Last time in this series, I'd given you some thoughts on the essential back tracks you should have, based on my 40-ish years of musical knowledge. So, how were the '70s for you? Good? Let's move on to my essential '80s tracks.
Where the '70smy grade school early yearswere dictated musically by my parents, in the '80s and my tween/teen years I started to figure out music for myself. Now, if you remember, and I know you don't, you'll know I loved disco. And apparently I didn't get the memo from WLS that disco was dead. Point made with Blondie.
Blondie, "Rapture": While thought of mainly as a punk-pop outfit, Blondie did have their biggest hits with disco. "Heart of Glass" mainly, but followed up in the '80s with "Rapture." Technically the first rap song to chart, it was way ahead of its time. Debbie Harry had her ear to the streets of NYC when she referenced Fab Five Freddy and Grandmaster Flash, and I was hooked. It took me from my last love of disco to my next love of early hip hop … and a dance dry spell for a few years.
Madonna, "Dress You Up": Only significant in the way that this was the first time I "got" the hype. I'd considered her to be a blip on the radar, but with this catchy gem, I paid attention. I think she did have a few hits after this.
Pet Shop Boys, "West End Girls": This was the first taste I had of modern gay music or real electronic music. I'd known Soft Cell and Human League, but early '80s electronica was pedestrian and a novelty to my young ears. This music made me want to live with the beautiful people and sip Pimm's. That day I got a bit gayer.
Depeche Mode, "But Not Tonight": My first gay crush song. Bryan. Hmm. He was tall, blonde and sophisticated for Missouri. We'd sit in my Skyhawk in the Six Flags parking lot and listen to DM's Black Celebration album over and over. B taught me everything he know about the Brits, but sadly little about love or sex…but that's for next time: The College Years.