Wild retro songs you’ve never heard to help you get through lockdown

It’s time to get funky.

With millions of Americans quarantined in their homes during the coronavirus pandemic, there’s no better time to explore some off-the-beaten-path music. YouTube and Spotify are treasure troves for music seemingly forgotten to time.

Here are five fun, quirky and wonderfully strange tracks to explore during the lockdown.

“I Wanna Be Your Lover” – La Bionda (1980)

This delightfully bizarre track is about two astronauts encountering an alien — and it’s a love song. La Bionda’s techno-pop bliss — laced with one hell of a killer hook — is everything we need right now.

The surreal animated music video certainly adds to the experience of “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” which showcases some trippy art and a laser gun battle between our heroes and a lion space-demon.

The duo behind the track, brothers Carmelo and Michelangelo La Bionda, are considered touchstones of the Italo disco genre.

They’ve released eight albums, most recently 2013’s “Come Back to My Life.”

“Color My Love” – Fun Fun (1984)

It’s clear that America wasn’t the only country having a blast with pop music in the ’80s. Italy’s second romp featured on this list is Fun Fun’s “Color My Love.”

The music video shows the members of the group trouncing around in a bouncy house wearing white jumpsuits and throwing beach balls. What’s not to love? Good luck getting this European earworm out of your head.

“Color My Love” was a minor hit in the States, reaching No. 9 on the US Dance charts.

Today, why not make this your song of the summer?

“Hitotsudake” – Akiko Yano (1980)

Though the lyrics are in Japanese, the synths and melodies in Akiko Yano’s 1980 track are universal.

Yano — a jazz-influenced pianist frequently compared with British art-rocker Kate Bush — delivers the goods on “Hitotsudake,” a gentle ballad with a tempo that builds over the course of the track.

Yano’s career spans over four decades and covers a plethora of genres including disco, folk, jazz, rock and pop.

Her band, the Akiko Yano Trio, performs periodically in New York City.

“At Dawn” – Alyans (1987)

Time to get moody — Soviet style. The kicking bassline in “At Dawn” keeps things interesting, along with the lead singer’s vocal style, reminiscent of the Cure’s Robert Smith.

Props to the keyboardist’s fabulous sense of style. No one else can rock a pastel Hawaiian shirt and futuristic glasses like that man.

According to the music blog the Spinoff, Russian rock music slowly began to trickle into the culture in the early 1980s as the Soviet Union began easing restrictions during the Cold War. Still, the music and lyrics had to be approved by the government before its release.

“This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us” – Sparks (1974)

Hailing from Los Angeles, Sparks lives up to their name. This track — which sounds something like Queen going through a spooky new wave phase — is both a rocking and unsettling time, led by singer Russell Mael’s unconventional, staccato delivery.

Though the entire song is a bizarre, theatrical treat, it peaks at its soaring guitar solo.

“This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us” is a strange trip through and through in the best way possible. The audience shown in the video looks understandably perplexed by the song, adding to the track’s mystique.

Sparks still perform today and continues to forge a creative path in rock music. Their most recent album came in May, titled “A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip.”

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Dennis Rodman recalls wild night with Kim Jong-un and ‘hotties’

Dennis Rodman has opened up about his unlikely friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and how they hung out with ‘hotties’ during their first night out together. 

The former Chicago Bulls player has acted as an ambassador between North Korea and the United States since striking up a controversial friendship with the dictator in 2013. 

Now Dennis, 48, has recalled his first visit to North Korea in a new interview on Mike Tyson’s Hot Boxin’ podcast. 

‘I’m thinking I’m going to do an autograph show or play basketball. I ain’t know anything about North Korea, stupid as f**k right?’ Dennis explained. 

The retired NBA player continued: ‘When I first met him [Jong-un], I was with the Harlem Globetrotters and I wasn’t playing so some of the dignitaries asked me to come with them. 

‘I think I’m going to jail, right. I said: “What the f**k did I do in America?” I walked up to the stands and sit in front of a desk. These high king chairs, like 20 of them. 

‘Next thing I know, 22,000 North Koreans all stand up and start clapping and cheering. I thought it was for me so I wave and they say, “No, it’s for him [Kim Jong Un]”.’ 

Jong-un actually first asked Dennis’ former Chicago Bulls teammate Michael Jordan to fly out but the legendary basketball star refused. 

Dennis went on: ‘We sat there talking about basketball the whole time. The game’s over and we go into a room then he says, “We’d love you to come back, we enjoy your company. Let’s have dinner tonight, a little karaoke and have some vodka, some hotties and stuff like that”.’ 

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It really was as wild and bizarre as it sounds as Dennis revealed: ‘Next thing I know, we are having dinner and we are drunk as s**t, he starts singing karaoke and I have no clue what the f**k he’s talking about. 

‘Everyone starts clapping and then he has this 18-piece women’s band come out and these girls are hot but they just played one song. Just one f*****g song. It was the theme from Dallas. He said that’s all we know.’ 

Dennis also stated that while he’s ‘good friends’ with Jong-un, he ‘doesn’t get involved’ with politics. 

However he did add: ‘I’ve seen everything.’ 

Dennis and his colourful life has been cast under the spotlight again due to Netflix’s new docu-series The Last Dance, which follows the Chicago Bulls and their mission to score a three-peat with star players Jordan, Rodman and Scottie Pippen. 

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Mums go wild for Stacey Solomon’s Dagenham Market boutique she bought Rex’s bunny onesie in – and they sell online too

SHE might be an A-List celebrity who boasts over three MILLION Instagram followers – but that doesn't mean Stacey Solomon doesn't love a bargain like the rest of us.

Earlier this week, the star took baby Rex to Dagenham Market where she bought him a sweet bunny onesie for just £13.

Posting a photo of the sweet onesie and matching blue jacket on her Instagram stories afterwards, Stacey wrote: "Lots of you asking what I bought at the market so I thought I'd quickly show you.

"Got these bunny onesies for Rex for Easter and these furry jackets that I've seen everywhere but so expensive and these ones were only £13."

She later revealed that she'd bought the two sweet items from Blousy Bear Boutique which is run by a local mum-of-two.

Although the small childrenswear brand doesn't have a website (yet!), you can order the affordable outfits through the shop's Instagram page.


After Stacey raved about the brand on her Instagram, the shop's online following has (unsurprisingly) shot through the roof.

As well as sweet Easter-themed onesies, the brand also has a selection of fur gilets, hoodies and knitwear.

What's more, Rex's bunny onesie is also available in white, pink and grey and starts at 0-3 months.

And rather than traipsing all the way to the Dagenham market, shoppers can order the designs through PayPal.

🄴🄰🅂🅃🄴🅁 🄱🅄🄽🄽🅈 🅁🄴🄰🄳🅈 . These adorable all in ones are perfect for Easter 🐣 . £15 plus p&p . 0-3m upto 2yrs . Dm to order #secures payments through PayPal or bank transfer . . . . . . . . . . . . . #easterbunny #babyclothes #cutekidsclub #babyonesie #romper #kidsfashion #easteroutfit #bunnyears #rabbitsofinstagram #cutekids #comfortable #minifashion #babieswithstyle #kidzootd #toddlerclothes @staceysolomon

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Another colour in our detachable fur hood cardis. ———————- £20 plus p&p ———————- 6m upto 2ys ———————- Dm to order Paypal or bank transfer avail. . . . . . . . . . . . . . #knitted #boystyle #babyootd #babyboy #babyboss #babygifts #winterstyle #autumnvibes🍁 #fauxfur #babyclothes #babystyle #stylishkids #winterfashion #autumwinter #babyfashion #toddlerootd #toddlerfashion #kidswithstyle #babyshowerideas #babygiftsideas

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Better still, tracked postage costs just £3.95 and the small business promises to ship all over the world.

Although the Easter rabbit onesies are currently out of stock, the shop owner reassured followers that more are coming next week and the designs are available to pre-order.

But Stacey doesn't just like to save her pennies on Rex's wardrobe.

Earlier this week, the mum-of-three revealed she picked up the stunning green jumpsuit she wore to the Dancing On Ice final for £ 0 in the same market. *books trip to Dagenham immediately*

In more celebrity news, Meghan Markle wore a £330 navy dress by an Aussie designer for a behind-the-scenes meeting before the Commonwealth service.

And Mrs Hinch revealed the two Primark products she swears by for her lips.

Plus Mrs Hinch gets her jewellery looking sparkling new using a £1 Stardrops spray.

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‘Wild Wild West’ director says he helped save Will Smith over $200K

Director Barry Sonnenfeld’s upcoming memoir pulls a punch. Literally.

According to “Barry Sonnenfeld, Call Your Mother,” the 66-year-old director shared a unique tradition with actor Will Smith — one that inadvertently saved the “Men in Black” actor close to a quarter of a million dollars.

Sonnefeld told Page Six that he and the “Ali” star enjoyed a ritual of trading punches to pass the time while on the set of “Wild Wild West” — the 1999 feature directed by Sonnenfeld and starring Smith.

“I would hit him as hard as I could in his shoulder and he would laugh hysterically,” Sonnenfeld explained, “And he would hit me as hard as he could in my shoulder and I would collapse in pain.”

Apparently, after one episode of playful punching, Sonnefeld required surgery for a broken hand. But when pressed by a doctor as to the cause of the injury, Sonnenfeld replied that the injuring party was a door he walked into. Altruism aside, Sonnenfeld knew that if he revealed the real cause of the injury — Smith’s punches — the film’s insurance wouldn’t cover the cost associated with missing a day of filming.

As fate would have it, Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, also went into labor at the same time. However, attending to his wife’s delivery would require Smith’s absence from set — an absence not covered by the film’s insurance. Cue Sonnefeld’s “injury.”

“It worked out great for Will because he would have had to shut down production anyway,” Sonnefeld notes, “and that was not insurable so he would have had to spend like $200,000 for the day.”  “So, since I ‘walked into a door,’” the director points out, “we had to shut down…it was an insurance claim.”

But, surprisingly, that wasn’t the only injury Sonnefeld sustained at the hands of Smith. The “Independence Day” actor tackled the director on the set of “Men in Black” and broke Sonnefeld’s rotator cuff.

“My wife Sweetie took a photo of me in the recovery room with tubes and I’m out of it and sent it to Will,” recalled Sonnenfeld. “His response was – ‘Hilarious!’”

Sonnefeld’s memoir also recounts many of the director’s more ribald encounters during his early years in Hollywood, including his time as a cameraman for porno films.

Unsparing in its candor, Sonnefeld recalls shooting one particularly purple scene that left him covered in excrement, causing him to immediately vomit and run out into the street. “I did nine days [of shooting porno] and it took me six months after to get an erection,” he quipped. “It’s truly horrible. I always say if porn was made in ‘smell-o-vision’ no one would ever watch a porno again.”

“Barry Sonnenfeld, Call Your Mother” hits bookstands on Tuesday, March 10.

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Ready Steady Cook fans go wild as it features first blind contestant

Ready Steady Cook viewers are wowed by show’s first ever blind contestant – with fans going wild over his ‘adorable’ guide dog and ‘nifty’ cooking gadgets

  • Fans praised reboot of Ready Steady Cook for featuring first blind contestant 
  • Alex Pepper, 29, from London, who lost his sight four years ago, wowed viewers
  • Daytime show is hosted by Supermarket Sweep presenter Rylan Clark-Neal, 31 
  • Show has returned to screens after ten years, having first made its debut in 1994

Ready Steady Cook viewers were left amazed after watching the show’s first blind contestant show off his impressive cooking skills today.

Alex Pepper, 29, from London, who lost his sight four years ago, demonstrated the gadgets and techniques he uses to help him move around the kitchen on this afternoon’s BBC One programme.

He had sticker bumps to show where the hob was, a beeper to measure the level when pouring hot water, and special oven gloves.

Fans were fascinated with the helpful items and also loved Alex’s guide dog River, who was in the studio audience.

Ready Steady Cook viewers were left amazed after watching the show’s first blind contestant Alex Pepper, 29, from London, (pictured left with presenter Rylan Clark-Neal) show off his impressive cooking skills today

Alex, who lost his sight four years ago, demonstrated the gadgets and techniques he uses to help him move around the kitchen on this afternoon’s BBC One programme. Pictured: A beeper to measure the level when pouring hot water

Fans were fascinated by the helpful items and also loved Alex’s guide dog River (pictured), who was in the studio audience

One person wrote: ‘Today’s Ready Steady Cook is a must watch! If you ever wondered how someone partially sighted cooks, Rylan is demonstrating with his contestants. 

‘I am so glad we are giving a platform to diverse contestants and being educated at the same time.’ 

Another said: ‘The blind contestant on Ready Steady Cook has brought some fascinating gadgets with him to help in the kitchen. Interesting stuff!’

Alex revealed on the show that he was four months old when he suffered from cancer of the eye, leaving him partially sighted. Four years ago, his condition worsened and he was left fully blind. 

 

 

Viewers were wowed by the gadgets which aided Alex in the kitchen while others explained how they loved seeing guide dog River in the studio audience on today’s show

Alex also explained while on the show, how when cooking at home, he used a bar code reader for identifying ingredients and a speaking set of scales. 

He said he wanted to take part in the programme to show that ‘anyone can get in the kitchen if they want to, it’s just finding the know how’. 

Alex, who starred in Guide Dog’s latest advertising campaign, won the episode against his cousin Joe Pepper, who is also visually impaired.

He was voted the winner as part of team green pepper by the studio audience with his chef Mike Reid, defeating team ‘red tomato’ consisting of chef Romy Gill and his cousin Joe.

Alex (above) said he wanted to take part in the programme to show that ‘anyone can get in the kitchen if they want to, it’s just finding the know how’

Alex said: ‘Winning Ready Steady Cook was an amazing experience, especially as I got to take part with my cousin Joe! Rylan and the team were so welcoming and seemed genuinely interested in how I navigate the kitchen.

‘It was a great opportunity to demonstrate how blind and partially sighted people can cook just like anyone else, and the producers spent a lot of time asking me what tools, tips and tricks I use that I thought people at home would be interested in.’ 

The iconic daytime programme returned to our screens this week, ten years after its last episode, with Rylan Clark-Neal, 31, replacing Ainsley Harriot, 63, as host. 

Speaking ahead of today’s episode, Rylan told the Mirror: ‘Alex is fully blind and was just ­unbelievable in the kitchen.

Alex, who starred in Guide Dog’s latest advertising campaign, won the episode against his cousin Joe Pepper (pictured right), who is also visually impaired

‘He wasn’t treated any differently to any other contestant. The first thought I had was, ignorantly, how is he going to get on with the chopping? 

‘How is he going to get on with the gas hob? Is it going to be dangerous? Absolutely not, because there’s little things we learnt from him.’ 

The BBC decided to leave the show’s format largely unchanged for the new series and as before, two contestants are paired up with a professional chef. 

For the first challenge, contestants bring in ingredients bought on a £10 budget and create a dish in 20 minutes with their chef. 

Alex (pictured left) was voted the winner as part of team green pepper by the studio audience with his chef Mike Reid, defeating team ‘red tomato’ consisting of chef Romy Gill and his cousin Joe

The second task has been changed slightly and sees the studio audience hold up cards with letters on them to be picked from by the two contestants. 

They randomly select three cards, which are then turned around to reveal three different ingredients. The chef’s have ten minutes to create dishes from the items and the audience picks the winners.

But while the format hasn’t changed, the show has certainly become more sustainable. 

Gone are the famous plastic bags that the contestants brought their goods in – replaced by reusable ones.

Meanwhile unused food will be given to a food bank, and locally sourced produce is favoured.

Ready Steady Cook, Monday to Friday, 4.30pm, BBC1 

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