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The final countdown: 5 songs from the '80s for the apocalypse



onthebeach6.pngIf today is the end of the world, I'd like to go out with a nice playlist of '80s songs about the apocalypse -- or at least a very dreary future. Because when it comes to the '80s, we had pessimism DOWN, baby.

Actually, truth be told, I wonder if our parents don't have a stake to this doomsday franchise as well. My dad, who passed away in 2007, wasn't a real movie hound, but there were two flicks he absolutely treasured above all others: 1959's On The Beach and 1954's Brigadoon, and they both had their stories based on the end of all things. On The Beach foretold the end of the world in a faraway decade -- the '60s -- as a radioactive cloud slowly blew across the planet, killing everyone in its path. But what dad always liked about it was the peace in which the people took their fate. They reveled in each last day. They fulfilled lifelong dreams. They left behind no regrets. And then, well, you can watch the last minutes of it right here. I still can't hear Waltzing Matilda without weeping. 

As for Brigadoon, well, that's somewhat different. A man stumbles upon a mystical village that rises out of the mist in Scotland only once every hundred years. The village is blessed, or cursed, in that each day is spaced a century apart. But if anyone should ever leave the village, it will vanish and all its residents disappear. Its own apocalypse. Unlike On The Beach, love does save the world -- Brigadoon's world anyway -- this time around. And again, I'm left to listen to It's Almost Like Being in Love and wonder how movies like these affected my dad during his teenage years (the same years I happily spent in the '80s.) 

Someday, I'll connect all the dots. "There is still time, brother."

In the meantime, be sure to wear black today -- shirt, jeans, eyeliner (yes, even for the guys) -- and enjoy these five songs that foretold of today's events. And if you prefer to celebrate today by gathering a little heather on the hill instead, well, I know my dad would like that idea just as much.

[Last modified: Friday, December 21, 2012 8:00am]


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