Approaching 40: All Night Long

The summer olympics in Los Angeles was one of those truly memorable events for a twelve-year-old. There were all kinds of interesting things happening that summer. In addition to Olympics Everywhere, there were these strange little signs cropping up all over town. Sometimes it appeared on a billboard. Other times on a bus bench. Still other times as a sticker stuck to the side of a boarded up wall. It looked like this:


Of course, it turned out to be for Ghostbusters, the movie, but the marketing campaign never made that clear, as I recall it, and people wandered around in those pre-Internet days wondering what it was all about. It was brilliant. The movie was released in June of 1984.

But even more than the Ghostbusters theme song, another song really stands out from that summer that captures the spirit of the time as the summer drew to a close: Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long.” Richie performed the song during the closing ceremonies of the ’84 olympics and I remember watching those ceremonies rather in awe that the olympics were over so quickly. All of the hype and all of the glory (remember Mary Lou Retton!) that led up to it had zipped by along with the summer. School would be starting soon. I’d be leaving elementary school behind and entering junior high school. But that summer was, for many people, like one big party, all night long, and whenever I hear Lionel Richie’s song, I always think fondly of those closing days of summer in 1984.

Soon, everything would begin to change.

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