When it comes to music, the 80s seldom get much respect.
Due to the influx of hair bands and the advent of MTV, many experts contend that the decade was rather long on style and short on substance. The 80s are why Nirvana was such a revelation as its raw sonic boom delivered us from the shimmering sounds of the era of Reagan.
Yet I look at the 80s and its music somewhat differently. Maybe it’s because I was young adult then. Or maybe it’s because I secretly like hair bands. Or maybe it’s simply because a lot of the music of the 80s was really, really good.
Here, then, are my Top Five Songs From The 80s:
5. Tom Petty, Free Fallin’. Released in October of 1989, this one barely qualifies according to the timeline. But it never sounds old … and you can never beat the video.
4. John Mellencamp, Rumble Seat. Confession: I didn’t even know this song in the 80s. A friend introduced it to me a couple of years ago, and there’s something hypnotic about the beat. Vintage 1985.
3. The Call, I Still Believe. Speaking of friends, an old tennis friend mailed a cassette tape of The Call’s Reconciled to me in the summer of 1986, and I can honestly say it changed my life. Something about the subtle yet forceful expression of faith snapped me out of my own doldrums and into seminary. Turns out I still believed, too.
2. U2, Where The Streets Have No Name. The song defines “anthemic.” Provided I don’t outlive them all, I’m hoping a few of my friends will play this at my memorial service.
1. Don Henley, The Boys Of Summer. OK, maybe this is why I like the 80s so much. Because its best song is my favorite song. Of any decade. Here’s a live version: