Idolator Book Club: ‘Mad World’ (And Our ’80s Playlist) Offers Your Ultimate Flashback Friday

Robbie Daw | April 25, 2014 7:54 am

Two decades before YouTube altered the way we ingest music videos, a fledgling cable channel out of New York called MTV launched in late summer 1981, offering visuals from pop artists 24/7. The only programming problem was that most American acts weren’t yet up to speed on shooting videos to accompany their singles, and so MTV bosses turned to Europe — and in particular, England. (History lesson time!) And this window of opportunity allowed colorful acts with mind-blowing haircuts like Duran Duran, Tears For Fears, A Flock Of Seagulls, Thompson Twins, ABC and Depeche Mode to cross over into the stateside mainstream and sit on the charts alongside Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson, Dolly Parton and Bryan Adams — hence the terms “new wave” and “second British invasion.”

Writers and all-around ’80s pop enthusiasts Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein meticulously interviewed three dozen of the era’s key musical movers and shakers — including Morrissey, Johnny Marr, Adam Ant and Simon Le Bon — for their co-authored effort Mad World: An Oral History Of New Wave Artists And The Songs That Defined The 1980s, a 320-page virtual music bible for those who grew up in the Reagan era that was released last week.

We’ll let the book itself do the talking (trust us, it goes in depth — buy it here), but in celebration of its arrival, we’ve compiled a playlist of our favorite Mad World song selections below. Now, normally we’d do this kind of thing via Spotify, but, come on — it was the ’80s. How could we not include the music videos?

Joy Division — “Love Will Tear Us Apart”Album: SubstanceYear Released: 1980

Duran Duran — “Girls On Film”Album: Duran DuranYear Released: 1981

The Smiths — “How Soon Is Now”Album: Meat Is Murder (US), Hatful Of Hollow (UK)Year Released: 1984

Kim Wilde — “Kids In America”Album: Kim WildeYear Released: 1982