How to bring back eighties music (and some be bop)

Music is a funny thing.  It’s both universal (we all listen to it) and intensely personal.

We can all listen to the exact same music and have entirely different responses.  (I’ve never liked Debbie Gibson, but my husband did.)

We can love something one day and loathe it the next. (I used to love Tone Loc, but now his stuff just seems lame.)

Right now, my family seems determined to bring back the eighties (and some funky jazz tracks, but who’s counting).

bring back eighties music

It all started with a box.

We were working on the junk room, trying to turn it back into habitable space.  It’s crammed with all the stuff I don’t where to put or what to do with.  It’s got half a dozen end tables, two cribs, a broken wine refrigerator, all the hunting gear, mismatched plastic containers, and abandoned electronics.  It also has a substantial number of boxes.

As I was plowing through the boxes this weekend, I found the big box of CD’s.

Remember? Way back when we used to buy music on little discs that resemble DVDs, only they had music on them.  That was back before even the Web1.0 days when computers didn’t come with CD or DVD players.

(Before then, we used cassettes and albums, but that’s old school.)

I was a single adult back in those days.  So was my husband.  You can imagine that we both amassed a HUGE collection of music.   Since we graduated from high school six years apart, you can safely assume that we collected some very different stuff.

(I’m older than hubby.  I’m a seventies and eighties kind of girl.  He’s a nineties guy.)

We’ve been married 14 years.  We still get into it over Debbie Gibson and ZZ Top.

My kids didn’t understand CD Music.

They thought they’d uncovered the mother load of movies.

them:  Mom! Look at all the movies! Can we watch them?

me:  No honey, those are CDs, not DVDs.

them: What’s the difference?

me:  These just have music on them.  No pictures.

(I decided to ignore the whole “enhanced CD” thing that happened in the late nineties.  It was confusing.)

them:  Why?

me: Back before iPhones, people bought music this way instead.

them:  Whoa….

(I might as well have shown them a land line telephone.  Or a modem.)

them: Are they trash?

me: No.  I need to transfer them to the computer.

For the time, they were satisfied with that.

By the way, based on my research, it is legal to rip your own CD for personal use.  You need to own the CD and keep it after you rip it.  You can’t share it with people.  You can’t sell it.  There are lots of limitations.  But ripping a CD to be able to listen via an MP3 player is generally OK.  I double checked before posting this.  RIAA is a boring read, but I trust them as a source.  I’m not a professional, so do your own research.  If you’re really worried, go ask a lawyer.

Then it got interesting.

As I started ripping, I started listening.

My kids love dancing to most of the eighties.  They could get into Van Helen and ZZ Top after I taught them how to play air guitar.

They watched as I methodically popped one CD out and the next one in.

Debbie Gibson came on.

them:  MOM! What are you doing?

me:  Moving the music to the computer.

them:  How?

me:  The computer turns each song into a separate file called an MP3 file.  Then we can put those files onto iPhones and touches and listen to them whenever we want.

They covered their ears and mocked pain as Debbie droned on and on.

them:  Why?

They have a point.  I didn’t have to rip Debbie Gibson or the other heinous music from my husband’s collection. I could have just left it in the box.

How to bring back eighties music?

Easy.  Go dig up your own big ole box of CDs from the era.   Or if you’re too young to own a collection of CDs, ask your mom for hers.  She’s bound to have some.

Rip them.  Listen to them.  Dance with abandon.

(Take my advice, don’t rip Debbie.  For the record, ZZ Top can still rock the Houston Rodeo.  Debbie Gibson? Not so much.)

 And the be-bop?

Y’all.  I’m a closet jazz fan.   I’ve been listening to Ella and Duke and Etta and Louis for years.  My CD collection included a respectable amount of be-bop, fusion, acid, latin, and smooth jazz.

(Ella  Fitzgerald.  

Duke Ellington.

 Etta  James.  

Louis Armstrong.)

Last night, I was enjoying John Coltrane.  It was his Blue Train album, the one for Blue Note records from the fifties.  Good stuff.

My older son came in and dropped on the bed beside me.

him:  What’s that music?

I explained to him about Jazz and the history of the music.  He closed his eyes.

him:  I like it.

Music is a funny thing indeed.  My son fell asleep to the complex stylings of be-bop jazz, a smile on his face.  He normally fights sleep, so it was a big deal.

(My husband came in a few minutes later and asked me to shut off the racket because it made him jumpy.  In his defense, he DID introduce me to Flim and the BB’s, so he does have taste.)

So while you’re ripping old CD’s, ask your mom or grandmother for her closet collection of jazz and big band.  It’s good stuff and your kids might just dig it.

Disclosure: This post was written to the funky tracks of Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunter’s album. It screams seventies groovy goodness and has nothing to do with the eighties, but it’s a great track for writing.

I have to ask:  What music are you a closet fan of?  Please tell me it’s not Debbie.

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. Jolene Rose says:

    My hubby and I both enjoy jazz, classical, and classic rock, but that is where our tastes in music diverge. Our daughter and son will dance to anything with a beat. So, they will enjoy music no matter whose playlist is being played. 🙂

    • Our kids get exposed to everything. I’ve always felt that the more types of music they were exposed to the more likely they were to pick good music. There’s amazing music to listen to in any category, but there’s also some stuff that’s “meh” in every genre. Being able to appreciate the good stuff is all I want for the kids.

  2. This post made me smile. Now that my older son is finding his own musical taste and I’m finding myself with songs like “Radioactive” stuck in my head, I wonder if my parents ever had tracks from the Beastie Boys (Yes. I was a fan of the Beastie Boys back in the ’80s) stuck in their heads. My mom used to play music for me to go to sleep by as a child. I actually prefer classic rock while my husband turns that off in favor of country or bluegrass.
    Jean recently posted..Saturday Success Stories, Staying on CourseMy Profile

    • I’d forgotten the Beastie Boys until I was watching Jimmy Fallon and JT do the history of rap thing via YouTube. If you haven’t seen it you have to go watch all five installments.

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