Theme Thursday – The 1980s

For those of us that remember the decade known as the 80s, it was a fun decade.  There were no major wars, no economic crisis that I knew of, and gases prices were lower than we will ever see again.  Metal (or rock in general) was on MTV all day and was also on the radio.  When I say metal I really mean the long-haired dudes that slightly resembled chicks (See photo  to the right and below if you can’t imagine what I am talking about).

I was a tween and a teenager for most of the decade.  When I reflected on the 80s I realized that the music (mostly in metal) revolved around three main topics; having a good time; hooking up and/or angst-ridden love; and the third topic was a general state of being heartbroken.  The latter of the three usually came in the form of the popular 80s power ballad.  Every band at the time had at last one or two.  This Thursday’s theme is about a genre of music known affectionately as hair metal or hair bands.

Having a good time

A popular topic across the board in the 80s was about just having a damn good time.  Poison even named a song after it called Nuthin but a Good Time.  It was a very self-explanatory song and there was nothing more to it.  You were expected to just have a good time in a manner applicable to you.  Other bands sang about having a good time as well.  White Lion said All You Need is Rock and Roll and Skid Row sang about uninhibited fun in the form of Youth Gone Wild meaning…we were just having a good time, but our parents thought we were crazy.

Hooking up and Angst-ridden love

The second ingredient to a good 80s tune was about relationships (good and bad) to include just getting a piece of a$$. On the hook up side, Bon Jovi were the masters at this category with songs such as Bed of Roses, Lay Your Hands On Me, and I’d Die For You (for the angst-ridden love part).  Def Leppard told everyone to Pour Some Sugar On Me and to Let’s Get Rocked.   Loverboy said This Could Be The Night insinuating that someone was going to Get Lucky, which incidentally was the name of Loverboy’s second album released in 1981.  Loverboy named an entire album after getting lucky; it must have been important to them at the time.  Later in the decade Motley Crue declared She Goes Down and Ratt says Lovin You is a Dirty Job.  I am sure there was no actual dirt involed.

Heartbreak Hotel

The third topic was about just being heartbroken for whatever reason.  A person could have been heartbroken after being dumped or after having lost a loved one due to death.  Or a person could have been heartbroken just yearning to love someone.   When it came to breaking up or being heartbroken, Dokken cornered the market in this category with Walk Away, Alone Again, Heaven Sent, and Jaded Heart.  Winger was upset about being Miles Away and Whitesnake Acknowledged that Now You’re Gone.  Saigon Kick stormed the scene with their one-hit Love is on the Way and L.A. Guns sang the Ballad of Jayne.

Whatever band or artist it was at the time, they all had these three lyrical topics in common.  Some bands have withstood the test of time such as Bon Jovi and Def Leppard while others faded away with the decade.  Lately there has been a renewed interest in 80s big hair bands.  Some such as Whitesnake and Ratt have recently released new albums.

Although these three topics are popular ingredients in music today; they resonated in 80s rock/metal.  Much like in 2011, bands in the 1980s sang about what was around them.  Since there was economic stability and little to no warfare there was nothing to be angry about.  It was party-on dude and the party raged for a little over 10 years.  The music of the time reflected what was going on in the world during the 80s of which I was a part of. I think the only thing people were generally scared about was getting AIDS.  And bands sang about that too.  This theme is dedicated to the 80s bands that rocked.  Below are some videos of my favorite bands and/or songs of the time.  Until next time….don’t forget where you came from.

About Reggie

Just a dude writing a heavy metal blog and always on the prowl for a cool metal show. I am also a family man...first and foremost!

Posted on August 11, 2011, in Theme Thursday and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Unfortunately I was not around for the ’80s but most of my favorite metal bands are from that period (no surprise!) Even though these bands have toned down the hair factor they still write songs that talk about just having a good time. Those kind of songs are just as important today as they were then, if not more so.

  2. Ahh, the 80’s, such a unique specimen in american culture. Guys looked like chicks, chicks looked like dudes, and if you had invested in hairspray your were a happy person. While I was a bit young during the 80’s, I still remember parts of it quite well and bands like GnR, Skid Row, Van Halen, and Bon Jovi are hard to forget. One of the best thing about the 80’s was that happy go lucky attitude you mention, something that has taken a dive in todays modern metal scene. The 80’s is also when a lot of thrash metal got its start too with bands like Anthrax, Sacred Reich, Exodous, and Metallica. A lot of the thrash bands of the time too had the similar theme of having a good time, albeit in a more crazy way. There was the NWOBHM that was big in the 80’s too, which led to that fateful day when I first heard Iron Maiden. Great post, now I think I’m going to grab me a Tab, put on my brightly colored wig-wams, pop in some Bon Jovi and have a good time.

  3. Sacred Riech…the first time I bled at a show. I am not even sure where that first came from during the first notes of the opening song Independent. That Wichita Falls, TX crowd was rough. You just brought back fond memories. Funny, I never got to see Bon Jovi until recently. I only saw a small handful of 80’s hair bands until heavy metal got its grips on me. I think it was Dokken, Loverboy, Whitesnake, Great White, Poison, Tesla. Later in life i caught Warrant (RIP J. Lane) and last year Bon Jovi. I hear Van Halen is going back on tour. hmmmm…..

    • A Van Halen show would be awesome, I haven’t listened to them in years, but would love to catch them live, I could only imagine how big that show would be. I saw David Lee Roth in the early 2000’s and he put on a great show, tons of energy. Me and my wife went to the Bon Jovi concert in Udine, Italy last month and it was a great time. The show was sold out(40k capacity) and everyone was so into it. He performed great to and had such a bright smile on his face the entire show. The chemistry between him and Ritchie Sambora was great(as well as the rest of the band). You could tell they were genuinely having a great time.

  4. After having seen Bon Jovi I wonder how anyone could possibly NOT have a good time. I am glad you had fun. I managed to hear David Lee Roth once. I used to live fairly close to the outdoor venue in NH when I was a teen. Sometimes I had to work when there was a show, but when I got home i sat on my porch and listened to David Lee Roth and also Skid Row and Bon Jovi. I also managed to listen to Winger once at Hampton Beach. I was too young to get into the club, but i remember hearing Seventeen and Miles Away. Kip also told the crowd they were the rowdiest bunch to ever sit down at a show. I guess all the peeps were just sitting and cheering loudly.

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