Last month, we launched something new to the Music Unlimited web client: Featured Playlists. This is your one-stop for curated playlists from your favorite artists, music influencers and the Music Unlimited staff.
Our latest is the 88 Hits of the 80s Playlist. The 1980s were such an exciting time in music and pop culture that we ran right past a self-imposed 80 song limit for our featured playlist and had to force ourselves to stop at 88 decade-defining tunes.
Michael Jackson made the stunning transition from beloved 1970s child prodigy to the King of Pop with Off The Wall and Thriller. M.J.’s female counterpart was Madonna, who also mastered every form of media and quickly went from being a charming dance pop striver to a flirty provocateur to a respected recording artist.
Madonna and Michel Jackson’s creative music videos found an outlet on the fledgling MTV network, which also helped break a number of innovative 1980s acts to wider audiences: America’s own Talking Heads and a host of British synth-pop groups such as Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys, Eurhythmics and Depeche Mode.
The one thing initially ignored on MTV was rap, which first hit the national scene with The Sugarhill Gang and quickly took off with the street smart rhymes of Run-DMC, Grandmaster Flash and the revolutionary Public Enemy. Afrika Bambaattaa’s producer, Arthur Baker, sampled Kraftwerk on “Planet Rock,” which is ironic since that German art band is probably the single biggest sonic influence on today’s global club scene.
The peerless Prince was a tireless creative movement unto himself, crafting brilliant albums, hit movies and becoming as much of a guitar hero as Eddie Van Halen. Prince never hid his deep musical ties to R&B and rock’s traditions which may help explain why such 1960s and ‘70s icons as Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Robert Palmer, David Bowie and The Rolling Stones actually enjoyed their greatest popular successes in the 1980s.
Finally, disparate indie acts such as New Order, The Smiths, The Violent Femmes and The Replacements slowly grew in popularity and ended up influencing a host of artists in the 1990s up through today, proving that the 1980s never really went away.
Hear the new playlist now!