The 80s was a great time for music and I sometimes find myself believing there was no greater era for it. Sure, it’s all subjective and most can argue for the 60s (rock n’ roll and the great precursors to just about everything else) or the 70s (stoner rock, woo-hoo), but when synth pop made its debut at the end of the 70s and perfected in the 80s by big names like New Order and Tears for Fears, that was about the time I started developing an interest in genre-based music. Growing up, one of my favorite activities was listening to the radio, finger poised over the record button, waiting for a favorite song to come on so I could forever capture it on tape. Sometimes I would sift through some of my mother’s old tapes that she received from friends or long-forgotten work acquaintances and this is when I discovered The Greatest 80s Tape Ever©.
The 60 minutes that comprised the tape were filled to the brim with huge 80s synth/electronic music. As a kid without the Internet, I could only dream of knowing who sang these songs, as they were mostly obscure and without a proper tracklist. I would listen to them over and over again, ingraining them in my mind and later forgetting about them completely as I moved on to other, better sounds, attempting to desperately keep up with the fast pace of changing music trends. Fast forward to a few weeks ago, discovering that I could record tracks from tapes into my portable music player and going on a rampage, sifting through old boxes full of tapes and recording songs to share with friends who might (hopefully! please!) recognize these unknown tracks.
I was ecstatic when someone was able to point me in the direction of the artist and song titles for several songs, whereupon for a particular group, I promptly ordered the CD, no questions asked. It turns out that one of the greatest 80s synth purveyors were none other than Fun Fun, an Italo disco duet who Milli-Vanillied their way to European popularity and were never heard from again (which is basically the only information I could find about them). A best collection was released in 1996, chronicling their short success, and I have yet to see a single song of theirs on any American-made 80s compilation. This is astounding to me, as I find some of the greatest pop music from the 80s actually came from Europe, forever lost to a generation of Duran Duran worshippers.
Although there were plenty more songs from European pop groups on the tape, Fun Fun always stood out to me, with their bouncy, nonsensical lyrics (“Station! Happy station! There are special people! You can meet at the station!“) and catchy melodies that all sounded exactly the same, save an extra piano tinker here or there. It still boggles me that this group was not more popular here, so if you’re looking for some amazing music from the 80s but are fucking sick of “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” I highly recommend these tracks.
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