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The '80s: Were They Really That Bad?


Were the 1980s the worst years for music? NPR listeners seem to think so, according to the results of our poll. When asked to pick the best year for music, nearly everyone skipped the '80s entirely. On this edition of All Songs Considered, host Bob Boilen looks back at the decade of synth pop, hair metal, and hardcore with Stephen Thompson, editor of Song of the Day, Robin Hilton, All Songs Considered producer and host of Second Stage, and Carrie Brownstein, writer for the Monitor Mix blog.

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Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Original Soundtrack

"Let's Hear It for the Boy"

Beastie Boys

"Fight for Your Right"

Escape Club

"Wild, Wild West"

Hall & Oates

"You Make My Dreams"

Don Johnson


Bruce Springsteen

"Brilliant Disguise"

The Replacements

"I Will Dare"


"We Built This City"

Tracy Chapman

"Fast Car"

The label did not give us permission to play the full version of this song.

Guns N' Roses

"Paradise City"

Tears for Fears

"Head Over Heels"

Talking Heads

"This Must Be the Place [Naive Melody]"

The label did not give us permission to play the full version of this song.

Minor Threat

"Straight Edge"

The Bats

"North by North"

Bush Tetras

"Too Many Creeps"


"Let's Hear it For the Boy"