Songs from The Early Eighties

By Russ

As Disco fell out of fashion in the decade’s early years, genres such as New Wave, Soft Rock, and Adult Contemporary became more popular. A 2010 survey conducted by the digital broadcaster Music Choice, which polled over 11,000 European participants, revealed that the 1980s is the most favored tune decade of the last 50 years.

A lot of Pop music of the 1980s can be characterized as relying on an increase in digital recording and synthesizers.

The invention of the relatively inexpensive Yamaha DX7  made digital synths widely available.  Pop and dance recordings often made use of these instruments to replace horn sections and for other ear-catching effects.

The 1980s saw the reinvention of Michael Jackson,

In addition to being the biggest selling artist of the decade, Jackson had nine number-one singles, more that any other act during the decade, and spent the longest time at number one (27 weeks), throughout the 1980s. He also won numerous awards, in retrospect such as “Artist of the Decade” and “Artist of the Century.” He was arguably the biggest star of the 1980s.

Madonna was the most successful female artist of the decade.

Her third studio album, True Blue, became the best-selling female album of the 1980s. Other Madonna albums from the decade include Like a Virgin, which became one of the best selling albums of all-time, and Like a Prayer, which was called “as close to art as pop music gets” by Rolling Stone. Madonna made music videos a marketing tool and was among the first to make them an art form. Many of her songs topped the Charts around the world, such as: “Like a Virgin”, “Papa Don’t Preach”, “La Isla Bonita” and “Like a Prayer”. After her Like a Prayer album release in 1989, Madonna was named artist of the decade by a number of magazines and awards

Other American artists that ruled the 80s charts included Bruce Springsteen, Kool & the Gang, The Pointer Sisters, Billy Joel, Hall & Oates, Prince, Kenny Rogers and John Mellencamp (then known as John Cougar).

Things that came along with this era of music:

The Compact Disc (CD) is a digital optical disc data storage format that was co-developed by Philips and Sony and released in 1982.

MTV was launched on August 1, 1981. This TV channel originally aired music videos as guided by television personalities known as “video jockeys” (VJs). MTV’s main target demographic was initially young adults.

This era is well covered in Wikipedia’s article, 1980s In Music; so to flesh it out, here are just a few of the songs that resonated with me during the early 1980s.


1980 / Robbie Dupree / Steal Away / #6 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on the Adult Contemporary chart


1981 / Human League / Don’t You Want Me / SynthPop or Power Pop – a subgenre of New Wave


1982 / Duran Duran / Hungry Like A Wolf


1982 / Michael Jackson / Billie Jean


1982 / Little River Band / Reminiscing


1982 / Michael Jackson / Thriller


1982 / Culture Club / Boy George / Do You Really Want to Hurt Me


1982 / Toto / Africa


1983 / The Romantics / Talking In Your Sleep


1983 / Cyndi Lauper / Girls Just Want To Have Fun


1983 / Eurythmics  / Sweet Dreams


1983 / Police / Every Breath I Take


1983 / Yes / Owner Of A Lonely Heart


1983 / David Bowie / China Girl


1984 / Madonna / Like A Virgin


1985 / A-Ha / Take On Me / Punk Rock


1985 / Robert Palmer / Addicted To Your Love


1985 / Tears For Fears / Everybody Wants To Rule The World


1985 / Paul Young / Every Time You Go Away


Hope you enjoyed my brief blast from the early 1980s  – Russ

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7 thoughts on “Songs from The Early Eighties”

  1. What;s with the Black Face Minstrel’s in the boy George video?……..I don’t recall ever seeing that in the MM Video broadcast.


  2. Russ and Gary”
    First of wishing you and your many followers a Happy and Safe EASTER.
    My famous 80’s era my stage name was DISCO BABE we had clubs called 2004 and the BACK STAGE.. I played at a HOLIDAY INN on Sunday night with 2 other girls who worked during the week. My music was always promo 12′ SINGLES sent from the top record companies and promotional. people I new or meet at the clubs. My name was DISCO BABE what great music for that era. Disco never died those singers are still alive. Rick James was my favorite singer also the MARY JANE GIRLS one of them was from PITTSBURGH. Pa.
    Thanks for the memories


    russ and Gary:


    1. Hi Disco Babe! I love the moniker.
      Yeah, Rick James was “out there” for sure.
      Interesting to read that you were featuring some of the great 12″ Promo singles of the day. That must have been a real blast to be on the forefront of the dance scene back then.
      – Russ


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