Did You Know “The Baby-Sitters Club” Had Their Own Album?

That’s right – those baby-sitters and their Stoneybrook-based club had an album!

One Great Idea After Another…

I’ve been (nostalgically) going back through the Baby-Sitters Club book series since last August. My inspiration came from it being the 30th anniversary of the first book. The series has captivated me as much as an adult as it did when I was nine years old. I know it seems strange to enjoy the adventures of teenage girls navigating through life and running the ultimate business, but I always liked how wholesome the stories are, and how well they hold up. While the covers of the books feel dated, the stories are timeless.

I read the first eighty-eight books between 1992 and 1995, when I decided it was time to leave this important part of my elementary school life behind. I was starting seventh grade, and I guess I felt it wasn’t “cool” to read the books anymore. When I started reading the books, I was young enough to be a baby-sitting charge, but by the time I stopped reading, I was older than the club’s two youngest members (though I was in the same grade as them). I was also baby-sitting myself by that time – I watched my own version of the Rodowsky boys, but thankfully I didn’t have a Jackie Rodowsky on my hands!

 

Of Course, The Baby-Sitters  Club Had a TV Show

Because one great idea deserves another!

Like other popular books series of the time (think Ramona Quimby and those Sweet Valley Twins), the baby-sitters also had their own show – it ran for 13 episodes across one season. It also had the distinction of having the most catchy theme song of them all…

Uploaded by Allison Venezio

This song, I should mention, is now stuck in your head. It’s so catchy!

I’ll definitely have to go into more depth with the television show at some point – I own the episodes (and I’ve written recaps for several), but I gotta talk about the soundtrack.

Songs For My Best Friends

The Baby-Sitters Club: Songs for My Best Friends is a 12-song soundtrack featuring nine tracks specifically written for the series, as well as the ultra-catchy theme for the TV show, “Say Hello To Your Friends.” The album was released on October 13, 1992, featuring the vocal stylings of “The Baby-Sitters Club,” featuring Kelly Sachs. Tracks 1-9 were written by Sachs, Jeff Barry, and Lisa Spiro, while “Say Hello To Your Friends” was written by Glen Roven. It’s also not the version from the TV show, but a remixed version.

The tracks are a flowery assortment of happy, perky tunes, mixed with love, friendship, and empowerment tunes, a reminder that education is important, and of course, the show’s theme song (though a different arrangement of the one heard on the TV show).

Just look at this track listing! Those titles!

1. Dance

2. Good Time

3. In Your Shoes

4. Him

5. We Will Inherit The Earth

6. Dear Diary

7. Telephone Talk

8. School is Cool

9. Slumber Party

10. Say Hello To Your Friends

So…how does it sound?

It’s So 1980s Dance!

The songs have a very Debbie Gibson/1980s teenybopper-esque sound. Considering that this was from 1992, that’s probably not what your average eight-year-old in 1992 liked.

Me, on the other hand…

If I had known this existed, it would have been in regular rotation in my Walkman, right alongside my Beauty and the Beast soundtrack. That’s my eclectic music taste for you! I’ve always had it!

So you know it is awesome!

Why didn’t I know this existed?!

Of course, what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t share my new music find with you?

Uploaded by Larry TGroce

Say hello to your flowery, perky earworm!

More Baby-Sitters Club Reads…By Me!

Oh, and if you want to see some of my Baby-Sitters Club recaps over on my blog…

I celebrated my 500th blog post by recapping Claudia and the Mystery of the Secret Passage, Halloween with a not-so-Halloween (but still, Halloween-esque) recap of Dawn and the Haunted House , and Christmas with an actual Christmas episode recap (The Baby-Sitters Special Christmas). I also wrote about a Valentine’s Day-themed novel, and my first Goodreads review on my most recent read from the final series of books.

But this is the post that got this whole crazy train of BSC excitement going!

Say hello to your girlie nightmare, friends!!!  :-)

 

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!

Uploaded by MyyyTunes Concerts

If I Only Knew…Why This Tom Jones Song Is So Catchy!

Yes, we’re talking about Tom Jones.

*Readies the panty launcher*

Guess who’s back from a week-long vacation that included a break from writing?

Guess who hates taking writing vacations?

Methinks my next staycation should involve writing.

Anyway…

Those Weird Songs In My Playlist

A few weeks ago, I talked about the music video for Grateful Dead’s Touch of Grey and how it got the Pop-Up Video treatment.

Pop-Up Video, much like my music playlist, was an eclectic playground for music to roam free. Everything mingled and got the bubble o’facts treatment, and exposed me to music I otherwise wouldn’t have listened to. That, my friends, includes another artist who made a music video for the MTV crowd.

That artist, my friends, is Tom Jones. And the song was “If I Only Knew.”

New Record Label Amid Resurgence

Tom Jones signed with Interscope Records in 1993, and by 1994 released the album The Lead and How to Swing It. This occurrence came on the heels of Jones successfully covering Prince’s “Kiss,” which earned him airtime on both MTV and VH1. With things heading in a positive direction, the time came for another potential MTV crowd-style video.

The video for “If I Only Knew” involves a MTV crowd-type who favors watching Tom Jones sing this song, rather than walk his dog.

My eyes are equally wide over that hat!!!

So, he uses MacGyver-esque ingenuity to walk the dog – a tethered leash on a zipline. Apparently, he has done this before, because the zipline goes through town. And so this dog (and all the other dogs tethered up to this “Lazee-Walker” device) move about the town.

Because their owners are watching Tom Jones’ career resurge.

That’s how MTV is supposed to work, right?

The Song and The Video…Don’t Exactly Match

Of course, I’m not sure how this relates to Tom Jones singing about what he should have known so his love would stay with him, but the video is actually quite funny. And apparently, the dogs are quite attracted to Tom Jones.

And can you blame them?

He does this (among other things)…

Tom’s tickets for the gun show are armed and incredibly dangerous to stare at. No wonder women threw their panties at him in the day – he flashed his jacked arms for them. Women are putty over things like this!

And yet, I (and the dogs in the video) cannot stop watching!

And you’ll probably not be able to stop staring…when you click play!

Uploaded by Tom Jones VEVO

If Tom Jones Only Knew…

Who knew that this song would be successful?

“If I Only Knew” peaked at #11 in the United Kingdom…and #4 on Billboard’s Dance Club Chart in the United States. Of course, the video got airtime AND the Pop-Up Video treatment….which unfortunately is not on You Tube.

In 2011, Tom explained the song to the Mail on Sunday (source – Songfacts.com):

“I did a charity performance with Sting for his Rainforest Foundation in Carnegie Hall. The night was very successful and everybody thought it went well. Jimmy Iovine, a music producer and label boss, called. He had apparently heard about my performance and soon I was signed to Interscope Records.Jimmy knew about ‘If I Only Knew,’ which was by a new group called Rise Robots Rise – they were obscure then, and I think they still are. Nice bunch of fellas, though. They were a white rap group, but it was the big brass riff in there that Jimmy loved and we wanted to make more of a song of it.Trevor Horn was producing it but he knew we needed a melody. He offered to get Lol Creme (from 10cc) to write it but I said that I could do it – and that melody just shot out of my head. I should have had a writing credit but I didn’t because this group were struggling, and I didn’t have the heart to say that I wanted part of the royalties.”

That’s um…incredibly modest of you.

And Rise Robots Rise? This is their version of the song.

Uploaded by KR Moody

And as we drive off into the sunset in our living room on wheels, freshly-walked dog back from his adventure on the Lazee-Walker, with images of Tom Jones trying to seduce us with his giant arms, while wearing our choice hat, we bring my first post-vacation article to a close.

If I only knew why the Pop-Up Video treatment isn’t on You Tube…and why Tom Jones is trying so hard to seduce me…

MTV Hawaiian Holiday with Devo

Remember the MTV Hawaiian Holiday with Devo?

When you think of Hawaii, what do you think of? Sandy beaches? Beautiful sunsets? Groundbreaking rock bands from Akron, OH? Not many people will think that last one, but thanks to a contest that MTV ran back in 1982, Devo and Hawaii are never far apart in mind. The MTV Hawaiian Holiday With Devo ran for a few months and was featured both in print and on MTV itself.

The winner would get 5 sunny day and 4 thrilling nights in Honolulu with the band. In addition they included a cool Walkman, DEVO albums, outfits, spending money and much more. Sadly it was a contest reserved for the 18 year and older crowd, so young spuds need not apply. As a guest of Devo, you would also get to go backstage at their concert. Which took place on February 22, 1982 at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center Arena in Honolulu, HI. Sadly no footage of that concert is online.

MTV seemed to be on a real contest kick back in 1982. My sister was always talking about the House Party contests that she wanted to win. I think that one took place right after the Devo contest. It was a real fun time to be watching MTV, I can only imagine how crazy it was working there.

This classic 1982 MTV promo for the MTV Hawaiian Holiday With Devo features Devo. Plus music video clips from Beautiful World, Whip It and Satisfaction. In the image above you can see JJ Jackson and Martha Quinn digging into the crate full of contest entries for a winner. I loved this version of MTV. Not only did they do fun contests, but they were also comically broad in their approach to things.

The winner of the contest was Dolli Markovich. Dolli, coincidentally hailed from the same town as Devo, Akron, OH. Looking online, I cannot find a Dolli Markovich. If you are out there Dolli, I would love to hear from you and know what winning this contest was like.

Watch the MTV Hawaiian Holiday with Devo promo

Rock-afire Explosion - Billy Bob

At Maker Faire The Rock-afire Explosion Finds New Life!

It should come as no surprise that I’ll talk about the Rock-afire Explosion at the drop of a hat. While Showbiz Pizza is of course a cherished memory for me. It was in fact Creative Engineering’s delightful animatronic band that is such a vivid memory.
Rock-afire Explosion

Well, in addition to all of those video games that Showbiz Pizza provided a vidiot like myself.

Perhaps when you have time you might enjoy my own memories of Showbiz Pizza on the Diary of an Arcade Employee Podcast?

Now the reason we are still talking about the Rock-afire Explosion is because of the work of Creative Engineering. The blood, sweat, and tears that creator Aaron Fechter and his company put into the characters paid off. As a result they obviously transcended their original purpose.

I have mentioned on the Diary Podcast as well as on The Retroist before of my first encounters with the Rock-afire Explosion. It wasn’t just the kids that were being entertained by the likes of Billy Bob’s gentle nature and humor. The adults also were being captivated by the melodious cover songs of the Rock-afire Explosion themselves.

[Via] Fan Programs

Not only did Aaron Fechter and his staff create the band, they also provided the music and voices to the characters. Fechter in fact voiced Billy Bob, Rolfe DeWolfe, Looney Bird, and Earl Schmerle to name a few.

[Via] Rockafire Explosion fan

Now having said all of that, thanks to Caseen Gaines, we have this fantastic YouTube video. Uploaded by Norman Chan of Adam Savage’s Tested, it focuses on Jack Turner at Maker Faire 2017. A young man who in fact with the help of his Father has begun to learn firsthand the amount of work it took Creative Engineering to bring the Rock-afire Explosion to life.
Rock-afire Explosion - Mitzi - Jack Turner

Rock-afire Explosion - Solenoide Valve

As well as restoring the characters, in this case. Billy Bob and also Mitzi Mozzarella, to as near as original working condition as he can. In regards to the parts and method used to bring them to life.

I think the work that Jack Turner has done is of course amazing. However, I would quibble over his statement about Chuck E. Cheese purchasing Showbiz Pizza. As it was in fact the other way around. Due to them attempting to buy the Rock-afire Explosion from Fechter and his obvious refusal. They decided to rebrand everything to Chuck E. Cheese as they owned the rights to it.

Furthermore, regardless of the title to my post. The Rock-afire Explosion are doing quite well. Fechter is releasing brand new YouTube videos featuring his creations. As well as in the case of this video uploaded by Michael’s Short Films. Fans are using Minecraft to bring Dook LaRue’s cover of Heartaches to life!

While it is natural for younger generations to compare the Rock-afire Explosion to Five Nights at Freddy’s. I would have them watch this vintage commercial showing what the characters really do after closing.

[Via] SPP California