What are the
first songs that
enter your mind
when you think
Don’t think about it! Just rattle ’em off! These are the first 15 that came to my mind:
“Lust For Love” by Images In Vogue
Chances are good that you don’t remember this Canadian entry in the mid-80s “New Romantic” sweepstakes, but it’s generally the first song I hear in my head when I think back to that period–largely because it’s such a sincere artifact of the time that it almost sounds like a parody of the music it exemplifies.
“Bonzo Goes to Bitburg (My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down)” by The Ramones
The Ramones are my all-time favourite band, so it’s no surprise that they’re one of the first bands I think of in any situation, but I specifically think of this song because it’s one of the few overtly political songs they ever recorded. “Bonzo” being a reference to then-President Ronald Reagan, who had famously starred in a movie called Bedtime for Bonzo about a professor raising a chimp for a science experiment. Joey, the band’s lead singer, specifically wrote the song to annoy Johnny, their guitarist, who was not only a hardcore right-winger, but who had also stolen the love of Joey’s life (which resulted in the earlier classic “The KKK Took My Baby Away”). Being 100% on Team Joey, this song reminds me of every time an act of pure passive-aggression has gotten me through the day.
“Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper
My favourite love song from the 80s (and probably of all time).
“I Wonder If I Take You Home” by Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam
This has less to do with the song than it does the fact that I believe “Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam” is the most 80s band name of all time.
“When Doves Cry” by Prince and The Revolution
See also: The entire Purple Rain soundtrack.
“Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen and The E-Street Band
You gotta love a decade where everyone just listened to the chorus and beat and turned a song about how the United States completely failed its veterans into an anthem of patriotic pride.
“Love is a Battlefield” by Pat Benatar
Greatest. Video. Ever.
“Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” by Journey
Bet you thought I was going to go with “Don’t Stop Believing”, didn’t you? Well, does that song have an awful video where the band embarrasses themselves pretending to play phantom instruments? No? Now, you understand why this is the one.
“Into the Groove” by Madonna
I may have once got into an argument with a friend about this song because he refused to accept that I felt confident in describing it as “transcendent”.
“Hello” by Lionel Ritchie
SHE WAS ABLE TO SCULPT A MODERATELY ACCEPTABLE VERSION OF HIS FACE EVEN THOUGH SHE IS A BLIND PERSON WHO CAN’T SEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
“Thriller” by Michael Jackson
Arguably the weakest song on the biggest album the decade ever saw, this one makes my list because of the 20x I watched that ubiquitous making-of video that EVERYONE I knew owned (except me).
“Babooshka” by Kate Bush
I had a poster of Kate Bush in the pseudo-Valkryie outfit she wears in this video on the wall of my bedroom throughout my teens. ‘Nuff said.
“Round and Round” by Ratt
You can’t think of the 80s without thinking of hair metal and this is the first first hair metal song that always hits my mind, because Milton Berle.
“Rapper’s Delight” by Sugar Hill Gang
Released as a single in 1979, this classic was rereleased a year later on the group’s first LP, so it totally counts. It’s also probably the most influential song on the list–to this day when white people try to rap, they do so to the rhythm of this track.
“We Don’t Need Another Hero” by Tina Turner
Tina Turner WAS the Queen of Bartertown.
Okay, I could literally go on forever, but I have to go to bed soon. Good news is I haven’t even come close to scratching the surface here.
What are the songs that you most strongly associate with this era? (And that includes those of you who weren’t even alive when they came out.)