Friday Mix Tape: The ’80s Rocked

The phrase “’80s music” usually induces cringes and thoughts of hairspray, spandex and synthesizers. And for good cause. So much of the music produced in the ’80s is tremendously forgettable.

But my Friday Mix Tape playlist features 10 songs from ’80s – one from each year of the decade – that helps prove it wasn’t a completely useless stretch for outstanding music. Despite the popularity of cheeseball acts like Wham! and Rick Astley, there was plenty of great rock and roll to be had.

Bands like Hall & Oates, J Geils Band, Journey, REO Speedwagon and Culture Club may dominate the ’80s radio stations and provide the strongest visual memories of the era but the truth is, there were a ton of great albums over those 10 years, including Michael Jackson’s 1984 masterpiece Thriller, considered by many to be the best album ever made and Guns N’ Roses debut monster Appetite for Destruction, both of which are represented on this list.

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4 Responses

  1. Love the inclusion of “Rocket Queen”. Such a kick-ass song.

    I think some Dave Lee Roth-era Van Halen needs to be on such a list – a deeper cut like “Mean Street” off Fair Warning(1981) or “The Full Bug” off Diver Down (1982). Great songs.

  2. You missed some big ones. REM, The Replacements, Husker Du, The Smiths, Sonic Youth, The Feelies, Cocteau Twins, Meat Puppets, Jane’s Addiction, Spaceman 3, Pixies, Galaxie 500, all come to mind. Lots of great music from the 80s.

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