• Caroline Donough

Whenever Nostalgia Strikes...


... I don't have to delve deep into my memory bank to take a stroll down memory lane. All I have to do is turn to my CDs. And truth be told, I turn to them a lot. Growing up in the '70s through to the '80s (I know, I know, just by saying that I'm hoisting my Gen X colours! 😁), you're pretty much guaranteed to fall head over heels in love with music because that era was colossal for spawning some absolute bangers. With singers and bands like Stevie Wonder, Donna Summer, Jackson 5, Kool & the Gang, Earth, Wind & Fire, Commodores, Peaches & Herb, Bread, Carpenters, England Dan & John Ford Coley, Electric Light Orchestra, Andy Gibb and Bee Gees (just to name a few) releasing hit after timeless hit, you'd have to be tone-deaf to have been immune.


I was very little back in the '70s - too little to have listened to anything other than nursery rhymes, let alone the chart-toppers of that time, so I can't claim to have discovered the songs of these brilliant musicians all by myself. I had a little help from my older brothers. They were the ones who introduced me to all that good stuff every time they turned on the radio or played their vinyl records and cassette tapes.


Although I made other discoveries in the '80s in the form of George Michael, Madonna, Duran Duran, Tears for Fears and other adult contemporary, pop and new wave stuff (and I also experienced the joy of getting my very first Walkman around that time), I continued to keep up with the music of those '70s greats. It was impossible not to because many of them went on to gain even more traction in the '80s, with a few even transitioning to flourishing solo careers. They continued to set the world on fire, putting forth even more hits and carving out a permanent place for themselves in music history. Insane. And because their material was so good - all that incredible music circa 1970 to 1988 - they stuck in my head. And not just for a decade or two, but to this very day, and I suspect they'll stick for the rest of my life.


Confession: Not many people know this about me, but back in the day, I had a secret schoolgirl crush on Andy Gibb (eye candy 🥰) who, to this day, still haunts me with I Just Want to Be Your Everything, (Our Love) Don't Throw It All Away and (Love Is) Thicker Than Water. 💖💖 Phenomenal songs that I love listening to even more now that I'm middle-aged.


I know this sounds cliché, but seriously, it's such a shame they don't make music like they used to anymore. Don't get me wrong, I like Michael Bublé and Jason Mraz, and I don't mind some of the current singers out there (and if I take a quick glance at the '90s, I liked Robbie Williams solo and Take That as a quartet before Jason Orange left in 2014), but to a large extent, most of today's "stars" are nowhere close to the calibre of the '70s greats. Not in my opinion anyway. I suppose I have my biases, but I think it's primarily because music back then derived from the soul and the emphasis was on real musicians with real talent, whereas nowadays people will listen to just about anything if it's marketed right. I'm no expert, I'm just describing it as I hear it, and certainly everyone has their own taste and every generation has their own gems, but I do find music from the '70s to the '80s a lot more melodious than any other decade since then. For me, that era was the pinnacle for music. It was hands down the best. And that's precisely why I keep returning to my beloved stash of oldies.


Of course, there were plenty of other things that I loved about the '70s and the '80s besides just music. For one thing, whenever people got together, they were truly present without the constant distraction of text messages and social media (something I'm currently making a conscious effort to fix in my life). Also, I seem to remember the world being more spacious... or at least in my memory it was. To the best of my recollection, most homes had gardens that were larger than what's typical these days. In our garden, we had a few trees, one of which was a guava tree that I'd climb for fun or to pick ripe fruit while Mum or Ah Ma stood below telling me to be careful. And all that space to run around and play in was a huge treat for our dogs, too. For school, RM1.00 a day was all the allowance my parents gave me to buy food at recess and I still had spare change for my piggy bank. Our ultimate source of family entertainment was television. Back then, you sometimes had to wiggle the antenna to sharpen the reception! So archaic, I know, but you know what? Looking back at it now, it was actually quite funny. I remember how we would all gather around the living room to watch heart-warming TV shows like The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, Happy Days, Eight is Enough, The Love Boat and Fantasy Island together as a family. Yep, there was a lot of wholesomeness on TV back then. Dad and my brothers liked The Rookies, CHiPs and Starsky & Hutch, too. At times, I'd doze off on the couch because some of those shows went on past my bedtime and then I'd have to be nudged awake! Incredible memories that make me smile no matter what, and to think that I couldn't wait to grow up. What was I thinking?! 😁


Gosh, that video clip. Talk about a lifetime ago. And that iconic tune... *sigh* ❤️


I suppose I could be accused of sentimentalising the '70s and the '80s, but how could I not when the memories are so good? Mum used to say that once you have a fair amount of life to look back on, it'll alter your perspective... or something along those lines. She was right. But don't tell her I said that, although given the fact that I've begun to reminisce a lot more these days, I bet she can tell! I look back very fondly on the '70s and the '80s - what a groovy time it was to be alive - and it breaks my heart to think that those years, along with their simplicity, are gone forever. What I'd give to be able to go back, even if just for a little while. That era may seem primitive to the current generation, and sure, compared to now, I'd agree that it was. But maybe for that reason it was also more genuine.


That said, I do like the present-day convenience of having technology right at my fingertips. Connectedness at this scale makes everything so much faster and the world seem so much smaller, which is ingenious. Or is it? Well, I think it's great for work and a few other things. But if someone were to build a time machine that works, I'd hop right on it. Seriously.


Anyway, it's been fun breaking out old memories, but these peepers are starting to get tired, so until my next post, it's time for me to 💤...

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