Classic Compilation – Street Beat (1984)
When I saw an album titled Street Beat while digging through used vinyl my first thought was – this has to be a compilation of some classic hip-hop. Flipping it over, I found I couldn’t have been more wrong.
It turns out the album isn’t hip-hop related at all – with the exception of a movie affiliation of one song, which I’ll get to in a bit – rather, it’s a collection of pop hits from 1982-1983, and there are some real gems in here.
OK, so based on the tracklisting this isn’t the toughest street to walk down, but it’s one that’s probably having one heck of a block party.
With that in mind, here are some highlights from this hit filled compilation.
Irene Cara – Flashdance (What A Feeling)
Because we have a really bad habit of not properly celebrating the lives/careers of artists until they’re gone, Irene Cara passing away last year led to a lot of people who weren’t alive in the ‘80s finally discovering her music.
A soundtrack queen, her contribution to Flashdance is an all-time great, super empowering, feel-good song.
If this doesn’t make you want to move, there’s a chance your entire body has atrophied.
Culture Club – I’ll Tumble 4 Ya
Far more than just a “Karma Chameleon,” and requesting an answer to the question “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” Culture Club were also unafraid to announce they were down to … err … tumble, with “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya.”
According to a 1983 interview, Boy George says the lyrics represent “wanting to do anything to be the next big thing.”
And here I thought it was supposed to be inspiration for all the kids at Tumble Tots!
Madness – Our House
A huge band for many years in their native UK, in the U.S. Madness are known as a one hit wonder for their fantastic ‘80s earworm “Our House.”
If you click play on this classic – and you absolutely should – don't be surprised if you find yourself humming it for the entire day.
Coincidentally, the Talking Heads song “Burning Down the House” came out the same year as “Our House,” making 1983 the golden age of architecturally themed pop music.
Men Without Hats – Safety Dance
Not only is this one of everyone’s favorite songs from the ‘80s, during another one of my digs through used vinyl I actually found Men Without Hats’ debut album, Rhythm of Youth, which includes this song, and is fantastic.
Sadly, I can no longer truthfully sing along with the lyric, “The night is young, and so am I.” Well, maybe I could at an old folks home, I’m still young there!
Rufus & Chaka Khan – Ain’t Nobody
You know how I said I originally thought this would be a compilation of classic hip-hop, and while this is a pop compilation, one song has a hip-hop affiliation? This is the song, and its hip-hop affiliation is that it’s on the soundtrack to the 1984 movie Breakin’.
Both the song, and the movie, are classics, so click play on the video, and get your booty movin’!
Kajagoogoo – Too Shy
An ‘80s one hit wonder, Kajagoogoo reached the Top 10 with “Too Shy,” but it would be the only time the band would reach such heights.
Ironically, more people probably know Kajagoogoo than many of the more successful ‘80s acts because of how synonymous with the decade “Too Shy” has become.
Also, let’s face it, it’s just a damned good song!
Elton John – I’m Still Standing
I truly appreciate whoever did the sequencing for Street Beat, because we started with Irene Cara’s empowering “Flashdance (What A Feeling),” and close with Elton John’s triumphant “I’m Still Standing.” The entire compilation is sandwiched by inspiration!
Oh, and if you think the music video “I’m Still Standing” is wild, you should read the story behind it, which includes someone falling into the sea, and Elton John getting hammered with Simon Le Bon.
It’s amazing anyone, or anything was still standing!
As this final song fades, and Street Beat comes to its conclusion, it’s definitely a compilation I’ll put on anytime I need a quick dose of high energy ‘80s feel-good music.