Friday on My Mind: Best Love Songs for Your Junior High School Valentine’s Dance Circa 1982

It’s the Valentine’s Day edition of Friday on My Mind. The weekly collaborative effort between KEXP and King 5 News.

This Valentines Day give the person you love the gift of music. 1980’s music, because nothing says I love you more than the gift of synthesizers, angular hair, brightly colored pants, tucked in shirts, and of coarse xylophones. Do you realize how many 80’s bands had xylophones? Oh and white shoes. And the music videos seemed to have very little, if any, structure other than a small budget for a hair stylist and zero attention to one’s lip synching abilities. NOW visualize and imagine a Junior high Valentines Day Dance circa Feb 14th 1982… sweaty palms, tight headgear, and feathered hair. Today we think back some of the best songs from the year 1982 for your Valentines Day Dance and look at their videos, which seemed so much better then.

Haircut 100 “Love Plus One”

You might look to Flock of Seagulls as your 1980’s New-Wave hairstyle poster boys, but I put my money on the band who slapped the word hair right into their name. Their video for the 80’s staple, “Love Plus One” seemed to have been filmed on the set of Gillian’s Island with about 2 hours to get this thing filmed. This song had one of the all-time best xylophone/ soprano sax musical intros in history. The real star of this song and video is front man Nick Heyward. He’s about the cutest front man of the new wave era and his infectious vocals on this track really make the song. Sadly after their success he left the band after becoming “Psychologically unwell”. They did reform for a show in early 2011 with Nick singing lead.

ABC “The Look of Love”

I’ve got a brilliant idea for a video- here’s what we’ll do- we’ll be hanging out in a zoo. Let’s have a nun flying around to set the mood. Throw in some lederhosen. We’ll dress up as vaudevillians in pinstriped coats with best in performance gear. The important thing remember here though is to make sure that its obvious that we have absolutely no script, no set plan, no budget to speak of and we should utilize any irrelevant props we’ve found on this circus set we’ve stumbled onto. Either way, the mix of slow jam and upbeat synths make it the perfect dance song for your 1982 prom.

Modern English “I Melt With You”

I don’t know if anyone can name a more seminal 1980’s love/dance song than “I Melt You” by Modern English. The song is about a couple having sex as nuclear bombs are falling. The 80’s! The video is brilliant and has everything- swooping hair, a seedy dark club, a Bohemian Rhapsody type interlude; Even the lip syncing seems to be in sync! This song charted during both the 80’s and the 90’s and was used for a Burger King commercial in the 00’s. Whoppers, nuclear bombs, hair gel-Modern English had it all and during the slow part of the song, you could make out. Radical.

Honorable Mentions

A Flock of Seagulls “Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)”

I’d call them a guilty pleasure, but they made a few great songs in their day. Granted, their lead singer looks like an owl, but we overlooked that. What fries my brain is that he was a hair stylist so this hairstyle was a professional decision. The video is awful but 80’s awful. Awful as in- we’re in space, we have a $200 budget and god damn my hair is like an owl kind of awful. Don’t miss the video about 2:45 into the song. The dude is doing some pretty awesome high tech type stuff on a Commador 64 I believe.

Psychedelic Furs “Love My Way”

This song still sounds good. The video is brilliant because its just the band playing and Richard Butler being a bad ass Richard Butler. The whole video is in sepia tone. They do get penalized though for still looking and sounding relevant 30 years later.

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  1. Ron Olson
    Posted February 11, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the idea it made me look up Style Council videos on YouTube – what we were listening to in the early 80s.

  2. Serena
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    I’d like to nominate Take On Me by A-Ha. Classic video, utterly 80’s and what says LOVE better than Norwegian Pop?

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