It’s amazing how the brain works. I can be walking from one place to another to get something and then when I get there I have completely forgotten what it is I am doing. But for whatever reason, if a song comes on the radio or on the TV that I haven’t heard in years, that ability to recite every single lyric and act out every single guitar solo via air guitar comes back like it was yesterday.
Songs have always had that ability to capture my attention, motivate me and teach me. I remember waking up on Saturday mornings to my pop blasting his plethora of all time favorites in the living room like his Freddy Fender album or the We Are the World album while he made breakfast. It seems as though the song gift has spread to my kids as well. The Frozen CD is permanently burned into the CD player of our car with no plans of going anywhere. On a recent car trip, my kids and I all started belting out Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z’s “Holy Grail” as it played on the radio – the clean version of course. Songs can move you. They can motivate you. They can even sometimes give you that last push you need to run your last leg around the block.
So for fun, here’s a list of some of my all time favorite, old school, 80’s songs that are not only totally awesome but believe it or not; motivate the grit qualities in all of us.
- “ Flashdance….What a Feeling” by Irene CaraTake your passion and make it happen! Are you picturing yourself dancing the last dance sequence of the movie right now?
- “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty and the HeartbreakersSong came in 1989 so not a super 80’s dance track but a good one nonetheless. There’s a story about how Tom Petty was feeling when recording the song. He had a terrible cold that day, and George Harrison who was playing guitar for the track went to the store and bought a ginger root, boiled it and had Petty stick his head in a pot to get the ginger steam to open up his sinuses, and then he ran in and sang the song. Nice.
- “Fame” by Irene CaraThis is my last Irene Cara song I promise. But how can you not think of grit when you hear this song? I mean, it’s playing while Debbie Allen is walking around with her dancing cane and saying, “You got big dreams? You want fame? Well fame costs. And right here is where you start paying, and sweat.” Totally awesome!
- “Cry Tough” by PoisonBefore Bret Michels did those crazy reality shows on VH1 he was lead singer for an awesome glam rock band I proudly saw TWICE in concert while in high school. I’m not sure what’s more 80’s. This song or the video. You must google it and watch it after reading this.
- “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran DuranWhile it’s a bit of a stretch to find the grit theme in this song, it’s just a rad 80’s song nonethless. I also guarantee that you could easily recite all of the lyrics if it played right now.
- “Don’t Give Up” by Peter Gabriel with Kate BushYou can’t have a top ten list of 80’s songs without a good ballad. Peter Gabriel will always hold a special place in my heart with his unforgettable song “In Your Eyes.” The verses for “Don’t Give up”, sung by Gabriel, describe a man’s feelings of isolation and despair; the choruses, sung by Bush, offer words of hope and encouragement.
- “Workin’ Day and Night” by Michael JacksonSo technically, this song was released in 1979 as part of MJ’s Off the Wall album. The music is really fast but the lyrics are memorable. Actually every Michael Jackson song is.
- “Eye of the Tiger” by SurvivorDermination. Reslience. Rocky Balboa. Keeping focus on those long terms goals; the eye of the tiger. Admit it, whenever you run to the top of a hill or stairs, you are compelled to raise your arms up in victory!
- “Sweet Dreams” by The EurythmicsHold your head up (Movin on). Keep your head up (Movin on). Hold your head up (Movin on). Great grit words to live by.
- “You’re the Best” by Joe EspositoSaved the best the last! Best. 80’s. Grit. Song. Period. No one can possibly forget when this song played while Daniel LaRusso proved himself to be a formidable contender who wins the championship in the All-Valley Tournament in the Karate Kid. “Never doubt that you are the one. And you can have your dreams!”