As you'd probably expect from a person so stuck in the '80s, I've managed to find some pretty cool books related to the '80s. Of course, some are better than others, but all of them manage to recapture some part of the '80s, which is the whole point for me at least. As always, please e-mail me with any questions or suggestions, as I always love anything that rekindles some elusive, forgotten memory from my favorite decade. Thanks and enjoy!
Retro Hell: Life in the `70s and `80S, from Afros to Zotz
The first '80s book that I managed to dig up, it's one of the best I've found. Gargantuan in scope, it has entries on everything from Josie and the Pussycats to "wings" hairdos to erasable pens. Not as many pictures as I'd like, but still highly recommended...
Totally Awesome 80s: A Lexicon of the MUSIC, VIDEOS, MOVIES, TV SHOWS, STARS, and TRENDS of That Decadent Decade
I love this book! Organized around a series of Top 10 or 20 or 80 etc. lists, this book is interspersed with little sidebars and spotlights, and has lots of cool pictures illustrating things I thought I'd never see again.
The Complete Cross-Referenced Guide to the Baby Buster Generation's Collective Unconscious
If it were better illustrated it would be an instant classic, but this book still does an awesome job of cataloging and going over all '80s related topics, fads, and figures in dictionary format. Where else are you going to find C3POs cereal, the Ma Bell Breakup, and Joanie Loves Chachi? :-)
Who Can It Be Now?: The Lyrics Game That Takes You Back to the '80s...One Line at a Time
Although basically a quiz book of '80s lyrics, this book is chock-full of '80s music trivia, and is well-illustrated to boot.
Say Anything: The Movie Quote Game That Takes You Back to the '80s One Line at a Time
A sequel of sorts to Who Can It Be Now above, this book has tons of movie quote quizzes along with lots of 80s movie information and trivia. It too is pretty well-illustrated and is a lot of fun.
Rambo Reagan : Over 1,400 Mind-Bending Trivia Questions About the '80s
The title makes this commentary pretty moot, but I will add that a lot of these are pretty tough, even for someone that prides himself as an '80s guru... ;-)
The Totally Awesome 80s Pop Music Trivia Book
As amazon.com puts it, "A totally awesome trivia book about the pop music from the gnarliest decade of all time, the 80s."
The Totally Awesome 80s TV Trivia Book
Written by the author of The Totally Awesome 80s Pop Music Trivia Book above, this book has lots of trivia quizzes about TV of the '80s.
Pretty in Pink: The Golden Age of Teenage Movies
This book is mostly text, and might deconstruct '80s movies a bit too much when we all know that most of them just aren't that deep! Still, it covered a lot of my favorite movies, and I did enjoy the read.
The Quotable Star Wars: "I'd Just As Soon Kiss A Wookiee!"
This is such a fun book! True fans of the Star Wars series probably know all of these lines already, but this book captures all of those moments in one compact volume.
The Encyclopedia of TV Game Shows
With has entries on over 500 game shows, this is the authoritative reference on TV game shows. Do you remember the 80s classic "Press Your Luck?" ("No whammies no whammies no whammies!!" :-)
Saturday Morning TV Collectibles: '60s '70s '80s
This well-illustrated, encyclopedic book lists and rates the values of the various collectibles of Saturday morning TV shows of the '60s, '70s, and '80s, from Scooby-Doo and The Flintstones to The Archies and Hong Kong Phooey, plus tons more!
Mad About the 80s
A compilation of the "best of the decade" of "Mad Magazine," this book has all of the satirical hijinks of the decade. Not everyone is a fan, but I think that there's some pretty funny stuff here. :-)
Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1999
Every single that made the Billboard Top 100 is listed here by artist, with chart stats, B-sides, information on each artist, and illustrations. Although this tome is kind of expensive, for music fans like myself it provides hard-to-find information and is an invaluable source for tracking down songs and artists.
The Great Rock Discography
A great reference that lists all the recorded output of over 1000 bands, including b-sides, vinyl, singles, etc. Very comprehensive...
Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music
I really enjoy this book and its thorough reviews of 80s music, but Amazon.com puts it better than I can: "Whatever you were doing and listening to during the eighties, The Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music will bring it all back. All the facts and informed opinions on the artists who made that decade's musical history are contained in this single volume, distilled from The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music, the world's leading reference on rock and pop history."
The Eighties: Piano/Vocal/Chords
This book is part of a series that collects the biggest singles and sheet music sellers for each decade. 55 songs are covered, including some of the bigger hits of the '80s.
Rolling Stone: The Complete Covers
This collection of 30 years worth of Rolling Stones covers is a great look at the history of American music and pop culture.
Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Rock Underground, 1981-1991
Covering 13 bands: Black Flag, Minutemen, Mission of Burma, Minor Threat, Husker Du, Replacements, Sonic Youth, Butthole Surfers, Big Black, Dinosaur Jr., Fugazi, Mudhoney, and Beat Happening, this book is a "comprehensive study of American rock's underground during the 1980s."
The Van Halen Encyclopedia
An amazon.com reviewer puts it best: "The Van Halen Encyclopedia is what it says: a massive, encyclopedic accumulation of knowledge about the band...The VHE is the culmination of years of research about the band by author C.J. Chilvers, Official VH Website webmaster Brad Starks, and dozens of contributors." A must buy for any Van Halen fan!
The B-52's Universe
"The essential guide to the world's greatest party band." What more do you need? :-)
The ultimate bible for Madonna fans, this book covers every aspect of her career in life in minute detail. Engagingly written by a true fan, this book will not disappoint.
Blondie: From Punk to Present
A comprehensive look at Blondie in particular and the punk movement in general.