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The Eighties Club
The Politics and Pop Culture of the 1980s
Featured Song/Artist
"The Look"
Roxette

Music & Lyrics by Per Gessle
Look Sharp! (EMI, 1988)


Walking like a man
Hitting like a hammer
She's a juvenile scam
Never was a quitter
Tasty like a raindrop
She's got the look

Heavenly bound
Cause heaven's got a number
When she's spinning me around
Kissing is a colour
Her loving is a wild dog
She's got the look

She's got the look (She's got the look)
She's got the look (She's got the look)
What in the world can make a brown-eyed girl turn blue
When everything I'll ever do I'll do for you
And I go la-la-la-la-la-la she's got the look

Fire in the ice
Naked to the t-bone
Is a lover's disguise
Banging on the head drum
Shaking like a mad bull
She's got the look

Swaying to the band
Moving like a hammer
She's a miracle man
Loving is the ocean
Kissing is the wet sand
She's got the look

She's got the look (She's got the look)
She's got the look (She's got the look)
What in the world can turn a brown-eyed girl turn blue
When everything I'll do I'll do for you
And I go la-la-la-la-la-la she's got the look

Walking like a man
Hitting like a hammer
She's a juvenile scam
Never was a quitter
Tasty like a raindrop
She's got the look

And she goes na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-na...she's got the look

She's got the look (She's got the look)
She's got the look (She's got the look)
What in the world can make a brown-eyed girl turn blue
When everything I'll do I'll do for you
And I go la-la-la-la-la-la she's got the look
What in the world can turn you so blue
When everything I'll do I'll do for you
And I go la-la-la-la-la-la she's got the look

And she goes na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-na...she's got the look

In the early 1980s Per Gessle (b. 2.12.59, Halmstad, Sweden) fronted the rock band Gyllene Tider (Golden Times) until its breakup in 1984. Gessele then joined successful solo artist Marie Fredriksson (b. 5.29.59, Ostra Ljungby, Sweden) to form the pop duo Roxette. Friends since 1979, both Gessel and Fredricksson both had strong vocal and songwriting skills, immediately evident on their debut album Pearls of Passion (1986). Their follow-up album, Look Sharp! (1988) was #1 in Sweden for three months (becoming the second-best-selling album in Swedish history.) An American exchange student from Minneapolis carried a copy of the Look Sharp! CD home with him during a Christmas break and asked a local radio station, KDWB, to play it. Program director Brian Phillips was convinced that "The Look" was a #1 song, and sent tapes of the song to sister stations in Dallas, Houston and New York. He was right -- "The Look" went to #1 on Billboard's Top 100 in April 1989. Roxette embarked on a worldwide promotional tour, and were rewarded with a second #1 from the Look Sharp! album, the power ballad "Listen To Your Heart" (which was the first #1 available only in cassette form.) "Dressed For Success" went to US#14 in July 1989, while "Dangerous" climbed to US#2 in February 1990. By 1993, Roxette would be declared the world's Number One Duo, with 21 million albums and 12 million singles sold. They continued their hit-making ways into the 1990s with songs like "Joyride" UK#4, 1991), "Fading Like A Flower" (US#2, 1991) and "Wish I Could Fly" (UK#11, 1999).

"The Look" was a #1 song in 33 countries.

Roxette's third album, Joyride (1991), sold 10 million copies, aided by a worldwide tour that incorporated 108 concerts in Australia, South America, Europe and the U.S.

In 1993, Roxette became the first non-English-speaking act invited to play on "MTV Unplugged."

In 1987, Gessle wrote "It Must Have Been Love (Christmas For The Broken Hearted)," a song that (after a few changes) found its way onto the soundtrack for the film Pretty Woman (1990). The soundtrack sold 9 million copies worldwide and "It Must Have Been Love" was a #1 hit in several countries.


 "Never Gonna Give You Up"
Rick Astley

Written by Mike Stock, Matt Aitken & Pete Waterman
Whenever You Need Somebody
 (RCA, 1987)


We're no strangers to love
You know the rules and so do I
A full commitment's what I'm thinking of
You wouldn't get this from any other guy
I just wanna tell you how I'm feeling
Gotta make you understand

Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

We've known each other for so long
Your heart's been aching but you're too shy to say it
Inside we both know what's been going on
We know the game and we're gonna play it
And if you ask me how I'm feeling
Don't tell me you're too blind to see

Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

(repeat)

We've known each other for so long
Your heart's been aching but you're too shy to say it
Inside we both know what's been going on
We know the game and we're gonna play it
I just wanna tell you how I'm feeling
Gotta make you understand

Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

(repeat)

Rick Astley, born 6 February 1966 in Warrington, Cheshire, exhibited musical talent early on -- not only did he play the drums and the piano, but he also sang in choir. In 1982, while still in school, he became the drummer for a band called Give Way. When he became lead singer for the band FBI in 1984 it was clear his vocal styling was heavily influenced by the soul music he listened to at the Pier Casino club. Discovered by Pete Waterman of the Stock, Aitken and Waterman production company, Astley was brought to the PWL Studios in London in 1985 and, after 18 months of rehearsal (and paying his way as a tape operator), he landed a deal with RCA Records. His debut single, "Never Gonna Give You Up," endowed with Astley's powerful, blue-eyed-soul lyrics laid over a disco beat, became #1 in the UK for five weeks in August 1987 before going on to hit #1 in fifteen other countries, including the U.S. Astley's debut album, Whenever You Need Somebody, also went to #1 in the UK, selling over a million units in six months. "Never Gonna Give You Up" was named Best British Single at the 7th Annual BRIT Awards in February 1988. Astley followed up this success with "Together Forever" (US#1, UK#2) and "She Wants To Dance With Me" (US#6, UK#6). At the end of 1988, Astley was named Billboard's Top Sales Artist.

Insisting on more creative freedom, Astley broke with PWL in early 1990.
In 1991 the RIAA certified that two million copies of Whenever You Need Somebody had been sold.
Astley's song "Hopelessly," which peaked at UK#33 in November, 1993, was named one of the Most Performed Songs of the year at the 1994 BMI Awards Ceremony in London.
Stock, Aitken and Waterman produced the hits "Venus" for Bananarama and "You Spin Me Round Like A Record" for Dead or Alive.


 "Video Killed The Radio Star"
The Buggles

Written by Geoff Downes, Trevor Horne, Bruce Wolley (Woolley);
The Age of Plastic (Island, 1980)


I heard you on the wireless back in '52
Lying awake intent at tuning in on you
If I was young it didn't stop you coming through
Oh-ah-oh

They took the credit for your second symphony
Rewritten by machine and new technology
And now I understand the problems you can see
Oh-ah-oh
I've met your children
Oh-ah-oh
What did you tell them

Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
Pictures came and broke your heart
oh-ah-ah-ah-oh

And now we meet in an abandoned studio
We hear the playback and it seems so long ago
And you remember the jingles used to go...
Oh-ah-oh
You were the first one
Oh-ah-oh
You were the last one

Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
In my mind and in my car
We can't rewind we've gone to far
Oh-ah-ah-ah-oh
Oh-ah-ah-ah-oh

In my mind and in my car
We can't rewind we've gone too far
Pictures came and broke your heart
Put the blame on VTR
You are a radio star
You are a radio star
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star...

Trevor Horn (b. 15 July 1949, Durham, England) and Geoff Downes (b. August 1952, Stockport, Cheshire, England) met in 1977 while working as session musicians. After a stint backing singer Tina Charles, they formed The Buggles, with Horn providing the vocals, fretless base and guitar and Downes playing keyboards and synthesizers. They produced two albums -- The Age of Plastic (1980) and Adventures in Modern Recording (1981). While it was a Top Ten hit in countries overseas, the song "Video Killed The Radio Star," from their debut album, never really caught on in the U.S. (It was, nonetheless, Island Record's first #1.) The Buggles never toured, and the band was short-lived; both Horn and Downes were recruited into the progressive rock band Yes, replacing the departing Rick Wakeman and Jon Anderson. (Rumor has it that they approached Yes with a song they wanted the band to record.)  Downes didn't linger long with Yes, however; within a year he'd moved on to form the band Asia. That band's self-titled debut album, thanks largely to the hit single "Heat Of The Moment," was named Billboard's #1 album of 1982. Horn co-founded the synth-pop band Art of Noise and went on to become a successful producer and founder of ZTT Records, guiding the band Frankie Goes to Hollywood to fame in the mid-Eighties. The Buggles earned a place in the history books (not to mention Trivial Pursuit) because the video for "Video Killed The Radio Star" was the first to be aired by MTV, when the music channel was launched 1 August 1981. The song was oddly prophetic -- the music video fundamentally changed the industry.