The Music I listened to and loved in the 80s had an influence on me, it’s undeniable. Along with the books I read, the television shows and movies I watched, the people I met, they all helped shape create the foundation of who I am today. Would I be me today if I hadn’t seen “The Day After” at a young age and had a near-obsession level of paranoia over my skin getting peeled off in a nuclear blast? Who’s to say? Did the artists of the music I listen to and their speaking out on political and social matters shape me? Absolutely.
I stumbled across Stereogum‘s list of 80s songs about nuclear war and it was nostalgia on full volume for me. Their list included songs I may not have realized at the time were as political as they were, but now with adult eyes and 30+ years of hindsight, I am grateful that they are. I hope you enjoy some of them as much as I do.
Murray Head – “One Night In Bangkok” (1984)
OK, maybe this isn’t quite as “essential” as most of the songs on this list. “One Night In Bangkok” is the famous song from Chess a concept album/musical by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, i.e. the dude half of ABBA. It was a Cold War narrative centering around a chess match between an American and a Soviet. This song doesn’t seem to have much to do with the main narrative, but we could all use a bit of levity at this point.