I know I don’t have that line right. It just seemed that since most of the country is under a god-awful lot of snow right now….it was appropriate if not completely corny. 🙂 I never said I was a poet, right?
So the groundhog didn’t see his shadow today, and he’s calling for an early spring. Why on earth do we have groundhog day anyway?? I think it’s main purpose is to excite the little preschoolers and kindergarteners into thinking spring is coming soon only to be able to strangle their little spirits into submission by telling them that the groundhog saw his shadow – which makes NO sense – and so winter will march on for another 6 weeks. Yeah, let’s beat that optimism down when they’re young so they’re good and cynical by the time they’re 9!
Oh, you all know what I’m going to write about. It’s not even a surprise today, which makes me almost want to forget the whole thing, but the fact is, I would not be writing this blog were it not for the release of Planet Earth, thirty years ago today.
Thirty years is a long time. I try to forget how old I am most days, since it’s only a number, but when days like this come along it seems as though it’s a requirement to to take a look back down the road we’ve traveled. My road is damn long!! On this date in 1981, I was in 6th grade (with a November birthday, I was quite a bit younger than most of my classmates). I wonder if anyone else out there feels the way I do about this – Planet Earth feels like it’s only been out a short while in a lot of ways, but when I think back to my age at the time it was released, it’s only then that I realize that 1. I really am not still a teenager. 2. The song really is timeless in it’s own way. 3. Shouldn’t I be over all of this by now??? Then I laugh at myself, because you know – if you can’t laugh at yourself, you really can’t laugh at anyone else either.
I believe that the first time I heard Planet Earth, it was on KROQ (Los Angeles). Not long prior, I think the station was called K-West, and then all of the sudden one day, KROQ began. I don’t remember most of the early DJ’s – but I do remember the days of Swedish Egle, Richard Blade, Rodney on the ROQ, and a host of others that aren’t coming to mind right this second. I am not even sure who it was that played Planet Earth when I first heard it, but I do know that Rodney played it first (and I would love to say I heard it the first time he played it – but I have no idea. I was 10 at the time. I’m lucky I remember anything from back then!), and I know that Richard and Rodney both felt that Duran Duran was going to be huge. Boy, were they ever spot on with that assessment! I remember the DJ saying that the song was brand new, but that we’d be hearing it all over the place in time. I’m not really certain if that ever came to fruition quite the way they imagined, but as we all know – there was more where Planet Earth came from, and that was only the beginning.
Some of the things I love best about Planet Earth are the very things that date it back to the 80’s. I love the reference to the New Romantics. I adore Nick’s keyboards and the fact that they sound very similar to a Casio keyboard at times. Nick’s hair was totally awesome (yes, the California 80’s wording is necessary here), and don’t even get me started on the first 10-20 seconds of the video. (if you don’t know what I’m talking about perhaps you should watch it today!) I remember trying to play the song over and over again so that I could learn the keyboard chording. As much I as I know the band probably shudders to think of those ruffled shirts and pirate-themed pants they were wearing – I love them. It was my childhood, and they were the fashion-gods. I never really dressed like them – my father would have had plenty to say about that, and I wasn’t the type to push the envelope with him – but I admired them from afar. I always wanted to take those kinds of fashion risks, but never had the nerve. They had it all, complete with eyeliner and hair dye. How could you not love any of that?
It’s curious how one song can bring someone right back to their adolescence or childhood memories. Planet Earth really was the beginning of the road for me. I don’t remember a whole lot about growing up before that – bits and pieces really – but that song really opened up the world for me. I started paying attention to the music on the radio and what was going on around me. I wouldn’t say that Planet Earth caused all of that – I’m sure a lot of it is just coincidence and impeccable timing, but it’s the song that I associate with the real beginning.
Here we all are, thirty years later. The road has been arduous in parts, and at times – it feels as though it’s been very, very long. I’ve learned through my experiences that it really is all about the journey, even though I continually catch myself trying to see down the road farther to know exactly where I’m going rather than just enjoying where I’m at. It’s the impatience and my type A personality talking again. A week ago, a friend of mine lost a family member – and I shared something with this friend that I’d learned only after my father passed away. My dad died from a disease called Pulmonary Fibrosis – I’m pretty sure I’ve written about it here before at some point, but it’s a degenerative disease that turns healthy lung tissue into scar tissue that has no elasticity so the lungs become stiff and they can’t absorb oxygen. Throughout his illness, my dad would try his best to give very short answers to how he was feeling, preferring not to focus on the bad stuff. At the time, I thought he was just skirting the issue, trying not to worry us. It wasn’t until after he’d passed away that I finally understood what he was trying his best to teach me in a final lesson – it’s not about the dying. It’s about the living. He didn’t talk about how he was feeling because in my dad’s heart, I think he knew the end was inevitable, and dying was dying. There wasn’t any point in talking about it when he was busy trying to enjoy living. I was VERY angry with him after he’d passed away for many reasons, but one of them was because I didn’t feel as though he’d prepared us. None of us realized just how bad he was getting until it was too late, and I was so mad at him for that until one day it dawned on me that it wasn’t about how he was feeling at all, because he was dying and he knew that. It was about the living. It was about that part of the journey he was on right at that moment. Of course he’d try to teach his pig-headed, very stubborn, very type A control freak oldest child that sort of lesson in the most stress-filled months of her life.
So we go from the days of Planet Earth, when it was all unchartered, brand new territory, to All You Need Is Now, which is a good reminder for all of us to stop worrying about what’s ahead and just enjoy where we’re at right now.
Happy Anniversary Planet Earth – you’re looking good for thirty!