The History of Pop Music – 1980

Featured song:

Blondie – Call me
This is a series of articles looking at pop music from 1955 when in my opinion proper pop music began up to 1999 when they stopped making it.  One article for each year.

I am only going to select one featured song for each article, which makes it hard. I am going to try and select a different artist for each year.

For many people, and I include myself, you tend to still like the tunes you heard during childhood, which your parents often played. So rather than just pick the top 10 hits of each year, I shall let you know what they were, but also the tunes of that year not necessarily in the top 10 or so, what were in my view classics.  I also add a couple of events in history for that year, it helps bring back memories, and hopefully happy ones.

Not everyone will like my choices of course, and you may remember some from each particular year that you feel should have been included, so do please post a link to the song.

So, on we go with memories from 1980: (Thank you Wiki)

This year was about:  Rising unemployment, more strikes. CND, Greenham Common.  A rather boring year in my opinion.

What was I doing in this year?  – I was 24.  In the Army, went to my girlfriends (to be wife) most nights, we had a baby last year. I managed to get the judge to reduce the 6 weeks from Decree Nisi to Decree Absolute to 4 weeks, which meant we got married the weekend before I was posted to Gibraltar, she and baby joined me the following week.  Life was good, apart from the change in music, still some good disco stuff coming out though.  Some of the punk bands had learned to play instruments and did some good music, but a poor start music wise to the new decade.

TV programmes included:

Hi-de-Hi! debuts on BBC1, Debut of Play Your Cards Right on ITV, the first episode of Yes Minister (still so very funny and true to this day), Violet Carson makes her last appearance as Ena Sharples on Coronation Street.  21.5 million viewers tune in to watch the 1980–81 season premiere of Dallas, which answers the question of Who shot J.R.? (Did not care then, nor now.)


Prime Minister – Margaret Thatcher (Conservative)

2 January – Workers at British Steel Corporation go on a nationwide strike over pay called by the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation, which has some 90,000 members among British Steel’s 150,000 workforce, in a bid to get a 20% rise. It is the first steelworks strike since 1926.

14 February – Margaret Thatcher announces that state benefit to strikers will be halved.

19–20 March – Radio Caroline, the pirate radio station, is forced to cease transmission when MV Mi Amigo, the ship on which it is based, runs aground and sinks off the Thames Estuary.  Sad day that.

1 April – The steelworkers’ strike is called off.

18 April – Zimbabwe becomes independent of the United Kingdom.

30 April – The Iranian Embassy Siege begins. A six-man terrorist team calling itself the “Democratic Revolutionary Movement for the Liberation of Arabistan” (DRMLA) captures the Embassy of Iran in Prince’s Gate, Knightsbridge, central London, taking 26 hostages. – I remember watching this live, both BBC and ITV interrupted their schedules to show this.

5 May – The SAS storm the Iranian Embassy building, kill 5 out of the 6 terrorists and free all the hostages.  These guys are proper heroes.

30 June – The pre-decimal sixpence coin is withdrawn from circulation.

8 July – Miners threatening to strike demand a 37% pay increase, ignoring pleas from Margaret Thatcher to hold down wage claims.

11 August – Margaret Thatcher visits the Harold Hill area of East London to hand of the keys to the 12,000th council tenants in Britain to buy their home under the right to buy scheme. However, she is met by jeering from neighbours of the family.

28 August – Unemployment now stands at 2million for the first time since 1935. Economists warn that it could rise to up to 2.5million by the end of next year.

21 September – First CND rally at RAF Greenham Common.

10 October – Margaret Thatcher makes her “The lady’s not for turning” speech to the Conservative Party conference after party MP’s warn that her economic policy was responsible for the current recession and rising unemployment.

28 October – Margaret Thatcher declares that the government will not give in to seven jailed IRA terrorists who are on hunger strike in the Maze Prison in hope of winning prisoner of war status.

10 November – Michael Foot is elected Leader of the Labour Party

8 December – John Lennon is shot dead in New York.

The Top 10 Singles with a You Tube hyperlink on the title:

Top tip: Right-click and open in new tab)

Top Hits of 1980
   1 Police Don’t Stand So Close To Me
   2 Barbra Streisand Woman In Love
   3 Kelly Marie Feels Like I’m In Love
   4 Abba Super Trouper
   5 Ottawan D.I.S.C.O.
   6 Blondie The Tide is High
   7 Dexy’s Midnight Runners Geno
   8 Kenny Rogers Coward Of The County
   9 Fern Kinney Together We Are Beautiful
   10 John Lennon (Just Like) Starting Over

Great year for Blondie, with three hits, the featured tune “Call Me” and “The tide is high” and “Atomic”.  The Jam, ABBA still, David Bowie re-invented again

“Call Me” was the main theme song of the 1980 film American Gigolo. Italian disco producer Giorgio Moroder originally asked Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac to help compose and perform a song for the soundtrack, but she declined as a recently signed contract with Modern Records prevented her from working with Moroder. It was at this time that Moroder turned to Debbie Harry and Blondie. Moroder presented Harry with a rough instrumental track called “Man Machine”. Harry was asked to write the lyrics and melody, a process that Harry states took a mere few hours.  The lyrics were written from the perspective of the main character in the film, a male prostitute. Harry said the lyrics were inspired by her visual impressions from watching the film and that “When I was writing it, I pictured the opening scene, driving on the coast of California.” The completed song was then recorded by the band, with Moroder producing.

More writings on this song here:  Blondie – Call Me

In my view the best songs of the year, after the featured track and most of the above top ten are (best to right click and open in a new window):

Kelly Marie – Feels like I’m in love – Was my original choice for featured song as I do like this, check out the dancers with her, it is #FF personified.  Sadly, whilst Kelly had a couple of other decent songs, I could not omit Blondie.

Blondie – The Tide Is High

Blondie – Atomic

Roxy Music – Oh Yeah (On The Radio)

Don McLean  – Crying

Odyssey – Use It Up And Wear It Out – Don’t be shy, singalong.

Roxy Music – Over You

Olivia Newton John & Electric Light Orchestra – Xanadu – Olivia Neutron Bomb and ELO, great stuff.

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Enola Gay – My first liking for “New romance music”

Dr. Hook – Sexy Eyes – One of my favourite bands, good tune for a slow dance this.

ABBA : I Have A Dream – I just like them and that is all there is to say on the matter.

Status Quo  – What Your Proposing – Love em.

Darts – Let’s Hang On

Leo Sayer – More Than I Can Say – Much underrated this guy.

The Piranhas – Tom Hark – You probably do not remember this, until you right click and play it.

David Bowie – Ashes To Ashes

Spandau Ballet – To Cut A Long Story Short

Pretenders – Brass in pocket – Awesome voice Chrissy.

Hot Chocolate – No Doubt About It – Not their best, but great tunes from a great band.

The Jam Live – Going Underground – I have put the link to the live version in.

The Jam – Start

Styx – Babe – Nice slow tune, well sung.

Rainbow – All Night Long

David Bowie – Fashion

Kate Bush – Babooshka – Another lady with a great voice.

The Lambrettas – Poison Ivy – Classic song, revamped here.

The Nolans – I’m In the Mood for Dancing

Hazel O’Connor – Eighth Day

Stacy Lattisaw – Jump To The Beat – good tune, exceptionally bad miming though.

Madness – Baggy Trousers – I do like their tunes.

Madness – My Girl

Bob Marley – Could You Be Loved – Lie a bit of reggae me.

David Essex – Silver Dream machine – Great intro from Kenny Everett.

The Gap Band – Oops Upside Your Head – Great tune, and the dance for this was great for a quick cop.

Sheena Easton – 9 to 5 (Morning Train)

The Specials – Too Much Too Young

The Specials – Rat Race

The Korgis – Everybody’s got to learn sometime – Bit slow, but nice tune.

The Vapors – Turning Japanese – Blatant masturbation.

Diana Ross – Upside Down – Features Michael Jackson, sorry

The Whispers – And The Beat Goes On

Bad Manners – Special Brew – Intro from Tommy Vance who kept me sane with his Radio Caroline, Radio Luxembourg and most importantly his BFBS radio shows.  Thank your Tommy (1940 – 2005)

Odyssey – If You’re Looking For A Way Out – Bit slow, but she has a wonderful voice.

Jona Lewie – Stop The Cavalry – I know it’s now a Christmas staple, but we created a special dance for the New Years Eve party in the 1772 club in Gibraltar.  Involved mops with paper-mache horses heads, we had a clean version as the Governor of Gibraltar (Ex Sapper) was present, then we did the other version after midnight when the guests of honour had left.

Fun song:  St. Winifred’s School Choir – There’s No One Quite Like Grandma– Intro from a person non-gratis as I am a well-known GP word.

45 songs for 1980 in my favourite lists.

Hat tips to:  these give the top 100 selling charts for each year   these give the top 10 songs for each year  you know them.

Next Time 1981.

© Phil the test manager 2019

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