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Sunday, July 9, 2023

8 From the 80s: Pop Music

Each installment Mike will look back to the decade of decadence and provide a list of eight things – from movies to music to memorable moments and everything in-between.  Keep in mind, this isn’t a TOP 8 list and any numerical notations are included to merely designate one item from another. Because, frankly, how can rate one thing over another when it came from a decade as totally tubular as the 80s?

80's Pop Music
We all know pop music when we hear it. From early hits by The Beatles to the girl bands of the 50s and the lighter, non-folksy music of the 60s. The seventies saw an uptick in the number of acts and songs that could be categorized as pop music, but it was in the 80s that it really became a powerhouse genre in the music industry. From one hit wonders to perennial stars, there were hundreds of songs and acts that charted through the Top 40. Here are eight memorable acts that should never be forgotten.

(Those that know me or that have listened to the podcast know of my love of all things Prince, so know now he is not on this list.  He transcends "pop music".)

8 - Michael Jackson
The King of Pop. ‘Nuff said.

7 - Olivia Newton-John
Mainly a Country music star during the 70s, it was her starring role in 1978’s Grease that moved her into more of a mainstream role. Two years later she starred in Xanadu, a fairly terribly movie with a fairly incredible soundtrack that spawned five top 20 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. A year later she released Physical, which was clearly about sex and not aerobics like the video portrayed.

6 - The Bangles
Although they formed and had some initial success in the first half of the 80s, it was the latter half of the decade that saw the ladies reach the top of the mountain. Prince gave them “Manic Monday”, a song originally intended for Apollonia 6, and they followed that a couple years later with “Walk Like an Egyptian”.

5 - Debbie Gibson
Gibson burst onto the scene in the late 80s with her triple-platinum selling Out of the Blue album which had four Top 5 singles. Foolish Beat, one of the hits, gained Gibson the honor of being the youngest person to write, produce and perform a number one hit song.

4 - Huey Lewis and the News
Huey Lewis and the News owned the pop charts in the middle part of the 80s. With two number one albums in Sports and Fore!, hit singles like “Heart and Soul”, “I Want a New Drug” and “Stuck With You” along with “The Power of Love” and “Back in Time” which were featured in Back to the Future proved that it is was “hip to be square”.

3 - Rick Springfield
Springfield hit it big in 1981. Not only did he have a smash #1 hit, “Jessie’s Girl”, which earned him a Grammy award, he was the dreamy Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital which made ABC afternoons “must see TV”. His albums Working Class Dog and Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet each climbed into the US Top 10 for album sales.

2 - Phil Collins
Starting in 1970 as the drummer for Genesis and then the lead singer in 1975, it was in the first half of the 80s that Collins rocketed to stardom with three solos albums (Face Value, Hello, I Must be Going and the 18+ million copy selling No Jacket Required). A guest role on Miami Vice and a couple of movies helped cement his status as an 80s pop icon. (as a side note, the accompanying video is one of my personal all time favorite videos)

1 - Cyndi Lauper
While Madonna was gobbling up the spotlight, Lauper was taking a page from Frank Sinatra’s song and doing it “her way”. Her involvement in pro-wrestling gave her exposure to a wide spectrum of people who appreciated and understood her flair for the “unusual” while her unique voice and (arguably) more artistic style than that of Madonna made them fans.

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