New wave virtually defines the 80s, with the sounds and sights of the genre infiltrating everything: radio, TV, fashion, and movies. The music itself got plenty of exposure in teen movies and TV shows like Square Pegs, but three driving forces brought new wave to a teen audience that would eventually be labeled Gen X.
Radio station KROQ in California basically kicked off the new wave decade, and was soon followed by radio station WLIR in New York, and MTV on cable television—the network that also changed the way we heard music…by letting us see it, too. That alone gave new wave not only a voice, but a look.
So here are some great lists of the music we listened to and watched on all three back then. They are all sourced from other websites (links included), but I’ve created files of the lists so they’re easy to access…and so they will still be around if those websites ever go away.
First is this list of top 106 songs for each year on KROQ from 1980 – 1992. It comes from this site.
WLIR in New York eventually faced legal issues that led to it coming back on the air as WDRE. I believe this complete list of WLIR/WDRE songs originally appeared on this site, but the list is no longer there. See? This is why I created these files, to preserve what disappears from the Internet!
The site now has just the list of “Screamers and Shrieks” of the week—songs voted on by listeners as the best new song of the week. I’ve included the chronological list of Screamers and Shrieks after the full alphabetical playlist by artist.
And finally, this amazing list of the first videos played on MTV in the order in which they aired is available on Wikipedia.