Ronald Reagan, the DeLorean and parachute pants.
The 1980s were kind of strange — and we’re still paying for the greed-is-good mentality that the ‘80s movie Wall Street embraced.
Nevertheless, there were numerous artists worth their salt in that decade who still matter: Reba McEntire, Dwight Yoakam and George Strait had their first hits, for example. And several acts — including Rosanne Cash, Paul Overstreet and the Desert Rose Band — are still making their presence felt.
Here’s a look at some of the artists who reached their commercial peak during the ‘80s who are making a creative difference in slightly different ways:
• Ten months after the release of her acclaimed album The List, Rosanne released her autobiography, Composed, this week. She came to prominence making records in Nashville that were produced by then-husband Rodney Crowell during the ’80s, the same decade that her father, Johnny Cash, found out he’d been dropped from his record label by reading the newspaper. While Music City has had a major impact on her life, so have California and New York, where she currently resides. “Nashville,” she told The Toronto Globe & Mail, “is not this mythic mother church in my family.”
• The Desert Rose Band performed Monday at Nashville’s Belcourt Theatre in a reunion show that brought out plenty of musicians. Gary Allan was in the seats, according to The Tennessean, as were steel guitar players Al Perkins, Lloyd Green and Hank DeVito; bluegrass player Roland White; and songwriters John D. Loudermilk and Mary Ann Kennedy. Emmylou Harris popped up on stage to sing the Flying Burrito Brothers song “Sin City” — appropriate since Desert Rose founder Chris Hillman was also a member of the Burritos. And Brad Paisley guested on five songs, including “One Step Forward” and “Hello Trouble.”
• Hot Rize, a bluegrass band that toured steadily from 1978-1990, is reuniting for its first U.S. tour in more than a decade. The shows kick off Oct. 28 in Berkeley, Calif.
• Paul Overstreet, who came to prominence as one-third of the ‘80s singer-songwriter trio Schuyler Knobloch & Overstreet, will have some very indirect influence in Hollywood. His son, Chord Overstreet, will be a new cast member when “Glee” returns to FOX-TV in September, according to AOL’s The Boot. Of course, the show can do an ‘80s rewind all by itself — the first “Glee” album included remakes of “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Dancing With Myself” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling.”
• Kris Kristofferson actually hit his commercial peak in the ‘70s, though his last appearance on a No. 1 hit came in 1985 when he joined Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash on “Highwayman.” His latest gig is hardly a nostalgic one: He contributes a voice on the new role-playing game, Fallout: New Vegas, being released for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on Oct. 19.