A week ago the news entered the world that yet another huge icon – “His Royal Badness Prince” was no more. It brought me back to one of my many, many nostalgic 1980s music moods. Remember one of my very first posts where I wrote that if I grew up in the 80s, I would totally sleep in front of a record shop to get my hands on that Thriller record of Michael Jackson that was about to come out. Or that my room would be filled with posters of Prince, Queen, Bruce Springsteen, UB40 and many other popular artists of that era. A few hours after the news about Prince, I thought about that blog post and – more specific – about my preference for all genres of 1980s music which I’ve had for years. It also brought me back to the pre-internet era and early internet years, because I’ve been around in both eras like a true inbetweenie.
The 80s: close to my heart and close to my birthday
When it comes to music, I know a lot about music and artists of the bygone years. That knowledge goes beyond the 1980s. From rock and roll to soul of the 1960s. It probably has something to do with that vintage heart of mine. It also gets me in interesting situations with people older than me, who for example wonder why I know exactly when Elvis died…
You probably know that I time travel a lot on this blog when it comes to lifestyle. When it comes to music, I also time travel a lot and I also love various eras. But…next to all the rock & roll, blues and soul classics of the 1960s there is one era that has a very special place in my nostalgic heart: the 1980s. This brings me back to the title of this blog post. Why do I love to time travel to the 1980s? Well, bear with me because this answer takes more than one sentence. Actually, it takes 1633 words. So here’s the story.
The 80s are close to my heart. Even more close to my birthday, because I was definitely alive and kicking in the 80s. And you can take that kicking part literally. Kicking like a baby. You can also take that baby part literally. Despite the fact that I wasn’t old enough in the 1980s to remember a lot of the music, the interest for artists of this era developed very quickly. Take a cup of tea and join me on a nostalgic love-for-1980s-icons music ride with two of my favorite – and also the biggest – 80s music icons of that era.
Time travel: 90s – early 00’s
It all started in 1992. Mini-me had just finished breakfast and was allowed to watch tv. There was a registration of a Michael Jackson concert on tv. I watched it until the end. Somewhere in the mid-90s, my brother bought the compilation cd History part I & II. We both replayed especially CD 1 uncountable times. Somewhere in 1994/1995, I heard someone singing “the most beautiful girl in the world”. I liked the song, turned around and…got kind of confused and scared. The person who was singing this song had these huge, intense “kajal” eyes (still makes me laugh when I think about how I reacted to this).
image via Wikimedia Commons
A few years later I had fully accepted Prince his “Kajal” eyes. It was 1998 and I was a big fan of MTV in these days. Mostly, because they actually played a lot of music in these days. They often had these 80s (and Jackson) weekends with non-stop 80s music specials from 11.00 AM to 16.00 PM. It sounds weird because currently you can be your own non-stop DJ. Not in those days. Non-stop music on tv or radio channels were always very joyful for me. No DJs or VJs. Just music. I either stayed home for it or I recorded everything. The only thing I really disliked was the let’s-have-a-break-every-15-minutes marketing trick of MTV.
During those 80s weekends, I also saw and heard the long version of Purple Rain for the first time. I disliked the radio every now and then because they stopped the song after 3 minutes while the song officially lasts more than 8 minutes. Next to that, the hits of Queen, Whitney Houston, David Bowie, Billy Joel, Dire Straits, Madonna, Toto and so many others passed by. I also got to know so many bands, artists and one-hit wonders. Those weekends were literally musical education for me. I still have the video tapes of these 80s specials somewhere…
In the early 00’s , the internet was slowly but definitely coming up. For me another reason to act like Sherlock Holmes and actively seek information about all my favorite artists. When the internet started to take over the world, mp3 files became essential. Guess what kind of music you could mostly find on my mp3 player and later iPod & iPhone? Exactly: 80s. 80s music everywhere (in the mix with the 50s, 60s, 90s and a dash of the present). Good songs come and go, but great songs never leave your playlist. In my case, I deleted a lot of songs every month to replace them with classics. My iPod could only handle a certain amount of songs back in the early 00’s, with that 512 MB limit that I had. However, all the songs of Michael Jackson and Prince were constant present (including all the long versions of certain songs).
Why I love to time travel to the 1980s
So back to the question. Why do I love to time travel to the 1980s? Well, for the music obviously. But why?
Mystery and effort
Nowadays, I love the internet and I am very social media savvy. But when it comes to my favorite artists it starts with a little mystery. In the pre-internet eras, you had to actively search and collect information about your favorite artists. You would have to buy that magazine to collect posters or read interviews. You had to buy LPs or CDs if you wanted to hear your favorite single more than 5 times a day or turn on the radio / television to listen to documentaries and specials.
There was actually always some mystery around artists and pop stars of that time, because who knew what your icons were up to today – although paparazzi and making up stories is of course of all times… But who cares anyway, the most important thing was that new album that would come out next month. Nowadays it’s the world upside down: you don’t have to search. In fact, you’re actually getting an information overload. Almost every celebrity is on social media nowadays and they (or their management) post pictures, videos or updates about their life. And you? You don’t have to do anything. Just like or follow your favorite artist and the updates will pop up in your news feed.
image via Wikimedia Commons
If you’ve read my music blog posts, you’ve seen that fifties and sixties rock & roll and soul also have a special place in my heart. How can it not, with my vintage fascination. From Elvis to Etta James, these were the times when the classic hits were made. These were the times that inspired my favorite 80s music icons.
However, when I look back at my cassette tapes, CD’s, playlists, favorite radio channels, playlist on iPods and later iPhones, there is no doubt. That replay button has been used and abused a lot when it comes to 80s music. There are specific songs that I literally replayed 1000+ times. My nostalgic heart just loves to go back to the 1980s. It has a lot to do with the icons I mentioned before. Literally icons, because they had millions of followers way before Instagram. They performed and sang songs (self-produced or not) that got me right in the heart. Imagine those artists on the other end of the world that sang a song more than 30 years ago and it still gives you goosebumps today. Now don’t get me wrong, I also listen to nowadays music. Seriously. However, nowadays music is fun for a few months, but – with a few exceptions – it doesn’t get me as much as the music and artists of yesteryear.
The 1960s were just 20 years ago in the 1980s. Every legendary artist was inspired by the blues, soul and/or rock & roll of the 1950s and 1960s. Freddy Mercury, Michael Jackson, Prince – to name a few. On their turn, they all became pioneers for artists of today. Either with their guitar, singing, dancing or with their other creative musical mastermind skills. With their music they touched the hearts of millions ofpeople back then, but also next generations and probably also future generations.
There is just something about the music of these days. In my opinion, the music was just better… There is a reason why all those all-time top 100s are so popular at the end of the year. Nostalgia of course. That’s also the reason why there is always so much media attention nowadays when an (80s) icon has passed away. Memories. So many memories linked to all those classics. Pre-internet memories all over the place.
I would loved to have grown up to in the 1980s musical mastermind era. Because that’s literally how I see the 1980s. So many sub-music styles were born. Rules were bent and boundaries were broken. Of course, the masterminds I am talking about were also very active in the 1990s (and I also love the 1990s). But the heydays, the “not sleeping because Thriller/Purple Rain is coming out tomorrow” state of mind with the whole world looking forward to it, without the possibility to check for updates on social media: only in the 80s…
image via Pixabay