ELO

ELO: The Video Game – A Soundtrack To A Game That Never Was

In an age when Beatles Rock Band is old hat, It’s hard to remember a time when video game “product placements” or celebrity connections were a rarity, and kind of a big deal: Atari slapping Pele’s name on a new soccer cartridge, Mattel Electronics securing permission to emblazon every new sports video game with the name and logo of that sport’s professional league, or the one that started it all, a 1976 arcade, game awfully similar to Night Driver, called Datsun 280 ZZZAP!.

[Via] Hirudov gaming

And then there was Journey. Around 1983, you’d be hard pressed to find a bigger radio hit than Separate Ways (Worlds Apart). That synth line, the one that leads the whole song off, was practically made to be turned into video game music. Journey inspired two video games – a fantastic Midway arcade game, and the quirky but enjoyable Journey Escape for the Atari 2600.

[Via] MY SATURDAY M0RNINGS

Read: Celebrate Atari Day With Journey Escape And MTV!

But what if another band had been in the right place at the right time to cash in on the video craze?

That’s the idea behind another project perhaps best described as “quirky but enjoyable” – a soundtrack for ELO: The Video Game that was never, in fact, made.
ELO
The free downloadable “ELO: The Video Game” album from online label Pterodactyl Squad re-imagines several of the band’s singles, and a few lesser-known tunes, as chiptunes – as they would sound as music for intros, level-up animations, and even boss battles.
ELO
It’s a little disconcerting seeing the ELO spaceship – a fixture of the band’s album covers since 1977 – spewing missiles at everything within sight on the artwork for this release, but it’s a fun (and fast) listen.

Now someone just needs to create a game to go with the music.

The Pointer Sisters sing Neutron Dance at Disneyland’s 30th Anniversary

In 1985 they broadcast a very memorable celebration for Disneyland’s 30th Anniversary. I cannot recall where I got a VHS copy of this special, but at some point in the 1980s it started getting heavy play in my VCR. The special has a lot of great moments, but my favorite is when the Pointer Sisters sing Neutron Dance.

It is a great 80’s moment filled with high energy and Neutron Dance is the perfect song to capture that energy. Two things make it even more special. First is the addition of the floats and characters from Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade. Second is what looks to be a chorus line of TRON dancers!

TRON dancers

Okay, so I am not sure if they are really supposed to be TRON dancers. But it would be so perfect. You know Disney had a lot of TRON costumes lying around and using TRON in the Neutron dance is just too perfect. It is just the perfect amount of inspired wordplay-based laziness that I would hope for from an 80’s television special.

Read The Pointer Sisters: “Neutron Dance” from Beverly Hills Cop

Are you curious about what the Neutron Dance is all about? According to Allee Willis who wrote the song,

Neutron Dance” was written in hopes of being placed on the soundtrack of the film Streets of Fire. “We were told that there was a scene on a bus that was leaving town after there had been this nuclear holocaust, and that a ’50s doo-wop black group was going to be at the back of the bus that the lead couple was escaping on. Danny Sembello and I just met that day. I was very disinterested in songwriting at that point, and I’m writing with this kid who’s never had a record before, and I just wanted to get him in and out.

He was a phenomenal keyboard player, and I just said: ‘Play the most common sounding old-fashioned ’50s black music bass line that you can think of.’ And he just started doing the rhythm for “Neutron Dance”. And I’m someone who could write a melody to a spoon falling on the table. So I literally sang that melody down. First time down, he just kind of followed and went to the right places. And then I said, Let’s just write this quick lyric. We’re taking a half an hour on the lyric, and this thing’s gonna get done.

The song would be featured in Beverly Hill Cop and would chart. Eventually topping out at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Not bad for 30 minutes of work.

Watch the Pointer Sisters sing Neutron Dance at Disneyland

Plantasia

Plantasia is music for plants

Like many people, when I was growing up, my early music experiences was shaped by my parent’s record collection. I am happy to say that while my family had pretty standard old school taste in music, they also had some oddities. One of the records that instantly intrigued me was Plantasia by Mort Garson. Released in 1976, Plantasia was:

Warm earth music for plants and the people who love them.

I had been intrigued by music for plants since seeing an episode of In Search Of that postulated that plants were more sensitive than we thought. Someone in my family must have felt the same way, I am guessing my father, since he bought this album. Unfortunately, based on the condition of our house plants, I am not so sure that plants respond to music. That or they just don’t like Plantasia.

Read: In Search of ‘In Search Of…’ – Episode 1: Do Plants Talk and Feel?

I, on the other hand, loved it. Many a days while doing some hobby, I would put this on in the background. It was relaxing electronic music that just spoke to me. Who knows, maybe I am part plant. Oh, maybe that is the reason my family bought this album? It is amazing what family secrets reveal themselves when you start considering your past.

Here is a track listing of what you will hear when you fire up Plantasia. “Concerto for Philodendron & Pothos” is a particularly inspired piece of music.

Plantasia Track Listing

Mort Garson was an early pioneer in electronic based music. He made several albums in the sixties and seventies that featured the Moog synthesizer. All of which I suggest you check out. Especially if you are a fan of the Exotica genre of music. As his career developed he would work on music for TV and film, including multiple games shows and Beware! The Blob. He has also been referenced by modern musicians as an influence. Perhaps most recently in the music of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

Garson passed away in 2006, but if you want to learn more about him, you should check out this interview released in 2006. Fortunately his music still lives on and will continue to relax and inspire both people and plants for years to come.

Listen to Plantasia

David Foster Is Playing With Fire…And Chicago’s Horn Section!

Because David Foster + Chicago Horn Section = AWESOMENESS!

The Hit Man Hits The Wallet!

Ah, the famous “I got your money!” look.

A few years ago, I gifted my mom with every David Foster CD I could find. From the glory of the Hit Man concert DVD/CD combos (there are two different concerts), to River of Love, and even The Symphony Sessions (an album I wasn’t sure she’d like, but was something I really loved hearing on I Heart Radio), my mom and I would bond over listening to Foster’s piano-playing prowess (so much alliteration!!!!), and the ability to make any song an epic listening experience!

One of the other albums I found during all the searches was actually Foster’s debut album, titled, simply (because only he can!), David Foster. For someone who spent his career up until that point writing songs and producing hits for other artists, Foster had only put out one album of his own work, The Best of Me, in 1983. This album, released in 1986, was a collaboration of Foster and the friends and people he had worked with previously. That was, my friends, a whole lotta people.

Friends and Associations

David Foster’s list of hits and production contributions is numerous and far-reaching. In the 1980s, he was (at least partially) responsible for giving Chicago the big comeback they needed following the disco disaster of 1979. So when Foster was ready to release his self-titled albm, he called on a few friends. Of which he has many.

Three of those friends just happen to be a trio (part of a larger band) hailing from the Windy City, who happen to be quite handy with brass instruments, backup vocals, and two of the three are responsible for the Street Player dance (begins at 3:00)…

Uploaded by saskatchawan

Oh that dance.

The trio Foster called upon to provide their horns are none other than James Pankow, Lee Loughnane, and Walter Parazaider, the horn section that gives Chicago that “rock with horns” thing they’re known for!

The song this triple threat provided their magic for was “Playing with Fire,” an amazing instrumental piece that also features drummer Tris Imboden (pre-Chicago), who is half of this awesome duel…

Uploaded by bratalishus

This song is one of several in a great instrumental lineup that this album offers. I should note that I covered tapDANCE (yes, that is how it is listed on the album) in a previous Retroist article. I’ll have to cover the rest of this album at another time, but for now, please enjoy the music, by clicking play!

Uploaded by David Foster – Topic