The Eighties

| By the end of the 1970s, disco music was rapidly declining in popularity, due in no small part to the raw energy of punk rock and the rise of an alternative pop sound known as New Wave. Early 80’s music was largely dominated by groups such as the Clash, Blondie, Talking Heads, the B-52s and other New Wave or mainstream punk bands. Much like the early 1960s, the first few years of the 1980s were not particularly memorable.

However the 80’s pop music scene benefited greatly from the advent of music videos and cable television stations dedicated to showing them on a regular basis. When the Music Television channel (MTV) first went on the air, bands and solo artists who already had promotional videos got an unexpected career boost. One important element of 80’s music became the visual aspects of the song’s promotional video. In fact, many 80’s music hits can be identified just as easily by the images in their videos as they can by the artists or song lyrics.

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With such an emphasis placed on visual as well as musical appeal, many musical groups concentrated nearly as much time on their appearance and choreography as they did on their music. Bands such as Duran Duran, Bananarama, INXS and the Go-Gos often produced stylized videos shot in exotic locations and prominently featuring the most camera-friendly members of the group. The early to mid- 1980s were perhaps the best years for pop groups which incorporated fashion into their onstage personas.

This was also the decade of Band Aid: On 25 November 1984, nearly 40 pop stars arrived at a studio in west London to record the single ‘Do they Know it’s Christmas?’ Artists including Sting, Phil Collins, George Michael and Bono lined up with Duran Duran, Culture Club, Spandau Ballet and Bananarama. The song, released on 7 December, was the fastest-selling single ever and raised £8m – rather than the £70,000 organiser Bob Geldof had expected. Geldof then set his sights on staging a huge concert to raise further funds. Live Aid took place on 13 July, 1985 and was held simultaneously in Wembley Stadium, London, and the JFK Stadium, Philadelphia. The events raised about £40m for famine relief. Almost half was spent on food aid and most of the rest went into long term development.

1980: John Lennon shot dead Former Beatle John Lennon was shot dead by an unknown gunman who opened fire outside the musician’s New York apartment. The 40-year-old was shot several times as he entered the Dakota, his luxury apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, opposite Central Park, at 2300 local time.

1984: British ice couple score Olympic gold Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean have been crowned the Olympic ice skating champions after scooping gold in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. More than 24 million people watched the British couple score maximum points at the Zetra Stadium for their slow, sensuous free dance performance of Ravel’s Bolero. It was an overwhelming St Valentine’s Day victory for the duo in an event traditionally dominated by Soviet skaters.

1986: Thin Lizzy star dies:Phil Lynott, the former lead singer of the rock band Thin Lizzy, died from heart failure and pneumonia after an 11-day fight for his life.The 36-year-old rock star had been admitted to Salisbury Hospital in Wiltshire with a serious kidney and liver infection on Christmas Day, after he collapsed from a drink and drug binge at his home in Surrey.

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