Playing Back the 80s: A Decade of Unstoppable Hits

Jim Beviglia. Rowman & Littlefield, $37 (236p) ISBN 978-1-5381-1639-5
Music writer Beviglia (Counting Down Bob Dylan) brings a critic and fan’s perspective to his examination of 65 of the “finest songs” of the 1980s in this impressive selection. He includes classics such as the Police’s “Every Breath You Take,” one-hit wonders such as Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus,” and psychedelic new wave sounds such as the Church’s “Under the Milky Way.” Beviglia interviewed the songwriter or producer for each song, and their input is fun and insightful. About “Sunglasses at Night,” Corey Hart says, “Lyrically, I was trying to capture the cool rebellious spirit à la James Dean.” Modern English singer Robbie Grey admits to writing “I Melt With You” “in about three minutes sitting on the floor stoned in my house in Shepard’s Bush, London.” Andy McCluskey of Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark recalled the inspiration for their song “If You Leave”: Pretty in Pink filmmaker John Hughes said to them, “So can you write a song that is... 120 beats per minute?” With only three only pages on each song, the coverage can feel light, but for those looking for a glimpse into what made the music of the ’80s a genre that still resonates today, Beviglia has created an excellent time capsule. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/15/2018
Release date: 11/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 232 pages - 978-1-5381-1640-1
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