Happy Memorial Day. For some reason, instead of having fun outside with your friends, you are alone in front of your computer, reading a blog post. Maybe you didn’t get the day off work, or maybe you’re hung over. That’s OK. You can celebrate the Memorial Days of 1983, 1986, 1988, and 1992—all thanks to YouTube’s bountiful archives of perfect, vintage, unwatched home video.
YouTube is rich with this sort of stuff. Just type “XYZ occasion” plus “XYZ year” into the search bar and you’re granted access to someone else’s fuzzy and erratically edited memories of amusement park visits, beach trips, and otherwise insignificant days spent at home. Memorial day was as popular occasion as any for breaking out the old home video camera.
Because YouTube is as useful for sharing videos among a small circle of friends as it is for launching a viral hit, it’s likely that many of the below clips were never intended for pubic consumption. But there they are, waiting for you. Enjoy.
1983 Old City Philadelphia Memorial Day Block Party
This quintessentially ‘80s and quintessentially Philly clip plays like a bizarro version of the classic documentary Heavy Metal Parking Lot. A man in a shark-shaped hat DJs and MCs, dancers in roller skates get down, and an enthusiastic and shirtless guy asks questions of the crowd, often about music. When shirtless guy pits punk rock against heavy metal—which he derisively terms “hamburger music”—one passionate Van Halen fan strikes back about The Clash: “They don’t even know what the hell they’re playing! They play two goddamned notes, and that’s all they know. They have no talent!”
Tom Newbold video of Memorial Day Party 1992 (In Three Parts)
Kids on Power Wheels, dads drinking Michelob, a five-alarm bonfire. A bassist with a mullet in a ponytail leads a band called The 18th Emergency through a spirited cover of “Dear Prudence.” Welcome to summer. Welcome to 1992. Welcome to America.
Memorial Day 1986
“Bob, let’s go cruising, buddy.” “We don’t have parties in Chicago. It’s just one big party.” “This is Americana. This is the land of the free. On this Memorial Day weekend, let’s all remember not to be a memory, OK?”
Midnight - Backyard Party Memorial Day 1988
After the show, it’s the after party. Midnight has pipes to make Geddy Lee blush.
Memorial Day 1988 Dave in Pool
As Midnight was wailing away on Memorial Day 1988, somewhere else in America, Dave was getting thrown in the pool.