RetroArt - What the Retroist Means to Me

What The Retroist Means To Me By RetroArt

Things thought lost but now found again.

That is what the Retroist and his site means to me and I’m sure to thousands of others thanks to the site.

I envy the first time visitor who stumbles across the Retroist site and is dazzled by the brilliance of the treasure trove of things thought long lost to time gathered all in one place by a busy band of enthusiastic contributors. I recall the first time I made this discovery and I have been grateful for the Retroist ever since. This digital cave of retro-wonders has allowed me to fill in the holes of my own Pop Culture background.

I was a very tunnel-visioned child growing up in the 1970s and 1980s. I only paid attention to those things which I was immediately focused on. Everything else didn’t matter to me, wasn’t deemed worth my time. Because of this I was only vaguely aware of other things happening, like other tv shows, other movies, other music, other games, etc. The Retroist site has allowed me to become aware of so many other things that were going on around us all back then. Now, today, I have the ability to appreciate all that I missed while growing up.

The best case example of this that I can give is the MAGNUM PI tv series which ran from 1980 thru 1988. I did not see a single episode.

RetroArt - Magnum, P.I.

Tom Selleck in a 1980 Ferrari 308 GTS for Magnum, P.I.

Apparently as a 12-20 year old I was not interested in watching the exploits of a mustachioed, short-shorts wearing, ex-Navy officer now turned private investigator racing around Hawaii in a red Ferrari solving the problems of both his clients and friends. I have no idea why I wasn’t watching this back then. It’s absolutely great.

But I watch it now, even binge-watched it during four weeks, all thanks to being exposed to how much fun the series is based on the posts and, most importantly the podcast, by the Retroist himself.

This is just one example of how the Retroist has helped me re-discover many other aspects of my Pop Culture childhood that I didn’t appreciate before: QUINCY M.E., the Odyssey video game system, VOYAGERS and even the arcade game MR. DO. The list could go on and on but that’s not necessary. To see all that I have re-discovered, just go to the Retroist site and pick any post. It’s all there.

It isn’t just a revisiting of things from my past which I value about the Retroist but rather a new visit to something I’ve not seen before, something from someone else’s experience in the past which I had not experienced myself. It is this discovery of someone else’s different experiences from our shared, parallel timeline which I enjoy the most from the Retroist site. And this is also why I have contributed posts to the site as well.

Even though I have contributed only eighteen posts to the Retroist site, I did so because I wanted to give and not just take. I wanted to share something I thought is special from our collective Pop Culture history and call attention to it in hopes it could be re-appreciated. The Retroist and his wonderful site is a haven for all those who want to share these “discoveries” and give that particular item of interest its due moment in the spotlight, possibly once again after being lost to the trends of time.

That’s what the Retroist means to me, a solitary, shining site of appreciation on the vast expanse of the Internet.

Thank you, Retroist, for having done this.

It is much appreciated.

USA for Africa’s “We Are the World”

There comes a time, when we heed a certain call…

Not only a fine singer and performer, both with the Commodores and with his solo career, Lionel Richie will forever be remembered for his involvement with USA for Africa’s 1985 song “We Are the World,” which he co-wrote with Michael Jackson.

USA-Africa-shirts

Man, can I just say that in 1985 I was ALL about Africa? I mean, I had the white sweatshirt that Kenny Rogers and others are wearing in the video. I had a poster of the whole chorus of singers on my bedroom wall.
Poster
I had (still have) the 45 single. I FORGOT I had the 45 and eagerly purchased a second copy of it when I found it at the local Salvation Army.
World-45

Produced by Quincy Jones, the idea to record the song (and the entire album) stemmed from singer Harry Belafonte’s desire to record something that would benefit the nonprofit United Support of Artists for Africa, which focused its efforts on alleviating starvation in Africa. Kenny Rogers, who I previously talked about in regards to his work and friendship with Lionel, was also instrumental in bringing the project together; he helped to rally the efforts of other singers and also provided Jones and company the use of his Lion Share Recording Studio, although the main group recording of the seminal song would later take place at A&M Recording Studio in Los Angeles.

richie_rogers_USA

The single for “We Are the World” sold more than 20 million copies. You may be surprised to know that “We Are the World” actually came to fruition a year after the celebrity-heavy Band Aid song in the U.K. “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” I never realized that, I thought it was the other way around. Although, perhaps “…Christmas” just gained more prominence here in the States because of the success of the multi-artist “…World” recording. Or maybe I just have a crap memory!

Years later, while watching MTV’s Half-Hour Comedy Hour, comedian Kevin Meaney did a hilarious reinterpretation, karaoke-style, of the song. He really nails his imitations of some of the singers. While the below clip is not from the MTV show (based on the curtains, I think it’s from an ’80s episode of The Tonight Show), it still captures the fun. His karaoke starts at the 2 minute mark.