Genre in Focus: 80s Pop


The 1980s encapsulates a decade of unforgettable tunes that many of us often wish we could’ve grooved to in the club. It also tends to be a popular party or night club theme, due to its iconic fashion choices and musical hits, which is why 80s music deserves to be a genre in focus. From Madonna, to Cher, and Wham!, to Bananarama, this will take you through some of the best hits of the 80s, and a mini-playlist of 80s songs that are sure to get you wanting to “dance with somebody”!

Many of the bands and songs that are labelled ‘classics’ nowadays originated from the 80s, which comes as no shock considering this decade was blessed with ABBA, Prince, Diana Ross, Elton John, David Bowie, Queen – the iconic list is endless! To begin the decade, ABBA released their unforgettable album Super Trooper (1980), with many of these songs featuring in the Mamma Mia film franchise. I’m talking absolute bangers like ‘Super Trooper’, ‘Our Last Summer’, ‘Lay All Your Love On Me’, ‘The Winner Takes It All’ and many more. Madonna was also in her prime in this decade. Labelled the ‘Queen of Pop’, we have the 80s to thank for the tunes ‘Like A Virgin’, ‘Material Girl’, ‘Papa Don’t Preach’, and ‘Express Yourself’, which all lead up to the bisexual pop queen’s 1990 release of ‘Vogue’. A few more iconic anthems the 80s gifted us include Diana Ross’ ‘I’m Coming Out’, Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’, Dolly Parton’s ‘9 to 5’, and Blondie’s ‘Call Me’.

Whether you love or hate it, Wham! released ‘Last Christmas’ in 1986, however they also gave us ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ which you are sure to love. Even if you don’t know their name, you’re sure to have heard of Bananarama’s catchy tune ‘Venus’, which showcases this British three-piece’s 80s talent. Their song ‘Love in the First Degree’ also sounds reminiscent of 2000s girl groups like Girls Aloud, so all you millennials are sure to love this one too. Both Wham! and Bananarama showcase just some of the great British bands of the 80s.

The 80s gave way to various genres and themes, from the ‘gay anthems’ mentioned above, to political bands like The Smiths and N.W.A, and even saw a rise in movie soundtrack hits such as ‘Footloose’ by Kenny Loggins, and Simple Minds ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’. One thing that’s for sure is that we won’t be forgetting about 80s music anytime soon! Along with the tunes already mentioned, here are some essential songs to add to any 80s playlist: ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’ – Cher (and any other 80s Cher song); ‘Kiss’ – Prince; ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)’ – Eurythmics; ‘I’m Still Standing’ – Elton John; ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’ – Phill Collins; ‘House of Fun’ – Madness; ‘Let’s Dance’ – David Bowie; ‘Girls On Film’ – Duran Duran; ‘Radio Ga Ga’ – Queen; ‘Back To Life’ – Soul II Soul; ‘Faith’ – George Michael; ‘Billie Jean’ – Michael Jackson; ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ – Kylie Minogue; and ‘Karma Chameleon’ – Culture Club. Though there are many more 80s hits you should hear, these classics will point you in the right direction to re-discovering this amazing decade of music.


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