Looking back, 1982 was one helluva of year for me and for music. MTV debuted in both Muncie and Anderson, so I got to view this new phenomenon at my fraternity house and home. MTV played a HUGE roll for people my age in exposing us to all kinds of new music, although the channel was so very slow to add black artists to its playlist.
Surprisingly to me, I was being thrust into leadership roles with the fraternity, my dorm and even in the science department. It was as if I had stepped into some bizarre world in which adults and my peers both appreciated my skills and talents without judgement, which was a total 180-degree turn from my perceived status within my high school. Likewise, college women suddenly took an interest in me. Needless to say, college was a totally different experience than high school.
Instead of being kept out of pickup basketball games during open gym situations back home, I was getting picked by the best teams to run with them. It got to the point during the intramural basketball season that I jumped from one of the worst teams from the dorm to the best team by the end of my freshman year. It got to the point after a tournament that a Ball State assistant coach ended up asking me to try to be a walk-on with the actual men’s team. I thought long and hard about it. If I had realized that I really wanted to be a coach back in college, I would have walked on to the team. Anytime you have college basketball experience, you have a leg up on everyone else that wants a coaching position. Stupidly, I still did not believe in my talents and skills, or myself, enough to believe that I might be a Division I college talent. That single decision might be one of my biggest regrets. You see, I still remembered everything that had been said about me throughout high school, and I could not deprogram myself back then.
On the other hand, I was having a grand time making party mixtapes for frat parties and doing some freelance dj jobs in which I only played the music not the kind of creative process that position does today. But, I was mixing rudimentary sounds together with some interesting results. Mostly, I was in Cooper Science building taking enough biology, chemistry and physics classes to choke a horse. Still, I would always pick up my paycheck for my work in the dormitory cafeteria every other Thursday, walk down to my college bank, deposit some money in my account and take a twenty into the local record stores to check out this week’s new release albums.
It was in 1982 during which I made my second greatest single day purchase of music in my young life. It was October 1982, and Ball State’s newspaper, The Daily News, had an advert for a new discount store in the Village (Discount Den) that was pimping their albums for $3.99 a piece. So, that day I went down there after classes, walked in to check out their inventory for the first time. That day I walked out with four terrific albums: Hall & Oates’ H2O, Night and Day by Joe Jackson, Donald Fagen’s The Nightfly and Security (also known as Peter Gabriel 4) by Peter Gabriel. All four had been released around the same time.
What I honestly remember about 1982 was the plethora of great new artists releasing outstanding music, first getting exposure on MTV, then actually getting radio play. It seemed as if overnight that Culture Club, Duran Duran, Prince, Michael Jacksons, and the like were replacing Neil Diamond, Eagles and REO Speedwagon. It was an exciting time because this new music actually was representing people around our age.
It was such a fun time because I felt as if my mixtapes were reflecting these changes as I was having Grandmaster Flash butt up against Foreigner while old Motown songs were programmed next to some budding hair metal band. Shoot, even the Dead Kennedys sounded great next to Prince followed by “Atomic Dog” followed by “Crazy Train” then “Blowfly’s Party.” It was eclectic, but it worked! It was no wonder that the great and influential NYC DJ Afrika Bambaataa became influenced by Kraftwerk only to sample their music on his futuristic hip hop classic “Planet Rock.” It was as if many of us from the late-Boomer/early-Gen X generations were bored with the status quo being reflected in the Wonder Bread-esque new radio format planning.
Them, you throw all of this great music into the soundtrack of your daily life of a nineteen-year-old, then you know that 1982 was a great year to be alive. Plus, during the calendar year of 1982, I got to see a few concerts: The Police with opening act Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Heart with a pretty popular Hoosier playing Indy for the first time since he hit the big time named John Cougar Mellencamp and Queen on their last American tour with the perfect opening act Billy Squier. Sure, I did not attend many concerts back then, but I was also fairly picky about which artist I wanted to see. The Police were great, but Joanie was an added bonus. Then, I went to see Mellencamp, but left the legendary Market Square Arena a HUGE Heart fan. Finally, the first two artists in which I was seeing for the second time each, both Queen and Billy Squier were outstanding. Now 40 years later, I still cannot believe that Queen, coming off a sold-out concert during the summer of 1980, could not sell out MSA again two years later. It did not make sense to me other than Freddie Mercury had recently come out as gay while Hoosiers at the time were offended by that. I thought it was so stupid because the band was actually playing its most challenging music of their career. Maybe people were also offended the band was creating a unique dance/rock hybrid that was a little ahead of its time. Regardless, it was just stupid all the way around. Now, I get to hear how lucky I was to get to see Queen twice. When, in reality, those same people might have been boycotting Queen because of Freddie’s sexuality and afraid of the dance part of the band’s newest music. Today, we’d call it homophobia.
So, let’s check out my memories in today’s countdown.
50. Rick Springfield – Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet
49. Laurie Anderson – Big Science
48. Pete Townshend – All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes
47. Squeeze – Sweets from a Stranger
46. Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five – The Message
45. A Flock of Seagulls – A Flock of Seagulls
44. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Long After Dark
43. Frida – Something’s Going On
42. Lionel Richie – Lionel Richie
41. Rush – Signals
40. The Alan Parsons Project – The Eye in the Sky
39. The Misfits – Walk Among Us
38. Toto – Toto IV
37. Pat Benatar – Get Lucky
36. The Go-Go’s – Vacation
35. Billy Squier – Emotions in Motion
34. ABC – The Lexicon of Love
33. Dire Straits – Love Over Gold
32. Billy Joel – The Nylon Curtain
31. Iron Maiden – The Number of the Beast
30. Donald Fagen – The Nightfly
29. Richard & Linda Thompson – Shoot Out the Lights
28. Asia – Asia
27. Billy Idol – Billy Idol
26. Culture Club – Kissing to Be Clever
25. X – Under the Big Black Sun
24. The English Beat – Big Beat Service
23. Peter Gabriel – Security (Peter Gabriel IV)
22. Adam Ant – Friend or Foe
21. John Cougar – American Fool
20. Marvin Gaye – Midnight Love
19. XTC – English Settlement
18. Men at Work – Business as Usual
17. Yazoo – Upstairs at Eric’s
16. The Cure – Pornography
15. Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Imperial Bedroom
14. Duran Duran – Rio
13. The Psychedelic Furs – Forever Now
12. Talking Heads – The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads
11. The Clash – Combat Rock
10. George Clinton – Computer Games
9. Joe Jackson – Night and Day
8. The Time – What Time Is It?
7. Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska
6. Daryl Hall & John Oates – H2O
5. Roxy Music – Avalon
4. Dexys Midnight Runners – Too-Rye-Aye
3. Michael Jackson – Thriller
2. Marshall Crenshaw – Marshall Crenshaw
1. Prince – 1999