Back in May 1981, I was graduating from high school, preparing for my last three months of living at home before arriving at the Ball State campus, and facing the world as a young adult. Personally, I was ready to leave my little community of family, friends and a whole stifling world of people in the hopes of becoming part of some sort of educational-based intellectualism. Unfortunately, outside of my classes, I left college disappointed by the experience. Sure, I chose my alma mater for three reasons: (1) the science department was every bit as good as Indiana or Purdue’s for the life sciences, (2) I was going to be a “preferred walk-on” on the Cross Country and indoor and outdoor Track teams, and (3) the size was big enough to be “lost in” while small enough to gain some valuable leadership experiences. Well, reasons 1 and 3 remain great, while number 2 was just plain stupid. I should have known that I was no longer in love with running, at least in the way to be success at the collegiate level.
Yet, I was leaving high school as an academic underachiever, who had a firm grasp of scientific concepts, grammatical and writing skills and a knowledge base in history/government/economics/political science that may have exceeded a majority of my peers, mainly because I was constantly reading all kinds of material, from Karl Marx to Ayn Rand, from the Bible to the Qur’an. This is not an attempt to brag, but to give you a bit of my background. During my two-year confirmation coursework in my Lutheran church, I became enamored with Matthew 25:31-46, in which Jesus directs Christians to care for those who have less, since you never know when that person you are aiding could be God, Himself. First off, I am a terrible hypocrite when it comes to living these verses out-load; yet, I do try, especially during my teaching career. It was when I read that section of the Bible back in the seventh grade, I thought if you were to extrapolate those verses into the political realm, then the liberal political view, with all of its faults, would be the most Godlike. So, sorry fellow Hoosiers, I am a liberal. I know most of you believe that makes me dumb, Godless, and the like. And, I understand that my educational background seems to make me out to living in some ivory tower that I have never seen, even figuratively. Oh, and I will not change my beliefs.
But, one area in which college did not disappoint was in the development of my love of music. Slowly, I found some like-minded musical souls with whom I shared our love. I also got involved with a group of young men who encouraged me to become a member of their college bowl team as a pop music specialist. So, not only was I added to this team for my scientific background but because of my prodigious knowledge in popular music. Thus, this blog would have never existed without that group of seniors who noticed something in me. My career in the college bowl was short-lived when I got involved with an intramural basketball team, which I needed as an outlet.
Now, 1981 was a pretty good year for music. By 1981, punk rock had evolved into new wave, hardcore (like Black Flag, Hüsker Dü and the Dead Kennedys), goth (Bauhaus, the early Cure and Siouxsie & the Banshees) and new wave (Devo, The B-52’s and all the popular forms of a left field type of pop music). The synthesizer was the instrument of choice of the early Eighties and was being incorporated by all forms of music, including even by heavy metal and southern rock artists. Although my Top 40 was diverse, the use of the synthesizer was prevalent. Yet, it was the music that shone through, not the synthesizers.
So, let’s dive back into 1981. Sure, the songs were all about “Celebration,” “Looking for Love,” and “Physical.” Yet, it was the albums in which had the real music. So, here is my Top 40 Albums of 1981.
- Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Hard Promises
- Brian Eno and David Byrne – My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
- Daryl Hall & John Oates – Private Eyes
- Rush – Moving Pictures
- The Police – Ghost in the Machine
- Squeeze – East Side Story
- The J. Geils Band – Freeze-Frame
- Tom Tom Club – Tom Tom Club
- Phil Collins – Face Value
- Stevie Nicks – Bella Donna
- Rick James – Street Songs
- Prince – Controversy
- The Rolling Stones – Tattoo You
- Electric Light Orchestra – Time
- Billy Squier – Don’t Say No
- Genesis – Abacab
- The Moody Blues – Long Distance Voyager
- Journey – Escape
- Lindsey Buckingham – Law and Order
- Duran Duran – Duran Duran
- Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Trust
- Foreigner – 4
- The Human League – Dare!
- Loverboy – Get Lucky
- Billy Joel – Songs from the Attic
- Joan Jett & the Blackhearts – I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll
- Rickie Lee Jones – Pirates
- Triumph – Allied Forces
- The Go-Go’s – Beauty and the Beat
- Dan Fogelberg – An Innocent Man
- Devo – New Traditionalists
- Hanoi Rocks – Bangkok Shocks Saigon Shakes Hanoi Rocks
- The Cars – Shake It Up
- Debbie Harry – Koo Koo
- AC/DC – For Those About to Rock We Salute You
- Pretenders – Pretenders II
- Pat Benatar – Precious Time
- Rick Springfield – Working Class Dog
- Saga – Worlds Apart
- Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band – Nine Tonight
And, that’s 1981 to me these days, not so much my political views which I continue to hold on to. I’d much rather discuss rock & roll, science (especially microbiology), and the arts, but I do have strong political views that are not based on emotion but on a pragmatically studied views gained from The Bible, Qur’an and political studies. Let’s go rock and roll!