Hey Mickey (Toni Basil)

This song from 1982 has been stuck in my head for two days.   Major nostalgia!  I just learned Toni Basil was 39 years old when she made this video.    This is one of the greatest one hit wonders ever made.

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Video Killed The Radio Star (The Buggles)

I played this one-hit-wonder nonstop when it came out in 1979.   It was definitely ahead of its time, setting the stage for the sounds of the ’80s and the MTV age.

Monday Melody: Wild Wild Life (Talking Heads)

Back in the day (late 70s and most of the 1980s), the Talking Heads were among my favorite new wave bands.    “Wild Wild Life” was one of those songs (“Psycho Killer” was another)  that I couldn’t get enough of.  I first heard it in David Byrne’s independent film project, “True Stories” in 1986 and went out and bought the album of the same name.  I kept playing “Wild Life” on repeat until I had to purchase a new copy of the album.  My copy was on vinyl–CDs were new on the market but hadn’t overtaken LP sales yet.

At the time I was a young newlywed and I still thought I’d married a good man.   My new husband hadn’t started showing his true colors yet (or I just didn’t see or chose not to see the red flags).    I remember being incredibly flattered because he often compared my looks with Tina Weymouth, the bassist for the band (and in fact, in those days I did resemble her).

So without further ado, here’s my 1986 earworm.  Yes, that is a young John Goodman (of Roseanne fame) in the video–he appeared in the David Byrne film and some movie scenes are in this video.

 

Monday Melody: Back on the Chain Gang (The Pretenders)

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The Pretenders were one of the most successful new wave groups of the early to mid 1980s, and “Back on the Chain Gang” was and still is my favorite Pretenders song. Chrissie Hynde, the band’s lead singer, wrote it after the drug overdose death of her husband, James Honeyman-Scott. She was three months pregnant with their daughter at the time.

To me, both this song and video shows a maturity and depth that wasn’t present in their earlier work, without sacrificing their catchy power-pop sound. Although “Back on the Chain Gang” could be thought of as depressing, it always lifted my spirits and made me want to get up and dance. It’s also a song that, to me, defines the 1980’s, but also still sounds fresh and relevant even in 2016.

Monday Melodies: Accidents Will Happen (Elvis Costello)

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I had the good fortune of living in New York City (well, actually in Queens, NY) during the punk and new wave explosion of the late 1970s at just the right age. Until 1979 though, I was largely unaware of it, and satisfied myself with Boston, Aerosmith, and Fleetwood Mac, because in those pre-MTV days, that’s what was getting all the radio airplay (along with disco, of course).

On New Years’ Eve, 1978, I met a young man through a friend and fell head over heels in limerence with him. Never mind that he turned out to be a narcissistic jerk (they all were), for the first half of 1979 we had blast. Mark was what today you might call a hipster–he was a Jewish art student who wore skinny ties and trench coats, and he had an earring when they were still a novelty on men. He ate organic food, rode a bike everywhere, listened to obscure music and he adored punk and New Wave. He hated what I listened to and proceeded to give me a music education.

He used to take me downtown to the East Village, and it was like a carnival. Young people everywhere wearing Mohawks, black leather with safety pins, ripped T-shirts, cheap eateries on every corner, second hand record stores. And of course, a multitude of smoke-filled hole-in-the-wall music clubs, the most famous one being CBGBs.

New wave and power pop bands that would become famous during the early 1980s got their start there. Probably the most famous of all of them was a nerdy looking young Irishman named Declan McManus, more famously known as Elvis Costello.

Costello had a hiccupy, neurotic voice and a spastic dance. He wrote songs with deep, almost indecipherable lyrics and incredibly catchy music with melodies that stuck to you like caramel sticks to your teeth. You were never sure if he was sincere or sarcastic, but no matter–all his songs sounded great and you found yourself singing and bopping along.

His biggest hit was a little ditty called “Accidents Will Happen.” Although my life then was no less shitty than it ever was, I always associate this song with good times. It’s impressive for how far ahead of its time it is. It sounds more like a song that would have been popular in 1986, not 1979. I never grew tired of it, and enjoy it as much today as I did when I was 20.

Long-forgotten one hit wonder I just heard on the radio!

I loved this one hit wonder song when it came out in 1984 but it didn’t receive airplay much beyond its radio life, so like so many other songs that came and went over the years, providing my life’s soundtrack,  I completely forgot about it.

Just a few minutes ago, I heard it on the radio (a local indie-rock station that plays both old and new music), probably the first time in about 20 years.   It’s a song from one of the happier times in my life (which there haven’t too been many of), so it brings back pretty good memories.

I love when that happens.  I wish it would happen more often.  There’s probably so many others songs I completely forgot about, but would remember immediately if I heard them again.

No Doubt also covered this song in 2003.  Their version is just as good.   On  side note, Gwen Stefani appears to be portraying  woman with Histrionic Personality Disorder or maybe BPD.

Wow. I really am old.

Have you ever been hit by an intense blast of nostalgia that almost knocks the wind out of you?

On the radio today I heard this Europop song for the first time since late 1983/early 1984 and was overcome by that sweet sadness that comes from realizing just how many years have elapsed. I was very young then; now I’m bordering on old. Wiser and more stable but more cautious and world-weary. I had no children; now I have adult children. I worried less, acted out more. I’m happier today than I was then, or at least more content. But I can’t help wishing I could go back sometimes, if only to do everything over the way it should have been done.

This song haunts me. I remembered it immediately but never knew who did it. I typed the lyrics in my browser and was able to find out who the artist was. We have the miracle of the Internet now; in 1983 doing such a thing would have seemed like science fiction.

Anyway, it’s a very cool tune. Enjoy!