One of the fundamental elements of life in South-East Asia, aside from scooters, 7-11s, noodles, acid rain, rainbow-colored neon signs…is 80s US hit tunes. It does not matter if you have grown up during the 80s. It is a fact of life: the music is delivered anonymously and automatically to you no matter what. You’ll realize that the Big Brother is truly watching you (and trying to brainwash you), otherwise you cannot explain the fact that you have listened to Don’t Worry, Be Happy three times on different occasions during the day.
Michael Jackson suggests that you go into a restaurant and Eat It. (Uh, was it someone else?) If it is a self-service shop, Eric Carmen suggests you to do All By Yourself. (That’s a 70s song? Shut up.) A quality coffee time is frequently interrupted by crying babies who are supposedly traumatized by Cyndi Lauper singing a lullaby in the form of She Bop. When Axel Rose starts to whisper “Where do we go, where do we go now…” into your ears it is time for you to get up and head to the next destination.
But over the years I have found that in this part of the world, some 80s songs were made more equal than the others. And that’s not always a bad things—here I list three 80s forgotten underdogs (kind of) that have been given a new life in South-East Asia.
Glenn Frey, The One You Love
Note: His ex-Eagles buddy Don Henley released an equally mellow ballad Talking to the Moon at the same time, which unfortunately did not quite became as famous (I prefer Mr. Henley’s mature voice).
David Pomeranz, Got to Believe in Magic
Has been sung at numerous wedding ceremonies in countries such as Philippines and Malaysia, this campy song was originally featured in an even campier movie Zapped! starring Scott Bio. Note: That movie was labeled a “family movie” and aired countless number of times in Japan during the 80s and 90s.
John O’Banion, I Don’t Want This Night To End
This song was also featured in a movie, in this case a cult Japanese adventure film titled The Legend of the Eight Samurai (one of the 1,000 minor films that influenced Quentin Tarantino).
And yes, I am coming out: I have listened to all of them over hundreds of time. There, I said it.