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 Scott Creney

The 1980s Was Way Shittier Than You Think It Was – A Retrospective

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We’ll start with the ballads. Gloria Loring was a soap opera star. Carl Anderson played Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar. Together they had this #2 hit. The #1 song? ‘Stuck With You’ by Huey Lewis And The News. I have to admit the “I’ve been through you/And you’ve been through me” line is pretty bizarre. But man this song goes on for an eternity. I dare you to listen to the whole thing. Come on, it’s only 3:49.

Elton John fantasizing about getting with a woman in the Eastern Bloc? Scaling the walls (both metaphorical & literal) between them? This song, along with Sting’s #16 hit ‘Russians’, did its part to bring the world’s biggest superpowers closer together.

Like the tritest bit of lyrical poetry that Keats never imagined, lest he die even earlier, Expose soothed people’s broken hearts by reminding us all that change is inevitable, in people as it is in seasons. And feelings. This song was # 1 for a week. This means it was more popular than the following songs by Prince: ‘1999’, ‘Little Red Corvette’, ‘Purple Rain’, ‘I Would Die 4 U’, ‘Raspberry Beret’, ‘Pop Life’, ‘Sign O’ The Times’ and ‘Alphabet St’. However, ‘Batdance’ did get to Number One.

Billy Ocean had all kinds of awful moments in the 1980s (and one awesome moment), but none as tedious as ‘Love Zone’. It reached #10.

Belinda Carlisle, former lead singer for the occasionally awesome Go-Go’s went solo after that band imploded. She had one great moment, but after that it was all ballad hell. This was as bad as it got, and it got to #2. Rick Astley prevented her from reaching the top.

Peter Cetera could own this post all by himself — both solo and with Chicago. This was #1 for a week. Here’s a list of Madonna songs that weren’t as popular: ‘Holiday’, ‘Lucky Star’, ‘Borderline’, ‘Material Girl’, ‘Dress You Up’, ‘True Blue’, ‘La Isla Bonita’, ‘Express Yourself’ and ‘Cherish’.

(continues overleaf)

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15 Responses to The 1980s Was Way Shittier Than You Think It Was – A Retrospective

  1. Joseph Kyle May 17, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    WAIT WAIT SCOTT YOU FORGOT ONE!

  2. Scott Creney May 17, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    That wasn’t in the Top Ten, Joseph. The guidelines are clearly stated in the article.

  3. Mark Donaldson May 18, 2012 at 12:57 am

    I had no idea Respect Yourself was sung by Bruce Willis. My memories of that song are from a drink safe campaign in early 90s Australia. All the older kids at school had ‘Respect Yourself’ stickers plastered over their files.

    Was only about six or seven at the time, but I recall being shocked at a lifeless ‘Spike from Degrassi High’ lookalike puking in the toilets at the end of the commercial. Public service announcements frightened the bajeesus out of me when I was a kid. Even ones with a Bruce Willis backing track it turns out.

  4. Erika May 18, 2012 at 1:00 am

    It’s funny you should mention Minneapolis and perceptions about what music scenes are and were really like. Before Seattle (and is it any wonder the whole world FINALLY turned against this crap 80s music in 1990), Minneapolis was the hot music town. I moved there in the late 80s, and when people asked me why I was going there, since I was directionless and didn’t really have a reason, I’d say, “Well, it’s a music town.” I didn’t need to go there to see Hüsker Dü – they toured, and even played an rip-roaring all ages show in my small west coast town of 12,000 – no, it was PRINCE you thought about, when you thought about Minneapolis. But by that point of course, Prince rarely played shows there anymore – sometimes a secret show at First Avenue – but not often – and in reality, like you said, I never went out. The hot band was The Suburbs – a new wave party kind of band who had just signed to a major label, a move which would quickly destroy them. Meanwhile my scenster friend “Jane” kept going on about her friends Lori and Michelle and Kat in all-girl band called Babes In Toyland – I think she had a cassette – I listened to it once – I didn’t much like it (at the time). I stayed with Jane in her warehouse studio five blocks from First Avenue and Seventh Street Entry in 1987, 88, 89. I barely went out, and when I did, it was usually to hear biker bar blues bands at Seven Corners. How many amazing shows do you think I missed?

    There is always great music to be heard, and made, in every town. It’s a matter of finding it (hint: the mainstream misses it every time), and recognizing it.

  5. Gordon May 18, 2012 at 1:21 am

    Glenn Medeiros.

  6. Scott Creney May 18, 2012 at 8:31 am

    ‘Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You’ (a suggestion from the brilliant & mighty Tamsin Chapman by the way) only reached #12 in the US. I made sure to adhere to a strict Top Ten policy, so as much as that song is an awful, turgid piece of shit, it was ineligible for the round-up.

  7. Everett True May 18, 2012 at 8:32 am

    The Vaselines summed it up rather succinctly.

  8. Scott Creney May 18, 2012 at 8:34 am

    That recent Vaselines album isn’t much better.

  9. Jason Seiple May 18, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    As a kid of the 80’s, I remember loving some of these songs. I look back now, and say to myself “how in the fuck did I dig this?” I also remember the time that I almost bought a copy of Huey Lewis and the News’ “Fore” album, because I liked “Hip to be Square.” I’m glad that I bought Madonna tapes instead. A lot less embarrassing.

    But you are so correct. The 1980’s had some great artists, and some great songs, but the 1980’s had so much pure crap as well. Tiffany? Vanilla Ice (oh wait, that was 1990… close enough)? Hair metal? The Monkees’ “Pool It” album (not to mention other 1960’s and 1970’s artists making comebacks that we’d love to forget about)? The list can go on and on, and just as it is today, there were some amazing albums, but there were also a lot of albums that we will all forget about in twenty year’s time.

  10. D'oh May 19, 2012 at 12:10 am

    Thank you captain obvious,your 20/20 hindsight is exceptional. Can i have my 5 minutes back ?

  11. Scott Creney May 19, 2012 at 6:19 am

    Jason, I couldn’t find a decent quality video for The Monkees’ ‘That Was Then, This Is Now.’ But yes, that song is fucking horrible.

  12. Carlos Nino Fernandez June 5, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    I dunno if any of these dances make the decade any… well, you know. But I think they make it more fun, even if the fun of that time can be described as crappy.

  13. Karleton June 21, 2015 at 3:40 am

    Late reply I know, but I just stumbled across this pile of shite. It’s really easy and LAZY to take shots at stationary targets. The title could be substituted for any decade ever. Good job, maroon.

  14. John Willsteed June 29, 2015 at 7:58 am

    even later from me. that Robbie Nevil is the worst thing i have seen in my life. well done!

  15. That’s really nice post. I appreciate, Thanks for sharing.

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