Are you an expert in '80s pop music?

By: Carolyn Brooks Fleming
Image: The Movie DB

About This Quiz

Prove it, by taking this bangin' quiz!

Which '80s band has three members with the same last name, even though none of them are related?

Three members of Duran Duran have the same last name - Taylor - even though they're not related. Andy plays guitar, John plays bass, and Roger plays drums. Non-Taylors in the band are Simon Le Bon on vocals and Nick Rhodes on keyboards.

Which '80s pop star had a condition called anisocoria, meaning his pupils were two different sizes?

David Bowie had anisocoria, or different-sized pupils. From a distance, he seemed to have eyes of two different colors. He felt that his unusual eyes added to his mystique.

The members of a-ha, whose biggest hit was "Take On Me," are from what country?

The members of a-ha, Morten Harket, Pal Waaktaar, and Mags Furuholmen, are from Norway. They chose the band's name because it's an exclamation known all over the world.

Which German pop band had an unexpected hit, originally recorded in German, then subsequently rerecorded in English when it gained popularity in the US?

Nena recorded "99 Luftballons" in German, then rerecorded the song in English as "99 Red Balloons." The original German "air balloons" were changed to "red balloons" so the phrase would have the same number of syllables in English.

Which pop star played Susan in the 1985 film, "Desperately Seeking Susan"?

Madonna played Susan in "Desperately Seeking Susan." Rosanna Arquette played a suburban housewife whose life gets tangled up with Susan's, due to a bout of amnesia.

What is the reason for the confusing lyrics in Spandau Ballet's song, "True"?

The lyrics are loosely based on Nabakov's "Lolita." Guitarist Gary Kemp had received the book from a woman he admired who did not share his feelings. Nabakov's "seaside arms" became "seaside limbs" in the song.

Which '80s pop star was considered for the part of Sondra Huxtable, the oldest daughter on "The Cosby Show"?

Whitney Houston was considered for a role on "The Cosby Show," but she decided she needed to focus on her music and touring instead. Actress Sabrina LeBeauf ultimately played Sondra Huxtable.

Who are the members of Simply Red?

Mick Hucknall is the only member of Simply Red. He has curly red hair. He is known for his own song, "Holding Back the Years," and for his cover of Harold Melvin's "If You Don't Know Me by Now."

In 1983, on a TV special, "25 Years of Motown," Michael Jackson did the Moonwalk for the first time while singing what song?

Michael Jackson sang "Billie Jean" while doing the Moonwalk. He also wore a single white glove for the first time during this performance.

What is the origin of the band name, Thompson Twins?

The Thompson Twins were named for the detectives in "The Adventures of Tintin." Many fans were confused, because at the height of their fame the band consisted of three members who looked not at all alike.

Which '80s top-ten hit is about the phenomenon known as somniloquy?

The song is "Talking in Your Sleep," by The Romantics. Somniloquy means sleep-talking. Other songs by the band include "What I Like About You" and "One in a Million."

Which Robert Palmer hit was originally recorded as a duet with Chaka Khan?

Robert Palmer and Chaka Khan recorded "Addicted to Love" together, but their record companies couldn't come to an agreement, so Palmer re-recorded her parts with his own voice. The iconic music video featured a backup band of robotic models wearing red lipstick.

Which pop group was the first to perform in China in 1985, following the Cultural Revolution?

Wham! was the first pop group from the west to perform in China, in 1985. Queen and The Rolling Stones had tried to book concert dates.

What hit song includes the lyrics, "See the people walking down the street / Fall in line just watching all their feet"?

The song is, "We Got the Beat," by The Go-Gos. Guitarist and songwriter Charlotte Caffey was inspired by the Smokey Robinson hit, "Going to a Go-Go," both for its sound and for its use of her band's name.

Which '80s pop star sang with a band called Blue Angel before going solo?

Cyndi Lauper sang with Blue Angel, and they released one self-titled album in 1980. She didn't like the album cover, but "Rolling Stone" chose it as one of the 100 best new wave album covers.

In the B-52s song, "Love Shack," what does singer Cindy Wilson shout?

You would yell too, if it were raining on your rusty tin roof.

What was Thomas Dolby's inspiration for writing the song, "She Blinded Me with Science"?

He wrote the song specifically because he wanted to direct a video in the style of a Charlie Chaplin film. For Dolby, music videos were just silent movies with musical accompaniment.

What duo was known as Two Tons O' Fun, before changing their name to suit a song?

The Weather Girls were originally known as Two Tons O' Fun, but they changed their name before releasing their hit, "It's Raining Men." The singers were Martha Wash and Izora Armstead, who grew up singing in church.

Who wrote 1985's "We Are the World," a song that raised over $60 million for African famine relief?

Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie wrote the song, and Quincy Jones produced it. Many popular artists of the day can be heard on the track, but Prince declined, saying he never records with other artists.

For which movie did Prince win an Oscar for Best Original Song Score?

Prince won his Oscar for Best Original Song Score for 1984's "Purple Rain." He starred in the film as "The Kid."

What '80s blond band originally dyed their hair blond for a Wrigley's Gum commercial?

The Police dyed their hair for a Wrigley's Gum commercial. Oddly enough, the commercial that helped form The Police's image was never aired.

What Modern English song is literally about the end of the world?

"I'll Melt with You" is about a couple making love while the bomb drops. It was the biggest hit for Modern English.

Which '80s synth pop group included Boy George, Roy Hay, Mikey Craig, and Jon Moss?

At first, Culture Club was as famous for singer Boy George's controversial androgynous looks as for the music. In 1984, the band won the Grammy for Best New Artist.

The music video for which ZZ Top song featured rotating fuzzy guitars?

In "Legs," the guitarists' fuzzy instruments would rotate whenever they moved their hands away. "Legs" and other ZZ Top videos featured band member Billy Gibbons' 1933 Ford Hot Rod, The Eliminator.

The members of what band, known for their own songs and videos, also directed the "Every Breath You Take" video for The Police?

Godley & Creme directed "Every Breath You Take" for The Police. Their own video, "Cry," featured an early use of morphed faces.

Whose hit song begins with the lyrics, "Does she walk? Does she talk? / Does she come complete?"

The lyrics are from "Centerfold," by J. Geils Band. The band is named for the guitarist, not for the lead singer.

Which '80s pop star recorded the demo for her first hit, "Only In My Dreams," in her parents' garage?

Debbie Gibson recorded demos in a recording studio in her parents' garage, long before YouTube was a thing. She was only 16 when "Only In My Dreams" hit the charts.

Which '80s band inspired another band called On a Friday to change their name to Radiohead?

The band On a Friday was inspired by the track "Radio Head" on the Talking Heads' album, "True Stories."

Which popular '80s song included the lyrics, "The beating of my heart is a drum, and it's lost / And it's looking for a rhythm like you"?

The song is "Making Love out of Nothing At All," by Air Supply. The band includes songwriter and guitarist Graham Russell, who is British, and vocalist Russell Hitchcock, who is Australian.

Bob Geldof and Midge Ure wrote what song, performed by many artists for African famine relief?

The song was 1984's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" The participating artists were known collectively as Band Aid. Bob Geldof was with the Boomtown Rats and Midge Ure was with Ultravox.

Which band's name was inspired by the sounds a baby makes?

The band was Kajagoogoo, fronted by vocalist Limahl. Their greatest hit was "Too Shy."

Who released the sad yet darkly comedic song, "Girlfriend in a Coma"?

"Girlfriend in a Coma" is an iconic song by The Smiths. Morrissey, the lead singer of the group, is a staunch vegetarian who once stormed offstage because he could smell meat.

Which single was the first number one hit for Richard Branson's record label, Virgin?

Virgin Records' first number one hit was "Don't You Want Me," by Human League. During recording, Phil Oakey of Human League sang his vocals in the lavatory at the studio, to achieve a certain vocal quality.

Which '80s song could function as a vocabulary quiz, because it includes words such as "irreversible," "invincible," "inscrutable," and "irrefutable"?

"Simply Irresistible" has more challenging lyrics than the typical tune. For example, Palmer sings, "Her methods are inscrutable / The proof is irrefutable."

Which is the best selling album of all time made in the 80's?

Michael Jackson's music is still popular to this day so it's no surprise he has the #1 selling album of all time.

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