Now That’s What I Call The 80’s [Various] Part II

Now That's What I Call The Eighties

The Analysis:

She’s A Beauty [The Tubes]—-This has always been a very favorite track of mine…I love the great use of real instrumentation and the subtle inclusion of synth sounds as well. the vocal is just classic 80’s..the song has a great energy and a fantastic video to go along with it.

Too Shy [Kajagoogoo]—-This band literally defines the term one-hit wonder! It did not help that the band fired Limahl as their lead singer after finally gaining world-wide success and recognition. This is classic 80’s synth pop…the band appealed to the masses because of the pretty boy look and syrupy sweet synth sounds that made up the body of this song…too good to last, it didn’t.

Total Eclipse Of The Heart [Bonnie Tyler]—-This Jim Steinman penned and produced smash hit fir the vocal style of Tyler to a tee. I would love to hear Meatloaf sing this song…just one time. this has that huge epic sound of Steinman all over it…the video is bizarre enough to keep your attention and the smoky vocal from Tyler with that classic 80’s hair all were ingredients for a worldwide smash!

A Million Miles Away [The Plimsouls]—-One of those rare 80’s tracks that I’m really not familiar with. this is a nice rocker…the real instrumentation fas exceeds and kind of synth delivery. The vocal is classic 80’s and the chorus is huge fun. When you hear the chorus, you know that you have heard this many times but never really attributed it to any band name. This is nice…a bit generic but lots of fun.

True [Spandau Ballet]—-A timeless classic from one of the most suave and sophisticated bands of the 80’s, this was also later sampled rather successfully by art-rap group PM Dawn. This is so smooth..delivered with huge piano sounds that are lush and endearing…a vocal that is loaded with finesse and style…this was a huge track for this band in the US..although rather huge overseas, the band never really repeated this success again in the States.

One Thing Leads To Another [The Fixx]—-Cy Curnin and Co. had a pretty great career in the US throughout the 80’s and early 90’s delivering nice rock-based tales of politics and alienation. There was a remarkable contagious quality to the band that was evident from the very first release and this carried them through right up to about 92 or so when the disappeared. They now tour the nostalgia circuit and sound as brilliant as ever. This is not a favorite track of mine from the band, but this is probably the highest charting single from them.

Rockit [Herbie Hancock]—-A fantastic blend of Electro and synth laden hyper beats that only served as a warning to what the future might be capable of. Hancock made a BRILLIANT video to go along with this track…the energy is freakin’ amazing…you can dance to it or you can just sit back and enjoy the hyper driven beats…a really great memory.

All Night Long [Lionel Ritchie]—-One of many in the string of hits from this former Commodore, Lionel was unstoppable in the 80’s delivering track after track of brilliant dance inspired R n B. This is fantastic…the video was pretty fun as well. There has rarely been such a silky smooth singer that has crossed over to all genres of music as easily as Ritchie…still recording and touring, Ritchie is best known these days as the father of Nicole Ritchie!

Uptown Girl [Billy Joel]—-Joel continued to deliver chart singles well into the 80’s even after he fell out of popularity with most music listeners…let’s face it, he did not really fit in the New Wave/Synth driven bands of the 80’s. None the less, a stellar voice and great music helped to keep Joel on the charts until the mid-80’s when he seemed to slow down and take a break…by then, the climate of music had changed to much to welcome him back. Still, this golden throat singer forever has a place in popular music history!

Girls Just Want To Have Fun [Cyndi Lauper]—-The emergence on Lauper on video and the charts was almost as shocking as that of Boy George…many people were really not sure what to make of this pip-squeak voiced oddity. None the less, the public adored this release…providing a platform for Lauper and a number of Top Ten singles. This quirky little single began it all and Lauper still records and has a pretty magnificent career…talent somehow manages to shine through!

Rebel Yell [Billy Idol]—-Building a career based on appearance and attitude, Idol continued much in the vein of his former band Generation X. This song was HUGE…as was the album of the same name…spawning 4 top ten hits and a career for the peroxide blond punk rocker. this track has huge doses of attitude and enough rock elements to cross over to all audiences. this is brilliant…still!

Footloose [Kenny Loggins]—-Proving that there was life after the meanderings of Loggins & Messina, this title track to the ever endearing musical has always grated my nerves a bit. None the less, this was a huge song and the Soundtrack itself spawned numerous top 10 hits. Loggins still enjoys a great career, but this is his shining moment.

No More Words [Berlin]—-Terri Nunn and Co. delivered a debut release that was filled with numerous top ten singles..this follow up continued the streak of New Wave inspired music that culminated in the sap from Top Gun and the eventual end of the band. This song, is a nice little track…it shows Nunn’s vocals off masterfully…the slight anger that rides through the voice as well as the passion…combined with the synth/guitar based instrumentation…how could you not love this?

Sister Christian [Night Ranger]—-One of the bands that made a huge splash during the Hair Metal phase of the 80’s, this single managed to cross over to all audiences with mass appeal. The track is just pumped up enough to remind you that this is rock, delivered by a pretty band and full of lyrics that are touching. The chorus is fantastic…and the end of the song just rips me to shreds….I love this piece of nostalgia.

I Can Dream About You [Dan Hartman]—-Hartman had a pretty fair solo career, but he is probably best known for writing huge songs for other people. This track was a favorite on dancefloors every where. The video was great fun…showing off the showmanship of Hartman…he continued to write and produce for others until his death in the early 90’s from AIDS related complications.

What’s Love Got To Do With It [Tina Turner]—-Turner struggled musically after her split from Ike until the release of Private Dancer…I’m not sure even she was ready for the worldwide acclaim that this album would provide. Delivering I believe 2 #1 singles and 4 Top Ten hits, this elevated the career of Ms. Turner to a whole new level…and righly so…this is fantastic R n B with a huge crossover sound that played well on white radio as well.

Sunglasses At Night [Corey Hart]—-This Canadian made a big splash on the charts with this track and a few follow-up singles…mainly based on his remarkable voice and good looks that caused girls to swoon all over the world. This is a great reminder of why he did so well for a bit…the voice has a unique that has not often been repeated…what ever happened to……

Missing You [John Waite]—-Gosh, this is a fantastic memory. Waite had one of those voices that had emotion all over it…released at a time when cross over hits were happening everywhere, this pleased the pop rock crowd as well as the big shoulder pad groups that flooded the dance floors as well. At the time…I was all about Pink Floyd, but this track managed to filter through and find a place in my permanent memory bank.

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go [Wham]—-I was never a big Wham fan…truth be told I could not stand them!!! But you can not deny the irresistible pop sensibility of many of their songs. The pretty boy image carried them a long way…to me, they were too much of a Duran copycat…been there done that.

Obsession [Animotion]—-A Human League rip-off band that gets my vote for one of the ugliest 80’s bands ever, I can barely watch this video without cringing. This song never did anything for me…perhaps provided a momentary distraction…but that is all.

Don’t You [Forget About Me] [Simple Minds]—-Simple Minds are one of those bands that flew under the radar of most popular musical genres, although they managed to maintain a hard-core of super fans that have continued to support them to this day. This is typical Euro-80’s pop/rock…ala Big Country. This sounds so fresh as I listen back on this now though…a band to investigate further.

Everybody Wants To Rule The World [Tears For Fears]—-Hailing from Britain and capturing the charts worldwide with this debut release, the band rode high with this album and single for a few years. This was another band that managed to capture the top ten numerous times with the first release. The band roared back and proved they were much more than one-hit wonders. Perhaps one of my most endearing favorites from the decade of excess, this band continues to tour and record and produce songs just as big as this…legendary at this point!

Walking On Sunshine [Katrina And the Waves]—-Ugh….nothing about this song appeals to me…next…PLEASE!!!

What About Love [Heart]—-Heart managed to find a huge following in the mid 80’s by producing somewhat sappy hit singles that toned down the classic rock element, but delivered huge doses of sentiment none the less. This is emotional and shows the talents of bot Wilson sisters in a magnificent way…if this does not conjure up memories, perhaps you have none left.

The Power Of Love [Huey Lewis And The News]—-Currently on a 25th Anniversary tour, this is one of the few Huey songs that i actually liked. something about this guy and the style of music always grated on my nerves…not to dispel the fact that he had a mas appeal…this band managed quite a success in the 80’s…just not for me.

Oh Sheila [Ready for The World]—-I actually think that this was more of a 90’s song, but that is just nit-picking. this is one of those generic R n B bands that seemed to crop all over in the late 80’s/early 90’s. The song is catchy…the singer is a flamer and the beat is fun…but never really stuck with me for more than a moment.

We Built This City [Starship]—-It is amazing to think that the legendary Jefferson Airplane evolved into this pop/rock band that scored hit after hit in the 80’s. This is syrup…with extra sweetener. The vocal is outstanding…I perhaps like that the best about this. Otherwise, there are so many other better tracks they could have put on this comp….just sayin’.

Broken Wings [Mr. Mister]—-another of those generic singles that seemed to ride the charts high for quite sometime. the band managed a few top 10 hits from this release, but seemed to fall off the radar as tastes began to change. This is nice and lush…delivered with emotion and a musical soundtrack that is almost as powerful as the lyric itself. The recipe worked…for awhile.

Conga [Gloria Estafan]—-Ugh….Ugh….Ugh……just sayin’

Addicted To Love [Robert Palmer]—-RIP to one suave ass Mother Fucker. Palmer had a recipe down pat that appealed to mass audiences across the world and the ability to make videos that became even more popular than his recordings. The voice is golden and not likely to be thought of when you think of the 80’s, but he hit his stride at the right time and the right place and the rest in indelible history. Incredible!!!

Something About You [Level 42]—-Laden with classic Euro-Trash beats…I was hooked from the first listen. although this band really struggled to follow-up to this mastery, there are a smattering handful of songs that remind me why I love this band so much. This combines the suave Euro style with synth laden music that played very well on MTV and in US clubs…brilliant!!!

Your Love [The Outfield]—-This has always been a very favorite band of mine…the voice on this guy is freakin’ amazing. The debut and follow-up release did so well for this band…then they managed to disappear into nothingness after that. I would love to hear if this guy can still deliver vocals like this…this is simply amazing!

 Higher Love [Stevie Winwood]—-Rarely has an artist enjoyed so many resurgent career highs as Winwood. This can only be attributed to stellar songwriting and a remarkably accessible voice. I never get tired of listening to Arc Of A Diver….this is a fantastic track…it inspires in me an elation that is almost uncontrollable…fantastic!!!

Word Up [Cameo]—-another band that was a permanent imprint of the 70’s and enjoyed a huge career boost in the 80’s thanks to the video age and a remarkably sexual video. This track is addictive as hell, plays really well even today and is a funk filled blast that will last well into eternity.

Walk Like an Egyptian [The Bangles]—-Another all girl-group from the 80’s, The Bangles never really found the huge success that was graced upon The Go-Go’s. This is a favorite track of mine…only because I change the lyrics to Walk With An Erection…LMAO!!! This band never really did too much for me, but it is nice to have this on this collection.

Everybody Have Fun Tonight [Wang-Chung]—-Another of those songs that seemed to have mass appeal to everyone but me…I guess this had a bit too much of a mainstream sound to it. The video was lots of fun, but I could never take this too seriously. The hooks are grand, but they fall from my memory after the final note.

I Just Died In Your Arms Tonite [Cutting Crew]—-This is one of those songs that seemed to hit just at the right time in my emotional development…I still swoon whenever I hear the tender vocal and the intense lyrics that are delivered. We have all been there and we can all relate…this is masterful synth pop that still sounds as grand today as it did when it was released.

Head To Toe [Lisa Lisa & The Cult Jam]—-Full of deep funk Euro-trash beats and a striking vocal, this has so many remixes available it could keep you dancing at the time into the next millennium. This features those great breaks that were just emerging at the time and a chorus that sucked you in from the very first listen…especially if you were in love!!!

Here I Go Again [Whitesnake]—-allowing Coverdale to deliver another of his trademark Plant impersonations, this was a hair metal hit that managed to cross over into the mainstream thanks to a great sexy video. Whitesnake continued with hits for a time after this but the hair metal curse eventually took them into the depths of darkness as well.

Heaven Is A Place On Earth [Belinda Carlisle]—-Carlisle stepped away from The Go-Go’s to release a solo record that produced this single, that really, was not that much different from the band. Allowing her quivering vocal to be in the spotlight even more, Carlisle still danced the same way, acted the same way…the only thing missing was the leadership from Weidlin!!!

Push It [Salt N’ Pepa]—-What can I possibly say about this single that has not been said already? This was groundbreaking, innovative and responsible for bringing rap to the top 40 charts along with Run DMC. This all girl ensemble pushed things even further…allowing themselves to deliver sexual innuendo to the public while still providing everyone with great beats and scratches. This is historic!

Hands To Heaven [Breathe]—-Taking the suave and sophistication of Spandau Ballet to a whole new level, Breathe produced a number of singles that were so emotion laden that they almost brough tears to your eyes. This was a remarkable band….allowing room for strings and orchestration as well as synth lines and a vocal that ripped your heart open…fantastic!!!

Don’t Worry, Be Happy [Bobby McFerrin]—-Ugh…..this is so played out,,,never much for those annoying, quirky novelty hits!!! NEXT…….

Every Rose Has It’s Thorn [Poison]—-I’ve never been much of a Poison fan….but, this song stands very well on its own. This is one of those requisite Metal ballads that were on every Metal release in the 80’s and still stands up very well today. This is magnificent…proving Michaels and Co. had their genius moments.

Straight Up [Paula Abdul]—-Former Laker girl and choreographer Abdul proved she had great ghost writers and an adequate enough voice to make her impression on the charts for about a year in the Decade Of Excess. The eventual superstar never quite managed to re-create her mastery though. This still plays amazing today…depite it all!

****3/4 out of 5


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