More Music Reflecting the 1980s

I wrote a previous blog about socially conscious music from the 1980s, and thought I’d make another blog about some of my favorite music from that era. I remember it as being a very politically charged time, with many musicians and artists reacting against the conservative politics of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. On a personal level I thought Ronald Reagan was a very kind and gracious man. He was able to make friendships with people irregardless of political affiliation and he got along well with liberals like Tip O’ Neill and Ted Kennedy. Reagan’s politics however, did great damage to the poor and the blue-collar working class. Many people remember the Reagan economic recovery of the mid 1980s, but people forget that the Reagan recovery was fueled by those industries that benefitted from the increase in military spending that was part of Reagan’s strategy to force the Soviet Union into an arms race that the Soviets couldn’t afford. Reagan’s economic policies were devastating especially to the inner city and the rural farming communities. Both communities had struggled from larger economic trends that started in the 1970s due to the transition to a more globalized economy, and Reagan’s free market policies exacerbated the problems in the inner cities and the farming communities. Both the inner cities and the farm communities suffered from unemployment problems, poor schools, high crime and drug problems. Cocaine devastated the inner cities and the number of homeless people skyrocketed as funds for the federal safety net were cut. The gay community was also devastated by the AIDS crisis, as social conservatives demonized AIDS victims. Reagan’s efforts to fund right wing governments in Latin America destabilized the area and led to a cycle of violence that spurred residents to try to escape and fueled an illegal immigration problem that we are still dealing with.

Musicians in the 1980s were affected by all these things going on. They wrote songs to try to make sense of all these things and to express the anxieties and struggles that we were all going through at the time.

IT’S A MISTAKE

Performed by Men At Work

Jump down the shelters to get away
The boys are cockin’ up their guns
Tell us General is it party time?
If it is can we all come?
Don’t think that we don’t know
Don’t think that we’re not tryin’, no no no
Don’t think we move too slow
It’s no use after cryin’

Sayin’ “It’s a mistake, it’s a mistake
It’s a mistake, it’s a mistake”

After the laughter has died away
And all the boys have had their fun
No surface noise now, not much to say
They’ve got the bad guys on the run

Don’t try to say you’re sorry
Don’t say he drew his gun
They’ve gone and grabbed old Ronnie
He’s not the only one

Sayin’, “It’s a mistake, it’s a mistake
It’s a mistake, it’s a mistake”

Tell us commander, what do you think?
‘Cos we know that you love all that power
Is it on then, are we on the brink?
We wish you’d all throw in the towel

We’ll not fade out too soon
Not in this finest hour
Whistle your favorite tune
We’ll send a card and flower

Sayin’, “It’s a mistake, it’s a mistake
It’s a mistake, it’s a mistake”
Oh

It’s a mistake, it’s a mistake
It’s a mistake, it’s a mistake
It’s a mistake, it’s a mistake

RAIN ON THE SCARECROW

Performed by John Mellencamp

Scarecrow on a wooden cross Blackbird in the barn
Four hundred empty acres that used to be my farm
I grew up like my daddy did my grandpa cleared this land
When I was five I walked the fence while grandpa held my hand

Rain on the scarecrow Blood on the plow
This land fed a nation This land made me proud
And Son I’m just sorry there’s no legacy for you now
Rain on the scarecrow Blood on the plow
Rain on the scarecrow Blood on the plow

The crops we grew last summer weren’t enough to pay the loans
Couldn’t buy the seed to plant this spring and the Farmers Bank foreclosed
Called my old friend Schepman up to auction off the land
He said John it’s just my job and I hope you understand
Hey calling it your job ol’ hoss sure don’t make it right
But if you want me to I’ll say a prayer for your soul tonight
And grandma’s on the front porch swing with a Bible in her hand
Sometimes I hear her singing “Take me to the Promised Land”
When you take away a man’s dignity he can’t work his fields and cows

There’ll be blood on the scarecrow Blood on the plow
Blood on the scarecrow Blood on the plow

Well there’s ninety-seven crosses planted in the courthouse yard
Ninety-seven families who lost ninety-seven farms
I think about my grandpa and my neighbors and my name
And some nights I feel like dyin’ Like that scarecrow in the rain

Rain on the scarecrow Blood on the plow
This land fed a nation This land made me proud
And Son I’m just sorry they’re just memories for you now
Rain on the scarecrow Blood on the plow
Rain on the scarecrow Blood on the plow

Rain on the scarecrow Blood on the plow
This land fed a nation This land made me proud
And Son I’m just sorry they’re just memories for you now
Rain on the scarecrow Blood on the plow
Rain on the scarecrow Blood on the plow

SIGN O’ THE TIMES

Performed by Prince

Oh yeah!
In France, a skinny man died of a big disease with a little name
By chance his girlfriend came across a needle and soon she did the same
At home there are seventeen-year-old boys and their idea of fun
Is being in a gang called ‘The Disciples’
High on crack and totin’ a machine gun

Time
Times

Hurricane Annie ripped the ceiling of a church and killed everyone inside
You turn on the telly and every other story is tellin’ you somebody died
A sister killed her baby ’cause she couldn’t afford to feed it
And yet we’re sending people to the moon
In September, my cousin tried reefer for the very first time
Now he’s doing horse – it’s June, unh

Times
Times

It’s silly, no?
When a rocket ship explodes and everybody still wants to fly
But some say a man ain’t happy unless a man truly dies
Oh why?

Time
Time

Baby make a speech, Star Wars fly
Neighbors just shine it on
But if a night falls and a bomb falls
Will anybody see the dawn?

Time, mm
Times

Is it silly, no?
When a rocket blows and, and everybody still wants to fly
Some say man ain’t happy truly until a man truly dies
Oh why, oh why?
Sign o’ the times, unh

Time
Time

Sign o’ the times mess with your mind
Hurry before it’s too late
Let’s fall in love, get married, have a baby
We’ll call him Nate
If it’s a boy

LONDON CALLING

Performed by The Clash

London calling to the faraway towns
Now war is declared and battle come down
London calling to the underworld
Come out of the cupboard, you boys and girls
London calling, now don’t look to us
Phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust
London calling, see we ain’t got no swing
‘Cept for the ring of that truncheon thing

The ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in
Meltdown expected, the wheat is growin’ thin
Engines stop running, but I have no fear
‘Cause London is drowning, and I, I live by the river

London calling to the imitation zone
Forget it, brother, you can go it alone
London calling to the zombies of death
Quit holding out and draw another breath
London calling and I don’t want to shout
But when we were talking I saw you nodding out
London calling, see we ain’t got no high
Except for that one with the yellowy eye

The ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in
Engines stop running, the wheat is growin’ thin
A nuclear era, but I have no fear
‘Cause London is drowning, and I, I live by the river

The ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in
Engines stop running, the wheat is growin’ thin
A nuclear era, but I have no fear
London is drowning, and I, I live by the river

Now get this

London calling, yes, I was there, too
An’ you know what they said? Well, some of it was true!
London calling at the top of the dial
And after all this, won’t you give me a smile?

I never felt so much a’ like a’like a’like

NELSON MANDELA

Performed by The Specials

Free Nelson Mandela
Free free
Free free free Nelson Mandela

Free Nelson Mandela

21 years in captivity
Shoes too small to fit his feet
His body abused, but his mind is still free
You’re so blind that you cannot see

Free Nelson Mandela

Visited the causes at the AMC
Only one man in a large army
You’re so blind that you cannot see
You’re so deaf that you cannot hear him

Free Nelson Mandela

21 tears in captivity
You’re so blind that you cannot see
You’re so deaf that you cannot hear him
You’re so dumb that you cannot speak

Free Nelson Mandela

ELECTRIC AVENUE

Performed by Eddie Grant

Boy! Boy!

Now in the street, there is violence
And-and a lots of work to be done
No place to hang out our washing
And-and I can’t blame all on the sun

Oh no, we gonna rock down to Electric Avenue
And then we’ll take it higher
Oh, we gonna rock down to Electric Avenue
And then we’ll take it higher

Workin’ so hard like a soldier
Can’t afford a thing on TV
Deep in my heart, I abhor ya
Can’t get food for the kid

Good God, we gonna rock down to Electric Avenue
And then we’ll take it higher
Ho, we gonna rock down to Electric Avenue
And then we’ll take it higher

Oh no
Oh no
Oh no
Oh no

Oh God, we gonna rock down to Electric Avenue
And then we’ll take it higher
Ho, we gonna rock down to Electric Avenue
And then we’ll take it higher

Who is to blame in one country?
Never can get to the one
Dealin’ in multiplication
And they still can’t feed everyone

Oh no, we gonna rock down to Electric Avenue
And then we’ll take it higher
Ho no, we gonna rock down to Electric Avenue
And then we’ll take it higher

Ho, out in the street
Out in the street
Out in the daytime
Out in the night

Oh, we gonna rock down to Electric Avenue
And then we’ll take it higher
Ho, we gonna rock down to Electric Avenue
And then we’ll take it higher

Out in the street
Out in the street
Out in the playground
In the dark side of town

Ho, we gonna rock down to Electric Avenue
And then we’ll take it higher
Hey, we gonna rock down to Electric Avenue
And then we’ll take it higher

Ohh yeah
Rock it in the daytime
Rock it in the night
Rock it in my…

WHITE LINES

Performed by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five

baby, Freeze

Rock-Rock-Rock-Rock-Rock-Rock-Rock-Rock! (High!

High… High… High… )…Rrrrrrrrruh Bass!

(Oooh!

White White)… 3X Verse

One (Ooooh:

White… Lines) Vision dreams of passion (Blowin

through my mind) And all the while I think of you (Pipe

cries) A very strange reaction (For

us to unwind) The more I see the more I do (Something

like a phenomenon) Baby (Tellin

your body to come along but, white lines Blow… away) (Blow

Rock! it Blow! )!Ticket

to ride white line highway Tell

all your friends they, can go my way Pay

your toll sell, your soul Pound

for pound costs more than gold The

longer you stay the more you pay My

white lines go a long way Either

up your nose or through your vein With

nothin to gain except killin your brain (Freeze

Rock! )!4X (Blow)!(High)…Higher baby, (High)…Get higher baby, (High!)…Get higher baby, And!

don’t ever come down (Freebase! )!Verse

Two Orang:

dang diggedy dang di-dang Orang

dang diggedy dang di-dang Orang

dang diggedy dang di-dang Diggedy

dang di-dang diggedy dang di-dang (Pipe

line )…Pure as the driven snow (Connected

to my mind) And now I’m havin fun baby, (Pipe!

cries) It’s gettin kinda low (Cause

it makes you feel so nice) I need some one-on-one baby, (Don’t

let it blow your mind away) Baby (And

go into your little hideaway cause white lines Blow… away) (Blow

Rock! it Blow! )!A

million magic crystals painted, pure and white A

multi-million dollars almost over night Twice

as sweet as sugar twice, as bitter as salt And

if you get hooked baby, it’s, nobody else’s fault so, don’t do it (Freeze!

Rock! )!4X Rrrrah

(Blow! )!(High)…Higher baby, (High)…Get higher baby, (High!)…Get higher baby, And!

don’t ever come down (Freebase! )!Verse

Three (Don’t:

get too high) Don’t you get too high baby, (Turns

you on) You really turn me on and on (Cause!

you gotta come down)

My temperature is risin (When the thrill is gone) No I, don’t want you to go A!

street kid gets arrested gonna, do some time He

got out three years from now just to commit more crime A

businessman is caught with 24 kilos He’s

out on bail and, out of jail and that’s the way it goes rrrruh, (Cane!)!(SugarCane! )!2X Athletes

reject it governors, correct it Gangsters

thugs and smugglers are thoroughly respected The

money gets divided the, women get excited Now

I’m broke and it’s no joke it’s hard as hell to fight it don’t, buy it (Freeze!)!Huh-huh huh huh (Rock! )!(Freeze Rock! )!x3 Rrrah

(Blow! )!(High)…Get higher baby, (High)…Get higher girl, (High!)…Get higher baby, (High!)…C’mon Rrrrrah! Verse!!

Four (White Lines) Vision dreams of passion (Blowin

through my mind) And all the while I think of you (Pipe cries) A very strange reaction (For us to unwind) The more I see the more I do (Something like a phenomenon) Baby (Tellin your body to come along but, white lines Blow… away )…Little

Jack Horner sittin on the corner with no shoes and clothes This

ain’t funny but he took his money and sniffed it up his nose Dealer!

Hey: man, You. wanna cop some blow Junkie?

Sure: watcha, got Dust? flakes, or rocks Dealer?

I: got China White Mother, of Pearl I… reflect what you need Junkie.

Well: yeah well, let me check it out man, Just. let me get a freeze Dealer.

Go: ahead man, The. stuff I got should kill ya Junkie…

Yeah: man, Th-That’s. That’s… raw Huuuhhhh… [Don’t… do it baby, ]…(Freeze)! A-huh huh huh (Rock! )!Freeze

Rock!

STATE OF THE WORLD

Performed by Janet Jackson

Five A.M. rise and shine
To feed the baby before he starts to cry
No rest, no time to play
15, the mother is a runaway
No time for dreams or goals
Pressure is so strong
Her body she has sold so her child can eat
What is happening to this world we live in
In our home and other lands

Drugs and crime spreadin on the streets
People can’t find enough to eat
Now our kids can’t go out and play
That’s the state of the world today

Lil’ Johnny all alone
His only friend, the doll he carries with him
Goes to school each and every day
To be teased because he has no place to stay
This young and homeless boy feels his life is worthless
Instead of suicide he cries himself to sleep
And it’s happenin to this world we live in
There’s got to be a better way

Drugs and crime spreadin on the streets
People can’t find enough to eat
Now our kids can’t go out and play
That’s the state of the world today

Can’t give up hope now
Let’s weather the storm together

THIS WOMAN’S WORk

Performed by Kate Bush

Pray God you can cope.
I stand outside this woman’s work,
This woman’s world.
Ooh, it’s hard on the man,
Now his part is over.
Now starts the craft of the father.

I know you have a little life in you yet.
I know you have a lot of strength left.
I know you have a little life in you yet.
I know you have a lot of strength left.

I should be crying, but I just can’t let it show.
I should be hoping, but I can’t stop thinking

Of all the things I should’ve said,
That I never said.
All the things we should’ve done,
That we never did.
All the things I should’ve given,
But I didn’t.

Oh, darling, make it go,
Make it go away.

Give me these moments back.
Give them back to me.
Give me that little kiss.
Give me your hand.

(I know you have a little life in you yet.
I know you have a lot of strength left.
I know you have a little life in you yet.
I know you have a lot of strength left.)

I should be crying, but I just can’t let it show.
I should be hoping, but I can’t stop thinking

Of all the things we should’ve said,
That were never said.
All the things we should’ve done,
That we never did.
All the things that you needed from me.
All the things that you wanted for me.
All the things that I should’ve given,
But I didn’t.

Oh, darling, make it go away.
Just make it go away now.

Advertisements

About angelolopez

I’ve wanted to be an artist all my life. Since I was a child I’ve drawn on any scrap of paper I could get a hold of. When I went to San Jose State University, I became more exposed to the works of the great fine artists and illustrators. My college paintings were heavily influenced by the humorous illustrations of Peter De Seve, an illustrator for the New Yorker magazine. I also fell under the spell of the great muralists of the 1930s, especially Thomas Hart Benton and Diego Rivera. I graduated with a degree in Illustration. Since my time in college, my goal has been to be a successful children’s book illustrator. I’ve illustrated 3 books: Two Moms the Zark and Me by Johnny Valentine in 1993; Night Travelers by Sue Hill in 1994; and Cherubic Children’s New Classic Story Book Volume 2 for Cherubic Press in 1998. I’ve painted murals for Lester Shields Elementary School in San Jose, the Berryessa branch of the San Jose Public Library, and Grace Community Church in Los Altos. I’ve had a few illustrations published in South Bay Accent Magazine and I will have an illustration published in the January/February issue of Tikkun magazine.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s