At no time in pop culture history was there as much superstar power in the music world than in the 1980s. Icons from MJ to Prince, Madonna to U2, Lionel Richie to Bon Jovi dominated the charts and used the power of the phenomenon called MTV to make their mark on music throughout the decade. Consumers shelved their album collections and switched over to portable cassette tapes and the newly-introduced format of compact discs, even for singles. The advent of Sony’s Walkman brought high-quality audio to people on the go and no 80s kid was without one.
Radio listeners remember the weekly hit countdowns on Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 and TV shows like Solid Gold; and songs from the decade continue to permeate the headspace of people to this day via the soundtracks of flashback TV shows such as the Goldbergs, Stranger Things and GLOW. Though pop music stayed fairly universal, College Rock and New Wave developed into Alternative Music throughout the 80s and eventually worked their way into the mainstream. Hair Bands and R&B musicians fought it out for chart dominance, while Rap and Hip Hop artists became household names. Songs, albums, and even the music videos from the decade are fondly remembered as part of the fabric of the era.
We here at PTBN aren’t immune to the nostalgia. Crimp that hair and pull on your leg warmers. Get ready for the ultimate, way-bitchin’ totally rad tournament of songs of the 1980’s! – Todd Weber
Here is how the process works. The first round will consist of 64 groups of 80s songs. This is consistent with the group format used in the World Cup. The total number of 80s songs in the entire tournament is 650 and was vetted with PTBN staff members and non-staff music experts. It is possible that an individual’s personal favorite song didn’t make the cut, but we feel confident at PTBN that these 650 songs cross all genres and are representative of the sound of the decade, including criteria across success, longevity and impact on pop culture.
We’re done with the wishy-washy pick four songs now! It’s about to get real. The remaining 128 songs have been seeded into four regions. One on one matchups going forward. In the immortal words of 80’s ICON Optimus Prime: “One shall stand, one shall fall!”
CHOOSE ONE, AND ONLY ONE, FOR EACH MATCHUP!