Home Stop the Presses | Rockin’ the ’80s channel

Stop the Presses | Rockin’ the ’80s channel


I remember it well. We were sitting at the Wright’s Dairy Rite. I was 13, maybe 14. I was spending the summer weekend with my cousin and his parents. Waiting for our food, they were blasting ’50s music.

In my head at the moment: I wonder what happens when I get old. Will I sit at a drive-in rockin’ the The Pet Shop Boys on some oldies channel.

Now that I’m old, I have my answer: yes.

The Pet Shop Boys, The Beastie Boys, Depeche Mode, The Artist Once and Then Later Again Known as Prince. Cyndi Lauper. (Remember the video with Captain Lou Albano? Ah, they used to make good videos back in those days. Come to think of it – do they still make videos?)

“This is … old,” my teen niece Kayla said to me when I tried to rock the ’80s channel on the XM driving her home from cross-country practice the other day.

Not that she was that bothered by it. She texted the whole way from Stuarts Draft back to Waynesboro. “I’m sure it’s something important, life and death,” I said to her.

“It is,” she shot back with a glare, then begged me to turn the channel after I’d tried the old-school rap rotation and started pumping some Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock.

This stuff is going to be our elevator muzak in 20 years, folks. “It Takes Two,” with full orchestra. Or … Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Actually, “If You Leave” makes for what I would think would be some pretty awesome muzak. Depressing, sure, but still awesome.

Funny how music takes you back in time. Music from the mid-’80s reminds me of – OK, not the greatest times. I was a walking acne pit with overactive sweat glands. Needless to say, I was dateless in high school, for lack of interest, not for lack of effort.

The overwrought pop music of the time served me well in that respect.

As did the metal and rap music that I gravitated to later in high school. (Metallica, Ice Cube, Public Enemy, Guns N’ Roses, always PO’d at something.)

And then – it stopped. Around 1993 or so, I was done adding new music to my mental song list, and really nothing new had been added since about ’88 or ’89. (Except for the new stuff from the people who were favorites then.)

I realized this the other day when I was reading a news story about a recording artist named Lady Gaga.

“Lady Gaga? Is that a movie or something?” I asked my wife, who had at least heard of Lady Gaga, to her credit, though not much more.

Which is to say, I’m still sitting at the drive-in waiting for food. Just that it’s 2009 now, and it’s ’80s music that’s driving my niece crazy.

I can’t wait to hear the muzak version of Lady Gaga.


– Column by Chris Graham




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