Long before there was a TV singing competition  called “The Voice,” there was Whitney Houston — aka “The Voice.” But there really was no competition. Houston’s power and range was second to no one else of her generation. In fact, the term of “The Voice” was something of an insult; it suggested that she was given a gift of singing from above, that it had little to do with talent. But to those who heard “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” or “Greatest Love of All” Or “I Will  Always Love You” or any of the other chart-topping hits, it didn’t matter where the voice came from. It was magical. Houston sadly died in 2012, but not before gifting us all with a gorgeous legacy.

You can listen to Whitney Houston on iTunes, Spotify, Tidal, YouTube, and Amazon, but the important thing is that you listen!


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.

References in this Epipod:

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


In the mid-80s. Lionel Richie didn’t just operate in the same orbit as Michael Jackson and Prince — Richie was his a superstar of his own right. And nothing solidified his place on the charts like “Can’t Slow Down.” At a tidy 8 songs, the album still manages to fuse genres: pop, R&B, rock, Calypso, dance and even country. And it was a pop music juggernaut, solidifying Richie (and his sweet ‘stache) among the biggest of the bigs … at least for a while.

References in this Epipod:

You can buy or stream Can’t Slow Down by Lionel Richie online at iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon. 


It was arguably the greatest gathering of musical talent in one place at one time — and still is. And it was INSANE. “We Are The World” brought the biggest American music stars of the 1980s* — and Dan Akroyd! — to one room to record a song shining a light on the plight of starving people in Africa. The song and the video was beamed incessently to the living rooms and kitchens of America. In the end, the song was inescapable at the time (if somewhat forgettable now); it raised some $68 million to help those impacted by drought and food shortages. But it also gave us a treasure trove of quirky, ridiculous stories that can only happen when you pack creative geniuses into one room — and ask them to follow orders.
*But not Prince or Madonna.

References in this Epipod:

You can buy or stream We Are The World by U.S.A. For Africa online at iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon. 


If we told you a member of the Jackson family produced an album in the 1980s that produced eight singles and multiple top 5 hits, you would likely assume it was Michael. However, younger sister Janet’s “Rhythm Nation 1814” was a behemoth of a hit-maker, with dance-able hits like “Escapade,” “Black Cat,” “Miss You Much” and “Love Will Never Do (Without You).” The album itself was a concept album meant to address loftier themes. But the videos were peak MTV-era goodness. You couldn’t escape Janet. But why would you want to?

References in this Epipod:

You can buy or stream Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 online at iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon. 


When The Beatles returned to Abbey Road to record their sixth album, they were exhausted from constant touring and releasing at a pace of two albums a year. They also had virtually no songs prepared. But when it was completed, their sixth album was Rubber Soul, arguably the first actual album, not just a collection of songs. This was the turning point; it’s the album that bridges the British Invasion Beatles to Revolver and Sgt. Pepper. It’s the album that turned the music world on its rear, forcing the band’s rivals and contemporaries like the Beach Boys and Rolling Stones to step up their games.  In essence, with Rubber Soul, the Beatles were just getting started.

References in this Epipod:

You can buy or stream Rubber Soul by the Beatles online at iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon. 


The red leather jacket. The single white glove. The “Moonwalk.” The “Thriller”Dance. Of the 9 songs on Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” 7 would be Top 10 hits. The album would go on to sell 66 million copies worldwide — and counting. And music would never be the same again.

References in this Epipod:

You can buy or stream Thriller by Michael Jackson online at Spotify, iTunes,  YouTube, and Amazon .