Last week John Scalzi posted a Crowded House song on his Whatever blog that reminded me of multiple Split Enz albums stashed in storage the past 20+ years. I’d been meaning to unearth my hibernating collection, so launched operation album rescue to see if any of those oldies (but goodies) could be resuscitated.
Surprisingly, after 20+ years in storage the vinyl held up with only 2 lost to warped-attrition. My turntable did not fare so well, but my ‘80s stereo amplifier and speakers work like new. Zipped out to acquire a replacement turntable at store. Thankfully there was one in the very back. At the checkout, I asked the two young men if they remembered turntables? One looked at me like I crawled out from under a retro rock while the other quipped, “Oh yes, my grandmother had one!”
Ahem. As I walked out with my new acquisition (feeling a bit old) I encountered a young student wearing an oversized t-shirt emblazoned with The Cure, a famous 1980s band. She was amazed I knew who they were (uh, have lots of their music and saw them in concert in D.C. @ the 9:30 Club.) I was amazed when she told me how her dad had restored an old 1980s turntable system so she could play their albums “retro-authentic.”
This week it’s been like Christmas, with Virginia the DJ having fun amidst hundreds of albums. Some groups I had forgotten (completely) yet when I played the first measures, voila, time warp back to the angst of high school, university and that initial foray into the world of working professionals: the decade of the 1980s.
I found my very first album acquisitions from waaaay back at the Bandbox in Williamsburg: The Beatles, Soft Cell & Genesis. My eclectic collection grew from there with divergent influences. (Voting for our high school senior class song was a tie: Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” and Prince’s “1999.”)
My first year in university every dorm had The Police’s Synchronicity and Prince’s Purple Rain blaring out all over.
Playing these records reminds me of those times, but also fun times at live concerts.
As a 15th birthday pressie my sis took me to see The Police @ The Hampton Coliseum. In university many great bands passed through. As a member of U-Union Student Activities committee, we all signed up to pour beer early on (from 7:00-9:00pm) then would get in free in time for the concert headliner. (This was before the drinking age bumped up to 21.)
UB40, Psychedelic Furs, REM, English Beat, James Taylor, Kool & the Gang, a host of others and my favorite band SQUEEZE. I saw them 4 times in concert and still am a huge groupie!
Some of this music reminds me of deeeeep reflective times of inner searching and other tunes transport me to good times kicking back, hanging out with friends.
After university I worked for a non-profit on Capitol Hill. One evening my big-salary-earning buddies called with a last-minute free ticket to see the Grateful Dead at RFK stadium. Picked up on the way, I was wearing a navy blue work suit with pumps whilst they were decked out in tie dyes of various hues (along with everyone else in the stadium.) Can you picture that? Virginia in navy blue threads at a Grateful Dead concert? No matter, we had heaps of fun.
I’ll never forget the first time I took my younger brother Dwight to Tower Records, a huge multilevel store with untold thousands of records near George Washington University in D.C. The classical section was larger than our entire record store in Williamsburg. We spent over five hours there (intense music perusal interrupted with several sustenance breaks.) I discovered many amazing artists in that big store.
Moving overseas in 1992 all my vinyl records went into storage hibernation. Some ‘80s groups I kept up with (and still do): Annie Lennox, U2, Stevie Wonder, Aaron Neville, Sting, Indigo Girls, Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, James Taylor, REM, Squeeze (Jools Holland et all), Crowded House, Simple Minds, the list goes on and on. Certain albums were such favs CDs were eventually acquired. For other groups this week’s rediscovery has been like a birthday party because I was so into them (Icehouse, The Stranglers, The The, a-ha, English Beat, The Fixx, Men Without Hats, General Public, Boomtown Rats, Echo and the Bunnymen, World Party, Waxing Poetics…)
“Music can change the world because it can change people.” Bono
Working overseas in conflict zones (and getting a little older) my music tastes evolved. Discovering Enya @ Tower Records, she became a favorite to calm frayed nerves (along with other slightly more mellow groups) while the Violent Femmes, Dead Kennedys and former slam dancing favs dropped off playlists.
Have to confess, some rediscoveries have been WEIRD (1980s weird, which is really weird) but the good stuff is so totally, like, amazingly, awesomely GREAT!
Music is the soundtrack of our lives. It’s been fun recovering memories and favorite melodies from the 1980s. (Now I just have to figure out how to use the USB cable to download these albums to my laptop to mix with more modern fare.)
Many more to play and rediscover. Virginia the DJ is having albums of fun!
grace, peace & 1980s ViNyL
Virginia : )
p.s. Signing off with a YouTube of a favorite song I ran to with my Walkman every day in college. Years later I astounded my nieces over lunch at the fancy Williamsburg Inn by launching into this early anti-drug rap song ‘White Lines’ from Grandmaster Melle Mel.
I feel you my friend! 1980s was my favorite music era..at least our local DJs constantly plays music from 80s and 90s too! Breathe, The Police etc. When I was in Oregon studying at UO, I went to Bangles concert! Thanks for the nostalgic trip😊
oooh, I just played the Bangles yesterday – they rock! How fun to have seen them in Oregon. I’m still in rediscovery mode going through the alphabet (yes, I organized alphabetically to make it easier to find Split Enz!) Cheers!
Yoo hoo!! Walk like an Egyptian 😃
This is truly a walk down memory lane!
🎶😎🎶 I recognize many of those album covers I played repeatedly from your vast record collection, like Boy by U2 and Reach the Beach by The Fixx. I have you to thank for expanding my musical horizons. I can hear tunes from the Police, Sqeeze, Simple Minds, Tears for Fears, Howard Jones, The Stranglers and on and on it goes … soooo many groups!!! Glad you could rediscover these old friends! Enjoy 😊 💕🎶🎹🎼🎧📀💿
Cin, it’s been SO fun going down memory lane. But, going back PRE-1980s, I’ll never forget you playing the Jethro Tull record, “Bungle in the Jungle” & Earth Wind & Fire (wasn’t that an 8-track tape?) — I’m still such a huge EWF groupie! Thank you for treating for concerts like the Police & Squeeze (in Norfolk AND Richmond!) that are memories we’ll never forget. Blessings & hugs — gL 🙂
Ahh, love seeing that Bono quote and those U2 records…forever my fav band, and they have been such an inspiration for me over the years.
Bono and U2 have inspired me (& so many folks) for many years now — and they still rock! Not just their music (still full on good) but the way they’ve made the world wake up and notice challenges & do something about them. Blessings! 🙂
Yep, nothing brings back memories like the ‘music of our lives’. [Lately, on some AM radio stations, that is translated as ‘old people’s music.]
LoL, Tim – as I’m blasting my way through my cache of ’80s albums, my brother calls it “the Academy of Ancient 80s Music.” 🙂 (We also listen to lots of classical!) Blessings!
Been going through my own ’80s nostalgia these days. It’s amazing how music can bring back so many memories, or tie in a particular event or portion of your life. Rediscovery is the bomb. 🙂
Hi Ken, music transports us (kinda like a Star Trek time machine.) 🚀😜🚀 I like your take of rediscovery (altho all that negative 80s angst I’d leave undiscovered, thank you very much!) Here’s to rediscovering the good stuff! Cheers! 🎉🎧🎉
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