"80s sounds - Casey Kasem, American Top 40...sometimes made it to my ears. It could be quite difficult to identify songs heard on the radio...requiring a real hunt to attain them. Those Billboard hits though - I realized, were surprisingly not the edgy, intriguing sounds drawing me in like sirens' song. Those seemed from another planet altogether. Devo - Whip It, M - Pop Muzik, Gary Numan - Cars, Stevie Wonder - Higher Ground, Marvin Gaye - Got to Give It Up...to find these things required a knowledge of genre - I had no idea...but if it made my feet and shoulders move - I liked the sound.
Rockabilly, I knew - was a nod to times past...I liked Stray Cat Strut. Then there was something untamed - an almost animal snarl - out of someone like Billy Idol. Having been surrounded by country and bluegrass music, and practicing classical and hymns on the piano - something like The Clash... Rock the Casbah, Should I Stay or Should I Go - was undefinable...out of this world. I loved it! It was like pounding the keys with fully-random abandon, full-blast - with all 10 fingers - while pressing the amplification pedal full-throttle...all systems go.
The first time I saw MTV - in a hotel, on a high-school class excursion, I stayed up all night and still remember seeing Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Want to Have Fun - and being blown away by the choreography in Michael Jackson's Beat It...so supple, tough, and super-magnetic.
Pink Floyd - was, for me, aurally sedative, producing a feeling of calm concentration.
Songs I liked even more than I thought possible...the videos enhancing the mood: The Cure's Lullaby - and Siouxsie and the Banshee's Peek-A-Boo. Robert Smith's hush-hush voice and rimmed eyes...spiders, regimental spectral musicians - all proceeding at a slow, heavy-heartbeat pace. Peek-A-Boo's accordion, with fringed flapper Siouxsie flirting, darkly Betty Boop - in a song so cacophonous - raising such a hullabaloo. The effect of the music and fashion, drama and dance combined - there's nothing like it, but my excitement must be the same sort experienced by viewers who witnessed the transition from silent cinema to talkies, or those first observers of Busby Berkeley's singing, dancing beauties.
Although I loved the modern sounds of synthesized and electronic music, the smooth, bright call of brass instruments - saxophone, trumpet - really captivated me too...Herb Alpert - also, old jazz - Duke Ellington's The Mooche.
After the harpsichord and organ of classical music, I often listened to The Doors - also a lot of organ...finding it interesting to hear an instrument spanning centuries - think of Ian Anderson's very elaborate flute-tootings...straight out of the Renaissance/Baroque eras.
The voice too, is an instrument...think of Bobby McFerrin - or Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant.
My ears were famished...starved for the fresh sounds of new or international artists, but my spot of the earth received only radio and television static - no MTV.
There was instant attraction to the music blasting out of a boombox belonging to a boy at school. During class breaks, he break-danced - he and a friend spinning on their hands and heads - then freezing motion...motorized robots. Cruising from class to class - on his shoulder he carried the boombox - big as a shoebox for boots...its staccato sound charging the atmosphere. George Clinton's Atomic Dog woofed, tweeted, barked, and bow-wowed its way out of those blasting beatbox speakers.
The Go-Go's and Blondie I loved, singing along to all the Go-Go's songs - and feeling intense admiration for Blondie's cool, syncopated Rapture.
Thomas Dolby's Europa and the Pirate Twins: Seeing it today, I think how ahead of things he was - with his time travel retro-science device and his Victorian/Edwardian appearance. I loved Dolby's Europa in the 80s, but wasn't sure how to choreograph it - becoming almost short-circuited with enthusiasm...when playing it, I did experimental hula hoop - because to me, the song felt circular.
Pop Muzik - by M, produced a bizarre effect as well - to Pop Muzik I did handstands, headstands, cartwheels, backbends, and roundoffs. Music energized me."Excerpt from 80s Fashion Design, Book 1: Drawn - a collection of scrapbook and sketchbook entries, trend and pop culture observations and mementos - written and illustrated by Toile La La.