Friday, February 02, 2007

Songs That Define My 80's Experience - Part 1

Everyone has songs that give them a flashback to a moment in time. I thought I'd share a few with ya'll and tell you what snippet of 1980's emotion or event I relive when hearing the song.

"Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler - This is the ultimate 1983 cruising with my girlfriends song. We'd pour all our frustrated hormones into singing the lyrics as loudly as we could.

"And I need you now tonight / And I need you more than ever / And if you only hold me tight / We'll be holding on forever / And we'll only be making it right / Cause we'll never be wrong / Together we can take it to the end of the line / Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time / I don't know what to do and I'm always in the dark / We're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks / I really need you tonight / Forever's gonna start tonight / Forever's gonna start tonight"

It was probably a bad karaoke moment, fueled by Boone's Farm Tickled Pink but hey, it was all about living in the moment. (Yes, underage drinking went hand in hand with cruising. No wonder so many of my high school friends died in drunk driving accidents.)

"Mickey" by Toni Basil - This 1982 smash was an instant hit and had every girl in our school singing along. This song doesn't bring back a specific memory, but more of a general feeling of happiness, teen crushes and unrequited love.

"Another Brick in the Wall" by Pink Floyd - Okay, it was on their 1979 album, but since I was in a podunk town in Louisiana, we didn't hear it until the 80's so cut me some slack. As a teen, I had no defineable insight into how this song speaks volumes about social reform and anti-establishment sentiments. I just knew it was cool and anti-school. The local top 40 radio station, FM102 played it every year on the last day of school.

"867-5309 (Jenny)" by Tommy Tutone - Catchy, memorable and still serves a very useful purpose. All the girls in my high school did it and probably still do: give out Jenny's number as our own to drunk guys insisting that they're the future love of our life. The video is great for immortalizing the skinny ties and bandanas that we thought were so cool. Only in my school we folded the bandana into an inch wide strip, knotted it in the middle and tied it in the back as if it were a fabric necklace. Go figure. It was the 80's.

"Open Arms" by Journey - I can't hear this song without thinking of my crazy mad unrequited love for Travis Flock. We danced only one slow dance together and it was, of course, this tune. Like girls are wont to do for their first loves, I still have a soft spot for him in my heart.

"Twilight Zone" by Golden Earring - We sang this over and over all the way to Florida on a St. Paschal's youth group trip. On the trip I bought some orange blossom perfume that made me smell like the very cheapest of skid row whores and a nifty tee shirt with my name airbrushed on it.

"Mr Roboto" by Styx - Thank you, Kevin for having a driver's license and a truck. Because you did (and you were cute) I asked you to go to the Styx concert in Ruston at Louisiana Tech. I wish I could remember your last name. I can't forget that you "love me a fountain Coke", the concert was incredible, I saved for a month for the tickets, and on our way home you had to pull off highway onto the shoulder and run around the truck to fight off fatigue. I still can't believe my parents let us go to another town for a concert.

"Footloose" by Kenny Loggins - It was Tami, Kimi Rosa, Kim and Kay at the movies, rooting for Ren and Ariel, Willard and Rusty to triumph over the ultra strict religious ban of dancing and rock and roll, not to mention Ariel's bady boy ex. The movie launched the careers of Sarah Jessica Parker and Chris Penn but catapulted Kevin Bacon into stardom. For my friends and I, the movie showed us that if we believe in something good and do our best to promote it, we'll win out over wrong every time. And we played the album until it was scratched and skipped. The music still makes me want to dance. Viewing the movie as an adult, it's pretty darn hokey...but I love it anyway. And will someone please buy me Ariel's red boots?

"The Reflex" by Duran Duran - brings back my MTV watching days. My friend Toni, sister Kim and whomever else was home at the time would watch hours of MTV (back when they showed videos). It was cutting edge technology to us.

Which leads me to "Thiller" by Michael Jackson - quite possibly the best video ever made. We had a premiere watching party and cheered when the video started. The video marked the first time Jacko said to a girl "I hope you like me the way I like you...I'm not like other guys. I mean, I'm different." Wonder if he used that line on Debbie Rowe?

"I Feel For You" by Chaka Khan - Not only is this a damn good song, but for me it immortalizes Stace Cascio. Stace lived with us briefly when his parents kicked him out for coming out. He met with tragedy in the 90's after shady dealings with drug runners. His tortured and mutilated body was unearthed in a shallow grave in Columbia, a victim of drug traffickers. My first openly gay male friend taught me that believing in yourself is of utmost importance, laughter is a daily requirement, Capri cigarettes are cool and we must must must start off our ride to school by popping in the cassette and playing this song over and over. I love you, Stace, but I still haven't forgiven you for that hit of poppers you "gave" me while I was asleep on the road trip to St. Francisville. When I get to Heaven we're gonna talk about that.

To be continued!

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