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The Friday Top Five: The Five Worst 80's Artists

Posted Nov 18 2011 7:50am

Remember the 1980's? I do. Skinny leather ties, John Hughes films (I was no-so-secretly in love with Molly Ringwald), leg warmers worn over jeans, Atari, and Garbage Pail Kids (wifey still has a huge mint collection of them in the basement). Those were among some of the coolest trends that transpired from an era that gave rise to the perm and copious amounts of Aqua Net hair spray. It was sometimes difficult to distinguish the faces of many of the girls in my high school because the feathered bangs and porcupine-like hairdos negated their faces. 

To be fair, there were some cool things that emerged  from  the 1980's. The 1980's were the golden years of both New Wave and Hip Hop. Bands like New Order, Depeche Mode, Elvis Costello and Art of Noise (named after the famous  Luigi Rusollo manifesto  of 1913) meant that nerdy keyboard players who previously got no love from screaming coeds attending their concerts, were now nerdy keyboard players that still got no love from screaming coeds, but were at the cutting edge of popular culture. It was this decade that invited a whole generation of white middle class suburban kids to wear baggy pants and imitate the subversive underground hip hop culture that was emerging by adopting the gesticulations and jargon of artists like RUN DMC and LL Cool J. The 80's ushered a new dance style of movement referred to as breakdancing. With Breakin' II: Electric Boogaloo as my inspiration, I spent countless hours perfecting my moonwalk  and windmill. I am proud to say that I can still throw it down and in the same awkward way nearly thirty years later. 
There was, however, some really terrible music that emerged during this era. Listed below are the top five songs that I am embarrassed to even say I know. If these artists were never to happen, I think the musical landscape of the 1980's would be a far better place:
#5) Mister Mister: Yeah, so take those broken wings and fly the heck out of here, because that song is wickety-wack. What made this band most possibly most embarrassing was the post-Bing Crosby-crooner-like lyricism that said "I am trying to be Steve Perry, but I am just not that cool." Interestingly enough, the band members all went on to have pretty decent careers in music afterwards, writing hit songs for artists like Madonna, Whitesnake, and Rod Stewart. However, lead guitarist and bassist, Richard Page, released a Christmas EP in 2010. Christmas albums are the official death of an artist's career. 
#4) Night Ranger: This San Francisco based pop-rock band quintet's most popular radio hit was the power  ballad "Sister Christian" which peaked at #5 in 1984. They are still doing it after all these years. Nice, old guys in leather pants. Move over Loverboy!
#3) Toad the Wet Sprocket: Years ahead of their time, I like to define them as the slightly less sophisticated Dave Matthews Band of their generation. You know, really Wonderbread. I am sure that the same things that made their music attractive to scores of soccer playing teenagers in the 80's are also what make Dave Matthews attractive to this generation of musically misinformed college coeds. Oh, you Dave Matthews apologists, don't get me started. So many of my students ask, "Yeah, but they are such talented musicians, right?" They might be, but Yngwie Malmsteen has great facility on the guitar, but he is still embarrassing. I am not going to front. I own a CD though. 
#2) Richard Marx: Did you know that his debut album yielded four hit singles and went on to sell four million copies? Don't even pretend like you did not rock it out in your mom's minivan to "Don't Mean Nothing," and I am quite confident his "Hold on to the Nights"track made it onto that mix tape you made the girl you were going to spend the rest of your life with in ninth grade. His second album, Repeat Offender, knocked Prince off of the number one position. Prince!  Who is cool and can play his proverbial ass off! Repeat Offender went triple platinum in a number of months and eventually went on to sell five million albums. Blame it on the emergence of Gangsta' rap, but unfortunately Rick never attained the same level of success he enjoyed with his first two albums. In 2006, he appeared on the Fox television show "Celebrity Duets." Although the Fox network is known for its quality programming like Who Want to Marry a Multi-Millionaire, appearing on a Fox reality television show is kind of like making a Christmas album—the kiss of death.
#1) Rick Astley: Rick Astley falls into the category of artists whose songs all sound the same. Among the artists belonging to the dedicated club of making all of their music sound the same are ZZ Top, Dave Matthews Band, and Howard Jones. The best thing that Rick Astley has contributed to popular culture is the "Rick-Rolling" phenomenon. He defines the quintessential white man dance. 

Who are your bottom five?
We have all been there as athletes. You know, those times during the year when you are trying to compress the six million things that you want to do into a 24-hour period. What is up with this rotation of the earth being so quick? I have to admit though, now that we have been dealing with 24-hour days our whole life, it makes the idea of even having a slightly longer day confusing, and possibly, downright problematic. I mean. have you considered how perfect our clocks look with five numbers nestled on either side of those hemispheres between the twelve and the six? What would it look like to have even one more hour on that clock? Yeah, clearly not right.
My training the past couple of weeks have been pretty decent. The guilt of taking some downtime and continuing to eat as if I were still training for an iron distance event has caught up to me. To be honest, I clearly have to start training my proverbial ass off again, because I am not about to give up my 3500 calorie pancake breakfast with real New York State male syrup anytime soon. I have started to Rev my engines once again and start thinking about next season. My work-induced "downtime" during the month of October has officially left me hungry for more pool time and long runs.
It is shaping up to be a beautiful weekend here in western New York. I might get out for my last November ride of the season this weekend. Almost all the way through November and still no snow!
More soon. Train Smart!
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