on this day: tv 2004
by request: hostiles (scott cooper, 2017)

music friday: 1982

Michael Jackson, "Billie Jean". Let's quote Wikipedia, since it never lies. "That performance is considered a watershed moment, not only in Jackson's career, but in the history of popular culture."

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, "The Message". Speaking of watershed moments ...

The Pretenders, "Back on the Chain Gang". Third year in a row I've included The Pretenders, who by this point were Chrissie Hynde, drummer Martin Chambers, and a pick-up band.

Bruce Springsteen, "Atlantic City". Bruce didn't used to do videos. If I remember right, this was his first. So of course, he doesn't actually turn up in it.

Prince and the Revolution, "Little Red Corvette". If the lyrics were more subtle, the song would be almost vulgar. Instead, the double-entendres turn vulgarity into art. And there's nothing vulgar about "It was Saturday night, I guess that makes it alright".

The English Beat, "Save It for Later". Closer to the future than to The Beat's ska past.

Fleetwood Mac, "Gypsy". The video was the most expensive up to that time. We've come a long way from "Shake Your Money Maker".

The Jam, "Beat Surrender". Paul Weller says bye.

Miguel Rios, "Bienvenidos". I like Spanish rockers who record albums called Al-Andalus. This song is not from that album.

The Clash, "Should I Stay or Should I Go". Was this question ever definitively answered?




"Billie Jean" was such a big deal. We didn't have cable, so no MTV and so none of the significance it played there for us. I don't remember where we first saw the video but I remember when I did. It was kind of life changing, in term of my personal pop culture. It seemed so advanced and mysterious and magical all at the same time. The song, of course, is great. That drum rhythm and beat, his vocals, the synthesizer melody. It had it all.

Steven Rubio

I showed that video more than once in classes. Predated The Cosby Show by a couple of years, but both of them were examples of popular culture that crossed all barriers. May never happen again, certainly not in television, since Cosby Show was at the tail end of the period when there were only a few options for viewing ... even the most popular shows of today can't touch the audience size of Cosby.

Charlie Bertsch

This is a great list from what turns out, in retrospect, to have been a pretty great year for music. I was surprised that you didn't include the original "Temptation". Sky was surprised that you didn't include "Africa", ahem.

Steven Rubio

I like comments where it's clear the person knows me quite well, and yes, "Temptation" is surprising by its absence. I probably like it better than any of the ones that actually made the list. Most of the lists this year, though, are a mix of random, attempts at inclusivity, nods to the canon, and my own taste. Hence, someone like Miguel Rios, who I had never heard of. With apologies to Skylar, the only way Toto makes my blog is if the only other choice is Journey. Well, that's not quite fair ... "Africa" won't be here, but "Rosanna" might sneak through when I'm not looking. And Jeff Porcaro almost shows up here ... he isn't on "Billie Jean", but he does appear on many Thriller tracks. Not to mention Human Touch, and "I Love L.A.".

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