Saturday, October 27, 2007

Beanie’s Comments on the Songs of the 1980’s

My friend Bob from Edina East is a man who has a great deal of musical knowledge, if somewhat more eclectic than my taste. I recently had lunch with him, and he was kind enough to provide me with his list of the top songs from the 1980's, along with his comments:

  1. Billie Jean by Michael Jackson. Created the biggest music BUZZ since Beatle mania;
  2. When Doves Cry by Prince.
  3. Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N' Roses.
  4. Losing My Religion by REM. They were a good influence on music that followed in the 1990's including Nirvana.
  5. Fight the Power by Public Enemy. (Tom's note: OK, Bob has gone off the board with this one. Do you remember how Flavor Flav became somewhat famous? It is from this group. And it received more attention when Spike Lee put the song in one of his movies.)
  6. Back in Black by AC/DC. Welcome Back.
  7. Addicted to Love by Robert Palmer. The Best MTV could get. After this song, it was all down-hill for music videos (and MTV).
  8. Rapture by Blondie. 1st melding of rap with a huge Pop Star's legitimacy making it an important song.
  9. Every Breath You Take by the Police. Personally liked 'Every Little Thing She Does is Magic' better.
  10. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper. Still sung by girls and gays all over the world today.

I thought Bob's list and comments were very perceptive. His insight on MTV's pinnacle being Robert Palmer's Addicted to Love video, is shear brilliance! After this, everyone put out a bunch of mediocre videos, that caused a deluge of bad music and videos. To the point today, where cheap, inexpensive videos are being put out on You Tube and by-passing MTV altogether.

His list also included entries by Don Henley (Boys of Summer), Tom Petty (Free Fallin') and Simple Minds (Don't You Forget About Me), all of which are good additions. But another great part of Bob's list is that he included a list of the worst hits of the 1980's, calling his list "Refuse to Acknowledge":

  • Wham, anything by them;
  • Physical by Olivia Newton John;
  • We Built this City by Starship;
  • Poison;
  • Endless Love;
  • Bette Davis Eyes;
  • Footloose;
  • And finally, Toto.

I hoped you enjoyed Bob's additions.


Anonymous said...


You know what, this goes to show you that even though we are only 4 years apart, there is certainly a generation gap going on here. I must have checked out of the 80's because my music tastes seemed to have ended in the mid-1970's (pre-disco).


/s/Tom Wolff said...

Hi Bill,

Yes, I think that was the impact of MTV. I'm betting that you didn't (and don't) watch music videos. While I still occassionally watch VH-1 when they play videos, because when I was a teenager and in my 20's, I watched videos all the time. You're right, it is like a generational gap, all in just the time of four years. /s/Tom

Bryan & Meggan said...

What was the buzz around "We Built This City" when it came out? I've always enjoyed the song, but because of my age I've only heard it in retrospect. Why is it on the "ish" list?


Edward Oleander said...

Hi Tom!

Nice to see you got a blog page. My only major issue on Bob's list is the Michael Jackson. He might have been important to 80's music, but in my mind all of his work is an ongoing example of what was WRONG with most 80's music.

I notice a few songs that show heavy 70's influence on Bob's list. Thus I add my voice to Bill's in declaring the 70's as the BEST music generation. Even the one we agreed upon at lunch last week (Addicted to Love) as the best 80's song has a lot of 70's roots in the guitar riffs.

Bill... Have you ever given disco a second shot? I really HATED it in the 70's as it killed our favorites, but found in the new millennium that I now like it.

I'm also with B & M on "We Built This City." Starship was a good example of a band that changed with the times, even if MOST of their post-Jefferson Airplane music sucked. "We Built This City" is their one timeless post-JA song. Had I remembered it, I would have included it on my long list of great tunes.

You are correct, I believe, on the influence of MTV on those only a few years removed from it. Although I'm a year younger then you, I grew up on my older sister's music and thus identify with Bill more. MTV ceased to be personally relevant in it's infancy when it went PG. A few videos (like "Take On Me" and "Sledgehammer" and "Addicted To Love) were technically brilliant and/or sexually appealing to a dateless ex-AV nerd like myself, but so very few really mattered...

Lunch again soon?
ps: I noticed your fave links... Have you STILL not accepted the truth of Evolution?

tom wolff said...

Hi Bryan, it's nice to see my blog reaches all the way to California. I hope you and Meggan continue to stay safe. Why is Jefferson's 'We Built This City' on the Refuse to Acknowledge list? Given your youth, you may not remeber that Jefferson Airplane split up after Grace Slick left, then reformed with is it Mickey Thomas as lead singer? Well, their re-union with both Slick and Thomas as lead singers was a pure sell-out ploy to make quick money. Thomas and Slick reputedly hated each other. And during this time weren't one of their members (Testing my memory - Marty Ballen and Paul Kutschner?) also facing money woes? Could have been drug charges during this time.

Any way, the video is really what makes the song detetable for me. It was one of the early green screen tries, where the band is filmed in front of crumbling buildings, and people running all over. There might have been a Godzilla involved, I don't know. It was horrible, and given the lack of money put into the video, the bands reformation was screaming that they were only in it for the money. Thanks for asking. /s/Tom

tom wolff said...

Hi Ed, it's nice to see you found my blog. Everyone, Ed is a male nurse, and could possibly have been who the main character in 'Meet the Fockers' is based on. No, although he's a nurse the rest is made up. Ed is gaming friend from my college days. BTW, Bill is my older brother.

It's interesting that you bring up the superiority of the 1970's to the 1980's, I am beginning to soften on this. Look at the music that was put out in the 1970's: the Boss, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder's best stuff, the soul, the great singles (like Afternoon Delight, the Night Chicago Died, Drift Away, and lots more.) Add in the start of Alternative music like Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, power pop icons the Romantics (who said that?), and I'm beginning to get 1970's fever!

And yes, Ed I have decided like the famous atheist Anthony Flew to follow the scientific evidence wherever it leads, and am persuaded that Intelligent Design is correct. I hope to have some more posts on this topic in the near future. /s/Tom