1984: Eighth Grade Musical Journey

I love music because it creates an emotional landscape in your mind. You hear a certain song and you are instantly transported back to a certain time and place, or a period of your life. Most of the time they are sweet memories of good times gone by.

For me, the year was 1984. From September 1983 through June 1984, I was in the Eighth Grade. Damn, 1984 was a great year for music! MTV was only a couple of years old, although it didn’t matter much to us because we couldn’t afford Cable TV. However, we had regular tv and Richard Blade hosted an afternoon video show. I remember hearing these songs on the radio, or playing them over and over on a small record player that I had in the room that I shared with my older brother.

How Soon Is Now by The Smiths

This song was in heavy rotation on KROQ for many years, beginning in 1984. In fact, this song and the Smiths would serve me well during my high school years, too. I never owned this song on record or cd until much later. We were so short on money that my dad would have killed me if he found out that I spent my money on buying a music record. I love the sound that Johnny Marr produces with his guitar on this song, its very unique and “elasticy”. Morrissey wailing “I am human and I need to be loved!” is unforgettable. It was a perfect chorus for a young Chicano boy whose mind and body was in transition from boy to man, discovering love and girls for the first time, and trying to find his place in the world.

You shut your mouth
how can you say
I go about things the wrong way
I am human and I need to be loved
just like everybody else does

Will the Wolf Survive? by Los Lobos

Surprisingly, the only station that played this song on the radio in Los Angeles was KROQ. It was not in heavy rotation, but they were kind of progressive in their programming and it used to get played every now and then. Of course, when this song would come on the radio, I would blast it in my room. Straight up Rock N Roll by Chicanos. I always thought that David Hidalgo’s voice sounded very similar to Steve Winwood with that high pitch. I liked Los Lobos even more when I saw a poster of them in the music store and I found out that they looked like me! Chicano.

Standing in the pouring rain
All alone in a world that’s changed
Running scared, now forced to hide
In a land where he once stood with pride
But he’ll find his way by the morning light

Hot for Teacher by Van Halen

At the risk of sounding sexist, this was a great, great song and even greater video, especially for 13 year old boy with raging hormones. Mind you, this was a time before the internet, where Catholic School boys had to sneak a peek at dirty magazines to see and learn about the female form. Thank God for Hughes Markets and their magazine rack (that’s a whole other story)! Anyway, this song has a great drum solo and the video speaks for itself, even after all these years.

I think of all the education that I missed.
But then my homework was never quite like this.
Got it bad, got it bad, got it bad,
Im hot for teacher.
I got it bad, so bad,
Im hot for teacher.

Hold Me Now by the Thompson Twins

This was a great song, with a really great simple and unforgettable chorus. This is one of those songs that every time it came on the radio, I sang along with it. Its easy for the listener to understand all the lyrics and the song has an easy, slowish pace. Best of all, the song has a great chorus. Can you tell I needed to be held during these years?

Hold me now, warm my heart
stay with me, let loving start (let loving start)


5 responses to “1984: Eighth Grade Musical Journey

  1. Just got my 20th HS reunion announcement in the mail and was trying to think of an 80s playlist to put me in the mood for it. Your suggestions are all on my list.

  2. Music has definitley been one of those things that I’ve used to measure and remember the years. Buying records was frowned upon in our house as well. I would often buy them and stash them somewhere and pull them out to listen. Its interesting, while complex music is generally esteemed, its often the simple songs that are most effectively memorable. Great post, thanks for sharing the music and classic videos.

  3. Notoriouslig, hope you have fun at your reunion. I will post more 80’s suggestions later on.

    Chano, very true about the simplest music being memorable, and the fact that very few can write that memorable hook. I’ll try to post a list from college/grad school, too.

  4. I have always loved that song by the Smiths. It is timeless.

  5. I totally agree with you about the magic of music. I have such a bad memory, but somehow, music can always transport me back to a certain time, place, person.

    However, seeing as how I was born in 1984, all of the songs you listed don’t do anything for me. 🙂

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