Sunday, July 15, 2012

Blast from the Past: 30 Years Ago--The Music of 1982

Last week, for Blast from the Past, I chose the music of 25 years ago to illustrate the freakiness of time's passage. Some songs of 1987 of course are so dated, it isn't hard to believe they're that old. And then you get to one of the classics, and you're like, no way.

I chose 1982 this week, but I found something unusual. I decided to isolate my choices to the Billboard top 10 for that year, and found it to be an odd list. 1982 was the year after the debut of MTV. Disco was officially dead, and new wave was rolling in. You'd think that 1982's top songs would be a day-glo, leg-warmered selection of the cheesiest 80s tunes ever. Turns out, not so much.

1. Physical » Olivia Newton-John - This song was everywhere at the time. And though the video is a neon and headband 80s extravaganza, the song itself isn't really new wave or typically 80s. It really amounts to a novelty song, smack-dab in the middle of ONJ's genre-defying catalogue.
2. Eye Of The Tiger » Survivor - This one is just what you'd expect, an 80s tragedy, video and audio both. Possibly saved by being from one of the Rocky movies, otherwise disposable.

3. I Love Rock N' Roll » Joan Jett & The Blackhearts - Again, this isn't really an 80s sound at all. It would fit with any other rock and roll number, particularly those by Jett.
4. Ebony And Ivory » Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder - Stevie Wonder's career spans several decades. And you could plug this one in ten years before or after, and it wouldn't sound out of place.

5. Centerfold » J. Geils Band - This one was a huge video hit, painting it forever an 80s tune. But--yet again--this is way more J. Geils than it is 80s, in sound.
6. Don't You Want Me » Human League - 80s all the way, but this time in a good way.

7. Jack And Diane » John Cougar - John Mellencamp hadn't dropped the Cougar yet, but both hits by him in the top 10 could fit anywhere in his career.
8. Hurts So Good » John Cougar - Ditto.

9. Abracadabra » Steve Miller Band - It's not 80s, it's classic rock! Seriously, Steve Miller has his own sound, and it wasn't your usual 80s fare.
10. Hard To Say I'm Sorry » Chicago - See what I mean? Chicago is it's own thing. . .it doesn't really have an era.

All of these songs were hits in my sophomore and junior years in high school. I was finally shedding my awkward phase, and growing into a (slightly) more confident person. These songs--while not being particularly good at describing their era--all resonate to me as a time of joy and discovery. But discovering that they're 30 years old? That's a little deflating!

Happy Monday. If you can even face the day. . .   ;)

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