Be Happy. In 1988, everyone was whistling that tune. It’s no wonder it was the
year of dancing raisins and the debut of Prozac. 1988 was the feel good year of
the decade. Whether you saw Rainman and Die Hard at the box office, gathered
around your TV to catch Who’s the Boss and The Wonder Years, or played
Pictionary in your living room, you were looking for a good time.
George Michael was singing about sex, Guns and Roses were shaking up rock, and parents just didn’t understand why their white suburban kids were tuning into rap. It was the debut of “Yo MTV Raps,” and thanks to NWA, gangsta rap made it Straight Outta Compton and into your living room. If you weren’t listening to any of that, chances are your headphones were blasting a kinder, gentler “modern” rock…the new sensations of ’88 were INXS, The Cure, Morrissey, Depeche Mode and Erasure.
In fashion, happiness was being a hippie. Tie-dye and peace symbols were back in, and so were the Grateful Dead, who made a comeback with their first top ten hit Touch of Grey. Working women had their own wardrobe in ‘88: blazers with shoulder pads, floppy bow ties, briefcases, and sneakers over the nylons, for that last minute sprint to work. And don’t forget the working girl bible; Color Me Beautiful, helping you coordinate the seasons with your skin tone.
The immigrant experience became comedy gold in 1988. Coming to America gave us Eddie Murphy as an African prince looking for a wife in Queens. And Perfect Strangers ruled the TV sitcom game…featuring Balki who moved in with Cousin Larry and bastardized the English language.
It was fun to be scared in ’88! By Chucky, the red-haired doll that came to life in the horror classic, Child’s Play. By redhead Rick Astley—who sung like a soul crooner, and looked like Howdy Doody. By Mike Tyson, the heavyweight champion with a celebrity wife and serious issues. But nothing was as frightening as the revelation that Nancy Reagan was using an astrologer to advise President Reagan.
Face it, you were happier then. Welcome back to 1988!