Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A to Z and the 80s


I was a teen in the 1980s. The director John Hughes was able to perfectly capture what it was like—the angst, cliques, choices, clueless parents. Our parents (well, not mine) had been to Woodstock. Now they were supporting Reagan. It felt like we were always on the brink of disaster. We had nuclear bomb drills and fallout shelters in our schools, and then “The Day After” came out and told us it was for nothing. Then we learned about AIDS.

We were doomed.


At home, my parents were always in a state of separation, divorce, and reconciliation. I turned to music and friends to escape. My friends and I spent HOURS watching videos. Many, many years later, I can still remember the lyrics and every second of those videos. The musicians experimented with gender bending and pushing sexual boundaries. The look of the musicians and the cleverness of the videos became part of the music.

The decade was about football-sized shoulder pads, big hair, mullets, synthesizers, rhinestones, lace gloves, NEON, shirts with big letters, acid wash jeans, lots of blue or black eyeliner, and pink lipstick.


It was tragic.


For the month of April, I’m going to post for 26 days, for the 26 letters of the alphabet about the bands that influenced me in alphabetical order. In the early 80s, it was pop. But as I got older, it was more alternative. I found out who I was through music. Yes, conservative parents of the 80s—your worst fears came true. Music shaped me. Music saved me.

I’m taking on the bands of the 1980s – A to Z style through Arlee Bird’s A to Z Challenge. I’ve got pop, post-punk, and new wave.

Visit often. Wear your leg warmers. Neon and lace gloves are optional.


Click below for:

Other A to Z participants.



123 comments:

  1. I really like your take on A-Z. I was insulted from most popular music during the 80s and knew more about classical than anything else. This your your posts will be fun to read and an opportunity for my own enlightenment. :)

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    1. Angela, my dad listened to classical, so I had some appreciation for it. But I didn't listen to it on my own until my 20s. I'll have plenty of video links for you to catch up on what you missed!

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  2. Ooh, I can't wait! I grew up in the 80's and while home was pretty good, school stunk. I so related to the Breakfast Club! I'm looking forward to your posts, and a trip down memory lane!

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    1. Lara, I had more fun after school at friends' houses. My school was a lot like The Breakfast club too. I'm glad you're looking forward to the posts.

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  3. Oh dear god, this should be good. I've got my AquaNet and banana clip. :)

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    1. Delia, I had curly hair, so I was jealous of those 80s hairstyles with lots of height. Glad you've got your gear all ready!

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    1. Jaye, I'm glad I have a good-sized potential audience that can relate with me.

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  5. 80's teen herhe too - I'm really interested to see what music I recognise:) We thought we were so new, who knew how quickly we'd become part of memory lane:)

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    1. Niamh, the 80s got old pretty quickly. Grunge changed the whole scene. Maybe next year I'll do 90s music, if I can survive this month. 26 posts in 30 days is going to be a challenge!

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  6. or 'here' - i hate when that happens!

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  7. Theresa, that is an awesome theme for the Challenge! I like it. I was only a teen for a little bit of the 80's, but I definitely remember it.

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  8. Good golly! There are over a thousand of you doing this challenge! Just thinking about it makes my head threaten to pop off! I'll be sure to stop by to see how you young ones were influenced by the music of your day. :-)

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  9. Judy, after Alex's comment above, along with Katie's comment on Facebook, I needed to be called a "young one".

    I'm worried more people will comment than I can keep up with. My once a week posting has gotten me kinda lazy.

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  10. Fantastic theme! I'm hoping to remember lots of things that I've forgotten through your A - Zs! :-)

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    1. Annalisa, I had forgotten about a few bands myself. It's been fun research.

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  11. I got my ra-ra skirt on, am wearing my deely bobbers, brought my rubik's cube to faff around with and am waving my Spandau Ballet scarf and posters! I am ready!!!! Gold!!!
    :-)

    Take care
    x

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    1. Old Kitty, I don't know what a ra-ra skirt or deely bobbers are. I guess some words/trends were different between England and the US. Spandau Ballet was definitely bigger in Britain. We only had that one song "True". But I totally remember Rubik's Cube!

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  12. What a great idea- can't wait to remember these bands with you!

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  13. I can get into this theme. I wasn't a teen during the '80s but I bought the most music during that time. I'll be interested to see what you come up with.


    Lee
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Arlee, narrowing down just one band or singer was hard. I realized that C, F, J M, P, R, S, and T had some stiff competition. I wound up doing "Honorable Mention" at the bottom of many posts. I'm just so glad there were X, Y, and Z bands.

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  14. Sounds awesome though I wasn't a teen then. I'm a bit older than you.

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    1. Natalie, I hope you stop by and see which bands you remember. I wasn't a teen in the 1990s, but I followed music just as much. Still do.

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  15. I LOVE your theme!! I was a teen in the 80s too and it was such a great decade! Loved those shoulder pads, lol.

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    1. Lynda, I was so skinny, so when I wore shoulder pads... let's just say it wasn't pretty!

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  16. Theresa, I'm with you. Yes, I was very young teen in the '60s and I managed to get an autograph of the Beatles when they visited Oz. A treasure! Love the music of the era, so I'll be here with my boots on!

    Denise

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    1. Denise, you got an autographs of The Beatles?! Did you see them in person? Who signed it? That is too cool!

      What kind of boots do you have? I'm wearing my combat boots.

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  17. I think I know your theme for the D day...

    I have a feeling it'll be a month of "Oh, I remember that!"

    And you don't remember "Gold" by Spandau Ballet? (I liked that one much better than "True". Can't abide "True" really.)

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    1. Liz, I actually am doing something else for D Day since Duran Duran already had their moment.

      I'll have to look up Gold. (leaving) Oh, I hated that song. I actually like True, but I know it's lame.

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    2. I have a thing for the second songs by bands: "Fields of Fire" by Big Country and "The Sun Always Shines on TV" by Aha are examples. It's one of my many quirks.

      There are so many songs that everyone loved that I hated. "True" isn't lame. I just hated it.

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    3. Liz, that is a quirk! My favorites from those two bands were their first hits.

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  18. This made my day! I am an 80s girl forever!!! and I can't wait to read your posts!!! :)

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  19. Heather, I'm glad you're an 80s girl. Hope you enjoy the A to Z posts!

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  20. I turned 13 in 1988, so I guess that includes me as an '80s teen! I STILL rock the big hair and blue eyeliner once in awhile, though. It'll come back, I swear. ;) Good luck with the A-Z!
    erica

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  21. Erica, yes, you can still claim some 80s time. Lucky you can also claim the 90s too. I was in college during the 90s. (I'm so old *sob*) I hope big hair and blue eyeliner doesn't come back. Such a bad look for me. I may be posting pictures...

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  22. This is one of my favorites of all your posts, Theresa! You picked a great theme for the A-Z Challenge. I'm not participating, but I look forward to reading your posts. You're just a whippersnapper, not old! I was a mom in the '80s. I had my first baby in 1980 and my fourth and last baby in 1989. I love Sixteen Candles. I didn't see Ferris Beuhler (sp?) until the '90s. I remember that movie, The Day After. I had nightmares and tons of anxiety after watching it. Really freaked me out, and sometimes I still think about that movie. I grew up on '70s music. I loved the '80s music too, especially David Bowie and Queen!

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    1. LynNerdKelley, I liked Queen and David Bowie too. I may or may not be posting about Queen. (Check back and see.) I wanted to show a picture of "The Breakfast Club", but decided to wait until it comes up in another post.

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  23. Theresa Milstein never loses. : j

    ::discovery channel narrator voice:: And now we venture forth into the unexplored depths of Theresa innermost psyche through the music that formed it. Because as old adage almost goes, "Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look back once in a while, you could forget what made you!"

    ::and so the dastardly misquoter flies back into the night::

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    1. Alesa, as usual, your comment sounds better than my post. If only I'd used, "Life moves pretty fast..." And it really has. I've prewritten most of the posts. A few are superficial because the band didn't have the same impact. But for others, I have more to say. Hope you enjoy!

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  24. I don't remember much about the 80s because I was only about eight when the 80s ended, but I do remember the big hair; I had this awful perm that made my hair look like a giant, fuzzy gum ball. I also remember Michael Jackson's music ("Beat It" was my favorite song when I was a kid), and I remember how MTV still played music videos back then. Now MTV might as well be called the Jersey Shore channel, because it's all Jersey Shore, all the time. And even a fan of the show like me (oh, the shame!) needs a break from Snooki. (I wonder what the teenagers in the 80s would have made of someone like her.)

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    1. Neurotic Workaholic, your contact with the 80s is like my contact with the 70s. I'm so old! I had curly hair, but longed for straight or wavy hair. One time I tried to get a reverse perm, but the rollers were too small. (Long Island wasn't the cosmopolitan place like Manhattan, which knew of reverse perms.) So I wound up with the exact same curly mullet I had before.

      Madonna was as controversial as it got. I think about the first couple of seasons of "The Real World" and how good they were. Then the producers had a new mission: plying them with liquor. "Jersey Shore" is just a spin off of how "The Real World" degenerated.

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    2. I remember watching the first few seasons of The Real World, and they were pretty good. I thought it was interesting how they would pick people with specific talents or interesting attributes, like how Pedro from the San Francisco cast was active in promoting awareness about HIV/AIDs and safe sex and how others were musicians or writers or athletes who had already made names for themselves and were working their way up. Now the shows are mainly just about partying, hooking up, and catfights; like you said, the liquor just makes all of that even more "dramatic".

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    3. The one with Pedro was my favorite. I think that actually helped change many people's perspectives on AIDS and homosexuality at the time. Yep, you're right about the rest of it.

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  25. Loved the 80's! Great music (Flock of Seagulls etc). And funny sitcoms (like really laugh out loud funny).

    And we weren't all constantly on the damn Internet back then. We were more innocent.

    "The Day After" is still one of the most disturbing films I've ever seen.

    Looking forward to your 80's posts! I thought about doing that challenge too, but, oh man, there are over a thousand people on the list.

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    1. LR, I remember my father making a big deal about A Flock of Seagulls's hair. I thought it was weird, but cool. Loved that song "I ran". That was when I started having my own music identity. They might have symbolized it.

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    2. Yes, there were all those lovely "one-hit wonders" :)

      Hey Theresa, wanted to ask you - did you have trouble commenting on my blog? And, if so, how did you get around it?

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    3. I didn't have a problem commenting on your blog. But I did see your note about it, so I was expecting a problem. I'm sorry you're having issues.

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    4. Thanks for letting me know ;)

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  26. Ohhh I love everything 80s... everything was so awesome and of course, still is... your A to Z is going to be totally cool.

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  27. I can't wait to see all the posts.

    As for the eighties, I remember the shoulder pads. I didn't have lace gloves, but I had the most beautiful lace stockings. And I wore my long hair in a lace snood--so easy. I wish the snoods would come back in style.

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    1. Is it sad that until I watched a recent episode of Dance Moms that I had no idea snoods existed, let alone what they were?

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  28. loved the eighties! so much less pressure than today!
    girls just wanna have fun and celebrate good times, come on!

    and nicki is doing 80s too, she is all about it. glad there's enough fun 80s stuff to go around! yay!

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    1. Tara, I remember Nicki doing 80s TV shows last year. I'll have to see what her slant is this year.

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  29. I am so excited to read these posts! I don't know if I'll know all of the artists, but I'm looking forward to learning more about the 80s. Sounds like quite a time. :)

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    1. Shelley, I'm glad you're interested. Hope you enjoy the posts!

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  30. Totally in love with your theme! Genius! I'll def be visiting with my brightly colored hair scrunchies and leg warmers at the ready!

    I signed up for the challenge this year too and I'm a newbie, so I went with what I know...books! :)

    I know. Original, right?

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  31. Kristi, I'm so glad you're enthusiastic about my theme! Oooo, bright scrunchies.

    I think books are a wonderful idea. Are you going by title or author? This is my first time doing A to Z too. We'll bumble through together.

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  32. It wouldn't have been funny at the time, but the state of your parents' marriage raised a smile from me. I'm looking forward to your A-Z posts.

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    1. JL, my two best friends and I were all going through separations and divorces around the same time. It was weirdly bonding.

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  33. Great idea! I look forward to reading your posts. I love 80's music!

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  34. How exciting! Can't wait to see what you post about! I need to learn more about 80s music. :) Have fun!

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    1. Meredith, for nearly every letter of the alphabet, I had to choose between at least two bands/musicians. Some letters were tough!

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  35. This is an awesome theme! I was a child of the Eighties (turned 10 in 1989), so I've always had a sentimental love for Eighties music, and have come to love some of it on its own musical merits instead of only nostalgia. The majority of my Eighties albums (most from people who got famous before my lifetime instead of in the Eighties) are on vinyl.

    My theme is going to be some of my favorite characters from my books.

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    1. Carrie-Anne, your A to Z theme will probably teach you more about your characters.

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  36. Most awesome, gnarly theme. :) The 80's was a great decade.

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  37. I was an eighties teen too. Now my 15 year old daughter is following in my footsteps (music wise only, fashion is pure 50's!) I can't wait for this, It's another one I'm so looking forward to :-)

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  38. Sarah, I'm so glad you're looking forward to my posts. I almost have them all written.

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  39. Definitely looking forward to your posts, Theresa. I'm posting my A to Z (on my writer's blog) about the 80s, too.

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    1. Susan, can't wait to see what you write about the 80s.

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  40. I'm actually listening to music now. Definitely not rock though. It's another writer's music. I love it how authors like Jojo Zawasi some are so multi-talented. http://www.myspace.com/jojo-zawawi/music/songs?filter=POPULAR

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    1. Sher, some of the stuff was edgier, but some had no grit. Jessica Bell is one of the talented writers and musicians.

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  41. I'm going to love your posts. I was a kid and early teen in the 80s. I almost went with an 80's theme for A-Z, but then decided on a mixed theme. I'm going to post about books, writing, and music I listen to when writing.

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  42. Medeia, I like that your mixing up your A to Z posts. I'll visit. Right now, I have two more posts to write, which I hope to finish today.

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  43. that sounds awesome! It's funny. WHen I was a teenager, I was all about the 60's-70's. It was the 'in' retro look. I wore bell bottoms and had long hair and looked for flowered shirts. It's funny to see teens today look back at the 80's and how 'cool' Back to the Future was and how 'outdated' the phones and computers were, etc... It's like people are starting to get nostalgic for the period we grew up in. Well, I was born in 82 so I mostly found the crazy cross dressers on gross gloopy flourescent MTV brand designs kind of scary.

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    1. Creepy Query Girl, it's crazy how quickly things get outdated. In the 80s, everything was too bright and big, which is why in the 90s, things became minimal.

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  44. Wow! I think you just crawled into my past, let alone my head, and recited my teen years. John H. was a master at watching our generation and capturing us on screen. It was merely from the outside, either. The character's emotional paths were spot on.

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    1. SA Larsen, I agree. I can still remember hearing commercials for "The Breakfast Club" and wanting to see it. It was even better than I thought it would be.

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  45. This is such a great idea for the challenge. Can't wait to see who you post about. :-D

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    1. Misha, I just finished my Y and Z posts today. I'm all ready to go!

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  46. Oh, I'm definitely visiting your site. I LOVE the 80's. Yep, I was a child of the 80's, too. I'll be posting one day about the 80's on the letter E. See you around the challenge.

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    1. Ciara, I'll especially have to visit you for the letter E.

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  47. Theresa: I'll be here, pal. I'm doing it on writing. The 80's had a lot of great tunes. Can't wait to see what you do with it. Xoxo

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    1. Robyn, I look forward to see what you come up with for writing. xoxo back!

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  48. I can't wait to read your A-to-Z posts. I'm posting with a Pixar theme.

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    1. Michael, a Pixar theme sounds fun. I'm a big fan of Pixar.

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  49. You must be my age or a bit younger. Enjoy your A-Zing. I decided to post on Day 1 and 17th and have a break in between.

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    1. Madeleine, are you posting multiple letters at once?

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  50. That is going to be so fun! Can't wait. I was an 80's teen too so this is going to be particularly enjoyable for me. :)

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    1. Lydia, I think it will be fun too--especially because I'm done with the posts! Hope you enjoy my posts!

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  51. Love it! Can't wait! What a fun theme.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

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    1. Shannon, thanks! The posts were fun to write, so I can't wait to share them.

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  52. Looking for those leg warmers right now. I know they're here somewhere. Great theme, Theresa. Wish I had one. Just didn't go that route. Learning curve.

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    1. Cleemckenzie, I don't think a theme is required. But I wouldn't have done it if I didn't have a theme--I need goals to set up something like this!

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  53. Love your theme :). Look forward to keeping track of your posts during A-Z! Thanks also for your comment on my blog.


    ---Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge

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  54. Great theme! I was dealing with abused and neglected kids through the 80s. My focus, as an adult, was different and I missed a lot of the music, so I'm looking forward to getting reacquainted with it.

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    1. Bish, I hope you enjoy the posts. There won't be any posts about heavy metal bands for sure.

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  55. Fun theme. Good luck with the challenge!

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  56. I'm going to wear a black lace bow in my hair and some black rubber bracelets like I did in 8th grade. Looking forward to your trip through the 80's! But please, don't gag me with a spoon. (sorry, I'm the deathwriter)

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  57. Deathwriter. ha! Don't gag me with a spoon might be veering into valley girl territory. Glad you'll appreciate the posts.

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  58. "It was tragic." Gosh - wasn't it?

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    1. Patsy, absolutely. Back when, I was skinny and everything was giant. One thing I learned by re-watching MTV videos is that even the pretty ones were kind of hidden behind big hair, too much make up, and unflattering clothes.

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  59. Good idea. i'm a big fan of the breakfast club..

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    1. Gia, me too. I think I talk abou the movie in the "O" post.

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  60. Amazing post! I came across your blog via the A-Z Challenge. I now follow your blog :) Please check mine out over at yadinbromberg.blogspot.com

    Good luck with A-Z!!!
    -Yadin

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    1. Yadin, thanks for visiting and following. I'm off to your blog.

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  61. Cool theme! Stopping by from today's A-Z challenge post. I'm following :)

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    1. Martha, thanks for following! I'll stop by this month to check out your posts.

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  62. My parents were (pre)teens in the 80's. Does that count for something?

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  63. I'm looking forward to reading your posts...I'm a big fan of 80's music (winks)! I think I've stopped listening to other music after the 80's, LOL.

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    1. Len, oh no, I'll have to do more current music sometime and catch you up! I listen to new music, but I don't know about the musicians the same.

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  64. Great theme - I look forward to being transported back to the 80s. I cannot tell you how many times I watched 16 Candles! I'm here from the A-Z Challenge, check out my posts at http://saintlywriter.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Amanda, I hope you enjoy. 16 Candles was one of my favorite 80s movies. I'll visit your blog.

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