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Childhood Memories: Part 16 – Great Groovy 1980s Music

kids 1980 music madonna

(One of the greatest female singer from the 1980s music arena – Madonna who still tops my playlist for 1908s songs. Image source:

I don’t why but I recall the good old 80’s as I sat in front of the laptop doing work and listening to A-Ha’s “Take on me”. That song and other songs in my collection bring back a sense of déjà-vu.

Read the childhood series here

Things were more fun back then in the 1980s, especially at school. The 1980s was the time I started my primary schooling and had one of the best times of my schooling life, full of memorable events and teachers and school mates.

If there is one piece of evidence that the 1980s was indeed a good era, I guess one needs to look from one main aspect – music. This has to stand out at the very front – both in the western world (English songs) and in India namely in Tamil Nadu (Tamil songs). The 1980s may have been one of the best eras for music with some of the more memorable song was composed.

Tamil Songs

In Tamil Nadu, a great music director by the name of Illayaraja was holding the crown in the 1980s when it comes to music and accompanying movies. After all, all great Tamil movies in the 1980s have great songs composed by Illayaraja (before AR Rahman came into the picture in 1990s).

The ultimate combination would be Illayaraja composing, SP Bala singing and Mohan acting. One example would be the movie, Mouna Ragam and the song Nilave Vaa (the other movies that had memorable SP Bala 1980’s hits was Mella Thiranthathu Kathavu, Pudhu Pudhu Arthangal and Punnagai Mannan).

When I was still young, the only way for us to enjoy those songs was when we are watching Tamil movies on the TV (usually on the Saturday afternoon) or listening to Tamil song cassettes in someone else’s house. Later in life, when we had enough money to buy audio cassettes, we go to the audio shop in Leboh Ampang and get them to specially record our most liked songs (the price was almost the same with normal “commercial” cassettes on display).

Either that or we get buy empty audio cassettes and borrow cassettes from friends or other family members and record them (it was a good thing that my Dad had bought a cassette player which had separate compartments for 2 cassettes).

When I started working and had time to buy my own CDs, what I normally do is to list out all those movies where there was Illayaraja-SP Bala-Mohan collaboration and presto, I would get a good selection of 1980s songs. Of course, for now, with the advent of the internet and large capacity storage, I have been gathering best of 1980s Tamil songs from various sources (as at to date 131 songs and counting). Cream of the list is usually burned into audio CDs, stacked away for the long drive on Malaysian highways.

English Songs

The eightiesclub reports:-

The 1980s was a decade of revolutionary changes on the music scene. The two major developments were the advent of MTV and the compact disc

MTV was born on August 1981 giving rise to music videos – one of the first “music videos” that we got addicted was Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”.

On the western front, we have plenty of names – both single singers and group singers, from both sides of the Atlantic and Australia. The list is almost limitless but to name few of well-known groups, there is A-Ha, Mr Mister, The Police, Modern Talking, The Bangles, Duran Duran, Starship, Kool & the Gang, Tears for Fears, Thompson Twins, U2, Culture Club, Bananarama, Wham, Toto, Eurythmics and many more.

On the singles, still remember Sheena Easton, Madonna, Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie, Irene Cara, Tina Turner, Cyndi Lauper, Prince, David Bowie, Phil Collins, Billy Ocean, Bruce Springsteen, Amy Grant, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, George Michael, Robert Palmer and Tracy Chapman? There is more but the names would be almost limitless.

Some came with just one hit and then disappeared forever from the music arena for forever. Some like Michael Jackson went on to be one of the biggest names all time.

I recall the evenings when we had just finished school and rush back to get onto our school bus. My school bus had a very young guy as the driver’s assistant and he has a collection of cassettes with good and popular English songs (and also one with Alan Tam’s songs – “Friends of Mine” being my favourite and which still gives me the goosebumps when hearing it on quiet nights). I would go inside the bus, find a good place to sit and just lay back to enjoy the music.

It did not matter if those songs were repeated on a daily basis – I just could not get enough of it.

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