The Top Ten Hottest Pop Singers of the '80's
JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS movie looks awesome, right? Because why wouldn't something from the '80's age well enough to sell to an entire generation of kids who have no sense of social privacy, auto-tuned life soundtracks and a familiarity with Molly Ringwald that doesn't extend past "The Secret Life of the American Teenager"? Synergy can't do 10% of what their iPhones can. The only good use for this throwaway movie is a topic for a top ten list, so I suppose it's not completely useless.
What impressed me the most about Pat Benatar was what a huge presence she was. Standing at a wee 5 feet, that little body of hers barely filled the spandex bodysuits she wore but her voice could overpower stadiums. Pat was the real deal, no special remixing, no tricks. Just crazy strong pipes. There's a reason why her songs, 30+ years later, remain on high rotation. They've never quite been topped.
When thinking up this list, Sheena was one of the first to come to my mind and suddenly I realized that I knew nothing about her past those precious duets she did with Prince toward the end of the '80's. At the start of the 80's, Sheena was riding high as an Oscar nominated James Bond theme song contributor. Sure, "For Your Eyes Only" is one of the suckiest Bond songs (for those who think it's Madonna's, try sitting through Easton's) but it certainly added weight to the obsession men had with the Scottish lass. Out of all of these '80's pop stars, Easton had the highest number of photos shopped into porn poses. If that isn't the highest praise, what is?
For the longest time, I never realized that Sade was a band and not just a reference to the hottest member, a gorgeous Nigerian singer with lips that inspired a thousand plastic surgeons to invent fillers. The band was more of a soul group than a pop one but because of the popularity of MTV and the visual treat that Sade presented, they were considered more of a Top 40 act. If you go looking up modern day Sade, now 56-years old, you'll be surprised to see that she's aged impeccably. Smooth Operator, indeed.
Long before she became late night talk show joke fodder for her rambling, incoherent moments on "American Idol," Paula was a former choreographer & dancer who tried her hand at a singing career - and did a damn good job at it. Her album, Forever Your Girl, set a record for the longest time on a Billboard chart - 64 weeks (that's over a damn year, try pulling that shit off in this current ADHD world) - before hitting number 1 and staying there for 10 weeks. The videos accompanying her songs were fun to watch (MC Skat Kat? That skat was awesome) and always contained her famous dancing skills. Abdul was a hot little number then and despite all of the snickers, she's still damn hot today.
Sometime after being the darling little girl from the Jackson family and yet before all of the nipple flashing, raunchy tour dance cash grabs of her recent career, Janet Jackson got Nasty. I was a little kid when Rhythm Nation was tearing shit up and I remember thinking that Janet was powerful, strong, badass. I miss that moment in time prior to when her surgeries became more excessive, when people seemed far more forgiving of her fuller booty (or perhaps not, seeing as how since that time she was plagued with extreme weight gains and losses).
Tina had been around for a number of years by the time that her album Private Dancer was released in 1984 but fans had been unaware of just what Turner had gone through while singing with Ike Turner, her bandmate and abusive husband. This new, empowered woman worked her strut for the music video cameras, showing just how sexy a 45-year old woman could be. Most younger stars won't hold up into their 40's... in the '80's, Tina was just starting her salad days.
I'm cheating a bit here, although not too hard. The highlight of Deborah Harry's Blondie days happened during the late 1970's, with only a couple of underselling albums released in the early 80's before breaking up so she could care for bandmate and boyfriend, Chris Stein. It wouldn't be until the late '90's that the band would regroup for a new album, by which time Harry had succumbed a bit to age. She's still a hearty badass that many of the fringe rock/pop singers of late emulate, even if they fail to recognize that they are.
When I was growing up, people used to tell me I looked like Belinda Carlisle. That's great and all, until you think of me being a minor and grown men saying this. I didn't get that it was creepy until her Playboy pictorial came out in 2000, where at the age of 42, she posed fully nude and stoked desires to unseal her lips. Carlisle is probably the most badass of women who look completely innocent, harboring a coke addiction long into the 2000's after many had started embracing yoga, or in the world of Belinda's bandmate Jane Wiedlin, PETA ramblings (which consequently Carlisle would take up as well).
She tried her hand at acting, if you could call it that, while taking a break from one of the most well-known and best selling all-female pop/rocks groups, The Bangles. That might have been the nail in the coffin for both her career (her acting was on par with that of Cindy Crawford, alas) and the band needed her huge doe eyes and little lilting voice to carry them through. Their remake of "Hazy Shade of Winter" is my favorite soundtrack jam and Susanna is easily the best aged of any of the ladies on this list.
There's an episode of "South Park" where Butters is attempting to be naughty as Professor Chaos while his sidekick Dougie, aka General Disarray, reminds him that the "Simpsons did it!" This is what comes to mind whenever I see a pop star of the 2000's do pretty much anything. Miley flaunting nipple on magazine covers? Madonna did it. (And she got paid a helluva lot more for it, with that shrink-wrapped Sex book.) Writhing around on the ground at the VMAs? Madonna did it. She's had 37 number one songs, 15 number one albums, putting her miles ahead of newbies like Katy & Rihanna, who are still lingering with only 10 top songs. And in the midst of the '80's, she personified sexy, tough & tender all wrapped in lace.