Monday, July 14, 2014

Blast from the Past: Class of '84, The Women

I graduated high school thirty years ago, give or take a few weeks. And for all the crap 80s music gets for its soulless sound, there actually were a lot of good songs back then. They seem a lot more recent to me than three decades gone. Maybe because they have gotten so much play since then. And it's true, a lot of 80s music is crap--even If I like it, colored with my heaping helpings of nostalgia. But, you know what? A lot of it's pretty damned good in any time period.

I'm going to start my Orwellian tribute with the ladies of rock. Not the bands, that comes later. This is the solo women of rock, pop, whatever you call the hits of the 80s. And yes, I'm aware that even solo acts have backing bands, but I'm going with how they classify themselves. I'm not always going with the most obvious tracks either, no sir. These are my favorites, which usually skew to the slightly more obscure. So, come along with me, and hear the voices of the ladies who serenaded the Class of 1984!

1. All Through the Night by Cyndi Lauper - This was one of five hits from Lauper's debut album. A first in history, that accomplishment.
2. We Belong by Pat Benatar - Pat's one of my all-time favorites, and it's a shame (as it is with Cyndi) that her heyday is her only day to so many people. She's too good to be pigeon-holed.

3. Better be Good to Me by Tina Turner - Yes, What's Love Got to Do with It is a bit more famous, but this one is more timeless.
4. Self Control byLaura Branigan - Gloria is better known, but this one is just better.

5. Material Girl by Madonna - She ended up getting the name of this song as a nickname for a while. Ironic, when you consider she made all of her jack, herself. No man did it for her.
6. Twist of Fate by Olivia Newton-John - Love her, and love other songs of hers more than this one, but it was huge in '84.

7. 99 Red Balloons by Nena - This is probably a weird one today, but in 1984, cold war tensions ran high. Nena was German, and sang this song in her own language. But there was an English version of the song, and a Germanglish one too.
8. Breakdance by Irene Cara - Bet you forgot this one.

9. They Don't Know by Tracy Ullman - Funny lady Ullman had a big hit here in the states before we knew who she was. I loved it.
10. Let's Hear it for the Boy by Deniece Williams - From Footloose, this trifle nonetheless left its mark on '84.

Surprisingly, I found little else, beyond other hits by these same artists, for  popular songs by solo women. I'll follow this list with the gents, probably with women-headed groups, and a few other '84 odds and ends. But I was surprised to find so few female solo artists hitting it big in my senior year.

But it's better today, right!? So, happy Monday everyone! Have a great week.

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