Friday, March 21, 2014

Purple tainted eclipses

I'm not sure what the night school folks were studying last night, but when I got to my classroom this morning the words "Music of the 80s" were on my blackboard.

I wonder what it is about the cycle of musical fashion that makes people fascinated with tunes that came out two decades previously.  I was born in 1969 so I didn't really see much of the 60s.  I do remember though that the big craze of the 70s and early 80s was the Fabulous Fifties.  This was probably in large part thanks to Happy Days and Grease. Teenagers waxed nostalgic over a time period they'd never seen and parents, who did remember it, sighed for their youth.  It kind of carried into the mid 80s but then we all discovered the 60s and hippie music.

By the time the 90s were in full swing I had checked out of the popular music scene (at least, of my own era) and was so mired in 10s and 20s dance music that I had very little idea of what most people my own age were listening to.  I do remember that there was some rediscovery of the 70s and let me tell you, I just don't get that one.  The 70s were possibly the tackiest decade in the history of the world.  Don't bother telling me about the musicianship of Jefferson Airplane and Cream and all that crap.  All I have to do is take one look at doubleknit polyester and my mind is made up.

The 80s rediscovery has been going on for some time now.  While I don't mind it--I can relive my misspent youth, though without the hair mousse this time--it's strange to see people half my age rockin' out to Purple Rain. I was sort of excited about going dancing at a place just off Boulevard for "Eighties Night" and found that I was  one of maybe three people in the room who could actually remember the 80s.

Even more interesting than the phenomenon itself is the choice of actual songs.  I observed some years ago that no one ever quite gets it right.  People think about the '20s and they think of "Baby Face" and "Ain't She Sweet."  Both were somewhat, but not overwhelmingly, popular. "Valencia" was the number one selling record of 1926 and no one except me remembers it.  Now the kids all think we went around in 1984 singing the aforementioned "Purple Rain," "Tainted Love" and "Total Eclipse of the Heart."  Huh? Sure, I remember them but they weren't all that.  "Purple Rain" actually was a big hit though I never got why Prince was supposed to be a big sex symbol. The dude is shorter than I was in 9th grade, weighs 90 pounds not counting the Jheri-Curl, and is swishier than a palmetto in a hurricane. "Tainted Love" is really nothing but five minutes of a synthesizer going "BOOP BOOP"  and "Total Eclipse..." is not a bad song but was way too depressing for real 80s kids.  We were all too busy wearing Jams and neon crap and getting our ears pierced.

There are a couple of things I think I'm going to bring back: Jams and OP shorts.  OP shorts are actually short and when the rest of you has pretty much gone south but you still have good legs, well, that's an advantage.  Jams were just cool.

Unfortunately the last time I attempted to wear my surviving pair of Jams (which were supposed to be baggy, if you recall) I forgot that they had been bought by 135-pound me and not 200-pound me. They looked like a Hawaiian sausage casing and left absolutely nobody asking "Where's the Beef?" because it was pretty obvious.  Note to self: when bringing styles back, buy new.

Y'all have a good day. I'm going to go melt with somebody.

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Thanks! Now, go get a drink, sit down and enjoy the show.