Looking Back at 1984 in Music

Thirty years ago was a remarkable time for pop culture. MTV had exploded, marking a new era in the music business, and there was an incredible variety of music on that network, as well as the radio. With MTV and radio so segregated these days, it’s remarkable to think that on one channel you could see Michael Jackson, Madonna, Twisted Sister, Culture Club, and Bruce Springsteen.

So Rolling Stone just poised the question, was 1984 the greatest year in pop music? It arguably may have been the biggest, and in the book I Want My MTV, one prominent manager felt the year was the true beginning of the eighties. (Some feel that a decade really doesn’t begin until four or five years in.)

Stone also listed the top 100 singles of that year. We won’t list them all here, but #100 is Corey Hart’s Sunglasses at Night, and the top ten are as follows: Shelia E’s the Glamorous Life at #10, followed by Born in the U.S.A., Purple Rain, Don Henley’s the Boys of Summer, Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time, Thriller, another Prince song with Let’s Go Crazy, I Feel For You by Chaka Khan (which was written by Prince), Borderline by Madonna, and at #1, When Doves Cry.

Cruising through the list, some songs that made me smile that I had forgotten about: Midnight Star’s Freakozoid, Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Relax, which has essentially become the gay national anthem, Rockwell’s Somebody’s Watching Me, Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Gonna Take It, Ratt’s Round and Round, Matthew Wilder’s Break My Stride, and the theme from Ghostbusters, just to name a few.

David Konow

David Konow has been a writer for far too long. He has written for Deadline, Indiewire, The Village Voice, LA Weekly, The Wrap, Tom's Games, and many others. He has also authored three books: Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and Reel Terror (St Martins).


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