The Internet has changed everything. Once upon a time a musician whose career had cooled went on to own a car dealership, work in land development, or studied economics to figure out where all the money went, but these days you can rest assured that they're still out there touring somewhere and have a website with stuff to sell and concert dates to announce. It's almost like being immortal.
In my never ending quest (and I do mean, dear reader, never ending) to provide you with the enlightenment you need to survive yet another day and realize your true potential, I offer you an update on these five fine performers who once ruled the music charts of the 1980s and have since been sent into exile, banished from the very mainstream they once so dominated.
Is it a conspiracy? Heck, everything's a conspiracy. It just depends which side of the conspiracy you're on. When you're on the side that's getting paid, you call it good fortune and a fair assessment of your talents. Otherwise, it's their fault.
So, let's check in with a few folks.
Kim Carnes-- "Bette Davis' Eyes": "Bette Davis' Eyes" spent nine weeks at number on the U.S. singles chart in 1981 and earned both "Record of the Year" and "Song of the Year" at the 1982 Grammys.
The song, written in 1974 by Jackie DeShannon and Donna Weiss, was initially declined. Despite having a voice that Rod Stewart might consider suing, Carnes never achieved the same level of popular success.
However, she has done well on the country charts with her own songs, including a number one duet with Kenny Rogers, "Don't Fall In Love With A Dreamer," as well as authoring "The Heart Won't Lie" for Reba McEntire and Vince Gill and "Make No Mistake, She's Mine" for Kenny Rogers and Ronnie Milsap.
She continues to co-write in Nashville and can be heard singing backup vocals on Tim McGraw's A Place in the Sun album, to which she also wrote the song "You Don't Love Me Anymore." She can be found--where else but--at http://www.kimcarnes.com/.
Rick Astley-- "Never Gonna Give You Up": Richard Paul Astley has sold more than 40 million copies of his music worldwide and is best known for his 1987 hit "Never Gonna Give You Up," an inspirational anthem for Dennis Reynolds on It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia.
If the website is to be believed, Astley will be performing at this year's 82nd Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which coincidentally will happen on Thanksgiving, November 27, 2008. This is provided he survives performing in Denmark earlier in the month.
But Rick's greatest claim to recent fame has been "Rickrolling," where in 2007 Internet viewed was tricked into watching Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" video when clicking on the names of other videos.
YouTube got in the game on April 1, 2008 and made every single video featured on its front page a Rickroll. Now that's a scam! And here's the website: http://www.rickastley.co.uk/.
Debbie Gibson --"Foolish Beat": Well, she's now Deborah Gibson and while she virtually defined the clean-living teen star of the 1980s, she was sure to throw that away too with a nude pictorial in the March 2005 issue of Playboy--that also had a lot of great articles--to help promote her single "Naked" (get it?).
The song peaked at #35 on the Billboard Charts and she has since appeared on something called Skating With Celebrities (if this turns out to be wrong, I for once didn't make it up, someone else did).
She's the founder of Camp Electric Youth, a children's camp where kids learn how to--uh?--be more like Debbie Gibson?
And she has appeared on that hot girls with suitcase show Deal Or No Deal.
She continues to play casinos and Gay Pride Parades and is apparently not married, which of course means she's available! I'm sending in my resume! (Someone help me with my photos. Can I look any worse? Don't answer that.)
Amazingly, she can't be found at deborahgibson.com or debbiegibson.com but there is a myspace page that claims to be official and the official site link leads to something "under construction." www.myspace.com/officialdeborahgibson
Tiffany--"I Think We're Alone Now": Another great shopping mall rocker from the 1980s, Tiffany hasn't given up and gone into home décor, but continues to record music that people in this day and age of the free download still apparently buy.
In 2007 she appeared on Celebrity Fit Club and even made a cameo on How I Met Your Mother, a television show this blog has not actually seen but has now read about quite often.
She re-recorded her Tommy James and the Shondells hit "I Think We're Alone Now" and has had success with dance singles such as "Higher" and "Just Another Day." http://www.myspace.com/tiffanymusic.
Belinda Carlisle --The Go-Go's and solo "Heaven is A Place On Earth": A founding member and singer of the Go-Go's ("We Got the Beat," "Our Lips Are Sealed") and then a successful solo artist ("Heaven Is A Place On Earth"), Belinda Carlisle turned 50 this year!
Which doesn't seem possible to those of us who believe in eternal youth. She was a judge on the MTV Reality Show (there's an oxymoron!) Rock the Cradle and even appeared on Celebrity Duets.
She continues to tour with other acts from the 1980s to prove that they are still alive and able to sing. For some reason, she recorded her latest album in FRENCH!!
As someone who was born in Hollywood with a name destined for celebrity, Ms. Carlisle was not about to take up professional dog grooming or house sitting as a new career.
Her agent is better than that! She can be found on the Internet here: http://www.belindacarlisle.tv/.