5 80’s songs we should never forget


Don’t ask me why it was actually on my running mp3 player … but Nik pause in lifeKershaw’s “wouldn’t it be good” came up on my mp3 player while running the other day and I thought “damn, that is <still> a good song.”


Of course … when you are plodding along like a speedy sloth you have lots of time to let your mind meander. And mine did. And I started thinking about great 80’s songs that are still great.

Well written, well crafted, well delivered songs.


Songs that still sound good today … and probably should be played more often.

I had an objective of 5 songs simply because I knew that if I really got thinking on the topic I would have my ‘baker’s dozen unforgettable’ list and I didn’t want to invest too much time on his.


Frankly … my 5 <albeit I add a 6th> were written on a post it note as soon as I got back to my car.



–          The Church “under the milky way” 1988http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6jhpaX7fNQ


80s church under theWell.

At a time where people were tempted to use a video to shock & awe … The Church elected to simply perform … and let the song be the song.

With nice semi-elaborate guitar structures … the song is both spacious and uncluttered … if that sounds possible.


“wish I knew what you were looking for, might have known what you would find.”


Fabulous song. Fabulous lyrics. Fabulous arrangement. Just fabulous. This may be close to my top song of the 80’s … and it can never be played often enough.



–          Split Enz “one step ahead” 1980   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NduGJ0F5sdI


This is the Finn brothers before they became Crowded House.

Their songs were fun and well crafted and performed by some very good musicians. It is just amazing how well their music has held up in their simplicity. I imagine many people would remember “I got you” which is also an excellent song … but the timing shifts and the quirky but steady vocals makes this song timeless.


–          Marshal Crenshaw “whenever you’re on my mind” 1982: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXo4vS-81a8


Crenshaw is better known for Someday Someway <a very good song> … but I believe this one is the kepper long term. Crenshaw is a pretty good guitarist who tends to use offbeat chord progressions <as one critic suggested ‘almost verging towards jazz’> and some really nice uncluttered solos.


–          Nik Kershaw “wouldn’t it be good” 1984http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIBzbdo2LjU

80s nik kershaw wouldnt

Elton John, a friend of Kershaw, said he was “one of the best songwriters of a generation.” Well … that may be … it seems a little unbelievable … but this one song is spectacular. Simplicity wrapped in a fantastic chord progression or two. The chorus may be one of the best written choruses of the 80’s.


Wouldn’t it be good if I could be in your shoes’ … such a simple line making an unstoppably likeable song.



–          Living Colour “Cult of personality” 1988:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xxgRUyzgs0


80s living colourI could just say – Vernon Reid. Guitar. ‘Nuff said.


Lyrically the song is fabulous.


The song begins with an edited quote from the beginning of “Message to the Grass Roots” a speech by Malcolm X:


“. . . And during the few moments that we have left we want to talk right down to earth in a language that everybody here can easily understand.”


During a rest in the music John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address is heard: “ask not what your country can do for you.”


And the song ends with Franklin D. Roosevelt saying “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” from his first inaugural address.


And the song is special in its simplicity.

The band’s founder, Vernon Reid described the song as very special for the band not just for its commercial success but because it was essentially written in just one rehearsal session. The riff was stumbled upon while practicing something else and by the end of the session they had written what was to become Living Colour’s best known song.





I couldn’t stick with just 5.


And I admit … I wasn’t going to include this one mostly because the band was so popular and the song isn’t that obscure … but … at a time when Duran Duran was on MTV nonstop and their music on every radio every day … they had a song that never really got a lot of air play.80s save a prayer


The song?  ‘Save a prayer’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Uxc9eFcZyM


A beautiful song from a band that was better known for its videos than its music. It may be Simon LeBon at his best vocally … and the band at its simplicity best.


That’s it.

Just some 80’s music.

Written by Bruce