A new month means new themes for the ephemeral iPod to play for your ears and eyes, and March is no exception. This one, however, will need a DeLorean to experience.
Privately, I’ve been experiencing the 1980s one way or another, and have come to found that pop music from the era — not necessarily from the big names who aren’t tied to the decade by style — share a few threads of sound between their works. Think synthesizers and heavily processed sounds, drums that sound like explosions, bass hooks that stick out more than usual. Make the jump to experience five examples of what made the decade of Reagan and Wall Street sound the way it did.
“Out of Sight, Out of Mind” – Models: Nope, this isn’t INXS, but the Australian band had the boys from Sydney among their fans. The title cut from 1985′s album of the same name was Models’ sole No. 1, hitting the top of the Australian Singles Chart in July of that year. The song would enter the Billboard Hot 100 in 1986, topping out at No. 37.
“Hanging on a Heart Attack” – Device: The short-lived pop trio delivered three singles from their only album, 1986′s “22B3,” “Hanging on a Heart Attack” coming in at No. 35 on the Hot 100 while the album itself peaked at No. 73 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart. Singer Paul Engemann would go on to front Animotion, while songwriter/singer Holly Knight would go on to write music for “The Simpsons,” “Angel” and “30 Rock” among other television shows.
“Rumors” – Timex Social Club: One of the prototypes of the sound that would come to be known as new jack swing, the Californian contemporary R&B group scored their sole major hit with this song in 1986, hitting the No. 1 position in Canada and the United Kingdom, as well as the Billboard R&B. The group would later tour with Run DMC on the latter’s Raising Hell tour that same year as an opening act, having impressed hip hop mogul Russell Simmons with the hit single.
“Right on Track” – Breakfast Club: Alas, no Molly Ringwold or Simple Minds here, though Madonna did play drums for this pop group in the late 1970s and early 1980s prior to her departure for greener pastures. Nonetheless, the Gilroys & Co. soldiered on, turning up at Pee-Wee’s playhouse (with Angeline making a cameo appearance) to film the video for their 1986 single, peaking at No. 7 on the Hot 100.
“Crockett’s Theme” – Jan Hammer: Let us now bring this edition of Music Monday to a close with one of the pieces composed by Hammer for one of the most iconic television shows of all time, “Miami Vice.” The song made its first appearance in the fourth episode of the show’s first season in late 1984, topping the U.K. and Netherlands music charts three years later when released on the composer’s 1987 album “Escape From Television.”
Photo: Flickr/Don France.