I tend to frequent an online radio provider called AccuRadio while I'm working. They have various themed stations that you can choose from. I usually favor the Swinging Standards station, all torch songs, Gershwin, Johnny Mercer and other like tunes from the 40s and 50s. I know a lot of them and can hum, harmonize, or just full out sing along while I edit. Much to my office mates pleasure, I'm sure. The playlists are limited to a degree though, causing lots of repeats, and after hearing Come Fly With Me seven or eight times by four or five different artists, I start jonesing for something else.
For the last few work days, I've been listening to the 80s station called A Flock of Eighties (A Flock of Seagulls - A Flock of Eighties, geddit? geddit?) Locating the eighties station took a little more effort than expected as I just could not find it featured anywhere on the AccuRadio home page. I knew it was there; I'd listened to it a week prior when the umpteenth Tony Bennett song nearly drove me (even more) batty. (Seriously dude, go join your heart in San Francisco and leave me alone.) But alas, the 80s icon wasn't prominent on the home page, so I started clicking on the drop down menus to see if it was sectioned somewhere special.
Where did I finally find it? THE OLDIES LINK.
Just when did the songs of my youth become oldies? Were my teenage years so long ago that the music of the era is now labeled in the same category as Elvis? And when did it become an era anyway? Cripes, I'm not even forty yet and I'm already in the oldies section.
They're not even oldies but goodies - not all of them. I mean the world would probably survive - flourish even - without Relax. (Remember those big white tee-shirts touting FRANKIE SAYS RELAX? I remember thinking Who the hell is Frankie and where does he get off telling me to relax?) For every Faith there's an I Touch Myself and for every Bad Medicine there's Rock the Casbah. I mean, who is Sharee, why doesn't she like it, what exactly is a casbah, and why are we rocking it again?
I feel like I've just become the target audience for Sweatin' to the Oldies. Does Richard Simmons now have an 80s version for those of us new to the geriatric persuasion? I know my ovaries still work - doesn't that automatically give me a pass?
Then I looked at the years that some of these songs came out. 1981? Really? In 1981, I was nine years old and in the mixed fourth grade/fifth grade class of Mrs. Sampson who used to be Miss. Monroe. That was the year I hid out in the bathroom while dressed up as Mrs. Piggle Wiggle for my oral book report. My Aunt Barb and Uncle Dick (the California Krums) had sent me a gift box of the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books for Christmas. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle is kind of like Amelia Bedelia, only she knows how to correctly draw curtains. (My sister's gift box gift that year was a Tolkein set that included The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy and currently resides in my dining room bookcase. Guess who's the only one of us to ever read them.) Mrs. Sampson - who did have long, thick, dark hair, incidentally, so the name kind of fit - had to come looking for me because I was too embarrassed by the outfit to leave the bathroom. It was some outfit - my mom outdid herself on it. Think Mary Poppins, only American and a little frumpier. I even had the shoes and the hat. It took a lot of work on Mrs. Sampson's part, but she got me into the classroom, where I was, as expected, viciously mocked, but I did the report anyway. Only get a B for it though, which I still think was a gip.
I swear it was just yesterday.
I remember those years. I remember those clothes, though I would just as gladly forget them. And it doesn't feel like a time whose soundtrack should be lumped in with the oldies. Surely not yet.
Consider my casbah officially rocked.