The DYR blog

The blog with general chat about all things from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s plus news about new features and developments on the website.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Koolest man in music

I am sat opposite a music legend. He has been famous since the late 60's and his music is instantly recognizable to everyone who's grown up with a radio in their home.

Here he is: do you remember him?

Kool from "Kool and the Gang" is exactly that. He is very Kool. Just like someone out of a movie, he looks you up and down when you first meet him, as if appraising your Kool-ness. I sit down and his bouncer/ PR person doesn't fling me out. So it looks like I passed the first Kool test.

He is in town to start the publicity around his 1980's themed tour of Europe. Over the next few months Kool will be touring with Sister Sledge, T'pau. Go West, the Christians, Go West, Howard Jones, ABC! All these acts will be performing in an amazing musical feast, that is almost a who's who is 1980's hits!

Kool is very relaxed about the whole affair, and sees it as another stage of his career, this branch into memory and nostalgia.

"I see my musical career as one of dips and troughs, it goes up and down, at the moment I'm doing a lot of live work. Playing Jazz festivals all over the world. So it's nice to be doing a bigger stadium tour. It adds to the variety"

These huge shows as part of the 1980's rewind tour are a chance to play with a different type of artist.

"Coming though the 1980's I didn't meet a lot of the other 80's rewind artists, except Sister Sledge who we've worked with before. But I've heard some of them now and I know their music, it's in my head, I just didn't know I knew it!"

Some people would give the same compliment to Kool and the Gang. You might not think you know you know them - but you do. Hear a few riffs from their hits "Celebrate!" or "Jungle Boogie" (from the "Reseviour Dogs" soundtrack) or "open sesame" (from the "Saturday Night Fever" sound track) and you'll find yourself going. "ah! So that's who Kool and the gang are!". Trust me you know and love their music.

He said it's an interesting thing being part of so many people's memories.

"People come up to me and have so many memories of our songs, of how they affected them over the years. They have big smiles on their faces. It's nice. We've had so many different incarnations, from playing jazz and then funk in the early 70's to disco in the late 70's and early 80's back to jazz again recently, and now this tour. "

He's most definitely keeping busy:

"I've been touring pretty constantly for 7 years now, and I do everything from this kind of arena tour to smaller festivals - in fact I've just come from the Macho Jazz festival"

So for a real 80's experience this Christmas you could do a lot better than get to the 80's rewind tour. There's more information here

It's playing in London, Birmingham, and Bournemouth among other places.

This Christmas, it's surely the Kool place to be!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Competition winners

In last month's competition we asked you what new world record you'd like to set on your Space Hopper. Thank you to everyone who entered for your amusing and sometimes surprising suggestions! We picked three winners who each received a Space Hopper or Stylophone as their prize and here are their winning world record suggestions:

Highest jump on my hopper,
Skydive from an orange chopper,
Not from a plane I'm scared of heights,
I'd set the record from my chopper bike!
T. Burns

While on holiday sit on your space hopper on the side of the pool and jump in. see if you can set a new world record for how long you can stay sitting on it in the water before tipping over! a bit like lilo surfing!!
L. Smith

Obviously I would like to Space Hopper over the maximum number of attractive girl band members possible in a single leap with newly divorced Cheryl Tweedy the first in line.
C. Walton

Thursday, October 21, 2010

RAWHIDE! Yeee-ha!


"Rollin' rollin' rollin' keep those wagons moving! Rawhide! Don't try to understand 'em, just rope, throw and brand 'em!"

What a theme song "Rawhide" had! It is probably one of the most catchy theme tunes of all time. In fact so catchy that the Blues Brothers did a cover of it in the 1980's. A lot of those early Western Drama's had catchy theme tunes. Bonanza was also great, and even the theme music of "Gunsmoke" still goes through my head some days.

Rawhide was one of the many iconic, brilliant American Western series of the 1950's/ 60's and 70's and launched the career of Clint "Oscar" Eastwood staying popular for years after it was first made. Indeed, even though it was in black and white, I remember it from the 1980's!

I remember Rawhide most for it playing on Sunday afternoons (just after "Little House on the Prairie"). On rainy days, we used to settle down and watch it after the traditional roast dinner. Though it always reminded me that school was just a short evening away. When I recently watched an episode I was immediately transported back to those afternoons - in fact it took me back so strongly I even had the flashback "Oh, no, double Maths first thing tomorrow!"

The series aired for 8 seasons from January 9, 1959 to January 4, 1966, and made a massive 217 black-and-white episodes.

It was the fifth-longest-running American television Western, though it doesn't come close to the fourteen years of Bonanza, and twenty years of Gunsmoke. Imagine watching them back to back! Your eyes would be rollin' rollin' rollin' indeed.

For the first time the complete series one is available to buy in the UK. It's a great time capsule back to the days when good quality TV was in black and white, and simply about the guys on a ranch! If nothing else look it up just to see what Clint Eastwood looked like when he was young!