I recently wrote a blog about the Most Overplayed Songs of the 1970s. As promised, I am back to give you my list of the Most Overplayed Songs of the 1980s. The 1980s had many weird songs, and One Hit Wonders, especially since the emergence of music video programs and MTV. Just like my other list, there is a regional aspect to this list; these songs may be overplayed on the radio stations in my area, and may not be in other areas. However, I think these songs are overplayed everywhere and could use a rest for a while. So here is my list of the Most Overplayed Songs of the 1980s (in no particular order).
- Kokomo- The Beach Boys (1988). This #1 hit was written by Mike Love, Terry Melcher, John Phillips (of The Mamas and The Papas), and Scott McKenzie (who had a #4 hit with “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear a Flower in Your Hair) in 1967). This song was featured in Tom Cruise’s “Cocktail” movie, which is one of my favorite movies of all time. I am a huge Beach Boys fan, and they are my favorite band of all time, but this song is worn out. The song is about a fictional place, although there are places that are named Kokomo, and was written without Brian Wilson. This song has been used in many commercials throughout the years that have added to my annoyance of the song. If you are looking for something from the 1980s by the band, I suggest 1985’s “Getcha Back,” which hit #26 Nationally and #2 on the AC Charts. I’d love to hear that song on the 80s channels and give Kokomo a rest at the beach.
- Girls Just Wanna Have Fun- Cyndi Lauper (1983) . This song has become a female anthem, which helped make it to #2 on the charts, but the song was originally written in 1979 with a male point of view to it. This song became the “I Will Survive” for the 1980s video era, and put Lauper on the map, with her wild multi-colored hair, and helped start the Rock and Wrestling Connection with her association with the WWF. Her image distracted the fact that she really could sing and songs like “True Colors” and “Time After Time” are a better reflection of this, but those songs seemed to be lost in the shuffle when it comes to radio playlist.
- Celebration-Kool and The Gang (1980). This song has been played at every wedding reception or party since it was released in 1980 and many think it was a #1 hit for weeks, when in fact, it was only #1 for 2 weeks in the U.S. (It was knocked out by Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5”). This song started a more pop feel for the band, after having hits on the soul charts like “Get Down On It” and “Ladies Night.” The band had other hits besides this one. Robert “Kool” Bell and his brother, Ronald Bell, were both from Youngstown Ohio, which is a short distance from where I live. Although the song will not be stopped playing at weddings, radio needs to play other 80s hits like “Misled” (which hit #10) and “Tonight” (#13 which also has a great groove and a rocking guitar solo) in their playlist, and save this song for the special occasions.
- Don’t Stop Believin’-Journey (1981). This song has been listed on many people’s list in the past and there is a reason why. This song so extremely overplayed by everyone from radio, downloads, political rallies, and sporting events. The song is featured on Broadway as well now. The song hit #9 on the U.S. Charts and is not a bad song, but just played all the time. The album “Escape” had many other released singles that were hits that never get played like “And They Ride,” which hit #19 on the charts. Granted “Ride” is a ballad, but “Don’t Stop” is not a rocking song either. This song is one of the most downloaded songs in history, which shows that some people are not tired of it, but I am definitely tired of this song. I’d rather hear “Stone in Love” by the band.
- Every Rose Has It’s Thorn- Poison (1988). Nothing says the late 1980s than the power ballad by rockers that showed their softer side. Big Hair, leather pants, jacket wearing rockers stripped down to acoustic guitars was the inspiration to the 1990s “Unplugged” craze. I like Poison, and have seen them in concert during their summer jam tours where several 1980-1990s acts have joined them. I especially like Poison’s first album “Look What The Cat Dragged In” from 1987, and the second album, “Open Up And Say Ahh” from 1988 , which was listed in a previous blog that I wrote (“Not Skipping Around-Albums That Must Be Heard” from Feb 18, 2015 available in my history, or just search the title in the search area). Even though this song was on that second album (and was a #1 hit for 3 weeks) the song has become old. Bret Michaels has included this song on many of his solo albums, including country duet versions of the song. I suggest 1987’s “I Won’t Forget You” by the band, which hit # 13 on the charts for something different but still a ballad.
- Rock You Like A Hurricane-The Scorpions (1984). This song here will show an admitted bias in my selection. I never liked this band, and when I saw them on tour with Alice Cooper in 1996, I liked them even less. Even if I did not like the band, this song is overplayed in my area, from local sporting events (even high schools) to the radio. This song only hit #25 on the U.S. Charts. I view this band much like Great White, where very few people can actually pick them as their “favorite band” yet for some reason, some musicians worship the band for their musicality (and I find both of those bands annoying and boring). The Scorpions to me had cool album covers but had irritating vocals and music. People are quick to judge bands like Kiss who give out fake “Farewell Tours” but failed to discuss that this band announced their farewell tour and last album in 2010 and are still at it. If I was to choose a song from the band, it would be “No One But You” from 1982, which did not chart in the U.S. (No I’d not suggest “Wind Of Change” which Alice Cooper even joked about hoping they’d not play that song when I saw him open for them in 1996).
- Free Falling-Tom Petty (1989). Petty is another artist which I do not like very much, especially with his political rants. However, it does not deter from the fact that I always disliked this boring song that hit #7 in the U.S. This was on Petty’s first solo album away from his band The Heartbreakers and came off of the #18 hit “Jammin Me” with the band. I really liked “Jammin,” which was a good rocking song. Petty then went into a mellow feel with this song, which was co-written by ELO’s Jeff Lynne. There were better songs on the album “Full Moon Fever” that I liked, even though I’m not a Petty fan. This song did not fit in the 1980s feel of music, but maybe that was the appeal of the song.
- Jump-Van Halen (1984). This song was #1 for 5 weeks in 1984, and was released in December 1983. The song was one of the top songs of the year, and featured guitarist Eddie Van Halen’s start to use synthesizers on VH’s albums. It was the only Van Halen single to hit #1, even though the Sammy Hagar led band later had more album success, after singer David Lee Roth left the band after this album. There is a rumor that Eddie took the synthesizer idea from Hall and Oates’ “Kiss On My List,” but it was not confirmed one way or the other. David Lee Roth’s vocals have always irked me-yes he was a great front man, but as a SINGER- Hagar was so much better- Hagar had a better range. However back to the song-this song is too much keyboard for me especially for a rock band that gave us songs like “Running with the Devil” and “Feel Your Love Tonight.” This song is played on every 80s and Classic Rock radio formats, and is featured on numerous radio and TV commercials that it has lost its appeal. I’d rather listen to “I’ll Wait” off the same album if I want to hear some early 80s VH, which is almost never (I prefer the Hagar years especially since that was the first concert I ever saw). It shocks me when many Van Halen fans argue which singer was better, but fail to remember that the Dave era had some stinker songs (many cover songs) along with strange lyrics, which is the case as well with this song.
- Pour Some Sugar on Me- Def Leppard (1988). Def Leppard’s “Hysteria” is now one of the biggest rock albums in history, yet most fans do not know that the album originally was failing on the charts, which was supposed to be a Hard Rock version of “Thriller,” where every track would be a single. This song was the last song to be added to the album and eventually made it to #2 in the U.S., being denied by the great Richard Marx at the #1 spot in 1988. This song was rumored to gain traction when it started getting played at strip clubs in Florida and then started breaking nationally in the U.S. This song is played at sporting events and every place in between, which make the song way overplayed and the song, to me, was boring even when it came out. I love the “Hysteria” album, and had numerous copies of the cassette when it came out due to overplaying it, but I always skipped “Sugar,” along with their biggest hit, “Love Bites.” I know artists would love to have the success of this song, but when it comes to radio play, I’d rather hear a “Don’t Shoot Shotgun,” or “Love and Affection” on rotation ( I know I’d never hear “Gods of War” on rotation, which has one of the best grooves on the album). This song definitely needs to be retired for at least 200 years.
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