Seattle got its first all-'80s radio station a few years ago, and while it was fun for the first week or two, it got old quickly. I still love “Melt With You,” “One Night in Bangkok” and “Voices Carry” no matter how many times I hear them – which is a lot, when it comes to '80s stations.
But there are a lot fo songs that I hadn’t heard in years, enjoyed hearing once or twice, and am now sick of again: “Video Killed the Radio Star,” “Rock Me Amadeus,” “Jack & Diane,” “Centerfold,” “Borderline.” Most of the '80s station playlist, frankly. Not that they’re bad songs, just that you get tired of them quickly, especially having lived through their popularity once.
But I realized that there are some songs that I haven’t heard at all. If I had heard them, they’d probably fall in the “tired of 'em again” category, but I haven’t had the chance. Stuff like “Sugar Walls” – I called and requested that once, and they said they didn’t have it. “We Don’t Need Another Hero” – the cheesy power ballad from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. 88 Lines about 44 Women – maybe that’s played once or twice, but not nearly as often as “Bizarre Love Triangle.”
What popular '80s songs do you have fond memories of, yet never hear today – even on the '80s stations and VH1 revivals?
I’ve noticed that to corporate radio “80s music” really means “early 80s new-wave/early MTV hits”. Most of the stuff seems to be from about 1982-1986, with “Love Shack” thrown in to represent the entire later portion of the decade. Granted, this selective focus does have advantages (You never hear any Journey/REO/Loverboy/Styx/so-called "corporate rock, which was huge at the time)
Big (at the time) songs that have vanished into the radio memory hole:
“Come Dancing” - The Kinks
Anything from The Cars’ “Heartbeat City” album. (Their debut album still gets a lot of airtime on classic rock stations)
Anything from Van Hagar.
“We Are The World” (I’m not complaining, just pointing out its absence)
Anything from Run-DMC other than “Walk This Way”.
It may depend on where you are, or which classic rock/oldies station you listen to, Chock. I hear stuff in the Styx/Journey/Foreigner vein pretty regularly here. (‘Here’ being southern MD/DC area.)
Up to a few years ago, I’d still hear “We Are the World” occasionally. I don’t miss it.
The Cars’ debut album had as much good stuff as all their other albums put together, which is why they play stuff from it so much. (I wish they’d play ‘Don’t Cha Stop’ on the radio sometime, but they won’t because it wasn’t a single.)
Here’s one I haven’t heard: Starship’s “We Built This City (On Rock and Roll)”. I’ll remember more, I’m sure, when I’m away from my computer. Heard anything by the Thompson Twins lately? Neither have I. Can’t remember what their hits were, though.
Those bands are played constantly on classic rock radio stations everywhere, lumped in with the Beatles, Stones, Doors, Pink Floyd, Led Zep, and Southern rock. But the OP was referring to a specific “all '80s” format station, which is a much newer trend. We got one in my small college town last year some time, and they also stick to the early MTV formula, shying away from progressive/corporate rock, hair bands, old-school rap, and '80s alternative and “college radio” bands like the Violent Femmes, Smiths, Cure, or Siouxie and the Banshees.
I recently moved back to Miami, where we surprisingly don’t have an '80s station of our own. But we hear plenty of Boston and Journey and Styx on our classic rock station.
Good Girls Don’t by The Knack
In a Big Country by Big Country
Any song by Adam and the Ants
Holiday in Cambodia by The Dead Kennedys
Charlie Don’t Surf by The Clash
All You Ever Think Is Sex by Sparks
Golden Shower of Hits by The Circle Jerks
The entire Repo Man soundtrack.
My Way by Sid Vicious
Red, Red Wine by UB40
I Got You by Split Enz
The One Thing by INXS
Sex by Berlin
See how many of those they play. Hopefully many of them, our 80’s station will. (Except for Holiday in Cambodia.)
Berlin! There’s an group I never hear anymore. “Metro” and “No More Words,” specifically – “Take My Breath Away” crops up from time to time.
And I know stations play “Red, Red Wine” regularly, because my finger is conditioned to switch the station within .48 seconds of hearing the song. I can’t stand it.
Big Bad Vooodoo Lou: the '80s revival doesn’t have to be limited to all-'80s stations. I do find it annoying – although unsurprising, considering that it’s corporate radio – that they never break out of a fairly small setlist. It’s the stuff that once was popular that’s not on that setlist that I’m interested in.
any Devo besides “Whip It”
Robert Plant- “In the Mood”
REM- “Don’t Fall on Me”
LL Cool J- “I’m Bad” and “Rock the Bells”
Eddie Grant- “Electric Avenue”
Frankie Goes to Hollywood- “Two Tribes”
Oran “Juice” Jones- “Walkin’ In the Rain”
Buckner & Garcia- “Pac Man Fever”
Results may vary based on your local 80s station, but I haven’t heard most of those in a long time. And if I never hear “Let’s Hear it For the Boy” ever again I’ll be ecstatic.
“Walk on Water” - Eddie Money
“Nobodies Fool” - Kenny Loggins
“Don’t Wanna Fall in Love” - Jane Child
“Part Time Lover” - Stevie Wonder
“I don’t believe in Love” - Queensryche
“Under the Milky Way Tonight” - The Church
Two I never here:
Eighties - Killing Joke
Goodbye Seventies - Yaz
Although the self-obsolence built into these songs may have something to do with it…
There is a bit of a dearth of late 80s/early 90s (pre-grunge breakout) ‘alternate’ music around here, as I haven’t here any Cult, Sisters of Mercy, Jesus Jones, Charlatans UK, etc. on WLIR in quite a while - perhaps this runs in cycles, and tomorrow they’ll start overplaying ‘She’s sells sancutary’ and ‘This Corrosion’ like the good old days.
I’d be tempted by XM if I lived almost anywhere else, but Seattle’s got two radio stations that satisfy about 95% of my listening requirements: KUOW, which is NPR, and KEXP, which is a fruit-basket-upset of interesting music undominated by any corporate monolith.
If I move, we’re getting XM.
I don’t actually listen to the '80s station much, mostly because I’ve reached my maximum lifetime quota of Wang Chung. If they played some less popular but better-quality stuff from the '80s – Replacements, Pogues, early R.E.M. – I’d probably tune in.
*Originally posted by KGS *
**Damn you, Chimpsmack! I was just about to mention Men w/o Hats (or, as they’re now known: Men Without Jobs!)
Actually, I read that Ivan has a new cd available but i don’t know what it is called
(I get to hear lots of 80’s music since I still listen to albums and the men without hats album with safety dance was just on my turntable a couple of weekends ago. I also get music stations with digital cable and one of the stations is all 80’s and they feature new wave on the weekends)