Approaching 40: Rio

We moved to Warwick, Rhode Island in the fall of 1979. The day we moved in was particularly memorable. I got my bike out of the moving truck and proceeded to ride it around the street until I crashed mouth-first into a parked car. Off I went to the emergency room. It would not be my last visit there. Still, we had a new house, just constructed, in a quiet neighborhood, not far from our school. And we were on the verge of a new decade, something that I was only vaguely aware of at the time.

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Our house in Warwick, RI. Photo taken this past fall, 2011.

The music from that new decade, the 1980s, was to become the anthem of my formative years, much as I imagine the music of the 1950s did the same for my parents generation. In the summer of 1981, MTV got its start. I can remember watching it after school, first at a friend’s house, and later at my own house. This was back at a time when MTV played nothing but music videos¬†and had 5 outstanding “v-jays,” four of whom can still be heard on Sirius XM 80s on 81. There were several early videos that I can remember seeing, but the one that sticks in my mind most clearly and that is Duran Duran’s “Rio.” For me, that song represents the beginning of the 80s, a great musical era and an interesting time for me as well. Whenever I hear that song, I think of hanging out at my friends’s house, watching the video and then playing some Atari.

What I find interesting about the 80s is how long it seemed and how quickly it passed. I turned 8 years old in 1980. In the summer of 1980, I completed second grade. Ten years later, in the summer of 1990, I graduated from high school and was just a few months away from heading off to college. All in the 80s. It’s perhaps the most unusual decade in my life, in that respect, because it was the decade in which I was growing up and changing. No other decade was quite like that one, and it is no wonder that the music from that era left such an impression upon me. The only other era of my life equally well-defined by the music was my junior and senior years in high school–something we will get to in due course.


  1. It should come as no surprise that I listen to this station frequently.