Sorry, but we have every right to consider ours those 80s, so offended, so denigrated, still today.
We grew up with bread and… no, not bread, because we were too young, we were born from 70-75, more or less, onwards. We grew up with cookies and… 80s music stars. Those who created Pop, pop music, those who shared it all over the world and gave it such a strong meaning, that it sounded immediately like it was the leading genre of the light music. In short, the only reason to listen to that.
Stars, yes, because this is what they became. Being a star, that was only for the movie actors just before, now it was also for international singers.
It’s true there had been great singers before: the Beatles, Bob Dylan and many others, but in the 80s this phenomenon got bigger and bigger
Michael Jackson, Madonna, The Duran Duran, George Michael, Prince, Whitney Houston…
Michael Jackson was already famous, but in the 80s he reached the top of his success, as a soloist.
We used to listen only to them, like music had no past before them.
We built our musical tastes on them, musical tastes that everyone put down: we didn’t have the refined taste of rock purists, blues or soul lovers. No, we used to listen to that junk, rhythmic and easy sounds, for basic brains. We got crazy for foxy smoochy melodies, as well as sounds so danceable to make everyone move even in the street.
We witnessed the incredible spread of discos: not dance halls, not clubs, but rather huge spaces expressly dedicated to dancing and entertainment till the early hours of the morning.
We thought The Wham were really good, The Bangles and The Bananarama were the new exponents of pop rock, a little melodic and a little messy.
although Madonna couldn’t sing, nor dance, we were thrilled to watch her concerts on tv, and she set an example for all female singers of the future.
Cher was from the 70s, but when she made that video on the army ship, singing “If I could turn back time” she made a splash, at the venerable age of 43. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsKbwR7WXN4
And her friend Tina Turner, a little older, was experimenting a new sound, that drove her away from Ike and launched her as an 80s pop music icon. Both more beautiful, more indipendent, freer and stronger than before.
In 1986 Aretha Franklin sang with The Eurythmics “…we’re coming out of the kitchen… Sisters are doin’ it for themeselves…”, because it was ages she had been fighting for women’s rights and what a better partner she could have had than Annie Lennox, so androgynous, but so charming. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drGx7JkFSp4
Young women started to learn, also thanks to music, how their future could be. They learnt what rights they could win. They listened to how they could behave to avoid being overwhelmed by their men. And what about men…? They learnt to be romantic from George Michael, to be thoughtful and sensitive from Michael Jackson. They saw Simon Le Bon’s refined beauty… maybe also a little bit of femininity or if we want to overstate it, we might say homosexuality… and even so, it wouldn’t have done anyone any harm, at all!
Whitney Houston made us jump and sing aloud, and in our dreams we had a voice like hers. She was incredibly beautiful, tall, black, and she “screamed” in tune, in the best possible way. She had everything to be at the top.
her screams weren’t Janis Joplin’s scratchy, damned exciting ones expressing 1970s fights and hard times.
Whitney screamed in a clear, sweet and pure way; she was the expression of the Golden Age, so perfect that even desperate screams sounded cleaned from every scratch.
Only after many years we found out the Golden Age was not golden at all and Whitney learnt it in the worst way.
We used to sing on the rhythm of those songs, in front of the mirror, holding our brush like a microphone, as everyone had done before us. We didn’t imagine how bad rockers like Joan Jett were, we wondered if one day we could’ve dyed our hair like Cindy Lauper, despite our parents, and we could have shown her sort of crazy carefreeness.
Many girls were madly in love with Simon Le Bon, A-Ha and Spandau Ballet. They screamed like crazy whenever they watched them on tv.
We used to buy silly magazines to get posters of those guys and hang them up in our bedrooms.
They were famous for their extreme look, for sporting weird clothes, full of studs and bright colors, which our parents considered awful.
We got to know music also by watching tv and some programs where we could listen even to Sandy Marton and Tracy Spenser. Some of those songs were’t really good quality; they were created on just a couple of smart chords, but they worked!
We used to watch Festivalbar (a tv program) as the only inspirational program for our growth.
We thought Terence Trent D’Arby and Patsy Kensit, with her Eighth Wonder, would be by our side for the rest of our life; girls got crazy for his dreadlocks, boys almost fainted when her strap fell down, during a tv live show.
When watching “Flashdance” we wished that Jennifer Beals’ beats of sweat, when she worked out and danced energetically, would drop from us too, in our dreams that was enough to become champions, to get what she had reached.
We used to watch the tv show “Fame”, dreaming of a school like that in our country too, and hoping our parents would let us attend it.
We bought records and we used to spend hours admiring those huge sleeves and reading lyrics in English. although We tried to understand something, sometimes the only word we could understand was “love”, but it was enough.
We had records but we started buying tapes too, that we brought along everywhere thanks to our first walkman. We had the ever-present pen, to rewind the tape to the track we loved, without draining batteries; Bic was the coolest pen, because it matched perfectly with the gear and didn’t lose a turn!
We loved The Roxette, Belinda Carlisle, even The Bros, and we might have hit the bottom maybe with Nick Kamen! Those who preferred Pop Rock, loved Europe and Bon Jovi, anyone long-haired and handsome, rude with style!
Otherwise Bruce Springsteen and The Queen, yes, because also The Queen were getting a little pop, although Brian May tried hard to make us listen to his guitar.
We didn’t have a good taste, Pop Music wasn’t considered good music. Rock lovers used to make fun of us; those who played an instrument, didn’t play any of these pop songs, because they weren’t considered sufficiently refined.
Our older siblings were still trying to understand if that new genre was a real genre or not, and if it had anything to do with their pure funky or their brilliant 70s dance music.
Michael Jackson came from James Brown’s school, but he was not so similar to The king of Funky anymore!
And what about those huge concerts?! We used to watch them on tv. Someone luckier was there: huge masses of people, to put Woodstock to shame; guys who got crazy and then passed out in the middle of the crowd. Still unconscious, they were carried and passed by their fellows like pop corn boxes, while everyone kept on singing.
Then the 90s arrived, we grew up, many things changed, we were the very first to change: someone refined their tastes, someone changed them completely, someone found out new musical genres, someone denied their past, someone went ahead, even if everything was different; but our first love still stayed in the heart.
Pop music, called like this because popular, yes, of course popular, not populist, but within everyone’s reach, commercial, boorish, not fancy, but not proudly rude either like Rock music. Puritanical maybe, a little bourgeois, the music of that social class, which took over the society and was supposed to lead the world towards a better future.
Well, we grew up with cookies and pop music, we saw how the future has turned out and maybe that’s why we really miss cookies and huge concerts!