10 Worst Music Lyrics Of The '80s

Ten terrible times the English language was tortured in the name of art.

Michael Jackson Smooth Criminal

Every hit song has to have a great tune, something that is instantly memorable and easy to sing along with. What those words are that you find yourself singing is another matter. The argument that lyrics are as important as melody is hard to justify; a great song can contain some of the most meaningless, trite nonsense imaginable.

For every Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen, able to spin poetry out of the language of the street, there are a hundred examples where the only thought that seems to have gone into the choice of words is 'does it rhyme?', regardless of whether it makes sense.

The songs on this list were all huge hits, proving that the artists certainly knew how to deliver what the public wanted, and these '80s classics weren't necessarily the worse for their desperate scrambling around for a word or phrase. But sometimes you just have to ask: was that really the best you could come up with?

Here then, is a list of ten mega hits with lyrics that, upon investigation, show that there is much less to them than meets the eye - or ear.

10. Gold - Spandau Ballet

Like most of their contemporaries from the dreaded new romantic era, Spandau Ballet were big on style, image and production. Sure, they had a ton of big hits, with big glossy videos to match. What they didn't have was lyrics that stood up to the slightest scrutiny. With an air of self-importance that was rife in the era, they seemed to believe that anything they wrote bore weight and significance purely because they'd written it.

In common with a number of entries on this list, Spandau have more than a handful of contenders for the bad lyrics crown. 'Gold' has a couple of masterful lines, 'It's only two years ago the man with the suit and the face, you knew that he was there on the case', and 'Sorry that all the chairs are worn, I left them here, I could have sworn'.

Lest you think that this was a one-off moment, how about, 'Sand's a time of its own, take your seaside arms and write the next line' from 'True', or 'Reasons, reasons were part of the art, it's my instinction', from 'Instinction'. Guys, besides making no sense - there is no such word as Instinction.


Lifelong music obsessive, regular contributor to US guitar magazines, sometime radio presenter, singer/guitarist in Star Studded Sham, true believer in the power of rock'n'roll and an amp turned up to 11, about to publish first novel, The Bulletproof Truth.