Editor’s note: In this installment of EhOR, Jay Kumar takes a look at the oh-so-’80s AOR of Toronto’s Honeymoon Suite. If ever there was an act that seemed perfectly suited for ’80s AOR, it was Honeymoon Suite. Formed in 1981 in Niagara Falls, Ontario, the band delivered a potent combination of big hooks, big riffs and big hair. The original lineup was led by singer-guitarist Johnny Dee and included Brad Bent on vocals and keyboards and drummer Mike Lengyell. After a few years with a rotating lineup, Dee teamed in 1983 with lead guitarist Derry Grehan and drummer Dave Betts to record the song “New Girl Now,” which helped them win an unsigned band contest held by Toronto radio station Q107. Keyboardist Ray Coburn was added and bassist Gary Lalonde joined the band after recording was finished on the first album (session player Brian Brackstone played on the record). Dee’s raspy vocals along with crunchy riffs and a healthy dose of synths made for a winning combination. For the band’s self-titled 1984 debut, they re-recorded …
It is easy in the post-rickrolling era to forget the level of popularity that Rick Astley achieved during his late-1980s peak. With 40 million records sold, 8 UK and 5 US Top 10 hits as well as concert appearances with rock royalty like Phil Collins and Brian May (watch the clip—I swear this is not a rickroll)—all by the age of 25—Astley was a truly global phenomenon and, alongside Kylie Minogue, the symbol of the Stock-Aitken-Waterman songwriting and production team’s imperial period. Astley went into semi-retirement after 1993’s Body & Soul, releasing music sporadically (a handful of singles and a pair of albums saw the light of day, one more album was scrapped), working as a radio DJ and occasionally returning to the stage, often as part of ’80s revival tour packages. This all changed in 2016, as Astley turned 50, released the self-penned and self-produced 50 (his first UK no. 1 album since his 1987 debut) and announced his first four North American dates in 25 years. This could all have gone terribly wrong: announced only a few weeks earlier, Astley’s first Toronto …
Editor’s note: In this ongoing series of posts about Canadian AOR acts of yore, Jay Kumar looks back at Toronto hard rockers Coney Hatch. The hard rock and metal scene in the early 1980s was jam-packed. In the U.S., Van Halen led the way, providing inspiration for a slew of homegrown bands featuring flamboyant frontmen and virtuoso guitar gods. In Europe, mainstays like Black Sabbath and Judas Priest competed with upstarts like Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Scorpions and many others. And in Canada, Rush, Triumph and April Wine were the pacesetters. It was from that last scene that Coney Hatch emerged, quickly gaining notice in their homeland but never progressing beyond footnote status south of the border. Coney Hatch was a four-piece out of Toronto named after the London mental asylum Colney Hatch. Formed in 1980 by bassist-singer Andy Curran and drummer Dave Ketchum, the band didn’t really pick up steam until singer-guitarist Carl Dixon and lead guitarist Steve Shelski joined a year later. The band caught the eye of Pye Dubois, who made his name …
There’s a lot to love about our neighbors to the north: Wayne Gretzky, SCTV, Michael J. Fox. Even though it’s only got a tenth of the population of the U.S., Canada has contributed much to American pop culture both good and bad, but one of its major contributions has come in the form of AOR: Album-oriented radio. As discerning Popdose readers no doubt already know, AOR was an FM radio format that took hold in the 1970s focusing on album rock. In its heyday in the ’70s and ’80s, AOR allowed DJs to dig deeper into albums to highlight songs that weren’t necessarily considered single-worthy. Eventually, the format became a lot more tightly controlled and there was much less freedom to play so-called deep tracks. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, AOR started to fade as other formats emerged: modern (or alternative) rock, adult alternative and active rock, which focused on harder-edged music. The AOR sound was born from progressive rock, the freeform format that came out of the 1960s in which a DJ …
Maybe it’s because it’s when I first discovered Dylan, but I’ve always had a soft spot for his much-maligned ’80s output. I was still an impressionable college sophomore when a friend gave me a mixtape of Dylan songs in an attempt to win me over into the Order of Bob, and he was ecumenical about his choices — he included then-recent songs like “Jokerman” right alongside ’60s tracks like “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again.” Sure, you could tell which ones were newer by the general croakiness of Bob’s nasally whine, but I think coming at them without being predisposed as to which were the “classics” helped me appreciate just how intricate and often brilliant those newer lyrics were. Twenty-five years later, that’s definitely something that hasn’t been lost on the contributors to “Bob Dylan in the ’80s” (ATO Records). This album, with many tracks by artists too young to actually remember the ’80s, much less Dylan in them, is one of the most consistent collections of Dylan covers to come along …
Terrorism. Warfare. Gun violence. Sexy women in leather. Kids television. Ah, the Eighties.
Succeeding in the late-night talk show business is no easy feat. Just ask the ten hosts of these famously failed programs.
Counting down the top eight Nickelodeon shows from the 1980s, the cable network’s first full decade of existence.
A look back at Iron Maiden’s fourth studio LP, ‘Piece of Mind’, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this week.
If you were a kid in the ’80s, you wanted one of the playsets in the worst way.
A look at the 15 best songs written by Brian May and performed by the legendary hard rock band Queen.
Chart Attack! is back for episode 2, covering the Top 10 from March 19, 1983.
Five video games for the Atari 2600 that never should have existed.
It’s Cheers vs. Three’s Company in the championship of Popdose’s March Madness: ’80s Sitcom Edition tournament!
Popdose’s March Madness: ’80s Sitcom Edition tournament enters the Final Four round!
Popdose’s March Madness: ’80s Sitcom Edition tournament enters the Elite Eight round!
Expand your mind and gaze upon this gallery showcasing ten of the best album covers ever drawn by the great Roger Dean.
Popdose’s March Madness: ’80s Sitcom Edition tournament enters the Sweet Sixteen round!
Popdose’s March Madness: ’80s Sitcom Edition tournament continues with the second half of second round matchups.
Popdose’s March Madness: ’80s Sitcom Edition tournament continues with the first half of second round matchups.
Popdose’s March Madness: ’80s Sitcom Edition tournament continues with the second half of first round matchups.
Popdose kicks off the March Madness: ’80s Sitcom Edition tournament with the first round of matchups.
Popdose’s March Madness: ’80s Sitcom Edition tournament is coming! Here’s what you need to know.
Duke was the album that changed how the world viewed Genesis. Chris Holmes and Dw. Dunphy look at this game-changing record on Platters That Matter.
A countdown of the Top 10 songs written or performed by Ace Frehley, both as the lead guitarist in Kiss and as a solo artist.
Let’s take a look back at the 10 finest moments from XTC’s catalog as written by Colin Moulding.
In this edition of Note for Note, we take a look at the music Bob Mould made throughout his storied career, starting with the Husker Du years.
On the surface, Duncan Sheik’s Covers Eighties Remixed might fall into the “absolutely inessential” category. After all, as its name implies, this covers compilation is itself a remixed version of his 2011 album (wait for it) Covers Eighties. But dismissing this new collection does a disservice both to Sheik’s talent and his creativity. For starters, his selection of ’80s covers isn’t obvious. While decade staples Psychedelic Furs, Tears For Fears and Depeche Mode appear, Sheik also highlights elegant synthpop cult heroes Japan (the Ben Casey take on “Gentlemen Take Polaroids,” here buffed up by warm vocals and brisk electro beats), swooning New Romantics the Blue Nile (Sheik’s piano-tickled, Teutonic-techno take on “Stay”) and ambient icons Talk Talk (the lovely Bookworm remix of “Life’s What You Make It,” a dead ringer for So-era Peter Gabriel). Perhaps more impressive, Covers Eighties Remixed isn’t afraid to radically deconstruct beloved songs. The Max Tannone remix of the Smiths’ “William, It Was Really Nothing” replaces guitars with analog synths, choppy robotic vocal effects and belching electronic beats. The Samantha Ronson …
You’d be forgiven if the news that INXS are calling it quits failed to turn many heads. The Australian band, for all intents and purposes, ceased to exist for many after lead singer Michael Hutchence’s lifeless body was found in a Sydne…
The Bangles are back with Sweetheart of the Sun, their wonderful new album that pays homage to the ’60s rock sound that long has been an influence on the band. Guitarist Vicki Peterson talks with Annie Zaleski about the new album.