Tom Tomorrow takes us back to “those fabulous days of yesteryear, The Eighties!” I can’t speak for the bad hairdos and shoulder pads, but the music is already here and has been for awhile. I know I’m not the only person in Houston to be a regular listener of the all-80s station KHPT, which showed up on the airwaves with an awesome 10,000-songs-in-a-row commercial free block last year.
Surely I’m not the only person to ever notice that we’ve been fetishizing and reliving the antepenutimate decade for awhile now. In the 70s, we all worshipped the 50s – think “Happy Days”, Sha Na Na, “American Graffiti”, “Grease”. In the 80s, it was the 60s, with all of the Vietnam War-related movies. In the 90s we went back to the 70s, with “That 70’s Show”, “Boogie Nights”, and that whole inexplicable revival of disco and bellbottoms. Now that we’ve crossed into the 2000s, 80s nostalgia has begun. In addition to 80s music appearing on your radio, “That 70’s Show” has spawned the spinoff “That 80’s Show”. It’s just a matter of time before parachute pants and feathered haircuts make a full-fledged comeback. Hmmm – it may be too late.
By the way, I’m just assuming that this trend started in the 70s, mostly because I can’t imagine anyone wanting to relive the decades that included World War II and the Depression. I can’t speak from personal experience, so if you know better, please drop me a line. Also, while movies like “American Graffiti” and “Animal House” were technically set in the early 60s, they were really about the 50s. The 50s as we nostalgize them lasted until 1964.
The real question to me is how will this work when it’s time to remember the 90s? I’m really too young to remember most of the pop culture of the 70s, though there will always be space in my brain for roller skating and K-Tel commercials. Most of the pop culture in the 80s that I actually noticed I didn’t care for – it’s amazing that I listen to and like the all-80s station, because I had some pretty violent hatred for Madonna and Depeche Mode back then. I’m a wee bit old to be Gen X, so by the time the 90s hit, pop culture had passed me by. Still, when I think of the various flavors of “oldies” radio today, it’s pretty amusing to imagine that someday a fortyish DJ is going to be spinning Eminem and Kid Rock for the minivan crowd.
So, ready or not, the 80s are back. Is there a Miami Vice reunion movie in the works? Get my agent on the phone, I’ve got a script to pitch!