NC17 Top 150 Songs of 1980

1980: The Year of Radical Change
Part 1: The Influence of Both Reggae and Satan
Part 2: The Biggest Change in History
Part 3: Metalheads, Sissies, and Stoners Unite
Part 4: Factory Records, Ralph Records, and the Jennifer Triolo Disturbance
Part 5: Citation Needed
Part 6: A Brief Taste of the Future
Part 7: The Different Types of Douches
Part 8: The Standouts: As Selected by Harold the Alien

Part III: Metalheads, Sissies, and Stoners Unite

Press play on the image below to hear this selection of songs in this exact order.

Most bands in this set so far can claim Lou Reed and Iggy Pop as their primary influences (even Black Sabbath). It's just amazing the range of music these two artists had an impact on. Listening to what they put out in 1980 though, you'd never guess. If some creature came down from space, gathered up all the music from 1980, and 1980 only, then went back to whatever planet it came from; and then conducted studies on the human race based on the music of 1980, that poor space creature would never be able to pick that up and hence therefore misinterpreting the human race. Let's name this space alien Harold.

150. Iggy Pop
"Loco Mosquito" 3:15
Muskegon, MI

Proof of just how much changed in 1980. Just 10 years prior, Iggy fronted The Stooges and had the #1 album of 1970 with Fun House. 10 years later, The Stooges are done, this record barely was completed. This was to feature an all-star cast including David Bowie, Simple Minds, & Glen Matlock. Excessive drama led to two producers walking out, fist-fights, and one guitarists solos being removed from the album. Read more

149. Lou Reed
"The Power of Positive Drinking" 2:16
Growing Up in Public
Freeport, NY

Well, here's this guy. This man's contributions on music can be directly attributed for approximately 64% of the music on this entire list and his influence shall dominate the top 50. Perhaps the most influential artist on this entire compilation...considering who all is going to be coming up, that's saying something! All 4 of The Velvet Underground albums are better than anything that came out in 1980...and 1980 was one of the best years ever.

148. Bob Dylan
"Pressing On" 5:14
Duluth, MN/Malibu, CA

Harold the Alien would be fucked if all he knew about Bob Dylan was this album. I ignored forever because I thought it would be awful. Should Harold the alien have come down as previously stated, Bob Dylan, who influenced both The Beatles and The Velvet Underground, would be known only as a Christian rocker. Going with low expectations, I was pleasantly surprised with this album. Sure, it's a total religious album, but the female vocals are a great element and contrast with Dylan's vocals nicely. And seriously, we all need to find Jesus.

147. Willie Nile
"Vagabond Moon" 4:05
Willie Nile
Buffalo/New York, NY

A must hear for fans of current music like David Gray. If this came out now, I think in this day and age of online publications, this gets decent reviews for a new album and fairly popular. Accessible, but with enough edge to prevent it from being considered fluff.

146. Michael Hurley
"I'm Getting Ready to Go"  3:32
Florida/Astoria, OR

This is a good catchy folk/country song and it fits in good towards the end of any mix. Recommended for fans of all sorts of folk music, but far peppier than, say, Nick Drake.

145. Lucinda Williams
"Sharp Cutting Wings"  3:25
Happy Woman Blues
Lake Charles, LA/Los Angeles, CA

Many people first discovered Lucinda Williams in 1998, and had no clue she had been around this long. Happy Woman Blues is actually her 2nd album, though she wasn't exactly prolific leading up to her breakthrough in the alt/country scene- she didn't follow this record up for 8 years. This album is very good and is more country than alternative.

144. Bob Seger & The Silver Bullett Band
"Against the Wind" 5:34
Against the Wind
Detroit, MI

This is the other song that most would guess came out in the 70's. Bob Seger did not employ any of the radical changes in technology for his music, and that may have proved to have been beneficial to future consideration. I used to hate this song as much as I hate Thinking of You by Katy Perry now. For one, this song is way better than that pile of shit that never should have been recorded. Secondly, this song is about getting older and when I first heard it, I was a youngster- and related moreso to wanting to be Jackie Onassis. Though I still find this song filled with cliches, it has decent meaning and all the basic musical aspects are adequate.

143. The Monochrome Set
"The Etcetera Stroll" 4:43
Strange Boutique
London, England

Relatively unknown band, though their sound is definitive of the 80's. Fans of R.E.M. would enjoy this. For numerous reasons, I prefer this instrumental over the vocal tracks; Expresso, however, is their best song with vocals.

142. The Comsat Angels
"Baby"  2:53
Waiting For a Miracle
Sheffield, England

The first 10 seconds of this song alone merits substantial all-star balloting. In general, songs that begin a song with a solid drum beat followed with a deep bass riff, not only are include in annual best-of-the-year lists, but the list creators will often envision themselves with the band playing together on a swingset. This song should be played out in bars/clubs. I will now begin protesting any organization that plays Journey until I hear this song in a public place. Meant to be played at a louder volume.

141. Split Enz
"Double Happy" 3:28
True Colours
Auckland, New Zealand

This too can rock a dancefloor. Yet another deathless bass riff that could keep you storage safe throughout a blizzard. They do sing, but this track is instrumental. Five years ago, they were part of the art pop that, well, defined 70's art pop. Although the genre did not take off as well as hoped, the blend of off-kilter instrumentation and lyrics, coupled with a blend of glam, proto-punk, progressive rock, and pop looked extremely good on paper and eventually influenced more styles of music than any particular band from that genre is given credit for.

140. Hans-A-Plast
"Sicherheit" 2:44
Hans-A-Plast 2
Hannover, Germany

A great example of a direct influence from the 70's art pop scene. Hans-A-Plast was influenced by the aforementioned Split Enz, as well as the likes of 10cc, Sparks, and a multitude of other bands from that scene. Where this style of music benefited was with the prominence of punk from the late 70's. The lengthy prog-rock excursions were shortened while the rhythms and tempos were sped up significantly. Unfortunately, historians will site bands such as Hans-A-Plast as strictly punk and often fail to mention the influence from the 70's art pop. The bottom line, however, 10cc and Split Enz proved to be a major influence on the punk, post-punk, new-wave scene of the late 70's and early 80's.

139. Flowers
"Icehouse" 4:23
Sydney, Australia

Even as music progressed towards the usage of synthesizers and electronic instruments to provide that "futuristic" quality ("futuristic" meaning 80's) the elements from the psychedelic era were still prevalent. Throughout the history of music, no matter what styles may be trending at the time, there has always been a goal to provide mind altering enhancement, and a specific formula has been tried and proven effective. As for 1980, "Icehouse" by Flowers is a nice representative of psychedelic mind expansion with the usage of the instruments that were popular for that time period.

138. Ali Thomson
"Take a Little Rhythm" 3:30
Take a Little Rhythm
Glasgow, Scotland

Some reason this former top 20 hit fell off the face of the Earth and into complete obscurity (possible whereabouts). Not saying this is greatest song ever, #141, but to disappear entirely is not only tragic, but puzzling. It should at least be played in stores over the intercom alongside songs like...

137. Robbie Dupree
"Steal Away" 3:30
Robbie Dupree
New York, NY/Los Angeles, CA

83% of the population has at least heard this song. People tolerate it because it is so much better than the current breed of brainless store intercom music such as Luvsik by MoZella (WARNING!!! This song sucks! Bad sucks!). If you do like this (Robbie Dupree, not Luvsik- if you like Luvsik- fuck off), you should like the previous song (Take a Little Rhythm).

136. Saxon
"Hungry Years" 5:09
Strong Arm of the Law
Barnsley, England

Nothing like that big leap from easy listening to heavy metal. 1980 was a peculiar year for metal. Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax didn't even exist yet. In 1980, metal was in the transformation stages heading from Deep Purple into Venom. Saxon was one of the pre-thrash pioneers for this period, though not quite thrash yet. However...

135. Cirith Ungol
"Better Off Dead"  4:46
Frost And Fire
Ventura, CA

Cirith Ungol, although often overlooked, were closer to thrash at this point and would go on to become an actual thrash band...and a very good one at that. The very near future, heavy metal would endure some serious changes as labels such as Metal Blade was just beginning to conceptualize. Two years from now, that same label would go on to release a series of compilation albums called Metal Massacre featuring all of the up and coming thrash bands. The very first Metal Massacre compilation is considered essential and Cirith Ungol's track Death of the Sun is by far the best track on that compilation; one may have guessed that they would be the ones to emerge as famous. But, that same compilation ended with a band nobody had ever even heard of at the time, some band called Metallica with Dave Mustaine on vocals. Metallica and Megadeth did become more popular, obviously, but for one compilation mix, Cirith Ungol smoked both of them long before they became what they are today.

134. Black Sabbath
"Die Young" 4:45
Heaven and Hell
Birmingham, England

Black Sabbath is the #1 influence for not only the thrash and death metal to come later in the decade, but to this date would never be surpassed. Do not be deceived by the #138 ranking; album-wise Heaven and Hell would rank in the top 50 (has a bunch of great songs, but not that one stellar standout) and band wise rank in the top few in history. The first of 2 Ronnie James Dio-led Black Sabbath albums. Bands don't do this these days. If Thom Yorke left Radiohead, they wouldn't go on with a singer from Preston School of Industry. I wonder why? This is still good, though not essential Black Sabbath; and like Iggy Pop, fared in the top 5 of 1970 with their stellar debut.

133. Tuxedomoon
"Loneliness"  3:00
Half Mute
San Francisco, CA

In alphabetical order for genres, goth does follow gospel, likewise for this countdown. 1980 marked goth in its purest pioneering phase, and this is a fine example of that. This song earns its stripes with its repititious synth riff, gloomy bass, and dark snarling vocals that would go on to define the happy marriage of goth and industrial. As far as life is concerned, gospel fans consider people who listen to this music as "freaks" while these people consider gospel fans "Jesus freaks."

132. George Jones
"I'm a Fool For Loving Her"  3:27
I Am What I Am
Saratoga, TX/Franklin, TN

In a completely fair world, all genres would be represented equally. Or maybe not. George Jones has had a greater influence on today's indie/punk than most bands considered rock of this genre. Having debuted in 1957, George Jones is the artist in this list who had been recording the longest. Also, 26% of men have shopped for this shirt. 89% of the men who have a similar shirt, their wives/girlfriends have cheated on them; hence the common theme of country music.

131. UB40
"Signing Off"  4:25
Signing Off
Birmingham, England

The reggae influence is back! And so is another great instrumental by a band that normally sings. Also, hopefully some of that weed Aunt Betty Jean bought you for Christmas is still left. This song now begins a series of tracks ideally suited for times when you simply feel like getting high and declare that you "ain't doing shit."

130. Japan
"Nightporter"  6:59
Gentlemen Take Polaroids
London, England

Many sophisticated people think marijuana should be legal. 87% of the people in that group would love this song. Japan also helped define the image that would dictate the entire decade--something Ambrosia failed to do.

129. Roxy Music
"Running Wild"  5:02
Flesh + Blood
London, England

Widely considered the worst Roxy Music album. Maybe so, but that is no reason to dislike it- just shows how great their previous material was. Japan received rave reviews. Side-by-side this song fits perfectly with Nightporter, and this one is clearly better. Good marijuana lasts longer than 6:59, so it is advised to listen to them both together.

128. Kate Bush
"Egypt"  4:12
Never For Ever
London, England

Rather than come off as a filthy liar, declare everything is perfect (WARNING!: Link is explicit and ironic must be over 18 with a warped sense of humor), some elect to be honest: Kate Bush has a bizarre perception from the rest of the world. The ranking for this song can change drastically, daily. Admittedly, Kate Bush occasionally gets on people's nerves. Other times, many will argue she is one of the top few visionaries to ever grace this Earth and will consider this song for the top 20. As far as artistic abilities is concerned, Kate Bush has her own personal category, and that is the greatest virtue a person can possess.

ADVANCED WARNING!!!!  If some of your faves were previously mentioned, sit down, take a deep breath. Because, the next selection may cause a disturbance, or sheer happiness knowing that you are not alone in a share guilty pleasure.

127. Dan Fogelberg
"Longer"  3:21
Peoria, IL (1951)-Maine (2007)

Yes! Dan Fogelberg! This is a beautiful song can be easily enjoyed in the AM hours when the mind doesn't wish to be disturbed. Somebody wrote on the bathroom wall at the local punk club:  "I GOT TWO WORDS FOR YOU BITCHES: DAN FOGELBERG!"

126. Grover Washington, Jr.
"Make Me a Memory (Sad Semba)"  6:35
Buffalo, NY (1943)-New York, NY (1999)

Harold hated being told what to do so much that he felt like writing a letter that stated: "make your own damn memory!" Then became very angry because this asshole thought he had the right to tell Harold what to do. Sure, he had serious psychological issues. Then, he listened to this song, all instrumental from the same album that featured Just the Two of Us (bad song, good instruments). The song was so beautiful and soothing, that Harold was no longer angry...the power of good smooth jazz. Suprisingly, a video is available for this song as well.

NC-17 SXXX SONGS OF 1980: 200-176  175-151  150-126  125-101  100-76  75-51  50-26  25-#1

Top Image by : http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_27L_frzBWG0/S_BseJ1Nk1I/AAAAAAAACpY/s_n0pK8eN14/s1600/Ronnie+James+Dio.jpg
Bottom Image by: http://consumeist.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/kate-bush1.jpg

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