The video for Take on Me by a-ha was one of the most innovative videos of the 1980s. The video was filmed using a technology called Rotoscoping and combined live action with pencil sketch animation. It won 6 awards at the 1986 MTV music awards, including “Viewers Choice”. The video was also a major impetus in propelling the song to the top of the US Billboard Hot 100.
George Orwell’s predictions included nothing to indicate that 1984 would be one of the hands-down finest years for pop music. Maybe it was, in fact, the terrifying concepts of his dystopian novel floating in our collective consciousness that pushed creative forces to new and invigorating levels that year. Or maybe MTV, which celebrated its third birthday in summer ‘84, had a little something to do with it — or at least the way artists adapted to its groundbreaking format, and the way the rest of us discovered and consumed music. After all, it was the year of the first MTV Video Music Awards, and Madonna’s unforgettable floor-humping performance of “Like a Virgin”; it was hot on the heels of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video debut (December 2, 1983); and it was the year Run-D.M.C. brought rap to the masses with their video for “Rock Box.”
It was a grand time for Prince, too, who had to one-up everyone and make a whole dang feature-length film with Purple Rain. Movies and music were working together to whip up storms when the theme songs for Ghostbusters and Footloose hit the Billboard charts. But 1984 was also the year of Sixteen Candles and a peak time for New Wave and post-punk, thanks to bands like Thompson Twins, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Cars, Depeche Mode and The Fall.
We love top ten lists here at The Great 80s, and it is time for a new one! Today we will be counting down the top ten 80s songs that have an animal in the name of the song. As always, our lists are based on the US Billboard Charts and not based on our personal preferences. Also, since this is based on US charts, it might not translate well to the 80s fans outside of the United States. With that aside, on to the Countdown!
Our number 10 song is one of the few instrumental hits to make a dent on the charts in the 80s. When released in 1987, this song became the first instrumental to reach the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 since the “Miami Vice Theme” by Jan Hammer (a No. 1 hit) in 1985. It’s Kenny G and “Songbird”
At number 9 is an Australian band who chose its name after passing a road sign leading to the Victorian township of Little River. It the Little River Band with their 1981 hit “The Night Owls”
The number 8 song is by a Swedish singer-songwriter, rapper, and occasional DJ. In 1989, Neneh Cherry had an international blockbuster hit. Her song “Buffalo Stance” peaked at number 3 in the UK Singles Chart, and the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 1 on the US Dance chart.
You might know Brian Setzer from his swing revival band “The Brian Setzer Orchestra”. In the early 80s Brian fronted the rockabilly group The Stray Cats. And their big MTV video hit “Stray Cat Strut” comes in at number 7 on the countdown.
The next two songs come to us from one of the biggest bands of the 80s. Duran Duran must have been really big animal lovers because they have scored two hits in our countdown. At number 6 is Union of the Snake, which became one of Duran Duran’s most popular hits, peaking at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in December, 1983.
The number 5 song is the hit song whose video catapulted them to super stardom (pun intended). In 1982, MTV put the video for “Hungry Like the Wolf” into heavy rotation, playing it four times a day. The exposure eventually helped propel the single into the top five of the Billboard Hot 100, and their Rio album into the top ten of the albums chart.
At number 4 is a hit song by George Michael that was released as a single in 1988 and reached #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 Chart. “Monkey” became Michael’s eighth #1 US single, and the fourth consecutive #1 from his Faith album.
“Karma Chameleon” comes in at number 3 on our countdown. The Culture Club song was featured on the group’s 1983 album Colour by Numbers. The single spent three weeks at #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in early 1984, becoming the group’s biggest hit and only US #1 single.
We are going back to the birds for the number 2 song in our countdown. It is from an album Time magazine ranked as it’s 15th greatest album of all time. In 1984, Prince made his film debut with the American rock musical drama “Purple Rain”. The lead single from the Soundtrack, “When Doves Cry” was the #1 single in the U.S. for five weeks, from July 7, 1984 to August 4, 1984.
The number 1 song in our countdown was written at the request of actor Sylvester Stallone to be the theme song for his movie Rocky III, after he was unable to get permission for Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”. The song got tremendous MTV and radio airplay and topped charts worldwide in 1982. Here is our #1 song! “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor.
The Daily Beast has a nice article on John Taylor’s new autobiography. Information comes out from the Duran Duran bassist’s on the hair, the clothes, the drugs, and the group’s time as the house band for the Birmingham nightclub called the Rum Runner.
The movie “Dirty Dancing” had some great music on it’s soundtrack. It ranks up there with movies like Top Gun, Footloose, and The Breakfast Club for the top movie soundtracks of the 80s. Sony’s Legacy Recordings is now re-releasing this great album and including some extras to boot.
From their announcement:
Responding to the feedback from loyal fans around the world, Legacy Recordings presents DIRTY DANCING: THE DELUXE ANNIVERSARY EDITION, which presents the original 12-song album of 1987, along with new bonus features. This special commemorative project reflects Legacy’s direct survey of a portion of the millions of Dirty Dancing fans on Facebook who responded and wished to maintain the experience of the original release by showcasing the original running order of the album as it was first released, without bonus tracks. This special fan edition CD package will be available everywhere September 25th through RCA/Legacy, a division of SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT.
DIRTY DANCING: THE DELUXE ANNIVERSARY EDITION will contain a number of exciting additions specifically requested by the fans, starting with the package’s dedication to the movie’s star, the late Patrick Swayze (1952-2009). The image-driven CD booklet contains six ready-to-frame art cards showing iconic images from the movie, plus a newly-designed bumper sticker. Fans also voted on the CD cover image from four images proposed by Legacy, and overwhelmingly chose to retain the original “Lift” image.
“From the birth, 25 years ago,” writes executive producer Jimmy Ienner, “to the never-ending success of the movie and the soundtracks, I’m very proud of all my great producers and the extremely talented artists that contributed so much to the very satisfying rollercoaster ride called Dirty Dancing. I’m also very indebted to anyone involved in any way on the music and the film sides of this wonderful journey. Lastly, but no less important, to the devoted fans around the world for the unbelievable continued support. Keep carrying the watermelons and enjoying the lifts.”
The accompanying booklet includes behind-the-scenes liner notes written by the song producers, starting with Jimmy Ienner. The stellar producers themselves then offer their own thoughts, including: • Eric Carmen, singer and producer of “Hungry Eyes”; • Leon Medica, producer of “Where Are You Tonight?” (sung by Tom Johnston); • Alfie Zappacosta, singer and producer of “Overload”; and • Michael Lloyd, producer of “She’s Like the Wind” (written and sung by Patrick Swayze), “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” sung by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes, and “Yes” sung by Merry Clayton;
We just love it when people find ever new and creative ways to celebrate the greatest decade ever! The folks down in Pitman, New Jersey, have come up with a great way to bring back the 80s: An 80s Themed Road Race! The event included a 5K run followed by an 80s-themed dance party with a live 80s cover band. Awards were handed out for the top male and female finishers, best costumes and best Running Man interpretation at the finish line. For more details check out this recap from Philadelphia Magazine: I Tried It: Totally Awesome 80s Run (with Photos!)
We were in a bit of a mellow mood today, so we decided to take a look at the soft side of the 80s. Below are the top ten Adult Contemporary Songs of the 1980s. This list is based on the US Billboard Charts and is based on actual performance of the songs on the weekly Adult Contemporary chart.
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Two seriously iconic 80s bands – Blondie and Devo – have announced they will be co-headlining a 13-date tour this September. They’ll play in major cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and San Francisco.
If you’re an 80s-music lover you won’t want to miss the chance to see the great Deborah Harry and the eccentric Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh in the same show!
September 7 Woodinville, WA – Chateau Ste. Michelle
September 8 Ridgefield, WA – Sleep Country Amphitheater
September 10 San Francisco, CA – Warfield Theatre
September 11 Saratoga, CA – The Mountain Winery
September 12 Los Angeles, CA – Greek Theatre
September 14 Citrus Heights, CA -Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavillion
September 15 Newport Beach, CA – Taste of Newport
September 18 Austin, TX – Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater
September 19 Houston, TX -Bayou Music Center
September 21 Tampa, FL – Stadium Green Iguana
September 22 St. Augustine, FL – St. Augustine Amphitheatre
September 25 Carmel, IN – The Center for the Performing Arts – The Palladium
September 26 Chicago, IL – Chicago Theatre
“We can’t wait to get out on the road with Devo. It’s going to be an incredible show and we’re excited to share it with our fans,” said Deborah Harry on her website.
Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh says, “We are looking forward to performing alongside Blondie and swapping costumes backstage.”
With the news of the tragic passing of Donna Summer, we thought we would take a look back at the great music she put out in the 80s. The Disco Queen was one of the few performers who made the successful transition from the 70s disco scene into the new wave and rock sounds of the early 80s.
Her first big hit of the 80s was On the Radio, which was one of her last Disco hits. The track was a new song that was included on her Greatest Hits album released in October of ’79 :
Her transition from Disco over to the 80s New Wave sound can really be heard with the release of her album, The Wanderer, in 1980. Here is the title track from the album, which peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 :
Her next release, the self titled “Donna Summer” album, had a top ten hit with the single Love Is in Control (Finger on the Trigger):
Her biggest album of the decade was released in June, 1983. The album She Works Hard for the Money went all the way to #9 on the Billboard album charts . The title track became a huge hit with a #3 peak on the Hot 100, while also spending three weeks at #1 on the R&B chart.
Her next several albums did not do as well, but she made a comeback in 1989 with the dance oriented album Another Place and Time. The songs on the album were written and produced by the British Stock, Aitken, & Waterman team. The S/A/W team had been scoring huge hits with acts like Bananarama, Dead or Alive, and Rick Astley. This Time I Know It’s for Real was first single from the album and made it to #7 on the Billboard Hot 100:
That crazy 80s hair metal band, Twisted Sister, is back! And they’ve hooked up with Hornitos Tequila to run one of the raddest competitions I’ve seen in ages – you can win a trip to New York to star in a remake of the video for Twisted Sister’s most famous song, We’re Not Gonna Take It! The competition is for Cinco De Mayo, and the new video will be a mariachi version. Imagine, being in as close to a real 80s music vid as you can get (unless you have access to your own time machine…). “Like” the Hornitos Tequila Facebook page to enter!