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whoshot bannerThe 1980s were arguably one of the best decades in popular music, with some of the world’s top-selling musicians releasing albums and songs that could never leave the world the same again. So pick up your Sony Walkman, tune in to the “FM” option, and walk along memory lane with us as we profile four hot ’80s legends.    

whoshot bannerWHO’S HOT: RECORDING ARTISTS

THE “TOTALLY RAD” LEGENDS OF THE 1980s!  

by Mike Halterman

The 1980s were arguably one of the best decades in popular music, with some of the world’s top-selling musicians releasing albums and songs that could never leave the world the same again. So pick up your Sony Walkman, tune in to the “FM” option, and walk along memory lane with us as we profile four hot ’80s legends.

whoshot mjMichael Jackson

August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009

Even though he sadly passed on four years ago, no column about the legends of the ’80s would be complete without “The King of Pop,” whose 1982 offering Thriller is still the best-selling album of all time (it didn’t hurt that it stayed on the Billboard album charts for two years; now that’s proof positive that you have a classic on your hands!). His 1987 follow-up Bad was also a platinum-seller.

Whether you were looking for something to dance to (“Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “Wanna Be Startin Somethin,” “Bad,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,”), or something more dramatic (“Dirty Diana”) or something with a mix of both qualities (the epic “Thriller,” which even had its own dance — do you know all the steps?), Michael Jackson knew how to entertain and evoke many emotions through his music and he is very much missed.

George Michaelwhoshot gm

born June 25, 1963

George Michael, first earning his international acclaim as one half of Wham!, made American teenage girls (and boys) swoon starting in 1984, with Wham!’s album Make It Big spawning unforgettable singles like “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” “Freedom,” and “Careless Whisper,” the latter of which left no doubt as to his sultry sex symbol status. The sweet and carefree “Last Christmas” made everyone believe that he could be yours if you wanted him enough!

George went solo for good in 1986 and released the top-selling Faith album the next year, which produced the singles “Faith” and the very provocative “I Want Your Sex.”  His music success continued into the early 1990s, then he hit the skids for a while and was forced to come out of the closet after a sex sting in 1998. He’s had a tough time of it recently, but we smile when we remember the good old days.

whoshot princePrince

born June 7, 1958

Prince released five albums in a row from the late 1970s into the early 1980s, cementing his image as a funk and dance master who knew how to make his lyrics drip sex appeal. The album 1999 from the year 1982 was the first to bring him international success, as the singles “1999” (people still party like it’s 1999!) and “Little Red Corvette” topped charts throughout the world.

His 1984 album “Purple Rain” brought him the most fame of his career and brought us many classic songs (admit it: you all can sing at least one song off his album from memory. My fave is “Raspberry Beret”). He also raised the ire of Tipper Gore and countless bored housewives across America, leading to our current album advisory ratings and guidelines. (Perhaps well-deserved…even I have to admit “Darling Nikki” makes me shudder!) And all of that was before he changed his name to that symbol! Yes, Prince carved his own path in pop history.

Bruce Springsteenwhoshot bruce

born September 23, 1949

Proudly representing New Jersey, “The Boss” performs to appreciative crowds to this day with the E Street Band, and did you know you get a lot of bang for your buck when you see them? While some artists are lucky to sing an hour of their greatest hits, a Bruce Springsteen concert, on average, lasts four hours, with no intermissions. No surprise, really, since there’s a lot of material to choose from!

Springsteen’s acclaim built up as the 1980s went on, first with 1980’s The River, then with 1982’s Nebraska, and finally with the 1984 best-seller Born in the U.S.A. The single of the same name was a condemnation of how Vietnam veterans were treated by the American public, despite its later treatment as a patriotic song. “Dancing in the Dark” was ’80s pop at its finest. He is also fondly remembered for his activism, and his 1988 concert in East Germany made music — and world — history.

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