Wednesday, July 28, 2021

#40 Taylor Dayne (+ MusiCards master set update)

This is 40. Number 40 in the 1991 Pro Set MusiCards set, that is. Taylor Dayne is looking good here in a sepia shot that fills the photo area of the design nicely.

Flipping the card over reveals some background on Taylor's origins as a performer, name-checking Jacques Brel ("Carousel") and Stevie Wonder ("Mon Cherie Amour"). That's a cool looking picture on the back, one of the more "artsy" images we've seen in the set so far.

Taylor Dayne - "Tell It to My Heart"

These days Taylor Dayne is remembered with "Every Beat of My Heart" as her popular song, but I've always known her for 2 songs, with the other being "Tell It to My Heart". Ha, wait-- reverse that! Looks like "Tell It to My Heart" is the bigger song. It's far-and-away her top track according to Spotify, with over 124 million listens. Compare that to "With Every Beat of My Heart", which doesn't even make her top 5 list on Spotify, with only around 2 million listens. I remember hearing both a ton back when I listened to pop radio circa '87-91 and it's kinda blowing my mind that one is a much more popular song than the other today.

Oh hey, turns out the photo on the front of her MusiCard was originally used as the cover for the "With Every Beat of my Heart" single. (pic from eBay)

Taylor Dayne - "With Every Beat of My Heart"

Apart from those 2 songs-- both guilty pleasures of mine in the 80s pop area of my music collection-- I don't know much about her, so I'll go skim her Wikipedia entry.

Taylor's first two albums, Tell It to My Heart (1988) and Can't Fight Fate (1989), both went double platinum. 1993's Soul Dancing found a tougher reception in the post-Nevermind era, but still went to #2 in Australia. Naked Without You followed with little fanfare in 1998, and her latest LP to-date is 2008's Satisfied, though she's put out a few singles since. She still performs occasionally and competed on season 4 of The Masked Singer in 2020.

I'm listening to more of her stuff while working on this post... "Love Will Lead You Back" was her only #1 single in the US. Oh yeah, now I remember this ballad. It's just meh for me, though it does transport me back to riding in the car with my mom and the adult contemporary station on that played the crap out of this stuff when I was a kid. "I'll Always Love You" is another one of these from Taylor-- very familiar to me though I haven't heard it in decades. I like this one better. I appreciate a good sax solo. "Heart of Stone" is another good song I had forgotten about.

Please let me know if you've got any feelings either way to share about Taylor Dayne in the comments below.

My big COMC shipment included a few MusiCards for my attempt at a "master set" of the things. I needed to upgrade my reversed Lennon, but accidentally bought 2 of them, lol. So now I have 3 counting the scuffed one. Bo Diddley (1st card of Series 2) was another condition upgrade for me. The bottom row are all promos. I've now completed all the promo cards ...well, all that feature artists, not just text/ads. Some of these I scored on eBay in nice lots in the time between when I bought them on COMC and when I finally received them. So if anybody out there is working on a MusiCards master set, I've got several of the (relatively) rare promo cards available for trade, including the Madonna error, which is probably the most desirable of the promo cards to land, though I don't think I'd go as far as to throw around the "holy grail" term. (The holy grail of MusiCards has got to be the hologram, right?)

I also sorted my base MusiCards recently. Verified that I've got complete sets of Series 1, Series 2, the UK Edition, plus both series of the Yo! MTV Raps MusiCards. Always good to confirm.

I might put together a second set of Series 1 Super Stars with my dupes (and have plenty of triples too), and if I did that I'd be tempted to go after another set of Series 2, but that one's tougher. Maybe it's sadistic of me, but I'd kinda like to try building Series 2 from packs. Might have to keep an eye out for deals on a sealed box or two. I need a Series 2 box for my master set anyways, if'n I decide to include more than just cards. (I have hung onto empty boxes of Series 1 and the UK Edition, plus I've got a sealed box of Series 1 and an open but seemingly-full box of Yo! Series 2.) And I've got an ulterior motive that I'll get into another day.

But as for my master set of cards, I'm down to just dumb stuff that mostly got thrown away back then:
NNO Promo Pack Header
NNO Advert - Pro Set MusiCards Collector Files binder ad (from UK Edition)
NNO Borden's Promo Pack Header (Fairy God Dude poster offer)
NNO Diamond Comic Distributors promo card
NNO 10¢ Coupon - Pink Spots (from Series 2)

If I was going to the National this year, it's crap like this I'd be hoping to find. lol
Not that they keep me up at night, but the completist in me would love to track them down and be crowned the undisputed king musicard dork.

Anyways, now onto the thing where we take a quick look at my old calendar from 1991.

Rhinos enjoying a nice day.

Not a very eventful July for me 30 years ago. Back to school on the 1st, sadly. Looks like I bought a new video game on the 7th.. no doubt during a Sunday evening Target trip with my mom. I only vaguely remember the Mission: Impossible NES game today, but maybe I'll play it via emulation one of these days for old times' sake. The meaning behind the little boxes on the 5th and 11th is a mystery now lost to time. Looks like my grandfather visited at the end of the month. He and my grandmother moved out from Florida to be near us and my aunt in San Diego not too long after this. Perhaps he was in town checking out retirement homes.

Then an orthodontist appointment on the 31st and that's it. For what it's worth, I peeked ahead and August has more action. That's coming up in the next post.. featuring the MusiCard of a forgotten singer who shares a name with a cartoon dinosaur dog. So stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

#39 Cher (+ a gear shift for the blog)


Here's Cher's second card in the 1991 MusiCards set, #39. It's her last appearance in the US version, but she's also got a couple in the UK set. Kind of an awkward photo of Cher taking a knee with a hand on her belly. Does she have a tummy-ache? Showing off how slim her waist is? Or just striking a variation on that old Napoleon pose?

The back reveals her birth name and recaps her early career highlights. Actually, the birth name part isn't quite accurate, as she didn't pick up the "LaPierre" part until 1961 when her mother remarried. Note the extra space after Sarkisian.. wonder if that was copied/pasted in with an early word processor. LaPierre would have gone after Sarkisian, so maybe somebody moved it (erroneously) and forgot to clean up the extra space.

I didn't realize she was from El Centro, not all that far from my similarly-named hometown of El Cajon in East County San Diego. El Centro is about halfway to Arizona.

"Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" was her first hit as a solo artist breaking away from Sonny Bono. I've been watching a thrown-together hour-long documentary that's streaming on Amazon Prime right now called Cher: Life in the Spotlight. I probably wouldn't go as far as recommending it-- It's just people talking about Cher plus some old clips; she wasn't involved personally-- but it was somewhat enlightening as to how she became who she is today. 

She had always had wanted to be an actress, but fell into music and became known for cheesy comedy of her TV variety shows. Mask (1985) finally got her some respect in that field, receiving a Golden Globe Award nomination for her performance. In the film, she clashes with her son (who suffers from a disfiguring bone disorder) over his baseball cards, going as far as tearing up a 1974 Topps card of Ron Cey.

How cool/funny would it be if Ron Cey got some revenge and ripped up one of Cher's musicards on camera? LOL

Anyways, the pinnacle of Cher's acting career probably came a couple years later in 1987, winning the Oscar for Best Actress for Moonstruck. Gotta tip your cap to her, pulling herself up from a rough childhood with a desire to be famous to become a world-renowned singer and actress.

Ok, now let's hit the "this month in 1991 for me" part of the post.

The old calendar I've managed to hang on to for 30 years.

My comments here seem to translate to:
6/1 "Got new bike" (Follow-up to buying it on 5/30 [per last month's calendar].. must've taken a few days to get it in stock.)
6/4 "Simpsons game bought" (This must've been Bart vs. the Space Mutants [NES, released April 25, 1991], a game I have a love/hate relationship with. Fun but also very frustrating. Played through it again just a year or two ago, relying on Game Genie codes because otherwise it's way too hard. Hell, even with the cheat codes, it's a tough one, especially the last couple levels.)
6/10 "Hair cut / new shoes" (No recollection of these, sorry. lol)
6/14 "Mickey Magic (?) finished" (At first I was thinking this was in reference to beating the Nintendo game Adventures in the Magic Kingdom, but I had just noted I beat that game a couple weeks earlier on 5/31. Oh wait! I bet that actually says "Mickey Mantle finished" which is in reference to a Mickey Mantle book I read, My Favorite Summer 1956.. one of the few non-schoolwork books I read back in the day-- hardcover, no less. As young baseball fan, I enjoyed learning about a legend of the game. When I returned to the hobby as an adult, I scored myself a few vintage Mantle cards and eventually a certified autograph, which I'm sure would've blown my mind back then.)

6/16 "Dinner at Judy's" (A family meal at my Aunt Judith's house on Sunday, probably for my grandfather's birthday that was coming up that week.)
6/20 "Dr. Fenn" (braces/orthodontist)
6/24 "Doug's off" (At first I thought this said "Drug's off" and I was like "Whaaa? Was I on drugs back then?", but pretty sure this references my best friend Doug being off school. Yeah, because I went to that weird private school for the first part of the year before we met back up at the same middle school for 8th grade later in the year.)

Ok, now as for the blog's gear shift, up to this point I've done a separate post for each card. But I've been averaging just a card or two per month, and at this rate I'll likely die of old age before I've covered the nearly 700 MusiCards I plan to blog about.

So, with your guys' permission, I think it'd be a good idea to start grouping multiples together. Not jumping around the checklist, but rather including consecutive cards of the same artist into one post. So I'd still be covering the set in order, just sometimes chunky style. For example, instead of two posts for Cher (the previous post and this post), I would probably have featured both cards in one post. 

Coming up soon are 4 consecutive Debbie Gibson cards; and while I like Debbie Gibson fine, I probably don't have all that much to say about her. And Vanilla Ice has 15 total MusiCards (counting the Yo! MTV Raps ones), so what am I supposed to say in 15 separate posts about him?! Those are just a couple examples, but there are a lot of multiples in the set, and combining them will help us move along more swiftly.

But this is all moot for the next post, as it'll cover the only MusiCard that Taylor Dayne ever got. 

Sunday, May 16, 2021

#38 Cher (+ a big month of May in 1991)

Here's Cher popping into a sunbeam at card #38 in the set. She appears again with the next card up and also has a couple cards in the UK edition.

My introduction to Cher was pretty much the "If I Could Turn Back Time" video on MTV. It was like, "Who's this [relatively] old lady showing off her buttcheeks to all those horny sailors?" But I did like the song.

Of course she'd been a popular entertainer for long before that, going back to her Sonny & Cher days. "I've Got You, Babe" has been an unavoidable song my whole life.

The back of the card states she's had four #1 singles. That seems to include "I Got You Babe" (1965), plus her solo tracks "Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves" (1971), "Half-Breed" (1973), "Dark Lady" (1974). Years after this card came out, she made a surprising return to the top of the charts scoring a fifth #1 with 1998's "Believe".

The super-catchy "Believe" was a worldwide smash, selling over 11 million copies. Cher became the oldest female solo artist to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the song became the highest-selling single by a solo female artist in the UK. The song is credited with kicking off the auto-tune trend and featured Cher reinventing her sound to an upbeat dance-pop style.

As for the final line of the card back's write-up, doesn't look like her perfume Uninhibited is still in production, but it was a success back in the day, earning about $15 million in its first year. She released a second fragrance in 2019 called Cher Eau de Couture.

We'll continue our Cher talk with the next post. Let me know if you've got any favorite Cher songs or memories in the comments.

Now for the self-centered series I've been doing on the blog for each month of 2021.

Time to take a look back 30 years and see what I was up to in May 1991.

You can tell I was big into baseball at the time, as I've noted the legendary events of 5/1/91 when Nolan Ryan tossed his 7th (and final) no-hitter and Rickey Henderson broke Lou Brock's all-time stolen base record. Man, what an exciting day that was! I was glued to ESPN.

Looks like I had a couple fun outings in May, with a trip to SeaWorld followed up the next week with a day at the beach. But I was stupid (and very pale) kid and sunbathed that day without any sunblock and I paid the price. The next few days were among my most uncomfortable of my life as I got sunburned to hell. Since that day, I've been one of those guys who almost always wears a shirt at the beach/pool and I give zero fucks if anyone thinks I'm a dork because of it. The sun and I have a shaky alliance. It allows for life on my planet but it's also out to kill me. I'm amazed I haven't had to deal with any skin cancer scares yet. I should probably find myself a dermatologist to start going to every year or two.

That beach day was a field trip with that weird private school I went to for 7th grade. The fact that the adults in the group didn't bother to maybe express concerns about the pasty white kid baking himself in the sun-- you know like be a voice of common sense to maybe cover up and/or be better about sunscreen-- goes to show what a shitshow of a "school" that was. But that bizarre chapter of my life came to a close on May 30th, my last day at A+ Academy, returning to public school after summer break that year.

Looks like I got a celebratory new bike on the last day of school. It was a really cool Mongoose that looked great and was a joy to ride, but tragically it got stolen out of my back patio one night a few months later in one of the most heartbreaking moments of my childhood.

Geez, this calendar page is digging up some bad memories for me! :( And Dr. Fenn (5/9) was my orthodontist, so that reminds me of the burden of having braces for a year and how terrible that whole experience was.

But for happier memories, well, it was the golden age of video games for me. While Nintendo was king, I also had a Sega Master System back then. On the same fateful beach day, I got Reggie Jackson Baseball for Sega, likely as a "reward" for the dreaded orthodontist appointment.

Reggie Jackson was my favorite player back then, with his birthday (5/18) being a red letter day in my world. He had been retired for a few years already, but was still among the best-known names of the game, with his celebrated role in Naked Gun helping keep him in the public eye even after his playing days were done. I remember his Baseball Heroes inserts in 1990 Upper Deck being a big deal in the hobby then, not even considering in the birth of the pack-inserted autograph card craze they ushered in that has eventually seen "hit" chasing grow so unwieldy that Target and Walmart won't even sell baseball cards anymore now for safety reasons. 

But back to Reggie's baseball video game, I barely remember it today. Out of the 3 baseball video games I remember playing most as a kid, I'd rank it in the middle with Roger Clemens' MVP Baseball being the worst and my favorite being Bases Loaded 2, which thanks to keeping this calendar, I know I beat for the first time back on 5/17/91. And it's a long game.. playing a full season of baseball games.. so it probably took me a few months. I'm pretty sure I led the Boston blue-guys all the way to a World Series victory.

I'm actually now in the middle of playing through Bases Loaded 2 again (via emulation on computer hooked up to the big living room tv), again picking the Boston blue-guys as my team for sentimental reasons. I know it probably wouldn't rank highly on any list of all-time best baseball video games, but it's what I grew up with and what I'm most familiar with. The game was originally released in Japan in 1988, but not in North America until early 1990, so it lined up with when I first got obsessed with baseball. Some quirks about the game include the crack of bat clearly sounding aluminum, and a few speech words (which was pretty cool at the time), with "Strike", "Ball", and "You're!" (which was apparently the closest they could come to "You're out!") That said, the game doesn't have great music and truth is I often play it muted and listen to music on the stereo instead.

When I was a kid, I'd rarely if ever save (write down the password) after a loss, though now as an adult, I'm playing through a season win-or-lose, though I probably win 8 or 9 times out of ten. (I'll admit there are occasional games where I turn it off midway through a losing effort because I'm not having any fun.) The last ballgame I played was a few days ago and man, it was a classic! The opposing team had a really tough pitcher and I was struggling. I had resigned myself for a loss and was just trying to hurry up the game to advance the schedule. But then I had a thrilling top of the 9th to comeback to a 1 run lead. And after a dicey bottom of the 9th where the bad guys had me on edge, I pulled off a couple defensive gems and sealed one of the most rewarding victories in my very long career of playing Bases Loaded 2!

Another fondly remembered Bases Loaded 2 victory is the one time as a kid I threw a no-hitter. It was a mercy-rule shortened game (if one team is 9+ runs ahead by the 6th inning, it's a called game, and I was having a good day at the plate)-- but still! The baseball league in my mind declared it an official no-hitter. It can be really tricky to play good defense in that game, so the accomplishment is as much about making plays in the field as it is for pitching, if not more. I was over the moon to have pulled off the no-no! I don't think I walked or hit anybody either, so it was probably a perfect game too, but I was just focused on the goose eggs on the scoreboard.

Anyways, I've played the game occasionally over the years, but I think my current campaign, begun July 2019, is only the second or maybe third time that I've played through a full season as opposed to just random exhibition games. I remember having lots of fun playing against my best friend Doug back in the day, too. I'll have to remember to challenge him to a game this summer for old time's sake now that he's living in my neck of the woods again. But I'll have to go easy on him since I'm in mid-season form and his skills are undoubtedly rusty at this point, though even as kids I recall being the victor in most of our faceoffs.

Other Nintendo happenings for me in May '91 were again beating Bionic Commando, Ducktales, and Adventures in the Magic Kingdom (a Disney game) in consecutive days to end the month. Funny enough, those games were all made by Capcom, a popular game designer company perhaps best known for the Mega Man and Street Fighter franchises. That Magic Kingdom game kinda sucked, but Ducktales and Bionic Commando are easily among the all-time best NES games if you ask me. In fact, I consider Bionic Commando my all-time favorite video game (or at least tied for the top spot with Maniac Mansion), and had planned to ramble about that game to fill up this post, but it seems I've already rambled enough about Reggie Jackson and Bases Loaded 2, so I'll have to save blathering on about Bionic Commando for another day.

Back with more Cher soon. Thanks for stopping by the blog!

Thursday, April 22, 2021

#37 Belinda Carlisle (+ A to Z Music Challenge bonus)

Belinda is back. You're looking at card #37 in the 1991 MusiCards set. Personally I like this photo a lot better than her previous card (#36) for reasons I can't quite put my finger on. (It's the boobs.)

Ah, we should all be so lucky as to spend a year honing our craft.

"Heaven is a Place on Earth" is a damn catchy tune, gotta admit. Things weren't all that heavenly for her at the time, though, as she struggled with substance abuse issues behind the scenes for many years. But she's cleaned up these days, thankfully. Her and her husband of 35 years currently live in Bangkok and have a son together.

We'll get into The Go-Go's when we get to card #47, but for today I'm going to cut it short here and move on to the next thing....

A to Z Music Challenge

Chris The Collector recently kicked off a blogging challenge asking for your favorite band for each letter of the alphabet. I'm putting a spin on it by listing the artist with the most tracks currently in my iTunes. (Yeah, it's kind of a cop-out since I don't need to make any tough judgement calls with my heart, rather just going by the numbers.)

I'm kinda curious to see if this will equate to who I'd consider my favorite. I've been transitioning more to streaming for most of my music listening in the past year or two, but back in the 2010s I spent a lot of time fine-tuning my iTunes library. Like with my card collection, there's always room for more organization, and thinning out stuff I don't really want, and adding new stuff that interests me-- but overall it gives a decent representation of what I like. Of course some great bands only put out a record or two before imploding, and some "just ok" bands stayed together for decades, so quantity doesn't necessarily equal quality. But it's just a writing prompt, so let's not overthink it too much.

A - ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead (82 tracks)

Technically their name starts with an ellipsis, but iTunes ignores that and lists them by "And" so here they are. I'm comfortable agreeing they're probably my favorite A band.

B - The Beatles (184 tracks)

Lots of great bands starting with B, but the Beatles run away with this one.

C - Camper Van Beethoven (100 tracks)

Camper Van Beethoven - "The Long Plastic Hallway"

This one surprised me. Sure, I like them, but I would not consider them in the running to be my favorite C band. Also showing up in this letter is Cracker, a Camper Van Beethoven offshoot, with 60 tracks.

D - David Bowie (144 tracks)

Bowie floats to an easy win here, though if you want to get technically perhaps he should be considered a "B" artists. But people in my music library are generally sorted by first name, so here he is. If it were just down to bands, the Decemberists (77) barely edge out 90s alt rockers Dig (73).

E - Electric Six (119 tracks)

This tongue-in-cheek rock band have consistently cranked out a new album literally every year since 2003, so it's no surprise they've got so many songs. ELO are a strong 2nd place (97 tracks).

F - Frank Black (134 tracks) + Frank Black & The Catholics (125 tracks)

Frank Black & The Catholics - "Western Star"

Love me some Frank Black. Counting his late 90s/early 00s output with the Catholics, he's likely #1 overall in my music collection (especially if you also count his other band the Pixies, and his solo stuff released under the name Black Francis). Also hitting the 3-digit threshold for F are the Flaming Lips.

G - Guided By Voices (74 tracks)

Guided By Voices' frontman Robert Pollard is notorious for cranking out songs like he's brushing his teeth. So even though I probably wouldn't put GBV in the running for my favorite G-artist, they've managed to narrowly beat out Guns N' Roses (72 tracks). 

H - The Helio Sequence (50 tracks)

Another surprising one for me. They are a Portland-based band, though I dug them before I moved here. I'd probably say my favorite H band is Hum, but they're not very prolific (35 tracks).

I - INXS (52 tracks)

Makes sense.

J - John Coltrane (153 tracks)

Coltrane pulling off the upset here! He's probably my favorite jazz artists. Another John with a big total is Frusciante (129). If those guys were instead sorted by last name, the top J band would be Jane's Addiction (103).

K - The Kinks (70 tracks)

Sounds about right.

L - The Lonely Island (66 tracks)

Andy Samberg's comedy group barely bested The Lemonheads (61 tracks).

M - Mercury Rev (129 tracks)

Mercury Rev - "Bronx Cheer"

Old favorites of mine. They've been around since the early 90s and are still releasing music, so they've got lots of songs.

N - Nirvana (138 tracks)

Oh man, if I could only pick one letter for a desert island situation, I might have to go with N. Lots of strong showings here. Nine Inch Nails, New Order, Neutral Milk Hotel, to name a few others.

O - Of Montreal (81 tracks)

Oingo Boingo comes in second with 59 songs.

P - Pavement (142 tracks)

Looks like N has some competition for top letter. I'm not going to do the math, but P might have the most songs total. Pixies and Pink Floyd also break 100 tracks each. Pearl Jam with 69.

Q - Queen (77 tracks)

Not much competition for Freddie Mercury & company. Quinton Sung, a guy who did a bunch of 8-bit Radiohead covers, is second with 21.

R - Rocket From The Crypt (164 tracks)

Rocket From The Crypt - "Tarzan"

Wow, pretty sure R just topped P and N for most overall. San Diego's own RFTC take the top spot here, with Red Hot Chili Peppers close behind at 156. Rancid, Radiohead, Ramones, and Rilo Kiley all also break the century mark, with R.E.M. and the Rolling Stones not far behind.

S - Smashing Pumpkins (243 tracks)

That's a lot of songs! Billy Corgan isn't shy about releasing outtakes and demos-- probably half their songs in my library are of the "non-album" variety-- and they've added up for me. I wouldn't say they're my all-time favorite band despite what the numbers may indicate, though Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness would rank high up on my list of favorite albums.

T - They Might Be Giants (108 tracks)

Another result that surprised me, but I suppose TMBG have been prolific since the 80s. Tom Petty (usually joined by the Heartbreakers) is second with 91.

U - U2 (59 tracks)

Bono and the boys are the obvious answer here. Urge Overkill gave them some competition with 40 songs.

V - Van Halen (51 tracks)

I have a lot of tracks under V because I sort some miscellaneous stuff under "Various Artists" (300+ songs), and I also have 74 "video game music" songs (mostly old NES favorites of mine), but I can't count those as one artist.

W - Weezer (136 tracks)

Weezer - "Let's Sew Our Pants Together" (unreleased demo)

"Weird Al" Yankovic narrowly beats out Wilco for second, both of whom I probably listen to more than Weezer these days, but I was a big Weezer fan in the 90s and early 00s.

X - XTC (59 tracks)

Not a lot of competition here, but the band named X aren't too far behind with 29.

Y - Yann Tiersen and Yo La Tengo (33 tracks each)

We have our first and only tie of this exercise. Of course, if you boot Yann to the Ts, that'd give the victory to Yo La Tengo (whose name is a baseball reference, I believe).

Z - The Zombies (24 tracks)

60s Brit rockers capture the last letter.

# - 10,000 Maniacs (19 tracks)

I also sort a lot of "one hit wonder" type stuff by decade. For example, I've got 300+ tracks listed under the artist "80s".

And now you've got a broad overview of my iTunes library. That was fun. Thanks for the idea, Chris.

Being a teenager in the 90s, it makes sense to see alternative rock from the likes of Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins rise to the top. Looks like Charles Thompson IV is the top songwriter in my collection, penning around 400 ditties in my library spanning his work as Frank Black and Black Francis / Pixies. Interesting.

Anyways, thanks for reading. Back with another MusiCard soon.

Friday, April 16, 2021

#36 Belinda Carlisle

Belinda Carlisle makes her first appearance on the blog with card #36 in the 1991 Pro Set MusiCards set. She has another card right after this one, then her band The Go-Go's have a card ten spaces after that, plus she's got a card in the UK edition.

The back photo is pretty similar to the front, but now the background is brighter and the hand under her chin is touching her cheek as opposed to "the thinker" from the front.

"Front-rank" is a term you don't hear too often.

Prior to reading this cardback, hadn't known about the George Harrison collaboration. That's cool. Looking it up, the quiet Beatle appears on 2 songs: slide guitar solo on "Leave a Light On" and 12-string guitar and 6-string bass on "Deep Deep Ocean".

(George's solo starts at the 3-minute mark)

"Leave a Light On" stands as Belinda's last track to reach the US Top 20 (#11), following earlier hit singles "Mad About You" (#3), "Heaven Is a Place on Earth" (#1), "I Get Weak" (#2), and "Circle in the Sand" (#7). While her glory days as a "front-rank solo performer" didn't really continue into the 90s, she's kept busy over the years, both solo and occasionally reconvening with her bandmates in the Go-Go's.

I haven't really dug deeply into Belinda's catalog, but as a sucker for cheesy 80s pop, I love those aforementioned hit singles. And like most straight males who grew up in the 80s, I've always had a bit of a crush on her, the baby-faced cutie.

I think I'll try to check out some more Belinda Carlisle tracks between now and the next post, hoping to discover a hidden gem or two I didn't know about. Any of you readers fans of hers? What are your favorites?

This Month in 1991

Time to jump back three decades to see what I was up to as a middle school kid in 1991.

Cute seal.

Looks like I played hooky to celebrate Opening Day '91.. probably watched any televised games I could find. Graduation seems a little early, noted there on the 18th. Oh yeah, I think this was the year I accidentally went to a weird private school. Then on the 21st, "card show" has been scribbled out, and looks like I went to a baseball game instead. I can't find a ticket stub and don't remember anything about it, but this was likely a Padres game at Jack Murphy Stadium, which looking it up, checks out as the last day of a homestand. Not a great outcome for San Diego, as according to the box score, Ramon Martinez tossed a shutout for the Dodgers. At least I got to see Tony Gwynn get a couple hits; and Darryl Strawberry went deep for LA.

Hold the phone. Belinda Carlisle dated Mike Marshall of the Dodgers in the early 80s. Ha! That ties the post together just fine.

Ok, I'll call it good here and be back with the other Belinda Carlisle card soon.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

#35 Bobby Brown

Bobby Brown is #35 in the 1991 MusiCards set, shown rocking a bowler hat, big bling cross necklace, and a crazy clock-themed jacket. His ..time.. may have been running out, but Bobby was still enjoying his moment as a top pop star of the day, parlaying his early days with New Edition into a highly successful solo career in the late 80s and early 90s.

Guess they ran out of room, but another notable career highlight they could have brought up was how his song "On Our Own" was a smash hit off the soundtrack to 1989's Ghostbusters II.

It's funny they say he "decided" to go solo, when the management of New Edition kicked him out of the group. But it worked out for him..

Bobby Brown - "On Our Own"

After this card came out, the wheels started to fall off. His 1992 album Bobby yielded the hit "Humpin' Around" but record sales were down. Bobby's big achievement that year was somehow convincing Whitney Houston to marry him.

But Bobby couldn't stay out of trouble and things got ugly. These days, he still does music once in a while, including occasional reunions with New Edition.

Hey, it's the second act in the set that I have an autograph of (Paula Abdul being the other). I went after the entire Cryptozoic Ghostbusters auto set a few years back, scoring this card along the way. Bobby had a cameo in Ghostbusters II playing the mayor's doorman.

He only has one card in the main MusiCards set, but he has a pair in the UK edition (as does Whitney Houston, who is conspicuously missing from the US version), plus New Edition has a card in the US set. So this isn't the last the blog has heard of Bobby Brown.

Personally, my favorite song of his is "Every Little Step".

Yeah, that was one of my favorite songs back in '89.

But now it's time to jump a couple years to 1991. Yep, THIS MONTH IN 1991 time.

This family of gorillas were up on my wall 30 years ago. Let's take a closer look at what I was up to...

Street Fighter 2010 (3/3) and Deja Vu (3/24) were Nintendo games I bought on Sunday afternoon trips to Target with my mom. Neither game left much of an impression on me.. only vaguely remembering them today.

I also don't remember anything about tree planting that I was apparently involved in for a couple days.

I think the jacket I'm referring to was a black White Sox windbreaker that I really liked. In 1991, the rebranded black Sox uniforms were king of schoolyard sportswear, so I felt pretty cool.

Looks like we spent spring break '91 staying with my aunt in Atlanta. My mom and I visited the MLK memorial and went to the big Coke bottling plant. That was cool. Other memories from that trip include getting busted trying to watch a scrambled adult channel (lol), and dubbing some of my aunt's CD collection onto blank tapes for myself.. I remember George Michael's Faith and some Queen hits among them.

Alrighty, I think that'll do it for today. Let me know in the comments if you've got any thoughts on Bobby Brown to share. Were you getting freaky to "My Prerogative" back when it was atop the charts? Next up starts a little run of pop princesses in the set.

Friday, February 26, 2021

#34 Michael Bolton

Our journey through the 1991 Pro Set MusiCards SuperStars set takes us next to #34 Michael Bolton. He's giving us his sultry stare as we admire that bold hair choice. Mid-age women really went bonkers for that look back then, I guess. Haha

I'll admit that there was a brief moment when I was a kid that I regarded his "How Can We Be Lovers (If We Can't Be Friends)" as a pretty cool song. But that was fleeting and he soon became a target for everyone to rag on.

But hey, the guy can sing and to his credit he laughed it off all the way to the bank. Only Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 was a bigger album in 1990 per Billboard.

It's funny that he started out as a hard rock singer before transitioning into the power crooning he's best known for.

"Maybe it's the Power of Love" is the most popular track from his early rock band Blackjack. 

Sure, let's whip up a custom for them. Checking out their stuff for the first time now while drafting this post... Yeah, these guys seem to have put out some solid late 70s/ early 80s pop rock. I can dig it. You could picture them opening for the likes of Boston and Aerosmith back then. But I guess they just never got their big break and Michael eventually focused on catering to the ladies with soulful ballads.

That seemed to work out well for him. "Bolton's achievements include selling more than 75 million records, recording eight top 10 albums and two number-one singles on the Billboard charts, as well as winning six American Music Awards and two Grammy Awards." (wikipedia)

He still cranks out an album every few years. Folks in my demographic probably remember him best these days thanks to the film Office Space (where an unhappy character is stuck with also being named Michael Bolton) and the Lonely Island, with whom he guested on a funny Pirates of the Caribbean song that was featured on Saturday Night Live. He also released an amusing special on Netflix in 2017 titled Michael Bolton's Big, Sexy Valentine's Day Special.

Cool that he doesn't take himself too seriously.

Today's his 68th birthday, so I'm rushing to get this post finished in time to publish today. You know, my little cap-tip to the guy. lol

He's also got a card in the UK edition of the MusiCards set, so assuming this blog keeps motoring along, we'll eventually revisit him again on here in a few years.

Can any of you muster up any feelings one way or the other to share about Michael Bolton? If so, go ahead and leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading. Mr. Robert Barisford Brown is next up.