Don’t You (Forget About Me)

Boy, let me tell you, when you hit 40 things change as much as they stay the same.

Actually I’ll be 41 this month and over the last year or so I’ve been flooded with ghosts from the past coming out of the woodwork. It’s been neat to see how wrong (or right) my predictions were of where I thought these old friends would end up, both professionally and personally. Aside from the odd casualty I’ve been relieved to find that most of my friends have ended up on their feet and are living happy, productive lives. Some own their own companies and others, like me, ended up working for “The Man”. When I was in high school the thought of being a parent, owning a house and staying in the same profession for over 20 years seemed like a fantasy. All I cared about were clubs, concerts, drinking and where I was going to sleep that night. 16 years ago I made the decision to move countries, by myself, with nothing but a duffle bag of cd’s, a suitcase full of clothes and about $1,500 in cash. No job secured, no car and no prospects. I moved from the east coast of Canada to San Diego, California, something I said I would do ever since I was a junior in high school, and thank God I was arrogant enough to believe I could actually make a go of it. I ended up getting a job at a daily newspaper, saved up enough money to buy a car, ended up meeting my wife, had two kids and eventually moved to northern California and bought a home after being promoted up through the ranks of advertising management. Somewhere in between I became somewhat mature, a dedicated husband and father with, EGAD, responsibilities.

The weight and the strain of the current recession here in the States has hit all of us hard, and the fact that I work in an industry that is dependant on local businesses and is desperately trying to re-invent itself to varying degrees of success and failure is a massive pressure.

What reconnecting with these friends from the past has done is reenergize my sense of adventure and given me a faith that all roads, bumpy as they may be, will lead me where I’m meant to be. I am grateful that I work for a media organization that is more forward thinking than 95% of the others out there and are investing in multi-media solutions that will hopefully lead to an overall solution to this industry crisis…eventually.

I graduated high school in the late 80’s and, this being a music blog and all, I thought it apropos to list some of the tracks that defined my soundtrack during those times. One thing about revisiting your musical past is that it can be cringe inducing to a very large degree if you’re not careful. My obsessive nature demands that I spend a ton of time searching, researching, analyzing and listening to these songs, but rest easy folks I won’t bore you with the gory details. Suffice it to say that the hair on the back of my neck stood up more than a couple of times and that the phrase “Oh God, did I really listen to that?” came up more often than I actually thought it would.

Oh well. So here we go, your ultimate 80’s soundtrack for a gloomy February winter. If I were to DJ my high school reunion the track listing would probably look something like the following. Bear in mind these songs are not neccessarily my favorite tracks from the era but my hope is that they are more representative of the feeling from the time than my own, eclectic choices would’ve been.

But before I get started can someone please define what it means to “poke” someone on Facebook? I’m very afraid!

ABC, The Look Of Love
Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Two Tribes
Aztec Camera, Oblivious
Adam Ant, Friend Or Foe
Art Of Noise, Moments In Love
B52s, Love Shack
Bauhaus, Bella Lagosi’s Dead
Big Audio Dynamite, The Bottom Line
Black Flag, My War
Butthole Surfers, Movin’ To Florida
Camper Van Beethoven, Take The Skinheads Bowling
China Crisis, Working With Fire And Steel
The Clash, Rock The Casbah
The Cure, In Between Days
The Damned, Grimly Fiendish
David Bowie, Let’s Dance
Dead Kennedy’s, Holidays In Cambodia
Dead Or Alive, You Spin Me Round
Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Come ON Eileen
Dire Straits, Money For Nothing
Elvis Costello, Everyday I Write The Book
English Beat, Mirror In The Bathroom
The Fixx, Saved By Zero
Foreigner, Juke Box Hero
Frank Zappa, Valley Girl
Genesis, Turn It On Again
Hoodoo Gurus, Like Wow, Wipeout!
The Housemartins, Happy Hour
Human League, Fascination
Icicle Works, Birds Fly (Whisper To A Scream)
Images In Vogue, Call It Love
Jazz Butcher, The Human Jungle
Jesus And Mary Chain, April Skies
Joe Jackson, Steppin’ Out
John Lennon, Just Like Starting Over
Killing Joke, Love Like Blood
The Kinks, Destroyer
The Lilac Time, Black Velvet
Lloyd Cole, Brand New Friend
Love And Rockets, Ball Of Confusion
Madness, Our House
Malcolm McLaren, Buffalo Gals
Men Without Hats, The Safety Dance
Michael Jackson, Thriller
Ministry, Everyday Is Halloween
Nash The Slash, Psychotic Reaction
New Order, The Perfect Kiss
Orange Juice, Rip It Up
O.M.D., Souvenir
Paul McCartney, Take It Away
Paul Simon, Graceland
Pet Shop Boys, Left To My Own Devices
Pete Townshend, Let My Love Open The Door
Peter Gabriel, Games Without Frontiers
The Pixies, Wave Of Mutilation
The Pogues, Dirty Old Town
The Police, Don’t Stand So Close To Me
Pop Will Eat Itself, Grebo Guru
Prefab Sprout, When Love Breaks Down
Psychedelic Furs, Forever Now
Queen, Another One Bites The Dust
The Ramones, The KKK Took My Baby Away
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Higher Ground
Renegade Soundwave, Biting My Nails
The Replacements, Alex Chilton
Rolling Stones, Emotional Rescue
Roxy Music, Avalon
Rush, Tom Sawyer
Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Love Missile F1-11
Simple Minds, Someone Somewhere In Summertime
Sisters Of Mercy, Dominion (Mother Russia)
The Smiths, How Soon Is Now?
SNFU, The Devil’s Voice
The Special AKA, Nelson Mandela
The Spoons, Nova Heart
Squeeze, Tempted
Tin Tin, Kiss Me
Stone Roses, Fools Gold
The Stranglers, Skin Deep
Stray Cats, Rock This Town
Styx, Mr Roboto
Talk Talk, It’s My Life
Talking Heads, Once In A Lifetime
The The, Uncertain Smile
They Might Be Giants, Birdhouse In Your Soul
Thomas Dolby, One Of Our Submarines
Time Zone, World Destruction
U2, New Years Day
Urban Dance Squad, Deeper Shade Of Soul
The Waterboys, Fisherman’s Blues
The Who, You Better You Bet
The Wonder Stuff, Grin
XTC, Making Plans For Nigel
Yes, Owner Of A Lonely Heart