I Think I’d Have Been More Excited If I’d Known How Much Fun (for the most part) The ’80s Would Be

December 31, 2009

I was twelve the first time that I stayed up to witness the arrival of the new year. It was the night the ’70s ended. It was hardly a hoopla-laden affair to me. In fact, everyone else in the house had gone to bed.

I had stayed up watching Purdue play Tennessee in the Bluebonnet Bowl.

(I had to research who had played and that Purdue won 26-22)

At some point, I had switched over to Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and, for whatever reason, got drawn in to the march toward 1980. It wasn’t the music. I was still about a year from music truly mattering to me.

The only performer who I remember was Barry Manilow singing some song called It’s Just Another New Year’s Eve. Even with my relative amibivilance toward music, Manilow was so everywhere for such a stretch in the ’70s, I knew some of his songs.

I think when 1980 finally hit, I shrugged and shuffled off to bed. It still felt pretty much like 1979 to me.

Here’s a trio of songs by acts that, according to Mr. Pop Culture, performed on that Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in 1979 (even if I don’t remember seeing them)…

Blondie – Heart Of Glass
from Parallel Lines

So, I wasn’t listening to music in 1979, but I did know Blondie’s Heart Of Glass. On the rare occasions when there was music in my life, Heart Of Glass seemed to be playing.

I loved it – the trancey, shimmering disco beat and the sexy indifference of Debbie Harry’s vocal. There had to be millions of twelve-year old boys who took notice of Debbie Harry in 1979.

I didn’t know it then, but Blondie would become one of my favorite bands of the time and one that I still adore. The group incorporated a lot of musical styles into their sound, sometimes disasterously, but often the failures were at least interesting.

Chic – Le Freak
from Black History in Music

I did a bit of research and Chic’s most recent hit as the ’70s closed was the engaging Good Times. whose bass part would prove to be quite influential (Queen’s Another One Bites The Dust being just one example).

I could have sworn I had a copy, but, if I do it’s missing.

I do have Le Freak, from the year before. Like Heart Of Glass, Le Freak was one of the handful of songs I probably knew by name. Of course, the “freak out!” was what hooked me and my friends in junior high.

Village People – Go West (12″ version)
from The Best Of The Village People

Village People were everywhere for a year or so. It seemed like they popped up a lot on television which made me familiar with Y.M.C.A., Macho Man, and In The Navy.

Yeah, Y.M.C.A. is good fun, but it’s worn out its welcome with me.

I think I first heard Go West as a Pet Shop Boys cover. Then, it was used in a commercial for butter – farmers on tractors singing it – while I was living in London. It’s catchy as hell and dramatic to the hilt.