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The '80s were about parachute pants, big hair, bright make-up ... and the music.

CD Review: The ’80s #1s – Various Artists

My kids swear Bowling For Soup’s “1985” was written about me, so there was little doubt I’d appreciate a disc which had so many classics from my youth. I’ve commented before that I like compilation CDs because they tend to contain all punch and very little filler, and The ’80s #1s certainly fits that rule.

As the title indicates, all of the songs spent time in the top position on Billboard’s charts. Whether it be sugarcoated ultra-sweet pop songs like “Down Under” or “Karma Chameleon” or progressive hits like “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” Pure ’80s #1s is a collection of memories.

But it’s not centralized to one specific type of music. Or maybe that’s what was so unique about ’80s music; there was diversity. Instead of the current chart containing 40 songs sounding pretty much the same, artists like Tears For Fears and Simple Minds co-existed with Men At Work and Culture Club.

Many of the artists on the CD came and went nearly as fast as their songs climbed and fell, others were mainstays for the decade and even longer. “What’s Love Got to Do With It” is just one of many top charters that Tina Turner has had and The Police’s “Every Breath You Take,” not only spent eight weeks in that number one position, but it won two Grammys in 1984 (Song of the Year and Best performance by a group or duo). The sedate black and white video went on to chart in MTV’s and VH1’s list of “Best Videos Ever.”

MTV was in its infancy when these songs were being played on every radio station in the country, and some are probably almost better known for their videos, “Addicted To Love” comes immediately to mind. Though it would be considered simple by today’s standards, Robert Palmer and his guitar backed by a band of five girls in short black dresses, slicked-back hair, and red lipstick became an image for the driving beat and simple chord changes which are instantly recognizable.

The rise in popularity in videos and MTV is often credited with bringing the progressive and obscure bands into the forefront, but whatever it was that pushed songs like “When I See You Smile” and “She Drives Me Crazy” to the top of the charts, hearing them again on this CD was a lot of fun.

Blogcritics is giving two lucky readers the chance to win a copy of Pure ’80s #1s. If you, like me, squealed in delight when Converse brought back the line of pastel colored hi-tops, then you will definitely appreciate every track of Pure ’80s #1s

“Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor Audio Streams:

Windows Media
Real Player

Track Listing
01. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
02. Owner of a Lonely Heart – Yes
03. Addicted to Love – Robert Palmer
04. Everybody Wants to Rule the World – Tears for Fears
05. Don’t You [Forget About Me] – Simple Minds
06. Higher Love – Steve Winwood
07. What’s Love Got to Do With It – Tina Turner
08. Every Breath You Take – The Police
09. Arthur’s Theme [Best That You Can Do] – Christopher Cross
10. The Living Years – Mike + The Mechanics
11. When I See You Smile – Bad English
12. Kyrie – Mr. Mister
13. Kiss on My List – Daryl Hall and John Oates
14. Down Under – Men at Work
15. Karma Chameleon – Culture Club
16. She Drives Me Crazy – Fine Young Cannibals
17. Maniac – Michael Sembello
18. All Night Long – Lionel Richie

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