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Steve Peake

It's Nice to See '80s Acts Like the Pretenders & Bon Jovi With No Need to Rely on Past Glories

By December 11, 2008

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While the popular image of '80s artists still touring today usually hinges on an almost strictly retro/nostalgia approach (Poison and Journey quickly come to mind), it's nice to focus sometimes on artists that continue to press forward with the release of vital, high-quality new music a quarter-century after they first emerged. After all, it's difficult to deny that many veteran groups release new albums in only a nominal sense, clearly emphasizing their '80s sound and repertoire over anything produced during what for most is inevitably a creative decline.

I've been thinking about this issue a bit while pondering the latest release from the Pretenders, Break Up the Concrete, a record that's getting plenty of positive critical and commercial attention as a relevant, immediate slice of straight-ahead pop/rock. But I didn't really get the idea to write this entry until I came across the news today that Bon Jovi, one of the most visible superstar '80s acts probably expected by most to be relatively temporary, has been certified by Billboard magazine as the top touring act in the world for 2008. Not bad for a band often saddled with the hair metal tag back in the day and considered frequently to be more about Jon Bon Jovi's scampish good looks than music of any real substance. But bands like the Pretenders and Bon Jovi dared - perhaps from the very start - to see themselves beyond '80s trends, and even better than that they clearly have the goods to back up such a bold decision.


December 12, 2008 at 7:35 pm
(1) Brian Kellstrom says:

I agree. The fact that these guy’s sustained in a time that so many of there counterparts didn’t, is pretty impressive.

December 16, 2008 at 3:10 pm
(2) oscar says:

I think that alot of the bands from then
(POISON, CRUE, BACH) have put out great albums but its unfortunate that they have been tagged as 80′s metal and so people tend to be prejudice againts them and so miss out on some great stuff… give them a chance and they might surprise you..

December 28, 2008 at 7:24 am
(3) Jeff in Mpls. says:

I agree on Break Up the Concrete, just got it last week. I was surprised how much it sounded like their FIRST album if anything, especially the first track. I’d throw in the B-52s’ Funplex as a new release as good as anything they’d ever done back in the day, as was their concert in Milwaukee two months back–you’d never know they’re pushing or past 60. As for Bon Jovi though, yeah, the numbers are there, but I’m from NJ originally and still see them as a discount Springsteen with hair and music that’s never done it for me, always sounds so forced and trying to be serious. Comes off like a Folgers commercial to me though.

December 28, 2008 at 2:38 pm
(4) Nikki says:

I also agree. There are legitimate bands from the 80s who are working hard and making relevant music for today, inspired by recent events, and collecting new fans, not to mention the followers of the past. I can’t go without giving a super huge Nod to Duran Duran. They persevere and I’m happy to announce I was, am and will forever be a Proud Durannie!

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