Yesterday I linked to a couple of songs to illustrate the paranoia of the Cold War 1980s. The first was Genesis with “Land Of Confusion” (1986). The second was Frankie Goes To Hollywood with “Two Tribes” (1984).
This sent me down a memory hole and I can’t help but post three links suggested by readers. Both Men at Work with It’s a Mistake (1983) and Rush with Distant Early Warning (1984) bludgeon us with fears of mutually assured destruction. (Meh, not Rush’s best and Men At Work only impressed me when the song included Vegemite.)
Then Nena comes in with the kill with the utterly beautiful and poetic 99 Red Balloons (1984). I posted the lyrics to 99 Red Balloons because I think they capture the feeling and merit a quick read. Happy little voice…dark German sentiment.
There, I’ve posted five songs from Britain, Canada, Australia, and Germany from 1983 to 1986. See the pattern? All are about the same fear; someone pressing the button and getting us all killed for no good reason. It’s not rocket science and these were not concerns of just a few coddled yahoos in Hollywood. Everyone was wondering when some dipshit would pull the ripcord and send us back to the stone age. You don’t need to stare at climate models and identify with glaciers to worry about getting vaporized by an ICBM. That was the whole point of 1980’s geopolitics.
This delays the part II post…but it’s my blog and I can do what I damn well please.
Lyrics from 99 Red Balloons (English): You and I, and a little toy shop Buy a bag of balloons with the money we've got Set them free at the break of dawn 'Til one by one, they were gone Back at base, bugs in the software Flash the message, "Some thing's out there" Floating in the summer sky Ninety-nine red balloons go by Ninety-nine red balloons Floating in the summer sky Panic lads, it's a red alert There's something here from somewhere else The war machine springs to life Opens up one eager eye Focusing it on the sky Ninety-nine red balloons go by Ninety-nine Decision Street Ninety-nine ministers meet To worry, worry, super-scurry Call the troops out in a hurry This is what we've waiting for This is it boys, this is war The President is on the line As ninety-nine red balloons go by Ninety-nine knights of the air Riding super high-tech jet fighters Everyone's a super hero Everyone's a Captain Kirk With orders to identify, to clarify and classify Scrambling in the summer sky As ninety-nine red balloons go by Ninety-nine red balloons go by Ninety-nine dreams I have had Every one a red balloon Now it's all over and I'm standin' pretty In this dust that was a city If I could find a souvenir Just to prove the world was here And here is a red balloon I think of you and let it go