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80's radio's influence on music

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Poem58
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« on: July 08, 2010, 12:30:36 pm »

Were the 80's the last truly good decade for music on the radio?

Being a child of the 70's and 80's, I managed to notice this thing called music from an early age.
While I wasn't engaged in collecting anything until I was around 12, the earlier years were full of strange and wonderful sounds.

I still can remember some dark memory of an evening at home with the lights down and the stereo playing and the song was "Kiss You All Over" by Exile. The swirling background sounds, the deep sultry singing. Seemed strange to a kid who was old enough to understand what a kiss was but not old enough to want to kiss ANYONE all over!
The as I got older those sounds of Dancing Queen, Kiss You All Over, Hey Jude, and some song about a Park on Saturday became this mix of even more unusual sounds, but I started to like these!

I was hearing the Stalker song known as "Every Move You Make" by the Police. Songs by Toto, .38 Special, Huey Lewis, Air Supply and on and on. Yes it appeared I had been hit by the 80's ballad bug. But not just that. I found myself liking songs from Yes, Bon Jovi, The Jets, Blondie, the Eurythmics, Men at Work, Level 42, Metallica, even Aretha Franklin!

It wasn't until late in the 90's that it hit me, I wasn't listening to the radio anymore. Why? it all sounded kind of the same. Lots of rock and Hip hop but not much else. I had realized that one reason I had such a diverse musical taste was that in the 80's they actually played all kinds of stuff on the radio. I heard everything from love ballads to jazz tunes (like Herbie Hancock's "Rockit") even instrumentals like Chariots of Fire and Axel F. I cannot think of one radio played instrumental song since the 90's started. Can you!?

I don't mean on specialized stations, like the classical station. But on standard pop radio. In the 80's you could hear just about everything I have listed on the same station (obviously not all in the same year)

I honestly feel that CD sales went down because our exposure to different musical styles was taken away. the format changed into things being alike and less taking risks and being diverse. That is what made my growing up years just that more fun. The diversity of music where I could hear new songs by an old artist on the same station as a new song by a new artist. It would go from Rock to funk to ballad to new wave to rap to instrumental all on the same station.

So this is why I believe the 80's to be the last good decade for radio and consequently why older artists no longer had the impact they had carried up until the 90's. Also music sales began to fall in thr early 90's and only rebounded around 2000 when Napster was in full swing. Why would Napster have caused that? well, once again, you had access to every type of music at your disposal and they found in studies that people would find an old track on there and go to find the CD. Despite what the RIAA claimed, they actually increased sales not decreased and since Napster it has been down and stayed down. (I believe iTunes sales brought it back up some)

Do you long for the days when artists you never heard of were all over the airwaves? I do.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2010, 06:55:04 pm by Poem58 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2010, 06:34:01 pm »

I think the 80's was a great decade for music. Good thing, since I was a child of the 80's. But really, who can forget zipping around the skating rink every Friday night to "Mr. Roboto", or "Take on Me".  And the videos! Thank God for You Tube. Of course, it's not the same as sitting in front of MTV for hours on end, hoping to catch that Dire Straits video, but it's better than nothing.

And I think you're absolutely right about the radio stations. Back then, the same station would play anything from Air Supply to Aerosmith (except Country). So we were exposed to more, and tended to listen outside our boxes. Then everything was cut up and compartmentalized (is that even a word); and then came the MP3 and Ipod, and who the heck needs FM anymore? I listen to my MP3, I listen to AM, and that's it. Maybe I'm just out of touch with the Now, but I really don't think there's anything on the FM dial I care to hear. These days, it's nothing but traffic reports, weather sensationalizm, celebrity updates, screaming appliance sale commercials, and the occasional whine fest song.

So I don't exactly long for the days artist I never heard of are on the stations, because they are. What I miss is hearing something I'd never heard, liking it, wondering who sang it, and wanting to hear it again. And going into Camelot or Musicland or wherever and reciting a few lines to a long haired, almond eyed, ear pierced, gender questionable person, who could promptly take me right to the album or cassette I was after; and then, if the price was right, I'd have discovered a whole bunch of new songs I liked but never would have heard of.

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« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2010, 02:55:36 pm »

So I don't exactly long for the days artist I never heard of are on the stations, because they are. What I miss is hearing something I'd never heard, liking it, wondering who sang it, and wanting to hear it again. And going into Camelot or Musicland or wherever and reciting a few lines to a long haired, almond eyed, ear pierced, gender questionable person, who could promptly take me right to the album or cassette I was after; and then, if the price was right, I'd have discovered a whole bunch of new songs I liked but never would have heard of.

Me, too. I also miss connecting a song to a certain time and place. Nowadays, I hear songs on my iPod or on Youtube, but in the 70s and 80s you'd hear a song all summer, or every time you went to the local pizza place, or you'd remember a friend who played it all the time in the car.
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Becky
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« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2010, 05:40:20 pm »

Thank MTV.

They made the early 80s an interesting time for music, but by the late 80s, radio became nothing but rap, techno-pop, dance music and hair band rock.

When grunge came in 1990, I was completely disinterested in new rock music.
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« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2010, 05:41:59 pm »



Me, too. I also miss connecting a song to a certain time and place. Nowadays, I hear songs on my iPod or on Youtube, but in the 70s and 80s you'd hear a song all summer, or every time you went to the local pizza place, or you'd remember a friend who played it all the time in the car.

80's Flashback! You reminded me of going out to eat with my family at Pizza Makers- Dad would give us each a couple quarters for video games, and I always used one of mine in the juke box. 2 songs for a quarter- I'd just play Glory of Love twice.
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Poem58
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« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2010, 04:57:00 am »



Me, too. I also miss connecting a song to a certain time and place. Nowadays, I hear songs on my iPod or on Youtube, but in the 70s and 80s you'd hear a song all summer, or every time you went to the local pizza place, or you'd remember a friend who played it all the time in the car.

80's Flashback! You reminded me of going out to eat with my family at Pizza Makers- Dad would give us each a couple quarters for video games, and I always used one of mine in the juke box. 2 songs for a quarter- I'd just play Glory of Love twice.

And that reminds me when some friends got me to start roller skating with them I would have the disc Jockey play Hard Habit to Break every time I went there, he seemed quite annoyed after awhile but he did it anyway, it was after all a perfect "slow-skate" song.

As you can guess, this was right about the time I was about to make my first non 45, full album purchase "17", the rest is history (actually quite literally as the original lineups music was unknown to me at that time)

I find it funny Packercracker said
"So I don't exactly long for the days artist I never heard of are on the stations, because they are. What I miss is hearing something I'd never heard, liking it, wondering who sang it, and wanting to hear it again."

Which was what I was trying to say. I know even the 70's radio played more variety, but my memory of then isn't so strong due to being a smaller kid and not really paying much attention to things like variety. It just seems that in the 80's the variety was there in such a degree that the 90's became significantly noticeable how much they reduced that.

Also Packer, you said that the same station would play everything from "Air Supply to Aerosmith (except Country)" however I think you might be forgetting that these stations would also play songs like, Kenny and Dolly's "Islands In The Stream", Ronnie Milsap's "Lost in the Fifties Tonight", Alabama's "40 Hour Week (For a Livin')" and "Deep River Woman" w/Lionel Ritchie, Eddie Rabbit "Drivin My Life Away" and "I Love A Rainy Night" as well as others.

So yeah, you could find just about every type of music on the dial and many on the same station! I noticed as well in the 90's (in our area at least), that the stations as a whole began to tighten their focus with one even editing the "rap" portions of Sugar Ray's "Fly" out of the song to fit their no "No rap ever" format (something they had to eventually drop to play anything new)

The biggest thing for me was because of this diversity there were a ton of one hit wonders, you must admit that there are quite a few groups from then you'd be very unhappy to have missed that big single of theirs yet you never heard them again, or what came later just wasn't that good. Now it seems more like you can only get on the radio if you sound like most everyone else virtually guaranteeing you will be around for awhile. Which is why I think most R&B-Rap and Rock sounds so mush the same. Listen to "Halo" by Beyonce and "Already Gone" by Kelly Clarkson. I can never tell which one is which cause to me they sound virtually identical until the words begin.

When I hear the lyrics to the Black Eye'd Pea's " I got a Feeling" and heard how they basically filled in the lyrics with everything but the kitchen sink, I realized even though 80's songs sometimes had bizarre lyrics (heck many songs in many decades) this song has to be a new low in terms of just saying words to complete the rhyme. And it seems like the song is a hit!

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« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2010, 01:25:53 pm »

Here's an 80s flashback to the dance clubs (and the days of 12" singles):







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Charlie
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« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2010, 08:39:02 pm »

To me the 80s were the worst decade in the history of recorded music!
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ces cpa
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« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2010, 09:38:40 pm »

Graduating high school in 1979, my formative junior high (remember when we still had those?) and high school years were spent listening to 70’s FM radio (Seger, Skynyrd, Eagles, Earth Wind & Fire, Boston, Kansas, Doors, Journey [when Greg Rolie was in the band],Boz Scaggs, Kenny Loggins) … buy my college years in the early 80’s were just as great for me … discovering the music of Bill Champlin, David Foster, Jay Graydon, and Steve Lukather and the rest of the guys from Toto –all as a result of Bill Champlin  joining the band CHICAGO ®  … discovering and going back to find the Bill co-wrote AFTER THE LOVE IS GONE with Graydon & Foster and TURN YOUR LOVE AROUND with Graydon & Lukather … and finding out that Lukather & Foster & Champlin were all over albums like Boz Scaggs’ MIDDLE MAN and Graydon & Champlin were helping Benson and Al Jarreau make songs like NEVER GIVE UPON A GOOD THING & ROOF GARDEN … and that Lukather & Foster were co-writing songs like BREAKDOWN DEAD AHEAD with Scaggs and TALK TO YA LATER with The Tubes (and they would later go on to co-write maybe my all-time favorite rock n’ roll song ever- The Tubes SHE’S A BEAUTY)…in my mind 1982 was just about my favorite year for music … catching up on LP’s  from ’80 and ’81 that Champlin, Foster & Graydon and the rest of this bunch of musicians had produced  and/or helped release (stuff like MIDDLE MAN, THE COMPLETION BACKWARD PRINCIPLE, Jarreau’s BREAKIN’ AWAY, Champlin’s RUNAWAY, Lee Ritenour’s RIT) …and then in ’82 comes the release of CHICAGO’s 16, TOTO’s IV, Don Henley’s I CAN’T STAND STILL, Kenny Loggin’s HIGH ADVENTURE, Michael McDonald’s IF THAT’S WHAT IT TAKES, Glen Frey’s NO FUN ALOUD (with Champlin helping on backing vocals on the song “I VOLUNTEER”) … the Henley & Loggins LP’s in particular having some of my favorite guitar tracks from the era – songs like “YOU BETTER HANG UP” and “SWEAR YOU LOVE” were right up my alley as far as what a great rock n’ roll song should sound like …   that year we also had Crosby, Stills & Nash release  DAYLIGHT AGAIN, Bob Seger released THE DISTANCE – and Nicolette Larson (one of my favorite female vocalists) released her fourth LP – ALL DRESSED UP AND NO PLACE TO GO (which had a version of Lowell George’s TWO TRAINS – along with Champlin, George is one of musical heroes)  … and you had John Cougar’s AMERICAN FOOL LP…  and one of my college buddies [the same one who turned me on to The Doors in high school] turned me on to Peter Gabriel’s song SHOCK THE MONKEY … And there was my all-time favorite Paul Carrack song – I NEED YOU (which IMO -along with TEMPTED by Squeeze - are two of the coolest pop songs ever recorded –anytime, anywhere )   

And just a little after this in 1983 we got hear the Jay Graydon-produced JARREAU (with TROUBLE IN PARADISE & BOOGIE DOWN among others) and The Tubes OUTSIDE  INSIDE (with SHE’S  A BEAUTY, TIP OF MY TONGUE – which had the help of E, W & Fire’s Maurice White, and their version of THE MONKEY TIME –which had the help of Martha Davis on vocals),and Russ Taff’s WALLS OF GLASS (with the help of Bill Champlin on some of the tracks’ backing vocals) … and even Prince’s 1999 LP (which along with my love of the song The Tubes SHE’S A BEAUTY, I also think that Prince’s “LITTLE RED CORVETTE” is one of the best pop songs IMO ever recorded)  … and ZZ TOP’s ELIMINATOR (with the triumvirate of “Legs”, “Sharp Dressed Man” & “Gimme All Your Lovin”) ... And there was my all-time favorite Lindsay Buckingham song – HOLIDAY ROAD –that was on the National Lampoon VACATION Soundtrack   

… and so for me, 1981 -1982 -1983 - this was all a great time to be a fan of the WEST COAST STYLE of pop/rock/R &B that Lukather, Champlin, Foster& Graydon were popularizing  … and to hear a rejuvenated CHICAGO ® was cool … and getting to hear members of The Eagles either putting out their own solo material, or helping others like Seger & C,S & N make music –this was all ”good” for me

BUT HAVING SAID ALL OF THIS ABOUT WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THE EARLY half of the decade’s music (i.e., my college years) … I honestly did not like the use of electronics and the drum machine that predominated a lot of the pop music of the decade … not all of it was terrible … some of my favorite female vocalists of the time – MARTHA DAVIS of The Motels & PATTY SMYTHE of Scandal -  were in bands making that style of music… but I can’t say that I enjoyed the trend in music  that a lot of the European pop bands were making at the time       

HOLIDAY ROAD
   

SWEAR YOUR LOVE


SHE'S A BEAUTY


GOODBYE ELENORE (Toto)


I NEEED YOU

« Last Edit: July 15, 2010, 09:27:55 pm by ces cpa » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2010, 07:19:56 am »

Instrumental hits: did Kenny G have any in the 1990s?  I know he racked up a ton in the 1980s...but most of his big hits from the 1990s were with vocalists, a method pianist Jim Brickman has used to great effect commercially.

There was much more diversity in the 1980s as to what was played on the radio.  I get a kick out of the '80s Pop channel at Xsport when I'm on the treadmill or aerobic stepper and am astounded as to the variety of music that was "pop" back then.  Now it's either Rap, soundalike bands like Nickelback and their endless imitators, Madonna wanna-bes like Lady Gaga (who seems to own the pop world at this moment), Beyonce's Soul Diva act with annoying song hooks or Katie Perry/Colbie Calliet types who get by on their looks.

After two years in a rock cover band grinding out 3-chord "modern adult alternative" tunes like Matchbox 20 and the like, I'm glad to be back playing jazz for a smaller, sober, more fun and more appreciative audience.
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CelticGal
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« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2010, 09:27:55 am »

To me the 80s were the worst decade in the history of recorded music!

Worse than the 90s?
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Becky
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« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2010, 11:06:29 am »

To me the 80s were the worst decade in the history of recorded music!

Not initially... the early 80s brought out a second British invasion which provided a lot more diversity on air than the late 70s.

I would agree as the 80s wore on and the music evolved into more drum machines and keyboards, sampling, rap, dance and hair band rock, the music got progressively worse.

But the same could be said of the disco era of the late 70s -and I like a lot of disco.
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« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2010, 11:24:27 am »

To me the 80s were the worst decade in the history of recorded music!

The 80s was just as hit or miss as any other decade, imho.  I think the biggest problem with the 80s was the new technology.  Initially all the producers and what not went tech crazy they wanted to do all the MIDI sequencing and drum programming they possibly could in order to take full advantage of all these wonderful (then) new techologies.  It was sort of their way of padding their resumes (well look what "I" can do with a MIDI sequencer and drum machine!).  The listening public inevitably revolted against this trend and thus the music moved away from that over-synthesized/computer happy sound and back to a more organic and less electronic sound. 

I think with the advent of ProTools in the last decade (the 'aughts/'00s) there was a bit of a resurgence of this ugly trend but I'm hoping that it has passed or that it's about to pass/has started to wane.
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Charlie
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« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2010, 11:25:44 am »

To me the 80s were the worst decade in the history of recorded music!

Worse than the 90s?

Yes, the synthesizer ruined the decade, especially the first half.  I'll post some great 80s stuff when I have more time
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« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2010, 01:33:04 pm »

As I've mentioned before, I pretty much quit listening to the radio around 1985. "current" radio, anyway, it was the beginning of "classic rock" stations, which I enjoyed.

I'll argue the point about synthesizers necessarily being "bad", it all depends on what they were used for. When used as an instrument in its own right, I like them (love electronica). Two examples, one obscure to most, the other popular:

Vulcan Worlds from my #5 all time favorite album (an acquired taste, I admit) :



And one I'm sure we all remember:



When synthesizers are used as a replacement for strings or drums or piano  or any other instrument, it makes me cringe. Another thing that bugged me no end, was how most of the songs (including Chicago's) had that damn "beat" that sounded like a funeral dirge, always with the final WHOMP on the beat. I was always mystified that if it was programmable, why was everyone using the same one?

Here's something a little more accessible from Where Have I Known You Before?

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