10 Gloriously Terrible Lesser-Known Motivational '80s Songs to Pump! You Up!
Sshhh... Just let the radness overtake you.
If my gym is any indication, Olympics Fever is spurring folks into action. There used to be plenty of elliptical machines, barbells, and room in the pool available during the time of day I would go. Now it seems like every elliptical machine is taken except the one in front of the wonky TV that only ever picks up staticky Fox News, the line for a lane to open up in the pool looks like the line to get into a Tony Bennett concert -- old people love the pool -- and the barbells section is in total disarray from newbies who bit off way more than they could chew, felt something pop, and limped the hell out of there, leaving the barbells to lie where they fell.
Yes, seeing the ultimate victories of total strangers who have been busting their asses to obssessive-compulsive levels their entire lives has given people who would have otherwise let their gym memberships quietly leech $25 a month out of their debit accounts the will to go work out.
Which is great! We're all for motivation, however it happens. But it fades so quickly, doesn't it? In another short week, the Olympics will be over. How will Pavlov's gym rats find the will to get back inside the gym without hearing John Williams' hypertrumpets blasting the Olympic fanfare 200 times a day?
Easy: With our patented (not really) playlist of motivational 80's montage-fuel blasting through their earbuds. And because everyone already knows "Eye of the Tiger," "Holding Out For a Hero," and "Danger Zone," we went and dug up some forgotten classics that tried to be match those songs' popularity and failed spectacularly.
And we do mean spectacularly; each of these songs is terrible in the sincere, epic way that only an overwrought wanna-be anthem can be. And we feel that's more appropriate in this case because let's face it, you're not going to be in the running for a gold medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
But if you stay motivated, keep these songs on repeat, and really knuckle down, maybe you can get those love handles down to a less-grippable size and keep 'em that way.
This song is from the movie Rad, a film about freestyle BMX stunting wherein two infatuated teens seductively pop wheelies at one another in the middle of a roller rink while "Send Me an Angel" plays. The opening credits kicked off with this song's truly irresistable hook over some sweet-ass BMX stunts and the film pretty much went downhill from there. Honestly, this might just be the '80s-est song of all time.
A close runner-up from the same soundtrack would be "Thunder In Your Heart" by the same artist. Did a nine-year-old Rocks Off get in trouble for singing "Thunder In Your Fart" just a little too loudly when he thought his parents weren't paying attention? We'll never tell.
You probably already own this soundtrack, but just in case you don't...
Iron Eagle was Top Gun without the wit and subtlety. King Kobra, then, were Winger without those same qualities.
Everybody knows Stan Bush's mastercheese "The Touch" from the Transformers Movie soundtrack -- especially if you're a big fan of Boogie Nights -- but this song from the same soundtrack was equally driving, if not more so. You can win if you dare. Fuck yeah, Stan Bush. Let's freebase some Energon.
This was from the 1987 film Russkies, about a bunch of American kids who find a Russian washed up on their beach. Good thing for them it wasn't a Red Dawn sequel.
John Cafferty's "Hearts On Fire won out for the training montage scene in Rocky 4, but for sheer pathos you just can't beat the dark-night-of-the-soul drive that Rocky takes shortly after his friend Apollo Creed is killed in the ring by Russian box-o-naut Ivan Drago (spoiler!).
All the good times and bad times flash through Rocky's head as he steels his will to return to boxing and whoop some commie ass. If this song doesn't set your jaw and iron up your determination to get through the hard times, you're either the Grinch or dead.
You'll know this song from having heard it play as the Ghostbusters are being given a military escort straight to Gozer. That should be all the motivation you need.
Staying Alive, the inferior sequel to Saturday Night Fever, featured this song by Frank Stallone, himself an inferior sequel to Sylvester. Still, someone, somewhere had to sit down, listen to this song, and say "It's not great, but damn it, Frank's giving it all he's got, and it's good enough to put in the film!"
And you know, if you actually listen to the notes he's hitting, really, Frank Stallone isn't all that bad of a -- wait, never mind: Staying Alive was directed by brother Sly. Okay, that makes more sense.
In a horror film filled to the brim with outstanding homoerotic moments, perhaps none stood out more than the oiled-up muscle man in spandex who blasted the shit out of the saxophone, powered by the dynamo gyrations of his own hips. And then, twenty years later, he became the basis for a monumentally wonderful/disturbing Saturday Night Live digital short.
This song featured prominently in Ernest Goes to Camp, in which a grown adult proves to his fan base of mostly children that in order to magically deflect bullets, all you have to do is believe. God bless you, Jim Varney, wherever you are.
This song should have worked: it was Survivor's big follow-up to "Eye of the Tiger" and it was packaged with an equally classic underdog combat film, The Karate Kid. But alas, Joe Esposito's "You're the Best Around" took off instead, and this song became a footnote. Give it another try, we say, especially if you were of the opinion that the one thing "Eye of the Tiger" sorely lacked was a shit-ton of synthesizers.
Listen: we know we always say "if we missed any, let us know in the comments." Well for the love of God, we mean it. Really do it this time. There were so many of these songs in the '80s it's unbelievable. The more obscure, the better. Let us hear from you.
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