hannah And Her Sisters; Labyrinth; Little Shop Of Horrors; ManhunterThe Mission; The Money PitThe Name Of The Rose; Peggy Sue Got Married; Stand By Me;  37°2 le Matin (Betty Blue); When The Wind Blows

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Song:

Hounds Of Love ~ Kate Bush

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Writer: Kate Bush/ Released: February 1986

What George says: Ever felt anxious, even afraid by the sudden, onrushing, overpowering emotion that’s love? No? Many haven’t, but some have and, for them, Hounds Of Love could very well be a hymn. A daring, irresistible pop song of a hymn, that is. Throwing together the catchy symbolism of being hunted through woods (with its decidedly Hammer Horror-inspired gothic vibe), a pulsating, barreling synth drive and searingly impassioned vocals, the Queen of Art Rock delivers, here, simply one hell of a title tune for one hell of an album – indeed, maybe the greatest to have been crafted in its entire decade.

What the critics say: “The song married mythic themes with modern concerns [of accepting love]. The building ethereal atmosphere created by the Fairlight synth makes for a mental diorama where you could visualise the internal battle taking place. Bush’s vocal delivery is explosive, climatic and bombastic and serves the piece perfectly.”  ~ Lori Gava

Chart record: UK #18

Recognition: Ranked #10 for 1985, #183 for the 1980s and #1,226 for ‘all-time’ on acclaimedmusic.net’s cumulatively ranked ‘top songs’ lists

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George’s runners-up: 2. Don’t Dream It’s Over (Crowded House)/
3.
Live To Tell (Madonna)/ 4. Always The Sun (The Stranglers)/
5. The Way It Is (Bruce Hornsby and the Range)

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And the rest: Absolute Beginners; As The World Falls DownMagic DanceUnderground (David Bowie)/ Addicted To Love (Robert Palmer)/ All I Need Is A Miracle; Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground) (Mike + The Mechanics)/ Ask; Bigmouth Strikes AgainPanic (The Smiths)/ Bizarre Love Triangle (New Order)/ Big Time; In Your Eyes; Sledgehammer; Red Rain (Peter Gabriel)/ Breakout (Swing Out Sister)/ Burning Heart (Survivor)/ Caravan Of LoveHappy HourThink For A Minute (The Housemartins)/ The Chicken Song (Spitting Image)/ Coming Around Again (Carly Simon)/ Dancing On The Ceiling (Lionel Richie)/ Danger Zone; Playing With The Boys (Kenny Loggins)/ A Different Corner (George Michael)/ Don’t Get Me Wrong (The Pretenders)/ Don’t Give Up (Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush)/ Don’t Leave Me This Way (The Communards)/  E=MC² (Big Audio Dynamite)/ The Final Countdown (Europe)/ Friends Will Be Friends; A Kind Of Magic; Who Wants To Live Forever (Queen)/ The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades (Timbuk3)/ Gabriel’s Oboe; The Mission (Ennio Morricone)/ Going Down To Liverpool; If She Knew What She WantsManic Monday (The Bangles)/ Graceland; You Can Call Me Al (Paul Simon)/ Greatest Love Of All; How Will I Know (Whitney Houston)/ Higher Love (Steve Winwood)/ Hip To Be Square; Stuck With You (Huey Lewis and The News)/ Human (The Human League)/ Hunting High And Low; The Sun Always Shines On T.V. (a-ha)/ (I Just) Died In Your Arms (Cutting Crew)/ If You Leave (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark)/ Invisible TouchLand Of Confusion (Genesis)/ Is This Love? (Alison Moyet)/ Lessons In Love (Level 42)/ Jean de Florette (Jean-Claude Petit)/ Life’s What You Make It (Talk Talk)/ Main Title Theme (Robbie Robertson)/ The Miracle Of Love; Thorn In My Side; When Tomorrow Comes (Eurthythmics)/ My Favourite Waste Of Time (Owen Paul)/ Oh L’amour; Sometimes (Erasure)/ Open Your HeartPapa Don’t Preach; True Blue (Madonna)/ Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots Of Money)Suburbia (Pet Shop Boys)/ Pretty In Pink (The Psychedelic Furs)/ Somewhere Out There (Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram)/ Sweet Freedom (Michael McDonald)/ Take My Breath Away (Berlin)/ These Dreams (Heart)/ Through The Barricades (Spandau Ballet)/ Top Gun Anthem (Harold Faltermeyer and Steve Stevens)/ Theme from The Krypton Factor (The Art Of Noise)/ True Colors (Cyndi Lauper)/ Venus (Bananarama)/ (Waiting For) The Ghost Train (Madness)/ When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going (Billy Ocean)

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 1987

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Thatcher makes it three in a row; Black Monday; Reagan: ‘Tear down this wall’;
Michael Fish left red-faced; Terry Waite kidnapped; Iran-Contra Affair; King’s Cross Fire;

New Zealand win inaugural Rugby World Cup; Michael Jackson is ‘Bad’; The Simpsons debut

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Film:

Der Himmel Über Berlin (Wings Of Desire)

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wings_of_desire_1987

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Directed by: Wim Wenders/ Starring: Bruno Ganz, Solveig Donmartin, Otto Sander,
Curt Bois and Peter Falk/ Country: West Germany/ France/ Running time: 127 minutes/
(Human-social-fantasy drama)

What George says: Probably a film unlike any you’ve seen before, Wings Of Desire’s as much an exercise in atmosphere as it is a plot-driven movie. After all, there isn’t much plot (a male angel falls for a lonely woman and wishes to be with her), allowing the viewer to join this angel and another observing Berliners’ lives. Is this a movie commenting on the beauty of human experience and companionship? Probably. Is it a tad too indulgent for its own good? Perhaps. Either way, it’s a languid, melancholic, quirky, mainly monochrome, beautiful one-off that (best of all?) features Peter Falk as… Peter Falk.

What the critics say: “[It] evokes a mood of reverie, elegy and meditation. It doesn’t rush headlong into plot, but has the patience of its angels. It suggests what it would be like to see everything but not participate in it … [it] is one of those films movie critics are accused of liking because it’s esoteric and difficult …[but] For me, [it’s] like music or a landscape: it clears a space in my mind, and in that space I can consider questions.’” ~ Roger Ebert

Oscar count: 0 (but did win Best Director at 1987’s Cannes Film Festival)

Oscar’s Best Picture pick this year: The Last Emperor

The public’s pick this year: Fatal Attraction (global box-office #1)

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George’s runners-up: 2. Au Revoir Les Enfants (Goodbye, Children);
3. The Last Emperor; 4. Hope And Glory5. No Way Out

   

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And the rest: Angel HeartBabettes Gæstebud (Babette’s Feast); Empire Of The Sun; Full Metal Jacket; InnerspaceLethal WeaponThe Lost Boys; Pelle Erövraren (Pelle The Conqueror)Planes, Trains And AutomobilesThe Princess Bride; Raising Arizona; The UntouchablesWall Street; Withnail & I

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Song:

With Or Without You ~ U2

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with_or_without_you_u2_1987

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Writers: U2/ Released: March 1987

What George says: U2 are the rock monoliths everybody seems to love to hate, yet while I’m sympathetic to many of the reasons why, this brilliant ballad has to be one of the best tunes of the ’80s. Making full use of The Edge’s (later, lazily overused, but then brand new) echoey guitar sound to great effect, along with Adam Clayton’s deep baseline, it creates a richly soulful sonic space, in which Bono’s plaintive vocals are allowed to build and rise with the song to a crescendo of passion and vulnerability. Apparently not a love song at all, it’s nonetheless one of the most romantic rock tracks ever recorded.

What the critics say: With or Without You has Bono unleashing all his vocal power, moving from a soft, subtle intro and middle to an explosive burst of unyielding energy toward the end … the tune’s discerning air sounds almost church-like as it slowly unravels.” ~ Mike DeGagne

Chart record: US #1/ UK #2

Recognition: Ranked #6 for 1987, #47 for the 1980s and #345 for ‘all-time’ on acclaimedmusic.net’s cumulatively ranked ‘top songs’ lists/ ranked #132 of Rolling Stone’s ‘The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time’ list

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George’s runners-up: 2. I Wanna Dance (With Somebody) (Whitney Houston)/
3. Where The Streets Have No Name (U2)/ 4. Luka (Suzanne Vega)/
5. Got My Mind Set On You (George Harrison)

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And the rest: Always On My Mind; It’s A Sin (Pet Shop Boys)/ Angel Eyes (Home And Away); Sweet Little Mystery; Wishing I Was Lucky (Wet Wet Wet)/ Bad; I Just Can’t Stop Loving You; The Way You Make Me Feel (Michael Jackson)/ La Bamba (Los Lobos)/ Beds Are Burning (Midnight Oil)/ Big Love; Little Lies; Seven Wonders; Tango In The Night (Fleetwood Mac)/ The Boy In The Bubble; Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes; Under African Skies (Paul Simon)/ Bridge To Your Heart (Wax)/ Build; Me And The Farmer (The Housemartins)/ Bullet The Blue SkyI Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (U2)/ China In Your HandHeart And Soul (T’Pau)/ Crazy Crazy Nights (Kiss)/ Criticize (Alexander O’Neal)/ Crockett’s Theme (Jan Hammer)/ Didn’t We Almost Have It All; So Emotional (Whitney Houston)/ Dude (Looks Like A Lady) (Aerosmith)/ Fairytale Of New York (The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl)/ Faith (George Michael)/ Gazebo3 Themes; Water Fountain (David Foster)/ Heaven Is A Place On Earth (Belinda Carlisle)/ Hungry Eyes (Eric Carmen)/ I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) (Aretha Franklin and George Michael)/ I Think We’re Alone Now (Tiffany)/ If There Was A Man (The Pretenders)/ (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life (Bill Medley and Jennifer Warns)/ La Isla BonitaWho’s That Girl (Madonna)/ It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) (R.E.M.)/ Jacob’s Ladder (Huey Lewis and the News)/ Just Like Heaven (The Cure)/ Labour Of Love (Hue and Cry)/ Let’s Wait Awhile (Janet Jackson)/ Letter From America (The Proclaimers)/ The Living Daylights (a-ha)/ Living In A Box (Living in a Box)/ Love In The First Degree (Bananarama)/ Mary’s Prayer (Danny Wilson)/ Moonlighting (Al Jarreau)/ Need You Tonight (INXS)/ Never Gonna Give You Up (Rick Astley)/ Once Upon A Long Ago (Paul McCartney)/ The Price Of Love (Roger Daltrey)/ Pump Up The Volume (MARRS)/ Respectable (Mel and Kim)/ Rhythm Is Gonna Get You (Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine)/ Run With Us (Lisa Lougheed)/ Running In The Family (Level 42)/ Sally Cinnamon (The Stone Roses)/ The Secret Of My Success (Night Ranger)/ She’s Like The Wind (Patrick Swayze)/ Sign O’ The Times; U Got The Look (Prince)/ Someone Like You (Van Morrison)/ Sometimes The Good Guys Finish First (Pat Benatar)/ True Faith (New Order)/ Turn Back The Clock (Johnny Hates Jazz)/ Twistin’ The Night Away (Rod Stewart)/ The Untouchables (End Title) (Ennio Morricone)/ Valerie (Steve Winwood)/ Walk Like An Egyptian (The Bangles)/ Walk The Dinsosaur Was (Not Was)/ Weak In The Presence Of Beauty (Alison Moyet)/ When Smokey Sings (ABC)/ (You’ve Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!) (Beastie Boys)  .

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1988

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George H. W. Bush elected in US, Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan; Lockerbie air bombing;
Ben Johnson cheats his way to gold; Piper Alpha disaster; USSR out of Afghanistan;

Bruce Willis ‘Dies Hard’; Eddie ‘The Eagle’ comes last – but becomes national hero

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Film:

Spoorloos (The Vanishing)

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Directed by: George Sluizer/ Starring: Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, Gene Bervoets,
Johanna ter Steege and Gwen Eckhaus/ Country: Netherlands/ France/
Running time: 107 minutes (Psychological thriller-horror)

What George says: Knowledge is power, so the saying goes, and so the viewer assumes in this slow-burn, all-too-real-feeling thriller, yet the more we – and an ever-obsessive protagonist, trying to figure out what happened to his missing girlfriend – learn, the less sure and more unsettling and compelling things become. And that’s due to how well constructed and executed this slice of satisfying (and very accessible) arthouse is. With masterly tone-shifting from Sluizer, a fine turn from the eerie Donnadieu and a truly devastating climax, it’s a low-budget masterpiece that ought to be worth a billion Euros.

What the critics say: “Mr Sluizer, whose direction has the spooky precision of non-fiction crime-writing and whose matter-of-factness makes the characters seem quite real, builds a disturbing horror story from seemingly modest beginnings.” ~ Janet Maslin

Oscar count: 0

Oscar’s Best Picture pick this year: Rain Man

The public’s pick this year: Rain Man (global box-office #1)

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George’s runners-up: 2. Die Hard3. Rain Man; 4. Dangerous Liaisons; 5. Dead Ringers

   

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And the rest: Big; The Big BlueDirty Rotten ScoundrelsDistant Voices, Still Lives; A Fish Called WandaFrantic; Krótki Film O Miłości (A Short Film About Love); Krótki Film O Zabijaniu (A Short Film About Killing)Midnight Run; Mississippi Burning; Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios (Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown); They LiveThe Unbearable Lightness Of BeingWho Framed Roger RabbitWorking Girl

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Song:

Somewhere In My Heart ~ Aztec Camera

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Writer: Roddy Frame/ Released: April 1988

What George says: Despite long believing it a throwaway effort whose popularity he never got his head around, Roddy Frame crafted here a perfect pop tune that bounces along from verse to chorus and back again, in irresistible manner. But maybe what makes it so special is that, lyrically, it’s willfully an everyman’s love song; its sense of place (“A star above the city in the northern chill / A baby being born to the overkill”) crucial for its universal message – whoever you are, wherever you’re from, love is for you, too (“Ambition and love wearing boxing gloves / And singing hearts and flowers”). Hear, hear!

What the artist says: “I didn’t really get it until I was being driven down Ladbroke Grove one day and the sun was shining and someone was in a convertible and I heard it blaring out on their radio. It’s one of those songs.” ~ Roddy Frame

Chart record: UK #3

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George’s runners-up: 2. Sweet Child O’ Mine (Guns N’ Roses)/
3. Fast Car (Tracy Chapman)/ 4. Englishman In New York (Sting)/
5. The King Of Rock ‘n’ Roll (Prefab Sprout)

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And the rest: Anything For You; 1-2-3 (Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine)/ Angel Of Harlem; Desire (U2)/ Baby Can I Hold You; Talkin’ Bout A Revolution (Tracy Chapman)/ Back When We Was Fab (George Harrison)/ Big Area (Then Jericho)/ Broken Land (The Adventures)/ Cars And Girls; Hey Manhattan! (Prefab Sprout)/ Chocolate Girl; Real Gone Kid (Deacon Blue)/ Circle In The Sand (Belinda Carlisle)/ Coming To America (The System)/ Don’t Worry, Be Happy (Bobby McFerrin)/ Devil Inside; New Sensation; Never Tear Us Apart (INXS)/ Dressed For Success; Listen To Your Heart (Roxette)/ Especially For You (Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan)/ Everyday Is Like Sunday (Morrisey)/ Find My Love; Perfect (Fairground Attraction)/ Fisherman’s Blues/ You And The Sky (The Waterboys)/ Good Life (Inner City)/ A Groovy Kind Of Love; Two Hearts (Phil Collins)/ A Hazy Shade Of WinterIn Your Room (The Bangles)/ Heart; Left To My Own Devices (Pet Shop Boys)/ I Should Be So Lucky (Kylie Minogue)/ I Think We’re Alone Now (Tiffany)/ I Want Your Love (Transvision Vamp)/ I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) (The Proclaimers)/ It’s The End Of The World (And I Feel Fine); Orange Crush (R.E.M.)/ John Kettley Is A Weatherman (A Tribe Of Toffs)/ The King’s Motorcade (Nile Rodgers)/ A Little Respect (Erasure)/ Loadsamoney (Harry Enfield)/ Loco In Acapulco (The Four Tops)/ Love And Mercy (Brian Wilson)/ Man In The Mirror; Smooth Criminal (Michael Jackson)/ Mary’s Prayer (Danny Wilson)/ One Moment In Time; Where Do Broken Hearts Go (Whitney Houston)/ The Only Way Is Up (Yazz And The Plastic Population)/ Orinoco Flow (Enya)/ Piano In The Dark (Brenda Russell)/ The Race (Yello)/ Rush Hour (Jane Wiedlin)/ Sign Your NameWishing Well (Terence Trent Darby)/ Simply Irresistible (Robert Palmer)/ Straight Up (Paula Abdul)/ Teardrops (Womack & Womack)/ Tema Finale; Totò e Alfredo (Ennio Morricone) / Theme from S-Express (S’Express)/ Twist In My Sobriety (Tanika Tikaram)/ Waiting For A Star To Fall (Boy Meets Girl)

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1989

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Berlin Wall falls, Eastern Bloc revolutions; Tiananmen Square protests; Hillsborough disaster;
Salman Rushdie into hiding; Guildford Four are released; Exxon Valdez oil spill; Tyson vs. Bruno;

Tim Berners-Lee invents the World Wide Web; Sky TV  launches; Doctor Who ends after 26 years

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Film:

(nuovo) Cinema Paradiso

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cinema_paradiso_1988

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Directed by: Giuseppe Tornatore/ Starring: Philippe Noiret, Salvatore Cascio,
Marco Leonardi, Jacques Perrin, Antonella Attili and Agnese Nano/ Country: Italy/
Running time: 155 minutes (Human-social drama)

What George says: One of cinema’s greatest love-letters to itself, this unashamedly sentimental delight (with its lusciously romantic score from the late, great Ennio Morricone) is just as much an examination of friendship between a scallywag ankle-biter and his irascible father-figure, a doomed first love affair and a poor yet idyllic Sicilian town with all its idiosyncratic characters – and its glorious picture house. Its a long, indulgent film that, while high on nostalgia, doesn’t shy away from the other side of that coin – regret and the forgotten. Never has movie melancholia been quite so mellifluous.

What the critics say: “Not a false note is struck among the sunkissed Sicilian locations, gentle, humorous performances, and tinkling soundtrack. Assembled with a wide-eyed, childlike wonder, Tornatore taps themes of bonding, nostalgia, community, history and the power of film to transport man into a world of dreams.” ~ Ian Nathan

Oscar count: 1 (Best Foreign Language Film, 1989; also won the 1989
BAFTA and Golden Globe Awards for Best Foreign Language Film
and the Grand Prix du Jury award at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival)

Oscar’s Best Picture pick this year: Driving Miss Daisy

The public’s pick this year: Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade (global box-office #1)

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Read why Cinema Paradiso is one of cinema’s ultimate romances here

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George’s runners-up: 2. Do The Right Thing;
3. When Harry Met Sally…4. Henry V5. My Left Foot

   

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And the rest: Batman; Born On The Fourth Of July; The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover; Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure; Dead CalmDead Poet’s Society; Dekalog (The Decalogue); Drugstore Cowboy; Field Of Dreams; GloryHeathers; Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade; Mystery TrainSay Anything; sex, lies and videotape

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Song:

I Am The Resurrection ~ The Stone Roses

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Writers: Ian Brown and John Squire/ Released: April 1989 (on the album The Stone Roses)

What George says: For a brief, shining moment at the end of the ’80s, brilliant, ’60s-informed British guitar music made a swashbuckling return, thanks (pretty much entirely) to Manchester’s Stone Roses and their eponymous debut album, full of swaggering, psychedelic-tinged, jangly, jaunty tunes; the epitome of which was this eight-minute-plus opus (the latter half of which is a bold instrumental outro). Its lyrics in the glorious chorus may err on the side of Messianic grandiosity, yet the uplifting melody and banging percussion drive the whole thing along perfectly – and ensure it’s irresistible.

What the critics say: “Certainly it was [John] Squire who took the band into essentially ‘freak-out’ territory, especially on the wah-wah’n’drum work out at the end … there’s [also] that unmistakeable swagger and defiance that was to prove such a template for Oasis a few years later.” ~ Chris Jones

Chart record: UK #33 (1992)

Recognition:  Ranked #27 for 1989, #286 for the 1980s and #1,810 for ‘all-time’ on acclaimedmusic.net’s cumulatively ranked ‘top songs’ lists/ ranked #8 on NME magazine‘s ‘50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever’ list/ ranked #10 on Q magazine’s ‘100 Greatest Guitar Tracks Ever’ list (2005)

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George’s runners-up: 2. Like A Prayer (Madonna)/ 3. Let The River Run (Carly Simon)/
4. Sowing The Seeds Of Love (Tears for Fears)/ 5. We Didn’t Start The Fire (Billy Joel)

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And the rest: All Around The World (Lisa Stansfield)/ All I WantPure (The Lightning Seeds)/ Another Day In Paradise (Phil Collins)/ Baby I Don’t Care (Transvision Vamp)/ Back To Life (How Do You Want Me); Keep On Moving (Soul II Soul)/ Belfast Child (Simple Minds)/ Birdhouse In Your Soul (They Might Be Giants)/ Breakthru; I Want It All (Queen)/ Can’t Be Sure (The Sundays)/ Cheer Down (George Harrison)/ Cherish; Express Yourself; Oh Father (Madonna)/ DangerousListen To Your HeartThe Look (Roxette)/ Days (Kirsty MacColl)/ The End Of Innocence (Don Henley)/ End Of The Line (Travelling Wilburys)/ Eternal Flame (The Bangles)/ Fergus Sings The Blues (Deacon Blue)/ Fight The Power (Public Enemy)/ Fools GoldShe Bangs The Drums (The Stone Roses)/ Free Fallin’; I Won’t Back Down (Tom Petty)/ Get On Your Feet (Gloria Estefan)/ Getting Away With It (Electronic)/ Have I Told You Lately (Van Morrison)/ I Don’t Want A Lover (Texas)/ I Drove All Night (Cyndi Lauper)/ If We Hold On Together (Diana Ross)/ If You Asked Me To (Patti LaBelle)/ If You Don’t Know Me By Now; A New Flame (Simply Red)/ I’ll Sail This Ship Alone; Song For WhoeverYou Keep It All In (The Beautiful South)/ It Had To Be You (Harry Connick Jr.)/ Leningrad (Billy Joel)/ The Living Years (Mike + The Mechanics)/ Love Changes Everything (Michael Ball)/ Love In An Elevator (Aerosmith)/ Love Shack (The B-52s)/ Makin’ Whoopee (Michelle Pfeiffer)/ Mixed Emotions (The Rolling Stones)/ Pacific (State) (808 State)/ Personal Jesus (Depeche Mode)/ Pump Up The Jam (Techtronic)/ Ride On Time (Black Box)/ The Road To Hell (Chris Rea)/ Rockin’ In The Free World (Neil Young)/ Rooms On Fire (Stevie Nicks)/ The Sensual World; This Woman’s Work (Kate Bush)/ She Makes My Day (Robert Palmer)/ (Simply) The Best (Tina Turner)/ Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart (Marc Almond)/ Stand (R.E.M.)/ Sweet Surrender (Wet Wet Wet)/ This Time I Know It’s For Real (Donna Summer/ Toy Soldiers (Martika)/ When Love Comes To Town (U2 and B. B. King)/ Wind Beneath My Wings (Bette Midler)/ Woman In Chains (Tears for Fears)/ You Got It (Roy Orbison)

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And coming up…

George’s pick of the flicks
and top of the pops ~ 1990-94

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