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11 '80s TV Stars Who Recorded Obscure Albums

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When these stars weren't acting, they were singing.

1. Scott Baio

To most of us, Baio’s finest credit will always be his performance as Bob Loblaw. But he was around long before that, achieving full '80s teen heart-throb status as Charles in Charles in Charge. Helping him along the way to later sex addiction were, no doubt, the two albums he released in the early '80s, one of which was 1983’s "The Boys Are Out Tonight."

2. Bruce Willis

Remember, before Bruce Willis was chasing terrorists barefoot through glass, and before it turned out he was dead the whole time, he was David Addison, the “fast-talking, fun-loving detective running the City of Angels Detective Agency” in the 1980s ABC dramedy Moonlighting. In the midst of the show's reasonably successful run, Willis put out 1987’s Bruce Willis ‎– The Return Of Bruno.

3. Tina Yothers

Tina Yothers was the blonde daughter in Family Ties who never got to say anything funny or important after she outgrew her cute years. But she used her voice in other ways, launching a singing career with this Tiffany-style bubble pop album, Over and Overin 1987. 

4. Lisa Whelchel

When the producers of Facts of Life wanted a story arc in which one of the girls lose their virginity, their first choice was Blair, the snooty rich girl, played by Lisa Whelchel. Whelchel wouldn’t do it, as it conflicted with her Christian values. What didn’t conflict was the 1984 Contemporary Christian Album All Because of You. It received more relative success than most '80s sitcom crossover albums, reaching number No. 17 on CCM charts, and was nominated for an Inspiration Music Grammy.

5. Kim Fields

The Facts of Life was a hotspot of budding talent (George Clooney came from there!) with adorable Tootie (Kim Fields) releasing two singles in 1984. One, a cover of Michael Jackson’s "Dear Michael," and the other the disco-delic dance track "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not."

6. Vicki Lawrence

You may remember Vicki Lawrence as the perpetually pissed-off matriarch Thelma Harper, whom she portrayed in the inexplicably creepy family sitcom Mama’s Family. But she was a woman of many talents. Her murder ballad "The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia," off the album of the same name, reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard charts in 1973. In other news, “murder ballad” is a genre!

7. Alyssa Milano

Did you know Alyssa Milano had a huge recording contract, producing four studio albums plus a greatest hits compliation? If you did, then you’re probably much, much too interested in Japanese '80s pop culture. A Japanese record executive saw Milano’s performance in Commando (made when she was 12) and immediately offered her a record deal. Her albums were never released in America, but you can listen to a sample of her work above. 

8. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen

This happened. But there is no need to dwell on it. 

9. John Schneider

The Dukes of Hazzard used to stand for something, before it was disgraced with the 2005 film. The General Lee used to jump hay trucks for justice. John Schneider (Bo Duke…the hot one) understood the power of Hazzard County. He used his fame to launch a country music career, producing 10 albums in the 1980s alone. None of which can ever be as awesome as the Dukes of Hazzard Theme Song.

10. Mr. T

Mr. T is against children using drugs, talking to strangers, and shunning homework. He made a rap album in 1984 to tell them this. Ice-T is listed on the album as “rap director” for tracks 2, 3, 6, and 7.

11. Phylicia (Allen) Rashad

Before she was Claire Huxtable, the best mom/hottest wife/smartest lawyer in the world, she sang disco, and had the fro to prove it! Her album, Josephine Superstar, was a tribute to Josephine Baker.

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ABBA Is Going on Tour—As Holograms
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Missed your chance to watch ABBA perform live at the peak of their popularity? You’re in luck: Fans will soon be able to see the group in concert in all their chart-topping, 1970s glory—or rather, they’ll be able to see their holograms. As Mashable reports, a virtual version of the Swedish pop band is getting ready to go on tour.

ABBA split up in 1982, and the band hasn't been on tour since. (Though they did get together for a surprise reunion performance in 2016.) All four members of ABBA are still alive, but apparently not up for reentering the concert circuit when they can earn money on a holographic tour from the comfort of their homes.

The musicians of ABBA have already had the necessary measurements taken to bring their digital selves to life. The final holograms will resemble the band in the late 1970s, with their images projected in front of physical performers. Part of the show will be played live, but the main vocals will be lifted from original ABBA records and recordings of their 1977 Australian tour.

ABBA won’t be the first musical act to perform via hologram. Tupac Shakur, Michael Jackson, and Dean Martin have all been revived using the technology, but this may be one of the first times computerized avatars are standing in for big-name performers who are still around. ABBA super-fans will find out if “SOS” still sounds as catchy from the mouths of holograms when the tour launches in 2019.

[h/t Mashable]

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6 Great (and Not-So-Great) Works of Art Made by Robots
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Cold, calculating, unfeeling—none of the stereotypes associated with robots seem to describe makers of great art. But that hasn’t stopped roboticists from trying to engineer the next Picasso in a lab. Some machines and algorithms are capable of crafting works impressive enough to fool even the toughest critics. As for the rest of the robot artists and writers out there, let’s just say they won’t have creative types fearing for their jobs anytime soon. 

1. A BEATLES-ESQUE POP SONG

If you heard the song above at a party or in a crowded store, you might assume it’s just a generic pop tune. But if you listened closer, you’d hear the dissonant vocals and nonsense lyrics that place this number in the sonic equivalent of the uncanny valley. “Daddy’s Car” was composed by an artificial intelligence system from the Sony CSL Research Laboratory. After analyzing sheet music from a variety of artists and genres, the AI generated the words, harmony, and melody for the song. A human composer chose the style (1960s Beatles-style pop) and did the producing and mixing, but other than that the music is all machine. It may not have topped the pop charts, but the song did give us the genius lyric: “Down on the ground, the rainbow led me to the sun.”

2. A NOVEL THAT MADE IT PAST THE FIRST ROUND OF A FICTION CONTEST

Will the next War and Peace be written by a complex computer algorithm? Probably not, but that isn’t to say that AI can’t compose some serviceable fiction with help from human minds. In 2016, a team of Japanese researchers invented a program and fed it the plot, characters, and general structure of an original story. They also wrote sentences for the system to choose from, so the content of the novel relied heavily on humans. But the final product and the work required to string the components together was made possible by AI. The researchers submitted the story to Japan's Nikkei Hoshi Shinichi Literary Contest where it made it past the first round of judging. Though one notable Japanese author praised the novel for its structure, he also said there were some character description issues holding it back.

3. A 'NEW' REMBRANDT PAINTING

Robin Van Lonkhuijsen/AFP/Getty Images

In 2016, a 3D printer did something extraordinary: It produced a brand new painting in the spirit of a long-dead artist. The piece, titled “The Next Rembrandt,” would fit right in at an exhibition of art from the 17th-century Dutch painter. But this work is entirely modern. Bas Korsten, creative director at the Amsterdam-based advertising firm J. Walter Thompson, had a computer program analyze 346 Rembrandt paintings over 18 months. Every element of the final image, from the age of the subject and the color of his clothes to the physical brushstrokes, is reminiscent of the artist’s distinct style. But while it’s good enough to fool the amateur art fan, it failed to hold up under scruntiny from Rembrandt experts.

4. DREARY LOVE POETRY

What do you get when you dump thousands of unpublished romance novels into an AI system? Some incredibly bleak poetry, as Google discovered in 2016. The purpose of the neural network was to connect two separate sentences from a book into one whole thought. The result gave us such existential gems as this excerpt:

"there is no one else in the world.
there is no one else in sight.
they were the only ones who mattered.
they were the only ones left.
he had to be with me.
she had to be with him.
i had to do this.
i wanted to kill him.
i started to cry."

To be fair, the algorithm was designed to construct natural-sounding sentences rather than write great verse. But that doesn’t stop the passages from sounding oddly poetic.

5. A CREEPY CHRISTMAS SONG

Christmas songs rely heavily on formulas and cliches, aka ideal neural network fodder. So you’d think that an AI program would be capable of whipping up a fairly decent holiday tune, but a project from the University of Toronto proved this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Their algorithm was prompted to compose the song above based on a digital image of a Christmas tree. From there it somehow came up with trippy lyrics like, “I’ve always been there for the rest of our lives.”

6. A CROWDSOURCED ABSTRACT PAINTING

Art made by a robot.
Instapainter

The image above was painted by the mechanical arm of a robot, but naming the true artist of the piece gets complicated. That’s because the robotic painter was controlled by multiple users on the internet. In 2015, the commissioned art service Instapainting invited the online community at Twitch to crowdsource a painting. The robot, following script commands over a 36-hour period, produced what looks like graffiti-inspired abstract art. More impressive than the painting itself was the fact that the machine was able to paint it at all. Instapainting founder Chris Chen told artnet, “It was a $250 machine slapped together with quickly written software, so running it for that long was an endurance test.”

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