The Future of Rock & Roll: My Favorite 200 80s College Rock Songs – #131-165

7.25 Fishbone

In July of 1986, I graduated from Medical Technology School and took my first job at a small hospital in the college town of Oxford, Ohio. Oxford was an awesome town, as it was a small town of two- to three-thousand people during the summer. But, during the school year, the population would swell by 15,000 people due to Miami University. The town was liberal for a Midwestern town and a great downtown area.

7.25 Looney T. Birds

We lived there from 1986 to 1990. But, my favorite two things about the town were it had one of the greatest independent record stores, called Looney T. Bird’s. Thanks to that shop, my record collection grew. The other great thing about the town is that it was home to one of the nation’s greatest independent, family-owned radio stations that catered to alternative music from the time it came on the air. The idea of the station was to appeal to the college student’s taste in music.

7.25 97X

During my time in Oxford, WOXY, 97.7 FM, was at its peak in popularity. I first discovered the station during the summer of 1984 while driving to visit my future wife in her hometown in southeastern Indiana. In there area where she grew up, it is hilly, so you lose radio stations easily. So, I was flipping stations when I happened upon a station playing Elvis Costello’s duet with Daryl Hall, “The Only Flame in Town”. I was hooked on the station.

If you want to measure the popularity of the station, just watch the 1980s movie Rainman, which starred Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise as brothers. During an early scene in the movie, the duo is driving around the Cincinnati area listening to the radio until you hear the station’s promo, “97X! [Explosion sound] The future of rock & roll!” That was WOXY’s more “famous” promos of the time. In the movie, the autistic character that Dustin Hoffman was portraying, Raymond, kept repeating that promo. In turn, Dustin Hoffman’s repeating quote of “97X! BAM! The future of rock & roll” became another promo for the station. It was a terrific case of product placement.

Anyway, that station influence my taste in music like no other terrestrial radio station since the old 70s behemoth radio station from Indianapolis at 93.1 on the FM dial, know as “The Buzzard” WNAP. All of a sudden, my tastes were leaving behind the New Wave of the previous years and expanding to include more introspective and darker lyrics of this new music that the rock stations of the day still would not touch. 97X would play not only R.E.M., but artists like The Smiths, Fishbone, Jane’s Addiction, and other artists you can find on a great box set of alternative music from the 80s from Rhino called Left of the Dial: Dispatches from the ’80s Underground. In addition to that, the station would play a couple hours of reggae music on Saturday mornings and heavy metal on Sunday nights. The station was a music lover’s dream.

7.25 left of the dial

So, to honor this music, I give to My 200 Favorite 80s College Rock Songs, #131-165.

131. The Cure – “Pictures of You” (1989)

132. Pretenders – “Message of Love” (1980)

133. Concrete Blonde – “God with a Bullet” (1988)

134. Kraftwerk – “Computer Love” (1981)

135. Peter Gabriel – “Sledgehammer” (1986)

136. Paul Hardcastle – “19” (1985)

137. XTC – “Mayor of Simpleton” (1989)

138. The Stone Roses – “She Bangs the Drums” (1989)

139. U2 – “Desire” (1989)

140. The Specials – “Ghost Town” (1980)

141. The Cure – “Hot Hot Hot” (1987)

142. Faith No More – “We Care a Lot” (1985)

143. The Call – “The Walls Came Down” (1982)

144. The Waterboys – “This Is the Sea” (1985)

145. The The – “Infected” (1986)

146. The Sugarcubes – “Birthday” (1988)

147. Minutemen – “Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing” (1984)

148. Eurythmics – “Missionary Man” (1986)

149. The Feelies – “Fa Ce-La” (1980)

150. The Human League – “The Sound of the Crowd” (1981)

151. Sisters of Mercy – “Lucretia My Reflection” (1987)

152. U2 – “With or Without You” (1987)

153. Game Theory – “She’ll Be a Verb” (1985)

154. Bruce Cockburn (It’s pronounced CO – burn) – “Call It Democracy” (1986)

155. fIREHOSE – “For the Singer of R.E.M.” (1987)

156. The Police – “Synchronicity II” (1983)

157. The Replacements – “I’ll Be You” (1988)

158. The Sicilian Vespers – “Baccala” (1988)

159. Soft Cell – “Tainted Love”/”Where Did Our Love Go” (1982)

160. The Smiths – “Bigmouth Strikes Again” (1986)

161. The Style Council – “Shout to the Top!” (1985)

162. World Party – “Ship of Fools” (1986)

163. Ultravox – “Vienna” (1980)

164. Crowded House – “Now We’re Getting Somewhere” (1986)

165. The Cult – “Love Removal Machine” (1986)

That’s my second list of 35 songs. Next week, I will give you comments on the Top 25 songs. So, enjoy this week of pure lists.

Author: ifmyalbumscouldtalk

I am just a long-time music fan who used to be a high school science teacher and a varsity coach of several high school athletic teams. Before that, I worked as a medical technologist at three hospitals in their labs, mainly as a microbiologist. I am retired/disabled (Failed Back Surgery Syndrome), and this is my attempt to remain a human. Additionally, I am a serious vinyl aficionado, with a CD addiction and a love of reading about rock history. Finally, I am a fan of Prince, Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, R.E.M., Hall & Oates, Springsteen, Paul Weller & his bands and Power Pop music.

2 thoughts on “The Future of Rock & Roll: My Favorite 200 80s College Rock Songs – #131-165”

  1. For Spotify listeners:
    Keller’s Top 200 College Rock of the 80s Songs: 165-131

    Looney T. Bird’s and WOXY sound amazing. Having never heard the station myself, I fell in love with WOXY through lists of the magnificent annual Modern Rock 500s. I first wrote about WOXY back in 2013 and should really update my WOXY 89 if indeed it is still 89 songs that made all 20 of the Modern Rock 500s. Back when I wrote it I was still seven or eight lists shy I believe.


    1. During my four years in Oxford, I personally was excited every Memorial Day weekend when WOXY would do their Modern Rock 500 to coincide with the Indy 500. One year, I can’t remember which they started the countdown with The Proclaimers’ “500 Miles” which was released in the 80s before becoming a hit in the 90s because of its inclusion on the ‘Benny & Joon’ OST. I used to have their countdown lists but they have been missing for the past 26 years when we moved to our current domicile. Great memories of that station & their great DJs. Plus, the station was just a quarter mile from our original apartment leading into Oxford from Indiana.


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