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Top 80s Songs and Their Meaning

Songs of the 80′s were all about big hair, big attitude and big fashion. For those of us who remember the 80s, looking back at the top five may take you down memory lane. But do you recall the bands or even the meaning of some of these top songs? If not, here is a reminder.

1.) Bon Jovi: ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’
The song is about a fictional working class couple, Tommy and Gina, who struggle to make ends meet and maintain their relationship. Tommy “used to work on the docks” because “union’s been on strike, he’s down on his luck”. Gina works at a diner, “workin’ for her man”.

While some have loosely interpreted the lyrics to be anti-labor, inferring that the striking labor unions are the catalyst for the troubled chain of events for Tommy and Gina, others have pointed out that the song does not clarify the circumstances behind the strike. Some believe the lone, vague reference does not equate with an anti-union political message. In fact, Jon Bon Jovi explained that he “wrote that song during the Reagan era and the trickle-down economics are really inspirational to writing songs”.

In 2006, online voters rated “Livin’ On A Prayer” #1 on VH1′s “list of The 100 Greatest Songs of the ’80s”. More recently, in New Zealand, “Livin’ On A Prayer” was #1 on the C4 music channel show’s “U Choose 40″, on the 80′s Icons list.

2.) Def Leppard: ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’

Producer Mutt Lange wanted to create a song that would make the band more accessible to mainstream audiences. Joe Elliott later commented that it was the most important song the band did, because it was about sex; and was well accepted.

Joe Elliot claimed, “There wasn’t any meaning. That was the wonderful thing about the ’80s. We were trying to write a song that was phonetically friendly. We grew up listening to David Bowie and Marc Bolan, who wrote great songs that didn’t make sense. “Sugar” was just a great title. It’s just an analogy for give it to me, baby”.

3.) Journey: ‘Don’t Stop Believin”

The song was originally released on the band’s album Escape. This power ballad first debuted in 1981, and is still the top song played on jukeboxes all over the United States and England. Don’t Stop Believin’ listed #9 on the Billboard Top 40 chart in 1981, remaining in the position for an astonishing 13 weeks.

Recently the song has aired on such television shows as: The Family Guy, The Sopranos, Scrubs and the new television hit, Glee. It has also remained on the top ten most downloaded songs list for the past four years.

4.) Madonna: ‘Like a Virgin’

Madonna has continually awed crowds with her ‘out-there’ fashion sense and sensational lyrics. This being said, it is not coincidental that her song, ‘Like a Virgin’ became such a hit after its 1984 release. ‘Like a Virgin’ ironically became many ‘firsts’ for Madonna, as it was not only her first single, but also her first #1 seller in the: U.S., Canada, Japan and Australia.

After hearing the demo, written by both Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, Madonna claimed: “…I certainly wasn’t a virgin, and, by the way, how can you be like a virgin? I liked the play on words. I thought they were clever.”

5.) AC DC: ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’

This release from AC DC’s album Back in Black became a definite on all of AC DC’s tour set lists. As their most widely recognized song, the song has never been excluded from any concert. When asked about the meaning of the video, the band said that their idea was to, “be as politically incorrect as possible.”

As of 2008 AC DC has sold over 200 million albums around the world; over half of which included the song ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’.

Jeff Bachmeier is owner of 977music.com, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile. For more information please visit http://www.977music.com.

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  • About the Author:
    Jeff Bachmeier is owner of 977music.com, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile.

    For more information please visit 977music.com.