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!
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?
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!
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?
Last Thursday of the month means it’s time for another playlist with Jana and Erin – a playlist with a twist. Often, we try not to choose themes that you’ve seen time and time again. This month we’ve decided to highlight significant songs from concerts we’ve attended AND that concert was monumental to us for one reason or another.
JANA: 1. “The Right Stuff” by NKOTB. New Kids and Tiffany was the first concert I ever went to. With my parents, sister, best friend at the time and we saw them at Westbury Music Fair. I was in 4th or 5th grade (roughly the same age as my daughter, incidentally, who just went to her first concert this past summer. We took her to see Weezer. So there’s that). And my love of live music begins.
ERIN: 2. “You Give Love a Bad Name” by Bon Jovi. I know. It comes as no surprise that Bon Jovi makes an appearance on this list. It was my first concert that I attended. My mother took three 8th grade girls and one 7th grader to the Bon Jovi “Slippery When Wet” tour with Cinderella opening (who became another live favorite). My love of Bon Jovi was cemented.
JANA: 3. “Big Talk” by Warrant. NKOTB was the first concert I ever attended; Warrant and Poison at Nassau Coliseum was the first concert I attended sans parents. Three of my friends and I went during the Cherry Pie tour and looking back, there were quite a lot of things that happened at that concert I didn’t quite understand. Now I do. Warrant was DIRTY.
ERIN: 4. “King of Rock” by Run DMC – The summer after 8th grade, I went to visit my grandparents in rural East Texas. A concert was coming to the Oil Palace in Tyler, Texas … a concert like this smaller Texas town had never seen – Run DMC with others (DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Public Enemy, and more). My aunt and uncle took me, they sat in the back while I bounced and danced in the crowd. My uncle claimed that my blond ponytail was easy to spot. I loved the blend of sounds (and still do) that Run DMC brings, and King of Rock is especially foreshadowing since they are now members of the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame.
JANA: 5. “Subdivisions” by Rush. This is my absolute favorite Rush song of all time. We might have used it in a post before but #idontcare. I saw Rush for the first time in 1991ish (mostly because Mr. Big was the opening act. Yes, I was that person but in my defense, I was 14) and despite being there for the opening act, I walked away a Rush fan. This was also the gateway concert for my love affair with outdoor concerts. Thank you, Jones Beach.
ERIN: 6. “Crackerman” by Stone Temple Pilots. My college roommate, Katy, dated a beautiful boy named Gregorio. We piled into my white Honda Civic and drove from our university town to Houston for my first “live” experience with Stone Temple Pilots (1995ish). It was an incredible show, even with Scott Weiland completely off his face. Since his death from a deadly cocktail of drugs, this first STP is particularly poignant to me in my memories.
JANA: 7. “Tainted Angel” by Southgang. I saw these guys on New Year’s Eve. In a bar. In Atlanta. When I was 14 (14 was a big year, evidently). It was pretty fucking cool. (Also, I might or might not have thrown this in because of Erin’s love for Butch Walker. I’ll let you decide).
ERIN: 8. “Best Thing You Never Had” by Butch Walker. No, this ain’t no Beyoncé song. Jana mentioned my love for Butch, and my entry above talks about my friend, Katy…so, let me tell you about the time that Katy and I went to Vegas to “celebrate” her divorce. The Wynn just opened, and we scored an amazing deal on a room. We went to see the male dance revue, American Storm, and we had cocktails by the pool. I told Katy that she needed to trust me – we were going to see Avril Lavigne at The Joint at the Hard Rock because there was this musician that was opening that I had to see…Mr. Butch Walker. Seeing this song live is damn near close to a religious experience for me. He’s touring right now. Seriously. If you like live music, do yourself a favor and go see him if he’s coming to a town near you.
JANA: 9. “Ain’t Going Down Till the Sun Comes Up” by Garth Brooks. I bought my husband, then-boyfriend, tickets to see Garth Brooks in Philly for his 20th birthday. Decidedly not a country music fan, I had a lot of trepidation going to the show. Turns out, I can be wrong. This still reigns as one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended. The man played for 3 hours WITH NO BREAK. It was incredible. Also at that concert, the guy selling “popcorn, peanuts, crack cocaine”. (Note from Erin: While watching this video as I was putting together this post, I got goosebumps. His energy is infectious. Garth is the bomb. No shame.)
ERIN: 10. “Between Angels and Insects” by Papa Roach. Another time that I told a friend to “just trust me” and go to a show with me was to see Papa Roach. Their first full album was out, and “Last Resort” was a single getting play. I had the album (well, cd, but I still call them albums), and I wanted to see them live. I convinced my friend, Shawn, to go with me because he likes rock shows. When we left the show, we looked like someone had hosed us down with a garden hose. We were soaked with sweat. I am not sure I’ve ever lost that many calories in one show. I picked this song because it was the one that I remember most for the crowd losing.their.shit when it played.
JANA: 11. “Captain Jack” by Billy Joel. Returning the favor, the husband bought me tickets to see Billy Joel and Elton John. I had previously seen Billy during college but attending this concert was the fulfillment of a decade long dream. Dueling pianos at their finest.
ERIN: 12. “Here Is Gone” by the Goo Goo Dolls. My two frontmen loves are Jon Bon Jovi and Johnny Rzeznik. In 2003, they made this girl’s dream come true by touring together. And, the Goo Goo Dolls were touring to support my favorite album of theirs, Gutterflower.
JANA: 13. “Jesus of Suburbia” by Green Day. Perhaps the greatest song from American Idiot, and perhaps one of the most stellar shows I’ve attended. By the time we got to their concert at the Liacouras Center, we’d seen Green Day 3 times and this concert was about as close to perfection as you can get.
ERIN: 14. I couldn’t decide what song/band I wanted to list next, and “Gone Away” by The Offspring came on, which instantly took me to a memory that I love, so there you have it. One of my best gal pals moved to Italy. I went to visit. We went to see The Offspring in Milan. It was an unforgettable experience to go to a concert surrounded by Italians all singing along in English with this SoCal pop punk band.
JANA: 15. “Absolutely Still” by Better Than Ezra. Laugh if you will, but I love these guys. And I loved, LOVED seeing them at Power Plant Live in Baltimore. FOR FREE, Y’ALL. Of course it was on the hottest day Baltimore has ever had and my sweet tea crush melted but still. Awesome. There’s something about going to see a once popular band but who wasn’t really that popular and who’s a little past their prime because you know all the fans are FANS. And they covered a Rush song.
ERIN: 16. “Angel Eyes (I’ll Never Let You Go)” by Steelheart. Talk about seeing bands a little past their prime……..I went to the inaugural Rocklahoma in 2007. Glam bands, hair bands, hair metal, call them what you want. My love for them will never die. I was joined in a field smack in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma by others who still loved this music too. We met people from different countries, different states, and different ages. Many “big” names from this era were there (Poison, RATT, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, Vince Neil, Dokken, more) – but, when the lead singer of Steelheart belted out this song and still hit those notes, it is safe to say that the crowd was blown away. (Note from Jana: I am jealous as hell that Erin went to Rocklahoma)
JANA: 17. “Enemies” by Shinedown. Going all the way back to two weeks ago when I attended Carnival of Madness. I can’t even properly convey how I felt this concert in my bones. In my soul. Shinedown’s music speaks to me like no other band’s and to see them live…well, I can’t quite process it all yet, never mind write about it. AND. As if the concert wasn’t amazing enough, they opened up their set with Let’s Go Crazy. The real Prince version. Not a cover.
ERIN: 18. “All out of Love” by Air Supply. They started their career over 40 years ago playing in Sydney restaurants. I saw them play at the Sydney Opera House. Let me tell you, there is something to be said for any band that can stay together for 40 years (the duo claim they’ve never even had a fight) and can fill a room full of people who will sing all of their songs word for word back to them.
We left out plenty that we wanted to add, but this is no longer about us…tell us about your live music experience and a significant song from a monumental concert in your musical journey.