Def Leppard

Def Leppard

There are few bands that exemplified the 1980's quite like Def Leppard. Their combination of pop and metal had its finger on the pulse of 80's record buyers. The high-tech sound they pursued on their albums helped define pop-music recording techniques of the 80's. They were also one of the first bands to take advantage of the possibilities of MTV by creating a string of videos that played up their good looks and youthful appeal to help sell their records. As a result, they became internationally successful and their sound and style set the tone for many future pop/metal acts. Continue reading...

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New Kids on the Block

You would be hard-pressed to find a young girl in the late 80s who didn't have a New Kids on the Block poster on her wall or in her locker. They weren't the first boy band by any means, perhaps not even the most talented, but there is no denying that this group of Boston teens took the world by storm back in the day, filling the airwaves and countless concert halls with screaming fans, and paving the way for a plethora of groups that followed in their footsteps. Continue reading...

Spice Girls

Spice Girls

Nobody could have predicted the monumental impact of the Spice Girls on the world of pop music. Their achievements are, in a word, astounding. With 55 million records sold around the world, and that’s thanks to a mere three albums, they are not only the most successful girl band of all time, they are the most successful English band to emerge since The Beatles. But, while their music represents the largest portion of their fame, they also managed a popular crossover into both films and television, all thanks to the provocative personalities of these five multi-talented women. Continue reading...

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Time May Change Him… David Bowie

There's a saying in Montana that if you don't like the weather, wait ten minutes. The same thing could be said for David Bowie (although we at Retroland would have a hard time finding anything about David Bowie to dislike). The ever-changing image and persona that is David Bowie is also a metaphor for the aesthetic changes of pop-culture over the last half-century. One look at a particular image of Bowie and we have almost no trouble identifying what year it was. Continue reading...

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Soul Train

Ever since its debut in 1952, fans of American pop music could tune in weekly to American Bandstand and keep themselves current on all of the latest artists and trends. But it would be almost two decades later before fans of rhythm and blues were given their own weekly outlet. They would forever owe their thanks to a Chicago DJ named Don Cornelius, the creator of Soul Train, for letting their voices be heard. Soul Train showcased all of the up-and-coming artists of the genre, put a spotlight on all the current dance moves, and, very quickly, became an enduring hit. Continue reading...

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Led Zeppelin

It would seem that within each decade of rock and roll's colorful history, there resides a handful of artists who reinvent the genre and make it their own. In the 1950's, it was Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly. The 1960's belonged to the Beatles and Rolling Stones. And when it came to the hard rock sound (that would eventually morph into heavy metal), no band in the 70's had a more profound influence on where rock and roll was headed than the four Englishmen who called themselves "Led Zeppelin." Continue reading...

Andy Gibb

Andy Gibb

Andy Gibb was the youngest scion of the 1970s ruling music family, the Bee Gees. The Anglo-Australian clan dominated the pop charts during that decade and helped their little brother achieve rightful fame on his own. Not just another token teen idol, Andy also co-wrote the songs and played his own instruments. And then he left us too soon. Continue reading...

Eight Track Tapes

Eight-Track Tapes

By today’s standards, where the world is filled with portable music emanating from iPods, the eight-track tape seems rather (click) antiquated. Big and bulky, the endlessly-looping tape contained within also had this annoying habit of (click) interrupting songs midway through with an audible click as they moved through each of their quadrants. Furthermore, the intended order of songs was often disrupted, and occasionally (click) long periods of silence lingered between tracks. Having said that, they allowed, for the first time, the ability to bring music of one’s choice into (click) an automobile, as well as a portable listening device – something previously impossible. Continue reading...