A couple of days ago, our friend, Heather, posted a link on our Daily Duranie Facebook. This link was a little post Buzzfeed did about the “struggles” of being music fans in the 80s, which you can see here. I have to admit to loving this type of post. First, I always feel like someone out there might have felt like I did! I wasn’t alone!!! Then, the visuals almost always bring back memories. Some of those memories might be good, bad, or downright hilarious but who doesn’t love a little walk down memory lane?! Of course, though, the thinker in me wondered, “How many of these do I relate to? Which ones don’t I?” Let’s take a look and see!
1. 8 Track Cassette Tapes
I have to admit that I didn’t have a ton of experience with 8 Tracks. The only thing in my childhood that had an 8 Track Cassette Player was a big, old, brown Ford. I couldn’t tell you the year that my family owned this thing but it was a boat. A big ‘ole uncool boat. I’m sure that my dad bought it because it was a good deal as this was the era in which my dad refused to buy a new car (“It loses value as soon as you drive it off the lot!”). Anyway, my dad got like 2 tapes to play in the car and I know for a fact that one was the Oak Ridge Boys! EEEK! The fact that it was played in my presence was much more of a struggle than rewinding the tape!!
2. No Lyric Sheets
Admit it? You, like me, would rush to open the record once an album was purchased to see if it had the lyrics, right? I know that I did. Lyrics mattered to me. (They still do.) I wanted to learn each and every word and expected to. Yet, when an album didn’t have the lyric sheet, I would be so bummed. I remember having many conversations with friends in which we tried to figure out the lyrics. Later on, once the internet was available, I went on many searches trying to figure out some lyrics to songs I had in my collection for years!
3. Hairspray and headbands
I think every person alive in the 1980s used so much Aquanet hairspray to be personally responsible for, at least, one centimeter of lost ozone layer. I distinctly recall being so annoyed at not having much time after swimming in gym class as I worried I wouldn’t be able to get my hair just right. Then, of course, the locker room was filled with hair spray. The air was so thick, someone probably could have cut it with a knife! Ridiculous!
4. Skipping a track
It always was such a pain, wasn’t it, to get passed those songs you didn’t want to listen to in order to get to the songs you really wanted to listen to? Yet, in some ways, I don’t think that really was a bad thing. We definitely heard more whole albums that way and probably had our tastes expanded by being forced to listen to all the songs. That said, this struggle is the reason we all made mix tapes, right?
5. Record stores
Yes, I suppose it was a pain to have to go to a record store to buy music, but I appreciated the whole process. There was anticipation as you drove to the store, found the album (hopefully the local record store had it in stock!), and drove back home. It built the excitement. Plus, there was always the chance to find something else new and cool to buy!
6. Buying whole albums
Yes, you often had to buy whole albums in order to get a specific song, but I don’t know that this was generally a bad thing. See my response to number 4.
7. Boom Boxes
It was challenging to carry boom boxes around. I suppose that is part of the reason that walkmans were invented. People wanted to be able to bring their music along with them. I’m just thankful that we had some way to do it, especially as a kid. I felt like I spent a lot of time outdoors or in the car. I definitely wanted my music for both!
8. Music News
*sigh* Yes, it was hard to find out about concert dates, album releases and more. Yet, the post says that the only way was newspapers and posters. This isn’t necessarily true. MTV might share tour dates or album release dates. Certainly, local Top 40 radio did, too. No, news wasn’t as immediate or as available as it is now. It is better now. Yet, I’m sort of glad that I didn’t know about more tours as there was no way that my parents would have let me go. The rule was simple. There would be no concerts until I was old enough to go by myself as they didn’t want to have to go with. (I was 14 at my first show, by the way. Depeche Mode.)
9. FM Radio
It was challenging to move the radio dial to find the exact station you were looking for. Once you had it, though, it never moved (unless a sibling moved it on you! Grr…). For me, my channel of choice was B96, a Chicago Top 40 station.
10. Wall art
This particular “struggle” caught my attention as the wall art shown is a Duran Duran poster. Yet, I can’t relate to the sentiment expressed. My parents didn’t freak out about my wall art. They didn’t have a problem with my Duran Duran wall paper (aka thousands of pictures and posters). In fact, sometimes, my mom would offer suggestions about what poster should go where. I think I was pretty lucky in that way.
Were my parents wigged out by my clothes? I think they might have been, to some extent. Once I got into more of a punk/goth look, I think they started to worry. Yet, I never pushed the envelope THAT much. I think they were more worried about my friends who were older with blue hair, shaved heads, etc. Once they met most of them, they seemed less nervous.
12. Taping shows
The Buzzfeed example had to do with Headbangers Ball. Clearly, that was never my scene. Once I discovered 120 Minutes, though…I wanted to watch each and every episode. How many times did I see Just Like Heaven by the Cure? Thousands, I’m sure, and I loved it each and every time. I loved when we got our first family VCR. I could tape the episodes (I couldn’t stay up to watch them as they were on late Sunday night) then watch my favorite videos over and over again. The only problem came in was when someone else wanted to tape something. How dare they?! Here’s a fun fact. I still have a bunch of 120 Minutes episodes on VHS tapes in my front closet. I can’t bear to get rid of them!
13. Recording off the radio
Raise your hand, if you, too, taped off the radio? Who didn’t, right?! I think my first copy of Do They Know It’s Christmas by Band-Aid was recorded off the radio. It did take timing and lots and lots and lots of listening to the radio to get the songs you wanted and the best version of them, too!
Mixtapes did take a long time to make! I made so many over the years. Some of them were just songs I was into at a given time. Others had themes like “party” songs or “guys are stupid” songs. Like some of those VCR tapes, I still have a few mixtapes, especially ones made for me from friends. I’m such a sap that I can’t get rid of those either!
15. Cheap concert tickets
See number 8. That said, when I started going to concerts, the prices didn’t seem that cheap. Looking back, of course, they totally were. That first Depeche show cost me $17.50. My most recent Depeche show a couple of years ago cost me $119. Ouch.
What about the rest of you? Which ones did you relate to? While you are thinking about that, enjoy a little live Depeche Mode from 1990. Ahh…memories.