80s Music
July 8, 2009

While I continue working on my critique of Amazon.com's website, let me write a quick and fun post. And since 80s music is the topic of the moment, let me once again emphasize how weird I was.

I did not, in fact, own any Michael Jackson albums. In fact, I thought he was terribly weird as it was back in the day, before he got really weird. I can perhaps name three Michael Jackson songs: "Billie Jean," "Thriller," "Beat It." Honestly? I prefer Weird Al's version of Beat It.

I did own: Police Synchronicity on cassette tape and a couple of Air Supply cassettes as well. Also, Yes 90125, the title of which I always have to look up because despite never having watched the show, 90210 comes to mind more quickly. I owned an REO Speedwagon LP and U2's early discography on LP ... though I stopped after Rattle & Hum. I wanted 38 Special, but never got around to buying any. I also had a few 45s, the stride song from St. Elmo's Fire ("Ain't Nothing Gonna Break-a My Stride") and Howard Jones' "No One Ever Is to Blame." Nope, no Madonna - I couldn't stand her. (She offended me with her first big hit. What can I say, I was a prude. Err, still am, just not quite that bad any more.) No Lionel Ritchie, though I did like him. No Springsteen, either.

We did not have cable, so I missed out on the entire music videos, MTV thing. By the time I finally had MTV, they'd stopped playing videos (not that I really cared, to be honest). We did have a Betamax VCR because both my father and I are gadget-heads. By the time I moved out of the house in, I think it was 1989, Dad had the family VCR in the living room and I think four VCRs in his bedroom. Also a video enhancer, a stereo receiver/mixer, two illegal microwave antennae and a Commodore 128 with monitor. Also, stereo speakers. But that's another ball of wax completely.

The one LP I had that caused a bit of controversy in the house was, of course, Purple Rain. I was thinking of buying it even though I had heard there was something naughty about it because I really liked a couple of songs I'd heard on the radio. So when I ran into my rebellious cousin at the mall, it didn't take much arm-twisting for her to talk me into it.

I adored having my LPs in pristine condition. I took meticulous care of them. There would never be a scratch on any of my LPs, nor even the faintest hint of one. I treated them like the finest glass sculptures. But when I listened to the flip side of the LP, the very first song freaked. me. out. I seriously contemplated taking out my penknife and making a deep groove through "Darling Nikki" so it could never be played and the needle would just traverse through to "I Would Die 4 U" instead.

My mother was not happy about this purchase as she'd thought she'd heard dire things about it. I came home from school one day and she made some comment about my music ... I went to my room, looked through my albums and came out and sat at the foot of her recliner whilst she read the newspaper. I said nothing.

"What do you want?" she asked fussily.

"I'd like my album back, please."

"It's filth, you can't have it." I didn't move and didn't respond. I was fairly certain she hadn't broken it and fairly certain she still had it. Not 100% positive, but pretty sure.

The newspaper crinkled down in the corner again so she could peer at me. "I heard on the news that it was bad."

I said nothing and just waited.

It took perhaps 10 minutes and she told me where it was. I retrieved it and put it in my desk drawer where she never found it. Of course, I'm not sure she bothered to look again.

Had she just asked me, I would have told her that there was a single song on there that would freak her out. That it had freaked me out and I hadn't even listened to it all the way through once and had no plans of ever listening to it. Had she trusted that she had, in fact, instilled her morals in me, she never would have had to worry about that LP.

But, my real 80s music that I listened to obsessively? Billy Joel. I wasn't even all that fond of Bruce Springsteen, really. In fact I thought my friends were going to throw something at me when I asked who he was.

I watched Our House with a very young Shannon Dougherty. But I didn't see the point in 90210. Missed Dallas and Falcon's Crest which were both quite popular in my high school. I watched The Hogan Family instead. About the only "popular" thing I watched was Fame. Not the movie, but the series. Now that I would never miss. But I don't think anyone in my school watched that either. I was definitely off the beaten track with my taste. (And I didn't care. I'd prattle on and on about The Secret of Nimh whilst friends babbled about Rambo or Risky Business, other 80s gems that I missed.)

I do recall in late elementary school one pop music event --

My cousin called me bawling her eyes out one day. I mean absolutely BAWLING. When she was somewhat coherent she sobbed to me that the King was dead and now Chubby Checker was going to get to be King and she was just *SOB*

I had to ask who she meant. And to be honest, I think she had just found out because I'm pretty sure he died about 2 years before she called me. Also? With the arrogance of youth, I thought he'd died a million years earlier.

She was unamused with me. Apparently it was a horrible thing for the king of rock-n-roll to die without naming a worthy successor and I was not showing enough respect.

Today, history repeats itself with the king of pop.

Now when Billy Joel finally kicks the bucket (and if it's true only the well-behaved die young, he's going to live for a long freaking time still), THEN I'll be an inconsolable fan who bitches that they're not shutting down NYC for Billy the way they shut down the 101 in LA for MJ. I'll probably haul the LPs up from the basement and finally get them digitized and play them and the CDs endlessly.

But until then, I admit to being perplexed by all the hoo-raw. He was just a man like any other. A weird, tormented little man for whom, to be honest, I felt pity rather than admiration. I hope he rests in peace.

And I wish the rest of us would freaking get over it.

(I know, I know, I'm the picture of sympathy, aren't I? But I'm tired of hearing about it already.)

Posted by Red Monkey at July 8, 2009 5:05 AM | People Say I Have ADHD, But I Think - Hey Look, A Chicken | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |

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