Did you play pac man, own a Rubik’s Cube or flounce around on a waterbed? Then it’s time to test your memory on the decade of spandex and leg warmers, the mellifluous 80s, back when MTV played music videos. So grab your etch-a-sketch and your Cabbage Patch Kids and get started.
Check your answers, then compare your score in the guide located below.
1. The band name for the ’80s new wave rockers A Flock of Seagulls was inspired by:
a. Watching birds from a summer home on the shore
b. The book “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”
c. Participation in the Liverpool Audubon Society
d. A tribute to the singer’s first love
2. Which notorious host plays a song segment by The Pretenders at the beginning of each show?
a. Chris Matthews
b. Mark Levin
c. Rachel Maddow
d. Rush Limbaugh
3. What award-winning tune from the 1980s is described by its writer as “a nasty little song” that is generally misinterpreted?
a. Like a Virgin – Madonna
b. Hurt So Good – John Cougar Mellencamp
c. Every Breath You Take – The Police
d. Jump – Van Halen
4. Why did England’s Queen Elizabeth criticize Rick Allen of Def Leppard?
a. She thought his hair was too long
b. She did not approve of the boxers he wore on stage
c. She thought the drums drowned out the rest of the band
d. She thought he was too young to be in a rock band
5. Which sizzling new wave band produced a popular video in the jungles of Sri Lanka in the early ’80s?
a. The Pretenders
b. Atlanta Rhythm Section
c. Little River Band
d. Duran Duran
6. Which rock band’s lead singer had a mother who was one of the first Playboy bunnies?
b. Gerry and the Pacemakers
c. Bon Jovi
7. Which musical super star recorded a hit with riffs at the start of the song that are allegedly similar to those in “867-5309/Jenny?”
a. Tina Turner
b. Bruce Springsteen
c. David Lee Roth
d. Grandmaster Flash
8. To produce Robert Palmer’s memorable music video, “Addicted to Love,” a musician was hired to teach the female models basic fingering techniques to give the video a realistic look. What was the outcome of this effort?
a. Two of the models went on to form their own band, Love Addiction
b. One of the models broke two nails and ended up in tears
c. The musician gave up after an hour and left
d. The musician ended up marrying one of the models a week later
9. What was the first music video to air on MTV when it was launched in 1981?
a. “Video Killed the Radio Star” – The Buggles
b. “In the Air Tonight” – Phil Collins
c. “Money for Nothing” – Dire Straits
d. “A Hard Day’s Night” – The Beatles
10. What 1983 chart-topper was inspired by a sign in front of a booth that said, “Pay A Dollar, Talk to a Naked Girl?”
a. “Hot for Teacher” – Van Halen
b. “Wicked Game”- Chris Isaak
c. “I Want Your Sex” – George Michael
d. “She’s a Beauty” – The Tubes
11. Journey’s song “Lights” mentions the “city by the bay,” San Francisco. What city was this song written about originally?
a. New York, NY
b. Erie, PA
c. Los Angeles, CA
d. Tampa Bay, FL
12. Which rock and roll entity sued someone over the song “Ghostbusters,” claiming it was too close for comfort to one of its previous hits?
a. Atlanta Rhythm Section – “Spooky”
b. Michael Jackson – “Thriller”
c. Eagles – “Hotel California”
d. Huey Lewis and the News – “I Want a New Drug”
13. Which lead singer met his supermodel future wife in 1984 while working on a video together?
a. Ric Ocasek – The Cars
b. Steven Perry – Aerosmith
c. Billy Joel – The Billy Joel Band
d. Kurt Cobain – Nirvana
14. In 1988, Tom Petty helped create what musical group that included Bob Dylan and George Harrison?
a. Stray Cats
b. The New Rat Pack
c. Traveling Wilburys
d. The Kingston Trio
15. Which four-time Grammy winner recorded and released a cover version of the Beatles’ infamous “Helter Skelter?”
a. Michael Jackson
b. Pat Benatar
c. Crystal Gayle
16. Which ’80s icon was born Paul David Hewson?
b. Ice T
d. Neil Diamond
17. INXS’ Andrew Farriss asked a cab driver to wait while he recorded the main riff for “Need You Tonight,” which had appeared suddenly in his head. How long did the taxi driver wait?
a. five minutes
b. an hour
c. four hours
d. an entire day
18. The instrumental sounds on the Eurythmics’ “Here Comes the Rain Again” were played by members of the British Philharmonic Orchestra: True or False?
19. Which late 1980s smash success is said to have been a joke when it was written because it started out as a “string skipping” exercise.
a. “Love Shack” – B-52s
b. “Here I Go Again” – Whitesnake
c. “Love in an Elevator” – Aerosmith
d. “Sweet Child o’ Mine” – Guns N’ Roses
20. Which noteworthy new waver covered and released a 1968 song by Tommy James and the Shondells in 1981 and 1987?
a. Billy Joel
b. Joan Jett
c. Billy Idol
1. b – The book “Jonathan Livingston Seagull.” This unique band is credited with popularizing the “waterfall” hairdo in the 1980s, which became the hair style of choice for new wavers.
2. d – Rush Limbaugh uses the introduction of the Pretenders’ “My City Was Gone” as his theme music.
3. c – “Every Breath You Take” by Sting of the Police. In a 1983 interview, he is quoted as saying, “I think it’s a nasty little song, really rather evil. It’s about jealousy and surveillance and ownership.” He penned the grammy-award winning song after splitting up with his first wife.
4. b – The queen did not approve of his boxers because they looked like the United Kingdom’s flag.
5. d – Duran Duran. “Hungry Like the Wolf”‘ was filmed in Sri Lanka’s jungle regions.
6. c – Bon Jovi. Carol Sharkey, mother of John Bon Jovi, might have known Marilyn Monroe as a Playboy Bunny in the early days. This high-energy group of rockers was popular throughout the ’80s.
7. b – Bruce Springsteen. According to wikipedia, “Singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen’s popular single “Radio Nowhere” features a set of guitar riffs at the beginning that many fans considered particularly similar to ‘867-5309/Jenny,’ although the lyrics and the tone of the two songs are quite different.”
8. c – According to a VH-1 pop up video, a musician was hired to teach the models basic guitar fingering techniques, but “gave up after about an hour and left.”
9. a – “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles aired shortly after midnight on Saturday, Aug. 1, 1981 on MTV, which opened its existence with the statement, “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.”
10. d – “She’s a Beauty” by the Tubes. The lyrics claim, “She’ll give you every penny’s worth/but it will cost you a dollar first.”
11. c – Los Angeles, CA. Singer Steve Perry wrote the majority of the song when he was living in LA, before joining Journey.
12. d – Huey Lewis and the News sued Ray Parker Jr., who had been hired to develop a theme song for the movie “Ghostbusters.” The matter was eventually settled out of court.
13. a – Ric Ocasek of the Cars met Paulina Porizkova, supermodel, on the set of the Cars’ “Drive” video. The two were wed in 1989.
14. c – The Traveling Wilburys also included Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynn. The group recorded two albums, “Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1” and “Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3.”
15. b – Pat Benatar released “Helter Skelter” as the last track on “Precious Time” in 1981.
16. a – Bono, U2’s well-known singer, was born in Ireland on May 10, 1960, and was propeled to fame in 1983 when “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “New Year’s Day” hit the charts.
17. b – an hour. The cab driver was annoyed, but Farriss managed to tape the riff, which resulted in a major hit.
18. a – True. But because of limited space in the main studio, the musicians recorded their parts in various places within building.
19. d – “Sweet Child o’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses started out as a string skipping exercise, and evolved into a full-fledged song quite by accident.
20. c – Billy Idol with “Mony Mony.” In the 80s an obscene phenomenon cropped up – when the Billy Idol version of the song was played, the audience would chime in with various vulgar lines. Due to this odd occurrence, the song was banned at many high school dances.
Score Rating Guide
15 – 20 correct: The Flame – Eighties Expert. Holy Wham! Your knowledge of ’80s music is astounding. Your secret desire might be for an ’80s-only commercial-free, big-hair radio station that you could listen to 24/7. When you were young, you used to dream that Duran Duran’s bus would break down in front of your house, and they’d knock on your door, and you would help them get back on the road. Then, of course, they’d beg you to join their band…
Nice work. You are tuned in and turned on to music from the decade when new wave erupted and rock was disrupted.
10 – 14 correct: Pink Cadillac – New Wave Wonder. You definitely know your way around a turntable, and there’s a chance you sported a waterfall hairdo in the 1980s. You also may have considered wearing a red Devo flower pot on your head at some point, and you probably know all the words to “White Wedding.”
Well done. It’s not easy to know this much about this many songs from nearly four decades ago.
4 – 9 correct: Thriller – Holder of Your Own. Your knowledge of music from the 1980s is relatively decent because your musical taste covers a little bit of everything. You may not have fantasized about Duran Duran’s bus, but you’ve danced like a virgin in the dark to tunes like “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and “Money for Nothing.”
You managed to score in a reasonable range, so congratulations on a job mediocrally done.
0 – 3 correct: Say It Isn’t So – Eighties Void. Even though chances are you were “Born in the USA,” you missed out on the “Glory Days” of 1980s rock and roll. Although you might be “Out of Touch,” “I Feel for You” because “That’s What Friends Are For.”
Spend some time watching ’80s videos on the internet and wake up the new waver lying dormant inside of you. Use caution, though, or you’ll find your hair expanding atmospherically and shoulder pads sprouting in your closet.