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Ladies of the 80s: A Jana and Erin Playlist

We (Jana and Erin) told you last month, as we looked at the music from the Men of the ’80s, that we are unable to come up with any kind of sensible length of a playlist in the ’80s unless we broke it down for you.  There will be more to come because we will take a look at groups, and hairbands will probably get their own list, too.  So, you’ve probably figured out what today is all about…well, the title kinda gave it away…that’s right…it’s time for The Ladies of the 80s!

Awwwww the ’80s…when the ladies (and the guys) used Aquanet so our bangs could reach heights never seen before.  Spandex was king.  So were shoulder pads and blue eyeliner.  We saw Janet Jackson step out from behind the shadows of her famous brothers.  We saw her choreographer, Paula Abdul, step out from Janet’s shadow and become a pop star too.  Cyndi Lauper just wanted us to have fun.  Madonna wanted to feel like a virgin.  We had artists with established careers shine on the radio and in the movies (Dolly and Cher.)  The ladies danced, they sang, some yielded guitars, and most of them kicked ass. 

Erin’s note:  Before we hit you with our list, I have to give Jana props.  She came up with this ultimate playlist.  I just added a few touches to finesse it.  I wouldn’t have picked all the songs that she did, but as I looked at the total list, I thought she pretty much nailed it. Jana’s note: I really, really like 80s music. This was not hard to do. In fact, it was harder leaving songs off the list. 

As always, some of our picks are obvious ones and others are hidden gems.  We hope you enjoy!

Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody
Madonna – Dress You Up
Stevie Nicks – Edge of Seventeen
Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time
Janet Jackson – What Have You Done for Me Lately
Paula Abdul – Cold Hearted
Pat Benatar – Hit Me With Your Best Shot AND Invincible (okay, yes, we normally try to limit ourselves to only one song per artist, but Jana felt strongly about her choice, and Erin did as well, and Pat Benatar is awesome, so, yes, she gets two)


Dolly Parton – 9 to 5 (our mutual love of Dolly continues to shine)
Irene Cara – Flashdance…What a Feeling
Alannah Myles – Black Velvet
Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the Heart (always reminding Jana of “Old School”. Jana’s note: please tell me it DOESN’T remind you of Old School?)
Toni Basil – Mickey (Jana’s note: I’m the mom of a cheerleader. This is kind of a must-have)
Juice Newton – Angel of the Morning (Jana’s note: her song, Queen of Hearts? A friend and I sang that to the literal Queen of Hearts, right smack in the middle of Disney World. #noshame)
Kim Wilde – You Keep Me Hangin’ On


Donna Summer – She Works Hard for the Money (Jana’s love for Donna almost rivals her love for Dolly…almost.)
Belinda Carlisle – Heaven is a Place on Earth (don’t worry, the Go-Go’s will be represented in our groups post)
Taylor Dayne – Tell It to My Heart (the original Taylor)
Joan Jett – I Hate Myself for Loving You (Jana’s note: I Love Rock and Roll is too obvious and Bad Reputation is the theme song to one of the greatest shows of all time. This was a hard choice)
Cher – If I Could Turn Back Time

Lita Ford – Kiss Me Deadly
Sheena Easton – Morning Train
Debbie Gibson – Electric Youth
Tiffany – Could’ve Been (fun fact: Jana’s first concert ever was Tiffany and New Kids on the Block…….another fun fact: Erin forgot this song existed, but when listening to it for this playlist sang almost every lyric.  How do our minds remember song lyrics like that?!)
Laura Branigan – Solitaire (Jana’s note: my husband thinks Gloria sounds like the theme song to SportsCenter)
Tracy Chapman – Fast Car

Now, it’s your turn.  Tell us your favorite song(s) by The Ladies of the Eighties!

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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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Through the decades, 1970s style: A Jana and Erin playlist

A lot happened in the 70s. Some of it good, some of it bad, some of it in the middle. However, most notable is the fact that this is the decade in which Erin and I were both born! Yay for 70s babies! Granted I have approximately zero memories and I don’t think Erin’s are that clear but still. WE WERE THERE.


You know what else was there? Great music. The dawn of punk, the dawn of rap, the abomination of disco, the big sounds of arena rock and so much more. In fact, this was the most difficult playlist we’ve put together because we seriously didn’t know where to stop. This is actually our biggest playlist at 39 songs (and that’s with leaving off a lot) and we’ve linked to the whole list at the bottom, with our favorites highlighted below. 


“Closer to the Heart”–Rush. As you all know, this is Jana’s favorite band. Picking one song was a challenge but this one was selected specifically because of the poignancy and significance and relevance to the current state of politics in the US. (ex., And the men who hold high places must be the ones who start. To mold a new reality. Closer to the heart.)

“Dream On”–Aerosmith. There are A LOT of 70s Aerosmith songs that I (Erin) love, but the quintessential song that still gives me goosebumps that still has a powerful message “Dream until your dreams come true”

“Prelude/Angry Young Man”–Billy Joel. Like Rush and Aerosmith, HOW DO YOU PICK JUST ONE?! Well, you pick one with his incredible piano playing that’s also fun to sing along to and one you never, ever tire of hearing.

“Dance the Night Away”–Van Halen. Again, A LOT, because I’m (Erin) a DLR fan over Van Hager fan and this one started my love of “rock music that you can dance to”.

“Who Are You?”–The Who. So, it’s one of my parents’ favorite stories to tell about me (Jana) and how I used to walk around at the age of 3 or 4 singing this song. Specifically, the “who? who?” part, like a fucking owl. Also fun to know is that they say “who the fuck are you” in the song so it’s pretty evident where my love of that particular word comes from.

“Crazy on You”–Heart. Heart Those fucking Wilson sisters broke so many glass ceilings proving that women rock just as hard as men (we actually have a whole badass women playlist. The Wilson sisters are on it. Obviously). 

“Bat Out of Hell”–Meatloaf. I (Jana) probably should have picked Paradise by the Dashboard Light because it’s one of my all time favorite songs but this one is like the opening line from The Martian. It’s unforgettable and makes a statement you never forget. 

“Strutter”–KISS. So many Kiss songs are more well known, but I love this little gem of a song. Fun fact: my Paul Stanley doll was my (Erin) favorite doll as a kid for a while.

“Bohemian Rhapsody”–Queen. Arguably one of the greatest songs ever written. It is still original and unique 40+ years later. Fun fact: It’s the only song that was a duplicate from both of our lists. Another fun fact: I (Jana) think of Wayne’s World when I hear it. Every. Single. Time.

“Already Gone”–Eagles. I’ve (Erin) explained the significance before, but I’ll say it again – after living in a turbulent relationship, getting married at 19 (with no business doing so), I packed up my white Honda Civic at the age of almost-21 and left that asshole.  When I pulled out of the drive-way, I opened the sunroof, and this song started.  Tears streamed down my face as I sang it at the top of my lungs.  It is “my victory song”.

“Horse with No Name”–America. My (Jana) victory song is not from the 70s but here’s another embarrassing story about me instead. I called this the camel song for years. No real clue why. Just did. 

“Hot Child in the City”–Nick Gilder. You know how some random memories from childhood are still so vivid?  I (Erin) have a vivid memory of standing on my swing on our backyard swing set singing the song aloud for all the neighbors to hear. (Jana’s note: glad to know I wasn’t the only weird ass child).

“Good Hearted Woman”–Willie Nelson. He IS Texas to me (Erin)

Okay, so now that you have the highlights, here’s the whole list. Let us know what songs from the 70s you enjoy and we should add!


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Through the decades: A 1960s playlist with Jana and Erin

This month, Erin and I are paying tribute to the music of the 1960s. The era of JFK, MLK, Vietnam, Woodstock, the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the beginning of the War on Poverty and a whole bunch of other landmark events for America. Also, music. So much music.

It was quite difficult for me (Jana) to pick a handful of songs from this decade but Erin had a slew of them which I’m sure is telling but I’m not sure what it tells other than while I’m tuned in (hahaha for my bad pun) to history, the music of the decade isn’t high on my list. But I did pull a few to compliment Erin’s and so without further rambling, here’s our picks from the beginning of the decade to the end. Chronological order FTW!  But there might be a couple of missing years. Specifically, 65. And OMG, was it difficult to pick a just few from 64. Choices are hard, y’all.the-1960s-a-playlist-by-jana-and-erin

Have a listen to all the songs below! Also, please let us know what some of your favorite 60s songs are!

Please Mr. Postman–The Marvelettes

Runaround Sue–Dion (Jana’s fun fact: This is one of my favorite songs. Maybe ever)

Crying–Roy Orbison

Twist and Shout–The Isley Brothers

Surfin’ USA–The Beach Boys (anyone else ONLY think of Teen Wolf when they hear this song? No? Just me?–Jana)

Louie Louie–The Kingsmen (why shouldn’t Animal House be fully represented here? Also the 80s movie Coupe de Ville. Anyone else know what I’m talking about?–Jana)

Baby I Need Your Lovin’–The Four Tops


Leader of the Pack–The Shangri-Las

God Only Knows–The Beach Boys

Paint it Black–The Rolling Stones

Light My Fire–The Doors

Brown Eyed Girl–Van Morrison (THE anthem for every brown eyed girl on the planet)

Think–Aretha Franklin

Born to Be Wild–Steppenwolf

Fortunate Son–Credence Clearwater Revival

I Want You Back–Jackson 5 (For a fun dance to this song, watch..well, save yourself the whole movie and just see if you can find the scene from Clerks 2)

Come Together–The Beatles

Ramble On–Led Zeppelin


Through the Years, 1950s style: A Jana and Erin playlist

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Playlists


Last Thursday of the month means it’s time for another playlist with Jana  and Erin – a playlist with a twist.  Not “The” Twist because that song was released in the ’60s, so that doesn’t make the cut.  Yet.
The 1950s. A time for poodle skirts, sock hops, and soda fountains. Also McCarthyism, the Cold War, and Jim Crow but that’s the part that sucked so we’re not going to talk about that today. Nope. Instead, we’re going to talk about one of the fun parts of the 1950s–the music!
I (Jana) love 50s music. It melts my dark, hard rock loving heart. It’s fun and catchy and not at all like anything we have now. When I need a pick-me-up, I’ll put on one of my 50s Spotify playlists. It makes me happy. Probably has to do with childhood memories of listening to the music at bar mitzvahs or with my grandparents. But who knows? I just like it. #noshame Hope you guys like some of the songs, too!
This is also the beginning of our through the decades playlist series (think of this as the Time Life version of our playlist series. Anyone else remember the Time Life CD collections? No? Just me?) and thanks to Erin for indulging me in this decade first. 
Songs from “The Day the Music Died” artists:  Sadly, all three of the following artists died in a plane crash in Iowa in February 1959.

Come On, Let’s Go by Ritchie Valens (1958):
  This video clip is fun, even if the person who uploaded it misspelled the artist’s name.

Chantilly Lace by The Big Bopper (1958): “Hellllooooo baaaaaby!” 

Not Fade Away by Buddy Holly (1957): Jana is a big fan of this bespectacled musician’s songs.  He appears in our playlists from time to time. (Jana’s note: I’m pretty sure this is at least his 3rd mention)

Songs from piano men:

Tutti Frutti by Little Richard (1955): 

Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On by Jerry Lee Lewis (1957):  Let’s forget about that whole marrying his teenage cousin part of the story. (Jana’s note: Did anyone else see Great Balls of Fire? Wasn’t Dennis Quaid pretty great in that?)

Songs by brothers: 

Shout by The Isley Brothers (1959):  The dance scene in Animal House with John Belushi in a toga is one of those iconic cinematic scenes where the perfect song was picked for a movie.  But, that’s not this video clip because that was Otis Day and the Knights covering The Isley Brothers.

Bye Bye Love by The Everly Brothers (1957):  fun fact~the daughter of one of these guys is named Erin Everly and that’s who inspired Axl Rose to write the lyrics for Sweet Child of Mine. (Jana’s note: I did not know that)

Songs that make you want to dance (besides the ones already mentioned):

Shake, Rattle, and Roll by Bill Haley and the Comets (1954):

At the Hop by Danny & the Juniors (1957)


Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry:  Since we forgot about Jerry Lee Lewis marrying his cousin, let’s forget that Chuck Berry allegedly had cameras installed in the women’s toilets filming them while using the restroom at a restaurant he owned… (Jana’s note: I did not know this either. But seriously, what the actual fuck?)

Love Me Tender by Elvis Presley (1956):  For that slow dance…

Songs that were introduced to me (Erin) by my grandfather:

Your Cheatin’ Heart by Hank Williams (1953):

It’s Only Make Believe by Conway Twitty (1958):  Sometime, in the ’70s, my (Erin’s) grandparents and extended family went to a Conway Twitty show, and Dolly Parton was the opening act.  My uncle bought me nachos, and I was sitting on his lap eating them.  Then, I puked all over his boots while Conway Twitty was playing.  Awww sweet memories. 

Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash (1955):  Johnny sings “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.”  Johnny was gansta before gangsta rappers.

But, what’s great, is songs like these have lasted SIXTY years.  Think about that.  What songs recorded this decade do you think will last as long as these?  What artists will the bloggers of 2076 be sharing? 

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