Mr. Pop History – When rap was emerging – there were some bright spots on radio. KDAY-AM (Los Angeles) was probably the first full-time hip hop/rap station. As far as radio, programming was scattered – you had to search the dial to find anything – and the best was even rarer.
Going back to 1988 or so, WBLS New York had a Friday night program dedicated to hip hop and rap. It was hosted by Mr. Magic and Marley Marl and Chilli Q. It was hot, off the streets and cool. Not far from WBLS was the city’s best hip hop/rap record store – The Music Factory. It was the place to get what you wanted. Remember – these records were kind of rare – and not found everywhere. It was all part of the earlier hip hop and rap scene.
Mr. Pop History – Someone wanted to know about a TV show that ripped-off “Ghostbusters.” It’s common to take a successful movie idea and try to adapt it to TV. Afterall, TV always needs content and fresh ideas.
Such was the case for “Shadow Chasers” – which debuted in November 1985 on ABC-TV. It didn’t last long.
Mr. Pop History – Pop culture history tells us the band broke up – that is Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones called it quits after Zeppelin drummer John Bonham died. That was in 1980.
Plant was back – solo by 1982 with the album, “Pictures at Eleven” followed by “Shaken ‘n’ Stirred” in 1985. These albums didn’t to that well and the band really didn’t get along.
Plant and Jimmy page worked together on a different kind of project in 1984 with “The Honeydrippers.”
Robert Plant was back solo in 1988 with the album, “Now and Zen” and a new band.
Mr. Pop History – This is from 1985: A pop music lover took his 5-year-old son for a ride in the car the other day. Listening to a new hit tune on the radio, the toddler exclaimed, “Gee, I really like that song, dad. What does it look like?
Mr. Pop History – Stevie Wonder’s career jumped the shark in 1980 with the album “Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants” – both a commercial and critical disappointment. Up to this point – Wonder was a powerhouse and one of the biggest recording artists of the 1960′s and even bigger in the 1970′s. He still had hits into the 1980′s, but this was the beginning of his hit-power fall-out.
From the 1980′s…
Mr. Pop History – Back in 1983, Paul (Bono) Hewsen was quoted: “On one hand, all we’re doing is making pop music, but it (doesn’t have to be) snap, crackle and pop… and it doesn’t have to be pap music. I think musicians can do what the politicians can’t even if it’s just for an hour and a half, there’s a unity in the audience.”
The band was unique, straightforward and got great reviews almost from the get-go – after signing with Island Records in 1980, first album “Boy” and first single, “I Will Follow.” And – what about that band member – the guy named “The Edge?”
It had to do with a lot of things, but it all changed after Prince’s “Purple Rain” movie, where Vanity was supposed to play a major role. She said Prince was cheap and didn’t want to pay her much – so she turned it down. She dropped out of that movie and Prince’s life – and pursued her own singing and acting career.
Her real name is Denise Mathews.
Back in 1982, a lawyer by the name of Martin Fine sued the networks and several gameshow producers because he wanted to appear on more of them. Apparently, he was on a winning streak. So – the answer to the question is really up to the show you’re trying to get on.
Fine’s suit went all the way to the Supreme Court, which let stand a lower court ruling that found the networks and producers were not violating federal antitrust laws by limiting the number of times a contestant may appear on game shows. Nice try.
Mr. Fine won on such shows as “Tic Tac Dough” and “Password Plus.”
From Roger L – When MTV came to us in August of 1981, did they go into promotion mode?
Mr. Pop History – They did – about 12 days into their August 1 sign-on. MTV’s first contest was “One Night Stand” with Journey and that was quickly followed by “One Night Stand” with the Rolling Stones. Other contests during MTV’s first year included, “MTV Pac-Man Giavaway,” “MTV House Party” and MTV “Hawaiian Holiday With Devo.”
From Gloria N – “Saturday Night Live” has had its ups and downs – but when was the show really hurting? Thank you.
Mr. Pop History – The worst I believe was back in March of 1981. With eight shows remaining in its season, “Saturday Night Live” had lost nearly half its viewing audience. Four writers and three cast members, including Charles Rocket (remember him?) were let go.
Also, SNL had new competition – “Fridays” at ABC-TV. They tried damage control and brought in new improv players such as Tim Karzurinksy (remember him?)
Dick Ebersol was in charge of SNL back then, and he laid blame by billing his cast – all newcomers as, “The New Generation.” Yes, this was just after the original cast had disappeared.