5 Songs That Show What Dallas Was Like In The 1980s

The 1980s were a period of immense upheaval for popular music. Established genres like rock were thrown on repeat as music videos exploded and MTV made the bands’ aesthetic presence just as important as their sound. Meanwhile, emerging genres like hip-hop were laying the groundwork for their impending cultural dominance.

While these movements are historically associated with coastal cities (and also for some reason Minneapolis), Dallas artists also made their mark and helped inform the culture of the decade.

The city’s nightlife was booming thanks to the infamous Starck Club, whose hedonistic patrons partied before the space ignited into a post-disco hell, closing in 1989. Dallas continued its great blues tradition, and Oak Cliff’s Stevie Ray Vaughan established himself as a guitar hero before his untimely death in 1990.

Many great local artists brought the sound of the 80s to Dallas, but here are five North Texas songs from the 80s that you may not have heard, but should.

Phones, “Rocket, Rocket”

Before post-punk hit the mass music distribution assembly line that was MTV in 1981, few bands in the southeastern United States were ahead of the curve. Fortunately, Dallas had one of the most esoteric yet artistically competent exports of that era before the genre even took off.

The Telefones exhibited a sound whose seeds had been planted by earlier predecessors in the UK, whose boundary-pushing sound was not yet enjoying the mass medium of MTV in the late 1970s, when The Telefones is formed for the first time.

Still, a handful of bands heard the reverberations of the earthquake before it hit the ground, so to speak, and The Telefones was one of them. They were alternative before the words “alternative rock” were used consecutively in a sentence to describe a subgenre of rock music.

While every song from their seminal album Vibration changes would also suffice as a placement in this list, “Rocket, Rocket” is so upbeat and in your face. Everyone should listen to it. Fila Fresh Crew, “Dunk the Funk”
We’re not trying to stress that The DOC hails from Dallas, but before he gained acclaim and fame for his work with NWA, the Oak Cliff-based rapper was part of the founding hip-hop group of Dallas, Fila Fresh Crew.

Fila Fresh Crew is perhaps best known for appearing on a dubbed Priority Records compilation album NWA and the Posse, on which their most acclaimed and commercially successful single, “Dunk the Funk”, appeared. But around the same time it happened, the single made the cut on their Tuffest Man Alive EP.

Fans of golden age hip-hop artists like EPMD, LL Cool J and Ice-T should take heed. Edie Brickell and New Bohemians, “Love Like We Do”
Try to completely forget that Edie Brickell is married to Paul Simon. Even if she had married a urine-soaked messiah pretender preaching the end times to unsuspecting passers-by, she and the New Bohemians would still deserve all the acclaim in the world for this fantastic record. Pull rubber bands on the stars.

Arguably the best song on this album is track five, “Love Like We Do,” a new wave/jangle pop cut reminiscent of contemporaries like The Bangles and classic jangle pop pioneers like The Byrds and Big Star.

For good reason, Brickell and his Bohemians were one of Dallas’ hottest bands in the 1980s, being a frequent mainstay at Deep Ellum Club Dada and Theater Gallery venues. The Nervebreakers, “Girls Girls Girls Girls Girls”
The Nervebreakers are well known for their work with late psychedelic rock pioneer Roky Erickson, and even better known for opening that one time Sex Pistols show, but they’re also rightly known as one of the oldest and most precursory punk groups in the region. .

In 1980, The Nervebreakers recorded the album We want it allwhich featured the ever catchy song “Girls Girls Girls Girls Girls”.

In case you weren’t following, this song said the word “girls” five times, which is 167% more “girls” than the title of this terrible Motley Crue song. Brave Combo, “New Mind Polka”
Denton’s jazz-polka fusion legends Brave Combo have it all: the Grammys, love from friends and locals, love from Matt Groening, and more. century.

This is of course not hyperbole.

Musically, Brave Combo managed to have the scientific precision of a jazz band, while culturally having the street crew of a punk rock band. For this reason, they often played at now-legendary venues such as the Hot Klub and Poor David’s Pub in the 1980s.

You should listen to their 1987 album Polkatharisis.


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Grace D. Erickson