Big Names Celebrate Something Small But Mighty
Joan Jett, Duran Duran, U2, Tears for Fears, Billy Idol, Thomas Dolby. Those are just some of the musicians who credit a small Long Island radio station for finding them an audience in America. They are featured in a new documentary film about the way WLIR-FM ushered a New Wave of music into the USA.
"Dare To Be Different: The Movie" premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and I was thrilled to be there for Friday's screening. You see, WLIR is the station that I listened to and loved back in the 1980s when I lived in Queens. With all due respect to the other stations that played pop and rock music; I found myself captivated by New Wave. They were using synthesizers in ways that we hadn't heard before. Many of the singers had unique, dramatic sounding voices which I loved. And almost all the songs had beats I could dance to. The movie shows how New Wave was embraced by people who were bored with the rock music that was popular at the time. Our generation was ready for something different.
MTV also played a role in finding an American audience for a lot of overseas artists. A good example is the beautiful video for "Rio" which surely helped increase Duran Duran's popularity. The music was great, but add good looking, well-dressed musicians having a blast on a yacht? Well, that was a recipe for success. Having this radio station and MTV in my life in the 80s really influenced me and an entire generation. LIR is no longer on the air and MTV doesn't play many music videos anymore so I look back on their heyday with nostalgia and gratitude. And I'm thankful that here at WOBM I get to play cool flashback tunes during the Ocean County Cafe from Noon-1 pm each weekday. I hope you'll tune in and join me!
Who were some of your favorite musicians in the New Wave era?