VS 1984: Revenge of the Nerds

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1984. What a magical year. Kurac opened the batting for Australia against a depleted Indian side celebrating the Golden Jubilee of the Ranji Trophy. SCSI was apparently listening to hours of Dutch Happy hardcore and Ringfinger, well, to be fair to him, much of those days are still covered by the Official Secrets Act, the Spies Like Us Act and a pinkie swear with all the girls from Omega Moo. Basically SCSI called a VS meeting (there were sticky buns, large mugs of tea and somewhat randomly, the stuffed and mounted carcass of a dead magpie) and told us that we were going to do a themed 1984 special, and proceeded to give us hundreds of tracks that had nothing to do with 1984. So we hatched plans around songs that lasted 1984 seconds, or songs about 1984, or the bleeding obvious covering George Orwell’s movie with the soundtrack by Eurythmics. Instead, we just got bored and picked songs released in or around the year 1984.

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Let’s start with a newly discovered eighties masterpiece by DJ Ringfinger (under the guise ‘a sad waltz in d-minor’). Released in 1984 this track features the vocal work of budding young representative Ron Paul predicting the age of government spying and political surveillance. Nah, will never happen. This is followed by Giorgio Moroder with a short vocal interjection from Limahl and the instrumental version of the titles track from ‘The Neverending Story’, the story of a boy and his huge giant white monster. This is backed by the Video Kids and the extended remix of Woodpeckers from Space. Would you believe this was a Dutch track? There was also a South African cover version.

Thierry Romain was a child star in his native France. This track ‘Quand il Chantait’ (translates as ‘When he sang’) was his one and only hit. He has since retired back to Nice and is an opera singer apparently. Lyrical samples include ‘…”Love is a bunch of violets, tonight pluck, pluck these flowers because deep in my soul There is a woman It is you who will always be my only love’. Probably better in French. Next from Eurovision 1984 we bring the might that was Yugoslavia’s entry, helmed by Vlado and Isolda, singing in Yugoslav and sing titled in Italian. The duo was comprised in some way Euro way of people called Vlado Kalember and Izolda Barudžija. According to our extensive research (Wikipedia), the video for Ciao Amore was not shown on Turkish state television because Barudžija appeared bathing topless. Finally in this little triple, we stay in the Balkans and deliver Denis & Denis and their paen to the computer ‘Program tvog kompjutera’ (translates as Program your computer). Would you believe these Rijeka based musicians have reformed and have a new record out.

Onto SCSI-b and her choices. Sledgehammer was a ubiquitous track in 1984 and Peter Gabriel owned the planet. This is the 12” remix of the track, which of course complied with most of the important conditions of an eighties remix, a simplified drum beat, some repeated vocal phrases, some pitch shifting and a 6-7 min run-time. Kick the habit. Next is Perth band, Eurogliders and their huge Aussie hit Heaven (must be there) from the ‘This Island’ record. This song enjoyed marginal success outside of Australia with the song released several months later in North America, peaking at #47 in Canada, and at #65 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

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Back to Belgium and new wave legends Telex. Trivia about Telex, they were selected to appear at Eurovision for Belgium. The lead singer of the band Marc Moulin noted ‘…We had hoped to finish last, but Portugal decided otherwise. We got ten points from them and finished on the 19th spot.’ Sandie Shaw started her comeback in 1984 with the help of Morrissey and Johnny Marr who offered ‘Hand in love’ for her to record, which she did admirably. Next we skip back across the Channel into Germany and the global smash that was 99 luftballoons (btw, Nena was the name of the band, not the singer, she was called Gabriele Kerner! Other fact, the English version 99 red balloons was a completely rewritten lyric).

Let’s take this mother home! Bobby Orlando and his track ‘German Girl’ is a slide of Euro disco. Shalamar hits the title track from the Joyce Hyser vehicle ‘Just one of the guys’. Joyce who you say? People, get with the programme. She made, umm, well, a few movies, but Just One of the Guys was the most popular. Plot: Hot girl, didn’t get summer job due to sexism, goes to new school as a boy, falls in love, gets found out etc. Then we get The Rubinoos and their early version of sampling classic title track ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ (did you know there is a connection between Revenge of the Nerds and West Wing, with numerous cast cross-overs)

And in the end, we get a Prince track released in 1984 redone as part of the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack. Quindon Tarver apparently auditioned for American idol in season 7 and got eliminated at the Hollywood rounds. Well, that as they say is that. We actually have more than enough material for a part two of 1984. If you ask nicely, we might release on the world more bad Eurovision, eurodisco, Aussie and Kurac’s descent in clap percussion madness.

A sad waltz in d-minor – Perfect prediction
Giorgio Moroder and Limahl – Neverending Story (instrumental)
Video Kids – Woodpeckers from Space (extended mix)
Thierry Romain – Quand il Chantait
Vlado and Isolda – Ciao Amore
Denis & Denis – Program tvog kompjutera
Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer
Eurogliders – Heaven (must be there)
Telex – l’amour toujours
Sandie Shaw – Hand in Glove
Nena – 99 Luftballoons
Bobby Orlando – German Girl
Shalamar – Just one of the guys
The Rubinoos – Revenge of the Nerds
Quinden Tarver- When Doves Cry

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