1980s remain ageless in age of their own

J. Lucas, portraying the late Michael Jackson, will join the Legends in Concert cast of tribute artists for shows Monday-Aug. 13 at the theater, 925 Hollywood Drive, Myrtle Beach, at U.S. 17 and 29th Avenue North, at Broadway at the Beach. Details at 843-238-7827 or www.legendsinconcert.com/myrtle-beach.
J. Lucas, portraying the late Michael Jackson, will join the Legends in Concert cast of tribute artists for shows Monday-Aug. 13 at the theater, 925 Hollywood Drive, Myrtle Beach, at U.S. 17 and 29th Avenue North, at Broadway at the Beach. Details at 843-238-7827 or www.legendsinconcert.com/myrtle-beach. Courtesy photo

“Funkytown,” “Magic,” “Sailing,” “Lady,” “Celebration,” “Rapture,” “Physical,” “Centerfold,” Abracadabra,” “Truly,” “Mickey,” “Maneater,” “Africa,” “Maniac,” “Jump,” “Footloose,” “Hello,” “Ghostbusters,” “Heaven,” “Sussudio,” “Shout,” “Kyrie,” “Sara,” “Sledgehammer,” “Kiss,” “Venus,” “Amanda,” “Human,” “Always,” “Alone,” “Bad,” “Faith,” “Monkey,” “Kokomo,” “Satisfied” and “Batdance.”

Those represent the 36 times that recordings with one-word titles reached the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart through the 1980s. Does that piece of trivia sound bear some flavor that the late Casey Kasem would have crafted in his weekly countdown radio show?

Music and movies from the 1980s etched their own echelon in history and pop culture, and the momentum shows no sign of ebbing, midway through this second decade of the 21st century. Many upcoming concerts across the Grand Strand, including tribute artists, keep that decade’s hit music alive, and Kasem’s voice still reaches “for the stars,” as syndicated nationwide by Premiere Networks.

Cumulus Myrtle Beach’s WSYN-FM “Sunny” 103.1 airs “Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 – The 80s,” noon-4 p.m. every Sunday, and “Awesome ’80s Weekends,” 10 a.m. Fridays to midnight Sundays.

Night Train, operations manager for Cumulus Myrtle Beach, and program director for WSYN-FM “Sunny” 103.1 and WLFF-FM “Nash” 106.5 – the latter for which he also is afternoon drive host – said Kasem’s weekly show, covering a week from a chosen year in the ’80s, was added to Sunny’s lineup in April. It fits perfectly with the station’s accent on eighties music around the clock, a format for which he said “everything in that decade” resonates well with local listeners.

Breaking down Kasem countdown shows at random, Night Train said a retrospective from 1981 would come with some “yacht rock, arena rock, rhythm and blues, and back then, some disco.” The mid-1980s brought a second British Invasion, he said, with such groups as Duran Duran, and the later years, “hair band” groups.

“It encompasses so many age groups,” Night Train said, noting its musical allure to his older, 24-year-old daughter. “It was a very popular decade, and that’s the way classic hits as a format is going right now. It used to be called ‘oldies,’ ... but it’s not the singer-songwriter stuff anymore.”

Having just turned 46 years old, he recounted hearing Kasem chronicle hits from 1983.

“I can tell you exactly where I listening to that countdown the first time,” Night Train said. “I was at my aunt’s house.”

A countdown “takes you back,” Night Train said, noting the 1987 theme for this Sunday. “That’s what music is supposed to do: take you to a different place and time.”

Another perk from each program entails “not only the songs that went to No. 1,” he said, “but the songs that peaked at No. 32, because, oh, my gosh, I forgot about that one. ... Or, finding out what was at No. 38 that week. It’s like opening a present on Christmas night.”

Sunny 103.1, which just welcomed, for its 7 p.m.-midnight weekday shift, longtime Grand Strand radio voice Wally B. (Berlingeri) – also the co-host on Pat Paone’s “The Drive” talk show, 7-9 a.m. Mondays-Fridays on sister station WSEA-FM 100.3 “Sports Radio – The Team” – has emphasized more 1980s music overall.

Since testing theme weekends such as with “American bands,” such as for past Fourth of Julys, Night Train said that with ’80s weekends, playing two such hits at the tops and bottoms each hour made him conclude, “when the weekend was over, that is just not enough.”

Researching for a big enough library of music, Night Train said the body of work spans several hundred songs, which helps in keeping the rotation fresh and without being repetitive every weekend “with the same 100 songs over and over.”

With Sunny 103.1 blending more ’80s music into its airplay, Night Train said, it feeds the station’s “upbeat, happy and fun” identity.

Legends – past and present – live on

House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach will welcome four tribute bands this month: Mostley Crue (for Motley Crue), 8:30 p.m. Friday; “Who’s Bad? – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Experience,” 8 p.m. Saturday; Head Games (Foreigner) on Aug. 20; and Slippery When Wet (Bon Jovi) on Aug. 27.

Legends in Concert in Myrtle Beach also will bring the late King of Pop back to life with the return of J. Lucas portraying Michael Jackson, for one week only, Monday through Aug. 13, among a lineup of tribute artists with the Blues Brothers, Brooks & Dunn, Adele, and Bruno Mars.

Chris Beattie, Legends’ regional general manager, said the Gloved One remains a hot repeat attraction, with Lucas performing two previous full summers, 2013-14, and William Hall helping mark the theater’s grand reopening in 2011 after its move from Surfside Beach.

Saluting icons from the 1980s at Legends in Concert remains “very special” for two reasons, as Beattie cited.

“Pop stars and their music changed in the 1980s with the help of MTV, with a greater focus on image,” she said. “New stars emerged, becoming icons for the genre, and they defined the decade through fashion, talent and persona.

“Also, in that decade, we saw the re-emergence of older musicians who had once been popular as a part of a group or duo into their own solo careers. A few examples include Diana Ross, Cher, Lionel Richie, Tina Turner and Paul McCartney. These artists had already experienced success during the 1960s and ’70s, and the ’80s solo careers were successful after adapting to the new musical landscape.”

Ask Beattie for her favorite ’80s tribute artist to grace Legends stage, and Madonna wins, with Michael Jackson, Prince and Whitney Houston all as runners-up.

“I actually got to see the real Madonna,” Beattie said, “with my daughter Megan at Boardwalk Hall, in Atlantic City, N.J., on Sept. 15, 2012, on her MDNA Tour. It was very special for us as we both are huge fans. Madonna constantly reinvents herself to remain relevant in the ever-changing, always challenging pop music industry.”

Timeless on the silver screen

At the Grand 14 Cinema at The Market Common in Myrtle Beach, Stone Theatres’ “Flashback Cinema” has carried into August with all-1980s movies at 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays and Wednesdays: “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” from 1989, on Aug. 7 and 10; “Top Gun” (1986) Aug. 14 and 17; “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” (1982) Aug. 21 and 24; and “Spaceballs” (1987) Aug. 28 and 31.

Duane Farmer, the Grand 14’s general manager, said many people might have seen or known these movies only through home video or television.

“To see them in a theater with other people,” he said, brings a new, higher level to the experience.

Movies, like music, span generations and decades, and Farmer, remembering his growing up in “the hills of North Carolina,” saw “Grease” upon its release in 1978. A “sing-along” version of the movie ran two days this past week.

Farmer already has a wish list of other titles he’d like to see come through in a big-screen series, such as the flagship “Smokey and the Bandit” and “Saturday Night Fever,” both from 1977, and he likes series of classics catering to seasons, say for Halloween and Christmas.

“Poppy’s Summer Movie Magic,” an animated series, with 10 productions from earlier this decade and free of charge, wraps up next week, with “Norm of the North,” 10 a.m. Tuesday-Thursday – after a sensory showing at 10 a.m. Monday for families with children with autism.

Well more than 20,000 people have turned out for this series, ahead of “Minions” this past week, Farmer said, attributing the high tallies to “word of mouth.”

Contact Steve Palisin at 843-444-1764.

If you listen/go back to the 1980s

Reliving memories on radio – ‘Back to the countdown’

▪ On Cumulus Myrtle Beach’s WSYN-FM “Sunny” 103.1: “Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 – The 80s,” noon-4 p.m. Sundays; and “Awesome ’80s Weekends,” 10 a.m. Fridays to midnight Sundays. 843-651-7869 (SUNY) or www.sunny1031.com.

Silver screen

▪ “Flashback Cinema,” with classic 1980s movies in August, 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays and Wednesdays at Grand 14 Cinema, at The Market Common in Myrtle Beach: “Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade,” from 1989, on Aug. 7 and 10; “Top Gun” (1986) Aug. 14 and 17; “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” (1982) Aug. 21 and 24; and “Spaceballs” (1987) Aug. 28 and 31. Each at regular movie prices. 843-282-0550 or www.stonetheatres.com/#/flashback-cinema/4592310955, and www.flashbackcinema.net. Also: “Poppy’s Summer Movie Magic” finale, next week with free screenings of “Norm of the North,” 10 a.m. Tuesday-Thursday (after sensory showing at 10 a.m. Monday for families with children with autism – 609-744-0099, championautismnetwork.com, or email beckylarge66@gmail.com.)


▪ At House of Blues, in Barefoot Landing, on U.S. 17 in North Myrtle Beach: Mostley Crue tribute to Motley Crue, 8:30 p.m. Friday, for $10; “Who’s Bad? – The Ultimate Michael Jackson Experience,” 8 p.m. Saturday, for $20; Head Games tribute to Foreigner, 8:30 p.m., Aug. 20, for $10; Slippery When Wet tribute to Bon Jovi, 8:30 p.m.. Aug. 27, for $10; Sister Hazel, 8:30 p.m. Sept. 3, for $17; Strutter tribute to Kiss, 8:30 p.m. Sept. 30, for $11; George Thorogood & the Destroyers, 8 p.m. Oct. 3, for $27.50 or $51; and “Back to the ’80s” featuring The Molly Ringwalds, 8 p.m. Dec. 3, for $15. 843-272-3000 or www.hob.com/myrtlebeach.

▪ At Legends in Concert, 925 Hollywood Drive, Myrtle Beach, at U.S. 17 and 29th Avenue North, at Broadway at the Beach. with this tribute artist lineup through Sept. 4: the Blues Brothers (Dan Meisner as Jake, and Russ Peterson as Elwood), Brooks & Dunn (Larry Turner as Kix Brooks, Doug Brewin as Ronnie Dunn), Adele (J.C. Brando), Bruno Mars (Isaiah), and Elvis Presley (Michael K. Chambliss) – for whom Michael Jackson (J. Lucas) will substitute, Aug. 8-13. 8 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, and Sept. 4 – also 6 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays through Aug. 11. Plus tax: $39.95-$49.95 ages 17 and older, and $13.95-$44.95 ages 3-16. 843-238-7827, 800-960-7469 or www.legendsinconcert.com/myrtle-beach.

▪ “Old School Hip-Hop Night,” with post-game party with Biz Markie, at 7:05 p.m. Aug. 11, as part of a game by the Myrtle Beach Pelicans – 2015 Carolina League Mills Cup champions, in second year as Class A-Advanced affiliate of Chicago Cubs – against Salem Red Sox, Boston’s affiliate from Virginia, at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark, 1251 21st Ave. N., Myrtle Beach (Enter parking lot from Robert Grissom Parkway). $9, $11 or $13 advance, and $2 more on game day. Also, discounts, of $3, with ID at box office, for military for all games, in all sections. 843-918-6000, 877-918-8499 (TIXX) or www.myrtlebeachpelicans.com.

▪  At Calvin Gilmore Theater – home of “The Carolina Opry,” Time Warp” and “Thunder and Light” – 8901 N. Kings Highway (U.S. 17 Business), at junction of U.S. 17, on northern tip of Myrtle Beach: 38 Special, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 14, for $58.05, $60.20 or $63.43; and Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, 6 p.m. Sept. 25, for $51.60, $54.83 or $62.35. 843-913-4000, 800-843-6779 or www.thecarolinaopry.com.

▪ Rick Springfield, Night Ranger, and The Romantics, 8 p.m. Aug. 27, at Myrtle Beach Speedway, 455 Hospitality Lane, off U.S. 501, about three miles north of Myrtle Beach, and just past S.C. 31. $35 general admission, or $55 – from box office, or Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com. Speedway details at 843-236-0500 or www.myrtlebeachspeedway.com.

▪ At North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive, between International Boulevard and Montague Avenue, off Exit 213 from Interstate 26 – or take Interstate 526 from Mount Pleasant to one exit past I-26: “Dirty Dancing” 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4-5 (check for ticket prices); Bonnie Raitt, with the California Honeydrops, 8 p.m. Oct. 28, for $59.50, $79.50 or $96.50; and Dolly Parton 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18, for $55, $75 or $125. 843-529-5000 or www.northcharlestoncoliseumpac.com. Buy tickets at 800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com.

▪ At Wilson Center at Cape Fear Community College, 703 N. Third St., Wilmington: Jefferson Starship and The Babys, at 8 p.m. Aug. 26, for $34.50, $44.50, $49.50, $54.50 or $59.50; “Weird Al” Yankovic, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8, for $39.50 or $49.50; Paula Poundstone, 8 p.m. Oct. 7, for $28, $38 or $50; Air Supply, 8 p.m. Nov. 4, for $34.50, $49.50, $59.50, $69.50 or $79.50; and “Dirty Dancing” touring Broadway play, 7:30 p.m. May 2-3, for $41.50-$105. 910-362-7999 or cfcc.edu/capefearstage/tickets-and-events/.

▪ At Brunswick Community College Odell Williamson Auditorium, off U.S. 17 in Supply, N.C.: Tribute concerts, each 7:30 p.m., with Beginnings (saluting Chicago) on Jan. 26; and Face to Face (Sir Elton John and Billy Joel, by Joey Riedel and Michael John, respectively), March 27. Each $29 ages 13 and older, $27 seniors/students, and $10 ages 12 and younger. 910-755-7416 or 800-754-1050, ext. 7416. www.bccowa.com.