The pop music of any decade
leaves a lasting impression on generations to come. It
helps define the tone and feeling of a decade both for those
that lived through it as well as those that will come to
appreciate it later. The 60s had their protest songs and
the Beatles. The 70s ranged widely from the mellow music
of Bread, The Carpenters, and James Taylor to the gaudy and
flamboyant disco music of the latter part of the decade.
the 80s had
Ronald Regan and Reaganomics, John Hughes films and Molly
Ringwald, but could any of that compare with the likes of
Madonna, Tiffany, Olivia Newton-John, Michael Jackson, Kylie Minogue, Belinda
Carlisle, The Bangles or Prince? I think not!
Not only did 80s pop music
define who we were, but the music held the anthems of our daily
lives. We woke up to “Manic Mondays” with the Bangles just to
find ourselves “hangin tough” with the New Kids On The Block by
the time Wednesday or Thursday rolled around. By the end of the
week, it was "Friday, I'm in Love." When the weekend
came, Kylie had us doing the “Locomotive” and Debbie Gibson
taught us that youth was electric. The best way to revisit
all the great pop music of the 80s is to re-watch the music videos of
your favorite songs. After all, MTV was a product of the early 80s
- what better way to enjoy the fashions, dance moves and musical
stylings of the decade's music? We have a big collection of our
favorite 80s music in our video section: watch
80s music videos here.
One Hit Wonders of 80s Pop
As with any decade of pop music, the 80s
had its share of both pop icons and one hit wonders. The king and
queen of the 80s pop music prom would certainly be Michael Jackson and
Madonna. But, there is a lot to 80s pop music beyond the Material
Girl and the Kind of Pop. Some notable one hit pop wonders include
Dexys Midnight Runners with "Come on Eileen," Murray Head's "One
Night in Bangkok," and Timbuk 3's "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta
Wear Shades," and our personal favorite Men Without Hats' "Safety
Dance." What was your favorite one hit wonder of the 80s?
Tell on us Facebook.
No rundown of 80s pop music would be
complete without mentioning the hair metal mega-bands of the late 1980s.
From Poison and Def Leppard to Guns n Roses and Bon Jovi, these bands
topped the pop charts in the second half of the decade. Bon Jovi
was the first to hit the #1 Billboard spot in November of 1986 with "You
Give Love a Bad Name." 1987 saw two number ones from hair metal
bands, Bon Jovi again with "Livin' on a Prayer" and then Whitesnake with
"Here I Go Again" later in the year. 1988 would be the apogee of
heavy metal's penetration into the pop charts with number one songs by
Cheap Trick, Guns N Roses, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi and Poison. Click
here for more information on hair metal and a more complete
list of hair metal bands of the 80s,
Of course 80s pop music did have its
dark side – if you could call it that.
Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was introduced to us in 1982 and the
video for the song was the world’s first “horror” music video. I
remember being a little kid and seeing the Thriller video for the first
time. It scared the bejesus out of me. However, even scarier than
that was the video for Tom Petty's "Don't Come Around Here No More"
where he cuts into Alice like a cake - yikes. So, who says pop
music is all bubble gum and puppy love?
Unfortunately, not all 80s pop music
stars were able to maintain their fortune and fame. Ask the youth of
today what Bananarama is and they’ll probably say it’s an ice cream
special. Tell them to name the New Kids On The Block and they may just
start spouting off the names of the kids who have moved into the
neighborhood over the past year. Not exactly the answers we would have
given in the 80s, are they? (UPDATE 11.22.08 -
actually, this last statement may no longer be true given New Kid's
appearance on ABC's American Music Awards tomorrow night >info
With the overall comeback of the 80s,
the music of the 80s is now being appreciated even by today's teens.
It just goes to show, you are never too old or too young to "Rock the
Billboard's pop charts for
every year of the 80s here.