Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Greatest Year Of My Youth - 1984


When I heard that 1984 would be the next year for a Year In Review show, I couldn't help but smile. I immediately started thinking about all of the great music released that year but also remembering how this was the year I truly became a Decibel Geek. For me, the year 1984 could very well be the greatest year for music ever.

To understand that, let me explain why I feel this way. I think for most people, especially as an only child we are first influenced by our parents music. For me this was Saturday afternoons when my Dad would break out his records and crank up our big wooden console record player. Elvis, CCR and Little Richard would be the soundtrack to me playing with my Star Wars toys on the living room floor.

A few things happened in 1983 that lit a spark inside me. On the radio one day came a voice "Gunter, Glieben, Glauchen, Globen", Def Leppard released Pyromania and Rock of Ages exploded onto mainstream radio. I had suddenly found "my" music. It was ironic that an album called Pyromania would light the fire that became my all encompassing passion for music.

The next thing that happened was a new TV show called Friday Night Videos. A late night music video show that embraced hard rock. Soon I was introduced to Quiet Riot (awesome!). Then in September of 1983 came the "one, two punch", Kiss's "Lick It Up" video followed the next week by Motley Crue's "Looks That Kill" and that was it. I was hooked, down came the Star Wars posters and soon my room was a shrine to all things ROCK!

So when New Years 1984 rang in, the floodgates of heavy metal were open and I was loving every loud, hair sprayed minute of it. This would be a year of many firsts. My first rock t shirts, I remember clearly taking the bus into Hamilton and visiting "RocknTees" for the first time. We spent hours looking through every shirt and every poster they sold. I purchased two shirts that Saturday (a Def Leppard and Motley Crue) and couldn't wait until Monday morning to wear them to school.

In June of 84 came my first concert. Motley Crue/Accept on the Shout At The Devil Tour. I left the show with ringing ears and a smile that continued for weeks. By the end of the year I would also see Ratt/Santers on the Out Of The Cellar tour and then KISS/Queensryche on the Animalize Tour. Add concert addiction to my music obsession.

A coming of age year, 1984 was my last year of middle school and my first year of high school. Many memories of wandering around town with my buddies and a big "ghetto blaster" listening to our favourite bands and proudly sharing it with everyone in ear shot and that list of favourite bands grew exponentially in 1984 as the golden age of metal was just picking up steam. Dio, Helix, Kick Axe, Dokken, W.A.S.P., Y&T, Twisted Sister, Judas Priest, Van Halen, Scorpions, Coney Hatch, and of course Canada's Metal Queen Lee Aaron. It was a veritable smorgasbord of melodic heavy metal music and it seemed every week something amazing was being released.

It was fun and exciting witnessing the rise of this genre. Before the over saturation, before the watered down 3rd rate bands came to the surface, every release seemed exciting and fresh. 1984 could really be described as the "Rise of Metal". I look back and am so thankful that I got to live out that year in my Crue T-shirt, my denim vest adorned with a few dozen metal buttons wandering the streets, tunes blasting. Our biggest problem was finding money for batteries to power the tunes!

To experience 1984 in music click here!

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