How Well Do You Remember '80s Rock Radio?



By: Carolyn Brooks Fleming

6 Min Quiz

Image: Mercury

About This Quiz

How much do you know about the classic rock songs, videos, and artists that made the '80s great? Take this quiz to find out!

What power ballad by Scorpions is credited with causing a 1985 baby boom in France?

Nine months after "Still Loving You" hit number one in France, there was a noticeable increase in the number of babies born. Although the band Scorpions is German, lead singer Klaus Meine always sings in English, to reach the American market.


Which rockabilly band of the '80s featured Brian Setzer, Lee Rocker, and Slim Jim Phantom?

The Stray Cats featured Brian Setzer, Lee Rocker, and Slim Jim Phantom. Their rockabilly style included exaggerated pompadours and many tattoos.


Which band named themselves based on their financial condition when they were starting out?

Dire Straits were initially in actual dire straits. Even after they found success, finances took their toll. The characters in their computer-animated video for "Money for Nothing" were supposed to be more detailed, but the band ran out of money. Happily for them, the video still won Best Video at the 1986 "MTV Video Music Awards."


In the Poison song, "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," what do the rose and the thorn symbolize?

Bret Michaels wrote "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" for his band, Poison. The rose symbolizes his budding career. However, his budding career cost him his relationship with his then-girlfriend. That loss is the thorn. He wrote the song while on the road, on a yellow legal pad.


What is unusual about the band Bon Jovi's relationship with their record label?

Jon Bon Jovi is the only band member signed with the record label, so he makes all business decisions for the band, Bon Jovi.


Which three musicians appeared before the US Senate in 1985, testifying against a proposal to put warning labels on records?

Frank Zappa, Dee Snider, and John Denver all testified. Dee Snider's band, Twisted Sister, was included on the Parents Music Resource Center's Filthy Fifteen, for violence in the song, "We're Not Gonna Take It."


Which '80s girl group included Rick James' backup singers?

The Mary Jane Girls were Rick James' backup singers. James suggested that one singer, Jojo McDuffie, should be given a solo contract, but the record company chose instead to sign several singers as a group, fronted by McDuffie.


Which band released an album called "10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1" in 1982?

Outside of Australia, Midnight Oil is best known for their protest song, "Beds Are Burning," about returning native Australian land to the Pintupi tribe.


How did the band UB40 get their name?

UB 40 stands for Unemployment Benefit Form 40, a form used at the time in the UK. One of their hits is "Red Red Wine."


Chrissy Hynde is the vocalist for which band that had many hits in the '80s?

Before American Chrissy Hynde helped form The Pretenders, she worked in England as a music journalist for "New Musical Express."


Which iconic '80s song now sounds dated because it includes the line, "For the price of a dime I can always turn to you"?

"Jenny (867-5309)," by Tommy Tutone, is dated because there are no longer many pay phones in our world, much less pay phones that only charge ten cents per call.


"Close My Eyes Forever" is a 1988 duet by which two singers?

Lita Ford and Ozzy Osbourne wrote and recorded this song together. Lita Ford was once engaged to guitarist Tony Iommi, who was in Black Sabbath with Ozzy Osbourne.


Who was named "Band of the '80s" by "Rolling Stone" magazine?

U2 was named "Band of the '80s" by "Rolling Stone" magazine. Bono, born as Paul Hewson, got his stage name, "Bono Vox," from the name of a hearing aid company.


For Kenny Loggins, a potential casualty of changing musical tastes, what "kept bread on the table for most of the '80s"?

In the '80s, Kenny Loggins enjoyed great success by writing and performing movie theme songs. These include "I'm Alright" for "Caddyshack," "Danger Zone" for "Top Gun," and "Footloose" for the movie of the same name.


What lyric follows this line: "Everybody's working for the weekend"?

The next line is "Everybody wants a little romance," from "Working for the Weekend," by Loverboy. The original working title was, "Waiting for the Weekend."


Which rock singer's real name is William Broad?

Billy Idol's real name is William Broad. He was going to be Billy Idle, since one of his teachers called him an idle student. He ultimately chose Billy Idol, which is arguably cooler, to avoid confusion with Monty Python's Eric Idle.


Which famous guitarist performed the guitar solo in "Beat It," by Michael Jackson?

Eddie Van Halen performed on "Beat It," as a favor to producer Quincy Jones. Oddly, Jackson's album, "Thriller," kept Van Halen's album, "1984" from reaching number one.


Which 1986 song by the band Europe was ranked number one on VH1's "40 Most Awesomely Bad Metal Songs"?

Although some people like to diss the band Europe's top song, "The Final Countdown," it's frequently played at sporting events.


On what date did MTV first broadcast?

MTV first aired on August 1, 1981. The very first video was "Video Killed the Radio Star," by The Buggles.


In the band Echo and the Bunnymen, who is Echo?

In Echo and the Bunnymen, Echo is a drum machine. The Bunnymen are vocalist Ian McCulloch, guitarist Will Sergeant, and bass player Les Pattinson.


What was the first mainstream single to feature a scratching solo and the fusion of jazz and hip hop?

"Rockit," by Herbie Hancock, was the first single to feature a scratching solo, and it fused jazz with hip hop. The music video showcased animated robot sculptures by artist Jim Whiting.


Which band, most famous for 1983's "One Thing Leads to Another," was originally known as The Portraits?

The band's producer, Rupert Hine, was an amateur pilot. He suggested "The Fix" because he liked the phrase in aviation, "getting a fix" on something. The band liked it too, but they added an extra "x" to avoid drug connotations.


What is a Depeche Mode?

The band Depeche Mode took their name from an out-of-print French fashion magazine simply because they thought it sounded cool.


Which 1984 Bruce Springsteen song about the plight of returning Vietnam veterans was originally titled "Vietnam"?

Springsteen wrote and performed "Born in the U.S.A.," about the troubles Vietnam vets faced when they returned to the States. Springsteen had been called to serve in Vietnam, but he failed his physical exam due to a concussion he had suffered at the age of 17.


The drummer of which band lost his arm in a car accident in 1984?

Rick Allen, the drummer for Def Leppard, lost his arm in a car accident on New Year's Eve, 1984. He learned to play drums again with a specially designed, computerized drum kit. Allen is known as the Thundergod.


Why did Angus, the guitarist for AC/DC, always perform in a schoolboy uniform?

In the early days, Angus went directly from school to rehearsals, still wearing his school uniform, and the style became an odd tradition. AC/DC got heir name from the abbreviation for "Alternating Current/Direct Current."


What band selected Phil Collins to replace Peter Gabriel when he left in 1975, gearing up for a huge string of '80s hits?

Phil Collins replaced Peter Gabriel. Originally Collins was their drummer, and he sang demos of songs for singers during their auditions. Eventually the band members realized that Phil Collins was the best vocalist they heard.


The guitarist of Guns N' Roses got what well-known nickname because he was always in a hurry?

Guns N' Roses' guitarist, Slash, got his nickname because he was always in a hurry. In fact, he once competed in BMX at a professional level.


Which two '80s bands both had drummers named Roger Taylor?

Queen and Duran Duran both had drummers named Roger Taylor. They were not the same guy - Queen's Taylor was born in 1949 and Duran Duran's Taylor was born in 1960.


Which band is named for a river in Greek mythology that formed the boundary between Earth and the Underworld?

The River Styx formed the boundary between Earth and the Underworld. The gods swore binding oaths on this river and it had the power to make someone immortal or invulnerable. Achilles was dipped in Styx, except for his heel.


Which music video featured stop-motion dancing chickens?

"Sledgehammer," by Peter Gabriel, featured dancing chickens - raw and plucked, not living and feathered. Some say this video was played more often on MTV than any other.


Who was named "Canadian Artist of the Decade" for the 1980s, by the Canadian Recording Industry Association?

Bryan Adams was named "Canadian Artist of the Decade" for the 1980s, by the Canadian Recording Industry Association. When Adams was young, he traveled a lot with his father, who was a diplomat in the Canadian foreign service.


The video for which 1985 hit featured a bizarre "Alice in Wonderland" vibe?

"Don't Come Around Here No More," by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, had a video with a surreal "Alice in Wonderland" story line. Some viewers objected when Alice turned into a cake and the band ate her.


Which two bands, popular in the '80s, had members named Mick Jones?

Foreigner and The Clash both had members named Mick Jones. Also, both played guitar and sang. Are we sure they're two different guys?


What is the title of Survivor's hit that was used as the theme to "Rocky III"?

The song is "The Eye of the Tiger." It was parodied by Weird Al Yankovic as "The Rye or the Kaiser (Theme from 'Rocky XIII')."


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