I made a list of ’80s bands… I then refined that list to only include those considered New Wave. There about 75 names. That list will keep us busy for a while… especially at only once a week.
As I was deciding who to pick for today, and moving down the alphabetical list, songs starting playing in my head… and with almost every one there was an accompanying video. Not the actual music video the band made, but one starring me… or at least scenes from my life. That is how specific and detailed this music is to me… It is the soundtrack to my life, quite literally.
I am a child of the ’80s.
Which also means many of the bands I hold dear were also featured prominently on MTV!
So… in honor of the PGA screening I am going to tomorrow… Seeing Spike Jonze’s Her… and because the image I have in my brain right now is so pure and innocent and glorious… I give you, kind of… a one, maybe two hit wonder… but joys beyond joys…
The Producers - The Producers
The year was 1981… A pivotal year for me… A life defining year. Thanks to one of those inspiring teachers you read about in books and see on your movie screens, I discovered theatre… I discovered acting. Okey Chenoweth showed me that learning could be alive… could be a joy. He taught me that a shy kid could open up his soul and be accepted. I found love in the theatre. I found bliss. And while I am a long, long way from my dreams and my goals, this discovery has already brought me so much.
I always contend I am about 10-15 years behind… Definitely a slow starter… So that just means that my big moment is still ahead.
Never put a time limit on your dreams… Your dreams have no expiration dates… Insert another inspirational, keep you focused and on the path quote here…
Let’s be honest… you can pretty much limit your listening to this album to four songs…
“I Love Lucy”… The second track, that opens with a funny Ricky Ricardo call… and then becomes an unrequited, bouncy love song…
“Certain Kinda Girl”… Another bouncy ’80s track. Maybe bouncy was a thing.
“What She Does To Me”… Something about that opening guitar riff. Love it.
Lots of songs about girls messing with guys… Is that a thing, too? Hell yes!!! But that was from the ’50s… ’60s… ’70s… like in 1850s… 1860s…
Ahhh…The piece de resistance… the gem… the perfect pop wonder…
This is the first song of the album… and what a kick off.
Talk about bounce. This song makes me smile and dance. I CANNOT stay still. Imagine that ’80s, pseudo marching dance style… one arm swung up above the head… then the other… Legs looking like they are skipping in place…
Yes… I am like Tigger (one of my nicknames from college, freshman year).
It’s not just the video on MTV… not just the simple lyrics I was able to relate to way too often in High School…
“What’s he got?
That I ain’t got?
He’s got you.
That’s what he’s got, that’s what he’s got.
The greatest visual this song gives me is my own… An idyllic image captured from my youth… An empty school cafeteria. Between the in and out doors of the food line, the service area, we set up a stage and lights for the school’s annual Nights Of Drama. The actual food line and kitchen became our backstage… our changing rooms… and where we would gather together and pump each other up by blasting music and dancing… Men At Work… The Romantics… and The Producers… and of course, “What’s He Got” was ALWAYS in the playlist.
For those of you who have never done theatre, even on this level, I feel bad for you. The camaraderie, the joy, the bliss is unparalleled. The image of a bunch of kids, dancing with abandon and getting so thrilled at the impending curtain is as magical as it gets… Pure… so pure… so joyous… so joyful… I am grinning as I write this, and yet… also a bit sad at how far away that is.
We need to have that first feeling in our lives everyday… Dance every morning… Sing every night… and do whatever it takes to get pumped up and fill ourselves with such utter happiness.
So did this band have only one hit? Maybe… But look at what that one song did?
Crank it up… move your body… and tell me you are not happy at this exact moment. I dare you… I double dog dare you… I TRIPLE DOG DARE YOU… I thought so…
Cling to that. Hang on to it. And rock your ass off!