Novelist, comic book writer, and also comic book reviewer for www.BrokenFrontier.com, also website marketing coach for the Online Marketing Solutions company Push Traffic dot com. Incidentally, I am also the worst writer in the world.
Inspired by a fellow comic-con goer, who recently posted his Top 10 80's tunes, I decided (being such a fanatic of that decade, because I was too young to really live it and get disgusted by it) to make my own. His was very Brit-based, little punk and alternative, mine's a but more mainstream, if that can really be a distinction.
10) WE CLOSE OUR EYES (Oingo Boingo) - This is the one that I discovered only recently. In fact, OB themselves I only recently came aware of due to THE FORBIDDEN ZONE oddball musical movie they made when they were KNIGHTS OF THE OINGO BOINGO (pre-new-wave rock-pop stuff) and now I do oh-so-love them. This one was the song that made me seek out EVERYTHING they did (I now own it all, live albums, too). Haunting, happy, melodic, dissonant, very very metallic drum 80's. Gorgeous and begins my best-of list, no question.
9) THE HEAT IS ON (Kenny Loggins) - Just lost out to "Footloose", but I only wanted one song per artist, and "Heat" with its unforgettable saxophone core, wailing whoa-OH-oh-oh!, and catchy verse, it does definitely trump the toe-tapping/I-wanna-jump-around quality of Kevin Bacon's old-school aria. There's a lot of movie themes here like this one (which is from Beverly Hills Cop), but oddly I'd never seen BHC, or most of the movies the songs were made for, until long after I fell in love with the songs themselves.
8) GHOSTBUSTERS THEME (Ray Parker, Jr.) - Well, except this one: I saw the movie first, and this is one of the best theme songs in movie history. The artist hardly ever made a "hit" again, but this one will forever be as remembered as the movie and characters themselves. Who you gonna call? That's right. You gonna call them.
7) NOTHING COMPARES 2 U (Sinnead O'Connor) - Not only a heart wrenching song, but also arguably the only heart-wrenching music video ever made. Just Sinnead in front of the camera in close-up for one single take, as the song drives her to tears. Incoyable! You can't even think of this song without singing/humming it for hours after the fact.
6.5) LEAD ME ON (Amy Grant) - Yeeeaaahhh, this one is 6.5, as I'm one song too many on this list, and this one is a tough call. It's very special to me. I had no idea Amy Grant was Christian/Gospel, but stole a tape of hers out of my sister's bedroom one day an listened to it while reading Uncanny X-Men comics and it was the perfect soundtrack to the reading experience. It made the X-Men issue I was reading my favorite of all time (#285 - the final chapter of "The Muir Island Saga") and this song, "Lead Me On" was the one I replayed the most, loving it to pieces. It could have been worse. My only other option were Tiffany tapes. "Circle in the Sand" anyone?
6) WALK LIKE AN EGYPTIAN (Bangles) - Just lost out to "Manic Monday", but this one is *that* much more phenomenal in its simplicity and yet completely unexpected perfectly overkill production. Like a Broadway finale with synth.
5) FAITH (George Michael) - "Father Figure" and "I Want Your Sex" were close runners up, but Faith has got the staying power in the head, and really makes one want to dance, sing, and I think everyone can picture themselves being George Michael in looks and style when they sing it. Incredible blend of styles into a song that never even strikes as being a fusion unless you really listen to its parts.
4) DUCHESS (Genesis) - Barley made the list, as it was released in 1980, but this ballad by Phil Collins and Co. was the first that really paved the way for Genesis' pop career and Phil's own solo one. It's so wonderfully sung, composed, and the lyrics are killer. Also a great blend of old-Genesis and pop-Genesis, a perfect middle ground. Made me adore them forever and ever, even into the easy listening days and new-singer-who's-isn't-Phil album.
3) MAN IN THE MIRROR (Michael Jackson) - MJ is a god. And this is his very best far as I'm concerned. There are songs of his that work better than Man in the Mirror, in one way or another, but none had such a solid coming together of rock, pop, diva, gospel, funk, you name it. And what a great message! If only MJ himself hadn't taken it so...uhm...literal. And, you know, followed the message and not just the words. ("Take a look at yourself, and make that change")
2) WAKE ME UP BEFORE YOU GO-GO (Wham!) - The first song I ever decided to love just for myself. The awakening of my musical awareness. Oh, yes, it's so syrupy gummy sticky wonderful. "Last Christmas" and "Careless Whisper" are almost as good, but in ultimately different ways - a little more sentimental and gooey. This one is total cheese, and done soooo sincerely. Love. It.
1) ***GLORY OF LOVE (Peter Cetera)***- The ultimate, the one, the top and very bestest of them all. Yes, it's that wretched theme from KARATE KID II. Insanely 80's. Insanely sappy. Insanely wonderful. Cetera seemingly sings the whole thing from inside a tin drum, and the lyrics are bar none for their ridiculousness and yet true-blue touching pie in the sky romance. This was Bryan Adam's "Everything I Do, I Do it For You" long before Bryan Adams was known.
Okay, that's that! Richard Marx should have been on this list (Endless Summer Nights!) but, alas, only so much room, and I haven't listened to him in too long a time. Beyond that, what's YOUR top ten 80's? --Dave B.