Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published September 5th 2021
Friends will be friends, no matter the era
This is the second column of friends songs, following on from the songs from the 1960s and 1970s. I am guessing regular readers are not surprised that there is an entire column dedicated to just the songs released in the 1980s, but there are just so many really cool 1980s songs about friends!
As I explained in my first column, it feels like I have actually made friends for the first time in a long time recently. Yes, I am in my 50s, but that only makes it harder.
To reiterate what I wrote last time, I have avoided songs about a best friend's partner but apart from that, the songs are about friends and friendship, though not all may be positive. And to help me keep numbers under control, the word "friend" has to be in the title.
So, the second list is what we shall call my "teenaged list", songs from the 1980s about friends. I struggled to reduce this list, but in the end, have cut it down to a manageable 12. One song per artist, I need to like the song, normal rules apply. As I said, there were many I cut from this list, so if I left out your favourite song about friends from the 1980s, please add it in the comments section below (even if that includes the Dionne Warwick and friends song that irritates me).
Songs about friends, the second list!
'Fallin' In Love (Bein' Friends)' by Rocky Burnette (1980)
I really enjoyed this song when it first came out and appreciated it, even more, when I understood what it meant – that love has to start with friendship. Almost a throwback to earlier times in its musical stylings, it is just a fun track.
People tend to put 1980s Rolling Stones down, but I think there are a lot of good tracks amongst the work they released. And this track is one of the really good ones, laid back and smooth, and it sounds like a group of friends making music.
'You Need A Friend' by The Sunnyboys (1982)
Australia's Sunnboys are known for one song ('Alone With You') but they had so much more than that, and this track is another strong one of theirs. It's about the need for a friend. Simple, but effective.
'Friend Or Foe' by Adam And The Ants (1982)
Adam Ant was actually quite prolific in the 1980s, and so many of his songs were really good. This was the title track of his first album, and it has that percussion he came to be known for. Great track, little remembered today.
'Friend Of Mine' by Hot Chocolate (1983)
Nice piano-led song, removed from the sound of their disco hey-day, and yet not really known or remembered nowadays. About a friend, and just nicely done. Simple, really.
'You're A Friend Of Mine' by Clarence Clemens and Jackson Browne (1985)
The saxophonist from Springsteen's E-Street Band and the singer-songwriter who contributed so much to the 70s came together to record a song about being friends. That is really all there is to it. This is another fun song and they sound like they mean it.
'Friends Will Be Friends' by Queen (1986)
A song about the importance of friends when you're feeling down, this song really showcases Mercury's vocals and May's guitar playing. It is a really good Queen song, and the live versions I've heard are amazing as well.
'Friends For Life' by Bob Geldof (1986)
After Live Aid Geldof tried to get his own musical career back on track. The album he released was Deep In The Heart Of Nowhere and I really liked it, but I was in the minority. Time for a re-evaluation, as tracks like this one attest to. Such a grooving track, all about friendship.
'Where Do All My Friends Go' by Oingo Boingo (1987)
Heard of film and TV composer Danny Elfman? Did you know he started in this New Wave, synth-pop band? Well, he did. People maybe know one or two of their songs, but they released so many great tracks, especially on their albums, that I am surprised they didn't do better. This is just one example of their goodness, about friends deserting you when times get tough.
'Hold An Old Friend's Hand' by Tiffany (1988)
One of the many Tiffany songs I am not supposed to like, but do anyway. This one is about wanting to see an old friend to make herself feel better. She channels her inner Bonnie Tyler with the raspy voice, and it is sort of a ballad, but I really like it. Sorry.
'A Friend Is A Friend' by Pete Townshend (1989)
Pete Townshend released an album The Iron Giant: The Musical that did not do well (much like the magnificent cartoon movie version didn't do well), but which I bought on cassette (because of course, I did), and this was one of the singles released from that album. Considering the themes of friendship in the source material, it only makes sense that this song was a highlight.
'Just A Friend' by Biz Markie (1989)
This should not have been a hit. It is 1980s rap, it is basic and it is about a girlfriend-zoning the singer. But it works, and Biz Markie is beloved in rap circles to this day (the outpouring of love when he passed away in July of this year was incredible – not a bad word was said). This song, with its amazing piano and the slightly off-key singing, is the sound track for too many of us. Such a glorious song.
And that's this list, an even dozen covering the nineteen-eighties. Again, I hope you found something here you liked, and if not, then maybe the next column on this topic might be more up your alley!