Scott Creney

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

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

Pop music wasn’t any better than the ballads. This is probably the first song to sample a baby. It was #10. To put this in perspective, New Order has one song enter the US Top 40 the entire decade. ‘True Faith’ reached #32, largely because MTV played the video a few times. They were, for the times, far too cutting edge for the mainstream.

This Samantha Fox song reached #4. Still, she was not nearly as popular as this video would suggest.

I bet nobody remembers Robbie Nevil. ‘C’est La Vie’ was a bigger hit, but I remember that one popping up in a Moonlighting episode, and Moonlighting was awesome. This one reached #10.

Speaking of Moonlighting. It’s time for a celebrity interlude. Patrick Swayze, Don Johnson, and Bruce Willis all had Top Five hits in the 80s. Fun fact: Bruce Willis is the best-selling white artist in the history of Motown Records.

Don Johnson was on Miami Vice. Pretty sure that’s Dweezil Zappa playing guitar.

Patrick Swayze was in Dirty Dancing. Lots of people liked it.

Our celebrity interlude ends there. Some people might think Eddie Murphy should be there with his #2 hit ‘Party All The Time’, but that song isn’t nearly awful enough to be on this list. Hell, it was produced by Rick James.

Back to the charts. This song was #1. For the record, Brigette Herron hates this song more than any other, in any version. Here’s some Michael Jackson songs that weren’t as popular as this one: ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, ‘Human Nature’, ‘P.Y.T.’, ‘Thriller’, ‘Smooth Criminal’, ‘Off The Wall’.

I don’t know where the fuck to put this. Was it a ballad? Was it rock? Was it pop? So it goes here. It reached #5.

Oh sure, everyone loves Duran Duran now. But um, this song was a bigger hit than ‘Rio’ or ‘Girls On Film’. Just saying.

Let’s end the pop section with Kool And The Gang. They had songs that were more popular, they had songs that were more annoying, but they never did anything as fucking god awful as this. It reached #10. Neither The Smiths or Echo And The Bunnymen ever reached the Top 40.

(continues overleaf)

Pages: 1 2 3 4

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


  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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.