Happy Birthday, Mr. T! A Foolish Playlist for You to Pity

Categories: Miles-tones

I have a hard time explaining the 1980s to my daughter. Mostly because she's, you know, two years old.

Still, I imagine that even when she reaches an age where she's more willing to endure a conversation that doesn't involve strawberries and Dora the Explorer, I won't be able to convey the strangeness of the decade.

Consider one Laurence Tureaud, better known as Mr. T. The American icon turns 60 years old today. Could a man like this have risen to such success in any other decade? The Mohawked, gold chain-wearing T went from being a bouncer to a man so badass that Muhammad Ali was willing to pay him $3,000 a day to be his bodyguard.

From there he graduated to acting, wrestling, boxing, motivational speaking and many other careers. He's still going strong today, riding high on the reputation he built by simply being Mr. T.

Among his massive contributions to pop culture has been a significant impact on the world of music. He has been an inspiration, a performer, and an in-joke. This week's playlist pays tribute to Mr. T. May fools be pitied for many years to come.

Mr. T Theme Song: The world is full of bizarre Saturday-morning cartoon adaptations that aim to cash in on anything trending in the world. Much like Rambo and Hulk Hogan's Rock and Wrestling, Mr. T was a hastily put-together vehicle dead set on squeezing a few bucks from the youngest demographic.

However, in true Mr. T fashion, he threw himself into the series with gusto and sincerity. He voiced his own character and filmed introductions and epilogues for each of the 30 episodes.

I don't know what creative meetings led to the creation of a cartoon where Mr. T is a gymnastics coach who guides his teenage team through competitions while also solving mysteries, and frankly I don't care. This was awesome.

Mr. T Experience, "Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend": Birthed from the same fruitful neo-punk scene in late '80s California that gave the world Green Day, Rancid and NOFX, the Mr. T Experience was formed by Frank Portman in 1985. The name was obviously inspired by T, then firmly in the spotlight as a personality. Though Portman has in recent years chosen to focus more on his work as a novelist, the band has consistently recorded and toured for almost 30 years.

"Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend" comes from the band's 1993 album Our Bodies Our Selves, which was the first release following the departure of founding guitarist Jon Von Zelowitz, and would be the last album to include drummer Alex Laipeneiks, leaving Portman as the sole original member.

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Ramon LP4 Medina
Ramon LP4 Medina

Dude I used to own a copy of that Mr. T album.  That effin' ruled!!!!  I wonder if I still have it laying about...   :)

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