30 toys that defined the '80s (2022)

From talking stuffed animals to handheld video games, the toys of the time helped shape a generation.

For children of the 1980s, buying toys wasn’t as simple as the click of the mouse. It usually required hours of begging your parents, who then had to venture to the toy store and hope they still had it in stock.

While buying toys has undergone a tremendous transformation over the past few decades, the nostalgia 30-somethings get from seeing their favourite childhood plaything remains. Stacker used historical and retail websites to compile a list of 30 toys that were popular in the 1980s.

Some of the toys that defined the time have crazy stories about them. Take, for example, shopping for a Cabbage Patch Kids doll around Christmas in 1983, which meant parents were putting their safety at risk with the many riots that ensued, which went to inspire an HBO documentary. When it came to Teddy Ruxpin, by the time the toy company Worlds of Wonder realized what it had with its new talking bear, demand had skyrocketed to the point the company was leasing jets to fill them with the plush toys and flying them stateside.

Some ’80s toys started as American Greetings card series, including the Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake, while its competitor Hallmark kept pace with Rainbow Bright. Safety wasn’t necessarily paramount in the ’80s, as a number of these toys resulted in trips to the hospital, but not a decline in popularity.

Care Bears

The 10 original Care Bears, which wear belly badges to denote their personalities, were intended to be American Greetings card characters in 1981 until they became plush, stuffed Parker Brothers dolls in 1983. By 1985, Cheer Bear, Bedtime Bear, Birthday Bear, Wish Bear, Tenderheart Bear, Good Luck Bear, Love-A-Lot Bear, Friend Bear, Funshine Bear, and Grumpy Bear were all featured in an animated television series and, by the late 1980s, also starred in three major Canadian-American movies. Though relaunched a handful of times throughout the years with new names, books, and films, the soft and furry fad slowly faded by the turn of the century.

Atari

Coin-operated arcade amusement took a severe hit when Atari released the first home gaming console, which was created by the founders of the famous arcade game Pong. Atari 2600 came equipped with two joysticks, paddle controllers, a wood-panel printed console, and game cartridges, including “Space Invaders,” “Pac-Man,” and “Asteroids” sold separately. The gaming system, with normal and hard difficulty settings, sold millions, making the Atari brand a staple in many ’80s households.

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Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake and her sweet-smelling, dessert-themed friends like Lemon Meringue and Blueberry Muffin were all the rage for little girls in the ’80s. An animated television series, Atari video game, and memorabilia including pajamas and bedding accompanied the craze of tiny plastic figurines, which, according to character artist Muriel Fahrion,may have made a billion dollars in franchise profits. But thefreckled,frumpy hat-wearing Strawberry Shortcake was more than just a toy, with Fahrion sharing on the 40th anniversary of the doll that she’s heard playing with the character created an escape for some youth who had family struggles.

Pogo Ball

The Pogo Ball is a Saturn-looking jumping device manufactured by Hasbro and the cousin of the Pogo Stick, the latter ofwhich is now an official extreme sport. Unlike gaining gravity with a steel coil and footpads, the inflatable ball placed in the centreof a sturdy plastic circle helped kids catch air in the ’80s. After the fad’s popularity began to deflate, the use of the toy remained, with physical education teachers using it to teach balance to students and adults using it as an exercise ball.

Space Legos

To capitalize on the success of George Lucas’smash-hit “Star Wars,” The Lego Group, which manufactures plastic toy bricks, createdminifigures with visor-less helmets and wheeled vehicles. It wasn’t until 1999 that the toy manufacturer would issue its first intellectual property licence to “Star Wars,” bringing Lego and Lucas together for real—and the toy’s cultural impact remains evento this day.

Monster in My Pocket

Matchbox’s release of Monster in My Pocket had kids in the ’80s hiding plastic figurines in their garments. Inspired by true-to-life monsters from mythology, religion, literature, and film, the brightly coloured toys first sold based on a “scary” point series, with the Great Beast worth 25, and less frightening figures like The Witch rated at 5. However, high officials from the Hindu religion requestedMatchbox apologize in 1993when the toy line depicted Indian divinity as tiny plastic monsters, whichwas offensive to their culture.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The Italian Renaissance-named reptilians Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael, and Leonardo are as hot now as they were in 1983 when two artists first sketched them on a piece of paper, which sold for more than $70,000 in 2012.What began as a comic book series turned into a pop-culture craze, beginning with the 1987 Saturday morning cartoon series featuring the pizza-loving martial-arts experts that was picked up by Nickelodeon in 2012. Merchandise depicting the four evil-fighting brothers totalled more than $1.1 billion in the first four years of “Turtlemania.”

Rubik’s Cube

Lining up nine squares on the six-sided, primary-coloured 3D puzzle had kids competing against themselves when the Rubik’s Cube debuted in 1980. Originally named the Magic Cube, the toy’s popularity made finishing fast a sport, with the first speedcubing Rubik’s World Championships in Budapest in 1982. After mid-’90s anniversary relaunches, including a diamond-studded cube, Rubik’s remains popular today, enjoying its most successful year in 2017, with over $250 million in sales.

Roller Racer

The Roller Racer, a human-powered toy consisting of rams horn-shaped handlebars connected to wheels atop a tractor seat, had kids racing down streets and scientists studying its physics in the ’80s. The side-to-side thrust vector concept, inspired by a retired Boeing engineer as a present for his grandson, was sold by the brand Wham-O, which also produced other pop culture classics like Hacky Sack and Slip ‘N Slide. Decades later, Roller Racers remain a hit with physical education teachers, who use the toy in relay races, obstacle courses, and roller tag.

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Speak & Spell

The handheld Texas Instrument toycame with learning cartridges, including Homonym Heroes, Noun Endings, Magnificent Modifiers, and Vowel Ventures. Sister toy to Speak & Read and Speak & Math, the educational game focused solely on the English subject. The learning aid was the first to use digital signal processing, which converted analog sound information into speech capable of teaching kids both the proper spelling and pronunciation of a word.

Lite-Brite Magic Screen

A gridded, 25-watt light bulb box and translucent-coloured plastic pegs had kids creating all kinds of pictures in the ’80s. Illuminated pictures would slowly appear simply by placing the pegs into a panel through pre-patterned or free-form black opaque paper. Though the Hasbro toy manufacturer provided a plethora of refillable pictures with the original toy, it would eventually add My Little Pony, Scooby-Doo, Darth Vader, and Mr. Potato Head sketches.

Koosh Ball

The Koosh ball, made up of approximately 2,000 natural rubber filaments, was invented by an engineer who wanted to make playing catch more simple and safe for his children. After only a few years after the 1986 invention, Archie Comics picked up the idea, publishing a short series based on six living Koosh balls. The toy line, which also produced key chains and yo-yos, saw controversy when Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was asked to rule on its copyrightability in 1993, and a woman sued after being hit with one on the “Rosie O’Donnell Show” in 2003.

Glo Worm

Glo Worms bridged the gap between stuffed animal and night light when Hasbro’s Playskool released the toy in 1982. A soft squeeze would light up the toy’s vinyl head, gaining so much popularity that Hasbro released Musical Glo Worm in 1983, which could play a lullaby or tell a bedtime story. “They’re all your goodnight friends” was the catchy jingle that played over commercials of little girls and boys getting ready for bed with their Glo Worms hugged tightly.

Pound Puppies

Pound Puppies were the perfect compromise between children begging for a family dog and parents that didn’t want to pick up after a dog. They came in a cardboard rescue crate for “adoption,” with adorable eyes and big floppy ears for $30 (and an additional $3.50 for name tag). Inventor Mike Bowling, who showed the product to 14 companies before one bit, estimated in 2016 that there were three times as many Pound Puppies in the U.S. than actual dogs.

Fashion Plates

The concept of Fashion Plates has existed since the 18th century, but the toy version released by Tomy Toys in 1977 really caught on in the 1980s. Young girls could easily play fashion designer by snapping a wide array of outfit pieces into a base, and using a black crayon to trace the outline onto a piece of paper. Coloured pencils and fabric patterns were then used to bring life to Fashion Plates, which were resurrected in 2014 by the toy company Kahootz.

Moon Shoes

Safety didn’t always come first with Moon Shoes, a set of mini-sized trampolines that strapped to kids’ feet with Velcro straps. The 1980s plastic version, which led to a number of injured ankles, was a vast improvement over the metal ones released in the ’50s. While the danger didn’t deter kids from bouncing around the neighborhood, Nickelodeon made safety updates for a resurgence in the ’90s.

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Polly Pocket

Polly Pockets, which premieredin 1989, were a staple for young kidswho could mix and match the tiny dolls with many tiny accessories.Created in 1983 by Chris Wiggs for his daughter, his original set used a powder compact as a tiny house. Polly Pockets were licensed by Mattel in the 1990s before the company bought Bluebird Toys in 1998. Polly got a new life after returning from a three-year hiatus in 2018.

Masters of the Universe

By the power of Grayskull, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe action figures were on manyChristmas lists when Mattel debuted the line in 1982. Following the exploits of He-Man and his fight against Skeletor, Masters of the Universe’s 70 original action figures spawned comic books, television shows, movies, a She-Ra spin-off, and eight video games. Mattel answered calls from fans of the ’80s hit and released a new Masters of the Universe Origins collection, beginning in 2020 with He-Man and Skeletor.

Monchhichi

The catchy jingle that went along with Monchhichi helped draw kids to these stuffed monkey toys.The Japanese company Sekiguchi released the doll, which could suck its thumb, in 1974, and it reached the U.S. in 1980 under a licensing deal with Mattel. The dolls spawned a Saturday morning cartoon series from Hanna-Barbera in 1983, before the fad began to wear off and Mattel dropped the line in 1985, which Sekiguchi re-released in 2004.

Piano Dance Mat

Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia can almost entirely take credit for the Piano Dance Mat craze of the late 1980s.The Piano Dance Mat, which played a different tone as the user walked along a series of keys, was a display item inside massive New York toy store FAO Schwarz, beginning in 1982. Struggling to stay afloat, the store offered its space to Hollywood, with Hanks and Loggia making movie history by playing “Chopsticks” on a larger version of the toy in the 1988 hit movie “Big.”

Little People Family House

Fisher-Price’s Little People line stretches back more than 50 yearswith multiple different playsets, but the Family House was a staple of 1980s toy boxes. The four windows and door gave a glimpse into the lives of the Little People, while the House opened in the middle so kids could move them throughout the house. It doubled as a carrying case, meaning kids could cram their Little People inside and take them anywhere.

Madballs

These gross-looking rubber balls were an attempt by AmToy in 1985 to find a product for boys, after finding hits with Care Bears and Holly Hobbie for girls. Madballs’ detailed designs and names like Screamin’ Meemie and Horn Head made them a must-have for young boys. The hard rubber was quickly replaced with a softer version after boys started throwing them at one another. Nostalgic fans can still find Madballs today, with new collections from multiple different companies.

Rainbow Brite

Hallmark Cards introduced Rainbow Brite—who brought happiness and colour wherever she went—as an animated series in 1984. Mattel took the reigns for merchandising, and the Rainbow Brite dolls, with their vibrant hair, along with her trusted steed Starlite, became must-have toys for young girls. Rainbow Brite was Mattel’s most successful product to that point, spawning multiple movies, books, TV shows, and more, with a marketing budget of $35 million in 1985.

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Teddy Ruxpin

Teddy Ruxpin captured the attention of boys and girls everywhere, as his ability to talk and move both his eyes and mouth were revolutionary at the time. Teddy would read stories to kids thanks to a cassette tape inserted in his back and was so popular, Worlds of Wonder had to charter jets from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan stuffed with Teddy Ruxpins to try to meet demand. While the original Teddy Ruxpin is a collector’s item, newer versionswith LCD eyes and a slew of new stories to tellwould hit the shelves in 2017.

Cabbage Patch Kids Doll

Cabbage Patch Kids dolls were one of the most popular toys in the 1980s, generating nearly $2 billion in sales during the decade. The huggable dolls, of which no two were alike, came with a birth certificate, and were so sought after that consumers rioted across the country when supplies ran out before Christmas in 1983. The original Cabbage Patch Kids dolls weren’t made for consumers, but were the creation of Kentucky artist Martha Nelson Thomas, who would adopt them out to her friends, before her idea was stolen.

Simon

Milton Bradley inspired a phenomenon when it launched the deceptively simple Simon console at New York’s Studio 54 in 1978. Simon, which sold for the equivalent of $96, was designed as both a single- and multi-player memory game that required users to press four coloured buttons while repeating an increasingly longer sequence of lights and sounds. The simplicity of the original Simon inspired multiple generations of the game, including the Simon Optix, a wearable headset that flashes lights before the user’s eyes.

Game Boy

The Game Boy was Nintendo’s second venture into handheld video gaming, and it found immediate success byselling over 1 million units within weeks of its 1989 release. The small gaming system, which came packaged with the wildly popular Tetris, combined elements from Nintendo’s NES gaming console and the Game and Watch, the original 1980 handheld from the Japanese company. Although it was less advanced than competitors from Sega and Atari, the 30 hours of battery life started a craze that has sold over 110 million units.

Smurfs

It was almost impossible to ignore the Smurfs in the 1980s, as what began as a 1960s Belgian comic evolved into action figures, a popular television show, video games, countless stuffed animals, and even a macabre UNICEF commercial. There were dozens and dozens of action figures to collect, from Papa Smurf to the Smurfs’ peace-loving nemesis, Gargamel, some of which can fetch over $100 today. Two major motion pictures in the past decade have helped bring a resurgence for the Smurfs in the U.S., while steady interest in Belgium has helped lead to over 400 figurines in the collection.

Power Wheels

Kids of all ages got the sensation of driving around the neighbourhood just like their parents—albeit at around five miles per hour—when Pines of America brought Power Wheels to the masses in the early 1980s. Kids could choose from an All-Terrain Vehicle, a monster truck, or a convertible before the first of many Jeep models debuted in 1986. Over 100 other models have hit the market since, and the impact of these battery-powered marvels is alive today with events like Extreme Barbie Jeep Racing, and the twice-annual Rednecks with Paychecks Downhill event putting the hard plastic shell to the test.

Star Wars Figurines

Kenner released the first “Star Wars” figures in 1978: Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and R2D2. They continued to release figures until 1985, and it wasn’t until 10 years later that new figures were released when Hasbro began to manufacture the toy series. The demand for vintage “Star Wars” figures hasn’t faltered much:In 2017, a rare “Star Wars” Jawa action figure sold for£21,600 (equivalent to $28,000). And in the 1980s prototype for Bib Fortuna (from “Return of the Jedi”)was purchased for£36,000 (equivalent to more than $46,000) in 2019.

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FAQs

What doll was popular in the 80s? ›

Cabbage Patch Kids dolls were one of the most popular toys in the 1980s, generating nearly $2 billion in sales during the decade.

What did children play with in the 1980s? ›

The days of the Walkman, Cabbage Patch Kids, and Mr Potato Head were from the most famous era in toy history. Whether you remember playing with these items as a kid or are fascinated by retro toys, this list covers the most coveted toy collection of every kid in the 80s.

What things were popular in the 80s? ›

giant scrunchies, fingerless lace gloves and neon headbands (OK, neon everything). And spandex and shoulder pads, anyone? Though some of these things are making a comeback, we miss the days when jellies, leggings and chunky plastic jewelry weren't considered throwbacks and were worn with pride, not irony.

What was the most popular Christmas toy in the 1980? ›

1980: Rubik's Cube

Fun Fact: The Rubik's Cube is widely recognized as the world's top-selling puzzle game and toy — as of 2009, over 350 million have been sold worldwide.

What toy was popular in 1982? ›

1982 Lincoln Log Sets, Pac-Man and Frogger Tabletop Arcade Games, Barbie Bubble Bath and more toys from the 1980s.

What toys were popular in 1983? ›

1983 My Little Pony, Cabbage Patch Kids, Dukes of Hazzard Set, Speak and Learn and more toys from the 1980s.

What was the most popular toy in 1986? ›

1. * GI Joe: Commandos, in the biz for more than 20 years, shrunk from Barbie's 1-foot height to about 5 inches during the Arab oil embargo (they're petroleum-based). But they hit the big time at the cash register when they hit the airwaves.

What was the most popular toy in 1984? ›

Dolls were clearly the most popular toy fads of the 1980s and in 1984, the Cabbage Patch kids took the top spot in the Argos leader board. They sold nearly three million dolls and officially became the most successful new doll introduction in the history of the toy industry.

What was the most popular toy in 1985? ›

Good ol' Teddy Ruxpin became the best-selling toy of 1985 and 1986, and was awarded the 2006 Animated Interactive Plush toy of the year by Creative Child Magazine.

What was popular for kids in 1985? ›

Top Ten Toys of 1985
  • Cabbage Patch Kids: ...
  • Transformers: ...
  • Pillow People: ...
  • Pogo Ball: ...
  • Skateboard: ...
  • G.I. Joe: ...
  • Atari: ...
  • Teddy Ruxpin:
Feb 18, 2010

What stuffed animals were popular in the 80s? ›

The Best Stuffed Toys from the 80s
  • Cabbage Patch Kids. We can't talk about the 80s without including the Cabbage Patch Kids. ...
  • Care Bears. ...
  • Pound Puppies. ...
  • Teddy Ruxpin.
Aug 29, 2019

What things defined the 80s? ›

The 1980s, often remembered for its materialism and consumerism, also saw the rise of the "yuppie," an explosion of blockbuster movies and the emergence of cable networks like MTV, which introduced the music video and launched the careers of many iconic artists, and the emergence of the AIDS crisis, which would go on ...

What was big in 80s? ›

When you think about what was popular in the 80s, besides the iconic TV shows and films, the decade was full of weird and wonderful fads such as Koosh Balls, Shoulder Pads, Hacky Sacks, Parachute Pants, M.U.S.C.L.E. Men and more! They were frequently made of 'jelly' and came in bright colours.

What is the most 80s thing ever? ›

David Hasselhoff just released a video called “True Survivor”, and it might just be the most '80s thing ever. Which isn't too surprising, because the song is from the soundtrack to a movie called “Kung Fury”, which is a parody of '80s Kung Fu flicks.

What was the hottest toy of 1980? ›

1980 – The Rubik's Cube

The Rubiks Cube is a pretty amazing story of a simple item meant to help math students and then became one of the best-selling toys of all time. The Rubiks Cube was invented by Erno Rubik in 1975. Rubik was an inventor, architect, and professor.

What was the most popular toy in 1987? ›

1987 - Koosh ball

It was a good choice too and the Koosh ball became the best selling toy of 1987.

What was the most popular toy in 1979? ›

1979: The ATARI 2600.

What was the number 1 toy in 1972? ›

Barbies were as popular as ever, girls make up and Beauty Parlor were much loved, and every girl wanted the popular Easy Bake Oven. For boys toys anything that was remote control including the Plane featured this year were the most wanted.

What toy was popular in 1992? ›

1992 Popular boys and girls toys from the Nineties including Hot Wheels Streex Track and X-Men Action Figures.

What was the most popular toy in 1973? ›

1973: Baby Alive

Baby alive dolls were first made in 1973 and were toys that you could feed and it would go to the bathroom, just like a real baby, according to Time. You'd think that kids wouldn't fall for it, but baby alive dolls were a major hit and are still available today.

What toy was popular in 1989? ›

The number one selling toy of 1989 was the Gameboy. “The grey brick came out and blew people's minds," Scott said.

What was the most popular Christmas gift in 1982? ›

1982: Stompers Truck, G.I. Joe Figures, BMX Bike, Glo Worm and Commodore 64. 1983: Care Bears, Cabbage Patch Kids Doll, G.I. Joe APC, My Little Pony and Rainbow Brite.

What was the top selling toy in 1985? ›

Top Ten Toys of 1985
  • Cabbage Patch Kids: ...
  • Transformers: ...
  • Pillow People: ...
  • Pogo Ball: ...
  • Skateboard: ...
  • G.I. Joe: ...
  • Atari: ...
  • Teddy Ruxpin:
Feb 18, 2010

What was the most popular toy in 1984? ›

Dolls were clearly the most popular toy fads of the 1980s and in 1984, the Cabbage Patch kids took the top spot in the Argos leader board. They sold nearly three million dolls and officially became the most successful new doll introduction in the history of the toy industry.

What was the most popular toy in 1986? ›

1986 – Care Bears

The bears represented feelings with names like “Funshine” and “Grumpy.” They even had their own TV series and movies.

What was the most popular toy in 1983? ›

1983: Cabbage Patch Kids.

What was the best toy in 1987? ›

1987 - Koosh ball

It was a good choice too and the Koosh ball became the best selling toy of 1987.

What was the most popular toy in 1989? ›

The number one selling toy of 1989 was the Gameboy. “The grey brick came out and blew people's minds," Scott said.

What's the most expensive vintage toy? ›

The Most Expensive Vintage Toys of All Time
  • Barbie by Stefano Canturi, 2010. $302,500 at Christie's on October 20, 2010. ...
  • G.I. Joe, 1963. $200,000 at Heritage Auctions on December 2, 2003. ...
  • Star Wars Rocket Firing Boba Fett, 1979. $185,850 at Hake's on November 7, 2019. ...
  • Steiff Louis Vuitton Bear, 2000. ...
  • Tipp & Co.

What old toys are worth a lot of money now? ›

The 50 Most Valuable Old Toys Around
No.NamePrices
1.Action Comics No.1$3.2 million
2.Mario Kart 64$1.56 million
3.Magic The Gathering Card (Black Lotus Alpha)$511,100
4.The Honus Wagner Baseball Card$475,960
46 more rows

What toy caused a craze in 1986? ›

Billed as the self-proclaimed “world's first animated talking toy,” Teddy Ruxpin was a huge hit in 1985 and 1986.

What was the most popular toy in 1979? ›

1979: The ATARI 2600.

What toy was popular in 1982? ›

1982 Lincoln Log Sets, Pac-Man and Frogger Tabletop Arcade Games, Barbie Bubble Bath and more toys from the 1980s.

What toy came out in 1985? ›

Wuzzles, Transformers, Glo-Worm Stack and Glow, Verbot Robot, Barbie's Home and Office and more toys from 1985.

From talking stuffed animals to handheld video games, the toys of the time helped shape a generation.

When it came to Teddy Ruxpin, by the time the toy company Worlds of Wonder realized what it had with its new talking bear, demand had skyrocketed to the point the company was leasing jets to fill them with the plush toys and flying them stateside.. By 1985, Cheer Bear, Bedtime Bear, Birthday Bear, Wish Bear, Tenderheart Bear, Good Luck Bear, Love-A-Lot Bear, Friend Bear, Funshine Bear, and Grumpy Bear were all featured in an animated television series and, by the late 1980s, also starred in three major Canadian-American movies.. It wasn’t until 1999 that the toy manufacturer would issue its first intellectual property licence to “Star Wars,” bringing Lego and Lucas together for real—and the toy’s cultural impact remains even to this day.. Though the Hasbro toy manufacturer provided a plethora of refillable pictures with the original toy, it would eventually add My Little Pony, Scooby-Doo, Darth Vader, and Mr.. A soft squeeze would light up the toy’s vinyl head, gaining so much popularity that Hasbro released Musical Glo Worm in 1983, which could play a lullaby or tell a bedtime story.. The concept of Fashion Plates has existed since the 18th century, but the toy version released by Tomy Toys in 1977 really caught on in the 1980s.. Cabbage Patch Kids dolls were one of the most popular toys in the 1980s, generating nearly $2 billion in sales during the decade.. They continued to release figures until 1985, and it wasn’t until 10 years later that new figures were released when Hasbro began to manufacture the toy series.

Kids (and adults) today are often too absorbed in playing digital games, so much so that we no longer know or remember how to play…

Kids (and adults) today are often too absorbed in playing digital games, so much so that we no longer know or remember how to play with traditional Filipino toys.. Although we now live in a high-tech world, it makes sense to find a perfect balance between allowing our kids to play with their gadgets and introducing them to the toys that have made Filipinos who they are.. Known to Filipino kids as holen or jolen, these toys are played indoors or outdoors and encourage the players to get down and dirty.. Popularly known to Filipino kids as “teks,” these cards are similar to NBA collectible cards, except the former was commonly played in a betting game wherein the winning player takes home the cards.. The rubber band is every Filipino kid’s all-purpose toy: it can be used to play a competitive game called dampa with your friends; or as a weapon to hit the bully or the bully’s victim.

In this new era of Zoom journalism interviews, it’s sometimes jarring to be instantly face-to-face (albeit via computer) with a live musician who for decades you’ve only seen on stage, in videos, or photographs. But there’s Toto’s co-founding singer/keyboardist/songwriter David Paich popping up on screen to tell me what he’s...

In this new era of Zoom journalism interviews, it’s sometimes jarring to be instantly face-to-face (albeit via computer) with a live musician who for decades you’ve only seen on stage, in videos, or photographs.But there’s Toto’s co-founding singer/keyboardist/songwriter David Paich popping up on screen to tell me what he’s got playing over his stereo in the background.. I was still a teenager!”. The intro makes for a nice beginning bookend for this chat’s reason, to talk about the 68-year-old Paich’s new (and surprisingly) first-ever solo record, Forgotten Toys (The Players Club/Mascot Label Group).. “That process started when [Toto bandmates] Joseph Williams and Steve Lukather started working on their solo records before the pandemic hit.. And you can connect with other musicians through Zoom and Facetime.”The EP contains eight songs which cover a variety of genres and topics from rock (“Spirit of the Moonrise,” “Queen Charade”) to romance (“willibelongtoyou,” “All the Tears that Shine,” sung by Michael Sherwood) to nostalgic balladry (“First Time”) and even jazz (“Lucy”).. “She didn’t tell me she did that and it traumatized me at first, like ‘What are you doing to my song?’” Paich says.. Liner note readers will be mightily impressed by some of Paich’s guests on this record, which in addition to Toto bandmates and McDonald includes former Eagle Don Felder, Ray Parker Jr., Brian Eno, Elton John guitarist Davey Johnstone, Greg Bissonette, and Steve Jordan.. So that begs the question: Did Paich just flip open his Rolodex (or possibly phonebook spreadsheet) and just send out the Musician Bat Signal?“A lot of them live near me, and we’ve all been friends for years.. Outside of Toto, the list of performers that David Paich has written and arranged for or recorded with is deep.. But his two best-known contributions are probably as a player/writer on Boz Scaggs’ 1976 Silk Degrees (Paich co-wrote hits “Lido Shuffle” and “Lowdown”), and playing/arranging on Michael Jackson’s epochal 1984 release Thriller .. Paich says the sessions also gave him, Porcaro, and bass player David Hungate part of the impetus to start Toto.. Currently, while Paich is still very much involved with writing and playing new Toto music in the studio, he’s no longer a permanent touring member of the group.

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You'll feel the need for speed in this sequel to the '80s classic, which broke box office records and is available on digital now.

It's been more than 35 years since the release of the original Top Gun, in which Tom Cruise employed his widest grin as a US Navy aviator with a point to prove and a childlike delight in playing with high-speed toys (which just happen to be built for killing people, but whatever).. Unlike recent blockbusters (ahem, Marvel movies) which distance you from the action with clearly impossible camera angles and over-the-top CG effects, Top Gun: Maverick uses the visual language of the original, the camera jammed claustrophobically into a cockpit or shaking as it struggles to keep up with a jet screaming past.. But the fighter jets and aircraft carriers furnished by the United States Navy aren't the only formidable weapons deployed by the sequel: The toppest gun in the Top Gun arsenal is Cruise's still-explosive charisma.. The original film was fueled by the sense Maverick was genuinely dangerous to the people around him, but this new model doesn't capture the same headlong rush into the danger zone.. Oddly, Top Gun: Maverick is so bloodless and untroubled by ambiguity it barely feels like a war film.

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