Saturday, March 25, 2023

Classical Music From The 80s

Fight The Power By Public Enemy

Classic LoveSongs · Music of the 80’s

Nineteen eighty-nine The first five syllables of Public Enemys most zeitgeisty hit, made at the request of Spike Lee for his groundbreaking film Do the Right Thing, pack a ton of punch. And it only gets more intense from there, building a manifesto of what to take swigs at, including this gem: Elvis was a hero to most / But he never meant shit to me / You see, straight-up racist that sucker was / Simple and plain / Mother-fuck him and John Wayne / Cuz I’m black and I’m prou. And thats the truth, Ruth.

Close To Me By The Cure

Robert Smiths un-merry men spent roughly half of the 80s making desperately sad goth rock, and the other half writing some of the best pop songs of all time. Naturally, there was a certain amount of leakage between the two which is why 1985s Close to Me is a strong contender for the bands best song, with its yearning lyrics matched by ultra perky brass riffs . Theres also an album version of this without the trumpets, but why would you even want that?

Its The End Of The World As We Know It By Rem

Thats great, it starts with an earthquake, begins Michael Stipe and the rumbling and rambling get crazier from there in R.E.M.s ironic beat poem. The lyrics pour out in a nervy jumble of apocalyptic imagery, military danger and mass-media frenzy, with pointed name-drops of pop-culture figures united only by their initials. Unlike its evil twin in 1980s rock, Billy Joels We Didnt Start the Fire, the song was not a huge pop hit on its 1987 album, Document, R.E.M. was still emerging from the niche of college rock. But its cut-through-the-chaos message still connects with anyone aiming to clear out a polluted stream of consciousness.

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Modern Love By David Bowie

Bowie was all over the place during the 80s: duetting with Jagger, clambering into spandex for Labyrinth, getting buried alive for Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence and ultimately embarking on a midlife crisis that resulted in a worrying beard and Tin Machine. But before all that, he managed to lay down some of the decades best tracks, including this nihilistic, Nile Rodgersassisted soul boogie from 1983. We defy your feet to stay on the floor as that cyclical, cynical, irresistible chorus hurtles on.

The 15 Most Famous Tunes In Classical Music

Various Artists

17 June 2022, 10:10 | Updated: 21 June 2022, 10:53

Here are some of the worlds most famous classical music melodies and everything you need to know about them.

Theres nothing more annoying than humming a tune but not knowing what its called or where its from. Fear not here are some of the most famous tunes from the history of classical music, complete with all the background information you need.

Read more: 30 of the greatest classical music composers of all time

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Dancing In The Dark By Bruce Springsteen

The Boss pinched the title of an old crooners standard to write his own classic, the finest single from his massive Born in the USA album in 1984. Bursting with ambition, frustration and sex, Dancing in the Dark is also Springsteens dance-floor peak, with a typically stunning sax solo by the late Clarence Clemons to top it all off. And there arent many songs from the era that come with an important warning about fire safety in the chorus.

Beethoven Symphony No5 In C Minor

This symphony by Beethoven opens with perhaps the four most famous chords of all time the famous da da da duuum. Some critics have suggested that this opening represents the sound of Fate knocking at the door.

Who knows if that’s what Beethoven had in mind but whats beyond a shadow of a doubt is that this piece has come so famous its even featured in pop songs.

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Attempt : Relatively Emotional Serialism

Much of the MCM that normal people hate is composed using a method called serialism, possibly the dominant genre of 20th century classical music. If youve ever heard a piece of music and thought It sounds like the composer is just trying to cram every single different note / rhythm / dynamic / timbre they can into the same piece, well then youre sort of right! As one famous serialist, Milton Babbitt, once put it, I want a piece of music to be literally as much as possible. Its an attitude which produces pieces like Composition for Four Instruments . Or The Bowl and the Laser Bat .

So, while I dont think serialism provides a good search heuristic for people seeking relatively accessible MCM, I also think that it would be weird for me to write a guide to MCM that didnt contain a list of serial pieces. Given that I must provide such a list, Ill try to point you to a few of the relatively emotional/accessible serialist pieces:

Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now

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Written for the film Mannequin by Albert Hammond Jrs dad after a messy break up, this was a soft rock anthem which remained atop of the UK singles charts for weeks and weeks. And until Cher came along with Believe, it made co-vocalist Grace Slick the oldest female singer to ever have a Number One hit.

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Hits: 80s Classics Review

This five-disc, 100-track set is like bottling time. These are the songs that dominated pop and rock radio stations in the 1980s, particularly if you lived in Britain, and listening to this box is like a nostalgic waltz back to that era. There are dozens of signature and iconic 1980s tracks here, including Billy Idol‘s “White Wedding,” Culture Club‘s “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” Kim Carnes‘ “Bette Davis Eyes,” Crowded House‘s “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” Talking Heads‘ “Wild Wild Life,” the Vapors‘ “Turning Japanese,” the Specials‘ “Ghost Town,” and John Waite‘s “Missing You,” among so many more, but again, this is a British set, so you get some more localized hits, too, like Cliff Richard‘s “Wired for Sound,” which may be less well known to some listeners. It all adds up to a nice musical time capsule of a time and place.

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Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of War Of The Worlds

Jeff Wayne began his musical career composing advertising jingles, but his career took off when he composed and recorded his musical version of the HG Wells novel War Of The Worlds. For the most part it’s a prog-rock epic, but the famous theme from ‘Eve Of The War’ and ‘Forever Autumn’ are full of orchestral clout. Stage versions of the album have been performed with classical stars like Russell Watson and Rhydian Roberts.

I Cant Go With That By Hall & Oates

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Yacht rock gets a lot of flack from the hipper-than-thou, but Hall & Oates isnt some laid-back, piña-colada swilling pair of finance bros. The bassline here is a stealthily funky ear-worm, and the sonic detrius that floats around in its wake is slinky, sexy and pure. What, precisely, H& O can’t go for is one of those mysteries thats never been definitively solved, which adds to the allure.

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Pull Up To The Bumper

Grace Joness fusion of funk and reggae, a perfect blend for the Island label, was smoothed considerably by rhythm section Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, who slipped comfortably into the musical melting pot of the new wave scene. They create the fluid slink here that allows Jones to prowl around, generally intimidating everyone with dirty car-pun come-ons. She intends to blow your horn. Obviously.

Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers: Dont Come Around Here No More

To the casual observer, Tom Petty was not considered edgy. Petty and The Heartbreakers didnt court trends or cutting-edge haircuts, but they did turn out some truly subversive music videos. Case in point, the delightfully psychedelic video to Dont Come Around Here No More, which casts Petty as the Mad Hatter from Alice In Wonderland who eats Alice after she suffers the unfortunate fate of becoming a sheet cake.

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Why Teens Dont Listen To Classical Music

Update: Ive taught music to teens for years in many contexts, and I firmly believe that a huge percentage of them do really enjoy and seek out classical music just not in the way you might expect. Learn more about this and many other such topics on my podcast.

What follows is a bit of a contrarian rant

When you see a teenager walking down the street, white earbuds firmly implanted, swaying slightly to their own inner grove, you can be pretty much certain that its not classical music theyre listening to. Teenagers I know can enthusiastically rattle off the name of a dozen bands on their current favorite playlist, but ask them if they know who Brahms was and a funny kind of glazed look comes over their eyes. Even my music students, who Id hope would know better, are astonishingly unknowledgeable about classical music, and if they dont even know the names of these composer, youd better believe that they dont have an recordings by them.

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No 6

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Gustav Mahler composed his sixth symphony at a prosperous time in his life, after hed married the Austrian-American composer, author, and socialite Alma Schindler, and had his second child. The four-movement work is no less doused in uncertainty and angst, and is one of Mahlers greatest masterpieces, praised by fellow 20th-century great Alban Berg as being the only one Sixth, notwithstanding Pastoral. Better than Beethoven? Strong praise indeed.

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Prokofiev Dance Of The Knights From Romeo And Juliet

You may well recognise this if youre a fan of The Apprentice The television series chose this section from Prokofievs Romeo and Juliet as its theme music.

The ballet tells the tragic story of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers and the war waged between the rival families, the Montagues and the Capulets. So its no surprise that this centrepiece of the ballet is one of the most dramatic pieces of music ever written. Nor that the producers of The Apprentice wanted some of that drama for their theme music.

Free Fallin By Tom Petty

Is there anyone who doesn’t like this song? The famously cantankerous Lou Reed loved it, as did Tom Cruise’s go-get-em titular character in Jerry Maguire . And to this day, were betting the fanbase for the breezy sing-along fave still runs the gamut from get-me-out-of-here teens to the dads they think are lame, and from snobs who wouldnt be caught dead doing karaoke to people who live for it.

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Cyndi Lauper: Girls Just Want To Have Fun

With her rallying call for joie de vivre, Cyndi Lauper essentially created the original girl gang and became one of MTVs first breakout stars and a national sensation. In the video, Lauper rebels against her parents . The visuals are just a buoyant as the music: it makes you want to skip down the streets of the Lower East Side just like Lauper herself.

Purple Rain By Prince

80s Music

Prince was so prolific in the ’80s that 90% of this list could be his and it would still be correct. But forced to pick one Prince song, Purple Rain is the obvious choice. Its a swelling, perfectly crafted masterpiece that spotlights everything that made Prince Rogers Nelson an absolute legend: his gift for unique melodies his multinstrumentalism his uncanny vocal ability to shift from guttural to falsetto, from aggrieved to ethereal and his unmatched ability to absolutely slay a guitar solo. It’s Prince at his best, a song that remains as impactful today as it was nearly 40 years ago.

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Dont Believe The Hype

Who left the kettle on? Public Enemys first UK top 20 hit is as naggingly catchy as any hip-hop smash had to be back in 1988, a relentless squirt of whistles and looped beats absolutely peppered with quotable rhymes and Flavor Flav madness. No you cant have it back, silly rabbit! Flavor tells a journalist robbed of his Dictaphone. That told em. Us.

Beat It By Michael Jackson

We get so used to the sleek, funky side of Michael Jackson on the hit parade that was Thriller that it’s easy to forget how hard Beat It actually legitimately rocks. And it’s not just Eddie Van Halen’s famous finger-busting solo its that perfectly formed sneer of a guitar riff conceived by Jackson and played by session ace Steve Lukather those exaggered downbeats that feel like medicine balls being slammed down on a concrete floor and the raw desperation in MJs voice as he chronicles the harsh truths of the street-fighting life. As much of a dance-floor killer as it is, Beat It is a genuinely heavy song, psychologically as much as sonically.

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Should I Stay Or Should I Go

Poised between staying or leaving both The Clash and girlfriend Ellen Foley, Mick Joness lyrics were appropriately propulsive. Mixing a punk sneer with rockabilly aggression, this track strutted into the mainstream, following the blast of Rock The Casbah and managing to show what a diverse and eclectic bunch the quartet had grown into. From the squall of 1977s White Riot to this 1982 parting shot.

In The Air Tonight By Phil Collins

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You’d think that Mike Tyson air-drumming to Phil Collinss 1981 signature hit in The Hangover would’ve somehow sapped In the Air Tonight of its eerie potency. But no, the song shot through with the Genesis-drummerturnedsolo-hit-makers post-divorce bitterness still unfolds with a dramatic tension worthy of Stanley Kubrick, layering haunting guitar wisps, pillowy synth chords and Collinss ghostly vocodered lead turn over a rudimentary Roland CR-78 beat. Oh, and there’s also the little matter of the greatest drum fill in pop history at the 3:40 mark.

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This Must Be The Place By Talking Heads

David Byrnes hugely influential Talking Heads had many songs that seem more definitively 80s than this Speaking in Tongues standout, but few have endured across decades more seamlessly. With its sweetly tingling synth notes and Tina Weymouth’s pulsing bassline, it’s a lovely, dreamlike song, one that feels timeless because you can’t quite tell whether it was gifted to us from the past or the future.

I Wanna Dance With Somebody By Whitney Houston

In 1987, Houston was still very much a fresh-faced siren with the crystal-clear voice and a world of possibilities at her feet. Her approach to this song which, when you break it down, is more about loneliness than love says a lot about her ability to radiate warmth and positivity through her singular sound. It’s miles away from the struggles the singer would face later in her career. Always a party starter and roof-igniting karaoke jam, the song become a bittersweet rallying cry in the years since her death. You can practically hear 23-year-old smiling through the chorus, urging every last wallflower on to the dance floor.

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Under Pressure By Queen & David Bowie

Oh, that ill-fated bassline. Before Vanilla Ice famously ripped off er, was inspired by the work of Queen bassist John Deacon, that subtle, infectious plucking heralded the meeting of two wildly influential rock icons. Considering the titanic forces at work in this tune, it’s relatively understated, but it does ultimately climb to the sparkling heights that both Bowie and Freddie Mercury inhabited with such ease.

Everybody Wants To Rule The World By Tears For Fears


We may dismiss the 80s as an era of musical cheese, light on substance and heavy on excess. But the decade delivered some of musics most emotional, teary moments, the more affecting for the fact that the vehicle is pop. This 1985 hit by Tears for Fears is one such song, an existential meditation of sorts, opening with the line, Welcome to your life theres no turning back. Its a serious pop song, as bassist-singer Curt Smith remarked: Its about everybody wanting power, about warfare and the misery it causes.

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Hooked On Classics By The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

You know how, at the end of a horror or suspense film, the bad guy appears to be dead? Then somebody goes over to the body to make sure he/she is dead, and then AH!!!!!, they sit straight up, or take one last swipe at the good guy before they drop dead for real? Well the Royal Philharmonic Orchestras Hooked on Classics was Discos version of that. Just when everybody thought Disco was dead Boom!! this song became a top 10 hit!

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is a British orchestra based in London, and was founded in 1946.

In 1981, Louis Clark, former arranger for Electric Light Orchestra, conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra playing a collection of very recognizable Classical Music pieces with a fast Disco beat in the background. A single was released, which had a medley of the songs from that album. It peaked at #10 on January 30, 1982.

In addition to Classical music, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performed orchestral arrangements of rock music by artists such as Queen , George Michael, R.E.M., and U2.

But, only the Hooked On Classics medley became a hit single:

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