It Was 40 Years Ago Today/ish...Nostalgia Hits Hard, You C(90) There Were Tapes To Be Made...
Friday is fun because it's about music, and playlists. Sometimes there are links. Today, 40 songs from 40 years ago that I still dig pretty hard. And remember them well from my first tapedeck.
If you’ve ever been to, or lived near Berhampore in Wellington in recent times you might know about Little Atomz - a tiny haven for toy collectors, and nerds of all types. There you might find that copy of The War of the Worlds on vinyl that you’ve been looking for ever since you foolishly did away with it a while back and then seem to only ever see it for ridiculous prices. You know, just for instance. Or, say, that novelisation of The Lost Boys. That might be a thing you’re into? There are Playstation games — back from the days of Playstation 1 (aka ‘Playstation’) and Playstation II. But there are Sega games, and old boxing calculators, and stretch-wrestler action figures, and matchbox cars, and, and…
I was there for only the second time last weekend, killing time. Having fun. I bought a copy of John Martyn’s One World on vinyl - which pleased me no end. And, um, that copy of War of the Worlds eh…but I Did Not Buy The Novelisation of The Lost Boys. That. Was. Not. Me. (Largely because I bought that the first time I visited this magical mini kingdom). I did, however, leave with a copy of Ghostbusters: The Novelisation.
I nearly left with this:
Well, it was something very similar to this, anyway. I almost shed a tear when I saw it up high on the makeshift shelves, one of several ‘vintage’ 80s “Ghetto Blasters”.
I said, loudly enough for anyone else in the shop to hear, figuring they must care because they were right there in that sort of place, “that was my first stereo!”
There were a couple of “cool bros”, and not just “cool story bro”. At least I think that’s what happened.
My folks had their first overseas trip in late 1983. It was a work gig for the old man, and they were whisked to Hong Kong, Japan, and Hawaii. They saw one of the episodes of Magnum P.I. being filmed while they were on one of the beaches. They tried something called Karaoke for the very first time. And as soon as they landed in Hong Kong they bought electronics for the family! I am not sure my parents had even visited the South Island of New Zealand by this point. There were postcards — which arrived after they returned home, naturally. There were far too many photos. I got a sweatshirt with Donald Duck on it from Tokyo’s Disneyland. And I got my first fucking STEREO! This tape-deck, with radio, was it. Man! I was flash as Michael Jackson eh. Which was the right lingo, and the right thing to be. Back then.
My brother, older, got the deluxe model:
My folks lugged those things around with them like they were gold — for 15 days overseas. And then they handed their precious cargo over to their precious sons. Each ‘stereo’ came with a 5-pack of C-90 cassette tapes. The real gold. We could make our own mixtapes. We could record what was on the radio and play it back! I believed I really was an 8-year old Rick Dees simply by holding down the play and record buttons and copying the whole import of his weekly show, ads and all. I’d play it back every day after school while shooting hoops in the backyard, chewing through the battery life, and pretty much just fucking loving life!
And then, one day, a few years on, my dad’s best mate, the drummer in his band when they were teens, just backed straight over my tapedeck down by the river as he attemped to drop a boat in the water off the back of the trailer. With barely even a careless whisper of an apology, he looked at me like I should have had a better stereo. (One that could somehow withstand being run over?) Eventually I upgraded to my brother’s Sony. He was older, and had moved on to a ‘proper’ mini-system with seperate components. I took over his tapedeck and chewed that into the ground by my final year of high school.
By 1985 it was just a piece of furniture, still used, still loved, but also just part of the deal of being alive and living in tiny little Hawke’s Bay (back then) and listening to music every day after school. And all through the weekends, at least after cricket first thing on a frosty morning.
But in 1984 it was my world.
I would carry that thing with me to BBQs at my aunty’s place. I would go into a room and listen to the tapes I made, or sometimes I was allowed to play it as the main music for everyone. #FisherPriceMyFirstDJ
All week I’ve been thinking about that stereo in Berhampore. That small handful of tapedecks in that small paradise called Little Atomz:
I’m not ready to start buying back my tape collection. I’ve gone 30 years back to when I started collecting CDs. But I’m not sure I can do the 40-year journey back to when I was a tape-maker, and then shortly after, a tape-buyer. I think it was 1986 when I started buying cassettes from the local music stores. U2 and Midnight Oil, John Mellencamp and INXS. Icehouse and, er, even Rick Astley…
But it was 1984 when music really hit me hard. I have memories of music going back to 1980, or so. I can remember the day John Lennon died, though not really. Mostly just that the adults around me were a bit bummed out, or a bit more bummed out than usual…
I can remember New Year’s Ever in 1982, listening to all the music from my aunty’s wonderful tape collection, and then the countdown on TV.
But really, it as about the very end of 1983, and the gift of a stereo for my bedroom. And then from there, into 1984 and everything on the radio by Lionel Richie and Madonna and Cyndi Lauper and Huey Lewis and Van Halen and Julian Lennon and Bananarama, and on…and on…
So, in tribute to that time, today I made us a playlist of 40 songs from 40 years ago that I still love today! In fact, it’s called 40 Songs From 40 Years Ago That I Still Love Today.
Plenty of the obvious bangers, and a lot of cheese to go with that mash. But also the odd slightly deeper, album cut. Basically though, this is drawn from my radio memories of those days in the Bay listening to my early mixtapes (I literally just recorded the radio, wasn’t quite confident to pause the ad-breaks).
Last weekend, in fact the night before I was reunited with the image of my old tapedeck/my first ‘stereo’, I watched the Netflix documentary about the making of We Are The World. The film is called The Greatest Night in Pop.
It’s a year on from where we are in the rest of this ramble — 1985. But it features many of the names I’ve mentioned, and plenty of the artists on my accompanying playlist.
Damn, I wasn’t expecting to love this documentary as much as I did. But it was such a wonderful trip down memory lane. And the ultimate reminder of what a goddamned boss and hero Lionel Richie is!
Happy Friday everyone. Happy weekend. Thanks for indulging the ramblings of a nostalgia-sick old lunatic.
But hey, if this all made you spit your cereal back up, I’ve got you some other songs, and they’re not from 1984. I have volume 155 of “A Little Something For The Weekend…Sounds Good!”
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