“Day after day it reappears. Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear, ghosts appear and fade away. Come back another day.” — From the Men At Work song “Overkill”
When you consider we are entering the final weeks of 2009, the year 1983 has certainly faded to memory for most. (For those who were even alive then I should note).
I mean, who really talks about that year anymore? Who can tell you off the top of their head what was going on in their lives 26 years ago. Even as I type it I find myself saying, “Wow, 26 years. That’s more than a quarter of a century.”
Yet, recently I purchased a CD which, although it has special meaning to me, probably doesn’t mean a great deal to others. The 1983 album (back then they were albums or cassettes) titled “Cargo” by the Australian band Men At Work was a favorite of mine at the time. As someone just about to enter his teenage years during the summer of 1983, one of my favorite possessions at the time was my Walkman.
Cassette after cassette was played in it. Many times I would literally play them so much they would start to “drag,” a term cassette owners used when the music device would be rendered useless.
The previously mentioned Men At Work cassette was one I took along with me that summer to 4-H camp at Rock Eagle in Putnam County, just outside of Eatonton. Over and over I listened to it with the song “Overkill” being my favorite.
A few months ago I bought this Men At Work title on CD and as I listened to it while driving back and forth to work, the memories of the summer of 1983 were so vivid. I could recall the faces of friends who attended that week-long camp with me. I recalled the crazy things we did, being able to do so since we were away from the confines of home for several days.
I can still mentally see the inside of the cabins we stayed in and the friends who stayed in my section. Late into the night who talked until the last two of us would finally doze off. Swimming, cook outs, dances at night where the boys and girls wanted to mingle but were often afraid to and even various outdoor classes (it was an educational camp afterall) were just some of the things we did on a daily basis that summer week.
Throughout the all, the music played in my ears. Over and over the cassette turned in my walkman as Men At Work leader singer Colin Hay sang about...well I didn’t really know, but the songs were catchy and that’s all that mattered at that age.
I found the songs on that album were as familiar today as these were in 1983 when they were deemed new. I even watched the video to “Overkill” on Youtube recently although I can’t say I ever remember seeing it before as I grew up in a house without cable and MTV.
As I hear the songs on “Cargo” today, I think about my friends from that time, many of whom I still have some contact with, even if only by e-mail or through messages on Facebook. It was a special time for all of us I think, a time when we had few, if any, cares in the world.
Until the invention of the time machine, it will be impossible to go back to that summer of 1983 and relive that week. Believe me, I certainly would if I could. However, I still have the music, that incredible invention which magically bridges the gaps of time, making them disappear and taking us back to whatever place in time we desire. I may not know how an IPOD works, but I do know enough about music to treasure its power.
Chris Bridges is an editor with MainStreet Newspapers. E-mail comments about this column to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hey, thanks for posting. It's great reading another music lover's account of what music has meant to them.
Music has always played such a huge role in my life, on so many levels. I guess that's why I've felt such a connection to the stories in these videos.
Have a look and vote for your favorites. There’s some really great stories in there.
Thanks again for posting. Have a great night.