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Tom Petty, The Clash, Dire Straits, Pat Benatar Featured On “The Best of Fridays”

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The Best of FridaysWhen ABC-TV’s Fridays premiered on April 11, 1980, its agenda was not a hidden one: to grab a piece of the lucrative late-night comedy pie from NBC’s Saturday Night Live.  Less than a year later, on March 10, 1981, The New York Times was trumpeting in a headline, “How ‘Fridays’ Beat ‘Saturday Night.’”  Of course, Fridays’ domination didn’t last, and the program was off the air after just three seasons.  The series has mainly lived on due to the infamous incident in which Andy Kaufman and Michael Richards got into a mock brawl on the air…that soon turned into a real brawl with other cast and crew members unaware of Kaufman’s planned hijinks.  Shout! Factory hasn’t forgotten Fridays, however, and has just released sixteen full episodes of the series as The Best of Fridays, a new 5-DVD set.  It should be of special interest to readers of The Second Disc for its eclectic musical performances.  The new collection includes appearances by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Kenny Loggins, The Cars, KISS, and many other famed classic-rock artists.

Of Fridays’ core cast of comedians, two names stand out: Michael Richards and Larry David.  The future Kramer and co-creator of Seinfeld both made a splash as part of the Fridays ensemble.  Richards and Davis were joined by Melanie Chartoff (Rugrats), Mark Blankfield (Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Dracula: Dead and Loving It), Maryedith Burrell (Parenthood), Bruce Mahler (Police Academy, Seinfeld), Darrow Igus, Brandis Kemp and John Roarke.  Though musical guests were a part of the show since the very first episode, with Kenny Loggins, guest stars weren’t a part of the series until its second season.  The Best of Fridays includes appearances by the aforementioned Kaufman as well as Valerie Harper, Billy Crystal, William Shatner, Karen Allen, Valerie Bertinelli, Shelley Duvall, Peter Fonda, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tab Hunter and Anthony Geary.

Each musical guest usually contributed a couple of songs per episode.  On the new DVD set, you’ll find highlights from Loggins (“Keep the Fire”), Petty and the Heartbreakers (“American Girl”), The Clash (“London Calling”) Graham Parker and the Rumour (“Empty Lives”), The Cars (“Shake It Up”), Dire Straits (“Romeo and Juliet”), Devo (“Whip It”), Pat Benatar (“Hit Me with Your Best Shot”), former Eagle Randy Meisner (“Hearts on Fire”), Kim Carnes (“Miss You Tonight”), Stray Cats (“Rock This Town”) and KISS (“A World Without Heroes”). The Stray Cats and The Clash both made their American television debuts on Fridays.  AC/DC, The Beach Boys, Jimmy Buffett, Bonnie Raitt, Def Leppard, Heart, Ian Hunter, Jefferson Starship, Warren Zevon, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney all made appearances on Fridays before the show’s demise in 1982.

Besides the off-the-wall (and frequently topical) sketch comedy performed by the main ensemble, Fridays also premiered a number of films directed by the once and future Monkee Mike Nesmith.  His “Police Gynecologist” and “Bite the Bullet” can be found on The Best of Fridays.

After the jump, we have more details – including a list of episodes and guests – plus an order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 12, 2013 at 12:50

Details on the Graham Parker Box

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To clarify from a post from earlier today, we present some info on Offical Bootleg: The Bootleg Box, the new box set from Graham Parker.

It’s six discs of bootleg shows from the British singer’s career, all previously released for download by Parker himself. Most of the shows are solo, save for the first disc, an ill-quality but widely traded show with The Rumour in 1975. It looks to be a nice treat for fans of Parker and his music, and the set is actually quite a steal, particularly for an import (Amazon lists it for $37.85).

The track list is after the jump. (Thanks to Parker’s official forum for the tip.) Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

November 30, 2010 at 14:01