Whether you lived through them or not, we can all admit that the '80s were a long time ago. Even a kid born on New Year's Eve 1989 could be most of his or her way through medical school by now. And although that decade refuses to go away in all sorts of ways, one concept that does feel like has been lost is the idea of the no-bullshit, straight-ahead rock and roll band. Guys who wore cuban-heeled boots or sneakers onstage, smoked cigarettes and idolized Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley, Lennon & McCartney. There was a lot we didn't know back then.
Photo by Daniel Kramer Chrissie Hynde (center) and the Pretenders at House of Blues Houston in 2009
So strictly because one of our personal '80s-rock favorites, Living Colour, is in town Sunday night, not long ago we thought it would be fun to ask a few of our writers to give us a couple of their favorite rock bands of the Reagan/Bush years. And that's it: rock bands. No metal (including G'N'R), no punk, no alternative, nothing too synthy or New Wave. Just pure rock and roll -- a couple of guitars, bass and drums, maybe a piano or saxophone, and an unflagging desire to conquer the stage every single night.
It wasn't easy. Yes, we see you, Springsteen. You'll live. And forgive us, Huey Lewis and the News. Your name did at least come up.