Mar 15, 2011

80's Theme Party Music Ideas

Hosting an 80's party? There's lots of great music to choose from! You might be hard pressed to find a good car from the 80's, but some amazing music came out of this decade.

With the birth of MTV on the scene, a more intimate connection with artists arose. Teens craned their heads to see what was on Michael Jackson's left hand, what crazy hats Devo were wearing, and what makeup Boy George would don in his next video. Suddenly you didn't have to wait for a concert to see what a Flock of Seagulls looked like, they were in your living room!

Be sure to think of your guests when putting the music together for your party, and remember, half the fun is singing along at the top of your lungs, so Top 100 is probably the best way to go. Here are some ideas...


Pop and Dance - Duran Duran, Bananarama, Cyndi Lauper, Michael Jackson... you get the drift. Check out this play list on Grooveshark for more ideas. Get your Dance on with this Top 100 from

New Wave - Basically, pop music with lots of synthesizers. Your Depeche Mode, Flock of Seagulls, what have you. has a great 100 Best New Wave songs play list. I have to admit I have been listening to this one for a while on repeat.

Hair Metal - When you search for Hair Metal on the Internet, there is a disturbing amount of content. I fear saying this out loud, but a renaissance is imminent. Here's a great Hair Metal song list, get out your electric guitar and hairspray.

Alt Rock - Alternative rock and post punk came into it's own in the 80's, with bands like R.E.M., The Smith's, and Echo and the Bunnymen taking the charts by storm. Be sure to have some on hand for the Madonna haters.

Top Hits - lets users, well, share their play lists. User mark500 has a great Hits of the 80's Play List with over 300 songs that made it onto the charts in the 1980's, pretty much all you need for the night! Thanks mark500!

Movie Soundtracks - There were some cracker movies for music in the 1980's. Check out this 80's Soundtrack Play list with hits from Footloose, Flashdance, Ghostbusters, and more.

Hip Hop - There was no Hip Hop before 1979, which makes this genre distinctly 80's. The best music, purists will tell you, was before 1985, and considered Old School Hip Hop. It's hard to resist throwing on some Run DMC though, so be sure to check out this full list of 80's Hip Hop chart toppers.


Invite Guests To Bring A Play List:
A fun idea is to get your guests to bring their favourite 80's play list on their mp3 player. Everyone will have a good time making their play list before the party and even more fun sharing it. With such a diverse array of music to choose from, there are sure to be some good ones in everyone's mix.

Break Out The Tape Player:
A trip to the second hand store will turn up one of these puppies if you don't have one kicking around in the attic. Dig out the cassette tapes or buy some on eBay or at a Salvation Army store. The retro hiss and pop from the tapes will add ambience to your party. After fast forwarding and flipping the tapes to find your favourite songs, you'll remember why cassettes had the shortest life span of any data saving device to date.

Music From The Cloud:
Since the 80's, we have seen the disappearance of the cassette tape, the compact disc, and get ready for it, the mp3 is on it's way out the door.
You won't be downloading your music from iTunes for much longer, or ahem, from a reputable source that you may or may not own the rights to. Music is moving to the cloud, and for free (or a small fee) you can access a library bigger than any hard drive on the market.

Check out these sites below, type "80's" into the search bar, and pump up the volume:

  • Grooveshark - Free music, wherever you are. Access to a massive library and play lists. Make your own or listen to the ones other users have created. For $6/month you can use your account from any computer and track everything you listen to.
  • Audiolizer - Same thing as Grooveshark, but one call feature is that you can upload and access your iTunes library to their server and have it at your fingertips no matter what computer you are on.
  • Napster - Yep, it's back. This time it has live streaming radio, and for $5/month you can consume all the albums you want. more expensive options let you access the music from your mobile device too.
  • Spotify - 10,000,000 tracks. Enough said. 

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