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Trinket’s Jukebox – 1984

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I’m a self-described music whorelette. I listen to and own a bit of everything. I can pick favorites from most any genre and if I make a mix CD, boy is it mixed. 1984 is one year that really stands out in my mind- because of the great music. I was in seventh grade and nearly every good memory had music at least playing in the backdrop. Remember the frightening Lionel Richie videos that had his jeri-curled self dancing with a bunch of straight-faced, brightly dressed, celebrity hopefuls?

Comebacks were popular that year. “Jump” and “Panama” were in heavy constant rotation on MTV and Van Halen’s David Lee Roth could do no wrong. Tina Turner strutted her still-great legs in “What’s Love Got To Do With It” and even The Police resurfaced briefly before splitting.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us1984 brought several new voices that sounded familiar. Yes resembled The Police; Rockwell was mistaken for Michael Jackson and so on. I won my very first album (yes, it was vinyl) off the radio that spring. Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The USA. I didn’t even like Springsteen, I just wanted an excuse to go to the radio station to pick up a prize. Back then my friends and I all convened nightly around the kitchen table listening to our favorite station, eating Middleswarth Bar B Q chips, flipping through magazines and gossiping. The goal was for us all to score a free album and within two weeks our goal was met.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe summer was especially memorable. Cyndi Lauper provided the anthem of course, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and Prince was the man. We practiced dorky cheerleading routines to “Let’s Go Crazy” and were mesmerized by the video, “When Doves Cry”. Madonna inspired trips to Brooks in the local mall to buy fluorescent clothes, belts, socks, and of course those jelly bracelets. Lots and lots of bracelets. I had to have painter pants like Bananarama wore and a big hair bow to match. We worshipped Duran Duran and fought over who was the cutest band member. I still lean towards Simon even 20 years later.

The year also gave us several really good one-hit-wonders. Ray Parker Jr. was all about ghostbusting, John Waite wasn’t missing anyone at all, The Romantics told me that I talk in my sleep and I felt a lot of “noize” whenever I blasted Quiet Riot.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI’m not even going into Nena and her stupid “99 Red Luft Balloons”.

Such simple memories triggered by music even to this day, but they’re guaranteed to make me smile every time I look back.

Here’s a list of Billboard’s Top 100 of 1984; which ones still make you smile?

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About kismet

  • sal m

    having been in college during the early 80’s, i look back at the vast majority of the music – and videos – from the this era with horror and revulsion…

  • zingzing

    look at what happened during the 80’s, sal… punk’s influence spread all over america and england, and the underground exploded. face it, you’ve never heard the “vast majority” of early 80’s music. neither have i, but i have to admit that it was one of the most creative and amazing couple of years that anglo-american music ever experienced. go read “my band could be your life.” it’s just a smattering of everything that happened. i think i’m on drugs. i make no sense.

  • http://detectivebobbygoren.blogspot.com/ Trinket

    Zingzing I think you nailed it. It was a really creative time & people were pretty open to new sounds. There was something for everyone. As an adult I can honestly say that pop is NOT my favorite genre, but so many other kinds of music took off because of it that I have to appreciate it.

  • zingzing

    speaking of ’84, just look at the SST released that year: husker du’s zen arcade and the minutemen’s double nickels on the dime. (meat puppets II should count as well). amazing stuff.

  • sal m

    my comments about the music of the 80’s pertain more to the mainstream/pop stuff…for every purple rain, there was bananarama…before michael jackson went mad all of his stuff was classic…duran duran and a bunch of the eurotrash knock offs – as well as the hair bands that were bastardizations of real rockers like van halen – are proof that people in charge of the music biz were zonked out on coke.

    even punk was ruined by what was known as “new wave”…

    no doubt punk and the other kinds of things that went on under the radar were very important and offered a welcome break from what mtv jammed down our throats…

  • http://www.nvzion.com mGee

    Actually, Rockwell wasn’t so much mistaken for Michael Jackson as there was confusion about why such a well known artist as Michael Jackson was doing backup vocals for the then unknown Rockwell.

    The reason was, of course because Rockwell was Berry Gordy’s son and MJ did the backup vocals as a favor.

    Good post though.

    For me, the years ’84-’87 were very formative.

  • zingzing

    bah! punk was new wave. sure, there was plenty of crap. name a time there wasn’t. popular taste is almost always dodgy. still, you must agree that the mainstream/pop stuff from the 80’s was more interesting/whacked out than the stuff from the 90’s. or today. or the 70’s. most of the 60’s.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Zingzing is correct. Most people forget it, but “punk” and “new wave” were originally thought of as the same movement. Saying “punk was ruined by new wave” is like saying “rap was ruined by hip-hop.”

    If anything ruined punk (and everything else about pop music), it was MTV.

  • http://blog.myspace.com/blog/rss.cfm?friendID=19453654 J. P. Spencer

    I graduated from high school in 1984. I was one of those “principled” high school students who thought that electronic keyboards were a scourge and MTV was a stupid idea. I drank cheap-ass beer (like Blatz or Mickey’s big mouths), listened to albums by Yes, Caravan and later Beatles, and laughed at the rich suburban kids who died their hair. One of the kids in my graduating class formed the punk band McRad and ended up charting in Holland. I couldn’t have cared less.

    A month away from turning 40, I can say that I was right about the MTV thing, but man, was I ever a clueless asshole when it came to music.

  • Guppusmaximus

    zingzing…You’re right. The 80’s underground for me was awesome. “Metal Massacre” were the sickest compilation records ever released. Truly a great time and too many bands to name, that I loved!! Van Halen was awesome in the 80’s(1984),
    I liked Duran Duran especially when the bassist created The Power Station with Robert Palmer which inspired,”A View to a Kill”.The Cult’s “Electric”, “The Breakfast Club”….YES!!
    The 80’s were the F*cking best!!
    I have to stop… I’m banging my head!!

  • http://rodneywelch.blogspot.com/ Rodney Welch
  • zingzing

    you damn right i’m right.

  • Steve

    It’s funny, Rodney, your article that you linked to called that list of 80’s songs ‘stuff under the top soil’, I counted about a couple of dozen UK Top 40 hits on that list, though I grant you only one or 2 made the US Top 40 I think.

    Yes, indeed, the fashion styles of that era were quite awful, one of the reasons I think why I was never a concert goer, the image totally distracted from the music.

    I remember 1984 in the UK as the year of Frankie Goes To Hollywood – 3 #1’s in a row, the first by a debut act since Gerry & The Pacemakers in the 60’s – 15 weeks at #1 between those 3 singles, over 60 weeks on the chart for the year, amazing. The year of the hype…and of course, the year of Band Aid.

    I believe it was also the year with the highest number of singles sold in the UK, nothing sells these days on singles like they used to in 1984, market is quite fragmented now over there.

  • Steve

    Funny also about the comments re. Punk and New Wave. I hated Punk, but I enjoyed New Wave, especially the later stuff. I was so glad to see Punk disappear in the 80’s, only to have it merge with Heavy Metal to form Grunge in the 90’s…that put me off new music for a few years I must confess, until almost the millennium.

  • sal m

    mainstream/pop from the 80’s was MORE crap than at any other time, and to make matters worse there was more of it.

  • http://www.rodneywelch.blogspot.com/ Rodney Welch

    All of pop culture is shit until you look back on it.

  • Steve

    Some of the tinny drum machine stuff was pretty bad in the 80’s Sal, I’ll give you that.

  • Nick

    It’s interesting that the only song (I can see anyway) that has passed the test of time is Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time. I guess Prince and Lauper are the ones who have aged best but I think they are probably the two most talented also.

  • zingzing

    that link that rodney gave wouldn’t be to traditional top-40 stuff… it’s called “left of the dial”–college radio. i’ve heard nearly everything on there, and own very little of it. so, i must have heard it somewhere… it was out there.

    i disagree whole-hog with sal m. that’s all i can say.

    nick–are you saying that time after time is the only song from the 80’s that is still worth listening to? no offense, but that’s stupid.