Be prepared for gratuitous amounts of saxophone, side ponytail, synth and lycra, gated drum reverb and piano-backed ballads with too much eyeliner; we bring you the ultimate Icelandic 80s music playlist.
The 1980s was a transformative decade in Iceland. Jón Pall Sigmarssón won the Strongest Man competition no less than 3-times, contestants from Iceland won Miss World twice, beer finally became legal after over 70-years of prohibition and Iceland entered Eurovision for the first time in 1986.
It was also an exciting time within the Icelandic music scene with more artists coming together to release tracks than ever before. Many of the most successful anthems of the era have that quintessential 80s sound that was taking the world by storm and for some Icelandic musicians, this decade could be considered their springboard to international recognition.
The playlist starts off with three Icelandic classics; any crowd of Icelanders need not hear more than the first three bars to recognise the song and get ready to sing-a-long. The track, ‘Fram á nótt’ is a particular favourite, and it’s incredibly catchy.
Also featured are the hypnotic wailings of Geiri Sæm, who’s misleadingly low voice betrayed his boy next door appearance at the time. You’ll see what I mean when you listen to his track ‘Froðann’, or, better yet, check out the YouTube video below.
‘Gleðibankinn’, by Icy was Iceland’s debut entry for the 1986 Eurovision song contest. Although it didn’t score very highly at the contest in Norway that year, it went on to become a big favourite at home, and most Icelanders know the words.
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No Icelandic music of the 80s playlist could be complete without a contribution in some way or another from Bubbi Morthens; Iceland’s best-loved bad-boy. What better icon for the music of the 80s than a coke-addled, ego-tripping rock star. You can hear Bubbi’s recognisable vocals on EGO’s ‘Fjöllin hafa vakað’ and Utangarðsmenn’s, ‘Hírosíma’.
The 1980s was also the decade that Björk entered the global stage as part of the Sugarcubes and their hit single, Birthday’ features as well as her own solo song in Icelandic, ‘Afi’.
Also, an international hit at the time, Mezzaforte, an Icelandic jazz-funk fusion outfit, enjoyed considerable success in the UK, reaching #17 in the UK charts with their song, ‘Garden Party’.
As well as many other great artists and songs, included is the song by Fræbblarnir called ‘Bjór’ which simply translates to ‘beer’ in honour of the end of the prohibition of beer on the 1st of March, 1989. Iceland’s never been the same since and there is still a celebration every year on the 1st of March, aptly called ‘Beer Day’.
With no further ado, here is the playlist:
How did you like our Icelandic 80s music playlist? Are we missing any classics? Be sure to leave any questions or queries in the comments box below.