My American popular musical Odyssey has arrived in the early ’80s and I couldn’t be more pleased. Why? Two words: Air Supply. I still remember how vehemently I disagreed with my mom as she tried to convince me that they were two male vocalists. I listened to their songs over and over again–how was at least one of them not a woman?? Anne Murray had at least two octaves of lower range on them. I was pretty young at the time and I guess I had a lot to learn about women . . . some things never change!
Around the house I was left to my own musical devices, listening to tapes I had made of records on my dad’s juke box (a lot of Elvis, Beatles, Platters, and other Oldies). It was on road trips where Mom exposed me to more contemporary music. I still fondly remember stretching out in the back seat of our car and listening to Air Supply, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Dan Fogelberg, Neil Diamond, and Lionel Richie for hours at a time until we reached our destination. As you can tell, Mom was a fan of the soft rock. However, our musical selection was dependent on our destination. Whenever we were headed to the beach, it was Jimmy Buffett all the way!
I’ve made it through 1982 so far and following are the early 80s highlights (and lowlights) for me, in roughly chronological order:
The emergence of Air Supply
The emergence of Blondie
Way too much Olivia Newton-John
Michael Jackson goes solo and is on the cusp of truly breaking out
Kenny Loggins’s solo career finally achieves success
Kenny Rogers hits his stride
The emergence of Billy Joel
The Rolling Stones just keep on rolling
Lionel Richie goes solo
Sheena Easton briefly captivates the nation
So does Christopher Cross
So does Toto
So does the Alan Parsons Project
So does Men At Work
All of the Beatles continue to produce solo hits–until John Lennon’s assassination
Eric Clapton kicks his heroine habit and ramps up his productivity
Barry Manilow just won’t go away
Neither will ELO
The emergence of Pat Benetar
The emergence of The Cars
The emergence of Journey
The emergence of the Police – not a big fan
Lots of movie theme hits, e.g. Eye of the Tiger, 9-to-5, For Your Eyes Only
Actually, if there is one early ’80s emerging band that is more nostalgically important to me than Air Supply, it is Huey Lewis & The News. The first tape of popular music I ever bought was their 1986 album, Fore! In 1982 they had just entered the scene with Do You Believe in Love (and, to a lesser extent, Workin’ for a Livin’) and were poised to dominate with their subsequent Sports and Fore! albums.
It’s warming up a little outside and the snow is turning to rain. I’m off to wade through it toward the gym before what will surely be a wonderful weekend in Lugano.