It’s an exciting day for me (1.11.2017), as today marks the one-year anniversary when I started my first-ever blog, FOREVER YOUNG: MY LIFE STUCK IN THE 80s! I had my first post started but not posted when I learned of David Bowie’s death on this date in 2016, and he indirectly inspired me to start the blog that day. Also, many special thanks go out to one of my BESTEST friends, Hope, for helping me get the darn thing started, and for her continued ideas in expanding the blog, which is on the list for this year.
For those who have been reading all along or check out the blog from time to time and/or share with other folks, I thank you! If you’re reading this and are new to my blog, welcome! FOREVER YOUNG: MY LIFE STUCK IN THE 80s is part autobiography, part singles chart nerdiness and all about my love for the 80s, which keeps me FOREVER YOUNG.
In the past year, I’ve written 244 posts, mostly highlighting a “song of the day” between 1979 and 1989, a “(real) one-hit wonder of the week” (the 80s had nearly 500 of them, so it’ll be years before I go through them all), tributes and other posts as well. It’s been a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to sharing personal stories and great 80s gems for many years to come.
Though I consider myself well-versed in many different genres of music spanning several decades, anyone who knows me knows that 1980s music is my passion, and while I’m quite knowledgeable when it comes to 80s music, it’s amazing that 27 years after the 80s ended, I’m still learning about “new” (to me) 80s music.
A few nights ago (1.8.2017), during my final (?) All-Request Fest on my little radio show, STUCK IN THE 80s (on WMPG community radio in Portland, Maine), I got a request for a band I had never heard of – the Nick Straker Band – and a song I had never heard of – “Straight Ahead.” Then again, I do have the smartest listeners on the planet.
The Nick Straker Band was a six-man Synthpop / New Wave / Jazz-Funk Fusion band out of London, several members of which were also in another London Synthpop group, New Musik, which which had three Top 40 U.K. singles in 1980. Tony Mansfield (who has gone on to work with artists like The B-52’s, a-ha, The Damned, Captain Sensible and Naked Eyes) was the primary songwriter, producer, lead vocalist and frontman of New Musik and was one of the members of the Nick Straker Band.
Depending on who you speak to about the Nick Straker Band, some might say the band was a side project of New Musik. I’d say no. New Musik broke up in 1982, and between 1980 and 1984, the Nick Straker Band released 11 singles. 1980’s “A Walk In The Park” reached No. 20 on the U.K. singles chart, and in 1981, double A-sided single “A Little Bit Of Jazz” and “The Last Goodbye” spent a week at No. 1 on BILLBOARD’s Dance chart in September 1981, and reached No. 35 on BILLBOARD’s R&B chart.
1982’s “Straight Ahead,” with a kick-ass rhythm guitar opening and those early 80s Synthpop drums and keyboards, was a treat to listen to the first time, and the second… I was pleasantly surprised, especially since I had never heard of the Nick Straker Band or this song, 35 years after its release. “Straight Ahead” is a Synthpop gem, complimented by a Post-Disco beat and a great sax solo.
As I look straight ahead to the future, I’m sure this won’t be the last time I’m introduced to an 80s song many years after the end of the decade, and honestly, I welcome that. Though I missed songs like “Straight Ahead” the first time around, I’m grateful to have finally found out about them…