I recently read two news articles about social science research, each of which came to a different conclusion. In the first, the scientists involved did a lot of analysis of popular music — looking at the top 40 singles of each year — and determined that there were three major musical revolutions since 1950, when the music that was popular changed dramatically from year to year. These three changes happened in 1964, 1983, and 1991. The other article argued that popular music in the 1980s was incredibly boring because the top 40 singles all sounded the same.
They’re both right.
And I’m going to venture to explain why, one single at a time, from 1 January 1980 to 31 December 1989, every song to appear on Billboard’s top 100 chart. In each of my entries to this blog I’ll talk about what was right and what was wrong about music in the 1980s. Along the way, I’ll talk about each performer from ABBA to ZZ Top, I’ll talk about lyrics, be they sublime or inane, I’ll talk about genres from punk to easy listening, I’ll talk occasionally about what was going on at the time or tidbits from my own life, and every so often, I’ll talk about what the US wasn’t listening to. At times it’s going to be totally awesome and at other times it’s going to be totally lame, but most of all, it’s going to be fun.
So, let’s rock.