Music of the 1980’s
I know a lot of these songs growing up the in 1980’s, however, there are some songs of this list that I heard for the first time well after the decade was over. Note, there is no order to this list.
Enjoy! These are some of my favorite songs from the decade that brought us Super Mario Brothers, the Rubik’s Cube, Indiana Jones, and lots of game shows:
Walk of Life – Dire Straits (Album: Brothers in Arms, 1985). I definitely thank my dad for introducing this song to me. Dad played this song whenever he got a chance for a while.
I Love Rock ‘n Roll – Joan Jett & the Blackhearts (Album: I Love Rock ‘n Roll, 1981). A definite go-to rock song for me, is pretty much an anthem for most (if not all) lovers of rock and roll. This song is a perfect combination of edge, guitar, and beat.
Weird Science – Oingo Boingo (Album: Dead Man’s Party, 1985). My creation, is it real? I can safely say yes to Oingo Boing. It’s an all-around fun track. The best version is the album version, lasting 6:10, as opposed to the most familiar 3:45 version from the movie’s soundtrack, oddly titled Weird Science.
Faithfully – Journey (Album: Frontiers, 1983). It was tough picking a favorite Journey song for this list. I went with Faithfully because of its powerful ballad, tender-hearted lyrics, and how the background music helps tell the story. Honestly, it was between Faithfull and Don’t Stop Believin’.
Sailing – Christopher Cross (Album: Christopher Cross, 1979. The single was released in June 1980). I can just close my eyes, imagine myself on a sailboat sailing across the ocean on a perfect day. Or if I am not sailing, I am walking the beach during sunset. This song is just peaceful.
No One Like You – Scorpions (Album: Blackout, 1982). A rock ballad that tells how a man misses his love and desires to be with her again. The guitar riffs and melody beautifully portrays the emotion of the lyrics.
Thriller – Michael Jackson (Album: Thriller, 1983). One of the stable songs of Halloween. One year, my cousins and I played this song on repeat until we got sick of it (which was at least twenty times). The music video is epic and puts most horror-themed music videos to shame. Who can forget the zombie dance?
Thing Called Love – Bonnie Raitt (Album: Nick of Time, 1989). Thing Called Love is about a well-adjusted single woman asking a prospective male if he is ready for love. Bonnie Raitt brings solid guitar licks and a voice of a confidence. “I ain’t no queen of Sheeba”, “I ain’t no ameba”, and “I ain’t no porcupine, take off your kid gloves” exudes that confidence. It’s a very solid song.
Love Shack – The B-52’s (Album: Cosmic Thing, 1989). I think this is my favorite B-52’s song and is also one of mom’s favorite. It is just a feel great track.
I Feel For You – Chaka Khan (Album: I Feel For You, 1984). (Originally: Prince, 1979). This song is well put together, containing lyrics from Prince (who also sung “I Feel For You” and that track itself is kickass), harmonica from Stevie Wonder, rap from Melle Mel (of Grandmaster Flash), and Khan’s powerful voice. This song got a lot of play during my childhood.
Naughty Naughty – John Parr (Album: John Parr, 1984). This is one the songs I first heard of later in life, which is a good thing because the suggestive lyrics would have gone over then my seven-year old head.
Magic – The Cars (Album: Heartbeat City, 1984). At first I thought the song was about romance and falling in love. After watching the music video, it is more about a guy whose magical powers attracts people like flowers attract bees. Nevertheless, the music is mesmerizing.
I’m So Excited – Pointer Sisters (Album: Break Out, 1983). This song changed meanings for me from my childhood (a great dance track) to adulthood (where I learn the real meaning of the lyrics).
The Look of Love – ABC (Album: The Lexicon of Love, 1982). This is a fun track and the video is also fun too. This song beautifully asks what makes true love.
Shadow Boxing – Teena Marie (Album: Robbery, 1983). This is a track I first heard well after the 80’s have passed. I wish I did hear it sooner, the easy listening track with solid lyrics makes this song addictive. Teena didn’t have to break it down for me to understand. She went way too soon.
Together Forever – Rick Astley (Album: Whenever You Need Somebody, 1987). This track is full-on romantic. The man, so in love for his woman, will do anything for her as he pledges his everlasting love. It is a good song for romantic nights or Valentine’s Day.
Head Over Heels – Go-Gos (Album: Talk Show, 1984). Another feel good track.
Let it Loose – Gloria Estefan (Album: Let It Loose, 1987). This song stands out for me is beat and backing lyrics accompanied with Estefan’s smooth singing.
Notorious – Duran Duran (Album: Notorious, 1986). It was tough picking a Duran Duran song for this list. I ultimately went with Notorious because it stood out the most. Little did I know that the song’s lyrics highlighted the internal struggle and fighting the band member were having during that time.
Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard (Album: Hysteria, 1987). Want a 1980’s rock anthem? This song is a great one to consider.
Whip It Good – Devo (Album: Freedom of Choice, 1980). This is the guilty pleasure for me.
Shiny Shiny – Haysi Fantayzee (Album: Battle Hyms for Children Singing, 1982). One more guilty pleasure. This is probably the most unusual track I ever heard in my life. Shiny Shiny is a perfect example of musical dissonance. In this case, the music is very happy, when the song is about post-nuclear war. I believe Fantayzee’s entire album had musical dissonance.
The 1980s Song I Wish Are on iTunes (they are not as of December 20, 2015):
Should I Love You – Cee Farrow (Album: Red and Blue, 1983)
The Lover In Me – Sheena Easton (Album: The Lover In Me, 1988)
I’m Never Gonna Give You Up – Frank Stallone & Cynthia Rhodes (Album: Staying Alive soundtrack, 1983). (This is not available as a single track)
Earworm of the 1980’s AND Iconic Song of the 1980’s
Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Jr. (Album: Ghostbusters soundtrack, 1984). If the Ghostbusters and everything associated with them aren’t icons of the 1980s, then what is? This song remains stuck in our heads even 30 years later.
I’m pretty sure I missed a few, but these are songs I can think of for now. What are your 1980’s favorites?
This blog is property of Edward Shore, 2015.