1985 was a big year in pop music. The list of Billboard-topping albums is like a “who’s who” of 80s powerhouses: “Born in the USA” … “Purple Rain” … “No Jacket Required” …. “We Are the World” … “Like a Virgin” … and so on. But one album that made a splash that summer was Tears For Fears‘ “Songs from the Big Chair.” All of a sudden, with hits like “Shout,” “Head Over Heels” and “Everybody Wants to Rule The World,” Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal were punching above their class with the likes of Bruce, Prince and Madonna. It didn’t hurt that the songs undeniably catchy, and the videos were compelling. Almost four decades later, many of us are still singing — or shouting — along to these songs.

You can listen to Songs from the Big Chair by Tears for Fears on iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon. 

 

Prince was already an enigmatic superstar before the movie (and soundtrack) for “Purple Rain” was released in 1984. But this outing catapulted him into superstardom — where he orbited the likes of Michael and Madonna (and often surpassed them). “Purple Rain” is Prince at his creative, clever and naughty best. Standard classics like “Let’s Go Crazy” and “When Doves Cry” are teased with gems like “Darling Nikki” and “I Would Die 4 U.” And the anthemic title track is the type of masterpiece by which other songs are measured. The album “Purple Rain” is a bonafide classic. And Prince was just getting started.

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You can buy or stream Purple Rain by Prince online at iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon. 

 

The alchemy that was the original Van Halen lineup would be almost impossible to replicate. On one end of the spectrum was the late, great Edward Van Halen, an introverted, virtuoso Guitar God who redefined the instrument and never seemed to put it down. On the other side was front man David Lee Roth, The Ultimate Entertainer who never seemed to slow down. The group was balanced out with steady bassist (and underrated backing vocalist) Michael Anthony and drummer Alex Van Halen. These four toured relentlessly in the 1970s and early ’80s, opening for — and more often than not blowing off the stage — the rock stalwarts of the day. By the time their fifth album, “1984,” was released, they were ready to take their place at the top of the rock ‘n roll food chain. And this album cemented Van Halen’s place among the greatest rock bands of all time thanks to hits like “Jump,” “Panama” and “Hot For Teacher.” Oh, and the videos didn’t hurt, either. The polar opposites of EVH and DLR would result in a fracture after this album, but like most alchemy reactions, it was magical while it worked.

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You can buy or stream 1984 by Van Halen online at iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon.