Does anyone feel like talking about the early 80s?
They weren't a good time for me personally (late teens) and maybe partly that's why I never like to re-examine them.
Someone wrote this:- '1980 is for me about the most glamorous time ever' over on the Fame thread and I had to read it several times to take it in.
Anyway, I'm interested to hear what people think of, remember about the time when the 70s turned into the 80s. The styles changed, the music changed, the atmosphere changed...
Images that particularly stand out in my mind are Walkmans and break dancing all over the place. Beginning of MTV. The horror of AIDS. Awful films like Flashdance. Lots of hair gel. Levi 501s. Oversized jackets bought from thrift stores. Older guys like David Bowie still being considered cool and having big hits.
What's your take on the era?
OP why were those bad times for you? Personally I view the 80s, and in particular 1980-1987 as the coolest era. I was born in the 80s but I wish the styles and trends of that time could be combined with the technology of now. I love the fashion, most of the stars and I, as an 80s baby, view it as being cool.
It was a hot and dirty time but there was no glam.
I was 15 in 83, and I remember being terrified of the Soviets. Every video, the music, tv shows all referenced nuclear war, and it scared the shit out of me. I was always a news junkie, and read the paper everyday (a habit from my folks) and I remember the leaders kept dropping like flies, and you hoped the next guy was sane. Finally got Gorbachev. Other than that, the music was great, the fashion horrible (I'm female), and my girlfriend was hotter than hell.
Reagan was president. Big hair was in. McEnroe and Navartilova owned pro tennis.
That's all I can remember.
Even though there were a lot of bad movies back then (Xanadu!) there were a lot of great films too, like Blade Runner, Raging Bull, etc. The type of films you just don't see anymore. That's what I miss the most. Hollywood wasn't destroyed completely by big blockbusters yet and there was a good marriage of art and commerce. Today, it's just commerce.
And new wave/punk/ska music scene was great.
I was born in 85 but I obsess about the 80s hardcore. I love the music, the nightlife, the art and the overall culture of the 80s.
A lot of people make fun of the fashion and hair of the 80s but most of the terrifying stuff was the dumbed down stuff that suburban fraus would sport. The upper classes were impossibly chic.
Jerry Hall, circa 1981 at the link.
In high school around 1981 or so, a lot of people used to mock the school's avant-garde fashion plate behind her back. She would wear stuff like tutus, leather minis and jackets that were really cool, but the suburban fraus and cheerleaders thought she looked ridiculous. Unfortunately, when she started dating one of the "bad boys" in school, she toned down the fashion a lot. It irked me to see her "fit in".
Duran Duran and the love of new wave bands created for me a time when I actually had a group of friends for the first time in my life. We were all fringe outcasts who didn't fit in with the mainstream and we finally decided to band together and become a gang of sorts. A gang of skater haired, creeper footed, skinny trousered, mod wannabes. We would walk home together, get together every weekend, it was a given that we would hang out together. The only and last time in my life when people were that reliable and I knew I would always be having fun somewhere. That ended when I was around 16 and was never to return as people became increasingly self involved and flaky. Then drugs would make people completely unreliable and at 41, I am tentatively putting my toe in the water in trusting friends again after 20 years of repeatedly being screwed over. That was the heyday. Innocent, fun times.
I had just started college, so I had a fleeting sense of optimism. The emergencevof AIDS and the reactionary climate really changed that, however.
As shallow as this sounds, I was just glad to see a return to short hair on men. And mullets (or whatever they were called then) were considered trashy even in the early 80's, as were the big, crispy perms on women. But the Smiths, short hair, and an end to bell bottoms and platform shoes are about the only good things I can recall.
As dumpy as the 70's were, I rememember the 80's as a fearful time. I think the US died under the Reagan presidency.
I was born in 1980 and am much more interested in the early 90s, when art and music seemed to be the best since the late 60s. The early 80s seems depressing to me, though I have no reason as to why.
r6, I remember reading that someone famous, I think it was Andy Warhol, said that Jerry Hall had horrible b.o.
I graduated from college in '83, and remember those years well. Musically, it was a transition period with the end of disco and Donna Summer still in her diva hood (Bad Girls) to teh rise of New Wave from the UK and elsewhere. As mentioned above, there were some great movies then.
Politically, it was a scary time. Reagan and the Religious Right were rising, and the big NY Times article noting that gay men were dying appeared in 1981. The USSR was the big danger, and many were afraid of nuclear winter. The TV movie, The Day After, appeared in the winter of 1983-84 which was a good indication of fears. Reagan was shot , Lennon was killed outside his apartment, and nothing seemed all that safe.
OP here. R10, You've been far more spot on about the era than I was able to be. It was depressing. Very gray.
The very end of the 80s, early 90s were far more exciting. The music, I agree, was very good. Also it was a very positive and optimistic time. The Berlin Wall came down. There seemed to be peace in Northern Ireland. Even Israel & the Arabs started to talk. A lot of the optimism of that time didn't last, but we of course weren't to know that.
The nineteen eighties marked the death of love.
Consideration, tenderness, affection and manners all deteriorated during thaat hellish decade.
It spawned more addicts, alcoholics, suicides, and cutters than any other time in history.
Growing up in the '80s was a trip. Every freaking movie was "I gotta get OUTTA this small town!" Every villain was a Rusky. Nuclear war was a certainty. You could get AIDS from breathing the same air as a fag. Meanwhile, everything was shiny and plastic and weird and geometric. Everything was mousse and crabs and money and Max Headroom. I have a fondness for it, but FUCK....good riddance.
[quote]The nineteen eighties marked the death of love.
This is so true.
I remember when that horrid 'What's Love Got To Do With It' came out (that everyone loved and was played endlessly) thinking...in 1966, Tina Turner sang 'Do I love you, my oh my...river deep mountain high' and in the 80s she sings 'What's Love Got To Do With It?' What does this say about our time?
The early '80's were completely different from the late '80's and up until 1983 the early '80's still had a '70's feel to them. Watch a film or tv series (like the first couple seasons of the Facts of Life) from the early '80's and it still feels like the late '70's. The glammed out '80's era didn't really come into effect until 1983, and peaked around 85-86 women's hair went from straight or the Farrah look to big and poofy and ten pounds of hairspray overnight and shoulder pads were EVERYWHERE.
I graduated from college in '83. A common joke among my friends was "What's Love Got To Do With It?" was a theme song for dorm life.
They were personal hell for me. I was in high school, a deeply homophobic small suburban school. And AIDS was just starting to hit. I was terrified.
I agree, R19. Tootsie, which came out in 1982, always felt like a 70's movie to me.
I was around 11 or 12 in the early 80's. I loved everything about that time. The music, the movies, the shows. All good memories. I sometimes wish I could go back and relive those years.
extra hairy bush
The 70's were great for me. The 80's brought us Reagan and AIDS, especially ironic since the Scumbag ignored AIDS.
At 16 I spent the 1982-83 school year as an exchange student in Germany. This was long before pop culture all happened around the globe at the same time; things happening in the US weren't really known in Europe, and vice versa, until much later. I came back to the US in 1983 to a completely different country. Fashion, technology, music, TV, everything had changed.
r20 What's Love Got to With It came out in June 1984....maybe you went to graduate school?
Growing up in Europe in the early 80s, I'm sure I saw things differently but it was a truly special time: new wave and New Romantics were really big, electronic music really being the hot new thing, angular aesthetics, Bowie in "Ashes to Ashes" video, the idea of NYC as this really dangerous, dirty, yet incredibly glamorous and exciting place, early hip-hop, movies like "Times Square" and "Liquid Sky" making me want to be able to escape to New York and ride the subway standing next to Lauren Hutton in a tight DVF dress (obviously on her way to some supercool downtown party with lots of sex and drugs.)
R3 is right... Good point, Red Dawn, The Day After. 99 Lutballoons, etc.
It was a great time for me.
I was young, good looking, cool...
I lived in West Hollywood and had the club and bar scene on both the Sunset Strip and Santa Monica Bl. before everything became pretentious.
Anybody could go anywhere without all the velvet-rope nonsense happened.
Shopping at Fiorucci, Camp Beverly Hills, the new and glamorous Beverly Center...
Dancing at The Palace, The Whiskey, At Sunset, The Factory, The Central, The Odyssey,
Eating at The Source, Dukes, and even Spago when it was still a new neighborhood place.
Musically, it was all about The Clash, U2, X, Souxsie and the Banshees, Adam Ant, Duran Duran, KROQ "The rock of the 80s" the 80s British Invasion and the whole New Wave post-punk movement.
Politically, it was scary like everyone is saying. But, we were too young and having too much fun to worry too much about it.
Good times for me.
Madolyn Smith in Urban Cowboy was the pinnacle of 1980 glam in my book.
The Police Synchroncity vs Michael Jackson's Thriller.
Also the rise of Madonna.
I was in high school from 1981 - 1985 and while it was absolute HELL, the terrific new wave music of that period got me through it.
I fucking LOVED the 1980's. I graduated high school in 1984 and it was the best year of my life. Sure, there were lots of things going down, but I was eighteen and felt I had the world by the nuts. The music was awesome, went to shitloads of concerts (affordable then), got high all the time and went to some great movies, we weren't all hooked into computers, we came together as a community because of the AIDS crisis (Reagan is practically a liberal looking back compared to the repigs of today), and just had fun.
I miss those years.
Let's Safety Dance...
Everything was so exciting - video games. Movies. Space shuttles. Music. Oh man, the fucking music - it certainly wasn't a time you'd have thought you'd ever miss, but I swear right now I'd give almost anything to be drinking a cherry diet coke, watching 120 Minutes, and winding up my swatches.
Detached, hot embalmed androids in sweaty red vinyl owned the early '80's -
the best, Japan: www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsbrw9Y6_ng
One afternoon in the South Station Cinema.... But He never acknowledged it and I couldn't after what had happened before.
[quote]Musically, it was all about The Clash, U2, X, Souxsie and the Banshees, Adam Ant, Duran Duran, KROQ "The rock of the 80s" the 80s British Invasion and the whole New Wave post-punk movement.
r30 - we must have been young in L.A. at the same time. A lot of this music wasn't being played on the radio nationally, but at the time Los Angeles was very receptive to the new British music and you could hear it all on KROQ... along with local stars like X, The Go-Go's, Wall of Voodoo, The Motels, and others that never even made it out of town.
[quote]Shopping at Fiorucci, Camp Beverly Hills, the new and glamorous Beverly Center...
Everyone claimed to hate Beverly Center, but everyone went there.
I remember FLIP, the Melrose Avenue thrift shop that really set the pink-and-aqua color scheme in town. And a-ha!, which was a card and gift store with quirky stuff.
[quote]Dancing at The Palace, The Whiskey, At Sunset, The Factory, The Central, The Odyssey
I liked the Starwood and some of the Silverlake-area pop-up clubs, which were a bit more gritty (but still with a queer element).
1 on Melrose Avenue was the best bar as far as music went, and it was widely known as the gay bar that was strictly anti-attitude.
Santa Monica and Venice were still seen as a bit of a haul from L.A. proper, but the clubs out there -- the Pink Elephant and Roosterfish -- had their own laid-back scenes and were a lot of fun.
I remember the Odyssey (which was all-ages) as being pedophile central. Creepy "old" guys (who must have been in their thirties and forties!) on the balconies watching high schoolers dance.
Cheap sushi and Thai restaurants everywhere were just coming in, and Tex-Mex was brand-new. Marix and Chan Dara were both incredibly popular and always had a wait.
In retrospect, it was a lot of fun!
Oh God, I HATED the eighties. It was probably the most shallow, superficial era of all time. The top pop stars were Michael Jackson and Madonna...yech! It was the era of "the Brat Pack" and all those stupid John Hughes movies. The only thing that mattered to anybody was MONEY. It was the era of Ronald Reagan, who told American that we are Number One, we are the bestest, greatest nation in this big, ol' world and everything is going to be hunky dory for everyone, forever and ever! Of course that was utter bullshit, but everybody believed it. It was the era where everybody was dropping like flies of AIDS. Oh, I'm sure there are some people who have fond memories of that period of time for whatever reason. But the truth is that the eighties SUCKED!
The music and fashion were new, fun and exciting. Now things are so homogenous and have been "done" for many years.
But it was a very fearful time - constantly afraid of war with USSR and getting drafted. There was a lot of ignorance about anything sexual and I remember people being afraid of kissing as no one knew how AIDS was contracted.
But the above posters were right - early 80's were drab 70's layover - a big economic recession and not a great time overall. Thank GOD we had the music and fashion to distract us - seriously.
The Larry Hagman thread reminded me that the early 80s was the start of the hey day of nighttime soaps. Who Shot JR was fall 1980. Some of the best realistic dramas also started in the early 80s, like Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere.
Evrything and I mean everything was better in the early 80s except that Reagan was president.
There was a great underground starting around 1979 that a lot of the MTV suburbanites on this thread totally missed.
Dark clothes, dangerous art, slender & unforgettable people, all in clangorous unpredictable bands. The scene was open and all could join. Women and gays played a huge part.
It was still affordable to live in cities like NYC, London and DC. Obscure bands toured and people poured out to see them. All word of mouth in a less wired, corporate and globalized world.
Everything became co-opted into a pop culture miasma of sushi, Michael Jackson and plastic clothes. Crack tok over in the 80s and made many areas uninhabitable. But the underground was wonderful for a few short years.
R39 Thanks for reminding me of some of the other great places and great times... I wanted to mention Starwood, and of course The Factory was then known as "Studio".
"Flip" was awesome, and Melrose Ave. at that time before it became a tourist attraction full of chain stores.
Yeah, Venice and Santa Monica has their places for a change from the Hollywood scene. Going there was almost like taking a road trip.
The Odyssey was the first place I made out with a guy in public.
Remember Dusty Street? Rodney Bingenheimer was still cool then, too, and had a great late night radio show with live interviews with the music personalities who mattered then.
We probably went down on each other somewhere, sometime...
As someone born in 1985, I have some questions after reading this thread.
R30 can you tell me more about the change from what those places were like before to after they had the "velvet rope" and became pretentious? Also when did that change happen?
R41 yes-that's 1 thing. I loved how until the late 80s, fashion was more free and stars didn't have stylists! They actually had to fucking pick out/buy their own clothes for appearances and performances. Nowadays, "fashion experts" style the celebs and it's all so similar and annoying. I would love to see the individual style of stars if they had to pick out their own stuff again. I'm sure in the 80s, this freedom had its effect on the young crowd (teens to early 30s)?
Like a Virgin was popular in the bars because it was considered risque by that time standards.
Cindy Lauper was young, equally if not more edgy then Madonna. She was expected to surpass her in popularity but somehow Madonna got all the attention. She mentions Blue Boy Magazine in one of her songs which was a real gay porn mag at the time.
Later 80s see the movie: Les Than Zero, sort of sums it up stylistically. Life imitates art with a young Robert Downy Jr.
The gay bars in West Hollywood were just starting to come out of the dark and put glass windows and doors to the street. But nothing as nice as what is there now.
r46 - The difference, to me, is that these were all places anyone COULD go, but you sort of had to find out about it. There were mainstream gay bars, of course, but only rarely did any non-gay people go there. And then, like now, many of them were 'stand and model' places. If there was a rope outside, it was just to keep occupancy within fire marshal limits.
But there were also cool semi-underground clubs and scenes. Either they didn't advertise, or they advertised in offbeat little publications that not everyone read. Before the Internet (God, I feel old), you either found out about stuff from other people in clubs, or you picked up little handout newspapers which might have stories or ads that wrote up new clubs or bars.
Plus, before Facebook and Twitter and cellphones, you had to wait till the next day, if then, to tell your friends where you'd been if you'd found something interesting.
I lived in L.A. and traveled to New York a lot. To me one of the big changes was when Nell's opened ("Nell" was Nell Campbell of the Rocky Horror Show). Nell's was just a little hole in the wall, more like a small bar than anything else. Before that, the big discos like Studio 54 had the velvet rope, but in the mid-1980s Nell's became famous for putting the velvet rope outside this little bar. Others probably had done it too, but that was the one I remember. Since then it's become common (in every sense of the word - MARY!).
I wasn't old enough to be around for, say, Max's Kansas City, where the Warhol crowd hung out in the late 1960s. But a place like that -- well, anyone could go, but only a certain crowd did. Does that make sense?
Basically, there was an underground. There is no underground anymore.
Of the young people I know, that is the real loss. Everything today, and I mean everything, comes in quotation marks, predigested, controlled.
If a mainstream movie - like "The Hunger", which bombed - showed a hint of it, it was a big, big deal.
watch the film "Liquid Sky" - that just about sums up my take on that period.
r40, you're really focusing on 1984 and after. Those years did suck, but 1980-1983 still had enough of the '70s to keep things real. I sort of think of 1977-1983 as its own cultural decade.
Does anyone remember the gushing, grand proclamation that, while the '70s were the "Me" decade, that the '80s would be the "Us" decade? How laughable--the '80s owned selfishness.
I have to say, I'm quite surprised at how much fond nostalgia being espoused on this thread for the '80s. I was between 8 and 18 during it, and thought at the time that it completely sucked; my opinion hasn't changed 20 years later. The *only* thing I'm thankful for is the fact that I never experienced the horror of losing any friends or loved ones to AIDS. (As a deeply closeted high school kid waaaaaay out in the 'burbs of a red state, I didn't DARE act on my sexual impulses until well into college in the early '90s.)
While I was an avid soap-watcher (both daytime and nighttime) then, I sometimes click on the clips of old episodes of "Dallas" or "All My Children" that people periodically post here and am horrified at how poorly the shows have aged. The pacing and production values are an absolute joke, by modern comparison. Even its films, for the most part, haven't held up, with rare exceptions like "Tootsie" and the handful of good John Hughes comedies, and of course the "Indiana Jones" trilogy. (I recently stumbled on "Back to the Future II" on cable and remain stunned that the idea of flying cars in 2015, just over two years from now, actually seemed remotely *plausible* in the mid-'80s. Then again, Kubrick had people believing we'd be living in space by 2001...)
As for music, I'd frankly have to say that the '80s killed it. The killer? MTV! Video killed the radio star indeed! After it hit the mainstream it all became about *looks*, not talent, and regardless of what you think about Madonna, she is almost singlehandedly responsible for the emergence of "boytoy" singers for 30 fucking years since, most of whom sucked and have long since been forgotten. And don't even get me started on all the fucking "hair bands"! UGH. Poison, Ratt, Twisted Sister, Pantera, etc. The ONLY bands from the '80s I still regularly listen to are U2, R.E.M and Guns 'n Roses.
I wasn't all that politically aware at the time, and given my environment was mostly brainwashed into thinking "ra ra Reagan!" and whatnot. I do starkly remember the explosion of the Challenger shuttle as being the first real "national tragedy" I wholly understood and felt. I was in eighth grade that day, and school simply STOPPED as everyone piled around various televisions to watch updates from Peter Jennings. The only other thing that registered at the time politically was the fall of the Iron Curtain, and watching the literal fall of the Berlin Wall on TV.
I don't think any further comment is needed on the hair and clothes. There's a *reason* the '80s are the only era in fashion not routinely "returned to" by the major designers, except in oblique ways.
[quote]Does that make sense?
STOP MAKING SENSE
It never fails you can never have a decent 80s thread without all the same tired old queens bringing up Regean and AIDS.
I think most gay men spent those years in (as Rupert Everett eloquently phrased it) abject terror. One couldn't appreciate fully what was going on because you were living in a glass bubble where people were dying left right and centre.
For women I think the fashion and beauty ideals of the 80s were much more fun than the 90s. Many of the supermodels of the 80s, who were gorgeous, admit that they would be too fat to model today. In the early to mid 90s, flannel was everywhere!
One thing I recall is how our local drag queens took that nighttime-soap glamour and cranked it up a hundredfold: foot-tall claw bangs, blood-red lips, chandelier earrings, and bugle-bead-encrusted Lillie Rubin gowns with linebacker shoulder pads and shoes to match.
[quote]As for music, I'd frankly have to say that the '80s killed it. The killer? MTV! Video killed the radio star indeed! After it hit the mainstream it all became about *looks*, not talent, and regardless of what you think about Madonna, she is almost singlehandedly responsible for the emergence of "boytoy" singers for 30 fucking years since, most of whom sucked and have long since been forgotten.
r53 had it right... there was a cross-decade cultural wave in the late 1970s-early 1980s. The widespread popularity of MTV probably marked the "cultural" beginning of the 1980s, which coincided with the rise of Duran Duran.
But between '70s rock and '70s disco and the very commercial 1980s New Wave, there was a weird little notch: The very first New Wave stuff was actual underground stuff that bubbled (somewhat) into the mainstream: the B-52's, Talking Heads and Devo's first albums were all very different than the more commercial stuff they'd be doing in just a few years. They were strange and wonderful at first, very downtown and artsy; it still felt like a bit of a secret.
Here's an example: Everyone remembers the Pretenders' first albums as the big ones. But they were still strange and didn't get much airplay beyond the underground scene. Their first big US hit which seemed to be everywhere was "Back on the Chain Gang," which was released after two of the band members died. It took that long back then for people to get used to the sound. Today, of course, it's all "classic rock."
I read Boy George's autobiography Take it Like a Man (amazing.... so much good gossip and really interesting overall, it is not just about the Culture Club), and it is shocking that people were surprised that he was gay. Were people really in that much denial about someone being gay back then?
The 70s were much better.
When I was in high school, I remember Boy George being very coy about his sexuality, even claiming to be bi.
The early 80s (80-83) were the last shout of anything even remotely subversive in popular culture. I still remember that clip of Bowie, backed by Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias, all in rather disturbing drag, as a musical act on SNL. By 1984 the shiny, highly polished MTV culture was firmly in place.
For me, R44 and R53 hit the nail on the head. I turned 21 in 1980. Music was very exciting in those days with the advent of the New Wave etc. I still remember hearing Elvis Costello and The Police for the first time. Loved the fashions and experimenting with my hair and makeup (before people like Madonna made that stuff mainstream).
Politically, it was an awful time. We lived in DC and my family had been socially prominent through several presidencies. When Reagan was elected, it was a total game-changer. DC quickly became filled with what my father called "loudmouths in limousines." Loads of ostentatious braying boors, loudly bragging about their money etc. It soon became the norm as that attitude spread across the country, and cult of wealth took over. DC stayed that way throughout the Bush years too. Only when Clinton became president did the pendulum begin to swing back a little.
Here's the video for "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. It was horrendously dirty at the time.
It was banned nearly everywhere except in gay video bars -- MTV played a cut version late at night with just about everything after 3:00 sliced out (especially the brief flash of what looks like golden showers).
The funny thing is that straight people thought "Relax" meant not to go too fast "when you want to come" -- that it was a naughty song about ejaculating during anal sex, which was plenty dirty for them.
But everyone I knew thought it was about fisting.
R66, that "Relax" video reminds me, oddly enough, of "Mulholland Drive." Originally designed to be a pilot for an ABC series, the first hour and a half are completely tame. But then, during the last 20 minutes designed to be shown only in Europe in a cinematic release, all of a sudden Naomi Watts and that other girl drop their dresses and go full-on nekkid Sappho on each other.
I was in Chicago, and I remember all the businesses closing. It was during the high interest rate period when they were trying to stamp out inflation, and no one could afford to borrow money.
The steel mills and the auto plants made the front page, but the classifieds in the back were an endless parade of liquidation auctions for little machine shops and foundries, and all these hole in the wall factories that were once the backbone of American manufacturing.
They never came back, and it gutted Chicago (and everywhere for that matter), and there were blocks of empty commercial buildings sitting empty everywhere you drove.
Retail businesses were hit just as hard, but the factories really got to me, because I couldn't help but think of all those factory jobs that were gone forever.
I'm just barely old enough to remember the '70s and '80s and here's the difference: the '70s were lame in a cute way and the '80s were lame in a repulsive way. I remember the greed, the shallowness and the utter stupidity of that time all too well.
Only a strictly monogamous or asexual gay man who was an adult during the early 80s could recall them as unconditional fun. Amongst the swanning shoulder pads and teased hair, gay men lived in an alternative universe where you wondered 24/7 whether you were going to die. Who had it, who didn't, how not to get it: the fear consumed vast amounts of mental energy and time, around which daily life and'fun' was squeezed in.
People assumed I was straight just because I wore a ring my partner gave me. Gay Marriage was not even a plausible concept back then. The closest thought was maybe some day domestic partnership.
Its only when people started dying and partners being excommunicated by homophobic family that it really set in we need more then just "don't talk about it" understanding with straight people.
Just my opinion, but I think celebrity culture, movies and music largely started to suck after the early 90s. I mean there are stuff and people I like now, but I really prefer from 1977 through 1992.
This was an amazing, stunning film in 1983. I saw it several times back then.
I watched again on DVD a few months ago, but it bored the piss out of me.
It was a great, great time to be a teenager. New Wave, early MTV, arty, kooky, not-yet-commoditized alternative culture hit even small towns in the Midwest. You could live cheaply in Chicago, New York, or LA. My senior prom in bumfuck Ohio had a DJ playing Human League, Heaven 17, Squeeze, Flock of Seagulls, the Cure. Those John Hughes movie scenes to come were being played out for real in Chicago suburbs. It was cool to be weird and sexually ambigious.
Then Reagan got reelected in '84, gays started dying and people became terrified of the fags, the metalheads showed up at the clubs and it all went to shit.
Early 80`s were `65-`89.
It was Mourning in America, for me and my friends. My first vote in a Presidential election was for Carter, and I went to sleep that evening knowing that the corny, right-wing, washed-up-B-movie Governor who had ruined so many things in my home state had no chance of being President.
I loved Carter, but Reagan won and took some of his sinister cronies like Ed Meese with him to Washington. There, the right-wingers opened the floodgates of deregulation so greedy profiteers could loot our economy. So many other horrible things happened: Iran-Contra, right-wing death squads tutored by U.S. military in Latin America, taxes for the rich slashed, the social safety net broken, the stupid War on Drugs escalated.
For me, it was a terrible time. I often wonder what would have happened if Americans had listened to Carter's policies of peace, conservation, international arms reduction, and respect for human rights.
Me, too, r49. He's STILL hot, too. That is his latest video - be forewarned.
>>Detached, hot embalmed androids
I was just watching the second season of Knots Landing this week, the season was 80-81 but it SCREAMS late 70'. Abby even has the Farrah hair going, very little makeup, and wears daisy dukes! A far cry from the glammed up, ten pounds of makeup, big hair, shoulder pads, drag queen looking Abby of the mid 80's onward that became the look of EVERY nighttime soap. The early 80's really are completely different than the mid-late 80's, it's like everything changed with in a few years in terms of fashion and style, hell disco was still kinda popular in the early 80's, but by the late '80's was a four letter word and it was now called dance music.
The early 80's were a coming of age for me. I just finished high school where I was an outcast, bullied and miserable. I moved to a big town and soon discovered that I fit in with the underground types who were just emerging. I found that I had a forward, creative and cool fashion sense that was admired. I also discovered that I was good looking and hot. I was much sought after and the contrast from where I had been to my new found life was like night and day. I became kind of a star of the underground and became an artist whose work sold and is still sought after today. The early 80's were sort of a tipping point in modern culture where all disciplines were experimenting with new ideas. Architecture, dance, music, visual art, fashion, writing and film all came together with an enormous resounding explosion. The early 80's were and are everything that shaped me and I was a part of it.
For me, the minute I heard "Sex" by Teri Nunn and Berlin, I became a New Waver. I still gravitate to alternative music, which my nieces think is cool, but funny.
[quote] I remember when that horrid 'What's Love Got To Do With It' came out (that everyone loved and was played endlessly) thinking...in 1966, Tina Turner sang 'Do I love you, my oh my...river deep mountain high' and in the 80s she sings 'What's Love Got To Do With It?' What does this say about our time?
I was a teen in 1980 and one of my favorite memories from that time was that a different slasher/horror movie opened every Friday. Most sucked but we still saw 'em all.
Carter was a disaster, regardless of his peace & love shit. Carter also brought religion into politics.
Reagan was the devil.
I graduated from High School in 1985 and that's when my life began. Great musical era with the second British invasion of New Wave. I could've done w/out the cheesy American pop like Michael Bolton but the 80s did bring us Madonna.
Scary time politically. We're reaping what was sown in those years today!
Graduated from high school in 1981. Great year because of good friends. When I went off to college I became friends with people I thought were cool, by the end of sophomore year I realized many of them were a bunch of trust fund brats. I guess I grew up then and became friends with people who didn't have to rely on Mummy and Daddy for validation.
Oh, I figured out that I was gay then, but remained closeted. When I finally came out, I realized there was no fuss to it at all. The level of casual homophobia in those years still gives me chills.
Don't miss the Big Hair and Big Shoulders look. some of the music was good, some was crap.
"200 Cigarettes" does give you a good vibe of 1981. That soundtrack brings back the good memories!
Yes OP, but in the 60's Tina was having the shit beaten out of her by Ike . By the time she sang What' Love Got to Do With It she was in a new life. Maybe it was a time to admit that the romanticism of the past was a bunch of BS.
the 50s lasted from 45-66
the 60s lasted from 66-72
the 70s lasted from 72-82
the 80s lasted from 82-93
the 90s lasted from 93-2000
decades kinda reflect the president and the social times.
the decade of the 60s was wild because it was half Frankie and Annette, and half Yellow Submarine.We haven't seen a shift like it before or since.
I echo what some said above - there really was an underground of music, clubs, etc. that people "in the know" knew about - including gay clubs. And it was polar opposite to the conservative 80's pop culture.
I do remember gay clubs were all blacked out from the outside - due to the real potential violence from gay bashers who would throw bricks or shoot at the windows. Not making this up. I remember the first gay bar with clear windows in like 87 and I was shocked that people could see in from the street.
In terms of Boy George - he was coy about his sexuality. But, believe it or not, many people did not know he was a man until several months in. Hard to believe - same thing for Pete Burns initially.
I agree with the concept r94, but the 60s started in 1963.
Even Streisand lost a bit of her soul in the eighties--in fact, it's when her image became humorless.
Babs with her funky Brooklyn humor is part of why we love her. But in the eighties all that disappeared as she projected an ultra-slick, serious, and competitive image. If she had stayed 'funky Babs' she would hve helped a lot of us get through those terrible times.
Streisand lost it for me in the 1970s with Jon Peters and A Star is Born. The "funny Brooklyn humor" was far gone by the 1980s. But The Broadway Album came out in 1985, so...
a lot of 80s pop was too poppy and corny (hello Vadge was 1 of the ruiners of music), but a lot of 80s r&b, funk, dance were just awesome and much better than today.
[quote] Even Streisand lost a bit of her soul in the eighties
Oh, c'mon. Some of Barbra's best work was in the '80s.
Thank you r99! All this mention of new wave and British invasion and blah... When I think of 80's music I think of The Isley Brothers, The Jones Girls, Ashford & Simpson, Phyllis Hyman, Angela Bofill, Rufus & Chaka, Zapp, Mtume, Marvin Gaye, and I could go on. Of course many of these artists lasted for decades before and after.
All the basic freedom (not to mention the cultural freedom).
I wanted a job so I went out and got one.
I wanted a car so I went out and got one.
I wanted an apartment and went out and got one.
None with all the brouhaha of now...
The 80s sucked. The only people still talking about the 80s are the elders.
The 80s were fairly crap (and I was aged 10-20 through them, in the UK). They were 1000 times more racist, sexist and homophobic than things are today. Some people in their 20s today (such as r1) totally idealise the 1980s because that was a mysterious era that came just before them, just like I idealised the late 1960s/1970s as a teen, although now I recognise that they weren't as I imagined them to be then.
Yes, there were many goods bands and singers in the 1980s but there plenty of completely shit ones, and the completely shit ones were the ones that were markted much more heavily. Some people who were in their teens/20s in the 80s also idealise that period and think the bands were better then and there was a "cool" underground, simply because that was their youth and they were the young ones whom it was all aimed at.
[quote]but the 60s started in 1963.
r96, The NY Worlds Fair in 1964 was absolutely a 50s event.
I'll give you 1965 :)
Streisand's GUILTY album was her peak!
NO, they really weren't r78. She reeked!
it was great, in many ways. being part of the outsider scene (new wave, alternative, whatever you want to call it) gave you an instant social group to be a part of, as well instantly labeling you as cooler than the reagan youth conformists. it was a defining moment for freaks & geeks, to stand together and fight back, and above all, to invert the social order and make being an outsider the cool thing to be.
I hated the eighties. Everything was so trivial and commercial and worthless and shitty. Of course there's that in every era, but the eighties was the epitome of it.
I'm fascinated at how in the 80's, MTV defined what "you should be listening to" and kids who were watching it were exposed to American and foreign acts that were way ahead of anything on local radio. However, now in the the Youtube/Dailymotion/Twitter age, anyone anywhere can make their own personal playlists, since MTV has devolved into hipster dramas and exploitative reality shows. It is also actually HARDER for the mass public to be exposed to cutting edge bands unless viral video reaches the mainstream press, as happened this year with PSY, Gotye and Carly Rae Jepsen. If not for sites like the Guardian's music page and NME, local people may not even be aware of the up-and-comic acts in their own towns.
Hey R95 - re: Boy George -
When I was 18 or 19 I went overseas for the first time (suburban Australian here - sheltered, naive and terribly unsophisticated and unworldly). Went first to the US with some friends to Denver (via a week in LAX) for the World Science Fiction Con, then to NYC for a week - then to London for a couple of weeks before heading home...
Remember walking thru Harrods' ground floor in London while there and seeing a huge cosmetics promotion with posters everywhere featuring some really exotic-looking model in distinctly different summer/autumn/winter/spring looks and thinking she was an odd choice by the advertising powers that be - not 'beautiful' by the standards of the day - but she really did have something - factor x! - that stayed with you...
Of course It wasn't till I got home to Oz and months later realized it was actually Boy George and he was a bloke...
I was a naive science fiction geek - not then interested in pop culture at all - so how's a boy like me gonna know that?
Come to think of it - around that time I had many close friends leave home and head overseas for their first big journeys out of Oz - quite a few then lived and worked in the UK and several stayed away for a year or two - or more. No email back then - so an occasional postcard or paper-thin aerogram - or best of all - a bulky letter! was a very big deal! Sometimes they'd send photos too - at least some of the cashed up one's would. Some would even record an audio cassette and post it home - which was fantastic! And an occasional, coordinated-much-in-advance phone call for a birthday or something was a really special treat. Now when friend's are in the other side of the planet it's really like they haven't gone anywhere at all - daily Facebook updates, tweets, texts and emails - with every move captured digitally and posted globally... Huge changes socially to the lives of ordinary people via technology. The iPhone I'm typing this onwould seem to have more abilities almost than a tricorder and communicator outta classic Star Trek - and I would never have thought that possible so soon...
R112 here again - just wanna say - I bet Spock's tricorder would have a better spellcorrect function tho & wouldn't keep insisting on inserting an apostrophe atcthe end of the word 'friends' as in plural of 'friend' - argghhh!
R104, no true elder gay worships the 80's. The sixties and the seventies were our times.
[quote]Here's an example: Everyone remembers the Pretenders' first albums as the big ones. But they were still strange and didn't get much airplay beyond the underground scene. Their first big US hit which seemed to be everywhere was "Back on the Chain Gang," which was released after two of the band members died. It took that long back then for people to get used to the sound. Today, of course, it's all "classic rock."
Are you kidding? Their debut album went platinum in the US. "Brass in Pocket" was a big hit on Top 40 radio - you couldn't get away from it if you wanted to back then.
John Lennon was killed in 1980; what a great start for the decade! And it didn't get any better after that. It just got worse.
[quote]The early '80s (1980-3)
Those were the fun '80s.
Then Madonna exploded all over young girls and the 80's became tacky.
The 80s did usher in a Calvin Klein preppy style. Such a relief from the skanky 70 where Flea Markets reigned with gold jewelry. Saturday Night Fever crap was over and alternative British bands ruled over classic rock. Sideburns returned to normal.
[quote]It never fails you can never have a decent 80s thread without all the same tired old queens bringing up Regean and AIDS.
Sorry, lil'gay, but Reagan and AIDS were an enormous, defining part of the 80's. AIDS in particular really was a holocaust, especially for those of us living in nyc or san francisco.
But the 80's before AIDS was a blast. I was a freshman at NYU in 81 and the next 4 years were amazing. Young and gay in the city - in the Village - was one hell of a party. St. Marks Place, Uncle Charlie's, Peppermint Lounge, Washington Square, NYU, the 9th Circle, St. Marks Baths, Ray's Pizza, The Duplex (the original), Sheridan Square. The sex was frequent and great - but boy, did I sure dodge a bullet.
Even by the time I graduated in 85 AIDS had hit and put an end to life as we knew it. Gay had changed forever.
[quote]Even by the time I graduated in 85 AIDS had hit and put an end to life as we knew it. Gay had changed forever.
You bet it had. Try 1982/3, even earlier for some.
[quote]I was a freshman at NYU in 81 and the next 4 years were amazing. Young and gay in the city - in the Village - was one hell of a party
Again, you weren't aware of aids until '85? Too busy having 'one hell of a party' I guess.
[quote]It never fails you can never have a decent 80s thread without all the same tired old queens bringing up Regean and AIDS.
Tired old queens bringing up aids in 80s threads. How silly of them!
What do you think the 80s were like for gay men...just Ray Bans and Fiorucci?
I love the era of music when MTV first started through to Thriller...
It was like a small American Grafitti.
Bringing up the '80s without mentioning Reagan and AIDS is like referencing the '40s and not saying anything about that whole Hitler thing.
"It never fails you can never have a decent 80s thread without all the same tired old queens bringing up Regean and AIDS"
"Regean" and AIDS were a huge part of the eighties, you stupid little shit. Fuck you, you pathetic little dumbass twink!
Nice post, R112/R113
[quote]there were many goods bands and singers in the 1980s but there plenty of completely shit ones, and the completely shit ones were the ones that were markted much more heavily.
Prime example being The Knack. Huge amount of marketing put behind them and they were practically a one-hit wonder. Devo were crap too: an example of a US band trying to be an English band, but what looks eccentric on the Pet Shop Boys just looks lame on them.
>>it was a defining moment for freaks & geeks, to stand together and fight back, and above all, to invert the social order and make being an outsider the cool thing to be.
Indeed. Thank you, DEVO, Gary Numan, Robert Smith..
There was the broadway album, but the 1980s also has Yentl and the Don Johnson duet. Guilty was popular but awful.
Streisand was transitioning from pop diva. Some of it was great, most of it was shit.
the early 80s started with Kim Carnes and the birth of MTV.
Bette Davis Eyes transformed images of women.
Then Madonna evolved with it.
Cyndi Lauper's only mistake was Cap'n Lou Albano.
I was looking forward to getting out on my own after graduating from college in the mid-80s.
An apartment of my own, which I did get eventually, but honestly, I was scared to death of getting AIDS.
It wasn't handled properly, but it was in the news enough. In fact, all the reports talked about how the government wasn't stepping in and that just made it all the worse.
I refrained from having sex for entirely too long.
I work in the biz and saw beautiful young men who died before hitting their prime, all seemingly because they were gay.
But the soaps were still good then so I had that.
I stopped going to the baths from 1982 to 1987.
"The 80s sucked. The only people still talking about the 80s are the elders."
And you'll never know just how cool the 80s were... at least in terms of pop culture. I feel fortunate that I got to experience the 80s as a teenager and young adult. I remember when Madonna was a newcomer. I remember seeing Bjork perform with The Sugarcubes in a tiny little new wave/goth club. I remember when the Live Aid concert was an all day televised MTV live event. Keep your Lady CaCa and Bieber and unoriginal grunge, I'll take the 80s any fucking day of the year over the boring 90s and blase new millennium. The only people I feel had it better were the summer of love generation.
So with the AIDs onset...how long was the period where people were dying before they made a connection to that it was a virus? It must have been so strange and scary "that beautiful young men" were dying from seemingly randomly. (as r132 described)
At the time I felt Liquid Sky really seemed to capture downtown New York in the early 80s. I'm not sure if it does so in retrospect. It looks so extreme. But very trendy people did look extreme then.
On top of that, the plot was about people dying after they had sex and it came out just as aids was coming in.
There's a great book by Peter Noble (Canadian?) called "Future Pop" with unretouched, on the fly, on tour shots of key early 80's "underground" artists. Suicide, Classix Nouveaux, Visage, Laurie Anderson, Swans, Nick Cave, Afrika Bambaata, Siouxsie and yes...Madonna.
R135, to my recollection, it was 1983 when people started talking about it in terms of a virus (it was called HTLV-3 at first; the term HIVcame later).
Horrid music, atrocious fashion, crappy movies...a black hole of popular culture.
when did people start dying r138?
Women wearing Nancy Reagan red overcoats.
The 80s were a reaction to the plain-jane, beige 70s. The 80s brought in posing, vanity, and music that was hard-edged and rhythmic. The 70s had some integrity but were visually and (eventually) musically dull -- I recall the 80s as a refreshing antidote.
I think a lot of mainstream 80s was lame but the edgy people in the 80s were MUCH cooler and beautiful than the supposed edgy people of today or the 90s.
R139 was in a coma throughout the 80s due to a brain injury.
R124 - Oz D/lLer here - post 112 & 113
Thank you :)
I was reading some of the later responses on here asking about HIV/AIDS - and had a few flasbacks...
One memory - that I'm kinda ashamed of - I hadn't thought about in years. I must have been around twenty or twenty one and caught the eye if an older daddy type on the street in the city (Sydney) one night after work. He was kinda hot and I'd always liked older guys (still do quite a lot!) and so we played cat and mouse for a couple of blocks - and eventually stopped to talk -
And when he opened his mouth I kinda freaked out -
Cos he was an American.
Don't get me wrong - love em! - and had been brought up in a household where my mother practically worshipped 'The Yanks' for 'saving us' during the war - but as for having sex with one of 'em just then - this would have been 1982 probably - maybe early 83? - I just couldn't do it. The rumours of this awful disease going on amongst gay guys in the US had certainly hit us - and no one still knew exactly what caused it - and it was before 'safe' sex message was out there. I just made embarrassed excuses and got away as quickly as I could - leaving the poor man looking so confused and upset as he'd sure he'd been onto a winner...
Then within a relatively short time - a couple of years? - the obituaries started appearing thick and fast. Remember seeing one for a guy I hadn't seem since I was a kid in primary school. He'd certainly pinged - even as kids! - as I'm sure I did too! - and it was quite a shock to see a picture of him grown up and beautiful - and now dead - in the local gay paper.
Of course, before long other friends started getting sick too - and remember helping care for a couple of them towards the end. And then helping with friends-of-friends and neighbours and friends-of-neighbours. Actually tearing up a little as I think of some of them. Ordinary guys - but wonderful too. Smart and funny and kind. And undeserving of such an end.
For a gay guy living in a big city in Australia in the eighties, AIDS was a huge part of the fabric of everyday life. And pre- AZT when tests finally became available - and you tested poz - well - that was pretty much it.
The early 80s were West Hollywood for me. I broke up (after 7 years) with the guy I met in NYC and moved there with and took up with a guy I met at 8709, the hottest bathhouse at the time. Yes, I was a whore, darlin. There was so much MDA around we didn't leave his bedroom for a whole year. His roommate would slide pizzas under the door. Sometimes we'd play Intellivision. Anyone remember that? Pong!
This thread inspired me to buy the "Awesome! 80s Christmas" CD at Target this weekend. Wham, Hall & Oates, Billy Squier, The Hooters, the Bangles and 10 more ... for just $5!
I was 12 years old in 1980 and remember 1980-81 much more fondly in terms of pop culture than I do the mid-late '80s.
You had '70s leftovers on TV like Alice and Three's Company as well as new shows like It's a Living, Facts of Life and Gimme a Break that still had a late '70s vibe. Diana, Barbra and Olivia were still superstars and were not yet replaced with MTV-made artists like Madonna and Janet. The early New Wave artists seemed daring and original and even a little bit scary (B52s, XTC, Joy Divison); by 1983 they almost seemed comical with their bizarre hairdos (see A Flock of Seagulls, etc.) Once anything becomes mainstream it loses it's edge like New Wave did when it hit the Top 40 around 1983.
The movies of 1980-81 such as The Rose, 9 to 5, Incredible Shrinking Woman were better-made than anything from 1988-89. Even the slashers reflect this: contast the gritty, repulsive Maniac (1980) with anything from 1988-89.
MTV really dumbed-down pop culture IMO.
R148 exactly what I was saying, the early 80's were VERY DIFFERENT from the latter part of the decade. Hell I remember MTV having a show in the late 80's called Classic MTV, showing videos from the early 80's, so basically by the late 80's we were already in "retro mode" for the early 80's! You mentioned slasher films well look at the first 3 or 4 Friday the 13th films compared to parts 6-8 very different feel and look and the earlier films were really raw and had a '70's exploitation feel to them. Look at Dallas and Knots Landings early years compared to how the shows looked and fashion of the latter part of the decade, instead of sat 5 years passing it felt like 20 years had passed because the change of style was so extreme. We didn't have that ib the 2000's, you can watch a TV show from 2002 and it doesn't look that dated at all in 1988 if you watched a tv show from 1982 it already looked extremely dated and old school.
but truth is truth: 80s (and launch of MTV) transformed what it meant to be talented.
You, for example, had a great, unique voice in Kim Carnes but, by looking a little "old in the tooth" she was quickly replaced a couple years after her huge smash with people like Madonna.
She helped transform women's positions of power in the music industry (first woman signed to EMI America) but MTV killed any real possibility of her having more than a couple of hits.
She wasn't...sexy enough.
I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar...
I thought the 80s, esp the early years, really sucked. I hated them. I was in my early 20s, had no education, and little money as a result. Yet, the 1980s was an age when vulgar displays of wealth, fame and all that goes along with it were celebrated. YUCK! It was the era of Reagan, Jean Kirkpatrick, Dynasty, Dallas,big hair, big diamonds, big attitudes. People really developed a big attitude.
And how could I have forgotten: AIDS.
I was a preteen/teen through the decade and lived in the CT/NYC area...WLIR/WDRE anyone..?
Early 80s - to 1985
new wave was actually mainstream for a bit.
MTV was amazing! Went to the VMAs
There were alot of yuppies & reagan worship
Fashion was fun!
College Radio was awesome
Concerts were cheap
Young People were pretty happy go lucky
Hip hop started to blossom
I had a wonderful time through the entire 80s - I found the 90's to be very fractured and odd.