Thanks to the great time-waster of my present – Twitter – I learned that the great time-waster from my past celebrated a birthday. You may have heard about it. Music Television – better known as MTV – is 32-years old – signing on August 1, 1981 – the day video killed the radio star.
Formative years – those 80s. There are many stories I could certainly dredge up this evening (or whatever time you’re visiting these pages), but one memory that seems to be rising to the top is that of a couple of performers who – in retrospect – shaped my (questionable) mid-80s grooming choices.
First – I give you the man who asked that enduring question, “Hello- is it me you’re looking for?” Oh! What a feeling, when you’re dancing on the ceiling! That former Commodore (those guys were never the same after he left) Lionel Richie.
For years, I tried to get my flowing locks shaped up like Lionel. It was a kind of Mulletized Afro – shorter in the front with a little action in the back. From about late 82 through mid 86, I tried to get Sonny (my long-time barber on Kentucky avenue) to give me that All Night Long Lionel quaff. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be (Hey, if you’re nice, maybe one day I’ll brief you on my late 80s Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds ‘S’ curl phase).
The second icon of my 80s style was, the short, dark-haired one, the singer who penned the chorus oh, oh here she comes, the guy on Daryl’s left – John Oates.
While I struggled with mimicking Lionel’s hair, I was pretty successful in growing a decent knock off Oates mustache.
As I recall, it took many weeks of having to endure the naysayers – hey, wash that dirt off your lip – but in time, I had a respectable, groomable amount of growth.
Unlike my wannabe Richie locks, the stache made it through the 80s.
We enjoyed an on again, off again, on again relationship in the 90s and except for a little experiment in clean shaving a few months ago, it – along with its goatee cousin – are still a part of my visage.
Of course I’m sure I’m not the only one whose grooming and style choices were swayed by MTV video stars.
I have fond memories of many of my contemporaries going for such things like the Larry Blackmon high-top fade (if I have to explain Larry Blackmon and Cameo, you’re too young for these pages), the Madonna rubber bracelets, and I could fill an entire server reminiscing about friends embracing any variety of Michael Jackson’s looks – from dripping jheri curls to multi-zippered red leather (often leather-esque) jackets to penny loafers and white socks.
Good times the 80s.
Happy birthday MTV and f**k you for helping to screw up my GPA!