Randy, Call Me!

A few weeks ago on my way to Saturday Night Ladies’ Poker, I was listening to (of course) the CBC. On Saturday nights, the immortal Randy Bachman of BTO does a show called Spinal Tap, and oh my Lord, I could listen to that show forever and ever. Randy strums away on his guitar while telling awesome, totally ego-free tales about his rock star past, and they are so fascinating. He plays songs on a theme each week as well, and he’s such a great storyteller that I just can’t get enough of the backstories he tells to introduce each song. I’d love to have him over for dinner.

Anyway, this one week some teenaged girl had written in to ask Randy for help with a high school assignment she’d been given. She had to pick out the one “quintessential 80s song” and discuss why it defined that decade. Since the girl wasn’t even born in the 80s (SIGH), she needed some advice.

Randy talked it over with his producer for a while, and almost went with a Duran Duran song, but in the end he came up with Rapture by Blondie. It was the first big hit to include rap, and Randy considered the introduction of rap to mainstream music to be a major moment in musical history.

At poker that night, I brought it up and FameThrowa suggested that Pump Up The Volume by MARS would be a similar song, in that it was the first big house music hit.

My personal choice was Girls Just Want To Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper, which I think absolutely defines the pop-synth sound that I associate with the 80s, not to mention the girl-power theme that I think was big around then.

I think I could also make a case for Material Girl by Madonna, which remains one of my most favourite songs ever (I am SUCH a sucker for clever lyrics with puns) or Billie Jean by Michael Jackson. Both huge hits, great songs, and amazing, legendary videos, which is also a key feature to an 80s song, I figure.

What do you think is the defining song of the 80s?

16 thoughts on “Randy, Call Me!

  1. I absolutely have to go with Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Not only do I have fond memories of the song, but then there’s the whole dancing around the edge of the pool with my best girlfriends, then jumping in on the word “fun”.

    And the whole watching and watching again of the movie with Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt by the same name.

    Come back 1980’s. Come back.

    1. LOVE that movie. And I like a lot of 80s music. But 80s fashion? Please DO NOT come back. I just shudder in horror when I see the big-belts flashdance-shoulders long-tops-over-leggings florescent-toned-socks that kids are wearing these days. YIPES.

      1. True enough – though there are days when I’m hiking from the parking lot into work, through the wind tunnel, when I long for my pale pink leg warmers.

        And while I’m at it, maybe a side ponytail, with crimped hair.

  2. Rapture by Blondie is actually a pretty good choice, I think. It’s got the opulence and the excess of the decade wrapped into it — but by Blondie so it gives it street cred a bit.

    London Calling by the Clash maybe..
    U2’s Pride in the Name of Love (marketing the emergence of ‘alternative’ music) — and the whole political bent…

    1. Oh, I think a U2 song is a good choice. Pride is good, but I would go for Where The Streets Have No Name, I think, as being very 80s for me.

  3. Cool, I just left a comment about Cyndi Lauper on Nat’s blog too. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun is an awesome choice. Sigh the 80’s.

    And why have I not heard of that movie that Carly mentioned above?

  4. what duran2 song was he going to chose? i was a huge d2 fan. john taylor posters wall papered my walls. i think girsl want to have fun was pivitol with getting female solo acts into the main stream and starting the girl power run that would take over the world in the 90s with sprice girls. i would have gone more with run dmc’s walk this way for the cross over of rap and rock. to me that would be the song that brought rap into the mainstream.

    what about any of these songs? http://hubpages.com/hub/Top-100-Songs-of-the-80s
    is it sad that i can sing every line of every song on that list? why can i remember that put forget to take chicken out of the freezer for supper.

    1. They didn’t narrow it down to a specific Duran Duran song, I don’t think, they were just talking about the English Wave in general. I was a total Durannie too, but I was all about Andy. I wonder where he is now? Anyway, I guess most people would pick Hungry Like The Wolf as their signature song, but I personally would rather see Rio or New Moon On Monday take the crown.

      I had a look at that list and I’m surprised to see Living on a Prayer at the top. I actually quite like that song and it’s a perfect little pop song, but I wouldn’t pick it out as being the best 80s song, nor a definitive song of the era.

      I had a look through and it seemed like all the songs I liked as being contenders for the quintessential 80s song were from 1984. The list in general seems to be heavily slanted towards that year. A halcyon year for music? Interesting.

      Anyway, from the list I like the following nominees for THE classic 80s tune (other than the ones I mentioned in my original post or others have mentioned in other comments):
      When Doves Cry – Prince (Prince is SO 80s, this song is a very strong contender)
      Jump – Van Halen
      Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go – Wham!
      Tainted Love – Soft Cell
      Born in the USA – Bruce Springsteen
      Fight for your Right – Beastie Boys
      Total Eclipse of the Heart – Bonnie Tyler (OH MY GOD, this song screams 80s to me)
      Fight the Power – Public Enemy
      Do You Really Want to Hurt Me – Culture Club

      What do you think?

      1. Now that is a reply to a comment!

        I have to agree with you about New Moon on Monday, though as I type this Hungry Like the Wolf is playing Bob FM (no joke!).

        Here is my top 10 of “this song Screams 80s”. I tried very hard to not make it MY top 10. Mine would be so very different from this. But these songs really envoke that bubble gum pop that was so pervasive in the 80s. Sorry no Beasty Boys. I know they were ground breaking but I CAN”T STAND THEM!!

        (in no particular order)
        1. Like A Virgin – Madona
        2. When Doves Cry – Prince
        3. Walk This Way – Run DMC
        4. Take On Me – Ah-ha
        5. Push It! – Salt-n-Pepa
        6. Tainted Love – Soft Cell (I still swoon when I hear this on the dance floor)
        7. Call Me – Blondie
        8. Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
        9. We’re Not Going to Take It – Twisted Sister
        10. Bust A move – Tone Loc

        This was fun!

  5. Not that anyone cares, but Pump Up the Volume was the first house hit so much as it was the first big hit to use sampling. It laid the groundwork for all of the electronic genres such as house, electronica and techno.

    I’m not sure it would be my pick for defining the 80s though. It was important, yes, like Rapture was important, but I think your choices are better for being quintessential.

  6. Hmmmm…when I think 80’s I think New Song by Howard Jones, Take On Me by A-Ha, Video Killed the Radio Star by the Buggles, Sweet Dreams by Eurithmics…

    Girls Just Wanna Hava Fun is a good pick, too.

    I love Rapture, but despite that song, I still think of Blondia as more of a late-70’s artist than an early 80’s artist,

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