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1985: The Demented Year in Review

What a year 1985 was! 1985 was a wonderful year in terms of novelty music and subjects.

  • "Dare To Be Stupid", by "Weird Al" Yankovic, the title track of his third album. He got on a Stupid bus with his Stupid band and went out on his Stupid tour, and Dr. Demento was proud to be a part of the Stupid tour. This album was nothing but hits! "Like a Surgeon", "One More Minute", "George of the Jungle", and "Yoda"

    This LP was available in Canada for about 2 seconds, but it was never released in the USA, but Dr. Demento still gets calls for this cut every week. The album of comedy sketches was put out by a Canadian troupe The Frantics with the album "Frantic Times" featuring the hits "Heaven is for Presbyterians", "Last Will and Temprament", and many more including this one...

  • "Outgrossing", by The Frantics

    Billy Crystal did an album in 1985 which also featured the song "You Look Mahvelous" as the Fernando character from Saturday Night Live. It's still the only solo album he's ever done, which has several stand-up bits including this with his fellow SNL member ... GUESTing...

  • "I Hate When That Happens", by Billy Crystal (special guest Christopher Guest)

    The major event in 1985 was the star-studded benefit record "We Are The World" sung by every body like Michael Jackson, Lionel Ritchie, Cyndi Lauper, and about half the human race as they sang the song to raise money for the Ethipoian poor. Worms are part of the world too, and since Michael Jackson forgot to write a verse for them, this morning show duo did just that...

  • "We Are The Worms", by (Ken) Johnson & Tofte

    Let's have one more from the Frantics, also from their rare Canadian album stated above...

  • "You Were Speeding", by The Frantics

    The Frantics went on to make another album two years later featuring another famous cut "Ti Kwan Leep/Boot To The Head" and they also did a short live TV series before breaking up. All went on separately to other success in Canadian radio and television, but The Frantics may have been the best comedy sketch group since Monty Python

    This is a sequel to his famous 1980 hit "Existential Blues"

  • "Existential Blues Pt. Too?", by Tom "T-Bone" Stankus with some weird dude rapping (Dr. Demento) in the middle of the song

    and in the background we hear Jan Hammer and the theme of "Miami Vice", starring Don Johnson, who made fashion waves in 1985 with his short beard stubble, pastel colors, belt-less trousers, and sock-less loafers, and paired off with Philip Michael-Thomas, they fought crime in Miami. More on Don in a bit.

    The great success of "Weird Al" inspired more comedians to do parodies of their own. This next one was one of the most requested songs of 1985. It's based on a song by George Michael. This duo as far as we know were a morning radio duo in Western Iowa.

  • "Hairless Sister", by Grant & Elliott

    In 1985, Cheech Marin and Thomas Chong sang this song, which was made into a movie in 1987 "Born in East L.A." Their album "Get Out of My Room" turned out to be their last album together and they both went on separate ways, then Beck would pick up on the "Odele" years later, the Odele Spanish word means basically Horray, and he made it the title of one of his albums.

  • "Born In East L.A.", by Cheech & Chong, a parody of Bruce Springsteen's hit "Born in the USA"

    Moving ahead in time, Cheech Marin paired up with Don Johnson in the CBS series "Nash Bridges" in 1995, and in 1997, Thomas Chong and Phillip Michael Thomas made a guest appearrance, reuniting the two duos in an episode, soon after the Marijuana law allowed legal use of Marijuana when prescribed as medicine, or so it seemed.

    Here's one more from the "Dare to Be Stupid" album...

  • "I Want a New Duck", by "Weird Al" Yankovic, this time, a parody of Huey Lewis's hit "I Want a New Drug", which is kind of a distant segueueing from the comedy duo above...

    and in the background we hear "Raindance" by Paul Hardcastle, another instrumental hit that year on the pop charts.

    Events in 1985

    01/02, "Weird Al" Yankovic recorded the first songs for his "Dare To Be Stupid" LP "Cable TV", "Slime Creatures From Outer Space", and "One More Minute".

    01/03, "Weird Al" Yankovic records "George Of The Jungle" and the title track "Dare To Be Stupid" for his LP.

    01/12, R.C., "Bruce" by Rick Springfield peaked at #27 on the pop singles chart. It was about being mistaken for Bruce Springsteen.

    01/17, Leonard Nimoy, who roamed among the stars in the "Star Trek" TV series and movies, got his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Live long and prosper, Mr. Spock.

    01/19, R.C., "Born In The U.S.A." by Bruce Springsteen peaked at #9 on the pop singles chart. Cheech would remake it into a parody: "Born in East L.A." later that year.

    01/28, a host of top U.S. pop and rock stars assembled in a Los Angeles studio to record the hit song "We Are The World" was recorded following the American Music Awards. The song was the collaboration of Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, and Quincy Jones, and featured some of the biggest names in music that day including Harry Belafonte, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Tina Turner, Kenny Rogers and many others. The record raised millions for starving people in Ethiopia. A parody of the song, "We Are The Worms", was banned from airplay on the "Dr. Demento Show" for several years despite that parody's huge popularity and wasn't heard from again until a court case was ruled favoring parodies as not infringing on the original work of art. Sorry, big music folks, you need to lighten up.

    02/16, R.C., "Neutron Dance" by Pointer Sisters peaked at #6 on the pop singles chart. The Del Rubio Triplets covered that song in their own fine way.

    02/20, Clarence Nash, the voice of Donald Duck for over 50 years, dies of leukemia.

    02/20, "Weird Al" Yankovic records his unreleased 1981 song "Yoda" for the "Dare To Be Stupid" LP.

    02/21, "Weird Al" Yankovic records the Madonna parody "Like A Surgeon" for Dare To Be Stupid LP.

    02/23, The Smiths topped the UK album chart with "Meat is Murder." Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" had held that position. In 1996, the Arrogant Worms sort of answer that with their take on this issue "Carrot Juice Is Murder."

    02/27, "Weird Al" Yankovic records the Huey Lewis parody I Want A New Duck" for Dare To Be Stupid LP.

    03/21, "Weird Al" Yankovic recorded "Girls Just Want To Have Lunch" for Dare To Be Stupid LP.

    03/22, Clara Peller, the lady who said, "Where's the Beef?" in those Wendy's hamburger ads, said this day, "Where's My Final Paycheck?" She ended her relationship with Dave Thomas and company when she found the beef for a spaghetti sauce company.

    03/23, "One Night In Bangkok" by Murray Head entered the Top 40 chart.

    03/25, "Weird Al" Yankovic records "Hooked On Polkas" for Dare To Be Stupid LP.

    04/13, R.C., "We Are The World" by USA For Africa peaked at #1 on the pop singles chart. It was parodied into "We Are The Worms".

    04/16, "Comedian" album by Eddie Murphy was certified Platinum by the RIAA

    04/20, R.C., "We Are The World" by USA For Africa peaked at #1 on the U.K. pop singles chart.

    04/23, the Coca-Cola Co. announced it was changing the 99-year-old secret flavor formula for Coke, the world's best-selling soft drink. New Coke was called "the most significant soft drink development" in the company's history. Fans of the original Coke were instrumental in bringing Classic Coke back. The way they did it was, actually, quite ingenious. They didn't BUY the new Coke and it turned out to be one of the biggest corporate flops ever. Many said it tasted too much like Pepsi, so they bought Pepsi instead. Adverse public reaction forced the company to resume selling the original version.

    04/27, R.C., "Basketball" by Kurtis Blow peaked at #71 on the pop singles chart.

    05/18, R.C., "One Night In Bangkok" by Murray Head peaked at #3 on the pop singles chart.

    05/28, Gay Mullins, a retiree from Seattle, WA, was mad as hell and not going to take it anymore! Mullins founded The Old Cola Drinkers of America in an effort to bring back the original Coca-Cola, instead of the New Coke that the Atlanta-based company had foisted on the American cola-drinking market. By July of 1985, with arms firmly twisted behind their backs, Coca-Cola Company executives relented and returned the old formula to colaholics and with a new name: Classic Coke.

    06/00, "Like a Surgeon" is released off Weird Al Yankovic's third LP "Dare to Be Stupid". It was a parody of Madonna's hit "Like a Virgin"

    06/01, "Goonies 'R' Good Enough" by Cyndi Lauper entered the Top 40 chart.

    06/01, R.C., "Just A Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody" by David Lee Roth peaked at #12 on the pop singles chart.

    06/01, "Weird Al" Yankovic released his "Dare To Be Stupid" LP featuring the hit title track plus the hits "Like A Surgeon", "I Want A New Duck", "One More Minute", "George Of The Jungle", and the remake "Yoda"

    06/04, Martin Mull seeks to answer some of the mysteries surrounding the ethnic struggles of a much misunderstood part of the landscape in "The History of White People In America, Part 1" on Cinemax. The special and its sequel will both go on to win CableACE Awards.

    06/10, Coca Cola announces they'd bring back their 99-year-old formula.

    06/14, "Michael Nesmith In Television Parts" (TV Variety) first went on the air on NBC.

    06/22, R.C., "Smuggler's Blues" by Glenn Frey peaked at #12 on the pop singles chart.

    07/01, "Alive From Off Center", TV Anthology, avant garde summer fare, debut on PBS.

    07/01, "Nick At Nite" Cable TV Network debut.

    07/06, R.C., "Sussudio" by Phil Collins peak-peak-pe-pe-peaked at #1 on the pop singles chart. David Letterman kept wondering what the word meant, so he invited Phil over to his Late Night show on NBC and asked him "What the heck is the deal?" Phil replies that it was a word he just made up. Imagine selling millions of copies of a song whose title was simply a made-up word!

    07/10, after three and a half months of a less then enthusiastic reception for the "new" Coke and pressured by its customers, Coca-Cola Co. resumed selling old formula Coke, but announced they would continue to sell "New" Coke and call the original "Classic" Coke. You see the new coke used to be the old coke with the old formula, which is now the new formula for the new coke, then called coke. The classic coke used to not exist with the old coke's formula before the formula that was in new coke when it was still the formula for the coke before it became new. Do you understand all this? Neither do I. Let's have a Pepsi and think this over. Can you even find Coke II on store shelves these days?

    07/13, R.C., "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough" by Cyndi Lauper peaked at #10 on the pop singles chart.

    07/13, R.C., "Like A Surgeon" by "Weird Al" Yankovic peaked at #47 on the pop singles chart; it was a parody of Madonna's "Like A Virgin"

    07/19, "Weird Al" Yankovic gave a live performance at Humphrey's in San Diego, California, David Tanny's hometown.

    07/23, Late Night goes Stereo! In a solemn ceremony where NBC President "Grant Tinker" advertises his General Electric stereo TV, a crew member flips a switch to bring the show to stereo, and the television picture suddenly turns to black and white.

    08/09, "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" starring Paul Reubens opened in theaters in the U.S.A. It was also co-written by fellow Groundlings Paul Reubens and Phil Hartman, with a cameo from Hartman's future "Saturday Night Live" castmate Jan Hooks.

    08/10, "Money For Nothing", by Dire Straits entered the Top 40 chart.

    08/10, R.C., "Weird Al" Yankovic's album Dare To Be Stupid peaked at #50 on the Billboard album chart

    08/24, R.C., "You Look Marverlos" by Billy Crystal peaked at #58 on the pop singles chart.

    09/00, "New Leave It To Beaver", TV Comedy, aka Still the Beaver; debut on Disney Channel, moved to TBS in 1986.

    09/03, "I Have Returned" album by Ray Stevens was released

    09/07, R.C., "Smokin' In The Boys Room" by Motley Crue peaked at #16 on the pop singles chart.

    09/18, "George Burns Comedy Week", TV Comedy Anthology; debut on CBS. George Burns became the world's oldest person to ever be a regular on any TV show in history.

    09/19, Frank Zappa appeared before a Senate panel to protest a proposal to rate the lyrics of rock music based on sexual and violent content.

    09/20, D.T. met comedians Cheech and Chong courtesy of a San Diego radio station promotion in a shopping center parking lot. About 200 fans showed up. Cheech was riding high in the charts at that time with "Born in East L.A."

    09/21, R.C., "Money For Nothing" by Dire Straits peaked at #1 on the pop singles chart; "Weird Al" parodied it into "Money For Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies*".

    09/26, "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe" by Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner's opens to rave reviews on Broadway.

    10/00, "Weird Al" Yankovic published The Authorized Al, a parody style autobiography.

    10/06, "An Evening At The Improv" TV Stand Up Comedy debut on A&E.

    10/12, R.C., "Weird Science" by Oingo Boingo peaked at #45 on the pop singles chart.

    10/12, R.C., "Born in East L.A." by Cheech & Chong peaked at #48 on the pop singles chart.

    11/00, Frank Zappa's album [41b] FZ MEETS THE MOTHERS OF PREVENTION (European version) was released.

    11/03, D.T.'s Birthday Datebook runs for the first time on the Atari 800XL computer system.

    11/09, Dennis Miller begins a five-season stint as host of "Saturday Night Live's" "Weekend Update."

    11/17, Howard Stern begins broadcasting on 92.3 WXRK FM NY.

    11/17, The 15th Anniversary Show of the Dr. Demento Show aired on radio. Among the highlights were interview clips from stars such as Frank Zappa, Doodles Weaver, Larry Groce, and Mel Blanc, a countdown of the all-time funny five novelty hits (5:Ballad of Irving, 4:Pencil Neck Geek, 3:Fish Heads, 2:They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!, and 1:Dead Puppies), and the #1 artist of all time (Weird Al).

    11/17, the EPA named 403 chemicals potential public dangers in plant accidents. Does Tom Lehrer wish to do a followup to his "Elements" song with this event?

    11/18, Calvin and Hobbes comic strip by Bill Watterson debut in newspapers.

    11/21, Frank Zappa's album [41a] FZ MEETS THE MOTHERS OF PREVENTION was released.

    12/11, the most expensive non-oil acquisition in U.S. history took place when the General Electric Company agreed to buy RCA Corporation for $6.3 billion in a deal that also included NBC radio and television. The conglomerate would bring in about $39 billion in revenues. David Letterman is *not pleased* by the new owners of his network (G.E. Sucks).

    12/11, members of the Chicago Bears football team, dubbed the "Shufflin' Crew," declared their intention to appear in, and win, the Super Bowl and released their rap single, "Superbowl Shuffle." The Bears did go on to Super Bowl victory, defeating the New England Patriots, 46-10.

    12/19, the first broadcast of the famous commercial where the elderly woman told a dispatcher, "I've fallen, and I can't get up" aired on television. It was no laughing matter, but for some reason, it took on a life of its own.

    12/21, a Special Honor For Bugs Bunny He's awarded a star along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in front of 7007 Hollywood Blvd.

    12/23, "How Could It Be" album by Eddie Murphy was certified Gold by the RIAA

    12/23, "Party All The Time" single by Eddie Murphy was certified Gold by the RIAA

    12/31, Over 54,500 people played kazoos in downtown Rochester, New York, on this day. The assembled multitude played, "A Bicycle Built for Two". Any idea why? Well, they felt it was appropriate for the last day of the year - and it got the crowd listed in the Guiness Book of World Records for 'The Most Kazoo-ers'. Now, there's an honor to put on the job resume...

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