Two things pop in my mind when I hear the numbers "1984.". George Orwell's classic masterpiece that I've never read but understand society is rapidly becoming, and Van Halen's classic last album that probably isn't nearly as "classic" as I thought it was a couple decades ago. The more prominent record from this year is definitely Prince's "Purple Rain" which has aged quite well. Other than that, Madonna begins (if that matters), the Boss puts out "Born in the USA" and new wave begins to die.
55. People are People – Depeche Mode (Sythnpop)84
54. 2 Minutes To Midnight – Iron Maiden (Heavy Metal)84
53. Smalltown Boy – Bronski Beat (Synthpop)84
52. Jam on It – Newcleus (Rap)84
Here’s yet another potentially great rap song that just goes on way to long.
51. Two Tribes – Frankie Goes to Hollywood (Synthpop)84
50. 99 Luftballoons – Nena (Pop)84
49. I Would Die 4 U – Prince (Synthpop)84
48. Don’t Go Back To Rockville – REM (Alternative Rock)84
47. Blasphemous Rumors – Depeche Mode (Industrial)84
Here’s the first industrial song, or at least the roots of the genre. I’m not a fan of this song, or the genre, but props for being original.
46. Take Me With You – Prince (Pop Rock)84
45. What’s Love Got To Do With It – Tina Turner (Rhythm & Blues)84
44. The Old Man Down the Road – John Fogerty (Rock)84
It’s like Creedence is back!
43. You Spin Me (Like a Record) – Dead or Alive (Synthpop)84
42. Glory Days – Bruce Springsteen (Rock)84
If John Cougar sang this song, would you be able to tell the difference?
41. Like a Virgin – Madonna (Pop)84
I’m not sure how much Madonna I’ll discuss, but this one has to count for something. “Material Girl” was eliminated because basically it’s part of the problem. That song ruined at least one generation of women.
40. Darling Nikki – Prince (Rock)84
39. Turn on the News – Husker Du (Punk)84
38. Hero Takes a Fall – The Bangles (Rock)84
37. Dancing in the Dark – Bruce Springsteen (Smooth Rock)84
Whoever convinced the Boss to go with an amoebic synthetic drum beat on this song was hopefully fired.
36. I Will Dare – The Replacements (Alternative Rock)84
35. So. Central Rain – REM (Alternative Rock)84
34. Hammer to Fall – Queen (Hard Rock)84
33. I’m on Fire – Bruce Springsteen (Slow Rock)84
32. Rock Box – Run DMC (Rap)84
Here’s the first mix of rap music with a power chord driven guitar. This must have been what the Beastie Boys heard when they said, “Why the hell can’t we do that much better?”
31. Pretty Persuasion – REM (Alternative Rock)84
30. Wanted Man – Ratt (Butt Rock)84
How about a little Ratt ‘n Roll? Ratt, with the possible exception of L.A. Guns, may be the sleaziest band ever.
29. Runaway – Bon Jovi (Butt Rock)84
Remember the big news story in the early 80s was Pat Benatar look-alikes running away from home? When’s the last time you’ve heard of someone running away from home? It’s strange the problems society faces in a given decade. Nowadays it’s Facebook bullying and 20 years from now … who knows.
28. Perfect Skin – Lloyd Cole & The Commotions (Pop Rock)84
27. Pride (In the name of love) – U2 (Rock)84
This is probably where U2’s descent into douchebaggery begins. Bono breathes way too much on this one which is the first window into his pretentiousness.
26. Basketball – Kurtis Blow (Rap)84
This is a great song, and basketball isn’t my favorite sport. I don’t even care about the way they dribble up and down the court.
25. I Want to Break Free – Queen (Rock)84
24. Let’s Go Crazy – Prince (Funk)84
23. Upside Down – The Jesus and Mary Chain (Alternative Rock)84
These guys are certainly noisy and obnoxious … and it’s still better than most of the early 80s!
22. She Bop – Cyndi Lauper (Synthpop)84
She’s almost the first Avril Lavigne because she’s soooooo punk and not really punk at all. Ridiculing Cyndi Lauper is pointless though. This is a great tune, mostly because of the chorus.
21. We’re Not Gonna Take It – Twisted Sister (Butt Rock)84
Some of these lesser rock bands must have loved the invention of the music video because it brought their music to a more entertaining level. Mr. Sister was great at this.
20. Unsatisfied – The Replacements (Alternative Rock)84
19. What Difference Does It Make – The Smiths (Alternative Rock)84
If you take Morrissey out of the equation, you may be able to sell me on the Smiths.
18. Nobody Told Me – John Lennon (Rock)84
It’s strange that a song recorded four years earlier sounds better than most songs of its kind upon its release.
17. I Just Called To Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder (Pop)84
I’m torn here because the melody of this song is an A+, but that damn 80’s pop drum machine beat nearly kills it. If this song came out in the early 70s it’d probably be one of the greatest pop hits ever.
16. When Doves Cry – Prince (Pop)84
If you listen closely, you can hear Prince bite Michael Jackson’s trademark “Eeeeheeee!”, but there’s no “J’mon.”
15. The Killing Moon – Echo and the Bunnymen (Alternative Rock)84
14. Dance Hall Days - Wang Chung (New Wave)84
This is probably another one of those songs I love because it was in a Grand Theft Auto video game. It always makes me think of Lance Vance, and that brings a smile to my face … well, pre me having to kill Lance Vance because he turned on me.
13. Born in the USA – Bruce Springsteen (Rock)84
How ironic is it that my favorite Bruce Springsteen song happens to be his most popular one?
12. Jump – Van Halen (Pop Rock)84
I came in with the premonition that this would be an overrated song because it’s always considered THEE song of 1984. I was all ready to bash it, especially because I know this leads to the next few Van Hagar albums being way oversynthesized, but alas, this is a great song.
11. Lake of Fire – Meat Puppets (Grunge)84
Let the grunge debates begin! Obviously this wasn’t grunge when it came out, but by today’s standards, it does have the heavy distorted guitar hopelessness sound, and I can’t really classify it as heavy metal or punk. Nirvana covering it kind of transformed it.
10. Fade to Black – Metallica (Heavy Metal)84
This sort of sounds like “Unforgiven,” just a million times better.
9. Drive – The Cars (Smooth Rock)84
I never listened to this song before. I’ve heard it, but now that I’m listening to it I’m amazed. This is a great song.
8. Round and Round – Ratt (Butt Rock)84
7. How Soon Is Now? – The Smiths (Alternative Rock)84
I have to retract some of the Smiths taunting I’ve done in my day. They have a couple of really good songs. I still don’t like that Vanilla Ice-lookin Morissey character, but this song is great.
6. Take on Me – A-Ha (Synthpop)84
5. Smooth Operator – Sade (Rhythm & Blues)84
It’s rare to find good R&B in the 80s, but then again, it’s rare to find almost any pure music, and it’s even a stretch saying this is pure.
4. Panama – Van Halen (Hard Rock)84
3. Rock You Like a Hurricane – Scorpions (Hard Rock)84
Sometimes it’s real tough to differentiate between “hard” rock and “butt” rock, but this tune, though cheesy to some, is a classic rock song. This is much better than 80’s hair bands, but it’s probably because they’re German.
2. Purple Rain – Prince (Slow Rock)84
This entire album is the only album I’ve ever owned by Prince. I’ve heard a few others, but in a Stevie Wonder kind of way, they never seem to work in full. I’m certain this is my favorite Prince song of all-time. Even the guitar solo kicks ass.
1. Hot For Teacher – Van Halen (Hard Rock)84
If you don’t like this song, you don’t enjoy guitar, drums or obnoxious lead singing showmanship, which are all at an absolute apex (6 words in a row starting with the letter “A”) here.