BEST 80S SONGS BY POPULAR ARTISTS FROM THE 60S/70S AFTER HAVING DISCOVERED SYNTHS & DRUM MACHINES

Every major recording artist who came up in the 60s & 70s made at least one album in which they succumbed to the predominant sounds of 80s-era production. This is my favorite genre of music.
  1. 1.
    Tom Petty — Don't Come Around Here No More
    One of those great examples of how synthesizers and reverb can take a good song and, by pushing its emotions to the edge, make it a great song. The drum programming and sitar work is by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics. Also, @jackantonoff does a stellar cover of it in his Spotify sessions, which you should check out too. http://bit.ly/1KCOC34
  2. 2.
    Marianne Faithfull – The Ballad of Lucy Jordan
    In 1979, Marianne Faithfull recorded her album Broken English with completely normal rock instrumentation, and then some genius went through and replaced all the guitars with synthesizers and made it into a masterpiece. http://bit.ly/1JI5ZSq
  3. 3.
    Brian Wilson – Love and Mercy
    From his 1988 self-titled solo album recorded while under the care/control of his full-time therapist Eugene Landy (credited as "Executive Producer"). Every discernible sound is synthetic. Whether you think this is a case of the production ruining the songwriting, or enhancing it, this is one of the best songs he ever wrote. http://bit.ly/1DS3rtV
  4. 4.
    Joni Mitchell – The Three Great Stimulants
    This sounds like Joni had been listening to a lot of Laurie Anderson. Which is to say, it sounds amazing. http://bit.ly/1I1KWbm
  5. 5.
    Bruce Springsteen – Dancing in the Dark
    He's got the same gruff voice, and the lyrics have the same bombastic poetry, but the FEELING is all Risky Business. http://bit.ly/1zn9XMC
  6. 6.
    Rod Stewart – Young Turks
    An American epic. I'm putting this one right after "Dancing in the Dark" because to me, these songs are sonic and spiritual companions. http://bit.ly/1Qad66V
  7. 7.
    Paul McCartney – Press
    In 1986, Macca went and hired the hottest 80s producers to get a more "contemporary sound" and the result, Press to Play, was considered a sell-out and was a total critical failure. But I dunno, sounds like a fuckin' jam to me. http://bit.ly/1OPc2YS
  8. 8.
    Leonard Cohen – First We Take Manhattan
    I'm Your Man is a great album. Once Cohen discovered synthy pads he really never went back, but this song is straight-up Depeche Mode. http://bit.ly/1Qad66W
  9. 9.
    Paul McCartney – The Other Me
    This was 1983 and it sounds tinny as hell. McCartney was actually a pretty early adopter of the drum machine. "The Other Me" is a good song to put on a mix if you're trying to get your ex back, and begins with the hilarious lyric, "I know I was a crazy fool / for treating you the way I did / but something took a hold of me / and I acted like a dustbin lid." http://bit.ly/1KCOEbd
  10. 10.
    Stevie Wonder – Part Time Lover
    If not for Stevie's unmistakable voice, this song could be mistaken for Hall & Oates. Someone once told me Hall & Oates would just choose one of the presets on the drum machine, like "Samba," and then write a song to it and leave it that way. The beat in this song sounds like that. http://bit.ly/1JI5ZSr
  11. 11.
    Neil Young – Computer Age
    On his 1982 album Trans, Neil Young sang almost the whole thing through a vocoder. It's robot Neil Young. He was listening to a lot of Kraftwerk at the time, and also claimed that the synthetic sounds were a reflection of his struggles to communicate with his son, who had cerebral palsy and couldn't talk. Trans was Young's first album for Geffen Records, and then David Geffen sued him for making music that didn't sound enough like Neil Young. http://bit.ly/1DS3rtW
  12. 12.
    Paul Simon – Allergies
    Paul Simon mostly avoided the traps of the clichéd 80s sound by making Graceland, which sounds like only itself. But Hearts and Bones wades into those waters more than once. The first track is "Allergies" which opens with vocoder backing vocals and features awesome electronic toms throughout. http://bit.ly/1I1KWbs
  13. 13.
    Don Henley – The Boys of Summer
    I would trade the everything the Eagles ever made for this one song. http://bit.ly/1zn9WIB
  14. 14.
    David Bowie – Modern Love
    This is only so low on the list because Bowie had already spent 3 albums with Eno being a synth pioneer before he made his 80s pop masterpiece Let's Dance. But I couldn't leave it off, even though it transcends the category. Also, if you haven't seen Mauvais Sang, watch this video for sure — http://bit.ly/1Qad8vz
  15. 15.
    Lou Reed – The Original Wrapper
    Oh God, it's Lou Reed trying to rap. And the lyrics are approaching "We Didn't Start the Fire" territory. A sample: "Herpes, AIDS, the Middle East at full throttle / better check that sausage before you put it in the waffle" The video is an 80s masterpiece, though, directed by Polish animator and video artist Zbigniew Rybczyńsk — http://bit.ly/1OPc0QW
  16. 16.
    Alice Cooper - Clones (We're All)
    Suggested by   @angusisley
  17. 17.
    Steve Miller Band - Abracadabra
    Suggested by   @angusisley
  18. 18.
    Grace Slick - Software
    Suggested by   @angusisley
  19. 19.
    ELO - Time
    Electric Light Orchestra always had the keyboards, but this record - even more than the Xanadu soundtrack - is full-on 80s new wave production. Many of the tracks could pass as Daft Punk out takes today.
    Suggested by   @angusisley