It's funny how when you're a kid, the musical genres you prefer can shape your entire identity. When I was in 6th grade, I didn't have much of one. My friends and I kind of kept to ourselves and did our own normcore stuff, generally seen as quiet good-grades girls.
Leading up to 7th grade, rather than going to the local junior high school, I convinced my parents to send me to St. Ann's, the local K thru 8 Catholic school because that's where my friends were going. After all of this was settled, I learned that Jamie, my very BEST friend was actually moving out of state and I'd be mostly without my security blanket at this new school. I did still have casual pals entering St. Ann's in 1991 with me, including Cybil Rawlins, who'd I'd gotten to know pretty well during summer camp the previous year, who was an aggressively extroverted ball of funtime for me. So I was ok.
I don't remember how it happened exactly but Cybil and I began to open ourselves up to the mainstream rock music at the time, which happened to be the tail end of the 80s hard rock/hair scene. I think Wayne's World may have helped us along with that. I've said before that I've thought of myself as having a "metal phase," but that's kind of a lie. I loved Guns n' Roses and Black-Album Metallica, YES, but the rest of it I kind of had to force. But it was sort of worth it because Cybil and I became the rock chicks of St. Ann's School in Kaneohe, which was a fun identity to wear for a while. I liked it better than being a quiet/good grades girl.
Anyway, apart from Guns n' Roses and Black-Album Metallica, some songs stand out for me and have an enduring legacy in my brain, among them the Decade of Decadence version of "Home Sweet Home" by Motley Crue. If you ask Pete what the worst of the worst of this period is, he will tell you it's Motley Crue and I guess he's right, though I don't feel as strongly about it. Their music is generally bad and they are bad people, it's true. If you haven't read the Dirt, you really should. The made-for-TV movie is entertaining too, but no substitute for the book.
The song is considered a power ballad and I guess it is technically, but doesn't fit that mold exactly. Pete used to say that these bands would release a ballad just to get the "chicks' buy-in" but this song isn't romantic or anything, it's just a really beautiful song. I heard the 1991 version before I'd heard the 1985 version and much like "Walk this Way" by Aerosmith/Aerosmith and Run-DMC, I don't see how you can make a fair argument for the older version. As much of a bastard as Tommy Lee is*, the image of him slumped over the piano from the 1991 video playing this beautiful melody is to me a convincing argument to the contrary.
One time in 7th grade music class, our teacher Ms. Panke mentioned something about "decadence" and Cybil raised her hand and asked the teacher what a "decade of decadence" would suggest. The teacher quite fairly didn't know how to answer that question and probed as to why we were asking. Cybil told her it was an album. This clicked for Ms. Panke and she was like "well, I would guess it's a heavy metal album" and the class groaned in unison, knowing our reputation and we high-fived each other.
Josie loved Motley Crue and could still handle listening to them, deep into their catalog (i.e., any song besides "Home Sweet Home ['91]"). She was stronger than I. When she was sick a bunch of us pooled our money and bought a Cameo of Tommy Lee, sending Josie a personalized well-wishes message to her, which she predictably LOVED. The message was a little weird, but I'll never forget him for it so any time *I call Tommy Lee a bastard, it has to be with an asterisk.