If the 70s were about excess, the 80s were about excess coupled with new technologies. The 80s gave birth to what we know now as “pop music.” This was when Michael Jackson broke out of the Jackson 5 shell, Madonna began to “Vogue,” and make classics “Like a Prayer” and “Like A Virgin.”
In addition to pop music, hip-hop music finally began to gain popularity and electronic music took a real form. The fusion of all these elements created a really musically interesting era. And with MTV, music videos were being made to showcase a more visual perspective of artists’ work. Here are five throwback songs from the 80s you should hear right now.
1. The Cult- She Sells Sanctuary (1985)
Bridging new wave, electronic, rock and roll and pop music, The Cult is described as a “hard rock band” on their Wikipedia page. Hailing from England, The Cult is not be confused with The Cure (another popular band during the 80s). A great song for the beach or for driving down the highway with your windows open.
2. Duran Duran- Hungry Like The Wolf (1982)
Part of the “second British Invasion” during the early-1980s, Duran Duran was once the most popular band in the world. The music video for “Hungry Like The Wolf” is also extremely influential. Duran Duran popularized a lot of fashion trends like pastel blazers and wearing bandanas(?) in everyday life. The video won the first Grammy for Best Short Music Video in 1984.
3. Run-DMC- Can You Rock It Like This (1985)
Before 1981, there was hip-hop and then after 1981 there was Run-DMC. Run-DMC completely changed the game in terms of sound and style. Their black fedora, full black tracksuits and unlaced Adidas were unmistakable. Russell Simmons and Run-DMC were the first hip-hoppers to understand that this style could be sold. They were featured as the first hip-hop group on RollingStone magazine. Without their definitive style would Jay-Z start his own clothing line or start Roc-a-Fella? Would any hip-hop artist be so keen on endorsements?
4. Paul Simon- Graceland (1986)
Paul Simon is a genius. There was life for Paul Simon after Simon & Garfunkel and Graceland is such classic material it is ridiculous. The album fuses so much music together ranging from pop, latin and even African. It brought South African music to the masses. Look for its influences in Vampire Weekend. It’s EVERYWHERE.
5. Soft Cell- Tainted Love (1981)
This song is upbeat but also so dark and so 80s. It’s also a lot of fun. Wish a modern artist would cover this and put a new twist on it.