AOR in TV-series is hardly talked about on any of the AOR publishing
magazines and websites.Strutter'zine always looks for any AOR in every
possible publication or broadcasting. Therefore we decided to start this
item. This is due to the fact that many American TV-series have had AOR
songs in their episodes. Examples are 'California dreams', 'Amerald Cove'
and 'Fame'. The difference with movies is that the subtitles of TV-series
doesn’t give you any information about the music. So, it is hard to tell
about the performing people. In the episodes of the TV-serie, you’ll see
someone performing a song, but if he/she actually sings the song is the
big question! Anyway, I’ll inform you about the TV-series and which AOR-songs
appear in it, but I don’t always know the performer. I have put some of
the reviews we did in our past-issues on this page, hope you like it. Let
EMERALD COVE (USA/1995?)
This is a TV-serie that has some really short episodes of only 5 minutes. It was about a Rock’n’roll-band called HIGH DENSITY. The members of the band were very young and still went to highschool and had to work very hard as a band to earn attention of the local people. I guess you’ll already know what kind of music this band played. They played pure A.O.R./Radiorock in the best 80’s tradition. Because I don’t have any info about the songs,songwriters and performers, I can only mention the titles of the featured songs and compare them musically to other bands/artists. I think some of the well-known AOR-songwriters/ performers have written/performed the songs, because not only the songs are from a very high quality, but there appears also 1 very well-known song. I’m talking about the song “Always” of PAUL SABU/ONLY CHILD. This song is played by the band HIGH DENSITY in one of the episodes, only with different lead vocals. These lead vocals are done by the main character, but if he actually sings is not known. The lead vocals are o.k.
Besides “Always”, the other songs are unknown to me, but very good at times. The song “Another broken heart”, for example, is a wonderful A.O.R.-ballad in the style of BAD ENGLISH. Also the song “Forever yours” is in that category. “Hold tight” is a really amazing song, because it damn sounds like STEEL BREEZE/PREVIEW/707, which means pure aor/radiorock in early 80’s tradition with many harmonyvocals and a fantastic chorus. Also the sing-a-long song “Never get enough of you” has that feeling, a polished AOR-rocker that could’ve been on the classic PREVIEW-album of 1983.
I heard some great keys in the song “Promises”, which is another uptempo A.O.R.-rocker. Another great song is “Tell me why” that is pure uptempo AOR, only thing is that this song does sound very very much like the classic-AOR-rocker “Carrie why?” of FRANKE&THE KNOCKOUTS. Especially the harmonyvocals (of all songs!) does sound very much like the third album ‘Makin’ the point’ of FRANKE&THE KNOCKOUTS. Musically most of the featured songs in this TV-serie does also have a lot of similarities to that classic-album. There also appear some songs on the background, only used as background music. I could only hear the songs “Carry the word”(like old CONNIE SCOTT) and “Runaway”(midtempo aor) that both have female lead vocals.
So, this TV-serie ‘Emerald cove’ featured about 10 songs, including
some fantastic ones that are pure A.O.R. If you ever get the chance to
see it, you must really listen to those songs.
ANOTHER WORLD (USA/1991)
This is a soap-opera that is on screen for about 10 years or maybe longer, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that during the episodes of 1991 some new actors appear in the TV-serie and they play in a band and they produce bands in thier own studio. Actually, at that moment the whole soap is based on those bands and the studio. It’s not so hard to guess the music these bands play. Yes, they play some pure A.O.R. from a very high quality. Unfortunately I haven’t watched all the episodes of that period around 1991, because they were broadcasted in the morning and I don’t like soaps. So, I missed a lot of songs that appeared in the epsiodes of ‘Another world’, I heard they were excellent AOR-songs.
The reason I write this review, is that 1 song often appeared in the episodes (about 5 times). That song was called “Ladykiller”, a superb uptempo A.O.R.-rocker that sounds very much like the debut of JOSETTE, and you may also pick up some FIONA and 80’s HEART influences. Female-AOR fans will love this song. But I don’t have any info and so I can only say to you that you must look if you ever get the chance to see the episodes of ‘Another world’ around 1991. If I ever get the chance to see then, again and I can get more information, then you will read it in our past-issues.
This was one of the most famous TV-series ever broadcasted on television. During the 80’s,there were about hundreds of episodes of this TV-serie,which started after the movie. Every episode counted 2 or 3 songs that were sung by the main characters. The TV-serie was settled in New York in the 80’s and then you will know that there must have been a lot of A.O.R./ Poprock in the episodes of ‘Fame',because that was the most popular music in the USA at the same time the TV-serie had it’s peak. Yes,indeed there were a lot of AOR/Poprocksongs in many episodes of ‘Fame’. Especially in the years 1984,1985 and 1986 there were about 30 AOR/Poprocksongs featured in the TV-serie. And some of these songs are really superb!
Mostly the songs were sung by Female vocalists. I cannot mention all
the songs,but I will try to mention the best ones. First,in one of the
episodes from 1985,there appears a song called “Can’t hold back”,a very
good semi-AOR-ballad in the style of VAN STEPHENSON. But most of you will
know this song, because it is the same song that AGENT did on their debut
from 1986. “Can’t hold back” was written by Dave Pickell and Jeff Baxter
and so I guess you can say that it was not a real AGENT-song,because it
was written by songwriters who were not in the band’s line-up. Conclusion
is that “Can’t hold back” first appeared in ‘Fame’ sung by some unknown
male vocalist,who had a good voice somewhat like DENNIS DEYOUNG.
Very interesting fact is that all those AOR/Poprocksongs that appear in the TV-serie of ‘Fame',were written by some of the most respected AOR-songwriters in the world.
In one of the episodes from 1986 appears a song written by TOM KELLY(of I-TEN),the song is called “Keep your hands of my baby” and is sung by a gorgeous female vocalist called NIA PEEBLES,who had a very good voice actually. The song is a dream for every fan of those classic 80’s female-poprock/aor. It is in the same style as TORONTO’s “Your daddy don’t know”,PAT BENATAR’s “Hit me with your best shot”,ELLEN FOLEY’s “Let me be the one”,RICK SPRINGFIELD’s “Jessie’s girl”,TIFFANY’s “We’re both thinking of her” etc. etc.
If you’re familiar with these 5 songs,you’ll know that “Keep your hands of my baby” is a typical AOR/Poprocker with a simple beat,great chorus with many harmonyvocals and some crushing guitarwork. Of course PAT BENATAR had a big influence on this song,but if you like female AOR/Poprock like SHEILA/ ELLEN SHIPLEY/TORONTO ... you will love this too.
Performer NIA PEEBLES appears with a lot more songs in the TV-serie of ‘Fame’,I would like to add the fantastic tracks “(And) If the lady wants to play”(this is a really classic uptempo AOR-rocker with fantastic heavy guitarwork and a superb chorus, the song is in the style of DONNA CRISTY/STEFFANIE/HEART...,only much better!!! I’m not sure,but I believe it was written by PETER BECKETT of Player/Think Out Loud/Beckett),”Overnight success”(stunning uptempo AOR like CINDY CRUSE),”Savage streets” (great uptempo AOR like SPIDER) and “Strangers tonight”.
“Strangers tonight" is the best song that ever appeared in the TV-serie ‘Fame’. I don’t know who wrote it,but it is an undiscovered ‘classic-AOR-song’. This superb semi-AOR-ballad cannot be compared to any band/artist,because it is better than most songs that have been recorded by female-aor-acts, maybe it can be compared to HEART,but this song is better than HEART!
These 4 tracks I mentioned of NIA PEEBLES are the best ones that appeared in the years of ‘Fame’. Unfortunately,I never had the chance to hear it on a decent recording(only on videotape),but maybe someone has it on LP or CD or Tape. I don’t know if NIA PEEBLES ever recorded a solo-LP or CD. The only thing I have of Nia on CD is the track “You don’t have to ask me twice” on the original soundtrack of ‘Sing’ from 1989. But that song is dance/pop unfortunately.
But there is more A.O.R./Poprock in the TV-serie of ‘Fame',such as the songs “Showtime”(written by Gary McCann),”We are the ones”(written by Alan Roy Scott),”Bring back the fire”(written by Duane Hutchings,producer of WHITE, SISTER/KING KOBRA),”Saved by the bell”,”Young heroes”,”Suspense”,”Kick it out”(sounds like a mixture of lst JOHN PARR and lst JEFF PARIS),”Cuts like a knife”(very catchy chorus,pure A.O.R.-rocker),”The spirit is alive”(AOR with some breaks,sounds like lst JOE LYNN TURNER), “Shelter me”(written by Nick DiStefano),”Breaking ground” and “Love's a journey”(another pure midtempo-AOR-song, sounds like STAN BUSH!).
It’s impossible to mention all the tracks,but I have mentioned the best ones that are featured in this TV-serie. Unfortunately I don’t know all the songwriters and the performers,but if you ever get the chance to see ‘Fame’ again,please do that,I can especially recommend it to the fans of female-AOR/Poprock,because you’ll be surprised how many fantastic songs were featured. And most of them are not available on LP or CD,sadly. The ‘NBC-TV-serie' lasted from 1980-1987 and in the years 1984-1986 it featured some excellent undiscovered AOR/Poprockers.
Maybe someday some songs will be available on CD and then you can hear
how good these songs really were.
There are some LP’s and CD’s available of ‘Fame', but they have to deal with the movie or with the years 1980-1983 of the TV-serie and that is not interesting for the AOR-fan.
Anyway,I hope someone is pleased to know that ‘Fame-the NBC-TV-series’
featured some great AOR/Poprocksongs. Maybe,in a later edition of Strutter'zine-the
past we’ll talk more about it when we can get more info.
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