A blast from the past

80s music will always be popular


Peyton Sims

Photo Illustration. Junior Reagan Head poses with a vinyl record player to show a continued appreciation for music from the 1980s.

Story by Ruth Heinemann, staff writer

Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Prince— all musical icons from the 80s. Although it has almost been 40 years, many songs from that time have not lost their significance, so it is not unusual for high school students to listen to that music.

Even though we left many “over the top” trends in the 80s, the music is immortal. That is why we often hear 80s music on the radio, while shopping in the mall or on a road trip with our family. 

Nowadays, it is not uncommon for artists to use samples from 80s music to create new songs. Even though a song like it has technically been done before, they still gain a lot of popularity and sometimes even dominate the charts. One example is Jennifer Lopez’s song “On the Floor” which peaked #3 on the Billboard Charts in May 2011. Lopez used part of the 1989 hit “Lambada” by Kaoma.

This mix is something that not only connects different styles of music, but it also connects two generations. When high school students listen to 80s music, it is very likely that their parents also know the music and gives them something to connect about.

Another reason for the lasting popularity of 80s music is the film industry who continues to produce documentaries about famous artists and to use the music for shows set in the 80s, such as “Stranger Things.” “Bohemian Rhapsody”, the movie telling the intriguing story of the band Queen and their lead singer Freddie Mercury, who not only was a musical genius in all kinds of genres, but also promoted the acceptance of the LGBT community. 

“I believe that artists in the 80s, like Freddie Mercury, were in a position to inspire others since they were role models for so many young people,” junior Abbie Olson said. “So I think the fact that he was bisexual gave him the ability to change the way people thought about the LGBT community.”

Since high school students didn’t grow up in that era, it is important that we not only learn about the music itself, but also its message and the historical context.

“80s music is my favorite because it has meaning and the lyrics are about what’s happening at the time. For example, ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ by Billy Joel is one of my favorites because it names important events that happened throughout the decades,” junior Alexis Cantiberos said.

The significance of songs like “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel are unique because he sang about historical events in his own lifetime from his birth in 1949 and the release of the song in 1989, much like other artists sang about current events. This includes the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, the death of Josef Stalin, Apollo 11 and the assasination of John F. Kennedy. 

“This music is a good way to learn about what happened, for example, in the time your parents grew up. And it’s always good to know where your family comes from,” Cantiberos said.

The 80s were also marked by some musical revolutions. When Michael Jackson released his 13 minute long music video for “Thriller” in 1983, he revolutionized the world of music videos by creating a complex video with an uncommonly high budget of $500,000. Artists like Michael Jackson and the introduction of MTV made music videos not only more popular, but also a form of art.           

“Music never really goes out of style. There will always be people who like to listen to 80s music. I think students like to listen to that music so they can get a taste of what music was like before they were born,” sophomore Sebastian Nichols said.

When listening to 80s music, high school students can educate themselves about a time before they were born and also connect with that generation, including their parents.

“My grandparents will go on road trips and we listen to a lot of Michael Jackson and we just sing along to it. It definitely connects me to my family and it doesn’t matter what time period it’s from,” Olson said.