Thursday, August 31, 2006

Thinking About The 80's

“Back in the days when I was young…I’m not a kid anymore but some days I sit and wish I was a kid again.” ~Ahmad
I’m going to take you back to 1985 when I was in the twelfth grade. A senior! I was one of the coolest brothers in high school. Yes, I was cool. You should've seen me! I was sportin’ my favorite burgundy Lee jeans with all white, shell top Adidas. You know I had to have my striped burgundy and grey fat shoelaces and steel taps on my heels so that you could hear me coming down the hallway. If I was outside I had on my burgundy and grey pull over windbreaker and cap with the words, “Stevie B” written in gold across the front. As I said before, I was cool. *smile* My best friends were Roby Rob, “Kiterio” Jay-rapping-Al, and AJ (aka Boot). My music was R&B, DC Go-Go music and the beginnings of Hip-Hop on a national level. In DC we were listening to Go-Go legends like Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers, Experience Unlimited (EU), Trouble Funk, Rare Essence, Pump Blenders, Shady Groove, Ayre Raid and the list goes on.

I was sent to North Carolina by the time I reached high school and folks in the Carolinas were following the New York music scene. Eventually, so was I. We were jamming to Afrika Bambaataa & The Zulu Nation, U.T.F.O and taped cassettes of Kool DJ Red Alert on WBLS. I remember the first time that I heard “The Show” with Slick Rick and Doug E Fresh. I can’t describe how I felt when I heard it for the first time. It was amazing!

I can’t forget R&B! I was seriously on some New Edition. However, some of my favorite R&B artists were from the UK. I actually didn’t know that there were black people in the UK until I saw them on television (Solid Gold) speaking with a British accent. I was like WOW!! I’m thinking of groups like 5 Star , Musical Youth, and Loose Ends (Hanging on Strings, Contemplating)…“I’m not your play thing.” Yes, those were the days! Well, I’m going to stop here. I just wanted to share with you all and reminisce about a time that is gone forever, but remembered. Peace~


Dance_Soul said...

HAHA. The year was '85. I was 4. I wasn't even off sesame street - let alone up on what the radio was kickin out. Besides - I grew up in the motor city. Your parents didn't play it if wasn't Motown. I was still listenin to the jackson 5, smokey, gladys, and aretha. Now I know about slick rick and doug e fresh. But when you were jammin, Stephen, my favorite MC was still Mr. Rogers. :)

Stephen A. Bess said...

Haa haa! Mr. Rogers? That makes me uncle Stephen? lol :) I know, I'm old skool. My parents were on Motown as well. They were the class of 64' so that's all they listened to. That's why I love music from the 60's and 70's so much.

Clampett said...


I wasn't even born for a fraction of that year.

Although those all white shell top Adidas are never a bad choice-low tops at least.


Stephen A. Bess said...

They were slightly tacky times. :)I agree with you in that I still like the all white shell top adidas. Welcome!

Toastedsuzy said...

I think it was New Years Eve of that year that my friend and I packed up a pillow case with hairspray, a curling iron, $1.95 and a bag of fritos and left my mom's house in Thornton, Colorado for New York City, where we intended to audition for the Mexican boy band, Menudo (who we though were TOTALLY fine).

We planned on sexually AND racially integrating the band.

We didn't get very far, though, on account of it was cold and the snow in the air made the zippers of my red parachute pants (Micheal Jackson--Thriller) stick to my legs and sting them. Plus, our bangs were, like, totally flat and our purple mascara was running.

It was bogus.

It was non-heinous.

I mean, GAG me!


Stephen A. Bess said...

Haa haa!! That was quite an adventure. So, you wanted to "sexually AND racially" integrate Menudo, huh? LOL :) That's funny and a nice little 80's story.

Anonymous said...

Let me see 1985, I was in 7th grade, that was when I was actually popular! Fell out of that is high school, per I was a punk rocker and a skater, and in my school, we were just not popular. We were the outcasts. Actually, 7th grade was when I started to get into punk rock... Good times, good times...

Stephen A. Bess said...

That's cool! So, you were the non-conformist type. :)I can see you now with that cool haircut.

Uaridi said...

Take away 10 years and it is me in High School, wearing a grey uniform (all Kenyan schools have uniforms) that you could do nothing absolutely about, listening to Otis Redding, James Brown and Aretha and discovering Soul Power and Black Pride.

Now those were the days.

Stephen A. Bess said...

Go ahead sis! Say it loud! "I'm Black and I proud!" Yeah, James Brown and all the others that you mention was some good music. I sometimes feel like I'm from that same generation. :) Thanks for that!

Sumeeta said...

Let's see. In 1985, I was 13 and really into the New Wave Dance music. Your post took me back!

to touch a unicorn said...

Fun story StephenB but my lips are zipped and sealed when it comes to what I was doing in the 80's :p

Anonymous said...

As soon as I read that opening line from my took me back. That's back when I really loved hip hop and rap.

What you know about Afrika Bambaataa and "Planet Rock"? I lived up north by Chicago where house music reigns.

Nice blog and thanks for the comment on mine!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this post!! You took me back!

Reading this was like listing to you being interviewed on the movie, "Brown Sugar", when Syndey Shaw was asking people, "So, when'd you first fall in love with hip hop?"

If you haven't seen that movie, please do! It's awesome, especially if you love hip hop!


aaryn b. said...

Found you through Toasted Suzy and just wanted to ring in with a huge WOW and a Thank You. It's been ages since I thought about those Solid Gold dancers. Love your writing, insights, Till Tribute (especially important) and wonderful links. Extremely useful to me and when I have a chance to update my blog, I intend to incorporate some of them. Including yours, if you don't mind.

In Peace.

Geoffrey Philp said...

Stephen, I was 27 and watching this whole thing unfold in front of my eyes--MTV the whole thing.
Have a great weekend!

Stephen A. Bess said...

Ahh, so you were just about to start HS. I was going into the Navy at that point.

Haa haa! Now, I'm wondering

I have the best of Afrika Bambaataa. I've always liked the Chicago sound too. I had many friends from Chi-town that introduced me to that. Thanks for stopping in.

I have seen that movie. They play Common's joint, I Used to love her. One of my all time favorites!

I'm glad that I could take you back and welcome. I don't mind if you include me at all. Thank you! :)

Those were interesting times. Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend as well. Peace~

Anonymous said...

Wonderful, post Stephen.

I was a pure "Punk" dresser then. I can see me now in my dark blue "Bang Bang" jeans oversized baby blue shirt, red.. wide figure belt with a large buckle resting just a few inches below my belly-button hee hee. In school everybody wore uniform, the only difference between students was "academic achievement, and performance" Sipho "Hotstix" Mabuza, V-Mash, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Mirriam Makeba, Letta Mbulu, Ray Phiri, Prince, Isaac Hayes, Millie Jackson, Aretha, BB King, and ofcourse Lenny Williams, Clarence Carter, Boy George, Donna Summer, Billy Ocean, and Joan Amatrading the list goes on.... That's a lot of babbling for the day!!
Thanx for taking us back!

Great weekend to you and your family :)

Stephen A. Bess said...

That's cool! You were punk! I'll bet that was interesting. I can see you jammin' to Boy George: (singing) "Do you really want to hurt me? Do you really want to make me cry?" :)
Thanks for going back with me and enjoy your weekend.

NML/Natalie said...

Great post! I was listening to Five Star earlier! This post brings back great memories. I also put some New Edition on my ipod the other day and wanted to break out some moves on the Tube ;-)

Stephen A. Bess said...

lol! You and your moves. :)Those were very good memories for me as I was writing it.

Black Men in Life Space: A Change for the Better

Photo Source: Showtime The late great Chicago soul singer, Sam Cooke sang and announced that "A Change is Gonna Come." On season f...