By Jack Sharkey, September 8, 2017
The Cold War and a movie in November about how it was all going to end had the culture in a firm grip, but some changes in the music were also starting to become evident - we were at the Dawn of the 1980s.
99 Luftballons - Nena Sure she and her irresponsible boyfriend caused the Soviets and the Americans to destroy the world because of some toy ballons, but she seemed so hip and Teutonic and unaffected by it all that we were able to forgive her.
Every Breath You Take - The Police They weren't punk and they weren't New Wave, but they were huge and Sting's retelling of his divorce in the mega-hit album Synchronicity spawned hit after hit in 1983 and 1984. Every Breath You Take was the king of them all.
Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) - Eurythmics Capitalizing on the new paradigm of image over substance, Eurythmics brought both in 1983 and in the meantime changed the music industry. Every DIY musician working on their opus in their closet studios can thank Dave and Annie for forcing record labels to take computer music and DIY musicians seriously. It had to happen eventually, but it happened in 1983 with this song.
Let's Dance - David Bowie Arguably, the most important record producer of the 1980s was Chic's Nile Rogers. He brought the big drums and post-modern funk guitars to some of the stiffest back-beats the world had ever heard, and in so doing, he shaped the sound of the rest of the decade. Of course, he had a little help from David Bowie, who never passed up the opportunity to turn his artistic restlessness into the next world-wide trend.
Beat It - Michael Jackson Another uber-producer, Quincy Jones, took pop-star Michael Jackson and turned him into the musical force of the decade. A perfect blend of pop, funk and hard rock, Beat It may sound trite today, but in 1983 it was badass. And those guitars? Eddie Van Halen on a freebie studio stop-by. And let's not forget the door knock sequence at 3:06 that seques into Van Halen's rusty hinge guitar intro.