My friend Lars sent me a link to Cracked.com's list of Ten Most Terrifyingly Inspirational Songs from the 80's. Yes, we are Gen X'ers. We spent our formative years in the 80's and graduated in the early 90's. We wore side pony tails, and bangles up our arms and leg warmers and we were proud and happy dammit! I had a good time going through the list, and each video I played, The Boy would holler out who the band was, so proud of himself (although he got hung up on Pat Benatar and missed a few after that). It's amazing how many of the songs on that list were tied to movies that I loved back then. Karate Kid, The Legend of Billy Jean, Footloose, Top Gun (which I still have to stop and watch every time I find it in the TV lineup)...
I don't think however they these were *my* most inspirational songs from the 80's. So I give them to you, in no particular order:
1. We Didn't Start The Fire- Billy Joel. I love Billy Joel anyways, much to the dismay of some people in my household.. and this was one of *the songs* when I was in HS. My US History teacher Jr. year made us memorize the words to this song, because it was such a pinnacle of historic tidbits. When we started out, I knew what maybe 1/4 of all the events/people where that he was singing about. By the end, we knew them all. I can still sing along and not miss a line. If I could go back and change one thing, I'd see Billy Joel in concert. I can only imagine how awesome that would be.
2. I'm Still Standing- Elton John. For reasons I don't care to delve into, this was one of my unofficial "theme songs" in the 80s. I actually have a long list of those, but that's a post for another day. This was one of the classic 80s songs, so we'll throw this one out there.
3. Fame- Irene Cara. So, at the end of my 3rd grade year, we moved from MA to NH. I went from a private catholic school, to a public elementary school, and it was scarey. A new house, a new place to live, a new school. We moved in to a neighborhood that had a TON of kids all around the same age I was. In fact, the girl next door was not only the same age, she was in the same grade as me in school. We became fast friends. We had a swing set that we moved with us, and my parents put it up in our side yard. Fame was released the year we moved, 1983. The next summer, when it was hotter than hot, and still all over the charts, we made it our personal mission to learn ALL the words to the song. We would swing on the swings, side by side, and sing at the top of our lungs. When we got to "FAME", we would kick of one of our sandals. Of course, the sandal kicking thing didn't last as long as the song did, but we didn't care... and I won't even begin to guess as to how many hours we spent on those swings singing this song. Good Times.
4. Summer of 69-Bryan Adams. I first heard this song on a camping trip, with my family and friends of our family. My dad liked Bryan Adams and as we were always subjected to his music, it was something I heard often. But the reason this song is on this list, is because of a boy who had a crush on me some summers later. I met him at the beach, while I was staying for 2 weeks with my Aunt/Uncle/Cousins/Grandparents. I might've had a crush on him also. He was older than I was, and cute, and I was still in that awkward "starting to like boys" phase. He had a boom box that he would bring out to the sand, and this song played a lot. We talked for hours about nothing really, but at the time it was the most enthralling conversation I'd ever had. I never heard from him again after we left to go home, but I still think of him when I hear this song.
5. It's the End of the World As We Know It (and I feel fine)- REM. Yes, I like REM. No, I'm not ashamed to admit it. I discovered REM while I was in HS, which was in fact the end of the 80s/early 90's.. so this may not be an inspirational song of the 80s for me (cuz really, who remembers what grade I was in)... but it was released in the 80's so it counts. Interestingly enough, Clear Channel Communications put this on the list of songs that were "banned from being played" after 9/11... along with 159 other songs. What I find more interesting, is some of the other songs on the list; "Walk Like an Egyptian" by the Bangles, "Wonderful World" by Herman's Hermits, "Ticket to Ride" by the Beatles, and "Morning Has Broken" by Cat Stevens. Anyhow, you can check out the whole list, here.
6. Total Eclipse of the Heart- Bonnie Tyler. I almost don't know where to begin with this song. So I'm not going to. Lets just say that this song holds a lot of memories for me. Some good, some painful, and some of the best memories in the vault that is my mind. Some of the best laughs I've had were listening to a few people try and belt out this song and get all the lyrics right. Even with the words printed out for them.. they never managed to do it. The sad part, is there was no liquor involved that night. Carry on boys, carry on.
7. Our House-Madness. In 1983, we moved to NH. My parents bought a "real house" (my mom owned an apartment building that had been her dads, and we had the first floor, and it was big and great in our young eyes) and moved us out of the city and into "the middle of nowhere". (if I had only known). We moved in May, before the school year ended. Our schools allowed us to finish out the year and my dad dropped us off on the way to work every morning (he worked in MA, not far from our school) and my mom came and picked us up in the afternoon. She drove a red chevy station wagon that did NOT have that panel board on the sides, and I'm pretty sure it didn't have seat belts, because we never wore them. Myself, and 2 of my brothers would sit in the back, facing the rear, and sing this song at the top of our lungs.
8. Shades of Grey-The Monkees. (yes I know, this song was recorded in 1967 and I wasn't even born yet). I had one of those tan Fisher Price record players when I was young. You know the ones. It played little records that had books, and it played big records with music. One of my first "non-kid records" was The Monkees Greatest Hits. I loved that record. When we moved, I was heartbroken. I was leaving my school, my friends, my house, my neighborhood, my childhood crush.... I hated my parents for doing this to us. When we were unpacking, I sat in my room for hours listening to Shades of Grey over and over again on my record player. It was my "mourning song" so to speak. The first 20 times I bawled my eyes out. It eventually got better, and I made new friends and went to public school (which was scary on it's own) and then my record player broke and I got a tape player/radio and it was years before I owned The Monkees Greatest Hits on CD.
9. Video Killed the Radio Star-The Buggles. On August 1, 1981 at 12:01 am, MTV launched and this was the very first video they ever played. I watched MTV back in they day of real music videos. Before all those "shows" started and it became mostly "talk radio" with a few videos mixed in. Back in the Day of the Head Bangers ball (which I hated buy one of my BFF's loved and made me watch every time I slept over her house) I'd come home from school, and flip on MTV while I was doing my homework, hoping to catch the latest "hot video". I don't even want to think about how many hours I wasted in front of MTV, but, there it is.
10. It Must've Been Love- Roxette. When I was in HS, I met this boy. His mom and my mom worked together, and he was a grade higher than me in school. We became friends, and his friends became my friends.. and one thing eventually led to another and we became boyfriend/girlfriend. He was my first real boyfriend. The first person I actually "went out with." I think by the time we actually started dating I was a sophomore, but it might've been the end of my freshmen year. Anyhow, we went out a few years. I went to his prom, and never felt more beautiful or more out of place in my whole life. He had one of my necklaces that my aunt had bought me that he kept in the glove box of his truck and it got stolen when he was at the shop. He drove me home from work, visited me and brought my homework over the many different "week long" absences I had during sophomore year due to a million bouts of bronchitis, called me every night, wrong my cheesy love notes, and in the end cheated on me with one of my BFFs who slept with him when I wouldn't. He broke my heart, and I broke up with him. I didn't realize that even though I was the "dumper"... it would hurt so very much. I played this song over and over until I could hear it in my sleep. I can't hear this song and not think of him.