When I was in college, I had various jobs. One of my better jobs was working security at Giants Stadium in New Jersey. I was not one of the people who patrolled the parking lot or asked you to stop smoking or drink up in the seats. For most of the time I was there, I worked backstage or at the rear entrance or backstage. It was an easy job, filled with interesting experiences and people. It was on one of my days working the rear gate that I encountered Chris Cornell.
I did not get to spend much time with him. Chris Cornell and Kim Thayil had come to a concert and were not on our list. Unfortunately for them, no one at the gate who was in charge recognized them. I was a noob, so I didn’t try to talk too much, the older guys did not like young people who gave too much lip. But I recognized Cornell and Thayil from their appearances on MTV and I mentioned that to my supervisor. That was enough to get my supervisor on his radio asking about these two long-haired fellas. When they were confirmed as on some list, we let them through.
Now here is what I most remember. Cornell thanked and shook hands with each person there. Even though we were mostly indifferent to him and perhaps even slightly dismissive. It was a classy move and it always left me with the impression that he was a nice guy.
I was sad to hear this morning that Chris Cornell had passed away. He was a very talented person and I am glad I have my memory of my brief encounter and a heck of a lot of music to remember him by.
Plus this amazing scene from the Cameron Crowe film Singles. Look at all the beautiful hair.
Watch Chris Cornell wordlessly steal this scene in Singles
I’ll settle the bet you probably are making with other Retroist readers right now: Not a Grateful Dead fan, but a huge Pop-Up Video fan.
Pop In To Pop-Up Video!
One of my favorite shows of in the mid-1990s was by far VH1’s Pop-Up Video. Premiering on October 27, 1996 (one week after my 14th birthday), the show combined music videos with fun trivia. It ran for six seasons in its original incarnation and two seasons in its revival (2012), for 209 episodes.
The trivia appeared in little bubbles that “popped” onto the screen, accompanied by an audible “pop” sound. Trivia involved facts about the singers, stories about the band, and tidbits about production of the video. Post-video, a large bubble told a longer story about the artist or group.
Everything was fair game in the world of Pop-Up Video. Most episodes were hodge podge, but there were themed episodes (Michael Jackson, 1980s, Rock and Roll Heaven, soundtracks, Divas, Madonna) mixed in. If you liked music videos and not-so-relevant tidbits (guilty!), then this show was fun. But, if you were my mom, then this show was annoying, since you had to “read” while you watched. Since I had no trouble reading fast and multi-tasking, even in eighth grade, Pop-Up Video was enjoyable.
Grateful Dead…Or Just Grateful for a Time Waster
I re-discovered the joys of Pop-Up Video while laid up with a sinus infection during the winter of 2012, when VH1 Classic showed a marathon. Since then, I tend to catch the occasional marathon (coincidentally, I was laid up when this happened). And while I’m never picky about which episodes they show (never was, either!), I always really liked when the most unusual music videos showed up.
One of those “most unusual videos” is actually one of my favorite Pop-Up Video entries, from a group whose music I’m otherwise not interested in. They have their legions of fans (called “Dead Heads”), and a well-established career long before their first music video.
If the nickname wasn’t enough of a dead giveaway, I’m referring to the group Grateful Dead, and the music video is 1987’s “Touch of Grey.”
I Will Get By…
“Touch of Grey” began life during Grateful Dead’s encore on September 15, 1982 at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland, but was not released until 1987’s In the Dark. It entered the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #9, while reading #1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, the first and only of their songs to accomplish this.
The video, also a first for Grateful Dead, featured skeletons performing the song at a live performance. It received major airplay on MTV, and introduced the group to new fans while gaining mainstream attention for the band.
Another thing that’s alright? Delicious ice cream!
I Don’t Care, ‘Cause It’s Alright…
Now, given my interest in Chicago, you’re probably thinking this is an unusual watch for me, but in reality…I love this song! It’s true! I first heard it while watching Pop-Up Video, and it was during a re-watch in 2015 (while I was, you guessed it, laid up with my first ankle injury) that piqued my interest in the song once again.
And with its light sound (which is deceptive if you listen to the lyrics), the interesting visuals, and well, trivia bubbles, it is impossible not to love the catchy nature of the song!
Although this may depress you. It really was that long ago.
But go on, click play, and don’t care, ’cause it’s alright. You will get by, you will survive!
And you’ll be singing this for a week.
Uploaded by mpd2l17
(Blame the uploader for why this is stuck in your head!)
Southern Nights. A wonderful and joyous song made popular by Glen Campbell back in ’77 from his album of the same name. It is in fact one of the songs that Director James Gunn picked for the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 soundtrack. A film I have yet to see but a soundtrack I have been greatly enjoying.
In addition I am doing my very best to avoid the internet spoilers of course. Southern Nights though wasn’t written by Glen Campbell, it actually was written as well as recorded by Allen Toussaint in 1975.
As a matter of fact it’s been said that Glen Campbell not only heard Toussaint’s version in ’75 but was reminded of his own youth. Campbell grew up on a farm near Pike County, Arkansas. In this case Glen made some minor alterations to the lyrics before recording in 1976. Additionally Campbell added a rather unique guitar lick to Southern Nights. One that just so happened to be taught to him by his friend, Jerry Reed.
I want to pause for just a second. Now as a kid I knew of Jerry Reed chiefly for two things. His role as Cledus “Snowman” Snow from 1977’s Smokey and the Bandit. As well as his appearance in the 1972 episode of the The New Scooby-Doo Movies entitled The Phantom of the Country Music Hall.
While both my Grandfathers were partial to country music, I hadn’t heard of any of Reed or Campbell’s music. Of course as I’ve stated numerous times throughout the years, my own household was largely devoid of music in general. Although having said that I vaguely recall 1982’s Jerry Reed and Special Friends. Furthermore I want to say it was a syndicated TV series with rotating guests, like Glen Campbell.
Now I hope you’ll take a moment and enjoy these two master performers as they have fun with Southern Nights!
It was the 80’s and it was easy to love the Go-Go’s! Great peppy music, that was based on punk rock roots, performed by an all girl group. Did you have a favorite? I did. Gina Schock, the drummer! I’m a drummer and at that point, she was the only girl drummer I ever heard of and she was cute! Ok, still is.
Their album “Beauty and the Beat” came out in 1981 and it was full of radio and video friendly songs. “We Got the Beat” was definitely one of them.
My teacher that year, decided to have our class put on a talent show. Just our class and I can’t recall the reason behind it. So, we had to figure out something as it was graded. Non participation equaled a zero.
There were gymnastics and cheerleaders and some musical acts. My friends, Dave and Chris, decided to join me and do something. A lip sync act.
Ok, I turned to my sister Kathy, for help. She was gigging around town and had tons of top 40 sheet music. She had “We Got the Beat” and I figured it could work. Everyone knew the song and it would be funny if three dudes were lip syncing to an all girl group! She worked with me on some of the cues and singing and I could lead the guys. (Well, that was the plan.)
I think we rehearsed once and we were sworn to secrecy about the origin of our act, other than letting the teacher know. Then came the show date.
After a rousing round of tumbling and cheering, (I remember one of the girls tumbling to Journey music) a clarinet trio or something, it was our turn. Oh brother!
I had the school’s drum kit and was trying to keep it real. Someone had a boom box and a cassette of the band and we “sang.” Ok, it was pretty funny! Chris and Dave pranced around and we actually kind of sang along, while I tried keeping us together, trying not to die from trying not to laugh. Looking out at the audience, I could see a few hundred boys and girls screaming with glee at our antics! As silly and bad as it was, we got the best cheers and we got a good grade for the effort. And a lot of “cat calls” for the next few days.
I’m not asking you if you wanna take forever tonight with Peter Cetera, that is the actual name of the song!
The funny thing is, I originally came up with this idea while listening to the aforementioned Peter Cetera song. As I write this opening line, I’m listening to a different song from the same album.
“Cetera: Lord of the Ladies”
If Chicago music videos have taught me anything, Peter Cetera was more than competent in landing the lady. If you need proof of this, I highly recommend “Along Comes A Woman” and “Stay the Night.” And if you want to see him lose the lady, also watch both music videos.
And no, there is no accompanying article for “Stay the Night”…yet. I don’t write about every Chicago song there is!
Come for the heartbreak, stay for the horn section cameo. Those guys are the true actors of the group.
Peter Cetera’s departure from Chicago in 1985 didn’t mean career suicide; it actually meant the opposite – numerous hits and albums, and songs with several ladies of singing abilities.
There was Amy Grant, Sheena Easton, and Crystal Bernard…
Oh yes, Crystal Bernard, or as association goes…
“The Southern Blonde From Wings“
If Crystal Bernard’s name doesn’t sound familiar to you immediately, it is her face and voice you’ll know immediately. From 1990 until 1997, she played sassy lunch counter owner and on-off-accidental-fiancee-wife Helen Chappel (later Hackett) on the NBC sitcom Wings. It was her spitfire personality that made her shine on the show, which is still one of my favorite sitcoms of the ’90s.
Plus she slept with Tim Daly’s character. She officially made millions of lovesick women jealous. We all knew who these ladies wanted to “take forever tonight” with.
The two characters took their bickering and on/off relationship to the next level when Joe proclaimed his love for the engaged Helen (after the aforementioned “accidental get together” that closed out season five), and subsequently married at the end of season six. The show’s humor didn’t suffer as a result of their marriage, and ran for two more years, so we could see them build a life together.
Coincidentally enough, her pairing with Peter Cetera on this song, which no doubt was the wedding song of at least five people in 1995, was released in the summer of 1995, shortly after the wedding of Helen and Joe.
The song had no connection to the sitcom’s nuptials episode, but it seems very coincidental that the song’s release has this timing.
One Clear Voice…One Disappointing Critical Response
The song was released as part of Cetera’s 1995 album One Clear Voice, which was not commercially successful, but this modestly successful single charted at #22 on the Adult Contemporary Chart, and #86 on the Pop Chart. Bernard was chosen by Cetera to sing this song after he heard her demo tape. In reality, Bernard had been singing most of her life, and released several albums in the 1990s.
Despite the less-than-stellar charting position, the song (and the accompanying video) are beautiful and perfect.
Cetera dreams/sings of the girl…
The girl sings about him…
He pictures them making beautiful music together…
She passes him in a chance encounter…
She probably wonders who the heck this guy is…
And Cetera loses the girl.
Oh wow, it’s “Along Comes a Woman” all over again!
That’s um…sorta depressing.
But these two make beautiful music (and a beatiful video) together!
I hope you enjoy it just as much as I do.
Uploaded by Ed Saka
So, we know who Crystal Bernard wanted to “take forever tonight” with, but what about Peter Cetera?