The Sound of the 80s

Image by Daniel Schludi

Foreword by Alice Clifford

Whilst written years ago, 80s music still continues to hold a place in our hearts, whether we choose to admit it or not! And while none of us are taking a Walkman with us on holiday anymore, we are still accompanied by the sound of the 80s, whether it be Cyndi Lauper, George Michael or The Proclaimers. So, this article is our ode to 80s music and our ultimate 80’s holiday playlist to take with you wherever you go!

Words by Emma Williams

Super Trouper by Abba – 1980

Written by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus in 1980 and released by their band ABBA the same year, the tune appears as the title track to their album, also named Super Trouper. A popular disco classic, this song appeals to all ages, and unsurprisingly topped charts across Europe, charting at number 1 in the UK and becoming the fourth biggest selling single in the UK in 1980. However, for a Swedish group, the lyrics “I was sick and tired of everything, when I called you last night from Glasgow” sparked confusion among fans about the significance of Glasgow, a cold city in Scotland. After all, ABBA had only visited twice, so why was it included? Remaining a mystery for 40 years, this question was finally answered in 2020 by Ulf Andersson (their saxophonist), who claims it is about “a personal thing between Bjorn and Agnetha”. Not the most informative answer, it raises further questions, such as was this a plea to work on the relationship(?) particularly in relation to Bjorn and Agnetha’s subsequent divorce in 1981. Nevertheless, the song remains an all-time favourite which continues to get people dancing and ‘smiling, having fun’ to this day, while leaving us dreaming of being on a Greek Island with Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried and Colin Firth.

Kokomo by The Beach Boys – 1988

Released by American rock band The Beach Boys in 1988, the lyrics describe a place called Kokomo, a tropical island perfect for a cheeky romantic getaway. Though Kokomo itself is a fictional location, this song references multiple real locations in areas sandwiched between the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Caribbean Sea, suggesting this is where Kokomo would lie. The catchy opening lyrics, which repeat throughout the song, and have become the songs most memorable part, run as follows:

“Aruba, Jamaica, oh I want to take ya
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego, baby why don’t we go…”

Certainly, as the song continues, listeners are taken somewhere resembling these sunny and exotic places, until they can almost picture themselves as one of the “bodies in the sand, tropical drink melting in your hand”.  Perhaps then, Kokomo may be the next-best alternative to a real holiday during the current lockdown.

Words by Alice Clifford

Club Tropicana by Wham! – 1983

Firstly, you can’t deny that listening to Wham’s 80s classic makes you want to buy a one-way ticket to Ibiza in search of the perfect summer get away. It is a song that takes you back to sunnier and simpler times where being spotted from across the pool by a young George Michael lookalike could have been a reality. It promises the summer holiday of your dreams where you will “brush shoulders with the stars”, explore the “soft white sands and blue lagoons” and drink to your hearts content as famously at Club Tropicana “drinks are free”. This song takes me back to my gap year in Cadiz, Spain, where you didn’t have to walk too far along the beach to find a bar where you could sit all day and surround yourself with tapas and cocktails.

I’m Gunna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers – 1987

This Scottish classic reached unforeseen fame and success throughout the end of the 80s as it swept the globe and became number 1 in Australia, Iceland and New Zealand. The song resonates with those romantics who would travel the country just to be with the one they love, and I am sure it has been played on the radios of many doing that exact thing. Whether you are travelling 500 miles, 10 miles or further, it is without doubt a perfect road trip song.

Holiday by Madonna – 1983

By its name alone you can’t deny that this song belongs on the list. It is the third single from Madonna’s debut album Madonna and her first UK single, despite what Bridget Jones may believe. It is a song that resonates with everyone who desperately wants to get away from the monotony of day-to-day life. She urges us to put down our troubles and just take the day to celebrate, as Madonna knows full well that we deserve it.

While these are just a few of our go to 80s songs, the list, of course, is endless.  If you are looking for more 80s inspiration, we have added these and a few more to Quench Music’s Spotify!

Our Full 80s Travel Playlist

Club Tropicana, Wham!

Don’t Stop Believing, Journey

Edge of Seventeen, Stevie Nicks

Holiday, Madonna

I’m Gunna Be (500 Miles) The Proclaimers

Jessie’s Girl, Rick Springfield

Kokomo, The Beach Boys

Summer of ’69, Bryan Adams

Super Trooper, ABBA

There is a Light That Never Goes Out, The Smiths

We Built This City, Starship

Welcome to the Jungle, Guns and Rose