My friend Colin died last night. He was only 46 years old. A contemporary of mine and a very unique man. When friends of mine pass it tends to put me in a very nostalgic mood. Tonight, I'm killing a bottle of Russell's 10 year in his honor and taking a trip through the past via music on YouTube. For me, nothing evokes the past more than music does, except certain scents, which are impossible to call up on one's computer. The past weighs on me during moments like this. Our lives are such delicate and ephemeral things and it's difficult to even think about how easily they are lost.
To share this, since I've never figured out how to transfer files from my computer onto a blog, YouTube is invaluable, since at some point someone has posted a version of almost every song ever made on it. The downside is that usually the sound (not to mention the video quality) is terrible at best. But fuck it. I wish I could upload direct transfers from my computer, turntable, or cd player right up on this blog, but I'm too old to know how. So I'm going to use these generally poor-quality YouTube clips to take you through a musical nostalgia trip of my own design that is distinctly 80's based. Since I didn't even own a tv through most of the 80's and 90's, some of these videos are brand new to me- which is kind of strange. Where there are no "offical videos" or the video is of the shorter version and the 12" is the one I know and love, the selection has been made by sound quality. So I encourage you to pay less attention to the video and just listen to the music. And dance. Dance your ass off- because life short.
Why the 80's? I was a dj during the most of the decade and though I was raised on 60's and 70's pop and rock, the 80's were actually the period where my musical sense was developed and formed. Besides, though it's gotten a rather unfair postmortem, the 80's were a time of musical forment that was unprecedented and has yet to be equalled as far as the sheer variety that was commonly and widely accessible. My tastes at the time were not average I guess, but have proven to have legs. I listened to KROQ and KDAY in Los Angeles endlessly while I worked, and hence the music from those two legendary stations forms the base of what you will see posted here, regardless of the fact that they had nothing in common except an understanding that both pop and black music (read urban/rap/hip hop) were undergoing radical transformations at the time.
The era was also the heyday of Michael Jackson and Prince, obviously, but I'm leaving them out of it because they are worth their own nostalgia trips and posts. These songs are more one-to-three-hit wonders. Jams that would pack the floor back then, and possibly now, depending on who was present. They evoke a time long gone. A time when it seemed to me the people I knew then would live forever. Though this belief was rudely interupted by my friend Bill's death via motorcycle in the early 80's, making Cindy Lauper's Time After Time unlistenable to me because it was played at his funeral, these songs evoke for me an era- a place in time, forever irretrievable (not that I'd want to), that nevertheless has a central place in who I am as a person. This isn't by choice. It just is. As much as I'd like to say my life's soundtrack is dominated by Wagner, Beethoven and Verdi, that part came later. These are the songs that take me back. This is where I'm from.
Colin- music was the one thing you and I never, ever talked about. You are really the only dear friend I've ever had I can say that about. There was always so much more to discuss. Regardless, I hope this list, these songs, would have pleased you. In my mind, I picture you and I, with our dates, at some imaginary club, pleasantly buzzed, dancing to these jams, feeling the the essence of our lives throbbing up through the floor, into our legs, and into our hearts. In my mind, we're having the best time ever.
Now wave your hands in the air...and move your ass to...
Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew:
And there is so much more to come. Colin- Rest in Peace, my friend. For the rest of you- live on, and dance while you can. Bless all of you who read (and dance) to this.