5 Cheesy 80's Soundtracks for Working Out

The 80's were the apex of civilization, when the American dream reached it's golden age zenith before crashing down hard in the decades that followed. Simple and plain - the 80's were fun! Unfortunately I was a kid in the 80's, so I missed out on doing primo blow in Miami, pumping iron on Venice Beach and spraying on excessive amounts of aquanet hairspray while wearing spandex tights. One legacy of the 80's that I did inherit was my love for the MOVIE SOUNDTRACK. An artform all its own, that now finally had a decade that knew what to do with it! The 80's Movie Soundtrack proved a viable way to make money and sell records, while combining the big and small screen crossover appeals of the music video driven MTV era. It made perfect sense and became a Hollywood regularity soon after the success of soundtracks like Beverly hills Cop, Footloose, Purple Rain, Stand by Me and the Lost Boys. The success of the Stand by Me Soundtrack was important for introducing a new generation to the music of the fifties and with a huge Leadoff single from the biggest rock group on the planet (at the time) INXS - the Lost Boys Soundtrack was an official Event that has since become a cult classic. 

This top 5 list aims to bring new light to some 80's Soundtracks that have been forgotten, under-appreciated, ignored or just plain hated on. All of which are perfect to listen to while forcing yourself to exercise. So the next time you have forty minutes to kill at the gym, try adding a little 80's cheese to your workout with these soundtracks in your playlist.


Universally regarded as one of the worst movies of all time, Xanadu barely broke even at the box office despite starring media darling Olivia newton John and a sweet dancing cameo from sugar footed Gene Kelly. The film  was so bad it inspired the Razzies and quickly sank to VHS cult status. Eventually it ended up on torrent heaven where I was able to download it out of pure curiosity. It dripped in 80's rainbow cheese but was absolutely hilarious to watch and personally Olivia has never looked hotterSteaming up the Southland on her quest to save a rad dilapidated art deco club while rolling around on roller skates aided by goofy effects and a ridiculous disco inspired soundtrack dreamt up by arena rockers ELO. Xanadu's soundtrack is universally disdained. While the reasons for this are mostly because disco backlash and the fact that although the movie was a dud, the soundtrack was a commercial success boasting five top twenty singles that refused to erase the memories of the awful celluloid dud. Somehow all of Olivia's other albums totally suck but her two Movie soundtracks Grease and Xanadu are certified classics. The power of 80's cheese is all over the Xanadu soundtrack. It even has a truly great song 'Magic'

Rocky IV

The Rocky soundtrack series is iconic but for pure patriotic cheese nothing beats part four of the installment. With legendary tracks like the Survivor blue collar epic 'Eye of the Tiger' and James Brown's final funk hit 'Living in America' the Rocky IV soundtrack peeked at #10 on the billboard album charts while moving over a million copies. The soundtrack has inspired countless gym memberships and even helped create the famous TRAINING MONTAGE scene that has become a staple of sports movie cheese ever since. It can be argued that Rocky IV is the greatest Rocky of them all and by weird 80's soundtrack law, the Rocky IV soundtrack easily beats up all the other Rocky soundtracks by default. 'Burning Heart' is just a perfect song to hear blasting in some packed arena during the ring walk to a UFC fight. It captures that vibe perfectly even though the days of America worrying about those damn commies seems like a weird twilight zone joke. Of course nowadays Rocky would be fighting some bad ass Muslim terrorist.

Ghostbusters 2

Barely qualifying as an 80's album the Ghostbusters 2 soundtrack is full of cheesy pop tracks, Hip-hop disasters and bizarre ballads that somehow manage to blend together in a cornball combustion of 80's awesomeness. The Run D.M.C. rap remix of the classic Ray Parker theme song 'Ghostbusters Rap' is just plain awful but New Edition's 'Supernatural' makes up for it thanks to some killer vocals from Johnny Gill. Out of place songs from James Taylor and Elton John muddy the set, but thanks to slept-on gems from Oingo Boingo and Doug. E. Fresh, Ghostbusters 2 remains a well-rounded  album. Perennial 80's soundtrack contributor Glenn Frey once again delivered the goods with 'Flip City'. But the crowning achievement of the Ghostbusters 2 soundtrack is the Bobby Brown classic 'On our Own' a song that made Bobby an international star and helped establish a new genre of R and B

Howard the Duck

One of the biggest flops of all time, George Lucas disowned this disaster that ruined the lives of many people that worked on it. Including Universal executive Frank Price who was quickly canned after the Duck lost over forty million dollars in 1986. The movie is fucking awful despite boasting sexy as hell Leah Thompson in skimpy 80's outfits. The soundtrack was also considered a disaster and pretty much crushed the dreams that electro pioneer Thomas Dolby had of composing film scores. The Howard the Duck soundtrack oozes with spunky 80's cheese and even features vocals from officer Judy Hoffs of 21 Jump Street! Thomas Dolby does a good job producing most of the music, which features steamy vocals from Leah Thompson. Even George Clinton adds some flair to the doomed affair on the soundtrack's theme song. The best song on the album is 'Hunger City' proving that Leah Thompson easily could have been a sultry punk princess.

The Karate Kid

Ah, the 80's and karate go hand in hand together. When I was 10 I spent a summer in Sacramento, California living in an apartment complex across the street from a 7-11 and a Korean Dojo. Needless to say my room was full of plastic throwing stars, nunchuks, and Ninja magazines. Karate lessons were a must and I remember vividly watching the Karate Kid at the movie theatre with my Grandmother. It was Epic! Yet I had no idea how awesome the soundtrack from 1984 truly was until a found a dusty cassette of it in a forgotten thrift store bin in parts unknown. With some musical help from oscar winning composer Bill Conti, the soundtrack wants to let everybody know right off the bat that it takes itself super serious. Even the blue collared soundtrack veterans Survivor get the album off to an inspirational start with 'The Moment of Truth' 
The album clunks along with the Casio sounding Paul Davies track 'Two to Tango' and makes the ears bleed with the worst beach song ever from the annoying duo Jan and Dean 'Bop on the Beach'
The soundtrack remains horrendous with cuts from Shandi, the Matches and Broken Edge totally stinking up the joint and a Baxter Robinson song that is so corny I dare you to listen to it without laughing or cringing. The Gang of Four song rocks but mostly it's a long list of 80's clunkers filling up an album somehow ranked #1 - Well that's because the Karate Kid soundtrack has two songs that are so full of bodacious 80's cheese they can single handily propel any soundtrack to the vaunted #1 position. 'Young Hearts' by the Commuters is such a great example of cheesy songwriting, 80's musicianship and a catchy hook that puts you on the sandy California beaches where your karate skills just might be needed to save the lusty 80's teen dream Leah Thompson. But the Karate Kid soundtrack has become immortal thanks to the greatest workout and motivational song ever written. A song so buffed with 80's cheese it's impossible not to like. We're talking of course about Joe Esposito's 'You're the Best'

So there you have it, Cheesy 80's Soundtracks for Working Out. Now get your ass to the gym and never forget that YOU are the best around....

Xaviant Haze

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  1. I really love "Don't Turn Away" from Howard The Duck


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