I started getting into the music of the 1980s around 1984 or 1985. At that point, the rock I would have been hearing would have been more “pop” oriented, such as REO Speedwagon, Foreigner, and Journey. Just three or so years later, I would become exposed to what has become known as “hair metal.” Here are some of my favorite rock songs of the 1980s.
Foreigner – “That Was Yesterday”: While this was never as big of a hit as “I Want to Know What Love Is,” I’ve always liked this one better. The message of this song really connects with me, especially now that I’m an adult.
Journey – “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)”: This poor song has been lampooned so much over the years, but it’s still one of my favorite Journey songs of all-time. While I like songs like “Faithfully” and “Open Arms,” they have never been able to dethrone this one as my favorite Journey song.
REO Speedwagon – “Can’t Fight This Feeling”: This is one of the first REO Speedwagon songs I remember hearing back when I was in the fourth grade, and I remember it grabbing me instantly. It’s one of the first “power ballads” I can remember hearing, and I think it helped lead me to the love of “power ballads” I developed later in the eighties.
Guns N’ Roses – “Patience”: It was hard to choose between this one and “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” but this one won out in the end. At the time, it was a very different-sounding song for Guns N’ Roses; it was an acoustic rock song from a band known for such songs as “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” and “Paradise City.” While I liked “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” it was this song that ultimately “sold” me on the band and to give the Appetite for Destruction material another chance.
Whitesnake – “Here I Go Again”: I remember hearing this on the radio a lot during the fall of 1987 when I was in seventh grade, and absolutely loving it. Being a bit of a loner at that point in my life, it was a song that really spoke to me.
Poison – “Fallen Angel”: This was the second single from their second album, Open Up and Say… Ahhh! This song told the story of a young girl moving to California to pursue her dreams of stardom, ultimately turning her back on her friends and letting her family slip away, while the stardom she achieves doesn’t seem to be quite like what she thought it would be.
U2 – “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”: This is a single from their classic 1987 album, The Joshua Tree. This is another one of those songs where, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve been able to develop a better understanding for what the lyrics are saying.
Motley Crue – “Dr. Feelgood”: This was the lead-off single and title track for Motley Crue’s 1989 album of the same name. Not only is there a story being told in the song, but there’s also a anti-drug message in the lyrics as well.
Warrant – “Heaven”: While this wasn’t the first song I heard from Warrant, it was the song that ultimately led me to develop an interest in the band. Like I said earlier, I had a love for “power ballads” in the late eighties, and “Heaven” is probably the epitome of a late eighties “power ballad.”