Thriller

Happy TUNEBACK TUESDAY!! Today is the special HALLOWEEN EDITION and we’re tuning it back to the uber-classic Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”! I vividly remember the first time I saw this music video as a young kid in the ’80s. It scared the living crap out of me. Both the werewolf (or werecat) scene and MJ’s zombie eyes gave me nightmares for months. It is still, to this day, one of the best music videos ever made.

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: January 23, 1984

TRIVIA: “Thriller” was the seventh and final single released from his 1982 studio album of the same name. The 14-minute music video was first shown on December 2, 1983. The song was not released as a single until January 23, 1984.

Contrary to reports of $800,000 to $1 million production budgets, director John Landis stated that the music video was made for $500,000. Within the same excerpt of Moonwalk, Jackson noted how he personally financed much the short film for “Thriller” out of his own pocket. Due to all the technical details of production and the nature of the video, the budget nearly doubled in costs.

Jackson also said of making the music video, in an interview that aired on December 11, 1999, for MTV’s 100 Greatest Videos Ever Made:

“My idea was to make this short film with conversation … I like having a beginning and a middle and an ending, which would follow a story. I’m very much involved in complete making and creating of the piece. It has to be, you know, my soul. Usually, you know, it’s an interpretation of the music. […] It was a delicate thing to work on because I remember my original approach was, ‘How do you make zombies and monsters dance without it being comical?’ So I said, ‘We have to do just the right kind of movement so it doesn’t become something that you laugh at.’ But it just has to take it to another level. So I got in a room with [choreographer] Michael Peters, and he and I together kind of imagined how these zombies move by making faces in the mirror. I used to come to rehearsal sometimes with monster makeup on, and I loved doing that. So he and I collaborated and we both choreographed the piece and I thought it should start like that kind of thing and go into this jazzy kind of step, you know. Kind of gruesome things like that, not too much ballet or whatever.”

BONUS VIDEO: Back in my university days, we performed “Thriller” at the opening of a new club at the university. I’m the guy next to “MJ” wearing suspenders.

Happy Halloween!! See you next Tuesday!

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Back to the Future!!

Happy TUNEBACK TUESDAY!! The future is NOW!! Tomorrow (October 21, 2015) marks the day Marty McFly arrives from 1985! In honour of his arrival from the past, I’m tuning it back to classic songs from the Back to the Future movies.

“POWER OF LOVE” by Huey Lewis & The News

TRIVIA: The song appears early in Back to the Future as Marty McFly skateboards to school. Later in the film, McFly and his band play a hard rock version of the song for a Battle of the Bands audition (at which a character played by Huey Lewis himself is judging, and tells Marty’s group that they are “just too darn loud”), and later when Marty returns to his neighborhood. In the sequel, Back to the Future Part II, the 2015 version of Marty attempts to play the song on his guitar just after being fired, but ends up playing it very poorly due to his damaged hand from his 1985 accident with a Rolls-Royce. Finally, it can be briefly heard playing in the car where Needles and his buddies are driving when Needles challenges Marty to the fate-determining car race near the end of Back to the Future Part III.

“BACK IN TIME” by Huey Lewis & The News

“MR. SANDMAN” by Pat Ballard (performed by The Four Aces)

“JOHNNY B. GOODE” by Chuck Berry (performed by Mark Campbell as Marty McFly)

And if you haven’t watched the movies in a while, here are the 3 trailers to remind you just how great these films are.

BACK TO THE FUTURE

BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II

BACK TO THE FUTURE PART III

See you in the future!!!

Spiderwebs

Happy TUNEBACK TUESDAY!! To mark the 20th Anniversary of No Doubt’s “Tragic Kingdom” (October 10, 1995), I’m tuning it back to the 2nd single from that album, “Spiderwebs”.

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: November 19, 1995

TRIVIA: The song’s lyrics are about a man who had been calling Gwen at all hours to recite bad poetry to her.

Two different music videos were produced for “Spiderwebs”. In the first version, the music video showed clips of the band playing. MTV thought that the exploding telephones were inappropriate for younger viewers so they added more footage of the band. These included lead singer Gwen Stefani walking around being covered in “spiderwebs” made of strings sprayed out of aerosol cans and Gwen being tangled in various telephone cords. In the second version, the music video featured the band playing in a Japanese restaurant entertaining the patrons. As the band plays, various Japanese-language sentences are displayed on the screen.

The subtitles displayed in the Japanese music video during the wedding reception scene translate to: “Excellent party”, “I really like cake a lot”, “What is your name?”, “This is excellent champagne”, “What is this? Crazy kids”, “It’s making me sick”.

See you next Tuesday!!

Like a Prayer

Happy TUNEBACK TUESDAY!! With Madonna having performed in Toronto last night (and again tonight!) it’s only proper to tune it back to one of her classics, “Like a Prayer”.

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: March 3, 1989

TRIVIA: The music video, directed by Mary Lambert, portrays Madonna as a witness to a murder of a white girl by white supremacists. While a black man is arrested for the murder, Madonna hides in a church for safety seeking strength to go forth as a witness. The clip depicts Catholic symbols such as stigmata, Ku Klux Klan-style cross burning, and a dream about kissing a black saint. After its release, the Vatican condemned the video, while family and religious groups protested its broadcast. They boycotted products by soft drink manufacturer Pepsi, which used the song for a commercial. Madonna’s contract with Pepsi was then canceled, although she was allowed to retain her initial fee.

See you next Tuesday!!