Now that we’re in the bracket rounds of the PTBN Greatest Song of the 80’s Tournament, Andy returns to take a look back at the biggest eliminations that occurred in Round 2.
And then there were 128. Now that the polls are closed for round 2 and we moved on to the brackets, it’s time to reflect back on some of the songs that are no longer with us.
If you haven’t read my article on some of the round one exits (if that’s true, shame on you), what I’m going to do here is look at some of the biggest round two eliminations. But first, here are some observations on what went down during this round. Queen is having a remarkable showing. Most people consider them a 70’s band which is why I’m a little surprised their songs are doing so well. Many novelty songs like “Turning Japanese” met their demise as well as a good number of one-hit wonders. Hip-Hop/Rap & Metal got wiped out of the tournament in a big way. And the PTBN inside joke continued with no Billy Joel songs making it to the round of 128. That been said, just about every song that made it through pretty much deserved to, but some were a bit debatable.
Here are the 10 biggest second round exits, in my opinion:
The Reflex by Duran Duran (Group B) was eliminated coming in sixth place by 21 votes. Duran Duran was arguably one of the biggest groups of the 80’s and they do have a big presence in this tournament, but I think this song should’ve gone much farther than it did. With the exception of Hungry Like The Wolf, this is probably the group’s most popular song. With a catchy refrain, this song has no problem appealing to both new wave and rock fans. The song that I would eliminate in its place is Manic Monday by The Bangles. I do like The Bangles and this is a fine song, but I don’t think a lot of love songs like this will make it much further in the tournament.
Our House by Madness (Group E) finished in sixth place, missing the cut by 23 votes. This was Madness’ biggest U.S. hit and had a lot more going for it than the novelty song, One Step Beyond. You look up 80’s British New Wave in the dictionary and you would probably see a picture of this band. Given the chance, this song could’ve gone on a nice run in the bracket rounds. The song that I would replace it with would be Video Killed The Radio Star by The Buggles. It is a fun song, but I think it’s getting through based on the fact it was the first video ever shown on MTV. It has a place in music history, but that doesn’t give it a free pass in the round of 128.
You Make My Dreams and Private Eyes both by Hall & Oates (Group G) finished tied, ironically, for fifth place by five votes. This is similar to when two actors from the same movie get nominated for the same award. They tend to cannibalize each other. Many voters probably didn’t want to vote for two songs by the same band in the same group which may have cost each of them. Hall & Oates is an iconic but underrated pop/soft rock group of the decade. These are two of their more popular songs that could’ve gone another round or two each. I would replace The Heat Is On by Glen Frey with one of them. Yes, this song is synonymous with the movie “Beverly Hills Cop.” This was a tough call but at the end of the day both H&O songs were bigger during the 80’s which is what led to my choice.
Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Pat Benatar (Group I) finished in fifth place, only three votes out of the running. Pat Benatar is one of the queens of 80’s rock and this may be her most commercial and popular song that should’ve gone much farther in the tournament. I would’ve predicted that it would make the sweet sixteen. I would eliminate Burning Down The House by Talking Heads in its place. Yes, the video was iconic, but I’ve always considered this kind of a novelty song. A bit more style than substance. Out of the Talking Heads songs in the tournament, I was pulling for Wild Wild Life myself. Alas, it didn’t even make it out of the first round.
Celebration by Kool And The Gang (Group J) finished in fifth place eight votes back. This is seminal party-starting anthem of the decade. Way less annoying than The Electric Slide. Not the greatest song, but it definitely deserved to get to the bracket rounds. I would eliminate Mad World by Tears For Fears in its place. For my reasoning, please refer to my first round article.
Sister Christian by Night Ranger (Group K) finished in fifth place, eight votes back. The classic 80’s rock tune that starts off slow and then picks up with a great chorus that you can sing along to, at karaoke. Plus, who can hear this song without thinking of the great scene from the movie “Boogie Nights.” I would replace Big Time by Peter Gabriel with it. Big Time is a fun song, but I think of Sledgehammer and In Your Eyes when I think of Peter Gabriel. I also agree with some that since this is a PTBN tournament, being it was the theme song of WrestleMania 22, its getting more votes and consideration than it probably should
Bust A Move by Young MC (Group Q) finished in seventh place ten votes out. Hip Hop acts like Young MC, Tone Loc and DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince were like the Bon Jovis of their genre. What I mean by that is they were the lighter, more fun versions of some of their contemporaries like N.W.A, etc. And with the genre nearly being wiped out in this round, something had to get through. Young MC even resurfaced a few years ago with an appearance in the movie “Up In The Air.” I would eliminate Safety Dance by Men Without Hats to make room for Bust A Move. This was another tough call. Safety Dance is another borderline novelty song that really doesn’t have much more going than a catchy refrain and a weird dance step.
What I Like About You by The Romantics (Group S) finished in fifth place, seven votes shy of advancing. Really? I had this song going pretty far in this tournament. Another popular rock party anthem goes down way too early. If you don’t get perked up the moment you hear the opening guitar notes of this song, you really need re-evaluate your life. I would take West End Boys by Pet Shop Boys out and put this song in the third round instead. West End Girls is a fine song, but in terms of this project, it should only go so far.
Rock You Like A Hurricane by Scorpions (Group X) finished in sixth place, six votes back. Yes, this is probably considered more of a strip club anthem than an iconic 80’s song, but it is memorable for its opening guitar riff and rocking refrain. The song I would eliminate in its place would be Broken Wings by Mr. Mister. I know that I sang the praises of Mr. Mister in my first round article, but Kyrie is a much better song. But I wouldn’t like one ahead of Rock You Like A Hurricane either. And we’re also at the point where a lot of ballads and love songs are going to be going out in droves.
Fight For Your Right by Beastie Boys (Group AD) finished in fifth place a mere two votes out of fourth place and advancing to the next round. Those who didn’t vote for this song should be ashamed. Every kid in my neighborhood bought this cassette (yes, you read that right.) We all held the album cover up to the mirror to reveal that the plane had the words “Eat Me” written on it. This song spoke to those of us who were teenagers at the time. The song that should be out instead is Out of Touch by Hall & Oates. This is another case of where I may come off as contradictory, but this isn’t even a top 5 Hall & Oates song to me. Out of all of the songs that got eliminated in this round, this one probably could’ve gone on the strongest run.
Here are some Honorable Mentions. They are here because they are iconic whether they are One-Hit Wonders, it was the artist’s biggest hit, it was memorable from a movie that feature it or a song you hear commonly at sporting events. I categorized them as honorable mentions because I couldn’t really find an arguable replacement in their groups for them:
- Gloria by Laura Branigan (Group A)
- Hold On Loosely by .38 Special (Group B)
- Rio by Duran Duran (Group C)
- Somebody’s Watching Me by Rockwell (Group D)
- Photography by Def Leppard (Group F)
- Any Way You Want It by Journey (Group H)
- Mickey by Toni Basil (Group K)
- Blister In The Sun by Violent Femmes (Group N)
- Rock This Town by Stray Cats (Group V)
- Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen (Group X)
- She Drives Me Crazy by Fine Young Cannibals (Group Z)
- Walk This Way by Run DMC/Aerosmith (Group AE)
So there you have it, my take on Round 2. I’m sure there are many out there that will disagree with me but that’s part of the fun of these tournaments. The “spirited” debates and the fun discussions that come out of it. We’re all here just to have some fun folks, as the late great Dean Martin would say. Comment below and tell me if you agree or that I’m wrong and join in the discussion.
Have fun voting in Round 3!