Stupid Tuesday questions, 1979 edition

Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.

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123 Responses

  1. BlaiseP says:

    Jeez, how many do you want? I can deliver them by the freight car load.

    Great White’s tragically inept remake of an Ian Hunter classic, Once Bitten Twice Shy.

    Tears for Fears twee remake of Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes.

    Nas’ brain dead version of Tears for Fears’ Everybody Wants to Rule the World. Can’t say there’s much to rescue there, considering the original was beaten to death on Pop Radio at the time.

    Oh there’s a zillion more where those came from. Those just came to mind….Report

  2. NewDealer says:

    This happens in theatre all the time. I will go see a production of a play that I really like and hate the production because I think it was horribly miscast, the director had an off the wall interpretation, or a combination of a lot of factors.

    Some examples:

    1. A production of Arcadia by Tom Stoppard done in Berkeley. Theatre in the Bay Area is weird because you sometimes to often casts and productions that are often a combination of people with a good amount of training (at least an undergrad degree, often more) and experience but also a lot of well-meaning but not talented amateurs. The problem with this production of Arcadia was mainly bad acting and casting. There was one good actor in an ancillary role. The actor playing Septimus Hodge was way too old. Septimus is supposed to be 22, the actor in this production was probably in his late 30s or early 40s.

    2. There was a not bad but still miscast production of Three Sisters at Berkeley Rep. Two characters (Olga and The Baron) are only supposed to be in their late-20s but were played by much older actors. Olga does spend a lot of time in the play talking about feeling or being old but that is in the context of her being unmarried in pre-Soviet Russia and also having taken care of her two sisters and a household since she was a young girl and their mother died. It is not a sign of actual age.

    3. Hallelujah but Leonard Cohen. I like the song a lot but it is overdone especially because it seems to be the song every would be street troubador needs to perform to prove their sensitive soul merit. Never mind that most covers are covers of a cover. Everyone does the elegiac Jeff Buckley version and not the sardonic Leonard Cohen version.*

    I’m sure other examples will come to me.

    *I’ve known women who said they have very positive reactions to the Jeff Buckley version but visceral negative reactions to the Leonard Cohen version.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to NewDealer says:

      I thought Cohen’s version was used to poignant effect in Watchmen.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Didn’t must people laugh at that scene? I remember the audience breaking up in laughter when Hallelujah was used in the movie. I remember friends telling me the same thing happened when they saw the movie in theatres.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Burt Likko says:

        I hope Burt is being sarcastic. That scene was a disaster.Report

      • trumwill in reply to Burt Likko says:

        I loved that scene. Unironically. And I usually hate love scenes.

        That is how much of a hopeless nerd I am.Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Sorry, @glyph , but I really, without irony or sarcasm, liked that scene.

        I think it would not have worked with a more romantic song or even a more romantic version of that particular song. Cohen’s croaky intonation underlines that the song is about loneliness — and those two characters were desperately lonely. If there was laughter, I suspect it was because there was multiple levels of cosplay sex going on.

        I didn’t hear laughter in the theater when I saw it, although I did perceive quite a lot of discomfort — movie sex that’s all sexy-looking is sexy, but this was not so much titillating as it really felt like an intrusion on an intimate moment.

        In other words, yeah, I bought it. I guess I’m not all hip like you and @newdealer .Report

      • Glyph in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Aw, it’s not about being hip. Your interpretation of the song (and possibly, its intended application to the scene) isn’t wrong; it’s just that Snyder (and/or his film editor – IIRC, the song’s chorus is cued right at the kiss and/or some fireworks/explosions, all in slo-mo?) handled the scene’s marriage of image and music in such a way as to nearly *guarantee* its misreading, and from the confusion comes the comedy.

        At worst, Snyder just doesn’t get it and takes the song’s chorus at face value (which, as you note, would be at odds with the actual message of the song); at best, he does get it and is trying to use the song as ironic commentary as you note, but now the (seemingly-triumphant) visual imagery is at odds with the downbeat song.

        He might’ve double-reverse-ironied himself.

        For me, even if I understand and accept that is what he was going for, it’s too late; the comedy’s already happened. “I am a Berliner” is a powerful statement; but right or wrong, once “I am a jelly donut” gets out there, the moment’s ruined.Report

    • Reformed Republican in reply to NewDealer says:

      And the Jeff Buckley version of Hallelujah is actually the John Cale version.Report

  3. NewDealer says:

    The Neil LaButte movie adaptation of A.S. Byatt’s Possession. That this was such a failed adaptation is odd considering that very talented people including the playwright David Henry Hwang (he was one of the screenwriters) worked on the production. There were some neat visual tricks in going from the present to the past (one scene involved Roland and Maud walking under a train tunnel and then the camera pans up and you are in the 19th century) but otherwise it was a disaster of inexplicable choices. I wonder if these choices were done for an American audience. Some included:

    1. Making Roland Mitchell an American instead of British (Maybe Aaron Eckhart can’t do accents?)

    2. Turning a dour, Calvinistic Scottish professor into a sardonic Irishman (maybe they thought Americans would not get the Scottish nature of his dourness?)

    3. Making Roland Mitchell a poet as well. This was probably to make him more romantic as a lead.

    4. Classing up Roland Mitchell’s digs. You only see it one scene but the novel goes to great lengths to describe his digs as being not that good because Roland Mitchell is a fairly destitute post-Doc (somethings about academia never change, there is a line about Roland Mitchell being one of 600 applicatants for a position). In the movie, he still lives in a basement flat but it is rather shabby chic and clean (he has a comfy leather chair that looks just slightly banged up). His landlord is no longer and old woman but a young and very wealthy solicitor who also serves as his drinking buddy. There was a solicitor in the novel but he comes in much latter and his the fiancee of Roland’s ex-girlfriend. You see the breakup in the novel. This gets excluded from the movie.

    The rest were typical problems of adaptation and turning a long novel into a two hour movie. The acting was largely goodReport

    • BlaiseP in reply to NewDealer says:

      Let some book I love become the target of some Coke-Encrusted Hollywood Exec — and I shall never watch the film. Ever. Again.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to BlaiseP says:

        What is interesting about Possession is that it is not technically bad at all because of the talent involved. The acting is competent to excellent (Jennifer Ehle is amazing as always.) There are no groaners in the screenplay and the visuals are well filmed.

        Yet it is not the sum of its parts. I’d love to be a fly on the wall for a discussion of the changes and hearing the justifications. Some seem like they came from producers, other changes seemed artistic.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

        John Fowles has an essay on the process of making The French Lieutenant’s Woman in his collection Wormholes.

        Pick it up, if you can find it. There’s the one film where the conversion was handled correctly.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to BlaiseP says:

        Harold Pinter was involved. John Irving has some good essays about the various adaptations of his novels into movies especially The Ciderhouse Rules. The Ciderhouse Rules is interesting because Irving wrote the screenplay as well so he made some of the drastic changes including the jettisoning of weirder parts or significant subplots.

        I still want to see Harold Pinter’s adaptation of The Go-Between but it is not available in the U.S. He probably did that one right as well.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

        I should look up those John Irving essays. The gist of John Fowles’ essay resolved to finding the correct people to work with his novel — then trusting them to make a film. Different medium, different rules, separate creation. Fowles was delighted to watch these people at work, by all accounts mutually respectful of each other’s roles.Report

  4. Don Zeko says:

    The film adaptation of The Golden Compass was a crime.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Don Zeko says:

      I watched the first half of that – I thought, “Well this one they can’t ruin – not even a Hollywood producer’s penchant for too much exposition could top Philip Pullman’s.”

      I was wrong.Report

    • Alan Scott in reply to Don Zeko says:

      Seconded. What’s sad about it is that is had such an amazing cast and amazing art direction. If they’d bothered to give it enough running time, fixed the point-of-view problems, and had the balls to include the qrnq puvyqera, it could have been an excellent movie.Report

  5. Kazzy says:

    Chip Kelly is making me hate football.Report

  6. Kolohe says:

    The Confederate States of America cover of the American Revolution.Report

  7. Recently in the grocery store, “Yellow” by Coldplay came on. A decent song (the first half of their first album being the peak of their entire career), but it was some crappy unplugged version. So Coldplay basically killed their own song.Report

  8. Reformed Republican says:

    The Limp Bizkit cover of Behind Blue Eyes is best forgotten.

  9. Will Truman says:

    My wife used to love James McMurtry. Listened to him in the car all the time. He did a show out in the mountain west and we drove out there to see it. McMurtry is a gifted songwriter and a good singer, but not a very good showman. The same sneering nihilism that adds depth to his music is kind of soul-sapping on the stage. She’s not as big of a fan of McMurtry anymore, even in recorded form. I agreed with her assessment of the show, though it didn’t diminish my enjoyment.

    On the other side, Robert Earl Keen’s Christmas With The Family. Clancy liked that song a lot. Then she saw the music video, which depicts quite clearly what I thought was obvious from the song: the family being described is pretty clearly whatever the polite word for “white trash” is. Now she doesn’t like that song as much as she used to.

    I say “the other side” because the contrast between the two is interesting. They both recorded songs of McMurtry’s Here In The Middle. McMurtry’s version is joyless and dour: it is this and it is miserable. Keen’s version is along more fun lines: it is this and hey, it is what it is.

    Clancy overlooked some of the content of Christmas because it seems awkward to sing about such a family with a touch of joy and fun in his voice. Especially if you’re Clancy and self-destructive people are people you have to deal with day in and day out and your patience is worn thin. But Keen has a way of making it fun. If McMurtry had a version of this song, it would be a totally different song and the dead-end nature of this family would be abundantly clear. With Keen, it’s there only if you let yourself really think about it, which Keen’s tone and demeanor kind of encourages you not to do.Report

    • Art Deco in reply to Will Truman says:

      Then she saw the music video, which depicts quite clearly what I thought was obvious from the song: the family being described is pretty clearly whatever the polite word for “white trash”

      Uh, the song starts out with

      “Mom got drunk and dad got drunk, at our Christmas party….”

      I guess you all did not get the picture book which comes with the CD, which includes a shot of the eight track tape “Yuletide Disco”. I am wondering what images were conjured in your wife’s mind with lyrics such as

      Brother Ken brought his kids with him;
      The three from his first wife Lynn;
      And the two eye-dentical twins from his 2d wife Mary Nell;
      Of course he brought his new wife Kay;
      Who talks all about A A;
      Chain smokin’ while the stereo plays “Noel, the first Noel, the first Noel”

      and the repeated trips to convenience stores (“we need some lemons and a can of fake snow”…”a box of tampons, some Salem lights”. Hallelujah everybody say cheese…”)Report

    • Art Deco in reply to Will Truman says:

      There is not anything “dead-end” about the family. The song is just a depiction of tackiness. We can survive that (though serial divorce and remarriage re “Brother Ken” we’d best do without, but that’s hardly a phenomenon confined to white trash).Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Art Deco says:

        No, not confined to white trash, which is why she didn’t associate it with white trashism. She thought of in terms of drunk jubilation and goofiness. I think the video brought it into focus for her. Aspects she thought were charming and goofy were instead indicative of social dysfunction.Report

      • Art Deco in reply to Art Deco says:

        But they are not indicative of ‘social dysfunction’ (except for the five kids by the three different women). They are indicative of vulgarity. That’s an aesthetic problem, not a moral one.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Art Deco says:

        The copious amount of alcohol consumption can be indicative of something or it can be indicative of nothing. The chain-smoking can indicate something, or it can indicate nothing. The imagery in the music video suggests that Ken isn’t much of an outlier, even if primarily by aesthetic association.. That was my viewing of it, anyway.

        Which I’d thought prior to seeing the video. That this was a friendly family, and a fun family, but not one for which you have a whole lot of hope for the next generation.Report

      • Art Deco in reply to Art Deco says:

        The copious amount of alcohol consumption can be indicative of something or it can be indicative of nothing. The chain-smoking can indicate something, or it can indicate nothing.

        It sounds like a blueblood Christmas party, ca. 1968. Egg nog on ice, laden with Jack Daniels and nutmeg. Unfiltered Pall Malls. Poker, backgammon, and political discussion for the men (if there isn’t a ball game on). General chit-chat for the girls. The host’s kids wandering in and out in their Sunday best, with the teen-age son tending the fire.

        The imagery in the music video suggests that Ken isn’t much of an outlier, even if primarily by aesthetic association.. That was my viewing of it, anyway.

        He isn’t much of an outlier in the general population either bar that he was married to the mother of his children and that it is not entirely clear who served papers on whom.

        I have a proximate relation who is a tall heavy guy with a beard. That man’s current wife is named Kay. Kay smokes but has no history of heavy drinking. Yes, Kay’s step-children include a set of identical twins.

        Which I’d thought prior to seeing the video. That this was a friendly family, and a fun family, but not one for which you have a whole lot of hope for the next generation.

        There is not much hope for most people’s next generation. About 40% of the children in this world are born bastards and about a quarter of all marriages fall to expressive divorce. We live in a cheesy world. The elites and the professional-managerial bourgeoisie have hit upon a sure cure: mainstreaming sodomy. When they are bored with that, they will move on to mainstreaming adult-child sex.Report

  10. J@m3z Aitch says:

    Most recently the Allison Krauss/Robert Plant rendition of Killing the Blues. John Prine’s original is great and Shawn Colvin’s is lovely. But Krauss and Plant wrecked it, turning it into a monotonous dirge. How two such fine singers managed to do that is a mystery, but it was the most insipid cover since Wilson Phillips sang Daniel.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

      Wilson Phillips covered “Daniel”? The Elton John song? I blame the sound engineer — someone should have stepped up to the plate and said “This has proven to be a bad idea from conception to execution, and we’ll just pretend that the whole thing never happened and scramble over the master with a pirated copy of Call of Duty 2 or something like that. Why don’t you head on over to Cafe del Sole and have some spinach omelets and soy-milk lattes, ladies?”Report

    • NewDealer in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:


      Mid to Late-80s soft rock has to be one of the most deplorable genres of music very created in human history.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to NewDealer says:

        Ecch… you mustn’t forget how awful the early and mid 70s were.Report

      • Art Deco in reply to NewDealer says:

        Mid to Late-80s soft rock has to be one of the most deplorable genres of music very created in human history.

        [Rolls eyes. Drums fingers].Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to NewDealer says:

        I disagree with both of you. To be sure, there was lots of dreck. But there was also lots of good stuff, lots of creativity, lots of things that have endured from those eras. Sneer at the 1970’s? You’re sneering at Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.

        ‘Course, what was considered “soft rock” in the 1980’s and what is today considered “soft rock” from the 1980’s may well refer to different corpuses of work. I heard Mötley Crüe on the “oldies” station a few days ago, an experience which left me feeling not just middle-aged but affirmatively old.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to NewDealer says:

        I think ND was referring to artists like Michael Bolton and Celine Dion when he referred to soft rock from the 1980s.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to NewDealer says:


        I was reffering to stuff like that damn Wilson Phillips cover. Stuff with unnecessary saxaphone solos in the middle that sound like a montage from LA Law.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to NewDealer says:

        I’m not big into 80’s music, though soft rock was the least of it.

        Artistic merit aside, I hope that we never have a decade as aesthetically grotesque as the 80’s. Loud colors. Big hair. Nail polish. Big hair. So much that was just wrong.Report

      • Glyph in reply to NewDealer says:

        But what about necessary saxamaphone solos?Report

      • J@m3z Aitch in reply to NewDealer says:

        Ahem, Will, I came of age in the ’80s. You mock big hair, I remember dream girls from high school.Report

      • Glyph in reply to NewDealer says:

        “Grotesque”? I will take 80s skinny ties and tight-rolled pants over some 70s monstrosity any day. At least in the 80s everyone didn’t appear to be coated in plaid polyester puke.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to NewDealer says:

        Oh, Burt. Two words. Dan Fogelberg.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to NewDealer says:


        Necessary Saxaphone solos are amazing. This would include Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane and Charlie Parker. It does not include 80s soft rock.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to NewDealer says:

        Blaise, you left off “is awesome.”

        James, there’s no accounting for taste. I don’t blame you, though. Aesthetically warped individuals are all there were to dream about, back in the day. You had to make due with what you got.

        Glyph, no decade is perfect, but none so imperfect as the 80’s. I’m not big on plaid (and the solids of the 80’s are pretty much the only redeeming feature, besides parachute pants), but at least I don’t cringe.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to NewDealer says:

        Only the wussiest wusses, and let me assure you, in those years, we were plagued with great herds of ’em, ever thought Dan Fogelberg was awesome.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to NewDealer says:


      • BlaiseP in reply to NewDealer says:

        That doe-eyed doofus? I’ll leave him as alone as I can.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to NewDealer says:

        //singing/ The leader of the band has died and his eyes are growing old /singing/

        May he rest in peace.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to NewDealer says:

        @will-truman but the 80s gave us acid house – surely we can all appreciate that. (silence. crickets.) OK, just me then?Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to NewDealer says:

        Did the 80s ever feature platform shoes? — that is to say, other than Tom Cruise’s movie shoes. Surely those 70s platform shoes were the nadir of male fashion for many a long decade.Report

      • Glyph in reply to NewDealer says:

        Who the dickens is Dan Fogerburp?Report

      • Jaybird in reply to NewDealer says:

        Remember hypercolor shirts? That was more of a 90’s thing but, dang, they were awesome. Those and slap bracelets.Report

      • Glyph in reply to NewDealer says:

        I’m with dragonfrog. The 80s were only lame if you were limited to what was on the radio.

        And not even all *that* was lame. The rise of hip-hop, plus all kinds of experimental instrumentation, production techniques and subversive themes getting snuck in under the banner of “new wave”; heck, quintessentially “80s” songs like Tears for Fears’ “Head Over Heels” or “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” deserved the massive overplay they got, they’ve got beautiful melodies and unusual arrangements; they are spectacularly crafted. Arcade Fire WISHES they could write a “Head Over Heels”.

        And underground? The continuing spread of punk’s and postpunk’s aftershocks, crisscrossing US highways one crappy Econoline van at a time; simultaneously, as dragonfrog notes, Detroit techno and Chicago house were well on their way to the Second Summer of Love; until a tipping point was reached at the start of the 90’s and all these little undergrounds went overground.

        The eighties were pretty awesome, big hair notwithstanding. I’d go so far as to say that they were nearly the musical equal of the sixties, in terms of experimentation and variegation and leaps forward.

        Sure, there were some misguided coke-fueled fiascos along the way, but the sixties and seventies had plenty of incidents of drug-induced hubris and lunacy too.Report

      • @glyph I unreservedly love Tears for Fears.

        But then, I also really like Arcade Fire.Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to NewDealer says:

        Don’t be dissing Arcade Fire.Report

      • Glyph in reply to NewDealer says:

        TOO LATE, THE DIS HAS BEEN UNLEASHED. That thing’s like the Kraken, you can’t un-release it.

        (Anybody heard the new AF? It should be here in a couple days. Curious about the James Murphy-ness of it).Report

      • The first single “Reflektor” is in heavy rotation on the (wonderful) Boston-area independent radio station, and I loooooooove it. It is clearly very influenced by James Murphy, about which I have nothing but good things to say.Report

      • Glyph in reply to NewDealer says:

        Cool. I’ll take my Murphy where I can get it these days.Report

      • J@m3z Aitch in reply to NewDealer says:


        Harsh, dude. (To indulge in a little ’80s lingo.)Report

      • Art Deco in reply to NewDealer says:

        Artistic merit aside, I hope that we never have a decade as aesthetically grotesque as the 80?s. Loud colors. Big hair. Nail polish. Big hair. So much that was just wrong.

        You’ve confounded the 80s with the 70s. Ugly clothes and bad haircuts were a signature of the previous decade.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to NewDealer says:

        I’ve got some yearbooks that say otherwise. Actually, what I’m talking about spilled into the 90’s.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to NewDealer says:

        What’s an arcade?Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to NewDealer says:

        Every decade declares the previous decade to be the Decade of Bad Hair and Ugly Clothes. The 60s said it of the 50s and thus it will continue until at children have the good sense to confound and aggravate their parents by wearing the clothes of the previous decade in what will then be known as postrebellion and there will be much said of it by the Harrumphing Class in those futurous and evil days to come.

        The 70s were horrider than the 80s, at least for men they were. Surprisingly few boys wore long hair in the 60s, though you see a fair number of what we used to call Nature Boys in the pictures of the era. Longer hair really came into its own in the early 70s, those fluffy amorphous styles which required a lot more work to keep up than you might suppose.

        The polyester shirt was a horror. I had exactly one, given to me as a Christmas present. So, too were the bell bottom jeans, which most people didn’t know how to hem and therefore looked stupid as their heels chewed their jeans to pieces.

        But the platform shoes, little patent leather numbers, two toned, disco heels. East Coast thing mostly. Boogie shoes. Hateful. Sly Stone and Elton John and Parliament could get away them. That was just costume stuff. But grown men teetering into nightclubs. Words fail me.

        The cars were uniformly horrible. Badly made. Preposterous colour schemes of vomitrocious lima bean hue and highlights of decaying pumpkin orange. A certain hideous blue-green. The plastic bucket seat. Trying to get out of one after an hour of driving — your ass and back would made a noise no ass nor back has made since, a revolting, sucking, ripping noise more akin to a dead calf being dragged out of a cow. How many Naugas had to die for our Naugahyde sins in those days?

        But the worst I reserve for last. Right around 1975, with the rapidly approaching 200th Birthday of This Fine Nation, an antiquing craze swept the land like a pandemic. Perfectly acceptable furniture, some of it quite good, was loosely brush painted then smeared with a ghastly black substance, applied with cheesecloth. It was sposta look Colonial. It all belonged on someone’s bonfire.

        The 80s came as a refreshing change from all that.Report

      • Cascadian in reply to NewDealer says:

        I also came of age in the early eighties. I don’t remember any big hair unless it was a fin. It was mostly punk, ska, and new wave…. oh yeah, the B52s did sport some big hair but that’s different.Report

      • Kim in reply to NewDealer says:

        Not dubstep?
        At least soft rock was trying to be music.
        [no, I’m not really this much of a prude].Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to NewDealer says:

        The early 70s, the part that was basically an extension of the late 1960s was pretty interesting. The disco part of the 1970s, not so much. Overall, the 1970s seemed to be a pretty strange decade; lots of the elements of the Counter-Culture seemed to be going pretty strong throughout only to end abruptly from in 1980, although the Counter Culture did decrease in strength through out the period.

        The 1980s are weird in a different sense. When I watch a movie from the 1980s, a lot of the behavior seems reasonably in line with current mores but the technology seems really primitive.Report

      • Glyph in reply to NewDealer says:

        There’s really only one way to answer the question of whether the 70s or 80s committed more crimes against good taste (and despite our memories wanting to cleanly divvy those decades into neat boxes, there’s a lot more overlap than we remember.)

        Wait until you are off work. The site below is NSFW, and needs you to give it some real time anyway. It’s mostly just a curation of found photos from the period. Again, it’s NSFW, because very occasionally those photos are…candid and revealing, let’s call it. But it’s not a porn site.

        There’s certainly big hair, of several different genres.

        And if you ever feel like people used to be both more ridiculous – and more awesome – than they are today, here is your evidence:

      • LeeEsq in reply to NewDealer says:

        Glyph, these photos are a vivid reminder that past is another country. I’m really happy that I was born in 1980 and spent the entire decade as a kid. Being a teenager or somebody in their twenties during the 1980s would have been an interesting experience. The cities were becoming basically still did not recover from their post-war decline and were still gritty and somewhat to very dangerous places. Being a teen or twenty-something in NYC or really any city during the time period would probably more and less exciliarting than it does now. The lack of the internet, cell phones, and social media would have made social life different to. Getting together with friends would require a bit more planning.

        When I talk to people who practiced immigration law during the 1980s, it does seem that I missed out on a bit more of a disorganized system. Practicing back in the 1980s or really anytime after INA passed till the 1990s seems to have been more wild.Report

      • Glyph in reply to NewDealer says:

        I love Internet K-Hole. I think I’ve worked my way through all the posts (they are irregular/infrequent). That is some hi-test nostalgia right there; easy to get lost in a reverie. You can almost smell the slightly-damp basement carpeting.*

        And it also makes clear that “the 70s” didn’t end until at least 1985 in a lot of places. I can’t always clearly peg a given photo to 70s or 80s.

        * not a euphemismReport

      • LeeEsq in reply to NewDealer says:

        Glyph, there is always decade bleed but it seems to me that the 1970s had more of an air about the 1960s about them, at least till Disco. Even the very early part of the 1980s seems very different than anything from the 1970s for some reason. I can’t place my finger on it but a TV show or movie from 1980 seems a lot different in feel than one from 1978 or 79. I think the Iran Hostage crisis and the fall of ERA had a lot to do with the change.Report

      • Cascadian in reply to NewDealer says:

        Though I argue there were some cool things in the 80s (thinking of seeing the wall when it came out), it seemed that a lot of the good stuff was just riffing off things in the late 70s. Sure there was disco but there was also some great reggae and the best punk. Things we some times think of as 80s is really late 70s.Report

      • Glyph in reply to NewDealer says:

        @cascadian – you’re not wrong to say that a lot of the good stuff sprouted at the tail-end of the 70s, but it really flowered in the 80s. I love Kraftwerk on their own, but how amazing is it that they got used as foundation for hip-hop, or that New Order and Depeche Mode took their ideas straight to the top of the charts worldwide?

        And punk was great, but the initial movement was by definition a back-to-basics thing. The post-punk phase (which begat alternative/indie etc.) was more varied. The punks lit the fuse, but that bomb kept going off for the next decade or more.Report

      • Cascadian in reply to NewDealer says:

        @glyph I’m not much of a music head. My interests started to wane in the mid 80s. I’ve had a grand time this morning listening to nostalgic tunes. Though Crass was probably my favorite from the time, I’ve had a lot of fun listening to the greatest cover band ever….. The Toy Dolls.Report

      • @leeesq

        When I watch a movie from the 1980s, a lot of the behavior seems reasonably in line with current mores but the technology seems really primitive.

        That reminds me of the first time I saw the movie “Wall Street,” which was only about 4 or 5 years ago. I couldn’t get past one scene where Michael Douglas, a master of the universe, was speaking into his shoebox-sized ‘cell” phone.Report

  11. Mike Schilling says:

    The Kinks did a version of Louie, Louie, where the words were intelligible. What the hell were they thinking?Report

  12. Jaybird says:

    Monte Montgomery has a cover of Dire Straights’s’s Romeo and Juliet.

    You don’t see that wrong. It’s 13 minutes long.

    It’s got 6ish minutes of a really… let’s call it “unique”… interpretation of how the lyrics need to be delivered. Then he has a 7 minute guitar solo. Believe it.Report

  13. trizzlor says:

    I catch a lot of flack for this but I thought the film adaptation of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest completely botched Ken Kesey’s masterpiece. I will concede that Nicholson is a force, and every time I re-read the story I still picture him as the protagonist. But his relationship with Nurse Ratched is played as if he’s just used to getting his way and doesn’t like being told what to do, especially by a woman. This is especially problematic because the final confrontation – where McMurphy smashes through the nurse’s station and tears her uniform – is already susceptible to being read as merely a sexual assault. In the context of the novel it’s clear that McMurphy’s act is a reaction to Ratched’s sadism, and meant to expose her as a human being. But in the movie, with so much time devoted to McMurphy’s leering and sexual frustration, it’s just as likely that he simply wants to cop a feel and expose Ratched as a vulnerable woman. Though this darkness exists at the periphery of the novel (after all, McMurphy ends up in the asylum for statutory rape) the way the film glorifies it makes you wonder if the chauvinism wasn’t there all along, and in that way the adaptation poisons the original work.Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to trizzlor says:

      Not from me you won’t catch any such flak. I knew someone who read the novel after seeing the movie and they made the same point. McMurphy is at the end of his rope. He’s a tragic character.Report

  14. Brandon Berg says:

    That version of “All the Way” with Celine Dion spliced into Sinatra’s original. It was a great song, and not having Celine Dion was part of what made it great.

    Also, every remix ever.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      “Also, every remix ever.”


      • Burt Likko in reply to Kolohe says:

        @kolohe : This EBTG remix is actually not so different from the original release, IMO. Of course I’m always seduced to near paralysis by Tracey Thorn’s rich, silky voice. I lurrves me some EBTG.

        Compare the original version of Beth Orton’s “Central Reservation” (no. 27) with the “Spiritual Life – Ibadan” remix (no. 22). Both are lovely and cheerful, but they reach very different emotional places.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Kolohe says:

        EBTG going dance: one of the most unexpected-yet-successful makeovers in pop. Walking Wounded is a great record.

        Weirdly, though, I actually understand where BB is coming from. Most remixes – a far higher percentage than Sturgeon’s Law would predict – I find clearly inferior to their source material.* For me, it’s very, very rare for a remix to equal or exceed its source.

        *It occurs to me that this could be selection bias. I am more likely to seek out remixes of songs I already like; remixes, by definition, are messing with that which I already like. Therefore, I assume that all or most remixes are detrimental, never hearing all the cases where the remix is an improvement.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Kolohe says:

        Is a remix creating a different song, a different arrangement or a pull-apart for a DJ to work with — any of them are possible. It’s like asking how much of a sample qualifies as an infringement? The three-note rule is absurd, but there’s the rule.

        As the tech got better, especially in the 70s, the engineer became part of the band. Eddy Offord with Yes. The songs had become so complex, it was almost impossible to play them without engineer support. Eddy Offord had built the early Yes albums from tiny scraps of tape. He might as well have been a composer, for all that. Samplers blurred the lines even more.

        What’s a song, anyway? A song obeys rules. Vamp, verse, chorus, bridge, outro. Lather, rinse, repeat. But with remixes, for me anyway, they succeed or fail on their ability to transcend the song, as jazz transcends the pawky old tunes of the American Songbook. Hardly anyone remembers the originals.

        I’m put in mind of Bryan Ferry, who takes his songs off to his Big Band, rearranges them, mostly so he can hear the song without his own voice getting in the way.Report

  15. Maribou says:

    The BBC came out with a Narnia serial, 1988-1990. I was eleven in 1988 and I was SO EXCITED that they were finally making a TV show about some of my favorite books.

    And then it really really sucked (at least to my 11 year old mind). SO DEFLATED.

    After that, I go into every cover, adaptation, etc with such low expectations that if it’s even a tiny bit good – even 30 seconds of brilliant out of a whole 3 hour movie – I feel pretty great about life.Report

  16. You want awful, soul-crushing covers that will ruin your appreciation for something you once loved?

    Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Kip Winger:

  17. Darwy says:

    Concrete Blonde’s cover of “Everybody Knows” by Leonard Cohen.


    Candy Flip’s cover of “Strawberry Fields Forever” by the Beatles.

    Olivia Newton John’s cover of “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash.

    Get me the goddamned pitchforks!

    Celine Dion’s cover (with some other chick) of “(You) Shook me all night long” by AC/DC

    A WITCH! BURN HER!Report

  18. Fish says:

    The Smashing Pumpkins are my most favoritest band in the whole world. It’s that fact alone that prevents me from ever commenting on anyone’s music posts ever, because although my music library is quite broad and inclusive and I consider myself to be a sophisticated lover of music, the very fact that my favorite band is The Smashing Pumpkins undermines any claim I might make to being a sophisticated lover of music.

    For what it’s worth, Billy Corgan was quite dissatisfied with the band’s version of “Landslide,” too. Further, it isn’t even the best offering on _Pisces Iscariot_. That would be “Frail and Bedazzled.”Report

    • Chris in reply to Fish says:

      “Frail and Bedazzled” is a great Pumpkins song.Report

    • Russell Saunders in reply to Fish says:

      Oh, mercy. The very last thing I’d want is for someone to feel that my dislike of their favorite band is a reason not to comment. As a general rule, I think it’s better to be able to appreciate something than not, so your opinion has at least as much merit as mine.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Fish says:

      “For what it’s worth, Billy Corgan was quite dissatisfied with the band’s version of “Landslide,” too.”

      My understanding is that Billy Corgan was quite dissatisfied with the Smashing Pumpkins, and the feeling is mutual.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Fish says:

      Dude, I will go to the mat for Siamese Dream, which was and is an OUTSTANDING record. Pisces and Gish both are very good. Mellon Collie is, IMO, where they went off the rails, hard (“1979” excepted) – but there’s some stuff on Adore and Machina that is decent.

      I bought Oceania, but I haven’t really listened to it.Report

      • Fish in reply to Glyph says:

        Siamese Dream is their best album, but I’d put Mellon Collie as a close second. Outside of “Behold! The Nightmare!” and “Blank Page,” Adore was terrible. If you haven’t heard anything off of Machina II: The Friends and Enemies of Modern Music, give “Slow Down,” “Vanity,” “If There Is A God” (the piano/vox version), and “Try Try Try” a listen.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        Machina II is the one that was free, right? Would you happen to know any high-quality rip/legit sites I can still download it from? If not, I will poke around later.Report

      • Fish in reply to Glyph says:

        I haven’t gone hunting for it recently, but the last time I went looking for a higher-quality rip (if such a thing even exists) I couldn’t find it anywhere.Report