Classic Rock News

Def Leppard are a famously tough band. They’d already endured drummer Rick Allen’s horrific 1984 accident which cost him his arm. But in 1991, guitarist Steve Clark died of an overdose. They eventually moved on by recruiting another guitar hero from the era: former Dio and Whitesnake guitarist Vivian Campbell, who is still with the band today.

AHH… the ’80s… I love you so much.  It’s always when we reflect back to our childhood that terms like “simpler times” arise. I have a list of 15 rock songs turning 40 and I love them all.  First, let’s just take a moment to reflect on 1983.

Mario Bros. was first released as an arcade game.  Cabbage Patch dolls were all the rage… I think I still have one in a box in the basement.  They’ll be worth money someday. lol It’s always what we trash that ends up selling on E-bay for a fortune, but those in-the-moment trends?  Not so much (sorry Squishmellow fans but it’s true).  In 1983, I was very busy being an awkward pre-teen.  It was tough work, but I made being awkward look easy.  1983 was part of my definitive musical period.  The music of the ’80s is like DNA attached to my memories of growing up and starting to find my place in the world.

MTV was HUGE by 1983. Every song on my list of 15 rock songs turning 40 in 2023 is a song I love and a video I remember (three exceptions).  MTV helped make so many careers.  Not that the music wasn’t great without MTV (it was), but MTV gave ACCESS to that music on a level I hadn’t known before.  I always loved radio, but I never knew what I’d hear (and see) next on MTV… at least that was the case in 1983.

15 Rock Songs Turning 40 in 2023

  • #15 King of Pain - The Police

    The Police had a helluva year in 1983.  Their videos were polished, stylish, and professional… having said that, The Police did not make a video for “King of Pain.”  The video below is actually an Australian import (with a cool story in the caption).  It was the final (and fifth) release from their final album, Synchronicity. (there’s my one exception… the rest of these songs it’s the music AND the video)

  • #14 Twilight Zone - Golden Earring

    The fashion of 1983 really shines through for Golden Earring’s “Twilight Zone.”  Golden Earring was smart.  They took the ZZ Top angle where they are fringe involved in the video and let the actors “act.” Look here, video-hero-character-guy, you pass out from ONE PUNCH and then wake up to black leather dancing ladies. How could anyone NOT love the ’80s?

  • #13 Rock of Ages - Def Leppard

    Def Leppard also had a helluva year in 1983.  Pyromania was one of the BIGGEST albums of 1983.  The video for “Rock of Ages” is a masterpiece of the ’80s style.  The band is jamming, and there is a CLOSE-UP on a Def Leppard butt (or more), with some loosely put-together gothic theme of the popular “woman in distress” motif.  This video even has Joe Elliot swinging around a giant sword.  It really is magical. The video may not be cinematic gold, but the band was beyond HOT and they brought the party. BONUS: We all learned to count in German.

  • #12 Hungry Like The Wolf - Duran Duran

    HOLD UP!  I’m gonna say it.  I think Duran Duran rocks.  That edge between rock and alternative… rock and new wave has always been subject to perception.  I loved Duran Duran then and I love them now.  “Hungry Like the Wolf” was their breakout hit.  MTV played it A LOT, but I never got sick of Simon LeBon in the jungle.

  • #11 She's a Beauty- The Tubes

    This one more than most stands out in my mind for the song/video connection.  To this day, when I hear “She’s a Beauty,” I picture the carnival and the Tunnel of Love. lol

  • #10 Owner of a Lonely Heart" - Yes

    “Owner of a Lonely Heart” is a bit off the beaten path of most Yes songs.  It’s their only number one (believe it or not).  The video 100% fueled this song hitting number one.  It’s an awesome song. I love it, but the video made the difference.  For years, after seeing this video, I refused to eat Chinese food.

  • #9 Love Is a Battlefield - Pat Benatar

    First off, I love the match-up of a super-catchy beat and dark lyrics.  Second, PAT BENATAR.  Talk about the total package.  The voice and range… the looks… the style.  I had friends who straight-up emulated Pat Benatar’s look.  Pat Benatar is 100% an icon of the ’80s.  She was a defining force of music and culture in the ’80s.

  • #8 - Suddenly Last Summer - The Motels

    There’s something haunting and soulful about “Suddenly Last Summer” that made (and makes) me really love this song.  What actually happened last summer?  Martha Davis never really told us.

  • #7 Talking In Your Sleep - The Romantics

    Detroit!  I couldn’t believe it when I found out that a band from Detroit was on MTV… As I said earlier, I was young and living in a suburb outside of Flint.  I still remember what a BIG DEAL the Romantics were.  The song and the video again worked together to give The Romantics the biggest charting song of their career.  The video was filmed at 8:00 am in Detroit, so if The Romantics look a bit sleepy, it’s because they were.  Nonetheless, their hair looked perfect.

     

  • #6 Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy - Sammy Hagar

    SAMMY!  He still has a ton of energy! I don’t remember this video being in rotation on MTV, but man, Sammy knows how to put on a show.  I love what Sammy had to say about the video for “Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy.” In the description box on YouTube, Sammy wrote, This was more like it for me. It was taken as an excerpt from the live concert from St. Louis and when “Your Love” was a single and became a hit, we released the song live, which is on fire! I invented the headset mic the tour before this, so that I didn’t have to stand in front of my microphone and play guitar and sing, it allowed me to run around all over the place and God knows I did.”

  • #5 Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) - Journey

    Such a great story behind this song.  Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain wrote this song about what was going on in the band.  Neal Schon and Ross Valory were both in the middle of painful divorces.  Steve Perry said, “There’s got to be a more soulful way of looking at this,” and they worked out the song (songfacts).  I love the intentional air-band playing in this. It’s so great and fun and hilarioius.

  • #4 Don't Tell Me You Love Me - Night Ranger

    Night Ranger is one of those bands that have way more jams than they get credit for. I can’t say as that WCSX, as much as I love our radio station, isn’t guilty of this. “Sister Christian” is a great song… hands down Night Ranger’s biggest hit, but they have MORE. “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” was one of the biggest rock songs of 1983. AND they’ll be at Bret Michaels’ Parti-Gras!  If you haven’t already taken a shot at tickets, you can when you CLICK HERE.

  • #3 Even Now - Bob Seger

    Meet final exception to my “I remember the videos to every song” statement from earlier: Bob Seger’s “Even Now.”  Bob never made a video for this or any songs that I’m aware of and yet he managed to do alright during his career. lol  Bob Seger has never been one for following trends.  I have to think there was some pressure on him to make videos, but it seems like Bob always did his own thing.  He wrote and sang songs that everyday people like you and me could relate to.  Man, I love Bob Seger… even now.

  • #2 Photograph - Def Leppard

    Pyromania was produced by Mutt Lange (along with the albums before and after Pyromania) Mutt brought the line, “All I’ve got is a photograph,” to the table. The line gave the band inspiration to write a song about a “guy who’s crazy about a girl, but all he has of her is a photograph.” (from songfacts.com)  “Photograph” was the second biggest rock song of 1983

  • #1 Every Breath You Take - The Police

    The number one song of 1983 was “Every Breath You Take.” Not all my songs fell in order of chart success, but this and “Photograph” do.  Sting’s hot, so I guess it’s ok for him to be a stalker… JK  I am however serious about the stalking nature of the song.  Sting said in a 1983 interview with New Musical Express, “I think it’s a nasty little song, really rather evil. It’s about jealousy and surveillance and ownership.”  He wrote it after separating from his first wife.