Friday, June 5, 2015

Eighties '60s Flashback: Moody Blues and Monkees

The 1980s was a time of great nostalgia for the 1960s. I think in some ways this was the result of aging baby boomers who were then largely in their thirties (as in the TV show Thirtysomething) and who provided a big audience for memories about their younger years.  There was also something cyclical about the phenomenon, since it was preceded during the '70s by Fifties nostalgia (i.e. Happy Days,  Grease, American Grafitti), and followed in the '90s by Seventies revivalism (i.e. That '70s Show, Dazed and Confused). In any case the '80s were full of flashbacks to the '60s which included television shows like The Wonder Years, movies like the self-explanatory 1969 (which came out in 1988), and plenty of musical revivals of '60s styles such as when Prince released his Sgt. Pepper-esque 1985 album Around the World in a Day.

The Moody Blues, a '60s era group that was still going strong in the '80s, had a hit with "Your Wildest Dreams," a song that dealt with longing for the era of change and protest. The video for that song is quite poignant.

As an '80s teen, I loved '80s music and culture. But I also shared a tremendous fascination for the era of the 1960s, a time which was so momentous that its effects rippled for many years afterward.  And '60s music was great. So, when there occurred this sudden interest in all things '60s, I dove right in, making myself tye-dye shirts, buying paisley prints, and listening obsessively to oldies stations that focused on sixties music.  There was an innocence and joy and idealism that shone forth from that era, and quite a few members of my own generation made it a point to revive that '60s culture and make it part of our own as well.

In 1986, in the midst of the revivalism, three of the four members of The Monkees decided to reunite and tour. They too had a hit with "That Was Then, This is Now." 

Eventually, time turned, and '80s nostalgia eventually came our way in the form of '80s nights on the radio, and movies like The Wedding Singer (1998).  I think this '80s nostalgia is quite proper, as the '80s truly were a memorable decade. In the midst of such nostalgia, its important to remember how strong a component of '80s culture was this wave of revivalism that gave a second wind and a new generation of fans to '60s culture.