Sunday, May 19, 2013

Flashbacks to 1983

Surfing the net this past week, I came across some items about that monumental year in pop music, 1983. That year has always been a favorite of mine, and considering the happenings occurring in the music scene that year, it has claim to being one of the most eventful years in rock and pop history. It was, after all, the year of Thriller, of the Second British Invasion, and the year when MTV surged forward as a cutting edge music medium.

This article in the Toledo Free Press gives us a flashback to a memory from that era regarding one of the most popular groups of the decade The Police, and their great 1983 album, Synchronicity:

At 17, I was at the zenith of my love for record collecting, 
but I would walk past the new releases to check the torn-out 
Billboard pages tacked over the singles bin. I had been raised 
on country-western music; other than my mom’s Beatles LPs, I 
did not know much about pop. During a swim party at a friend’s 
in the spring of 1979, I heard the slashing guitars and 
hysterical pleadings of “Roxanne,” and I never again settled 
for steel guitars and Nashville slickness. I followed 
The Police through their exponentially successful rise of 
“Message in a Bottle,” “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” and 
“Every Little Thing She Does is Magic.” 

When “Every Breath You Take” exploded in the summer of 1983, I 
followed its chart progress like a sports fan rooting for a 
team’s pennant chase. I still remember the numbers: A debut at 
No. 36, a jump to No. 24, a leap to No. 12, a move to No. 5, 
then an eight-week run at No. 1 that, as a longtime fan 
of the band, made me feel as triumphant as if I had 
written the song myself.

No song dominates the memory like a summer song, and to                          this day, hearing the pistol-shot opening of “Every Breath                         You Take” takes me back to the summer of 1983.

The '80s blog Rediscover the '80s, had a post recently about another 1983 group and album, Huey Lewis and The News' Sports. Here's some memories from that post:

Once I was able to save up and buy my own music 
in the mid-late 80s, I remember acquiring Sports on 
cassette. I loved it. I also remember it still being one I 
listened to in the car when I first learned how to drive in 
the early 90s. It's one of those albums that I never used 
the fast forward button on (maybe rewind.)  . . .

The music blog All Music encapsulates the spirit of 1983 this way:

If any year captured the heady rush of the early '80s, it was 1983, 
the year Michael Jackson's Thriller became a phenomenon and, not 
coincidentally, the year of MTV's prime. The cable network debuted two 
years earlier but '83 was when music videos took over, popping up on 
cable channels and network TV, and along with videos came a glorious 
period of hit singles by one-hit wonders, new invaders from 
Britain, and veterans who now mastered synths and drum machines, 
the latter inexplicably led by grizzled, hairy blues-rockers ZZ Top and 
the visionary jazz-fusion keyboardist Herbie Hancock. Underneath all 
this televised glitz were some major debuts: the first albums from 
Madonna, Metallica, R.E.M., and Hüsker Dü, and the first singles from 
the Smiths and Run-D.M.C. And there were the mammoth hits -- yes, 
Thriller, but also Def Leppard's Pyromania and the Police's Synchronicity, 
all giving us more than enough reason to love 1983.

Here's one of my own fave memories from 1983:


  1. Hard to believe 1983 was 30 years ago!

    I have a Top Albums of 1983 list waiting in the wings to be published. Hope to fit it in within the next few weeks.

    1. Old School-

      1983 was definitely a great year for music, and I do remember it well... the color, the videos, the catchy fun songs..

      I look forward to checking out your upcoming post about that year!

    2. Finally was able to post the list of Top Albums Released in 1983. Hope you get a chance to stop by and check it out. Let me know what you think.

  2. Sadly I was too young to remember the year personally, but you did a nice job summing it up. My dad used to buy a lot of tapes for his car stereo, so these hits were drilled into my head throughout the mid to late 80's. The Police and Michael Jackson were the soundtracks to many car journeys!

    1. JP-

      The music of that era was indeed catchy and addictive. 1983 in particular had a special mood and spirit to it, very vibrant and exciting. It really set the mood for many years after that.