Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Flashback 1982

Welcome back to Friday Night Videos!

Tonight I want to pay homage to the years that really got me going D&D wise.  1980, 1981 and 1982!

So this morning I was reading Arlee Bird's blog Tossing it Out.
Lee is the brains behind so many great blog challenges including the April A to Z challenge.

This morning he was talking about music and it's relationship to people.  For me though music has always been about the times it was in or what was going on when I heard it.  The cue for me to switch gears tonight and focus on 1982 was his use of the fantastic Alan Parson's Project, Eye in the Sky.  The meaning of the song of the same name is debated; is it about 1984, security cameras or something else.  For me this song will ALWAYS be about the module B3 Palace of the Silver Princess.  The "Eye in the Sky" in this case is the evil creature/god Arik and his ruby eye.  This song was on constant rotation the entire time I bought and first ran this adventure.

From the same album is a song my younger brother and I loved, "Psychobable". To me the song was more about horror and nightmares and that certainly had a huge effect on the style of game I ran even back then.  This was only compounded when I got my first copy of Chill.
This video is an odd one but I really like it.  The creator re-edited an old Orson Welles student film to go with the song.  For me it just fits.

Few albums are more "D&D" than Blue Öyster Cult's Fire of Unkown Origin and few songs more so than "Veteran of the Psychic Wars".  Let's look at the song's pedigree for a moment.  It was co-written by Micheal Moorcock, author of the Eternal Champion series. It is about the greatest, or at least the most popular of all the Eternal Champions Elric of Melniboné.   The song also appeared in the movie Heavy Metal.  On the releases I saw this was during the Taarna sequences.  The song is an ode to any D&D character ever. It is practically a Grognard anthem.  I would revisit the imagery myself during the years I was running my "Willow & Tara" game, Episode 5: Veteran of the Psychic Wars.

Last week I talked about how much Stevie Nicks influenced, well, pretty much everything I have ever written.  "Leather and Lace" was another song from Bella Donna that I loved.  This one I also connect to B3.  In particular the love story of the Princess and the White Drake.  In the original version of the adventure (written by Jean Welles) he was the bad guy.  In the revised version (by Tom Moldvay, the hero of 1981!) they became lovers instead.  I have to admit I like his version better than hers.

In the opposite direction of the sentiment of Leather and Lace we have Greg Kihn, whom I always associate with the start of the "video age".  "The Breakup Song" was from Kihn's album Rockihnroll.  The truth is, just like the song says, they just don't write 'em like that anymore.

This is one is kind of a cheat. I loved this song back in the day, but never associated it with gaming till much, much later.  Donnie Iris' "Ah! Leah!" from Back on the Streets.  Though it was out in 1980 I am sure I never heard it till 81.  Like Veteran of the Psychic Wars this song became part of the "soundtrack" of music I listened to when working on the Buffy RPG and then later Ghosts of Albion.  "Leah" was immortalized in my game universe as the name of the woman that married Tara's brother Donny in "Strange Sort of Homecoming" (which itself is named for a Sting song).

"Let me be the one to say when I've had enough..."

Sum songs capture an age perfectly.  Others only capture the feeling, and in retrospect are perfect.  Santana's "Hold On" is that sort of song.  It's too Latin sounding to be really part of the early 80s. But yet here we are and this song is perfect at describing the time.  The first track released from 1981's Shangó.

Got to concentrate, file away
Every last detail
Don't want to lose what's going down
I want to remember everything I'm feeling
Should time try fading or stealing something away.

What are your favorite memories from 1981 and 1982?

1 comment:

Arlee Bird said...

I agree with you about the connection of music to time. As I mentioned in my post, I think there are many variables including place, circumstance, people, time, and so on. Time is a huge factor especially taking into consideration the hit charts and radio play as well as other factors relating to media and promotions. There are so many songs I now relate to MTV play (back when they used to play Music videos). Also there are TV shows where songs were debuted (whenever I here Steely Dan's "Reeling in the Years" I think of my first encounter with the group and song on the show Midnight Special back in the 70's) or movies or elsewhere.

I connect Jan and Dean or Tijuana Brass with 1964-1965, The Allman Brothers with 1972, Depeche Mode with 1985-1990. The time fo the music is a huge factor for evoking specific memories and events and people.

You have some great song picks here, some that I'm very familiar with while others vaguely so. Particularly "Leather and Lace" strikes a chord as early in 1982 was when my second wife and I got married. We were going to have a female friend from our show and another male friend of mine sing that song at the wedding, but then things turned such that she couldn't be there because she had to stay with the show and my male friend didn't feel capable of singing the high notes. We were listening to that album a lot back then.

In 1982 the World's Fair was in Knoxville Tn and we did get to attend. That was exciting. At the end of 1982 is when our first daughter was born. It was an exciting and wonderfully eventful year for me filled with music and wonderful memories.

Thanks for the mention and glad I inspired this post for you. I enjoy traveling in the musical time machine.

Arlee Bird
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out