Friday, April 24, 2015

U is for Urban Cowboy

This month I'm participating in the A to Z Challenge. My theme is the 80s. Today's letter is:



In 1980, John Travolta was one of the hottest actors in the movie industry. So the release of this movie was highly anticipated:



The movie epitomized the fashion of the time. In 1980, country-western music exploded in popularity with country music songs like this one...



...this one...



...and this one...



...ranking high on Top 40 charts as well as the country music charts.

At the same time, country-western attire was very popular. The phenomenal success of this show might have had a little something to do with that.



Urban Cowboy was filled with sappy melodrama and dark moments--a trend we'd see in other movies in the 80s. Debra Winger was gritty and realistic (and whiny and annoying) and John Travolta was oh-so-dreamy to women who were old enough to appreciate it. (I was ten.)



Perhaps the most notable thing about Urban Cowboy was its soundtrack. The songs were all over the radio that year.



There were no fewer than six top-ten hits from the soundtrack, including Lookin' for Love, Stand By Me, and Look What You've Done to Me. The country music trend that followed has been called the Urban Cowboy Movement. John Travolta had that power at the time. That was before Scientology gained control of him.



Have you seen Urban Cowboy? What's your favorite John Travolta movie?

64 comments:

  1. I have not seen Urban Cowboy, but I do like a little Country & Western music from time to time. My most recent purchase is Christian Kane's album, Welcome to My House (I first heard him sing on Leverage and fell in love with his voice) :). He's my urban cowboy ;P
    Sophie
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles
    FB3X
    Wittegen Press

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    1. I actually know who he is--he was on a show I watched in the 90s called "Fame L.A." Another thing I probably shouldn't admit. (I'm finding I say that a lot these days...I need to watch better TV shows!)

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  2. I know absolutely nothing about this film. I think my favourite John Travolta film has to be Phenomenon - I cry every time.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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  3. I saw it ages ago but barely remember it. Definitely not a country music fan.
    I think his best is Pulp Fiction.
    There's an HBO documentary on scientology that just came out, Going Clear. You have to watch it. It's scary the power those people have and just how crazy they are. It is NOT a religion.

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    1. I miss everything by not having HBO. I get frustrated when I hear about people who have bigger power than even our government. Like Scientology. And Comcast.

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  4. I saw the movie Urban Cowboy.. I didn't think it was all that great... my favorite John Travolta movie is Grease ♡

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  5. I'm not sure I ever watched that movie. I only ever liked him in Welcome Back, Kotter.

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    1. I only saw him on that show a few times. Grease was my world when I was a kid, though. But it didn't really seem to impress me all that much that he was on a TV show that I could watch every week.

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  6. I'm kinda glad we don't have those here.... and that I haven't seen a Travolta movie in ages :)

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    1. Have what? Urban cowboys? I live near the Opry currently so I see plenty of those...but the funny thing is, any time we see someone in cowboy boots and a cowboy hat in Nashville, we say, "Must be a tourist." Locals don't wear that stuff...

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  7. I don't think I saw The Urban Cowboy movie but I saw Grease. I really like Grease.
    Have an UPBEAT day
    Hugs
    JB

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    1. I did love Grease! Upbeat is a great one for U.

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  8. Well, I love a rainy night! My parents played that song til I wanted to throw up. :) I haven't seen Urban Cowboy in decades!

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    1. I have to say, we mostly watched it because we were stuck at home all summer with one or two movie channels...and Urban Cowboy was being played over and over and over.

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  9. This movie was right in my wheelhouse. I adored everything about it. It was the perfect mix of Saturday Night Fever and my favorite thing: cowboys. Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. When I wrote romance, I was told to get published, I had to write about cowboys. No way around it. That's what readers liked and that's what I had to write. I just couldn't do it. I tried...I always ended up with a heroine who hated being on a farm, hated everything about cowboys! I guess I'm a city girl, even though Nashville isn't really Manhattan...

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  10. I saw Urban Cowboy but it didn't stick, but then I have never been a country music fan.

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    1. I haven't either, Sage. And I live in Nashville. Perhaps that's why I don't like it...it's just been around too much. I went to school with country music stars' kids. A girl in my sixth grade class was on Hee Haw. And during that time, country music was being shoved down the entire country's throat, not just those of us who lived here...so it was just too much. I went in the other direction and liked everything that was coming out of Hollywood music studios at the time!

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  11. Saturday Night Fever was one of my favorite Travolta movies, but I loved Debra Winger in both Urban Cowboy and An Officer and a Gentleman. Can't decide which was better.

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    1. I was watching Zooey Deschanel and it was bugging me how much she reminded me of Debra Winger. I looked it up and they played mom and daughter in some movie, I think? Zooey acknowledges how similar they are and says she gets that a lot. It's weird...on the surface you wouldn't see it but when you watch Zooey act and think about Debra Winger, it's uncanny!

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  12. I really liked Urban Cowboy, and John Travolta. He's a good actor.

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  13. That Scientology crap is just a cult. Think I watched this one as a kid, but don't remember it. Favorite of his hmmm I like some he's done, but not sure there is a favorite as he's not a favorite actor of mine

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    1. There are rumors that Scientology helps people hide their secret lives. People like actors who want a disguise for their true sexuality... If so, it's a shame people feel the need to join a cult in order to hide who they really are.

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  14. when you watch it now, it is SO darn cheesy! (same with dallas, but i loved it.)

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    1. Yeah, I re-watched Dallas in the 90s and it still held up fairly well. But I tried to re-watch it a few years ago and it doesn't hold up at all. There appears to be a time limit on that type of entertainment!

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  15. Was this the movie that killed his career? He went into a steep nosedive for years until Pulp Fiction brought him back.

    My favourite Travolta movie is Look Who's Talking, but my favourite work of his is definitely Welcome Back Kotter.

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    1. No, cheesy as it was, Urban Cowboy was a hit. He did that movie Blow Out, which I thought was good but I guess didn't do well? Then there was Stayin' Alive--I think Stayin' Alive might have done it! Looks like he just made some really bad choices:

      "After Urban Cowboy, Travolta starred in a series of financial and critical failures that sidelined his acting career. These included Perfect, co-starring Jamie Lee Curtis, and Two of a Kind, a romantic comedy reteaming him with Olivia Newton-John. During that time he was offered, but turned down, lead roles in what would become box office hits, including American Gigolo[27] and An Officer and a Gentleman, both of which went to Richard Gere.[28]"

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  16. I never saw this movie either, but I knew some people who had a band and sang a song from the "Urban Cowboy" soundtrack called "Cherokee Fiddle."

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    1. I don't remember that one! I haven't seen the movie all the way through since the early 80s, though.

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  17. I have to admit to watching this a few times, back in the day. I'm not much of a country music fan but you can definitely see a link between a popular movie and the music here. My favorite John Travolta movie was Grease.

    Sad to say, I can't really look at John Travolta or Tom Cruise, without thinking about Scientology- and the association leaves such a bad taste in my mouth, I can't watch anything that either of them stars in anymore.

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    1. I agree with you, Jaybird. The fact that they defend Scientology after all the things that have come out about it...people are missing, not able to talk to their families...and there's this huge cover up. Leah Remini at least had the courage to speak up. I guess they couldn't easily make her disappear.

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  18. I've seen that movie. I thought it was pretty good. Not a huge fan of country music, but some is okay. I just don't like the cry in your beer stuff. Too depressing.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. The movie itself had some pretty dark themes...I can't believe I watched it as a child!

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  19. Never been much of a country music fan, but I do remember seeing this movie. Back then, all we had to do was go to the movies. So we went, if we appreciated the movies or not. The only thing I remember liking Travolta in was Welcome Back Kotter. But that was the 70's.

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    1. I'm with you on country music. I worked in a movie theater, so from the time I was 16, I got to see movies for free. I saw many, many more movies than I ever would have otherwise.

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  20. I love the look of the 80's. And I remember that movie, but not what happened in it.

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    1. I don't remember much except Scott Glen abused Debra Winger and John Travolta slept with some really classy woman who later starred in Funny Farm. That's about it. Oh--and they worked on a construction site and John Travolta's dad died, didn't he? He fell off or was struck by lightning or had a heart attack...

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  21. I somehow missed the eighties.

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    1. Well, it isn't too late for a viewing of Urban Cowboy. It's probably on youTube for free!

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  22. I never did see Urban Cowboy for some reason, although I loved Travolta in Grease. I was never a rabid fan, though.

    Good U! :)

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    1. I was an ONJ fan...John Travolta was just kind of...there.

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  23. Country music. Now you're talking. Really liked the old Travolta. Not so much the new one. Country music has changed today too. Not for the better in my opinion. I still like the oldies.

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  24. I have never seen this film and have no desire to partially because Debra Winger is in it:) I remember all the hoopla over it. Love The Charlie Daniels band. As for Scientology-this is one piece of crap that I truly Abhor. When they were being investigated they declared themselves a religion but are far from it. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the leader has a picture of Hitler that he kisses before he goes to bed at night

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  25. I've never seen Urban Cowboy. Saturday Night Fever is my favorite Travolta movie. I used to be a big Travolta fan until he got all weird and creepy. Yikes! Bring back the cool, non-creepy John!!
    Katie @TheCyborgMom

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  26. Nope, never saw Urban Cowboy. I don't think I was allowed. Was it rated R? That would have been why. Fave Travolta film...? Hmmm... I'll have to look at his filmography, because I'm drawing a blank.

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  27. Haven't seen this movie but John Travolta looks good as a cowboy. :)

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  28. Yes, I remember Urban Cowboy. "Lookin' for Love" was one of my favorite songs as a kid. I'd sing it over and over again. I was pretty young when I saw the movie on HBO, and I really don't remember what the heck it was about. I just remember the mechanical bull riding and Debra Winger getting beat up by her boyfriend.

    My real name initials are J.R. and MAN did I hear it all through grade school. "Who shot you, man?"

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  29. I haven't seen Urban Cowboy but he does look sexy as a cowboy. ;) He's done a lot of great movies but I love Look Who's Talking and Face/Off.

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  30. I love your line "until Scientology gained control of him" (ain't that the truth). I didn't see Urban Cowboy, but I liked Saturday Night Fever a lot.

    betty

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  31. To this day I haven't seen this movie! Even so, I don't think I ever listened to a soundtrack more times. My mom and I wore that record out!!! I keep saying I'm goint to get the movie on Netflix.

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  32. You won the internet with "until Scientology gained control of him." I've never seen Urban Cowboy. I suppose either Saturday Night Fever or Pulp Fiction would be my favourite JT film. Probably SNF. I only enjoyed Pulp Fiction because of the three days I spent trying to track down the various sources of the erroneous "Scripture" quote.

    Visiting from A to Z,
    (also @ http://glamofgod.com)

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  33. I've never seen this one! But I do like Travolta as a cowboy. Probably not as much as Travolta in Grease though. Wait, was that an 80's movie? I can't remember...

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  34. Hi human, Stephanie,

    While my alleged human continues to be missing from the blogging action, I'm doing my best to take over.

    My human, Gary, is a bit of an Urban Cowboy. Sometimes, he sings in a really annoying twang, U'all :) Never seen that movie you mention. I have, however, seen Vinnie Barbarino....

    Pawsitive wishes,

    Penny :)

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  35. Yah, it was sappy melodrama and big yes on Debra Winger's character. I got talked into seeing it. But I did see all three artists, you highlighted, in concert. I loved Eddie Rabbit---he reminded me of a 6 ft leprechaun--the look of his face. He was very entertaining and a good storyteller.

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

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  36. Favorite Travolta movie? Michael!

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  37. I watched Dallas, but haven't seen Urban Cowboy yet. I still have some 80s movies to go through.

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  38. Not seen this, but sounds like it captured the mood of the time - the zeitgeist, if you will. I nominate Pulp Fiction!

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  39. For the longest time, I had heard of Dallas and the whole JR thing. Never knew it was the same guy who played Major Nelson on I Dream of Jeannie.

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  40. My older sisters were totally into that movie, but I was too young for it. I do remember that music, though.

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  41. My favorite John Travolta movie from 1989 -- The Experts! SOOO funny!

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  42. I moved back home for the summer of '81 (after my freshman year of college). My parents got HBO and I think I saw that movie at least 10 times.Probably because paying for TV was basically unheard of at the time, most of my friends parents didn't have HBO. Fortunately, it was my favorite of the John Travolta movies.

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