The ‘80s Music Project

Sometime last year, I think it was Labor Day weekend, Sirius-XM’s ‘80s on 8 channel aired a Top-300 songs of the ‘80s countdown. I think it was a listener-voted compilation.

It got me thinking about what my top songs would be, 40, 100 or 300. Then I wondered how I could even begin to narrow the list. How would I rank them?

Later that day I came up with an idea: What if I used a tournament approach, organizing each year’s Top 100 songs in a NCAA tournament-like bracket, but for a 100-team field?

So, I found a website that generates tournament brackets and created the 100-team version.

Next, I looked up and saved the Billboard magazine Top 100 chart for each year in the ‘80s.

Then, the tedious work began: filling out the bracket, year by year, song by song, from number 100 to number one. Of course, I did it all on my computer so I could print multiple copies if necessary and so I could share them with others.

It took me several weekend nights to copy and paste each song and artist from the Billboard charts to the bracket and by mid-December, I was done.

Now, I have to do the work of deciding which song I prefer in each of the 50 matchups — and it is work.

The only criteria I’ve given myself is that if I’m torn on a song, I should judge it on how much I liked it the year it first aired. Sometimes that’s not helpful.

So far, I’ve completed the brackets for 1980 and 1981. (Good God, 1980 was a dreadful year for music.)

After I’m done with all the brackets, I will have 10 songs remaining. The final step will be to create a bracket with 10 slots and rank the songs based on where they appeared on the respective year’s chart. I think that will work … ?

In the end, I should, at least theoretically, know my Top-10 songs of the ‘80s and my favorite song of that decade.

It’ll be a fun process.