Best Single From Each Artist: Vol. 6: 80s Edition

Inspired by this thing at McSweeney’s (and the fact that I’ve been meaning to do another for months).

10 artists, pick the best single (aim for hits that came out in the 80s, but you can argue for other inclusions, I guess):

1. Air Supply
2. The Cars
3. The Cure
4. Bryan Adams
5. John Cougar Mellancamp
6. Peter Gabriel (solo only)
7. Motley Crue
8. Eurhythmics
9. The Thompson Twins
10. Pet Shop Boys

27 thoughts on “Best Single From Each Artist: Vol. 6: 80s Edition

  1. 1. Air Supply – All Out of Love

    2. The Cars – Shake it Up

    3. The Cure – Killing an Arab

    4. Bryan Adams – Cuts Like a Knife
    5. John Cougar Mellancamp – Pink Houses

    6. Peter Gabriel (solo only) – Sledgehammer

    7. Motley Crue – Kickstart my Heart

    8. Eurhythmics

    9. The Thompson Twins – Hold Me Now
    10. Pet Shop Boys – Go West

    Admittedly, Go West didn’t come out in the 80s, but it is my favorite Pet Shop Boys song, mostly because I first saw this video sitting in a pizza shop in a former Soviet Republic in the mid 90s. The imagery was quite jarring and the music still comes on me unexpected from time to time.

  2. 1. Air Supply: Making Love Out of Nothing at All

    4. Bryan Adams: Vanishing (Okay, so it’s from 1991 and it’s not a single, but it’s still great). I like most of his rock, especially when John “Mutt” Lange is involved. Don’t care for the pop as much.

    6. Peter Gabriel (solo only): Red Rain (one of the greatest songs of all time). Solsbury Hill is also a fantastic song. I like his Genesis stuff a lot too, but those two songs are his best work, solo or non-solo.

    [ed: no original video, but this seemed like a good bet]

    The rest I either don’t care for (Mellencamp), or I don’t know well enough to make an educated call.

  3. 1. Air Supply – none. Come on. (If I had to pick it’d be “Making Love” but man – they all are painful)
    2. You Might Think I’m Crazy. I know it’s overplayed but it’s been a few decades so I think the “overplayed” bit no longer matters. They have a lot of good stuff and are underrated.

    3. The Cure – Friday I’m in Love

    4. Bryan Adams – Cuts Like a Knife
    5. John Mellancamp – Wall

    6. Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer
    7. Motley Crue – none
    8. Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams (I always found the rest of their stuff so-so)

    9. Thompson Twins – none
    10. Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls

  4. Wow. Thanks for the video additions. I hadn’t heard that version of “Red Rain” before. Still scratching my head over the the bizarre “Solsbury Hill” video.

  5. 1. Air Supply – All Out of Love is awesome. One of the best singing in the shower songs ever.
    2. The Cars – You Might Think is the best, but it only beats Shake It Up by a hair.
    3. The Cure – Just Like Heaven

    4. Bryan Adams – Cuts Like a Knife
    5. John Cougar Mellancamp – Hurst so Good

    6. Peter Gabriel (solo only) – In Your Eyes

    7. Motley Crue – Dr. Feelgood

    8. Eurhythmics – Missionary Man

    9. The Thompson Twins – If You Were Here isn’t only the best Thompson twins song, it may be the best song synthpop song ever.

    10. Pet Shop Boys – Their best song is the cover of Always on MY Mind, but their best original song is West End Girls

  6. Peter Gabriel is a tough one, I actually broke the tape of the So album while mowing lawns one summer because I listened to it so much. Every single song on there is amazing.

  7. 1. Air Supply: All Out of Love. I don’t really like it, but it played a significant role in my romantic life in 7th grade.
    2. The Cars: Just What I Needed. Great opening.
    3. The Cure: WHy Can’t I Be Like You. (Although I find that The Cure has not aged well with time for me.)
    4. Bryan Adams: Summer of ’69.
    5. John Cougar Mellancamp: Pink Houses. Like ‘Born in the USA,’ a surprisingly subversive song.?
    6. Peter Gabriel (solo only): Tough call. I’m going with Games Without Frontiers. ?
    7. Motley Crue: meh. Home Sweet Home, only because it was on MTV every day when I got home from school for a year, and only if you ignore the excellent video for Smokin in the Boys Room.?
    8. Eurhythmics: Love Is a Stranger.
    ?9. The Thompson Twins: Lay Your Hands on Me. I had forgotten how much pleasure that song brought me.?
    10. Pet Shop Boys: Always on My Mind. And a great video.

  8. 1. Air Supply – The One that you love*
    2. The Cars – Hello Again (could easily pick 5 songs from Heartbeat City)
    3. The Cure – not a fan. Lovesong?
    4. Bryan Adams – Summer of ’69
    5. John Cougar Mellencamp – Crumblin Down (Least favorite: Pink Houses)
    6. Peter Gabriel (solo only) – In Your Eyes
    7. Motley Crue – Smokin in the boys room
    8. Eurythmics – Would I lie to you?
    9. The Thompson Twins – The Gap (If you were here is also awesome, props to jjohnsen)
    10. Pet Shop Boys – Dang, going to have to echo jjohnsen on this one, too. Always on my mind is my favorite from the 80’s.

    * I think your brother had the Air Supply GH, didn’t he?

  9. 1. Air Supply – pass (what Clark said)
    2. The Cars – Candy-O
    3. The Cure – Friday I’m in Love
    4. Bryan Adams – Summer of ’69
    5. John Cougar Mellancamp – Hurts So Good
    6. Peter Gabriel (solo only) – Spiel Ohne Grenzen (Yes, they actually played that version on WHFS before it went commercial)
    7. Motley Crue – pass
    8. Eurhythmics – Sweet Dreams, I suppose
    9. The Thompson Twins – pass (and record one vote for Hold Me Now as the worst song of the 80s)
    10. Pet Shop Boys – pass. I managed to get through the 80s (and 90s and 00s) without them ever registering in my consciousness.

  10. Norbert, I liked both Reagan and John Mellancamp, but I always thought it funny Reagan used Pink Houses for his re-election campaign given the words of the song. Of course folks only remember the chorus on most songs. I agree it really is like Springsteen though which was “misused” in the same way at the same time.

  11. This is further proof of the great blessing that sleeping through the 80s turned out to be. I am sure that I listened to something, but none of this. Weird, really.

    Now, I remember. Talking Heads. Bruce Springsteen. Oingo Boingo, Tom Petty, the Roches… That’s what it was.

  12. 1. Air Supply – The One That You Love
    The first record single I ever bought. I’ve always thought of them as a 70s soft rock band though, not 80s.

    2. The Cars – Drive
    I was just listening to their greatest hits in my car–I listen to it quite often. Great stuff. I was going to say my fave is “Just What I Needed,” because it has one of the greatest opening lines ever (“I don’t mind you coming here and wasting all my time”), but “Drive” has actually brought tears to my eyes before.

    3. The Cure – “Sinking”
    Hard to choose just one, they have such a huge catalog, and every album is good. Do I have to choose a single? If so I’d go with “Jumping Someone Else’s Train,” but if not, it has to be “Sinking.”

    4. Bryan Adams – “Run to You”
    Not a big Bryan Adams fan, and I think the subject matter of this song it lame, but I can never resist it, somehow.

    5. John Cougar Mellancamp – “Paper in Fire”
    I don’t know if I can explain how much I love this song.

    6. Peter Gabriel (solo only) – “In Your Eyes”
    So many great songs to choose from, but I have to go with this one.

    7. Motley Crue – “Dr Feelgood”

    8. Eurhythmics – “Love is a Stranger”

    9. The Thompson Twins – “Lay Your Hands On Me”
    Love this song. I’ve had this album since it came out and I still listen to it.

    10. Pet Shop Boys – “It’s A Sin”

  13. Haha, that’s what I was thinking!

    JFD, the 80s had plenty of crap that was popular, but underground music was excellent. Butthole Surfers, Husker Du, Replacements, Soundgarden, Bad Brains, Jane’s Addiction, Flaming Lips, Big Black, Japan, Siouxsie and the Banshees—so much great music in the 80s.

  14. 1. …
    2. The Cars – My Best Friend’s Girl
    3. The Cure – Pictures Of You
    4. Bryan Adams – Heaven
    5. …
    6. Peter Gabriel (solo only) – Come Talk To Me
    7. …
    8. Eurhythmics – Here Comes The Rain Again
    9. The Thompson Twins – Lay Your Hands. Or You Take Me Up.
    10. Pet Shop Boys – I just realized I can’t pick a favorite. Interesting. Let’s go with Jealousy.

  15. 1. Air Supply – All Out of Love (Junior High slow dances!)
    2. The Cars – Drive
    3. The Cure – Pictures of You
    4. Bryan Adams – Summer of ’69
    5. John Cougar Mellancamp – Small Town (Pink Houses a close second)
    6. Peter Gabriel (solo only) – Red Rain
    7. Motley Crue – Kickstart My Heart (1990, but 80s sound)
    8. Eurhythmics – Here Comes the Rain Again
    9. The Thompson Twins – Lay Your Hands on Me
    10. Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls

  16. Susan M, thanks for reminding me. I do have some Husker Du, Replacements, and Jane’s Addiction. Maybe I wasn’t totally asleep, but I missed out pretty much entirely on the bands/people that are the subject of this post.

    That must make me an 80s music snob.

    Sugar came after Husker Du for Bob Mould (early 90s), but I loved that band.

  17. I like a lot of the ones suggested above, but how about these?

    But the first is still the best:

  18. The Cars: I’d say their best song is “Let’s Go”. (Although it was a late 70’s song)

    The Cure: Their best song is definitely “Just Like Heaven”. That’s an all time great. But I like “In Between Days” about as much:

    Pet Shop Boys: I think I’ll go with “Being Boring”.

  19. The Cure – The Lovecats (Fascination Street, or anything off Disintegration)
    Peter Gabriel – San Jacinto, definitely … distant second is Mercy Street
    Eurythmics – Jennifer (but there are so many great songs on those early albums. Love is a Stranger)

  20. I like Lovecats, but I actually managed to hear the Tricky version first, so the Cure’s version doesn’t sound quite right.

    Being Boring is a good one too (so many to choose from) Never understood the line that sounded like “And I had spores” (now I’m going to have to look it up)

    My shoes were high and I had spots ?

    My shoes were high and I had scored ?

    Anyone know what the actual line is?

    (Frente has a nice cover of this song, btw)

  21. 2.) The Cars — My Best Friend’s Girl.

    3.) The Cure — Impossible for me to pick just one…

    A Forest. All Cats Are Grey. 3 Imaginary Boys. 10:15 Saturday Night. The Same Deep Water As You. Fascination Street. To the Sky. A Night Like This.

    6.) Peter Gabriel — Don’t Give Up or Solisbury Hill or Mercy Street.

    9.) Thompson Twins — Judy Do or We Are Detective. (I love the whole Side Kicks album.)

    10.) Pet Shop Boys — Being Boring or Rent.

  22. 1. Air Supply: Don;t care; not a fan.
    2. The Cars: Not a big fan here either.
    3. The Cure: “A Few Hours After This,” but it’s tough, because I also love “Boys Don’t Cry,” “The Caterpillar,” “In Between Days,” “The Walk,” “The Kiss,” “Just Like Heaven,” “Pictures of You,” “Untitled,” “Doing the unstuck,” “Return,” and a hundred others.
    4. Bryan Adams: “Summer of ’69” or “Heaven”
    5. John Cougar Mellencamp: “Jack & Diane” or “Pink Houses”
    6. Peter Gabriel (solo only): “Solisbury Hill”
    7. Motley Crue: “Shout At The Devil”
    8. Eurhythmics: Not a fan
    9. The Thompson Twins: “Hold Me Now,” no question
    10. Pet Shop Boys: “West End Girls,” but “What Have I Done to Deserve This?” is a close second

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