Sunday, February 25, 2007

80s Music Video Sunday #12

Several weeks ago, I received one of those "You know you're a seventies child when..." emails, and one of the lines from this incredibly humorous and nostalgic list read, "You thought Olivia Newton John's song "Physical" was about aerobics. And do you want to know something? That's exactly what I thought it was about. I was rather naive in those days, and it simply never would have occurred to me that it might be about something else, thanks to the imagery from the music video.

Many years on, and Liza the Naive has turned into Liza the Jaded Cynic and Liza the Mom (on rare occasions temporarily morphing into Liza the Jaded Cynical Mom), and while I can't remember all the song lyrics I used to sing along to, but I'm willing to bet that more often than not, I missed the hidden meanings. I'm also willing to bet that my mother probably cringed when she heard me singing some of those songs, and not only because I've got a singing voice that can bring mid-sized third-world countries to their knees in pain. Mom understood what I was missing, and quite obviously did nothing to change the status quo.

In addition to missing out on a whole slew of naughty lyrics (and it wouldn't surprise me if I was continuing to misunderstand some of them today), I was also quite innocent with regard to some of the more creative messages being broadcast via the music videos themselves, despite the rather innocuous, harmless lyrics being sung. This would be the case with today's selection for 80s Music Video Sunday, which has been chosen by reader request. Back then, I thought those oversized white T-shirts with the slogan "Choose Life" were the epitome of cool, and I had no idea what this slogan truly meant. Now, I think I'd rather choose death than be seen wearing a shirt so closely identified with a movement with which I disagree so completely, and I find it amusing that back in the day, I didn't even have a clue.

When Wham hit the scene, I was hooked immediately, with their poster even going up on the wall over my bed (before it was taken down and replaced by the a-ha poster, which remained there until my parents moved house just over a year ago. I wore out the cassette, and dutifully did my research in order to learn all that I could about the two artists making up this group. This British duo remained together until 1986, and while George Michael has continued to make music (and headlines), Andrew Ridgeley has chosen to become an environmental activist in his native England, where he is married to one of the members of the talented 80s trio Bananarama.

So, without further adieu, today's music video. This one's for you, Benji...

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go





You put the boom-boom into my heart
You send my soul sky high when your lovin' starts
Jitterbug into my brain
Goes a bang-bang-bang 'til my feet do the same
But something's bugging you
Something ain't right
My best friend told me what you did last night
Left me sleepin' in my bed
I was dreaming, but I should have been with you instead.

Wake me up before you go-go
Don't leave me hanging on like a yo-yo
Wake me up before you go-go
I don't want to miss it when you hit that high
Wake me up before you go-go
'Cause I'm not plannin' on going solo
Wake me up before you go-go
Take me dancing tonight
I wanna hit that high (yeah, yeah)

You take the grey skies out of my way
You make the sun shine brighter than Doris Day
Turned a bright spark into a flame
My beats per minute never been the same

'Cause you're my lady, I'm your fool
It makes me crazy when you act so cruel
Come on, baby, let's not fight
We'll go dancing, everything will be all right

Wake me up before you go-go
Don't leave me hanging on like a yo-yo
Wake me up before you go-go
I don't want to miss it when you hit that high
Wake me up before you go-go
'Cause I'm not plannin' on going solo
Wake me up before you go-go
Take me dancing tonight
I wanna hit that high (yeah, yeah, baby)



Life Out East said...

I think Ridgeley had a spell as a racing driver at one point too. Looking at their early videos it's hard to think that no one spotted how camp they were.
Still, some great songs and George Michael has done some really good stuff on his own. I read somewhere he has a serious hash habit too.

Nicole said...

I also never knew what "Physical" was really about. And I'll never forget when I realized what "Girls on Film" (Duran Duran was about) - it was my Bat Mitzvah party and my parents had set me up a disco in a big empty room in the house - with music videos on a big TV. Until this music video came on, and one of the adults saw it and quickly unplugged the TV :-(

as said...

i hate this song. sorry...
you see, up to then, wham had been cool, even us lads could get away with liking them. me and a pal even witnessed the stuffing of a shuttlecock down shorts, live in concert. this song turned them into a pure girlie band...even paula d probably liked them...

lisoosh said...

My daughter has just fallen in love with American Idol and while it is relatively benign TV for a 5 year old, I cringe at some of the lyrics. I definitely know where you are coming from.
I thought Physical was about aerobics too, so we were all naive, en ma laasot.

I LOVED this song when it came out and lusted after the T-shirts. This was when the UK was full of "New Romantics" with complicated clothes and personas that took themselves just too seriously and here was a look anyone could copy and a bouncy cheery song just made to dance to. What was not to like?
The T-shirt design was by an activist designer Katherine Hamnet and the "Choose Life" slogan was actually anti-drug use and anti suicide (silly because a T-shirt is hardly going to make you less suicidal). She also had anti-Pershing ones (protesting American missiles on UK soil, a BIG issue at the time). I agree that current associations put a bit of a damper on the look and the slogan.

George Michael is just an embarrasment now, and yet he had some really good songs out and was a huge recording artist once apon a time. Just goes to show. (Reminds me of that Madness song "You're an Embarrasment") End Monologue.

Benji Lovitt said...

Great song! I love living in Israel where I don't get made fun of for my horrendous musical tastes. As long as we're naming songs which completely went over our heads as kids, how about, ahem, "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood? I'll let you look up the lyrics on your own.

Finnspadre said...

As someone who went to Kylie Minogue on NYE, and as a person who many who know me might that this action was curious, if not inexplicable, I can tell you that Mikey, hash habit 'n all, penchant for parking up in strange locales asleep at the wheel 'n all, is definitely someone that I would seriously consider turning out to see live. He got skillz. End of story.

nominally challenged said...

One of my friends and I, being the teenage boys that we were during the 80s, tried finding rude words in all of the pop songs we heard. We made up things that we thought we heard (but which, of course, weren't actually there), and totally missed the really obvious ones like "Physical" or "She Bop" or "Relax" or, for that matter "Whip It!" by Devo (heh. We just thought they were weird guys with strange headgear). There was something very surreal going on in 80s pop music ... all these innocent-sounding melodies with their somewhat less-than innocent words.

And I still remember arguing with my father that what Boy George wore were not dresses but caftans! :)

tafka PP said...

I love this one, the drunker you are the more fun it is to dance to. Lord, I'm showing my age!!

Stefanella said...

AHHHHH!!!!!!! But really, my fave w/Mr. Michael is FREEDOM

nrg said...

Unfortunately, "I want your sex" brings back the most memories... (and I knew what that one was about... ;-))
Also Different Corner... but I also loved this song when it came out and thought the girl in the video with the dark hair and yellow earrings was something to strive for in personal appearance... yikes!
I would go to see him in concert in a's a date! :-)I probably know every song from this one to Amazing by heart... I know... I still live in the 80's...that's why I love sundays so much now!! :-D

side note: can a hash habit be described as serious? Just wondering...