Although my formative years took place in the 1980s, the 90s were a force to be reckoned with, once I started to pay attention. That being said, the close of the decade brought a seal to the era in an unusual way: a commercial on television, featuring a song from the 1970s.
There’s many an explanation as to why this is a defining moment in my 90s decade, but to be sure it was the boom of the internet, and how listening to an unknown song that hocked a product that I wasn’t going to purchase led to an online search that brought an (almost) immediate response.
I have the habit of not changing the station, or the tape, or the CD, or the playlist that I listen to and I end up listening to the same album for months on end. Whether it be auto search, or song skip or whatever, I burn a song in my head until I get sick of it. As of late, I find that if I come across any of these songs, I’ll “feel” the time it was burned in my chemistry. It’s not always good. But it’s always interesting.
1980? We got cable, and HBO. Before MTV, the Music Breaks provided my first exposure to music videos
1982-83 Tuning the radio away from my parents’ stations
There was this time we got an FM antenna and I heard this song in stereo on the old console:
1984 Summer-school biology, with the Oz
1986 Wasting time in high school
1988 Second semester at Texas Tech, and the CD is blaring at the end of the summer
1987 First days in college and realizing that even the pop charts were limited back home
1995 The blank days of my life, and the sudden reminder (thanks to the Columbia Records and Club) that Bruce Springsteen recorded several albums in the 80s
2018 I hesitated for a moment — indeed, a lifetime, to share this new rendition of a 1980s song with a friend that only had days to live
1987 Walking the cold sidewalks to chemistry class
(Somehow rearranged.) And it happened driving somewhere in somebody’s car, that the radio played the M/A/R/R/S mashup “Pump Up the Volume,” and music changed forever, all at once.
NOTE TO SELF: “… and then all things changed, somehow rearranged” are the lyrics I remember from the early 1980s HBO show “Remember When.” Dick Cavett hosted the series, which took on a topic and explored it for an hour, very much in the same way modern documentaries are done today, taking one topic, then exploring all branches that lead from it. The theme song:
No explanation, really. At the time — 1991, I think — I was stuck in a bus for two days. It moved forward, yes, but ever so slowly. All the time, all I had was my Sony Walkman and one single tape — “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John. Also, I only had two batteries. I also had one book, “Fear and Loathing in the Campaign Trail” by Hunter S. Thompson. The batteries ran out, I read the book twice. What a miserable time. What a wonderful moment.