Tuesday Tunes 67: The Eighties

This week I thought I’d take this post into hitherto unknown territory. If you follow the series you’ll know that I grew up and developed my musical tastes in the Sixties and Seventies, and have been known to bemoan the fact that punk and disco came along and destroyed the end of the Seventies for me. I was having a comments chat with Cindy the other day and she asked if I liked any later music. This got me thinking: of course I did, but a lot of what I have bought and listened to since then was by bands and singer-songwriters I had been following from those earlier decades. The Eighties also marked the time when home and then family commitments had their effect on the number of albums I could buy and play: too little time, too little money! Apple Music kindly offers a filter by decade, and that has given me some ideas, but I also looked up the Official Charts Company, and found that they had recently run a series listing the top 40 UK songs of each year of the Eighties. That is four hundred songs and, without duplicating too many acts, I found a grand total of twenty three songs that I’d consider sharing – so that is where I’m going today. There will be eight songs in this post, but I’m not sure yet whether I’ll go further with my list, or maybe do an albums-based version of it.

I bought all of these, but on their albums: I no longer bought singles by that time. So, let’s get going:

Are you awake now? Frankie Goes To Hollywood were very much THE band of 1984, a year in which they had three #1 UK singles and a #1 album, Welcome To The Pleasuredome (a double album, which also got to #33 in the US). We bought it because my wife liked them – I did let her choose occasionally – and it really grew on me. I didn’t think I’d enjoy synth-based disco music, but there was a lot more to them than that – a very good cover of the Boss’ Born To Run being part of it. This song spent five weeks at #1 here and sold over 2m copies in the UK alone. It was also a #1 and top ten hit in many other countries, including the US, where it got to #10. It had risen to #6 here before the ever-prudish BBC realised what they were dealing with, and promptly banned it, thus ensuring it reached #1 a couple of weeks later. I can still remember the slightly embarrassed looks of the Top Of The Pops hosts when they did the chart countdown: “at number one this week, a song by Frankie Goes To Hollywood.”

I’m cheating ever so slightly by including this next one, as it was actually released in 1979. But it topped the charts for five weeks from December of that year, thus making it the first #1 of the new decade, so that’s good enough for me:

This was the first single released in the UK by Pink Floyd since 1968 – they were very much an albums band, although singles had been released (reportedly, against their wishes) in other countries. It was #1 in the UK, the US, and several other countries, selling more than 4m copies. The album it was on – The Wall, also a double album – was #1 just about everywhere except here in the UK, where it only reached #3. The song was known to be hated by the UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and the single and the album were both banned in South Africa in 1980 after the song was adopted by supporters of a nationwide school boycott, who were protesting against institutionalised racial inequities in education under apartheid. For me, those are two badges of honour! The Wall was later adapted into a successful movie, with a score written by Roger Waters, who also wrote the original album.

This next one was also a huge hit:

This was the opening track from Phil Collins’ debut solo album, Face Value, and was released in January 1981, a month ahead of the album. It reached #19 in the US, was a #1 in several countries, and got to #2 here in the UK, being held off the top by the posthumous release of John Lennon’s Woman. Face Value was a #1 UK album, and reached #7 in the US – it has sold around 10m copies overall. The song has one of the best known drum parts in rock music, and I still love the way it comes crashing in.

After the gloom of Phil Collins’ album about his marriage break up, how about some sunshine:

That one was also released in 1981, and is a track on The Police’s album Ghost In The Machine. The album reached #1 in the UK and #2 in the US. This track was their fourth #1 UK single, and peaked at #3 in the US. I’ve always loved the joyous feel of the song and this video is a perfect fit for that: the scenes of the kids are simply wonderful.

In a more laid back way, there is also a lot of joy in this next one, too:

That is now thirty seven years old, and the song still gets me every time. Whoever decided to bring in the choir made an inspired choice: I’ve loved this ever since I first heard it. This was a track on Foreigner’s fifth album, Agent Provocateur, which was released in December 1984, peaking at #4 in the US but giving the band their first UK #1 album. This was the lead single from the album, released a month earlier, and was #1 in the US, the UK, and loads of other countries too. Many critics at the time slated them, but the album sold over 4m copies, with similar sales figures for the single. To me, it is a bona fide soft rock classic.

A little bit of fun for you now:

That is still one of my all time favourite music videos, made all the more poignant knowing now that Freddie Mercury would only be with us for another seven years. This was on Queen’s eleventh album, The Works, released in February 1984, which got to #2 in the UK and #23 in the US. After Radio Ga Ga this was the second song from the album to be released as a single (in April 1984), and made #3 in the UK and #45 in the US.

I said earlier that a lot of the music I listened to in the Eighties was from artists I had been following from previous decades. This is one such:

That’s the beauty of artists who have been making great music for many years: you can always find something to fit your timeframe! As you probably know, that was on Springsteen’s album Born In The USA, yet another to have been released in 1984. Needless to say, the album was #1 in both the US and the UK, and in many other countries too. This was the first of seven of the album’s twelve tracks to be released as a single, and peaked at #2 in the US and #4 in the UK. In case you didn’t recognise her, the young lass plucked ‘at random’ from the audience is actually Courtney Cox, who later had a few friends.

At the risk of overloading you with Sting, he also features on today’s final tune:

Possibly one of the cheesiest music videos ever, but I’ve always enjoyed it. I’m a big fan of Dire Straits and have all of their albums. This was on the one which turned them into megastars: Brothers In Arms. This was their fifth studio album, released on 13 May 1985. It spent a total of 14 weeks at #1 on the UK Albums Chart (including ten consecutive weeks between January and March 1986), 9 weeks at #1 in the US and 34 weeks at #1 on the Australian Albums Chart. It was the first album certified ten-times platinum in the UK and is the eighth-best-selling album in UK chart history. It is certified nine-times platinum in the US and is one of the world’s best-selling albums, having sold more than 30 million copies. And to think the critics slated it when it first came out! It was one of the first albums to be recorded digitally, which made it ready to take advantage of those new-fangled CD players which were the new big thing in music at the time: apart from it being a great album, it benefitted from interest in the new technology and many, like me, bought a copy as soon as we had a CD player. As a single, this was a US #1 and UK #4, and the video won several Grammy and MTV awards, including MTV’s video of the year in 1986. The song also received the ultimate accolade: “Weird Al” Jankovich did a parody version of it!

That’s it for today’s bumper selection. Maybe, on reflection, the Eighties weren’t all that bad, really: I’ve surprised myself! As I said at the outset, I’m not sure where to take this next, but at present I’m thinking that next week’s tunes will also be from that decade – subject, of course, to the usual caveat that the programme is subject to last minute changes. Whatever, I hope you’ve enjoyed what for me is a cracking set of songs and will return to see what comes next. Until then, stay safe and well and have a great week 😊

72 thoughts on “Tuesday Tunes 67: The Eighties

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  4. You da man, Clyde! Two of these selections are old time favourites … I bet you can guess that it’s Phil Collins and also Foreigner, yes? I had a moment’s inspiraton, I thought “AHA” … I can play one of these for my a.m. music post. But alas, I have played both twice and recently. 🤷 Who knew? Heck, I can’t remember what I ate for supper a couple of hours ago, let alone the music I played a month ago! Anyway … I loved hearing them again tonight … I had just finished a rather difficult post for the a.m. and needed this respite. As for the others, the only one I knew well was Springsteen’s, and I rather like it, though it isn’t on my top 10, but it has a lot of energy, and I like that. I had not heard the one by the Police, but I think it could grow on me!

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  5. Clive, the 80s were an interesting decade for music and not always in a good way. But, you captured some great moments and acts that made it better. One moment came toward the end when in 1989, Neil Young released “Rockin in the free world” reminding us what rock and roll sounds like. Big hair bands had made things too formulaic and he cut through that in my view. Keith

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    • I listened to much less music in the 80s than before, largely due to home and family commitments, so the decade kind of passed me by. These were just a selection of singles that had been big hits here, maybe I need to think harder about the albums I bought then? You’re right about Neil Young – always worth listening to!

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      • Clive, my wife would advocate for Bon Jovi as the sound (or at least the look) of the 80s. There were a lot of good songs, but there was also a lot of songs that seemed to have the same formula. But, the industry has always had to guard against copycats. Now, it is worse with computers looking for the right combination of notes. Keith

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      • Ah, poodle rock. Don’t you just love it! I guess the idea of finding a formula that works for the charts, and then repeating it, has been with us for decades. You can’t really blame them but, like you, I prefer music made by humans!

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      • Agreed. I saw Ringo Starr being interviewed. He said he liked recording in the same room with the other musicians. He said he could react better if he could see their sweat as they played. Keith

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  6. Interesting post Clive and some good choices. As much as the 70s was the best decade for me, musically, I thought the 80s had some great different stuff. There were a lot of 70s bands who sounded dated in the 80s despite being musically sound.

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  7. I think you may be on to something about the era that we grow up with music as I also like 80s music. In fact, I listened to all and owned many of these at one time. I like more of Foreigner’s rock sound, which I know is often criticized by “music critics” as being too simplistic. I don’t care. We like what we like. Music is just like food that way to me. I’ll take a hamburger over caviar eryday of the week. Your right about the Dire Straits video being cheesy, but what a great song. “Get your money for nothing and your chicks for free.”

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    • I was a little surprised to find that many 80s songs I liked, tbh. But all but one of these started in the 60s or 70s, so that kind of makes my point for me. I liked Foreigner’s harder side too, but their biggest chart successes here were the two ballads!

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  8. You’re like us, Clive … Seventies ruined for us at the end of the decade. And then, only albums bought for quite a few years after that. Loved Carly Simon, Phil Collins and Queen. Good driving/sing along songs. The kids had no choice but to sing along. Thanks for the memories.

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  9. Ahhhhh the 80’s lots of great dance songs…did we dance although I am a 60’s and 70’s girl ..the ’80s held their own in many ways..all great tracks today for me Foreigner just edges it..I love that song

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  10. Hi Clive
    I think you sound do the 80s again next week
    And the playlist here I knew so well they played in my mind just seeing the title
    – and laughing how Cox had a few friends – she sure indeed did – and a few stars had some possible “bumps” from little moments at a concert

    I cannot recall the name of the band or song – but I remember being at my aunt’s house and they said that a band had to change their song name because someone already released dancing in the dark!
    I will look it up to see if I can find the song reference – but your post reminded me of it –
    And I never was a Bruce Springsteen fan yet his music is part of many episodic memories for me – and so even if not a huge fan – I did not dislike the music either – if that makes sense / kind of neutral – however – his “I’m on Fire” song was a tune that I appreciated as an adult – same thing with Drive from the Cars
    Both songs had such beauty and tasty memories when I heard them though some good surround sound and left the teen stage –
    If that makes sense!

    And i knew you liked dire straits 🎶☀️ – cheers for the Money for nothing closing
    And I believe that the song was also dubbed the song of the decade in 1989- for its success but also content and depicting culture stuff –

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  11. This was great fun Clive! Fun you went back to revisit the 80’s and so touched you mentioned my name and my site… thanks so much for that. I hadn’t seen any of those videos so that was great fun. Loved all of those artists but must confess I never have been much for Pink Floyd.
    Not sure how I missed Phil Collins got divorced.
    Really loved the Queen video and it sure does bring more meaning now than ever.
    Loved seeing Bruce dragging Courtney Cox up on stage. Soooo cute!
    You are amazing with all of your stats and knowledge.
    Thanks for a great line up!!!💖💖💖💖💖

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome, Cindy – you planted the idea, after all! I’m glad you enjoyed them, and the memories they gave you. Phil Collins wrote that album in the wake of his first divorce, luckily he has spared us more woe after his second! A little tip: Wikipedia is a great place to go for the stats 😉

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  12. great collection of songs, and while the songs were released in the eighties, as you note, the bands had been around before that. I would call this 70s music. 🙂

    the only song I was not familiar with was the first one.

    The Police video and song are wonderful, and the kids make it special…

    Queen, followed by Bruce – that’s a tough double to beat…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I debated with myself whether I should have just used songs from acts that started in the 80s but the choice wasn’t great! I thought this was a justifiable selection, though: it was where the zeitgeist had taken them. I’m surprised you didn’t know the FGTH one, as it made your top ten – it was a huge hit here! I like the Bruce song, and there was no way I’d leave out that Queen video 😊

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  13. It’s funny that you struggle with the 80’s the way I struggled with the 70’sThat’ usually the decade I ignore after the 60’s yet even so I seem to have found some recently I liked. Today was 7 Fantastic Choices and an also-ran for me. But we never hit anyone spot on I think. Thanks for the entrainment Clive. Have a great week.
    Hugs

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    • Hi David, as I said to Hugh I think our tastes are formed as we become teenagers into our twenties, which for me was the 60s and 70s. I was surprised to find quite a few I like, as I don’t have fond musical memories of the 80s, but all bar FGTH of this selection go back earlier – I rest my case! Glad you enjoyed almost all of these, and you have a great week too 😊

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  14. Clive, a treat of music for me this afternoon as the ’80s were definitely the best decade for music for me. All these are familiar from my school discos etc … remember the headmaster pulling ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ off the record table, his face red with fury and we were all sent off on various cleaning duties! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed revisiting the era and my many memories of the time … hope you post some more of your 23 favourite ones! Have a great rest of the week.

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    • Hi Annika. I’m glad to have given you some musical memories of that time. I’m guessing your headmaster might have been a Thatcher fan? I may well post some more…

      You have a great week too 😊

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  15. I was busy having babies in the eighties, and didn’t take any notice of what was in the charts as we didn’t have much money to buy records. I never got into Frankie Goes to Hollywood, but like all the other songs you’ve added. Thanks Clive.

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  16. You managed to pick pretty much the only songs from the 80’s I actually like LOL Well, there’s also Billy Joel, Rod Stewart had some, there are other Springsteen albums.I always liked music that was not the music on the radio that I grew up with.

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    • Glad to have hit the spot for you! As I said in the post, I was a bit surprised to find so many 80s songs that I liked! Then again, seven of the eight are by people whose careers started earlier…

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      • Right. If you’re talking straight 80’s I think it’s like Paula Abdul, Madonna, Prince, that kind of stuff. MJ started WAAAY before the 80’s even though that’s when he hit it big solo, so I guess he counts too…. but I don’t think he was actually human. I think he was something magical and unique since he was old enough to perform

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      • Wait, you mean MJ was too pop for you? The others I get, but he was far from just pop. his music may have the feel of pop, but his lyrics were political and poignant. If you don’t like the sound, at least look up the lyrics to some of his songs, like Black or White or They Don’t Care About Us. Then there’s the one he did with absolutely everybody, and told them not to bother coming if they couldn’t check their egos at the door. That was amazing, but everyone knows that one and you either like it or not. The best part of it for me was before it ever started – Dylan was whacked out of his mind, and he couldn’t figure out what his lines were, how to sing them, or anything. So if you you can find it on youtube, Springsteen pulls him aside and sings it JUST LIKE HIM over and over until Dylan gets the lyrics too. I love that. I also love that on a wide shot, Dan Akroyd is sort of randomly there. Granted, he was part of the Blues Brothers, and can actually sing, but it still feels quite random seeing him in a large group shot squished in the back of the back against the wall LOL It would be like having a bunch of singers today doing a song for charity and after panning out after hearing Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Christinal Agullera, and Lady Gaga belt their lyrics, you suddenly just sort of see Richard Gere in the back. Yes, he was amazing in Chicago and can sing, but… still odd. Or, even though he has since died, seeing Rex Harrison in the back. He was like the first white rapper, and he did great in theater shows and movies (and I personally love him), but he doesn’t really belong in a group of amazing singers unless it’s like a West End/Broadway group doing the charity song

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      • I know he was more than just pop, and wrote many meaningful songs – I just didn’t like his music that much, sorry! I assume you mean We Are The World? As I understand that, Quincy Jones shares much of the credit, and they took the idea from Band Aid. The version of that quote I’ve seen follows on to say that he would arrange for anyone who wouldn’t abide by the rules to be driven home – by Stevie Wonder 😉

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      • That sounds like a threat Stevie Wonder himself would use LOL

        I didn’t mean to forget Quincy Jones. I started off on MJ and somehow ended up on Dan Akroyd. I’ll admit…. it’s probably not the most easy to follow path from point A to point B.

        I realize it was a Long and Winding Road to the Jungleland, Don’t Ask Me Why.

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  17. Foreigner’s, Agent Provocateur, was the very first CD we ever bought. Bruce Springsteen, Dire Straights, The Police! I love these songs from the 80s, a decade which was very good to me. We worked hard and played hard. Great memories.Thanks.

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    • I don’t think anyone can do justice to an entire decade in eight songs! There are more from that decade I liked and may post at some point, but they are heavily outnumbered by the ones I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole 😉

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  18. Now we’re talking. The 80s was (in my opinion) the best decade for music. I loved everything about it, even the Stock, Aiken and Waterman phase towards the end of the decade. Being a DJ at a nightclub back then was one of the best jobs I had. There was never a tune from that decade that never failed to fill the floor.
    Nice selection, Clive, although Frankie Goes to Hollywood is my favourite out of all of them. But I have many more that even beat Frankie.

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    • Thanks, Bernadette, I’m pleased you enjoyed it. I must admit that I was surprised too – I’d always thought of the Eighties as a decade of effete cross dressers and cheesy pop, and was glad to find a lot of good music there. FGTH were fairly short-lived, but made their mark!

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