Forty Years. Yes, 40 Years. Let that sink in. 40 Years ago today, though it seems like only yesterday. A bit unbelievable. On this day in music, June 4, 1984, Bruce Springsteen released his 7th studio album Born In The USA, which became the best-selling album of 1985, and the Boss’ best-selling album of all time. The album spawned 7 top 10 singles, tied with Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814. Twice as much time has passed since its release compared to the Beatles arrival in the US to its release. Just crazy.

Some not so current events from 1984.

Apple’s Macintosh computer goes on sale at a price of $2,500. My Dartmouth freshman class in 1984 became the first in the country to have computers offered to every student – the Mac discount to $1,250 or so, with every dorm room wired to the “mainframe.”

Michael Jackson was treated for burns from pyrotechnics during the filming of a Pepsi commercial.

The XIV Olympic Winter Games were held in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, now Bosnia and Herzegovinia. American Scott Hamilton won figure skating gold, and Bill Johnson became the first ever American to win a downhill skiing gold medal.

This Is Spinal Tap,” a rock mocumentary, is released.

Marvin Gaye, one day before his 45th birthday, is killed by his father during an altercation between his parents.

The game Tetris is released by a USSR computer programmer.

The drinking age increases to 21 nationwide, though there are some states, including Vermont, a 5 minute ride across the Connecticut River from my alma mater Dartmouth, with “grandfather” clauses allowing some of us to legally drink between 18 and 21.

Mary Lou Retton became America’s darling in the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, becoming the first non-Eastern European woman to win a gold medal in gymnastics, finishing first in the all-around. She also won silver in team and vault, and bronze on floor and uneven bars.

Princess Diana gives birth to Prince Harry.

After an 11 season run as one of America’s beloved family sitcoms, “Happy Days” airs its last show.

The Detroit Tigers, managed by Sparky Anderson, with stellar performances by Alan Trammell, Kirk Gibson, and Jack Morris win The World Series, defeating Tony Gwynn’s San Diego Padres.

Bob Geldoff of the Boomtown Rats and “I Don’t Like Mondays” fame forms Band Aid for Ethiopian famine relief. Fundraisers would include the single “Do They Know It’s Christmas” which reaches No. 1 on the UK charts just 1 week after its release, and in 1985 the concert of all concerts in the ‘80s, Live Aid.

Incumbent President Ronald Reagan defeats Walter Mondale in the Presidential election.

In addition to the Boss, music in 1984 was dominated by Prince, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Culture Club, Duran Duran, The Cars, Wham, Lionel Richie, Bryan Adams, Huey Lewis, Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, and Van Halen. And beyond 1984, George Orwell’s novel notwithstanding, music continued with classic, progressive, punk, and hard rock, though also evolved beyond disco to new wave, techno pop, rap, glam or hair metal, and as we bid a sad farewell to the end of the decade, on the cusp of the new decade, grunge.

The ‘80s, sometimes pejoratively termed a decade of excess and greed, for those of us who grew up in it instead thought it was the best decade to grow up, following the unrest and countercultural ‘70s and preceding the dissatisfaction of the grunge-laden youth of the ‘90s – we all saw it as Nirvana, though just not Kurt Cobain’s version. We saw everything from Cabbage Patch Kids, Care Bears, Teddy Ruxpin, Stretch Armstrong, GI Joe with the kung-fu grip, Barbies galore, Polly Pockets, Smurfs, Chia Pets, Chuck E. Cheese, shopping malls, the advent of home computers (glorified word processors), Pac Man, Atari and Nintendo, Swatch watches, slap bracelets, Rubik’s Cube, Koosh Balls, Trapper Keepers, walkmans, boom boxes, VHS tapes, Blockbuster movie rentals, preppies, valley girls, big hair, mullets, parachute pants, jelly shoes, shoulder pads, leg warmers, spandex, jazzersize, thigh master, roller skating, riding bikes everywhere, break dancing, moon walking, MTV, new wave music, techno pop, rap music, glam metal, Saturday Night Live, John Hughes movies, slasher films, even who shot J.R. and where’s the beef?

Watch Netflix Stranger Things and you’ll get a good sense of ‘80s fashion and fads…

not to mention a homage to ‘80s movies, especially ET, Close Encounters, Goonies, Stand By Me, Alien, and Nightmare On Elm Street:

Kenny Loggins monopolized movie soundtracks with:

Caddyshack – “I’m Alright”:

Top Gun – “Danger Zone” (Though Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” and The Righteous Brothers “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” were also memorable in the movie):

Footloose – “Footloose”:

And more dancing with Flashdance “What A Feeling” by Irene Cara:

Not to mention the memorable “Maniac” by Michael Sambello:

Remember no one puts Baby in a corner – Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes with “(I’ve Had) The Time of my Life” from Dirty Dancing:

Perhaps the pinnacle of John Hughes movies, Pretty in Pink with “If You Leave” by OMD:

And then there was perhaps the most iconic score of all ‘80s movie soundtracks, Simple Minds “Don’t You Forget About Me” from The Breakfast Club:

Peter Gabriel with “In Your Eyes” from Say Anything (even featuring an ‘80s boom box!):

Bob Seger got in on the act in Risky Business with “Old Time Rock & Roll”:

And Survivor, with “Eye of the Tiger” from Rocky 3:

And as a wrestler, I just loved Red Rider’s “Lunatic Fringe” placement in Vision Quest:

Then there was Breakdancing:

There were some things we didn’t have in the ’80s though:

Stuff we really didn’t need. And we were happy that way…

For those of us who grew up on the ‘80s, our formative teen years shaped by the decade of music and movies, most of us feel there will never be another as great as that time. As my college reunion approaches, charged with making chllin’ vibe playlist for a silent disco night, which will be the subject of my next blog, I decided to create some more ‘80s playlists of varying themes to supplement some I had already made. They include:

“I’ve Got A Rock & Roll Heart” – ‘80s Rock & Pop Hits, “Rock You Like A Hurricane” – ‘80s Hard Rock Hits, “Rock Me “– ‘80s Metal Favorites, “Rhythm of the Night” – ‘80s Dance Hits, and two also released in a previous blog, though tweaked for this blog, “Just Can’t Get Enough” – Techno Pop, and “This Is The Day” – ‘80s New Wave College Faves. All in all, a wopping 6 playlists totalling approximately 48 hours (no, not the Eddy Murphy – Nick Nolte movie) of glorious ‘80s tunes. Enough to keep even the most particular of ‘80s listeners happy for quite some time.

There are some cusp songs – released in the 70s but so prominent in the 80s that I included them, and a few released in ’90, my artistic license for the lists. Alas I didn’t include any Led Zep. Also, the line between Hard Rock and Metal is a bit muddy, so some acts, like AC/DC, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, and Guns N’ Roses straddle both genres, pretty hard rock, but soft metal. They just seemed to fit both lists.

And on to some amazing music. Enjoy your flashback to the ’80s. Though as for me, I never left it…


I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew.  Rediscover the passion of music in your life.

Live in the moment.

Enjoy the moment.

Love the moment.

Listen to the ’80s MUSIC!