The 80s. What better time to be a kid?? There were so many great things about the 80s. GI Joe, Transformers, HeMan, SheRa, Gem (She’s truly outrageous. Truly, truly, truly outrageous!), Care Bears, Rainbow Brite, Strawberry Shortcake, the Barbie Dream House and Barbie Corvette… Just to name a few.
I could go on and on about toys, TV shows and movies, but the music… The music is what made the 80s so totally tubular. In a past post I mentioned that middle school is where a lot of my own tastes in music were formed, and to an extent that was true, but when I sat down to make this list I realized that I began my love of music in my younger years. So I broke my own rule (rules were made to be broken), and had to list more than 5 top songs, and a few albums snuck in, too. Without further adieu, the Top 7 Songs/Albums from my Elementary School years:
7. Wham – Wake Me Up (Before You Go Go)
- This song was just so darn catchy, wasn’t it? My younger sister and I loved the whole Wham! album, but this song we had our own routine to. We would lug our giant radio/tape player to the back porch and pretend it was a stage (the porch, not the radio – although the radio was certainly large enough) and refine our moves to this song. Over, and over, and over again. I still remember some of them. And no, I won’t perform them. Unless there is alcohol involved. Then maybe… OK, probably.
6. Joe Cocker – With a Little Help from my Friends
- At the time, I had no idea who Joe Cocker was, and didn’t care. This was The Wonder Years song. In my opinion one of the finest pieces of television, ever. The first few notes of this song would come through the TV speakers and I would drop whatever I was doing and sit glued for 30 minutes. Kevin Arnold was my dream boy. He was so cute, and sweet, and way to good for that stupid, whiney Winny Cooper. I mean, who the hell did she think she was, anyway?
5. The Soundtracks to Top Gun, Dirty Dancing, Footloose & Sixteen Candles
- These should be on everyone’s lists. Because they are awesome. Yes, they are great movies, but you can’t convince me that Maverick would have been as cool as he was if he didn’t go to the danger zone, that Jake Ryan would make girls swoon without the help of the Thompson Twins, and that Kevin Bacon and Baby would have been footloose and had the time of their lives without great music to dance to.
4. Tiffany – I Think We’re Alone Now
- Interesting that this is the second Beatles song to make the list, but not performed by the Beatles. Anyway, Tiffany was just plain cool. She had big bangs, poofy hair, cool clothes and sang in malls across the country. What girl didn’t want to be Tiffany? And even if you weren’t a fan of her many remakes of classic songs, you had to admit that the girl could sing.
3. Paula Abdul – Straight Up
- Speaking of cool girls, back in the day Paula Abdul was pretty damn cool – remember the video with the cartoon cat? (Was that the Cheetos cheetah?) Paula Abdul was album-worthy on my list (because I played it non-stop on my Walkman – oh yeah, I got one from Santa), but this song was by far my favorite. And if you disagree you can go a ba, ba, bye, bye, ba, ba, ba, ba, bye bye.
2. Madonna – Like a Prayer (The Album and the Song)
- From Madonna’s one-time choreographer to the queen M herself. Remember those tape of the month clubs (the predecessor to CD of the month clubs, and what do they have now?) where you would get like 14 tapes for 12 dollars and then they would rake you over the coals for the remainder of your “contract”? That’s how I got this album. Talk about a fun album. Express Yourself, Cherish (another remake), and my favorite, Like a Prayer. Yet another song that I have some fly moves to…
1. Michael Jackson – Thriller (The Album and the Song)
- Once again I find myself with a cliché #1. I was 5 years old when the Thriller video premiered on TV, and the memory of watching it is still vivid almost (but not quite) 30 years later. My parents bought the tape and I quickly claimed it as my own and repeatedly listened to the whole thing. Every song was, and still is, great on that album. Every video associated was, and still is, great. What else can I say – it’s stood the test of time.
That one was a fun trip down memory lane… Next up will be High School – which I think I’m going to have to break all kinds of rules there (which will make up for the fact that I actually broke very few while in High School – well, compared to some I guess). Those were some formidable years.
-Wham – Careless Whispers, Debbie Gibson – Only in My Dreams, Saved by the Bell Theme Song, Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start the Fire & Uptown Girl, Kenny Rogers Christmas Album, Toni Basil – Mickey, Belinda Carlisle-Heaven is a Place on Earth
Middle School Addition/Edit:
New Kids on the Block – Please Don’t Go Girl
- How in the hell I missed this song for my Middle School list I have no idea. I will attribute it to the sickness that was plaguing me for three weeks that is finally leaving my body (good riddance) and allowing my brain to return to full functioning capacity. But I loved Joe McEntire. Fred Savage was mere puppy love compared to the love I felt for Joe. Those blue eyes, that sweet smile, and that voice… When he would get up there and sing his little heart out and hit those high notes in “Please Don’t Go Girl” – I would lose my shit. His was the first poster I ever bought, and you know I had the button too. Went awesome on my jean vest. Yeah, don’t act like you didn’t love NKOTB, too – you probably had the giant button…