I was 12 in 1980 and the rest of the decade took me through high school and college quite neatly. Having parted ways with nearly all of my LP and cassette tape collection, and having entered the era of the MP3 download, I’ve taken the opportunity to reflect on the songs of my youth and have amassed (some through CDs I own, most through paid, legal downloading) a collection of songs that should make for some fun listening in the car. The kids already like the Police and the Cars, but this should flesh out their 1980s musical literacy a bit more (with some help from Cap’n Crunch, whose taste I have accommodated in limited quantities). Thanks, too, to those who contributed their musical memories to my previous post; your songs were dead-ringers for 1980s musicana, but sometimes didn’t make my own limited list of personal favorites.
Madness: It Must Be Love, Our House
The Cure: Friday I’m in Love
Cyndi Lauper: Time After Time, All Through the Night, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
Genesis: Just a Job to Do, Invisible Touch
Nena: Rette Mich The Cap’n liked "99 Luftbalon" but I preferred this one.
INXS: Don’t Change, I Send a Message I used to love this band, but 20 years later, I’m not sure why. Still, I loved these two songs back then, and it would feel dishonest not to include them on a list.
Matthew Wilder: Break My Stride
Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder: What’s That You’re Doing
Tears For Fears: Shout
Adam Ant: Goody Two Shoes Thanks, gnomi, for this little memory jog. Couldn’t do without this song.
Roy Orbison: You Got It
Herbie Hancock: Rockit
George Harrison: Got My Mind Set on You
Murray Head: One Night in Bangkok I didn’t have to download this one since the Cap’n–a Chess junkie–has two versions of the soundtrack: the London cast and the New York.
Police: Every Breath You Take, Roxanne
The Who: My Generation, I’m a Boy, Pictures of Lillie These songs, from the album Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy, technically belong to the 1970s since the album was released in 1971. However, my own discovery of The Who didn’t happen until the 1980s, so I’m shifting them here.
U2: Where the Streets Have No Name, Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
Cranberries: Zombie I’ve included a few songs from the 1990s which appeared on my very restricted post-college radar screen. I don’t love this band much, but Dolores O’Riordan’s use of alternating chest and head voice makes her sound quite unique.
Billy Joel: Movin’ Out, You May Be Right "You may be right–I may be crazy, but it just might be a looooonatic you’re looking for!"
Roger Daltrey: Raglan Road A cut from a 1990s live Chieftains album. Not very rock ‘n’ roll, but Roger Daltrey at his timeless, belting best. "If it’s good enough for Pavarotti, it’s good enough for me. Iss a bloody opera house, innit?"
Bobby McFerrin: Opportunity
Fine Young Cannibals: She Drives Me Crazy
Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson: Say Say Say
Jimmy Buffett: We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us About Having done a few things since college which really rattled my parents, this song has continued to appeal to me.
Romantics: One in a Million, Talking in Your Sleep
Big Country: Wonderland
Deep Blue Something: Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Men at Work: Down Under, Overkill This band’s greatest hits album merited downloading in its entirety, but a 1980s collection would nonetheless be incomplete without two of their most popular songs.
Talking Heads: Burning Down the House, Psycho Killer, Road to Nowhere
They Might Be Giants: Constantinople
Paul Simon: You Can Call Me Al, Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard
Dexys Midnight Runners: Come On Eileen I love the Irish intro and epilogue to this silly song from the Cap’n’s list of favorites.
Bonnie Tyler: Total Eclipse of the Heart Another pick of the Cap’n’s
Danny Hutton Hitters: Wouldn’t It Be Good An excellent cover of Nik Kershaw’s quintessential teenage self-pity song
Kenny Loggins: Footloose, I’m Alright I’ve been listening to his kids’ stuff for so many years, I almost forgot he had a successful career singing grown-up songs!
Elton John: But Not for Me From the Four Weddings and a Funeral soundtrack; my favorite version of this song
I know I’ve left out dozens of bands, singers, and songs. I was a Depeche Mode, Violent Femmes, and Roxy Music junkie, but just can’t listen to that stuff anymore—too dreary. I always hated Madonna, never cared much for the baby-voiced Cyndi Lauper (her songs are by the Cap’n’s request), and didn’t go for most of the singers who crossed over the age barrier like Neil Diamond, Dolly Parton, or Kenny Rogers. I loved the Scorpions, but I’m not sure I would subject the kids to heavy metal just now, nor am I certain they need to hear Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s "Relax" quite yet. I’m sure I’ll think of other bands and songs to add over time, but this is a snapshot at least of one dotard’s tween and teen memories of a pretty good decade, musically speaking.
Note: Come again tomorrow and see what I’ve compiled from the 1960s and 1970s…