70s vs 80s: For the Love of the Playlist

A few weeks ago I was in a conversation—actually a debate—about which decade boasts the best music: the 1970s or the 1980s. One guy I was with is a product of the 1970s so  you know which side he took. Another is a product of the 1980s. Of course he was sure that the 1980s had the best music. Also a product of the 1980s, I am most familiar with that decade but would like to see myself as, perhaps, more what you might call objective. Or maybe not. Like many conversations, I took on the role of the passive observer—I needed material for a blog after all— while my friends waxed on the merit of each.

One of the things I thought about during the back-and-forth was, “What do we mean when we refer to an entire decade of music?” Like most of the decades, there is a little overlap. What we mean when we say “the 1970s” doesn’t really begin until about 1974. The same goes for “the 1980s.” For the sake of argument I’m going to start the official 1970s era in 1971 when Led Zeppelin released Zep IV late that year. And even though the 80s vibe was beginning to take shape pretty early in the decade with Air Supply and Kool & the Gang (yeah I said it), acts like Pat Benatar, Queen, Olivia Newton-John, and Blondie (did you know that Parallel Lines is on Rolling Stone’s top 150 all-time list?) were carrying the prior decade’s banner. I don’t think 1981 is that much different. Because of this I’m going to begin the official era of the 80s music with … drumroll … what else but Thriller. Footloose is really really close to being the quintessential 1980s release—happy, tamed anti-establishment, visual—and it was only a year later.

And on the subject of overlap, as I listened to the two throw out artist after artist it became evident that acts like Elton John, Aerosmith, Kiss, Van Halen, and others had hits in both decades. So which decade gets to claim them? It’s a judgment call. The 1970s get Elton pretty much because he was so bad post 1980. Aerosmith is a little more difficult. They probably sold more records in the 1980s so that’s where I put them. Kiss has got to go to 70s while Van Halen goes to both, somehow. Journey, Chicago, and Foreigner … I’m non-committal. Springsteen? He is a statistical outlier in this debate. One thing I know: the 80s get U2.

My 13-year-old daughter recently asked me, “Dad how can you tell which songs belong to the 70s and which belong to the 80s?” I thought about it for a second or two before answering, “Listen for actual musical instruments. If you can hear instruments then it’s probably the 70s.” And it’s true. The music of the 80s seems over produced. Even Van Halen’s 1984 takes one of the great guitarists ever and puts him on keyboards. The music of the 70s, on the other hand, had dark places, mysterious corners, and strange twists and turns that gave us room to explore. The 1970s is so much more nuanced than the 80s and so much more of, in my opinion, what real life has in store for us. It has edges and corners. While the 70s had musical corners where you could go camp out, the 80s was much more cotton candy and polly anna.

In this debate I think we’ve got to consider the launch of MTV in 1981, too. Growing up in a rural community … don’t think I don’t remember the day MTV landed on my black and white television when that guy dressed in an astronaut’s costume put the MTV flag on the moon. Remember Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, and Martha Quinn? I mean, really, how cool were those guys. And don’t forget Nina Blackwood. Looking back, however, MTV sounded the death knell for true musical artistry for more than a decade. Think about it. Once the era of the music video hit, “music” became less the cultural ethos of a generation and more about the dance, the face, the clothes, and the shock. MTV created Boy George for crying out loud!  Also because of MTV, music ceased being the collective story. And on that note, I hold MTV accountable for almost killing the concept album, too. In some ways, MTV introduced an era of American music when music was no longer music.  With all due respect to the 80s songs I know by heart and love, the 1970s is the greatest musical decade. Not only is the artistry superior, but it’s the last decade of the true storyteller (until recently, but that’s another post).

Is this a trivial conversation to have? Good question—especially in light of our economic woes. But maybe that’s exactly this conversation is important. I’ve come to conclude that the playlist is never trivial. Right or not, the playlist has come to define us even if it’s just for moments at a time. I think most of us would agree that it’s in these moments when we feel most ourselves and maybe even most alive. And I’m not buying the position that music is mere escapism, either. Admittedly it can play that role. But more than escapism, our music gives us a means of expression and articulation—a means of expression when our words come up short. In fact, very often it’s the playlist that speaks on behalf of our deepest places. It’s the playlist that speaks for the heart.


165 thoughts on “70s vs 80s: For the Love of the Playlist

  1. “Listen for actual musical instruments. If you can hear instruments then it’s probably the 70s.”

    Such a funny way to distinguish ’70s from ’80s music … and so true! As a person who can appreciate both, I love this description of the not-so-nuanced differences.

    Fun post!

  2. “Listen for actual musical instruments. If you can hear instruments then it’s probably the 70s.” – I laughed so hard at that line! It’s SO true!!

    Well, I wasn’t even alive in the 70’s, I would have to side with 80’s music being better. 😉

  3. i never really knew much about the 70s or 80s music coz well i was born in 1988, but recently i have been learning quite a lot about it.. thanx for sharing this..:-D now i have a little more knowledge.. 🙂

  4. I’d say 80s. Yes, it’s my decade. But let’s face it — all those prog rock bands who were choking on their own prestige during the 70s were fomenting some serious virtuosity. The 80s was when they got the hell over themselves, stopped being so self-indulgent, and started playing actual music.

    They also started treating the voice as an instrument that was as worthy of the virtuoso treatment as any guitar or drum set. Most of those 70s bands were all over themselves about how intellectually advanced their drummers, guitarists, and keyboard players were, but they would wind it up by handing the vocal duties off to the guy who sucked the least. Please. 80s bands took the voice seriously as an avenue of virtuosity.

    So that was the decade when it all came together, really: instrumental technical ability, appealing music that didn’t talk down to the audience, and top-flight voices (finally). It all gelled in the 80s.

    It was also the LAST decade before post-processing began to turn popular music into auditory Velveeta. ProTools, autotune, beat detective … all that shite. Nowdays, if you want to see musicians who are as good live as those bands used to be, you’d better like symphony orchestras.

  5. Oh man, there’s so much crazy music between the two decades.

    Synths were huge in the 70s though, especially with Zepp, Floyd, and Sabbath. Prog’s decline in the 80s is also something to note, as it became more “normal” to have weirder interludes and things: compare the prog of Yes’s Fragile to the prog of Queensrÿche’s Operation: Mindcrime.

    In classical, the 70s are more iconic (Minimalism come to the fore) but the 80s did a lot for computer music as it became easier and easier. And then there’s stuff like Eno and Byrne’s My LIfe in the Bush of Ghosts, which is such a nasty 80s album. 70s jazz seems more derivative of Coltrane until you realize how big a shift it really was — though 80s jazz has fewer “classics” though Miles and some of his alumni come out with some cool stuff.

    I’m a bigger fan of current music though — Nico Mulhy over Adams (though not Pärt), The Sword and Mastodon over most 70s and 80s metal, Fantômas over Naked City, etc.

    • Today’s metal seems less a departure from the pioneers and more of a product of growth our of their work. It’s more moody without compromising any energy. Yes and Floyd are two that I wish I would have mentioned. I love today’s music as well. Thanks for the post Laoshi.

  6. Very true the 70’s was an amazing period in music. The concept albums, bands like Mahavishnu Orchestra, Utopia, and other artists. It was a time when you had to be good to get a record deal and the record companies were mostly run by people who loved music and just weren’t out looking to make a fast buck with mass produced Mc’music.

  7. It seems to me that when we get past a certain age our music taste gets kind of time-locked within an era of approximately 10 years. For me it’s from about 1976 to 1986 so I go form punk to Sigue Sigue Sputnik stopping off at 2-Tone, New romanticism, electronic duos, ZTT and goth. I was still very much into new music going into the nineties and still listen to a lot of music from the late eighties and early nineties such as Carter USM, PWEI and the Cure. For some reason thought, it’s that period of ’76-’86 than other people label me with…and I have no problem with that.
    I totally agree with the notion that our playlist defines us and allows us to articulate ourselves beyond our words.
    Great post and great subject. will watch with interest.

    • Thanks. Is Cliff Richard on any of your playlists by any chance? I think “Devil Woman” hit during that 76-86 period you reference.

  8. Early 70’s in the UK saw me attending two fantastic festivals, on both occasions it rained, and when I say it rained, I mean it, it rained.
    The first festival was at Bickershaw just outside Wigan, not somewhere that you would ever equate to hosting a festival. The locals wondered why fifty thousand hippies descended on a small mining town? Answer, the Grateful Dead.
    By the time Gerry Garcia and crew hit the stage the bulk of the audience had virtually been washed away. Memories include Captain Beefheart, The Kinks and Country Joe, Hawkwind and Dr John.
    Oh the 70’s have it for me every time, by the time I got to the second festival at Lincoln I was ready with my wellies, way before they were fashion items.
    Highlights of Lincoln were The Beach Boys, I kid you not they were fabulous and totally won the crowd over. The first live gig of Roxy Music went by whilst I was sheltering in the toilet or something, I came out for Humble Pie and a very loud Status Quo, out of the toilet I mean!
    Slade blasted through the night and Rory Gallagher played two sets as Helen Reddy couldn’t make it, it rained again. We sang ” Bye Bye Miss American Pie” though nobody had a clue what driving a chevvy to the levvy was?
    Joe Cocker finished off following on from a very drunk Rod Stewart and the Faces…
    It was a raw period the 70’s, we were just experimenting I guess by the 80’s I just figured the grit had gone, and it stopped raining so what did this generation know?
    Loved your post, just loved it, it’s made me go back in time, great now because I can filter out the rain…

    • The word “raw” is a good one in association with the 70s. We were a nation—and a culture—with gaping wounds. Maybe the music was a part of the healing process. Thanks for the post.

  9. The problem is not that the 80’s were better than the 70’s or vice-versa, but rather when did the good music (as a whole) begin and end. This all depends on one’s age. For me, that time begins somewhere in the mid 60’s and ends somewhere in the late 80’s or possibly early 90’s. Music older than that is still awesome to some degree, and occasionally there is still some good music to come out, but because I was born very early in the 70’s, that time frame of music is what I grew up with and what invokes the strongest emotion for me. I did listen to a lot of “oldies” (40’s and 50’s at that time) as well so I have a love of those kinds of music as well. To me they are just as good, but definitely different from what was “contemporary” for me. I find it interesting though, the phenomenon that happens to a lot of people, and I was surprised when it happened to me: I found that new music (on the whole) was terrible. There were some bright spots here and there, but the good music, in general, at least as far as I was concerned, was gone. Again, nobody’s right or wrong, and someone considers some of the new music to be awesome, I’m sure, or they wouldn’t keep making it. I would imagine that bout 2020, someone will probably be having the same (well, at least similar) conversation about the music of the 90’s and 00’s. I could be wrong, but probably not.

    • Definitely an ongoing debate. The 60s was a great decade, too. Maybe the best ever. What makes the 70s so interesting is that it was in that decade that music became portable. That is, you could take your music in the car with you. So maybe the 1970s was the first decade of The Playlist.

    • The 60’s would be greatly debatable, mate, as would age. Many attribute most mid-to-late 20th century music evolution to jazz and blues. So i would say that your association with the 40’s and 50’s could be better regarded. I’m just saying…

  10. Congratulations on being FP. I agree that it can be more than escapism. Music, to me, becomes art when it is capable of transporting the listener to whatever viewpoint the artist casts. I’m generally not a fan of rap, but I found this in Tupac’s music (regardless of how one feels about the subject matter) and I think that’s why it was so successful. It gave people a glimpse into lives and feelings that they didn’t have access to in their lives. Better to experience fear, greed, and sorrow in a song than in real life. Zeppelin feels more ethereal and cerebral, and is a great transporter..

    • Zeppelin was crazy. I remember thinking the first time I listened to Led Zeppelin II: “I cannot believe this came out in 1969.”

  11. Interesting topic, by why isn’t jimi hendrix, beatles, or Elo brought in this talk. I prefer the 80’s myself just off the strength of Micheal Jackson alone, but you had prince and alot of other good acts coming out. Good music in general but 80’s over 70’s

    • Too many to name! But Hendrix and The Beatles have to be slotted in the 60s. The Beach Boys, largely because of Pet Sounds, go in the 1960s as well. Got to agree about ELO. Did the 80s have anything like those guys?

  12. My initial reaction was “70’s, no contest!” But after reading, I’m not so sure… Good point with Aerosmith, they definitely got better post-1980, and well into the 90’s!

    • There were so many significant artists I just didn’t even try to name them all, or even the most significant. Mellencamp and Seger are two that fall into the storyteller category. Someone pointed out The Clash as well. As good as it was (and remains), so much of the music from the 1980s sounds the same to me. Thanks for reading.

  13. This was well written and very intriguing. I was certainly around for the 70’s and 80’s, but wasn’t listening to much rock at the time. But you obviously know your music and dealt with it very thoughtfully. I agree that music is so important, often giving us expression far beyond mere words. Thanks for posting. And congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.

  14. I laughed at your comment about being the passive observer. I do the same thing – EVERYTHING is potential material! Reading this entry (which I enjoyed very much) I realized I’m probably a “product” of both decades! I grew up in the 70s, but most of my schooling was in the 80s. MTV launched when I started junior high. Most of the artists that I love and listen to with regularity, though, were prolific in both decades – like Elton John and Billy Joel – and reinvented themselves as they created. And I support your “closing argument” about the importance of The Playlist. If we can tell a lot about a generation by its music, I wonder what the 2010s will say?

    Thanks for being a passionate/passive observer!


    • That puts us at about the same place, generationally anyway. I actually think music is at a pretty good place. Acts like Besnard Lakes and The Decemberists are bringing back the concept album. The alternative movement of the 90s has splintered into some really cool artistry. I’m thinking 2010s will be musically rich.

  15. I think the playlist does define us or at least important moments in our lives. My sister was all for creating a CD as a wedding gift when she got amrried and I loved the idea. I make CD’s or playlist for a CD when I scrapbook and include them in the completed product.

    • If you haven’t seen it, the movie Elizabethtown makes good use of the playlist CD. Thanks for reading and the comment.

    • But I do love the 80s. I just think that it is inferior musically. The 80s became less about the music at some point in there. What’s interesting to me is that, oddly enough, iTunes has somehow managed to make “it” more about the music again. Instead of single 45s you can download a single track. We lost the beauty and simplicity of the single track for a while.

  16. The 60’s and the 70’s were the golden days mate. 80’s was the disco era i think, the pop culture era, true rock was dying. From Floyd’ dark side of the moon to Robert Plant to Morrison, it all happened during that bright era.

    Congratulations on being freshly pressed.

  17. Being born at 90s, I can’t truly say if I like 70s or 80s. The world changed a lot, since then, and it’s not just about the music. Music itself reveals society. So, I would probably be insane about something like AC/DC e Led Zepplin, if I had truly lived the 70s. Now, I can only like them, and be aware that the spirit of those decades is gone.
    It really is amazing how important music is to us. It has such an important role in our lives. Just like you said, “It’s the playlist that speaks for the heart”, saying all those things that, most of the time, we can’t say. And it’s true. A life without a musical background wouldn’t be enough. Some moments wouldn’t be so special, so meaningfull if they didn’t have music.
    Nice post! Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  18. I’m going to interpret your shot at Kool & The Gang as a dig at their 1980’s output. If you’re not familiar with their much funkier, edgier and jazzier 70’s catalog, you’re in for quite a musical awakening. After that epiphany you’ll never make the mistake of mentioning them in the same sentence as Air Supply ever again.

    • I actually like both Air Supply and Kool & the Gang—probably prefer their 80s stuff to what the did earlier even though I hear what you’re saying. I wasn’t taking a shot at anybody. (Well maybe I was taking a shot at Boy George.) They are mentioned together because they both had big hits early in the 1980s that defined the earlier part of the decade.

      • Just between you, me and the hat rack, I like Air Supply too 🙂 It’s been my experience that folks judge Kool & The Gang by the overplayed “Celebration,” when they were so much more than that. I have a very fond memory of seeing Kool & The Gang at a club on the south side of Chicago. I was only 15 years old; the club was a 21 and over place, but thank goodness for early facial hair:) I was a musician back then (saxophone) and was big into bands with killer horn sections (K&TG, Tower of Power, Chicago, Earth, Wind & Fire, etc.). Guess that puts me in the 70’s camp. In the 80’s most of funk bands (except for Kool & The Gang and Tower of Power) fired their horn sections and replaced them with synths. While many of them made music that I liked (and liked a LOT), I missed the horns. When Earth, Wind & Fire and Chicago toured together a few years ago, I was in horn Heaven 🙂

      • Don’t forget about KC and the Sunshine Band. Hadn’t thought about it, but yeah. Chicago goes soft in the 80s and becomes something else. Journey kinda did the same thing. I’m trying to think—surely there’s more legitimate bands with horn sections to be named from 80s. Springsteen and the E Street qualifies, but Born to Run (probably his best) was mid 1970s.

  19. Having been around for each of the decades you discuss (plus), I started poo poo’in you around the fist couple of paragraphs. What’s wrong with Kool and the Gang? And Blondie? I’m not feeling it. But being honest, that’s Just a matter of personal taste.

    Pretty soon it became obvious that you know what you’re talking about from a pop-culture stand point. Great read. Lot’s of fun and a great argument to play around in.

    While I love me some pop culture, even today’s, I’m still a huge jazz fan. Always have been, always will be. Having said that, the playlist on my ipod holds quite a few Michael Jackson, Tower of Power, Oj’s licks… it’s hard to power walk to Miles Davis, after all. thanks, Keri

    • Thanks for the post. I mentioned it in another response, but Blondie doesn’t get mentioned enough in discussions like this. Blondie was a great band. Kool &the Gang also very underrated.

  20. Very interesting blog… something I think a lot about, as a music junky. There’s a lot of schmaltzy silly music in the 70s that few other decades had (not that they should have!) like “Billy don’t be a hero” “Seasons in the Sun”, just to name 2 doozies. The 80s had so much techno’ish stuff like “I Ran” and then Billy Idol, Cindy Lauper and all the rock you’ve mentioned, etc… a lot going on. Ironically, I’m going to my 30th hs reunion next week and I’m working on a play list, for when the band isn’t playing… all songs will be 76-early 80s. Timely blog to find! Fun too. Glad you put it out there.

  21. Music can never be a trivial conversation. After all, in light of all the economic woes and pre-apocalypse natural disasters we all need a distraction, right?

    And, yes, my initial reaction to describing 80’s music – listen for the synthesizer.

  22. I loved your post and even though you were very convincing about the 70’s outshining the 80’s, I still don’t know which one is the best according to my ears. It’s hard to decide and it’s true, they are quite alike.

    I do know that I loooove Pat Benatar, Blondie, Bon Jovi, Journey, Chicago, Heart, Led Z, Def Leopard (which I just listened to), and so much more music that was so good in the past.

    I’m a 90’s girl so I was practically forced to like pop or not listen to the radio at all lol. But rock has always been my absolute favorite genre.

    Very true what you said about music videos, it gives importance to insignificant things when it comes to music. But it also opens up doors for other type of artists (dancers, make up artists, video producers, etc.) I guess changes usually bring good and bad things.

    • Nice point about the other artists. And Heart is another band that I wish I would have called out. Look at what they did in the 70s (Barracuda, Magic Man, Crazy on You) compared to the 80s (a bunch of ballads). I actually like both versions of the band and might even prefer the 80s, but they definitely took the edge off of their sound. I am really appreciating all the love going out to Blondie. Thanks for the comment.

  23. Back IN Black ACDC
    LED ZEPPLIN, anything and everything.
    Springsteen and Clapton songwriters of the decade in the 70s.
    Areosmith, and Van Halen, and the Rolling Stones 1968 Post Beatles To THE DiscoRama Phase in 1978. These THREE Bands owned that ERA along with Pink Floyd.



    congratulations on your epic post.

  24. Without question…The 70’s Rocked. Never again will we experience the best years of true Rock and Roll. Those of us who grew up then will carry those memories to our graves.

  25. The real question is: What music was new during the period of time between your 13th birthday and your 28th birthday? (For me that means September 1953 to September 1968.) And that is the music that you will love and defend all your life. Any occasional song you add to that as being tolerably good is a bonus, and serves as evidence you put forward to those younger than yourself that you are not an old fogey. It is all a matter of hormones. Sorry, you were addressing YOUR generation. I ought not to have butted in.Very fine blog! Most interesting! It is also swings on the radio station you listened to. Radio Nova from Dublin (I was in Merseyside) recruited me (in my forties) to admiring Denis de Young and his Desert Moon, for example. The late Chris Carey was the genius from Radio Caroline who made Nova sensational. It was a powerful AM voice then. Now it is a local FM whisper.

    • Totally get what you’re saying. The 80s is my sweet spot and is the decade that has the most significant emotional connection. But here I was trying–successfully or unsuccessfully?–to base my conclusion purely on musical integrity. Thanks for the comment.

  26. Pingback: Greatest Musical Decade? « opinionsdon'tmatter

  27. I had some points of my own. Lol, I made an entire blog just to mention them. I could talk to you all day about this!

  28. I’m sure everyone has pointed out something I will repeat, but I had to comment. I was introduced to a lot of 70’s music about ten years ago when I was 18. My father got a hold of a lot of music he grew up with and inundated me with it. I have never looked back and I literally LOVE music from that decade. It took the best of the 60’s, mellowed it out, and became something of an icon. At least to me. Like you said, their is true musical quality to it, as well as a story in the song.
    I may love my bouncy powderpuff pop music, but in a pinch I always turn back to something from the 70’s. James Taylor being one of my all time favorites, though there is something about the one hit wonders from that decade I can never get enough of.
    Loved this post, and I will have to share it with my father who loves that decade of music as well.

  29. Really loved your post!With all the sea of artists and genres these days,I thought the world had forgotten the 70’s and 80’s music era.I still listen to them with that much adoration,as a new released single of Beyonce,considering I came into the world in the late 80’s.

    My playlist would usually be a mix of Fleetwood Mac,Foreigner,Van Halen,Spandau Ballet,Cyndi Lauper,Yes,KC and the Sunshine Band and yes MJ.Even the lyrics back then had a kind of Drama and Character which make you want to get up and croon to them even more,I can never help it.And they are the best to lift you up after a long day or in the morning on your way to work!

    But you know its true it is difficult to actually catergorise which decade they belong to as they do overlap.

    Thanks from a Music Freak!!!

    • Rumours by Fleetwood Mac gets nominated for album of the decade. Was that their first release? If so, there were ridiculous debut albums during the 70s: Van Halen, Boston, Rumours. Thanks for introducing them to the conversation.

      • Infact Rumours was their 11th album release,in 1977.But they did acquire the top position on the U.S charts with that one.Fleetwood Mac was at the peak of their career during this period.And yes as you mentioned Van Halen,Boston did make their album debuts during the late 70’s.

  30. Very nice post. And yeah, a playlist does turn out to define a person. For me, the quickest way to judge a person has always been going through his ipod/cellphone playlist. If I see ‘aritsts’ like Akon or T-Payne, I punch the person in the face and run away.

    As for the great debate, I think I rather prefer the 70s music more for their… minimalistic approach, as someone else also mentioned. The 80s was too glamorous for my liking, with bands like GnR and everything. Or maybe that’s just my prejudice towards bands that use synth like Floyd etc.

  31. Quote>> “Listen for actual musical instruments. If you can hear instruments then it’s probably the 70s.” (end quote)

    Warren, all I can say is: EXACTLY! Peace and blessings to you and yours!

  32. Great post! I am a 90s-born kid, but thanks to tons of exposure from my music-loving parents, I know more old songs than new songs. I must say that no matter how much I try to compare the two, I still love both 70s AND 80’s music. Whatever the case, old songs definitely mean more and outshine new songs by far.

    Thanks for sharing!

  33. I was born before both decades. Looking at your title, I first picked the ’80s but after reading your post, I changed my mind and will be with the ’70s crowd.

  34. Being a child of the 60’s I more remember the 70’s and 80’s music and yes in the 70’s they really did play instruments and you could understand what they were singing unlike a lot of the “music” made in the 90’s and 2000 onwards but there are still some very good new bands around now..

    But I think I’d have to go with 70’s/80’s as these were the decades when music was made, love my 60’s music too but then hey you can’t beat a good old bit of rock and roll can you?

    Good blog and in today’s society it’s nice that we can talk about things like this and put the bad side of society behind us as a good chat costs nothing…

  35. Like yourself, I also prefer the music (and overall style) of the 1970’s. However, I will also say that I am firm believer in no one era of music being superior to another. There is a lot of good music from all decades (Yes,I am including the present decade too). I think a lot of people limit themselves in what music they like depending on when they were young and turn there noses up at anything that comes after that. The bottom line is that there are always true artists out there, even if they are not mainstream. There are also many lesser known artists of the past, who’s music does not gain recognition until it is rediscovered by future generations.

    • Fair enough. I think iTunes is changing things, though. Generations after us may not have any sensitivity to what song belongs in what era. For instance, my children don’t even look at the artist, necessarily, and for sure can’t name the album. It seems to me that for them it’s just … music. All of this makes me wonder if we’re seeing the last of debates like this. The generation of my daughters—and iTunes makes it possible—just claim it all. That’s not a negative, just interesting.

    • What a Great Blog!!! I am a 52 year old broadcast journalism major and music has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. My age is an indicator that i grew up in the 70’s and I do truly believe that that was the most raw musical era of all time but that is not to necessarily say the best. when you think of the immense differences in musical styles from that decade it is almost overwhelming.From Frank Zappa to Floyd is a huge stretch and then throw in Rush and Kraftwerk and well you get the picture.I truly love the 70’s music simply because it is in my soul but the 80’s were equally as important to the evolution of music in my honest opinion.

  36. For a long time, I have been thinking about the fact that the numerical decades are an artificial way to categorize popular music and not really true to the styles. When you think about it, early 70s music is more like late 60s, late 50s is like early 60s, etc. Maybe it’s because the truly revolutionary has seemed to happen mid-decade–Elvis in the mid-50s, the British invasion in the mid-60s, for instance. I know I’m talking earlier decades than what you tackled, but I wonder if some of your readers have noticed the same phenomenon in more recent decades.

  37. The 80’s saw the rise of inexpensive and ubiquitous synthesizers. My favorite drum machine, the TR-808.

    Me, I love music in general. My library contains songs from mostly the 20th century to be certain but span the 1930’s to the present.

  38. I was born in the very early 70’s and grew up in the 80’s listening to music and now I realize the 70’s were all about raw music – sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, while the 80’s were all about celebrating and having fun. It’s more light-hearted, Holiday, Celebration, even Wang Chung.

    Great post!

  39. I love how you compared the two decades of music. And it is so true about the 80s not being consisted with instruments, but more with keyboards and synthesizers. I was born in the early 90s but I grew up listening to the music my parents listened too which varied from Motown to Pop to 80s Hair Metal haha. It depends what kind of mood I am in for me to decide on which decade had better music-usually it’s the 80s because I like to dance to it.

  40. I think I prefer the 80s music. It’s more…organized, maybe, and has a more closely-knit feeling to it than the 70s. Also, 80s music has that tendency to feel awesomely upbeat. Air Supply, Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now by Starship, Don McLean…yeah. Also: Joan Jett.

  41. Great post, Agonistes! Very thought provoking. I was born in the 50s but I consider myself a child of the 60s so I don’t see much point in debating whether the 70s or 80s is better because I see it as a continuum over the last 6 decades. The 50s was quaint and innocent, the 60s was edgy and experimental and formed the foundation for Rock that peaked in the 70s and started going downhill in the 80’s. Eye-candy music videos killed good Rock, Britney Spears drove in the last coffin nail and Lady Gaga buried it. I’m glad I still have my old records and CDs but today I listen mostly to Jazz and the sounds of silence. “What a long strange trip it’s been.”

    • Great post. The biggest difference between the 60s and the 70s is portability. Not sure when the 8 track came out, but when it did it unofficially began the era of the Playlist.

      • Portability is a very astute perspective, Agonistes. Although Bill Lear (of Learjet fame) spearheaded the introduction of 8-track in 1964 as Learjet Stereo-8, it achieved its greatest popularity in the 1970s until it was overtaken by cassettes in the late 1970’s.

        It would be interesting if someone did a similar analysis like yours on lyrics and how lyrics evolved over the decades. I bet a lot of rockers would be interested. I’m not the one to do it because I’m tone-deaf to vocals which, in many cases is just as well. When I read the song sheet or have someone tell me the words I realize I haven’t missed much because many lyrics are asinine and maudlin. Musicians should make music and leave words to the poets who I can ignore which probably explains my migration to Jazz.

      • “Not sure when the 8 track came out, but when it did it unofficially began the era of the Playlist.”

        lol, a very astute observation. you’re exactly right.

        May I quote you on this?

  42. Music , best tune s’ / best Poetry 62 – 78 Jazz, Pop, & Rock
    Agonistes ????? every ones’ allowed a free opinion

  43. I’ve always felt that one’s affection for a decade’s music has little to do with the music itself, but more to to with what was going on in your life at the time the music was popular. It’s all about the context in which you listened to it and with what you associate it. That’s the only way I can explain the popularity for genres I’ll loosely call “rap”… its audience must have been exposed to it during some rather fun or profound period of their lives.

  44. Excellent post! I love both eras and I’m not sure I could choose between them. I would say that the music of the 70s was higher quality on the whole but the 80s certainly set the scene for alot of todays music that I love…

  45. Wonderful post!
    I would say that we really cannot judge art. As everything one creates is art.. and it’s interpretated completely differently with every single living thing. .

  46. Please write the blog that tells the rest of this story. Something wonderful has begun to happen in music again, something that proves that the spirit of artistry can’t actually be killed by a little catastrophe like MTV. And, while I agree with you on the whole about the exploration and experimentation of great 70’s music, I would also like to point out that for all of its over-production the 80’s saw music deliberately used as a weapon against the forces of injustice and intolerance. It was an across the board action from Phil Collins “Another Day in Paradise” through Europes “The Final Countdown” White Lion’s “When the Children Cry” and of course Men in Hats “Safety Dance” Not to mention the incredible action the feminist movement saw in that decade. Every time I find myself ready to dismiss the 80’s for more musically sophisticated art, I find myself drawn back to imaginative sounds of this strange electronica. Llimal’s “The NeverEnding Story”

    • I’m liking what iTunes has done for music today. Acts like The Decemberists, Besnard Lakes, Avett Brothers, and even Frightened Rabbit are edgier than acts have been in a while. Standards like Death Cab for Cutie also in that group. No longer do acts have to sell out in order to make it a career. They can find their niche, build a relationship with an audience, and immerse themselves while taking many along on the journey. If you’ll recall, the 70s was big with the single and, to some degree, that mentality has returned. That is, today’s artists can again indulge themselves. So yeah. Good points. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  47. Wow this post brought back so many memories. I really don’t have a problem with any decade from the sixties to the present. I pretty much have grown with the music through out my life. If I had to pick between 70’s and 80’s I guess the 70’s because I graduated in 1975. My group of choice by the end of the 70’s would have to be STYX, because I was born in Chicago but Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder, Queen, and on and on.
    Oh well, I guess it’s time to return to 2011, great stuff I really enjoyed this!

  48. Hi – I grew up in the 70s and 80s, and despite the bad press these eras get, they were rgeat at the time, and I still love listening to them. But as the 80s was my teenage years, that is definitely the era where the music (and the movies and fashion!) has the most emotional attachment for me. The 70s falls into the “music my parents listened to” category!

    If you are interested, I have recent blogged “In defence of the 1980s” to deal with my defensiveness to criticism of this era! http://mudmap.wordpress.com/2011/07/24/in-defence-of-the-1980s/

    • Fun post. I left a comment for you. I hit middle school about 1980 so I’m right there with you. How about those iconic 80s movies. Probably the first decade that made so many movies directed at teens.

  49. I have so many favorite songs from the ’80s. Maybe more than a hundred, actually. But then when I take these songs and put them face-to-face with my one and only favorite song from the ’70s, they just pale in comparison. “Freebird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd from ’73/’74.

  50. I’ll continue my devotion to the sound of the 80’s – New Wave, Metal, no matter the genre, it was the birth of so many good things. Good topic.

  51. well done, thanks! I think it’s interesting that much of the garbage music from the 1980’s seems to be coming back around via the occasional cover–like herpes or a bad penny.

    I think I have to go with the 70’s as well, for quality. But for sheer madness and debauchery, I think the Hair band clones kind of take the cake.

    I will say, though, that there were a few quality bands, metal-wise, that came out of the 1980’s. It wasn’t just bad pop, though there certainly was a lot of that, too.

    Anyway, thanks! Found your site randomly, and look forward to reading more of your stuff!


  52. The 70s and 80s, those are two decades that have made such incredible contributions to music, it’s difficult or nearly impossible to chose which one reigns supreme. Although I was not born within either decade, I am personally a fan of the music established within those twenty years. There is absolutely no comparison between the music created in the 70s and 80s (and even the 90s since that’s my decade) and the music that our generation is subjected to today. The quality of music that was listened to in the 70s and 80s presents not only an appealing sound, but it was also fun and danceable. The majority of the songs played during those times had a romantic, comedic, or symbolic representation within their lyrics and only few expressed vulgarity.

    Essentially, both the 70s and 80s are equally fantastic! Thank you for your post, I really enjoyed the topic you presented!

    If its okay with you, I just started my own blog recently and I would really like to post my link along with my comment, it’s http://www.logicmeetsreason.wordpress.com I invite you and your readers to take a look at it, comment, and subscribe!

    • Will do, Logicmeetsreason. Don’t you think the iPod has somehow managed to bring these past decades back? I guess we would be remiss if we didn’t also mention the recent radio-format trend of playing “music from the 60s, 70s, and 80s” as well. I didn’t listen to any what I called “old stuff” when I was growing up. I was much more close-minded eg “You’ve got your music and we’ve got our music.” Claiming a generation of music was one way of establishing an identity separate from that of your parents. It was a way to expressing now only individuality, but independence. But I don’t see that same thing with my children. What they claim is the playlist. That is, they express their individuality looking deeper, not across. They take advantage of decades of music and lyrics to create their own, personal playlist. Subtle but fascinating shift I think.

      • That is a very interesting interpretation of how our expression of individuality through music has evolved. I can definitely see how we have come to a point where it is the accumulation of diverse forms of music that we embed into our own personal playlist that emphasizes our own identity. I myself don’t specifically identify with my generation’s music, but instead, I have a unique mixture of songs ranging from The Commodores to Depeche Mode to The Police to Jason Aldean to Matchbox Twenty to even Pitbull! It’s a complicated and unusual arrangement of music, but it defines my tastes. Thank you for bringing that unique perspective to the table.

        Your theory about the ipod is definitely valid, our ease of accessibility to the archive of music we call itunes has given us an opportunity to discover and experience other decades of music. I see this as a good thing. Hopefully we will see the younger generations embracing the classics and adding them to their own personal playlists!

  53. My favorite two decades are the 70’s and 80’s. I was a teen in the 70’s and I couldn’t get enough music. For myself, I would say the 70’s are my favorite as it was an influential time in my life. Some of my favorite songs from way back then didn’t make it as I got older and learned to truly appreciate how the instrumentation and lyrics would touch my soul, and discovered groups and singers now that I wish my little AM radio played then.

    I appreciate the varied genre’s of rock, old and new. My list favorite list includes a lot of Canadian bands/singers (got to stay loyal), ARS, Pink Floyd, Metallica, Eagles, Journey, Boston, Three Dog Night .. well, you get the idea. I’m all over the place with my taste but mostly anything to do with the 70’s and 80’s. Even those that made the transition from one decade to the next with a minimum of fuss and staying true to their sound and not bending to suit the era.

  54. I think the 70s saw a far greater change in music, as far as pop/rock music was concerned. having been a teenager in the 70s it seems incrediable that we started with Two Little Boys by Rolf Harris and ended the decade with The Sex Pistols!
    How about a debate on the 60s versus any other decade??

    • The 60s is incredible. Diverse and dynamic. Full of energy. It was an entire culture, in some crazy way, becoming self aware and alive after a period of dormancy. The biggest drawback was the lack of the playlist, which is what I was trying to get at. The idea of portable music—music you could take with you in your car—did not become a part of the musical vernacular until about the mid 70s. Thanks for the post. The 60s rock for sure.

  55. Well written and well put. Being a product of the early sixties I am by nature a child of the seventies and have many vivid musical memories from that decade (see my blog:)) so it’s no surprise when I say that the 70’s is where it all really started and therefore has the best music…and Iike to think that had I been born in the early seventies to become a child of the eighties, then somewhere along the way, fate destiny and a time travelling me would have intervened and pointed me in the right direction in the Woolworths record section.

    • Ah. A reference to the record section. Remember when there were just a handful of categories: Rock, Country & Western, Classical, and Soundtrack. Thanks for commenting.

  56. Great blog and topic, just discovered it:

    I always pretty much hated the popular music of the 70’s, used to listen to my older siblings Beatles albums, and then I pretty much dove right into the 80’s.

    The decade started with the brilliance of The Pretenders first album, all that tragedy and then Chrissie comes back with the unbelievable Learning to Crawl. Back on the Chain Gang still sends shivers down my spine.

    Then you’ve got the emerge of brilliant pop songwriters with Morrissey and Marr, the poetry of Shane MacGowan with The Pogues, The Replacements (Unsatisfied is still to me the best rock and roll song ever), The Clash, The Specials and the joyful ska craze, Madness, English Beat, Psych Furs were great, the glory days of Hardcore like Black Flag, Circle Jerks and Minor Threat, Husker Du, fabulous garage rock like The Fleshtones (best live band ever), the Lyres, the whole goth thing, Bauhaus and Sisters, droves of beautiful goth girls at The Bank and Ward 6, mainstream stars like Bowie dropping a bomb with Modern Love, the dance music epics like Blue Monday, Simple Minds, the Primitives album was sonic gold, closed the decade with the Pixies and Jesus and Mary Chain.

    The Replacements have a song “Left of the Dial” that reminds me of that era, “read about your band, on some local page.didn’t mention your name…” The new good music didn’t come out and get pre-packaged for your consumption, you had to go looking for it. And all your favorite bands would never get played on commercial radio or MTV, maybe only on some obscure college radio show, but it was also the golden age of homemade zines, really passionate people spending their youths writing about music..It was also the glory days of NME and Melody Maker in the UK..with their covers like art posters. So there’s my personal vote.

  57. Ha!
    I love this post, me and my bf have this debate all the time… we recently discussed how really music isn’t divided into decades at all and can change at any time! I’m a lover of Toto and their two best hits (Hold the line and Africa) were released in the 1970s and 1980s respectively…!

    (As a child of the 80s though… it wins hands down every time!)

  58. Not directly related to the original post, but more towards some of the follow on comments..

    Musical taste is so subjective. I love all kinds of music from gregorian chant in the 7th century through classical, ragtime, jazz, blues, pop, rock, punk, industrial, funk, country – and songs released yesterday. I’m not writing this to pat myself on the back, but because I believe great new music is recorded and released every day.

    If you doubt it, get on Pandora and plug in a couple artists you like from *any* decade. You will hear a mixture of old, new and in-between and in the process proably hear lots of music that you have never heard before.

    More directly related to the idea of ‘if you hear actual musical instruments’. I have three young kids, so I can definitely appreaciate the comment – kids LOVE it when things can be wrapped up so cleanly.

    Quntessential 80s bands: U2, REM, The Police, Dire Straits. Yeah, OK U2 and the police used some synths and Dire Straits abandoned incredible musicianship and intelligent lyrics for MTV stardom… Anyway, from what I recall, lots of musical instruments 🙂

  59. i often found myself in the middle of these same discussions with friends and co-workers until I realized that music is too subjective to declare “winners” of any sort. And popularity isn’t a valid case either. It’s really just personal preference and what moves you.

    Because of this, I’ve never felt that any one decade of music was better or worse than any other decade’s. I find as much great music now in the current decade as I did back in the 70’s.

    I think people are most affected by music during their teen and early adult years as they’re trying to find their place in the world and figure things out for themselves. Because of this, the end up having a much stronger attachment to the decade they were experiencing all of this. And, thus, they will naturally be biased to that decade’s music,

    Regardless, as I’ve continued to keep changing and maturing and evolving through life, I’ve never been at a loss to find current music that is relative to where I am in my life and really speaks to me. So, although my personal decade of initial growth my have been late 70’s to early 80’s, I consider the every decade since I was born in ’65 to be the best decades!

    Thanks for the post. It was definitely a fun topic.

  60. To me it’s an insult to even compare the two decades to eachother. By and far the 70’s were the best time for music in the history of mankind! I’m not one of those junkies that just says that because everyone else says that I do listen to music and i do have reasons behind what i say. Besides the plethora of number 1# selling, influential masterpieces produced in this decade (which is reason enough to win the argument) the 70’s were a time of endless exploration which is a true catalyst for muscial creativity. It was a time that honored every drum beat, bass line, and electric guitar bridge tremolo solo that flawlessly rang through the albums. 80’s could never dream to accomplish this.

    • And, I would add, the 70s is perhaps the foundation to everything that has come after it. It may be said that other broad-based conclusions (as opposed to specific artists and micro-movements) must be measured against the 1970s. A lot of comments are maintaining that these conclusions are subjective. And, in terms of what you prefer, that is definitely true. But a true musician can approach this topic from the perspective of musicality. Based on what I’ve read here, those that understand how music works have typically landed with the 1970s. (I’m just a fan so I fall into that “subjective” camp. I prefer to listen to 1980s music for the same reasons others have described: it’s what I grew up with; it’s tied to significant moments; and it’s what was playing when I got my driver’s license.) I’m amazed at how this conversation has taken off, though.

      • I agree with your point about the age of the playlist. When I was a little kid (circa 72) my older sister had a boyfriend with a recording 8 track deck and he would make mix tapes for her. Before that you listened to an album, or whatever was on the radio.

        I don’t agree with the 70’s being the foundation to everything that has come after. Think about Chuck Berry, Howlin Wolf, Buddy Hollly. But anyway, smany of my favorite bands are from the 70s.

  61. Nice post! I have a lot of these ‘debates’ with my friends too. I’m definitely siding with the the eighties people. And it’s so nice (and sometimes a bit weird) to see how many young musicians are influenced by that decade (in both music and fashion). Very stylish decade, I think.

  62. Great post. I think that music has a lot to do with a person’s experiences. If they can relate many experiences with certain music they may have a deeper connection with that music. For instance, let’s say a person was born in the 1970s but they were a teenager in the 80s, they may have a deeper connection with 80s music due to their experiences as a teenager. Just a thought.

  63. I was a young kid in the ’70s, so the music I remember tends to be the dross – 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, Copa Cabana (wince), Tie a Yellow Ribbon (barf), etc. (Whaddaya want? I was, like, 10! I had a Shaun Cassidy album, for Pete’s sake!) I was in high school in the ’80s, and totally remember the advent of MTV (which we didn’t have, I had to go over a friend’s to watch it, as well as R-rated movies). Again, I liked all the fluffy pop stuff – Missing Persons, The Eurythmics, Lipps Inc., Adam Ant, etc. My friend was more into metal, like Billy Squire, Quiet Riot and U2 (hey, I Will Follow was LOUD), and also a big Beatles-Wings fan, so my musical “education” wasn’t all shallow. Now I find I like a little something from each decade, from the ’50s through the ’90s. I have yet to decide whether the first 10 years of 2000 were worth anything. I think a lot of what’s popular is as empty as ever, although there are exceptions. Which, again, you could say about the music (and movies) of every decade. If you start thinking what a decade’s entertainment says about that decade, I’d say we’re still very much into denial and fantasy, and that started in the ’80s, I think. Dyeing your hair funny colors and showing skin (thanks, MTV) is the least effective form of protest – like adolescent whining. I suppose what I miss is music that had something real to SAY – something worth remembering.

    • Love it. Thanks for posting. The whole notion of fantasy is good fodder for a later post. We’ve toyed around with the idea a little with a project at work.

  64. I often suggest to those venturing into music, that 70’s is the best anchor, but as a starting point. I think it is also where one begins to explore music as a phenomenon and not just audio-pleasure, but i think it is because of that, that one “opens their ear” to newer and unfamiliar experiences. It allows one to appreciate more as well.

  65. Totally agree with how you can tell what time period the music is from; I had (and still have) trouble explaining to others (especially my younger brother) how I can distinguish what time period the music or songs come from, but it is so true! Also I’m not sure I would even know which decade to say had the best, trying to be as objective as possible since I’m a child of the ’80s. Anyway, great article and feel free to read my ramblings at http://travelersontheroad.wordpress.com Stay cool! 8)

  66. Wow – sorry – posted some links in reply but they turned into big youtube players. Anyway, please delete the post as I wasn’t trying to hijack your blog with a bunch of youtube videos!

  67. For me, they don’t even compare. I am a product of the 70’s but also consider myself objective, especially when it comes to music. I have to go with the 70’s. The instrumentation and overall talent of the Musicians of that era still have not been over shadowed. That’s my humble opinion 🙂
    Fun read.

  68. To even ASSUME that the music from the 80s even REMOTELY compares to the 70s is indeed folly. I grew up in the 80s, MTV, synth, bad fashion AND hair…how the masses didn’t pick up on Aerosmith until the 80s is still an unsolved mystery to me. Their music in the 70s was leagues ahead of their 80s junk. I must agree…most of what Elton did in the 80s was unbearable…no comparison.
    Strange how profoundly different 2 decades can be on that level. Rock in the 80s was exceptionally horse***t. Eghads….

    • Got to agree about Aerosmith. It remains one of the great mysteries. “Dude Looks Like a Lady”? Really? Thanks for the thoughts.

  69. Let’s just put this way: The 70s gave us The Carpenters AND The New York Dolls. The 80s DIDN’T.

    Great piece. Thanks for the flashbacks!!

  70. Personally, I wish I could have lived my life in the following way: I loved being a child of the 80’s (1983!!!) and would like to keep it that way. I should have been a teenager in the 70’s and I would have preferred my twenties to have taken place in the 90’s. However, I don’t have a time machine and can’t really pull that off.

    • As long as we’re wishing, I think would have liked to have spent my 20s hanging out in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s. (So maybe I should say my 20s and 30s since I’m identifying two decades.) Thanks for the post.

  71. As a product of both the ’70s and ’80s, I have a strong affection for both. I lost interest in ’80s music around late 1988, b/c I had discovered ’60s music, but I still listen to the majority of the music from that era. Memories of ’70s music started in 1974, thanks to my Mom’s huge record collection, which she played daily.

    All in all, I love both.

  72. Wow! Never thought a debate between the music of the ’70s and the ’80s would erupt. I’ve always deemed the music of both those ages great, although not really that cool (because well, I was born in the age of Britney Spears, boy bands, and Black Eyed Peas). The music of those decades were, I thought, more meaningful. Those songs will never really grow old whereas the songs of today are easily forgotten and replaced. Katy Perry’s chart topper may only last a month or two before she needs to release another one in order to keep up with the race. Point is, many of the songs of this age are disposable – one that gives a temporary bliss and stays in people’s memories temporarily. Worse, many of the songs don’t really say anything. They just have catchy tunes and “cool” lyrics. Not to mention, a hot and famous singer. I guess we’re really running out of quality music these days. And with AutoTune, I’m not really sure which songs are really worth called music anymore. I’m just really glad that there are still some artists who manage to produce great music alongside those songs that are really just hollow (and which are inappropriately available to young children). So, I feel kinda lucky to be born before this decade. 1990s is so much better than the 2000s, that’s for sure!

    And guess what, you are luckier than I am for being born in an age where music is genuinely great! That’s real music! 🙂

  73. Great post. My wife and I talk about this all time. Even though I grew up in the ’80s, even then I gravitated to ’70s sounds. Songs from that decade were compositions, not just a good hook and some synth. Long live Yes!

  74. I would have to definitely agree with you that while I thoroughly enjoy the music of the 80’s – I was born in 82 – that the music of the 70’s had a great deal more depth to it. I would also be in complete agreement with your take on MTV or even VH1. Whatever, happened to the music of these channels! I get tired of seeing the garbage of reality television because it is filled with in my opinion hatred and drama. I have enough of that in my own life, don’t really need to see it in others, unless of course it is there to provide a lesson rather than entertain. Excellent post! Congrats on being freshly pressed =)

  75. I did like your post, which made me think – I’d be really interested to see you do a post on post-2000 music. I am also a child of the 80s and so much more familiar with 80s music than anything current! But recent stuff does not seem too memorable to me. Can you do a post on that?

    • Good idea for down the road. To me, the last two decades aren’t as coherent as a complete unit–at least for me–yet. The next one I’m working on addresses the differences between fantasy and the dream. Thanks for the comment.

  76. I think it’s hard to sum up the music of the 70’s and 80’s as a whole, I agree with you if you are talking strickly pop music (which is a diffenrent beast then pop music today). The pop music of the 80’s had a over produced sound to it but when you look at the punk/hardcore scene of the 80’s it’s very raw acts like Minor threat, Bad Brains. Even the 80’s indie music is pretty raw with acts like the violent femmes and the Alarm. I think what happens to bands is they get picked up by a major studio or get a bigger budget and coupled with the studios banking on a big return they spend more to insure the succes of the album (which doesnt always work). If you take some of the bands you mentioned Aeorsmith and Led Zepplin their later albums are way more produced then previous albums. My feeling it’s less of the decade and more of the studio invollvment with the bands then anything. I lean more to the 70’s and early 90’s music myself.

  77. Pingback: 70s vs 80s: For the Love of the Playlist « I Am Agonistes | General Tso's Revenge

  78. Great post! I can see I’m going to have to subscribe. I’m not a fan of categorization by decade, if for no other reason than it doesn’t account for different genres. When someone talks 80s music, they probably don’t mean Randy Travis; a person who says they love 70s music might just hate the Sex Pistols or Talking Heads. Then there’s the question of what to do with groups that span not only decades, but genres — where does The Clash belong? I guess maybe people are usually referring to the pop charts of the times, but it’s tough to lump so much great music together (and to exclude so much great music) with a decade reference. That’s why I like to give my playlists ridiculous names like Musical Reagonomics and Bantha Fodder. Plus, it gives me hours of entertainment, thinking up names that would mean something only to me. 🙂

  79. I”AM from the 80 and to me the 80 are the best ever cause is the decade when i find my true and only love. and we both file in love with one special song from Chicago, until today that is our favor song. love the 80s!!!! the best times ever

    • The 80s is just more fun, that’s all there is to it. And that decade was probably more inspired than its predecessor. I just think that, musically speaking, the 70s was probably more edgy and creative. Thanks for the comment.

  80. Being a product of the 80s as well I’m a little partial. But you gotta admit that 80s music is a little more entertaining. C’mon, Wham, Talking Heads, Cyndi Lauper?

    • Ladies and gentlemen we have our first Cyndi Lauper reference. Great call realanonymousgirl. Cyndi could very well be the first true icon of the 1980s. Thanks for the comment.

  81. I just want to say, those ‘dark places, mysterious corners, and strange twists and turns’ are what I love about playing music. Though sometimes you have to get out the stuff that the 80’s represents, or the infection will spread. I think the exploration you mentioned means more when you can take a break from it and just churn out some simple, raw emotion.

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