1980's memories are made of many thingsOne of the facilities I visit weekly has a focus on the 1980’s and technology during the month of June. I started with a look at news headlinesWhile memorable events, how many will be in the strong memories of these folks  (especially if they are dealing with Alzheimer’s)? What to do?! 

Knowing that technology, movies and music all played a roll, I decided to start there.

1980’s Music Technology

Music memories are likely strongly tied to changes in technology during this period. These items (many of which could be paired with images) might be great conversation starters.

Cassette tapes were popular as they allowed easy copying and sharing of songs. They also allowed recording to be more portable than they had been with LP’s. Their downside was the loss of quality with use, warping when they got hot, and ability to get caught and tangled.

In 1982, CDs (compact discs) became commercially available. They had better sound quality and durability than LPs but they also cost more to purchase an LP. At that time, they were difficult to copy which the record companies appreciated.

The “Walkman” players were first cassette then CD players. They were the 198’s version of an iPod.

Music videos also become popular in the 1980’s with MTV launching in 1981.

Other technology that some might remember from this period are the Moog, sequencer, MIDI, and synthesizer.

Top Movies of the 1980’s

Looking for other inspiration, I decided to look at the top movies of the 1980’s. Some contain music that you could listen to or sing. IMDb lists them as:

  1. Scareface (1983)
  2. The Goonies (1985)
  3. Back to the Future (1985) with some songs from the 1950’s this one held some potential
  4. The Breakfast Club (1985)
  5. The Princess Bride (1987)
  6. The Shining (1980) There is lots of sound mass music that is about color and sound than melody or rhythm. Listening to portions of the sound track couple prove interesting.
  7. Airplane (1980) This movie’s soundtrack include “The Notre Dame Fight Song”.
  8. The Evil Dead (1981)
  9. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
  10. Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) Composer John Williams makes use of leitmotifs so pairing an image of a character or event with the music could be a fun activity.

Pop Music Memories of the 1980’s

Music memories of the 1980’s are a mixed bag when it comes to sharing them within senior living communities. According to Music Imprint the top 10 pop songs were:

  1. “Every Breathe You Take” – The Police (1983)
  2. “Another One Bites the Dust” – Queen (1980)
  3. “Take On Me” – A-Ha (1985)
  4. “Bette Davis Eyes” – Kim Carnes (1981)
  5. “Billie Jean” – Michael Jackson (1983)
  6. “The Way You Make Me Feel” – Michael Jackson (1988)
  7. “I Love Rock and Roll” – Joan Jett and Blackhearts (1982)
  8. “With or Without You” – U2 (1987)
  9. “Sweet Child o’ Mine” – Guns and Roses (1988)
  10. “Call Me” – Blondie (1980)

Yes, most are memorable songs but not to those currently in their late 60’s through 90’s (the age range that generally shows in my groups). If we were doing an intergenerational choir with college age and older, these would likely be a hit. But, I think if we listened to short portions of the songs they could match the titles too them.

Country Music Memories of the 1980’s

Living in a rural area where country music ruled much of the air waves, I looked at the top ten country songs from the 1980’s.

  1. “He Stopped Loving Her Today” – George Jones (1980)
  2. “God Bless the USA” – Lee Greenwood (1984) Events in history have made this one more familiar than some.
  3. “I Will Love You Always: – Dolly Parton (1982)
  4. “Always On My Mind” – Willie Nelson (1982) This one has been recorded and a hit by so many it has a good chance of working.
  5. “When You Say Nothing At All” – Keith Whitley (1988)
  6. “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool” – Barbara Mandrell (1981)
  7. “Forever and Ever, Amen” – Randy Travis (1987) The words in the chorus are repeated enough this one might work.
  8. “I’ll Still Be Loving You” – Restless Heart (1987)
  9. “All My Ex’s Live in Texas” – George Strait (1987)
  10. “Islands In the Stream” – Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton (1983)

How would you use this information to work with a group or individual in a senior living community? 

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