Showing posts with label 1980s. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1980s. Show all posts

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The two British invasions in pop music

In terms of pop music of the 21st century two British invasions occurred. That happened twice, when single artists or brand from Great Britain ruled the music charts of other countries, especially the USA, and scored one number one hit after the other over months and years.

The first British invasion

The first took place between the late 1950s to the early 1970s, when band like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Queen, The Who, Led Zeppelin, single music artists like Elton John, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, od Stewart and others were on the top of the music charts of many countries, not only in the UK. They moved local bands and artists to lower places, depriving them to reach the number one position of their respective chart. Audiences, especially teenagers, went mad and bought more records than of local acts.

The second British invasion

Between the late 1970s and mid 1980s was the era, when the second British invasion took place. Its focus was on synth pop, which emerged around that time. Acts like Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, OMD, Yazoo (known as Yaz in the USA), The Human League hit the number one spot also in charts outside the UK. Local artists were again moved to lower chart positions. Interestingly, while the first invasion was focused on Rock, the second invasion with focus on synth pop also created several new music genres, like New Romantic Wave, New Wave, Ska. And opened the way to cyber punk while competing with Disco Music. This invasion fizzled out around 1983, when American musicians were again able to rule the charts of many countries.

My opinion

Looking back I miss that time of the second invasion. I was a teenager back then and loved to listen to the radio while recording the songs to create mixed tapes (on compact cassettes, kids today won't know). I doubt that there will ever be a third British invasion again.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The home computer

A home computer is a micro computer, which entered the market with the birth of the Altair 8800 on 1975 and extends until the early 1990s. This encompasses almost all 8-bit computers. Commonly used CPUs were the Zilog Z80, MOS Technology 6502 or Motorola 6800 and the first wave of micros equipped with 16-bit CPUs, mainly Motorola 68000 and Intel 8086 and 8088. The term home computer describes from a computer commonly found in the industry and take it home. Excluded from this group are IBM PCs and compatibles.These are called personal computers.


Commodore 64The Altair 8800 was the first home computer but lacked a keyboard and monitor. 1977 saw what the BYTE magazine called the 1977 Trinity and encompassed the Commodore PET, Tandy TRS-80 and Apple 2. They came with a built-in keyboard. The Commodore and Tandy also sported a monitor. Shortly after Atari introduced their 8-bit line of micros. In the United Kingdom computers like the Sinclair ZX 81 and Spectrum as well as the Acorn Atom, better known as BBC Micro, became famous. Many teenager began coding, mainly writing games. They became soon known as bedroom coders. All home computers but the Jupiter ACE had the BASIC programming language built in. The best selling machine was the Commodore 64.

Some types of computers stayed for longer, others evolved trying to maintain compatibility. For example was a Z80 card available for the Apple II as well as for the Commodore 64, opening the huge world of CP/M software for their owners. However, by the end of the 1980s most were eliminated by IBM compatible personal computers and the newer generations of video game consoles because all used their own incompatible formats. The IBM revolution was triggered in 1981 by the output of the IBM 5150 personal computer, the IBM PC.

I got my first micro with the Commodore 64 in 1984. I also had some BASIC knowledge but soon learned to code in 6502 (the C 64 had a 6510 though) assembly language. I soon wanted a Commodore Amiga 500 but waited until 1988 the price came down. After that I only bought IBM compatibles.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Stingray underrated

There is a movie from 2019 called Stingray, also known as Raymond, starring Joel Edgerton, Jon Bernthal and Anthony Hayes. I wonder if this is a sequel to the series by the same name which was originally aired in two seasons from 1985 to 1987 with a pilot of 90 minutes from 1984, featuring Canadian Actor Nick Mancuso, which I want to talk about.

I didn't watch it then. May be I thought it's another series with a talking car full of electronics. I thought of Knight Rider's K.I.T.T. Also Street Hawk, the series with an experimental super bike, came to my mind so I just ignored it.

Recently someone on Youtube showed a video composed of 1980s intros of shows loved by us teens then. Stingray was among them. I was instantly hooked by the musical score. Sounded to me like straight from Miami Vice and Jan Hammer on the keyboard. Instead it was done by Mike Post, Pete Carpenter, and Walter Murphy. Amazing!

I ordered a DVD set and enjoyed this short lived US series. "Ray", as he was called by others, is untouchable and almost always has full control of any situation. Even when it seemed he now takes some beating or was betrayed he will come out on top instead. Then he vanishes silently and without a trace like he appeared. He only revealed his real name once by whispering into the ear of somebody so the audience wouldn't know.

The series was well underrated. May be the move to the filming location in Vancouver in Canada, with its bad weather conditions in the second season and thus bad plots, led to the series cancellation. Too bad. If it would had stayed in sunny California it would had deserved a third season in my opinion.