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by Linda Ryan

January 11, 2012

Radio: '80s Country Hits

by Linda Ryan  |  January 11, 2012

Everything was bigger in the '80s: the hair, the shoulder pads, the belt buckles. And while the decade is synonymous with big hairdos, it's also responsible for the most notorious hair-don't: hello, mullet! Country music embraced these fads with all the enthusiasm of a stud bull in a corral of mares. (By which we mean: warmly.)

It was also a decade of unparalleled popularity for country music. Kenny and Dolly -- together and as individuals -- ruled the charts. Famed outlaw Willie Nelson achieved his greatest commercial pop/crossover success. Ditto for Eddie Rabbitt, Juice Newton and Barbara Mandrell. The '80s also saw enormous successes for such country stalwarts as George Jones, Ronnie Milsap, Merle Haggard, Don Williams and The Oak Ridge Boys. It was the decade that introduced us to icons ranging from "King" George Strait to mother-daughter duo The Judds to good ol' Randy Travis to a young buck named Dwight Yoakam.

Is it a coincidence that country music's most lucrative decade came at a time when conservative icon Ronald Reagan was President of the United States? Hmmmm. Although not all of the country hits from this era have aged well (who thought synthesized drums were a good fit for country music, anyway?), they sure do stir up some memories. I've had a great time programming this new Rhapsody station. I hope you have half as much fun listening to it.

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