Scopitone - jukebox

Behold The Beauty Of The Scopitone Jukebox!

Friends, working with the Projectionist, I certainly have developed a love for film itself. As well as a desire to fill the Retroist Vault with all manner of coin-operated amusement machines. The other day while checking out some older gaming magazines I came across a British jukebox. This of course was an 80’s jukebox that played music videos. However this it turns out is not in fact a new idea. Case in point the Scopitone Jukebox!
Scopitone - Tel A Sign - Chicago

I did my very best to try and find some footage of those British video jukeboxes. Sadly I couldn’t find a single video. It did lead me though to a much earlier version of the device. The Scopitone jukebox. A 60’s coin-operated amusement machine that showed music videos, on 16 mm film.
Scopitone - Film Reels

Now to be truthful, it wasn’t just working with the Projectionist all these years that made me fall in love with film. I have obviously mentioned on various podcasts as well as posts that film has always been intriguing to me. The Scopitone jukebox is something entirely different than I’ve ever seen before though!

While the Scopitone jukebox reels can obviously be considered a precursor to what we would call the music video. While being low budget they still managed to attract all manner of popular singers. Neil Sadaka, Nancy Sinatra, Dionne Warwick, and Julie London to name a few. I particularly enjoyed the 16 mm reel featuring The Exciters singing Tell Him while visiting…a local zoo?

[Via] History Comes To Life

Now when a patron inserted their quarter into the Scopitone jukebox and selected which song they desired. Within the machine a rotating mechanism would spin to the correct 16 mm film selection. Then an arm would swing down with the projection mechanism, the light would be bounced off a mirror to be displayed on the screen.
Scopiton - Jukebox Playing

Ready to see the Scopitone jukebox in action?


The 16 mm film reel that is displayed in the video is of Joi Lansing, singing Web of Love!

[Via] JimVid 1

You want even more fantastic Scopitone jukebox musical entertainment? Then how about Bobby Vee’s The Night Has A Thousand Eyes?

[Via] Lucy Huto

addams groove

MC Hammer and the Addams Groove

I spent a lot of my time as a kid with the radio on in the background. Nowadays, I hardly turn the radio on in the car. Usually when I do I just hit seek, hoping something interesting will pop up. Last weekend I was not disappointed. Because for some reason a local station played MC Hammer’s Addams Groove. I was over the moon!

For those not familiar Addams Groove by MC Hammer was released as the theme song to the 1991 film The Addams Family. This was oddly enough a swan song for Hammer. It would be his last top ten hit in the United States. To add insult to injury it was also the recipient of the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Original Song at the 12th Golden Raspberry Awards in 1991.

The song would go onto chart worldwide and would eventually hit number 7 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It helped to promote a film that grossed $113,502,246 in the United States and $191,502,246 worldwide.

Now I know the song is silly, but if you were excited for the release of The Addams Family back in 1991, like I was, this song was a big deal. It got a ton of radio play and the music video entered heavy rotation on Mtv.

It is the type of movie-related music video I love. Where they actually get the actors from the film to participate. The video opens with Hammer pleading with Wednesday and Pugsley to not chop off his head. Then we get lots quick cuts of various characters from the film, a sword-fight between Gomez and Hammer, and finally Hammer at the end reassuring us that Addams family just likes to have fun.

If you were one of the people seeing The Addams Family during its first few weeks of being in the theater, they ran this video before the film started. It set the tone for the film. I was sure that this was going to be a new trend for film. It was not.

Watch the music video for Addams Groove by MC Hammer

I am not sure if the makers behind this song had Thriller in mind when making the music video. But much like that well-respected epic video, a Making of was also made about Addams Groove. While not as informative as the Making of Thriller, it is still a fun peek behind the scenes.

Watch the making of the Addams Groove

Addams Groove was just one component of a marketing juggernaut that helped make The Addams Family a success. In addition to spawning a sequel, the film would have merchandise, a pinball machine, a video game and much more. With all that stuff out there, it might be easy to overlook the Addams Groove. But for me, this song is tied to the film and was the soundtrack to my winter in 1991.

Huey Lewis - Frankenstein

Classic Horror Themed Music Video from Huey Lewis & The News

Huey Lewis & The News were at the height of their popularity when the single “Doing It All For My Baby” was released in 1987. Being the decade of Mtv, there had to be an accompanying music video. With the Halloween season starting, what better video to kick things off than this one featuring characters from Universal’s classic horror movies. The set design, effects, and costumes are fantastic and will get you into the Halloween mood.

[Via] Huey Lewis The News VEVO

Huey Lewis - American Psycho

Watch The Peanuts Gang Rocking Out To Chicago!

The Peanuts Gang rocking out to Chicago.

Yep, I’m officially seeking out reasons to write about Chicago.

(Insert Chicago Explanation Here)

I’ll state the obivous: I love Chicago, I’ve seen them in concert, and I write about them ALOT.

I love this song, that song, and such and such album. The concert from 1993 is a Hair Party. I have lukewarm feelings toward Bill Champlin and Peter Cetera (love their singing though!), and OMG have you heard that disco song?!

Anyway…

Who Knew The Peanuts Gang Sang…Like This?!

Now, we’ve always known the Peanuts gang (Good Old Chuck and the Group!) to sing Christmas songs. There was also that time in the 1980s where child actors with actual singing talent played the characters. Every special in the 1980s had musical numbers. The characters came a long way from their over-enunciating days in the 1960s.

But they never quite sang like Chicago.

Until now.

A few years ago, my dad shared this video on my Facebook timeline:

I was just getting into Chicago’s music (thanks I Heart Radio!), but I’d been into Peanuts for years.

This video, my friends, is the work of Garren Lazar. It is just one of several Chicago music videos he made, featuring the Peanuts gang.

Oh yes, there’s more!

“The Peanuts Gang…in the Park…”

Garren has done quite the job of matching mouth movments and the music. What results is nothing short of amazing!

Take, for instance, this song I’ve never heard before…

This one EVERYBODY has heard!

Do you know what time it is?

…time to smile?

The flute solo that got stuck in my head for two days…

Seriously.

This lovely day in a certain open air place…I think it was some warm weather holiday…

This one, complete with all the feels…

I remember seeing this special as a teenager, and being sad. This song does not help!

That other song that signals a start…

I just wanna be…

And ANOTHER song I haven’t heard before!

All uploads via Garren Lazar

You laughed, you cried…you probably sang along. Don’t hide it!

But Wait, There’s More!

Turns out Garren Lazar has a huge playlist of singing Peanuts Gang videos, not exclusive to Chicago music!

Seriously, check this out!

Uploads via Garren Lazar

Thank you so much, Garren Lazar, for sharing you talent for making You Tube music videos a true art form! :-)

Have You Heard Chicago’s “The Pull”?

Uh oh, guess who discovered – or rather, got pull-ed in the direction of – another Chicago song?

Gee, let me guess…

The Stone of Sisyphus Keeps on Rolling…

Several months ago, I wrote about an unreleased (until 2008) song penned by Jason Scheff, and performed by Chicago called “Bigger Than Elvis.” The song was a dedication piece to Jason’s father, Jerry Scheff, who was a bassist for Elvis Presley. “Bigger Than Elvis” was set to be released as part of the group’s ill-fated 1994 album Stone of Sisyphus. 

The album was to be a return to Chicago’s personal, cultural, and musical roots, and not a strive for hits. The album was completed in secrecy (even from their label), in order to emphasize Chicago’s creative sovereignty, set for a March 1994 release, but suddenly rejected (it was initially well-received) from Warner Bros. Records. This resulted in the album going unreleased for fifteen years, and Chicago leaving the label altogether.

The 1993 “Greek Theater”Concert

Prior to the album’s ultimate rejection, there was one song that made the set list for Chicago’s 1993 Greek Theater concert. It was a song that I had not actually heard before, nor had I seen any concert footage from the 1990s. But I can tell you this: the concert is a total hair party, 1990s-era Chicago is as awesome as any era Chicago, and those horns…fabulous.

Bill Champlin’s hair. That hair is everything you’d expect in glorious hair.

I had total hair envy watching this concert. Can you see why?

Former Member of the Hair Party, bassist, and lead vocalist Jason Scheff had an arguably strong voice that contributed to the group from the mid-1980s and on through the 1990s, right up until his departure in 2016. It didn’t matter who wrote it or if Peter Cetera was the original voice, he could handle any song with a true performer’s glory.

He was the only one without long hair.

Even the horn section had Mandatory Mullets!

“The Pull” Gets Its Big Push in Concert

The 1993 tour was an obvious attempt to promote the group’s upcoming album, and they deviated from the usual set list to play one of the songs from that album. Perhaps this one had the “marketability” they were going for.

I’m not 100% sure, but I do know this – the song was quite catchy, and very reminiscent of mid-1980s Chicago.

Take a look at this amazing video of Jason Scheff giving his all to “The Pull.”

Uploaded by Mr Joe Lynch

Those horns, that sound, this is revived-in-the-1980s-era Chicago. This is everything this group was amazing for and yet, this (and the album it rode in on) didn’t see the light of day for fourteen years. It took ten albums and fourteen years (and Rhino Records) to release this amazing song and album.

The lyrics in “The Pull” tell listeners that no matter what, no matter how far one goes, one’s roots (and past) are always ready to draw one back.

It is truly a powerful song.

Departures, Arrivals, and Stones Finally Getting Their Push

Unfortunately, with the album’s unreleased status, it was the final album for guitarist Dawayne Bailey, whose contract was not renewed following the not release of Stone of Sisyphus. Bailey had been with Chicago during the ushering in of the “new era” in 1986.

But even with his departure, Chicago lucked out in the end…

You guys know how I feel about Keith Howland.

Past Exhibits:

Old Days, Good Times Some Didn’t Have! – Hear Keith Howland sing the song Peter Cetera hated to sing!

Christmas with Horns – Howland’s version of “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas” is awesome!

Eventually, Sisyphus did succeed in pushing that stone – Rhino Records released the album as Chicago’s thirty-second album on June 17, 2008. Because when something is good enough, it will eventually get heard.

You can pretty much say someone had “The Pull” to get it released!

Get it, “The Pull…”

Ok, fine.

OMG hair!

Oh, and if you really want to see the full concert, it is AMAZING!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8FcJ6f3xJ4

Uploaded by MyyyTunes Concerts