It Came from the 80s, Part 3

For those of you just tuning in, there’s a Part 1 and a Part 2 to catch up on! (The introduction in Part 1 may explain a bit of how the hell I got here.)

Hall and Oates – Private Eyes

Well, I had to have some Hall & Oates on here, and I didn’t have a copy of “Method of Modern Love.” This one will do.

Heart – Alone

Damn, this song is cool. And the Wilson sisters are hot. Seriously, excellent combination of keyboards and rock guitars to balance the wistfulness and angst in the lyrics.

Howard Jones – No One Is To Blame

Another tune that reminds me of Tammy. Well, in my defense, I only had two real girlfriends in the 80s…Tammy, who lasted about four summers, and Ann, who lasted six months when I was in 10th grade. Oh well.

This one was on the air the first year Tammy and I were together, and so when she left at the end of the summer it hit home for me about how things suck, but there’s nothing you can really do about it.

Huey Lewis & the News – Walking on a Thin Line

Huey Lewis & the News – If This Is It

Huey Lewis & the News – I Want a New Drug

What can I say, “Sports” was a great album. I used to listen to it on cassette and ride around my basement on my bicycle when it was rainy. And a good 80s memory for me is the parody song from the local North Carolina radio station, “I Want A New Truck.” “…and runs on reg’lar fuel….runs on reg’lar fuel. Runs on reg’lar fuel, hell yeah.”

Huey Lewis & the News – The Power of Love

From the “Back to the Future” soundtrack. Great song, great movie, great cameo by none other than Huey Lewis.

Human League – Don’t You Want Me

I have argued in the past that the Human League is the stereotypical 80s band. British, androgynous, mixed-gender, heavy on the keyboards and skinny ties. I always dug this song. Good keyboards, good guy/gal vocal thing going on.

Iron Maiden – Wasted Years
There are more iconically 80s Maiden tunes, especially “Number of the Beast,” but this one means more to me. And that pull-off E-minor riff on the beginning is a boon for young aspiring metal guitarists everywhere…yours truly definitely included.

J. Geils Band – Centerfold

No explanation needed, so a story: I learned how to play this song by sitting with an acoustic guitar in the living room of my apartment with a girl I’d just met. She was sitting and awkwardly holding a conversation with me (one of the few times in my life when I was the less awkward end of a conversation) while a good friend of hers gave a good friend of mine her first same-sex makeout session in my bedroom.

What can I say, the mid-90s were an interesting time.

Joan Jett – I Hate Myself for Loving You

I don’t have “I Love Rock & Roll” digitally, so this straight-ahead rocker will do. A clear memory of this song is my wife dancing to it as we opened the windows, cleaned the apartment, and prepared for my parents to come visit us on one beautiful spring morning.

Joe Walsh – Life’s Been Good

Oh, Joe. Life’s been bad and good, hasn’t it? But this is still one of the great drinking songs of all time. “MY MASERAAAA-TI! Does one-eighty-five!!”

And appearing as a guest on a Drew Carey improv special once, Joe gave my favorite line of the entire night. In a game in which each performer had to tell a part of a story, they threw it to Joe at the end with “And the moral of the story is…?” Joe’s answer? “It’s hard to meditate on amphetamines.”
Now that’s high comedy.

John Mellencamp – Hurts So Good

John Mellencamp – Jack & Diane

Great tunes, absolutely, but my lack of the Scarecrow album on CD is showing here. I need to pick up that 2-disc Mellencamp greatest hits album.

John Waite – Missing You

This is one fabulous tune. I love the lyric and the delivery, and once upon a time learned the guitar parts by borrowing my roommate’s fake book. And yes, the duet with Alison Krauss is awesome, but I love the original on its own merits.

Journey – Faithfully

Journey – Open Arms

Two of the biggest and best ballads of the 80s. Especially “Open Arms.” I’m a little too young for it to have been my junior-high dance fodder, but I’m sure it was perfect.

Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’

A classic for all decades. Nothing else needs to be said.

Journey – Lights

But this one deserves some explanation. I was always enamored of this tune, and as it turned out, one of my guitar-playing buddies felt the same way. As he put it, “It just has so much…attitude.” Yep, that says it all. As a guitar song, it’s not all that technically demanding, but just try to get the feel, the emotion, and the phrasing correct.

(And yes, technically “Lights” is a ‘70s tune, but I think of Journey as an 80s band, so here it is.)

Junkyard – Simple Man

Not to be confused with the much more famous Lynyrd Skynyrd song by the same name, this is an obscure late-80s hard rock tune that I dearly love. I ended up buying this album on CD from the closeout bin for $4 sometime around 1997.

Kenny Rogers – The Gambler

Yeah, I know, another song that actually belongs in the 70s, but I associate it more with the early 80s in my memory, partially because that’s when my folks started buying Kenny Rogers albums, and because of Kenny’s “Gambler” movies.

Regardless, it’s definitely a classic, regardless of decade or genre. Everybody knows this song. And therefore it makes a great impromptu drunken jam. Not that I’d know anything about those, no no no.

Kenny Rogers – Love Will Turn You Around

I know, I can’t figure it out either, but I thought that “Six Pack” movie was cool. This song definitely was. That guitar/mandolin line still catches my attention. It’s gorgeous.

Kenny Loggins – Footloose

Do you know I’ve never seen this movie? My wife still can’t believe it, either.

King’s X – Summerland

Obscure to most, this song means a hell of a lot to me. The King’s X album “Gretchen Goes to Nebraska” is one of my favorites of all time (it made my Desert Island List), and in 1989 I listened to that tape until it broke. Some of you may be familiar with the single “Over My Head” which received some MTV airplay. “Summerland” was the next song on the album, and still my favorite. It’s another tune about the finite nature of a beautiful summer. You can find the video on YouTube…at least as of this writing.

Kool & the Gang – Celebration

Some people tell me this was a big hit, but I don’t know if I’ve ever heard it. Somebody sing a line to me and see if it jogs my memory?

Laura Branigan – Gloria

Okay, so this song isn’t really on this disc, but it should be. When I make another version of this CD it will be back on here. Definitely tied to birthday parties in the old roller skating rink, back when I used to go to play Centipede and Defender.

Living Colour – Cult of Personality

This song is badass. The guitar has tons of balls, the vocal is killer, the bass line is grooving and the drum beat is pulsing. I just hope I’m never around when this is available on karaoke, I might just humiliate the holy bejeezus out of myself.

LL Cool J – I’m Bad

“Calling all cars…” My bud Chris and I adored the “Bigger And Deffer” album. The title track really is a killer old-school battle rap. I was also fascinated by “The Doo Wop” for some reason. And of course there was “I Need Love,” but I’ve already given you people enough reason to laugh at me.

Are you, like, totally with it? There’s more to come!

Click here for Part 4.

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5 Responses

  1. 😀 My very first concert ever was Huey Lewis and the News.

  2. Also, I’ve seen Journey (just with Steve A. (and maybe the guy before him? but I forget who that was, if there was anybody between him and Steve P.) though – never with Steve P. or that new guy) more times in concert than anyone else on the planet except for Calvin.

  3. Did ya stay caught up with all those parentheses? Check me out, spamming your comments!

    Spam away! I’d love to see Journey just to see Neal Schon play. As I said, he’s not Yngwie or some prototypical blinding-speed guitar hero, but the subtle touch he uses is fantastic.

  4. Not so familiar with these songs. Journey just kind of annoys the hell out of me. Especially their song Don’t Stop Believing. That is so not the thing a cynical pissy 24 year old like myself would admit to listening to. 😀

    See, it’s the word admit there that gives you away. I can see your goth ass now, pulling the blinds before jumping up and down on your bed to the chorus. 😀

  5. Here goes:
    *I love Hall & Oates Maneater…the only thing stopping me from putting it on my MP3 player is the crazy long introduction. I have some patience issues.

    I have the same problem with that long outro to Prince’s “1999.”

    *John Mellencamp is extremely popular in my neck of the woods. He’s like a rural god. I think I remember liking a song called China Girl.

    Yeah, he’s like the patron saint of Indiana, I think. I definitely identified with “Smalltown,” myself.

    *I just heard The Gambler on the radio the other day…definitely a classic. That’s the only cassette tape my dad owned. He doesn’t really listen to music…so he must have really liked Kenny Rogers.

    Yep. My parents had a couple of Kenny Rogers records. So did my wife’s grandfather, so we could sing “Ruby” and “Lucille” all over the place.

    *Must.See.Footloose.-Not.Too.Late (though it will probably seem very dated now)

    I’m sure it’ll be dated, but I still enjoyed the hell out of “Purple Rain.” Especially with a few drinks in me. Netflix, here we come!

    Keep it rollin’

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