Too often remembered for its clichés, 80s music actually has far more to offer than many remember – and it’s cooler than you think.
Some people believe the 80s were the best decade for music. How much do you know about this golden era of music?
In the '60s you could go ask Alice but in the '80s you had to ask the Mad Hatter. Who was the man who played this character from "Alice in Wonderland" and had a top-twenty hit in the U.S. and Canada with "Don't Come Around Here No More"?
Tom Petty played the Mad Hatter in the "Don't Come Around Here No More" video he and the Heartbreakers did based on "Alice in Wonderland". While big in North America it only reached number 50 in the U.K. The title is a bit of a long story but it involved Stevie Nicks breaking up with Joe Walsh and had nothing to do with "Alice in wonderland".
If someone had asked her who she and her friends were, this young woman would have said defiantly: "We're the kids in America!" Who is she?
While more popular in the U.K., Kim Wilde's "Kids in America" reached number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1981. She topped U.S. charts in 1986 with "You Keep Me Hangin' On".
Who told us in no uncertain terms: "I Love Rock 'n' Roll"?
Joan Jett is the artist in question. "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" was a number one hit in 1981. Jett started her musical career with The Runaways, went solo in 1979 and added a backup band called the Blackhearts. She has also had an acting career, notably with Michael J. Fox in "Light of Day".
This man got his start in the 1970s but had his greatest success in the '80s. He was also adept at music videos. Who is this man who could be "Fat" because he would "Eat It" and "Dare(d) to Be Stupid"?
An inspiration to kids of Slavic descent everywhere, who had to learn the accordion because their grandparents thought it only proper, "Weird Al" Yankovic got his start in the music world by sending tapes to the "Dr. Demento" radio show. While a student at the California Polytechnic State University, he would take his accordion into one of the men's bathrooms to make recordings because the tile walls gave an echo chamber effect. "Eat It", based on Michael Jackson's "Beat It" was his biggest hit of the '80s. As well as parodying songs he also wrote some original compositions. His music video for "Fat" won the Best Concept Music Video award at the 1988 U.S. Grammy Awards.
Awash in Hardcore Punk, New Wave and Techno Pop, some guys from the American South stood up and told them all to "Keep Your Hands to Yourself". Who were they?
The Georgia Satellites had a big hit in 1986 with "Keep Your Hands to Yourself". In the song's video we got to see a good old American 'shotgun wedding'. Later that year the Satellites tried to tie us down with "Battleship Chains" and then sort of drifted out of orbit, but they sure were fun while they were around.
In the 1980s a band came along who showed us that there was more to Australian music than songs about kangaroos on the loose and lost boomerangs. Who can it be now? Oh wait, that's also the name of their debut single so "Who Can It Be Now"?
Formed around 1979, Men at Work became highly successful. Like other Australian bands at the time, they worked on the premise that they didn't need America or England to tell them what was popular. After their second hit, "Down Under", most of us North Americans were left wondering what a 'vegemite sandwich' was. The band broke up in 1985, reuniting sporadically over the years.
In 1985, along came "A Man in Motion" who wanted us to believe he was a "Naughty Naughty" guy. Do you remember his name?
British musician John Parr lit up the music scene with "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" in 1985. It was number one in the U.S. and reached number six in the U.K. It was preceded by "Naughty Naughty", which was not a big seller. He left the music business for several years but is now touring again.
In the 1980s, New Wave music came from everywhere, including Canada. Which of these groups came from Quebec and sang to us about the "Safety Dance"?
Men Without Hats came from Montreal, Quebec. They were an active group for about fifteen years, recording several songs but only "Pop Goes the World" had the success of "Safety Dance", which got to number one on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Songs list.
They came from bands named The Catch and The Tourists and became famous playing New Wave and Synthpop. What was the name of this duo composed of Dave and Annie?
Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox formed the Eurythmics in 1980. Their most productive period was 1983 to 1986. They split up in 1990, Lennox to start a successful solo career and Stewart doing well writing movie soundtracks and producing recordings. They have reunited from time to time to record new material and tour together.
You can thank Thomas Dolby for the song "Kids Wanna Rock". He didn't write or sing it; who did?
As the story goes, Bryan Adams and his producer, Jim Vallance, went to a Thomas Dolby concert in British Columbia in 1984. Tiring of the electronic-tech stagecraft, they left the concert and went to a restaurant. One of them mentioned that kids just wanted to rock. They wrote most of the song the next day. It wasn't released as a single but got a lot of play from album-oriented radio stations.
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