Quite a while ago, I talked about listening to music. Specifically, the way I've been listening to music for the past year and a half. In December 2011 I got a new computer. Part of setting up that computer meant moving all my music over from my old computer. In doing so, it reset all the play counts on the tracks back to zero. I took this as a prime opportunity to go through my entire library again, making sure I listen to every track again. And here it is, July 2013, and I'm about 2/3 of the way through.
When I set up this new computer, I made tons of playlists for this project. I set up a playlist for each genre I had in my library. I set up a playlist for each year in my library. I set up some playlists for specific artists. One for all the songs tagged "Live" in my library. All the songs tagged "Covers" in my library. I wanted to have a good representation of stuff on my iPod at all times. Depending on my mood, that's the playlist I would listen to that day. Then, early on in 2012, I decided I was going to start listening to everything chronologically. So I started listening, year by year, starting with what I had left unplayed from the 40s and working my way forward. I have to tell you, it's a really interesting way to listen to stuff. Every few years, it seems like the trends and sounds of the day start to change. I was having a really good time with it.
Then I hit the tail end of the 70s and the beginning of the 80s. And things got a whole lot more interesting for me. Unexpectedly. And then it hit me why. In the summer of 1979, my family moved to a town called Port Ewen, NY. My Dad still lives in the house we moved into then. I was 13 years old. And sometime between moving in and the beginning of 1980, I discovered the radio. I'd never been a die hard music fan. Sure, I had a few various and sundy 45s from when I was smaller and we listened to the radio in the car, but I never purposely sought out music. But I found the radio and I fell in love with pop music. I soon discovered American Top 40 and listened to it religiously. At some point, I started tracking the Top 40. Each week I'd grab a sheet of notebook paper and I'd write down all 40 songs as Casey Kasem played them. I did this for years. I had an entire binder full of my homemade charts. It may still be somewhere in my Dad's house, but I fear it's probably biodegraded in a landfill by now.
So when I got to the 1980 playlist in my iTunes, I found some of the songs transporting me back to when I was 13 and 14 years old. It was surreal. I wasn't much of an album purchaser back then. I was almost exclusively a 45 buyer. I mean, why would you want to buy a whole album? Odds are there were only three hit singles on it and the rest was full of songs no one cared about. Looking over my playlist, I owned three albums from 1980 when they originally came out. It's kind of embarrassing to look at what I owned, but so very telling of the person I was growing up to be. Those albums were:
But I'm not embarrassed to say that I still love them to this day.
Hearing the hits of 1980 again brought me a new emotional connection to the music I was listening to, one that I wasn't experiencing until I hit this year. Songs like "Upside Down" by Diana Ross or "Funky Town" by Lipps, Inc., "Yes I'm Ready" by KC and Teri Desario, "Fame" by Irene Cara, "Steal Away" by Robbie Dupree, "While You See A Chance" by Steve Winwood, "I Made It Through The Rain" by Barry Manilow, "Him" by Rupert Holmes, "Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime" by the Korgis and "Whip It" by Devo bring back some very distinctive moments from my youth.
I'm having such a great time going through the years. The 80s were a fantastic time for music. Once I hit 1980, I knew the British New Wave Invasion wasn't too far behind and I wanted to do nothing but submerge myself in the next 4 or 5 playlists.