There are certain years that just seem to have something special. I don’t know if it has to do with global events or the alignment of the planets or what. But in these years an inordinate number of influential things happen; a trend which usually isn’t recognized for many years to come. One of these years is 1983.
I first became aware of 1983 in the realm of music. My sister bought the CD with Billboard’s top 10 hits from 1983. Perusing the track list should be enough to convince you of the greatness of this year: “Down Under” (Men at Work), “Africa” (Toto), “Stray Cat Strut” (Stray Cats), “Maniac” (Michael Sembello), “Electric Avenue” (Eddie Grant), “True” (Spandau Ballet), “Total Eclipse of the Heart” (Bonnie Tyler), “Jeopardy” (Greg Kihn Band), “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” (Culture Club), and “Out of Nothing at All” (Air Supply). There’s only one of those songs I do not have vivid memories of. A large number of them most Americans could still hum along to, despite the fact that they’re now 27 years old. These are songs which have endured so much I don’t think many people even realize they’re that old–at karaoke last week someone referred to “Total Eclipse of the Heart” as being the soundtrack of her middle school. She was born in 1984.
But that CD only provides a small snap shot. Perusing the top 100 list from the year reveals even more musical greatness: “Every Breath You Take” (Police), “What a Feeling” (Irene Cara)(As this one probably indicates, there is a forthcoming post on the cinematic greatness of 1983), “Islands in the Stream” (Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton), “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These)” (Eurythmics), and the Michael Jackson hits “Beat it” and “Billie Jean.” And this is not even considering the country hits which Cammy will be addressing at a later date. Once again, it’s not only that these songs are good, it’s that they have lasted in the popular imagination for so long.
At first, after discovering the musical greatness of this year I got sad–I started wishing that I had been born in 1983 so that I could tie my lineage to that era of artistic flourishment. But then Cammy pointed out that if I had been born in 1983, I wouldn’t appreciate 1983 in the same way. Instead of being a part of my childhood it would be connected with my infancy. So I will be content to be a child of the 80s instead of another glorious creation of 1983.
1983–We salute you for your 80s fabulousness.