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  • Writer's pictureEric Knabel

Thoughts From Six Feet Away: Do You Want Your MTV?

This is normally the space where I would do my best to give some random observations about life, and try to impart some nugget of wisdom along the way. I had something planned for this week, but you know what? I don’t feel deep or thoughtful today.

Why don’t we have some fun instead?

A few years ago, I was on a cruise, and my favorite moment of every evening was playing music trivia in one of the ship’s bars after dinner. After performing very well on the other nights, I was most excited for 80s night, where I really shine. I ended up in a five-way tie for the win, and the winner was determined in a moonwalk contest (one I failed spectacularly). It was that night that I learned that everyone knows the simple stuff. The question is, how do you separate the casual fans from the afficionados?

I decided to come up with some trivia questions on my own. There are some easy ones in here, but I also think it’s fun to challenge the memory a bit. So, in lieu of a blog post this week, let’s remember the 80s! You could obviously look up all these answers, but it’s more fun not to peek. Cheat if you like, since there really isn’t any prize anyway! I’ll post answers next time. We’ll break it down into a few different categories…may the odds be ever in your favor! (*kisses three fingers and raises them to the sky in salute*)


Category 1: Random words. Let’s face it: some songs just have unusual words in them. Name the hit song that contains these unique words.

1. Moot

2. Imbecile

3. House-proud

4. Antiquated

5. Debutante

6. Renoir

7. Vegemite

Category 2: Videos/Commercials. Whether it’s music videos or television commercials, 80s music splashed into visual media. See if you can remember what you saw during this time!

1. What video, featuring karate kicks and air keyboards, ends with

the lead singer mouthing the song’s one word title?

2. What host of a popular Food Network show gained fame by

being in a Pepsi commercial with Michael Jackson?

3. Aboriginal natives stomping on a pair of aptly-colored pumps,

and the singer playing guitar in white gloves are features of

what music video?

4. What video won Friday Night Videos' "video vote" so many times

that Father Guido Sarducci nominated the performing band for

the Democratic presidential race on Saturday Night Live in

1984 (and won a live vote conducted during the episode)?

5. What video made Susanna Hoffs a star, when she cast a side-

eyed glance off camera while singing the song’s title?

6. What video’s final scene depicts a bust of the song’s artist,

fashioned out of clay?

7. What music video begins with the guitar player plugging in his

Gibson guitar, just before belting out the song’s iconic riff?

8. What controversial act happened in a commercial for Honda

scooters featuring Adam Ant and Grace Jones, resulting in an

alternate ending?

9. What video recreates an iconic scene (and dress) from the

Marilyn Monroe movie “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes?”

Category 3: Song Lyrics. Can you name the song that features these lines?

1. Boy versus girl, in the world series of love.

2. The Hollywood Squares are living in Disneyland.

3. Let me tell you about the girl I met last night.

4. Someone who relies on me and doesn’t notice all the others.

5. Loving a music man ain’t always what it’s supposed to be.

6. Hanging out by the state line, turning holy water into wine.

7. They say I better get a chaperone, because I can’t stop messing

with the danger zone.

8. Love’s strange, so real in the dark.

9. Seven years went under the bridge, like time was standing still.

10. Hop in my Chrysler, it’s as big as a whale, and it’s about to set sail.

11. Soon gonna take you home, where we can be alone.

12. Now I’m looking at a flashback Sunday, zoom lens feelings just won’t disappear.

Category 4: Chart Trivia. A mixed bag of trivia about hit songs.

1. The iconic band The Grateful Dead had their biggest hit in

the 80s. What was the name of the song?

2. What song, written by the legendary songwriter Jim Steinman,

was turned down by Meatloaf and became a #1 song for the artist who did record it?

3. What 80s movie soundtrack charted 6 top 40 hits?

4. What two songs from the 80s became hits due to background

vocals from well-known 80s artists?

5. In the second collaboration between these two legendary

artists, what song hit #1 with a video featuring the artists as

snake oil salesmen?

6. What 80s song holds the distinction of spending the most

weeks at #2 on the chart?

7. What song, first a hit in 1962, was top ten on the charts in

1986, thanks to a movie of the same name?

Category 5: One Hit Wonders. We may have forgotten their names, but their songs are burned into our memories! Can you answer questions about these “flashes in the pan?”

1. What one-hit wonder band’s name means “political writings” in Italian?

2. Featured in a Listerine commercial and later in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, what was the single hit of the band Baltimora?

3. What single-letter artist taught us about “Pop Muzik” in 1980?

4. In 1982, Buckner and Garcia sang to us about a “fever” related to what popular video


5. What Scandinavian band scored their only hit in 1987 thanks to their

groundbreaking video that mixed elements of animation and live action?

6. What band, named for a Vulcan elder, had a hit with “Heart and Soul?”

7. Dressed in bib overalls and playing banjos, the lead singer of what

group famously fired the rest of the band after filming the video for their only hit, a #1 song in 1983?

8. This song was a hit in the 80s, but its video is what made it

immortal, launching the broadcast of MTV in 1981?

Category 6: Collaborations. Name the hit song performed by these one-time pairings

1. Mike Reno and Ann Wilson

2. George Michael and Aretha Franklin

3. Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes

4. Lionel Richie and Diana Ross

5. Phil Collins and Phillip Bailey

6. Don Henley and Stevie Nicks


All right, that was a lot of fun! At least it was for me…I had a great time wracking my brain to think of things that weren’t gimmies! Like I said, I’ll post answers next week, since there are a few questions that won’t be simple Google searches! Enjoy the next couple of weeks, friends! If you enjoy reading these, follow my author page on Facebook (Eric Knabel, Author) and Instagram (ericknabelwrites), as well as on Twitter at @ericthemed. Until next time, be excellent to each other, and…

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