Rockin’ the Eighties

Yesterday, I went to see the movie Rock of Ages. I’m not a huge Tom Cruise fan but always loved Top Gun and especially the scene where he sang, “You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling…” and he was so cheeky and adorable. My daughter used to quote whole paragraphs of dialogue from that movie, so it brings back a lot of fond memories, and every road trip meant taking the music tape from the movie soundtrack. I almost said CD. Wow, we sure have come a long way.

                          The eighties were a strange time for me. I got married in ’79. I had my babies in the early eighties. There are HUGE gaps in my memory of those years. When people mention a movie or a rock group or some well-loved song I have to rack my brain to recall it. I guess for five or so years my younger rocker, night clubber, dancing, dating self, had been put on hold. Or had I ever had that personality? Hmmm?

I knew by going to see Rock of Ages it would not only jog my memory about music, but also hairstyles and clothing, and who I was back then. Some critic said it was “insanely watchable,” and I have to agree. Let’s see what I discovered:

Music I knew the lyrics to:     I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll, Hit Me With Your Best Shot,  Wanted Dead or Alive, Don’t Stop Believin’. And even if I didn’t know all of the lyrics of all of the songs in the soundtrack I at least did recognize them, and I loved Tom Cruise’s performance of Pour Some Sugar on Me.

Clothing I recognized: Suits and pearls, oh, yeah, but hey, the big shoulder pads were not big enough, were they? ‘Cause I do remember those, and I didn’t see many in the movie. Off the shoulder tops, jean skirts, mini-skirts…check. In truth, I can’t say I ever saw backless leather pants in real life but they did make me laugh in the movie. : )

Hairstyles: They were not big enough. Catherine Zeta Jones needed big hair a la Dallas. The guys got it right. Love me a good mullet. : )

And what did I think of the movie in general: I confess that I adored it, even the cheesy parts and there were some. It was bawdy, it was a bit of a spoof, but it had that great campy spirit that was the eighties. The music was fabulous. The story line was thin, but it didn’t matter. And I waited in breathless anticipation for every time Stacee/Tom was due back on stage as if I were there, in the audience, an adoring fan at the Bourbon (or the Whisky A Go Go, or The Roxy.)

So, where were you in the eighties? Anything fun you’d like to share?

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24 Responses to Rockin’ the Eighties

  1. Janie Emaus says:

    I loved the eighties! My daughter was born in 1980 and it was probably one of the best decades ever..from the big hair to those big shoulder pads.

  2. Robena Grant says:

    Hi Janie, my daughter was born in ’80 also.
    BTW I loved your YA novel, Mercury in Retro Love. Just finished it a few nights ago and was impressed at how well you you depicted teenage angst. : )

  3. The eighties were a decade of change and challenges for me. I got divorced – twice. I moved numerous times, and made a major career change (to become a cop). I wouldn’t have changed a thing though. Those experiences, in part, made me who I am today.

    Loved the big hair…loved the big shoulder pads and I wish they’d both ‘come back in’. Maybe not perms for the hair, but a little poof never hurts. It’s that kind of thinking that makes my granddaughter call me her ‘crazy grandma.’

    • Robena Grant says:

      Hi, Kathy. Yeah, the 80’s were kind of a mixed bag for me. I wanted to still be young and hip but I was also making babies and raising children. It was like living two lives. You can keep the big hair, but a little shoulder padding might be nice. ; )

  4. Hi Roben! I cannot wait to see this movie!! I graduated high school in the 80’s so I remember the music and clothes very well. (And cringe when I look back at old pictures! LOL) Now I’ve got Pour Some Sugar on Me in my head! 😀

  5. I was on the border about seeing this one, but it sounds like it was great. Will have to check it out!!

    • Robena Grant says:

      Nikki, I went into it with an open mind (had not seen the Broadway show) but was expecting more hard rock. It was actually dopey and sweet for a story line but I loved it anyway. : )

  6. Mary Stella says:

    In the 80s I was rocking out in Asbury Park and the rest of New Jersey. Had lots of friends in bands and lots of friends who wanted to go out to the rock clubs all of the time. Can’t tell you how many, many times we saw Springsteen get up and jam with other bands. We used to see Jon Bon Jovi play locally when he was fresh out of high school and before he hit it big. I had big Jersey hair, Candies shoes, shoulder pads sometimes and a few ripped shirts a la Flashdance. Good times!

    • Robena Grant says:

      OMG! Mary! I saw Springsteen in concert too (and The Rolling Stones, etc.) I used to get so hoarse from screaming and singing it would take three days to recover. ; )

  7. Gina B. says:

    Roben, this post rocks. How do I even begin to explain my love of the 80s? Like Baby in Dirty Dancing, I had the time of my life, and I still rock the 80s every day. The greatest bands ever, the greatest movies ever. There was so much entertainment that I am STILL catching up. (I recently saw Bright Lights, Big City and loved it so much I bought the DVD – a quintessential 80s flick!)

    Some memories: counting the days until Moonlighting came on again each week, having a big crush on Don Johnson, and getting busted for watching Fatal Attraction with my best friend in 9th grade after being forbidden to see it – lol.

    I will forever swoon over the opening title sequence of Flashdance, cry when Goose dies in Top Gun, and like Ferris Bueller, remind myself I’m not dying, I just can’t think of anything good to do. Long live the most awesome decade ever.

    Okay, I gotta go see Rock of Ages now – I’m inspired 😉

    • Robena Grant says:

      Gina. You’ve mentioned all of my highlights of the 80’s! I adore every single mention and then some. Laughing with you over Fatal Attraction. You naughty girl.

  8. Robena – I AGREE with 100% of what you said about the movie. I loved the music and enjoyed the show…even though, my kids were young then too and I wasn’t involved in the “rock’ scene. Never knew who Brett Michaels was until Celebrity Apprentice. But I loved seeing old Hollywood depicted. Yes, bigger hair was needed and more shoulder pads!!
    You were right on in your depiction that I was nodding my head the whole time!!

    • Robena Grant says:

      Thanks, Charlene! I’m glad to know we’re on the same page. ; ) I really did find myself doing some bopping along and dancing in my chair, too. I don’t know what’s up with the poor reviews…don’t those people have a sense of humor? : )

  9. Maria says:

    Happy, big, Big, BIG haired 80’s. I loved the 80’s and had so, so much fun. I miss dance clubs and one of my favorites was actually out by where you live now, Roben. The Red Onion. You could dance on all of these platform things around the dance floor and they had these bucket margaritas that you’d order one and then share it with fourteen of your closest friends. Good times. Definitely must go see this movie.

  10. Robena Grant says:

    Bucket Margaritas? Maria!!! Ha ha, yeah the dance clubs were great. I’m sure they still are, but I’ve lost touch with what is “in” with the young crowd. I know my daughter invited me to the Viper Room to hear a band last weekend and when she said they’d get home around 2am I laughed. Loudly.

  11. Anna says:

    I still have the Top Gun *tape* that we used to listen to — the original. And I can still quote 90% of that movie.

    Glad you enjoyed Rock of Ages. 🙂

    • Robena Grant says:

      Anna, you must be bored if you’re reading my blog. ; ) I had no idea you still have the tape. You know me, I’m like Gina, I still cry when Goose dies. Damn, now I want to see the movie again. Looking forward to our shopping expedition in NYC!!!

  12. londonmabel says:

    I started high school in 1985. I have to say… shoulder pads looked great on me. I had this great suit… 😉

    * Sleepovers with Purple Rain, Mad Max, Lethal Weapon, Nightmare on Elm Street, Dallas (Bobby in the shower! wtf!)

    * Tube skirts, fake pearls, granny boots, long shirts, shoulder pads, huge earrings (NO huge hair for me, though.)

    * I read (besides Shaw and Shakespeare) Sidney Sheldon and Judith Krantz. Friends read Mercedes Lackey and Stephen King.

    I don’t miss my teen years one bit, but the 80s are alright by me. 🙂

  13. Robena Grant says:

    London, I smiled through all of your memories. I’d forgotten the Granny boots, but I still remember a wonderful purple suit, with amazing shoulder pads that made my waist look smaller. : )

  14. In the eighties my daughters were in middle school. So I was working so that I could try and keep them in hair spray and being the usual chauffeur mom.

  15. Robena Grant says:

    Ha ha, Judy. Yeah, I forgot the hairspray and there is a great scene with the teasing of the hair and the hairspray in the movie. ; )

  16. Dee J. says:

    Fun post! I moved from Texas to LA in the 80s. It is now a blur. LOL. I remember being very out of place in my boots and bandanas but quickly morphed into my Madonna mode. Good times.