Sign of the times: How does pop define the 1980s?

The Eighties were about big ideas writ large – new money, new style, gender fluidity, gay pride, attritional politics, the ‘special relationship’, nuclear fear, AIDS, cocaine, ecstasy, tabloid royalty, the rise of urban pop, and ultimately geopolitical chaos. In his new book, Dylan Jones’ history of the decade in pop frames the decade through some of its most important and popular hits, choosing records which either epitomised their time, or ushered in a new cultural shift. From Rapper’s Delight to The Specials’ spectral Ghost Town; from ABC and the apotheosis of New Pop to Madonna’s breakthrough moment with Like a Virgin.
It was a decade of excess in all areas, especially ambition, but it was in the transcendent moments of pop perfection that the ’80s found its true art-form. Join us in a ThinkIn as we look back at the ten pop songs which defined the decade – and bring along some suggestions of your own!

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editor and invited experts

Matt d’Ancona
Editor and Partner

Dylan Jones
Author, ‘Shiny and new’

Martyn Ware
Musician, producer, founder member of The Human League, B.E.F and Heaven 17

Sarah Champion
DJ, Absolute Radio