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(Some of) The Men of the 80s: A Jana and Erin Playlist

For reasons that are too boring to discuss, we (Jana and Erin) skipped our playlist in December. But we’re back now, finishing our trip through decades of our favorite music. We’ve already covered the 50s, 60s, and 70s and that brings us to…THE 80s!!! Everyone’s favorite! And since the 80s is massive, we’ve decided to split it in three: one for the men, one for the women, one for the groups. There might even be a hairbands one in there but we’re not sure yet.

Anyway, like most people, we love the music of the ’80s. I (Jana) spent my childhood in the 80s (I turned 13 in 1990) and Erin entered her teen years during this decade. Beyond that, the 1980s had Reagan, Thatcher, and Gorbachev. Charles and Diana got married. The Berlin Wall came down and AIDS was on the rise. The 80s also had Saturday morning cartoons, neon (so much neon), THE MOTHERFUCKING FRAGGLES, big hair, and the Brat Pack.  It also saw the birth of MTV (you know, back when it played music) which helped launch or sustain the career of so many artists including these guys:  

Rick Springfield, “Jessie’s Girl”. Quite possibly one of the best songs ever written. Okay, in my (Erin’s) opinion, at least. Jana says: “Love Somebody” is a better song and also, Rick Springfield is my favorite Australian. 

Billy Idol, “Rebel Yell”. Yes, the obvious choice because it’s just so, so good. Jana says: I have yet to hear a Billy Idol song and NOT had it stuck in my head for days afterwards. 

David Lee Roth, “Just Like Paradise” because when he broke from Van Halen, I (Erin) refused to pick sides. Jana says: I didn’t give a shit when that happened but this is a great song.

Bobby Brown, “My Prerogative”. This was before drugs, alcohol, and arrests. He was awesome. Jana says: Sadly, who could’ve predicted he’d be the last one from that family still standing.

LL Cool J, “I’m Bad”. This lady (Erin) certainly does love cool James. “I’m Bad” is probably the first rap song I (Erin) knew word for word. Jana says: When I was pregnant with The Child, we called her LL (for little Lynch). We’re so clever. Also, did you notice LL never dies in any movie he’s in? WHY IS THAT?

Elton John, “I’m Still Standing”. A new personal anthem for me (Jana). Also a fun song. And there’s a great cover of it in the movie Sing.

Eric Carmen, “Make Me Lose Control”. There are no words to accurately convey how I feel about this song. I simply love it. 

John Mellencamp, “Authority Song”. The struggle was real picking a JM song. Too many good options to choose from but I (Jana) settled on this one since I crank it to 11 when I listen to it. Erin opted for R.O.C.K in the U.S.A. which, incidentally, was my second choice. 

Steve Winwood, “Back in the High Life”. Another one I (Jana) find beautiful and absolutely love.  

Phil Collins, “Don’t Lose My Number”. Confession: I (Jana) LOVE PHIL COLLINS. Almost as much as I love Billy Joel. Actually considered flying to Ireland to see him in concert in June #notajoke  

We could probably list all the reason we love all the men and songs on this list (full playlist below) but instead, we’ll just do our In Memoriam and get to the music.

All of these men redefined how we think of a man, all of these men (well, three of four) empowered women, and all of them were influential, phenomenal musicians whose impact will be felt for decades to come. That, and their music is just fucking timeless. There’s no editorial on these as the music speaks for itself.


 George Michael, “Father Figure”.  

 David Bowie, “Modern Love”


Michael Jackson, “Man in the Mirror”

Prince, “Let’s Go Crazy”. I could not find a decent video or a link to accompany this song which is a fucking shame. This song is incredible and showcases everything Prince was capable of. 

 And here’s the whole playlist: 


What are some of your favorite 80s songs performed by men?


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  1. Nadine

    Ahhhh Jesse’s Girl! Such a classic! 80s songs are so fun.

  2. kathy @ more coffee, less talky

    Modern Love came on the overhead speakers at a store and i shouted “YESSS! BOWIE!” and started singing. Kayla said “mommy! people are looking at you!” to which I responded with “so what? this song is amazing!”. i’ve officially become *that* mom.

  3. Linda Sheridan

    Love this! My grandchildren keep singing I’m Still Standing because they saw the Sing movie! I love it!
    Love George Michael and Michael Jackson!
    Phil Collins is awesome, too! Enjoyed this post!
    Music is healing and uplifting!
    Love, Steph’s Momma

  4. Rebecca Jo

    Father Figure still is high on my list of favorites. I’m still devastated about George Michael.

  5. Heather Lockhart

    I love so many of these! They play “You can Call me Al” at all of the Florida Gator basketball games (our mascot is Albert the Alligator), so that song brings back wonderful college memories.

    I saw LL Cool J at ACL in October. Holy shit, that man has still got it. Looks like he hasn’t aged a day.

  6. Audrey

    As I mentioned to Erin, that Prince song reminds me of my husband’s high school drumline show πŸ™‚ Great choices this time around! (I don’t really enjoy 50s/60s/70s music… lol… so I’m pumped we’ve made it to the 80s and up! Ha!)
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  7. Tanya @ A Mindful Migration

    I’m lazy and pretty much copied and pasted my comment from Erin’s post:
    I am a child of the 80’s too. I turned 15 in 1990. πŸ˜€ My favorite John Mellencamp song is Jack and Diane. And it’s an obvious choice, but I still love White Wedding from Billy Idol. I don’t think I can pick a Prince song. I love them all from the silly Raspberry Beret to 1999 to Purple Rain and yes, to Let’s Go Crazy. George Michael! That’s another ache. Father Figure is an amazing song. I loved I Want Your Sex because I was young enough when it came out that seemed particularly naughty, especially in my small conservative town! I’d also have to add Michael Jackson and NWA to the list.

    But I will add that I like Phil Collins too! πŸ˜€ Probably not enough to fly to Ireland to see him but I have sung along to many of his songs.
    Tanya @ A Mindful Migration recently posted…Spicy Beer Cheese DipMy Profile

  8. Mattie

    Totally commenting the same thing as I did on Erin’s. I missed the 80s, but I LOVE 80s music and movies. I love Jessie’s Girl, and I’m with you on the Phil Collins love.

  9. ShootingStarsMag

    I really do love music from the 80’s. Such a fun post! Phil Collin is fantastic and I really just want to listen to the Tarzan soundtrack now. I love “Jessie’s Girl” – it’s catchy and fun, but mostly it makes me giggle. πŸ™‚

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  10. SMD @ Life According to Steph

    Authority Song is one of my all time favorites.

    Few songs say summer to me like Make Me Lose Control.

  11. kristen

    i love Phil Collins too. zero shame.

  12. Christina

    All of these are SO good! My friend loves Phil and asked me to go see him in London. I love him, but not that much. Haha! Against All Odds is my fav Phil song. Let’s Go Crazy is my favorite Prince song. My other absolute favorite ’80s songs by dudes are Footloose, Right Here Waiting, Summer of 69… That’s all I can think of. The rest are all groups.

  13. jenn

    phil collins with marily martin. separate lives. that song still gives me chills when i hear it.

  14. Justin

    Michael Jackson, I couldn’t agree more! He is one of the most influential artist in his generation and up until now. Thank you for sharing this article. I love 80’s music. For someone like me who was born nearly in the 90’s, I still enjoy this kind of music because they are those kind of music that will always leave a mark im your heart. It is something old yet will always be new and nice for our ears to listen to. Who are your favorite 80’s artist that made a big impact on your choice of music right now?


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