80’s High School Twisted MixTape

Jen Kehl at My Skewed View and Kristi at Finding Ninee host Twisted MixTape Tuesday, a blog hop that’s all about music.  The premise is to create a five song mix based on the week’s theme.  (You can click on the button above if you’d like to play along).

Here’s Jen’s instructions for today’s topic: If you were going to make a mix for a friend in the Eighties, what would it contain? This is NOT a best of. This is If You Were You, in the 80’s, and You Were Making A Mix Tape For A Friend (on any topic) What Would It Be?

The 80’s are going to be tough for me as that’s when I spent my teen through college years and I have so many fond memories and influential moments that can be captured by my musical choices.

I remember the first day our cable provider added MTV and it changed my little teen world.  I remember the neon clothes and the Madonna-lookalike-wannabes.  Prince’s Purple Rain was our prom theme (along with thousands of other schools apparently as I found out later in life).  We had hair bands and heavy metal, the emergence of hip hop and rap, boy bands/girl bands and the now ever-popular tween-sensations.  It was a time of first crushes and first loves and the inevitable first heartbreak.  There was also my first j-o-b, working in a denim store selling Jordache, Calvin Klein, Sasson, and Gloria Vanderbilt jeans.  My first time as a licensed driver, being all alone behind the wheel in mom’s station wagon with the windows down and the wind in my hair and the stereo blasting while driving to the mall and thinking “How cool am I now?”  (not very)

I honestly don’t think I can stick to a theme for my 80’s lists as I’ve done for my previous decades.  There was just too much happening in such a short period of time.  So for my two weeks in the 80’s, I’m making it a trip down memory lane.  I’m choosing songs that are associated with significant memories or turning points in my high school and college days.  They may not be the most popular songs, the best songs by a particular artist, or even the most likeable, but they serve as touchstones for me in a way.

1.  Let the Music Play – Shannon (1983).  Outside of the enforced dancing in gym mentioned in my last 70’s mixtape, this was the song playing when I had my first “real” dance with a boy.  I was a Junior in high school and one of the clubs I was involved in had a state conference and competition every year.  The last night of the conference, there was always a dance that we dressed up in suits and formals.  The delegation from my school was all female and we spent most of the time dancing in a group.  We were taking a breather at a table when a boy came up and asked me to dance with him.  Me!  Out of all the girls, he chose me.  He led me out onto the dance floor accompanied by cheers and catcalls from my table.  I started a typical geeky side-to-side sway to the beat of this song, only to watch in horror as he started doing some kind of coked-up Tyrolean Shoe Slapping Dance (seen in the first 15 seconds of that video).  While appropriate someplace like Austria, it wasn’t cool in central Florida.  I heard the riot of laughter coming from my table, but politely finished the dance and thanked my partner before slinking back to sit down and be teased the rest of the night.

2.  You’ve Got Another Thing Coming – Judas Priest (1982).  Being a geeky, white girl from the suburbs, heavy metal wasn’t even on my radar until my sophomore high school crush was overheard to mention his favorite band was Judas Priest.  I made it my mission to know everything I could about them and played out the Screaming for Vengeance cassette until I knew all the words to all the songs, all the band members names and what instruments they played and all their previous albums.  We had a few conversations in homeroom and were becoming friends until spring’s Easter break long weekend, he never returned to school.  I never found out what happened to him and even though I’m not quite proud of the original deception, it planted a seed of love for heavy metal and hard rock music in me.  I retained my Judas Priest love and added Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, and many more to music collection.  (A fast forward to the future note:  I was a little disgusted to hear Judas Priest’s The Hellion used in a Honda Odyssey commercials a few years ago.  There is no way in hell you can make a mini-van heavy metal.)

3.  What’s Love Got To Do With It – Tina Turner (1984).  This song was my mantra for most of my senior year as I began to develop an attraction for my best friend’s boyfriend.  It was the biggest taboo, the lowest of the low, the most major girl code crime and it formed the basis of my personal dating code of ethics for the rest of my life.  Never, never, never flirt, date, or sleep with any guy that’s ever been the crush, boyfriend, one-night stand, fiancee or husband of a friend.  I never voiced my thoughts and tried to hide my reaction to him as best I could.  I know I did a good job of it and I don’t think anyone ever guessed the truth.

To this day, I’m ashamed of it, even though its really not something I had any control over.  It was only a physical attraction, though at that age, it can be difficult to separate the physical from the emotional.  But it wasn’t the only time it happened over the course of my dating life.  Looking back, I can understand that I was only really attracted to those that were unavailable to me.  They were safe and I didn’t have the option to put feelings out and risk getting them hurt.  This was also the point in my life when I became a master at masking my true thoughts.

4.  Rock Box – Run D.M.C. (1984).  Even though I had previously heard Sugarhill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight, this Run D.M.C. song was the first rap song to really open my eyes to the genre.  I think what originally caught my attention was the hard rock guitar into as I caught the song for the first time at that point.  Then I was like, “Whoa!  What’s this?!?!” when they started spitting the rhymes.  This was my gateway into rap and hip hop that I still enjoy, but mix it with hard rock and I’m in love (hence my later obsession with Kid Rock and Eminem).   This song has a special memory attached, my first kiss (doesn’t seem like the “first kiss” kinda song, but then I always was a bit different).

5.  Dancing in the Street – David Bowie & Mick Jagger (1985).   There were two weeks left before I was due to leave for college and my friends had planned a going away party for a weekend when one of their parents were out of town.  Unfortunately, it looked like the hurricane that was headed straight for our coastal town decided to crash the party.  Luckily throughout the day, its course changed a bit so we weren’t directly in its path, but we still got a good amount of rain.  The party went on and after a couple hours of drinking, we declared it a Hurricane Party and moved it outside to where it was still intermittently raining.  I don’t remember the exact details because my memory of events after this point become kinda sketchy, but something very clear I remember is a bunch of us dancing in the middle of the street in the rain to this song.  It was one of those moments of friendship I wished would never end.  Things in our lives were getting ready to change forever and we’d never have this again.

So, those are a few of the standout songs and significant moments from the first half of the 80’s up to graduating from high school in 1985.  For the 80’s Part 2 next week, I’ll delve into my college years.

Dream Sig 3



  1. elleroywashere

    Such a wide variety of genres in the 80s, right? And after that decade, that’s when things started to narrow. Good eclectic mix of songs on your list!

  2. Lance

    DAMN. IT.

    I was going to start off my list next week with Rockbox explaining how rap/hip hop changed music so much because it reached the white kids. Great pick…totally redeemed your early Chrissie hate. *fistbump*

    I like how you positioned Priest and DMC between the pop girls. That was the 80s. Like Linda says, the 80s introduced so many different types of music to so many differnet cultures because of MTV.

    • Dream

      Sorry for stealing your thunder, but happy for the redemption. I won’t have to leave an offering of punk memorabilia on my doorstep for you and your crowbar. Now I can buy shoes…or gas for the car. I’m not sure which one I want more.

      But yeah, my musical diversity in the 80’s also led to developing the ability to get along with the various types of people that listened to that music. It was a lesson that served me well later in life.

  3. Clark Scottroger

    hey! how weird is this? I was just now* at Jen’s Post and (in my Comment) I reflected on being able to semi-hangout with virtually any of the groups/cliques in high school (for me a different decade, but the principle obtains)…of course, I was never really a part of any of them, but now that I think about it, I was aware even back then that I was fairly fluent in ‘jock’ or ‘chess club’ or ‘Honor Society’
    Then I stop be here and see your reply to Lance, sounding like the same viewpoint! lol being the Outsider is pretty much the same whether in the 60s or the 80s, I guess.

    liked your list

    *like *that* can mean anything given the virtual nature of this here medium here

    • Dream

      Music is like a universal language and if you can understand a particular group’s preferences, then you always have a jumping off point for a conversation.

    • Dream

      Thanks Slu, that whole Private Dancer album was pretty damn good. They played it a lot in that denim store I referenced in my post.

  4. Kristi Campbell

    I so remember how MTV totally changed everything in my world. We’d watch videos for hours. Judas Priest – You’ve Got Another Thing Coming is one of the best songs ever. I want to get up and do my air guitar. Great eclectic mix here – seriously!

  5. troy P.

    Oh, I was so going to marry you when I saw Priest, but have since called in the divorce attorneys as a result of Bowie/Jagger… =)

    • Dream

      To be honest, I don’t think the 80’s were the best for most examples of Bowie and/or Jagger and the original of that song was better anyway. But it was a poignant moment for me personally and I’m not ashamed of any of my pop-ier choces.

  6. Jen

    Seriously, nothing says 80’s like What’s Love Got to do With It and Run DMC, seriously, like I said in my list – that’s when rap really was something. Rap I would let my kid listen to. What an amazing change to the musical landscape. I really love this list and completely identify with your song changes. This 80’s thing has been way more fun than I thought!

    • Dream

      I was thinking earlier today after I had posted and was commenting on some of the other mixtapes that the 80’s were kinda like a renaissance period musically. So many different styles, some that failed, but others that succeeded and transformed into the music of the decades to follow.

    • Dream

      This was the first decade I really had any significant stories related to the music to tell that had happened at the time of its release. I edited it back down a bit because I didn’t want to be too TMI.

  7. Pingback: 80′s MixTape Part 2: The College Years | I Dream of White Rooms
  8. Jak

    Ah ha! I actually new all of these. It’s awesome you listed Run DMC, though it definitely isn’t what one would likely imagine associated with a “first kiss” moment.

    Tsk tsk… almost crossing the line of stealing a best friends bf? Attractions run all across the board. The heart (or neurosis) doesn’t follow such guidelines when it comes to what it wants. Probably a good guess about wanting something unavailable since it was “safe”. I sometimes wonder if I have that issue still today…

    I don’t care what anyone says, hell yeah to Bowie/Jagger’s “Dancing in the Street”

    P.S. You need to Youtube your old dance moves!

    Jak at The Cryton Chronicles & Dreams in the Shade of Ink