Ahhh the ’80s, the decade of big hair, shoulder pads, skinny ties, and pastels. While ’80s fashion has been either ripe for mockery or a look to live by, depending whether or not you live in Bushwick, the music of the era lives on. In recent years ’80s acts like Duran Duran, Culture Club, and Spandau Ballet, along with the package tours like Retrofutura, have drawn faithful fans from to shows around the country. The members of Generation X may be older now and maybe have kids their own, but they’re still passionate about the hits they grew up listening to and watching on MTV.
The nostalgia factor is the focus of I Want My 80s, a star-studded concert taking place at The Theater at Madison Square Garden this Friday featuring acts from the worlds of pop, New Wave, classic rock, and rap, backed by the New York City ’80s tribute band Jessie’s Girl. Appropriately enough, the concert will be presented by the legendary Martha Quinn, one of the original MTV VJs and co-host of the program The 80s on 8 on SiriusXM.
Here’s the scheduled lineup:
- Tiffany and Debbie Gibson: This may be the highlight of the show and a dream billing in itself–these two former teen pop queens who once ruled the pop chart: Tiffany with “I Think We’re Alone Now” and “Could’ve Been,” and Long Island’s own Gibson with “Only in My Dreams,” “Foolish Beat” and “Lost In Your Eyes.”
- Lou Gramm: The former lead vocalist of Foreigner, best known for such arena-rock hits as “Waiting for a Girl Like You,” Urgent,” and “I Want to Know What Love Is.”
- Dee Snider: The Twisted Sister singer who really put the ‘hair’ in hair metal–who can forget the band’s signature rocker “We’re Not Gonna Take It”?
- Darryl ‘D.M.C.’ Matthews McDaniel: One-third of the legendary rap act Run-D.M.C., who paved the way for the mainstream acceptance of hip-hop with such iconic hits as “It’s Tricky,” “Rock Box,” and their famous cover of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way.”
- Howard Jones: The British singer/songwriter was one of the leading players in the early ’80s synthpop movement with “What Is Love,” “Things Can Only Get Better,” and his best known U.S. hit “No One Is to Blame.”
- Tone Loc: There was a time when the music of this raspy-voiced R&B/hip hop star was inescapable, thanks to two big hits, “Wild Thing” and “Funky Cold Medina.”
- A Flock of Seagulls: This British outfit was of the definitive MTV-era bands, highlighted by singer Mike Score’s infamous cascading haircut. Beyond that, the group had some big New Wave singles in “I Ran (So Far Way),” “Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)” and “Space Age Love Song.”
While not on the level of the revolutionary sounds of the ’60s and ’70s, the music of ’80s resonate enough that people still want to see their heroes in concert or sing the songs at karaoke bars at any given night. For Gen Xers who still love this music–including yours truly–I Want My 80s promises to be a sort of latter day high school dance, complete with hairspray, bandannas, and denim jackets.
I Want My 80s Concert will take place Friday, Nov. 6 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, 7th Ave & 32nd Street, Manhattan. $50-$130. For more information, visit funmusicpresents.com