DJ Rubik’s Favourite Tunes From The 80s

records and headphones with text highlighting the blog title

The festival DJ for Isle Be Back, DJ Rubik, has been part of the events scene for years. He certainly knows how to entertain a crowd and we can’t wait to enjoy his big 80s tunes at the Isle Be Back Festival on May 13th and 14th 2022. To get us warmed up for the big festival, he’s shared his top ten hits from the 80s which are sure to be floor (or festival stage) fillers!

Who is DJ Rubik?

In 1980, during a monumental year in history when Margaret Thatcher was going head-to-head with the miners and the unions  and Ronald Reagan and Leonid Brezhnev were threatening sanctions and reprisals from opposite sides of the globe, another world-shattering event took place in Yorkshire. DJ Rubik had bought his very first 7” Vinyl (“Flash” by Queen, being as you asked) and his love affair with music was born.

By 1982 he had played his first mobile discos, helping out his pal at school dances and friend’s house parties.  From that point on it was full steam ahead, playing gigs most weekends, sometimes for a handful of people at a family gathering, sometimes for many hundreds at a big bash.  Whatever the size or make up of crowd, he loved it.

DJ Rubik in a colourful suit in front of event-goers
See DJ Rubik at Isle Be Back Festival in May!

The Influence Of The 80s

Every decade of music influences what follows, but it’s easy to argue that no decade has influenced music more than the 1980’s. While every decade has produced some amazing music, the 80s was different.  What makes the decade stand out, according to DJ Rubik, is the sheer variety, quality and quantity of standout artists and tunes. It was the 80s that saw the birth and expansion of many current genres such as Indie, Dance, Hip Hop, Electronica, R&B, Rap… the list goes on.  

Today’s artists such as Dua Lipa, The Weeknd, Mark Ronson, Lady Gaga, to name but a few are all producing music with a massive 80s influence. With the advent of the internet and streaming services, never has such a vast back catalogue of music been so available to consume, resulting in Gen Z individuals having a more eclectic taste than any previous generation. It’s hardly surprising, then, that never a DJ Rubik gig goes by without a request for an 80’s banger from a teenager or a 20-something.

DJ Rubik's Top 10 80s Tunes (in no particular order)

'The Riddle' by Nik Kershaw

Nik wrote this song as a bunch of nonsense; however many people have spent many hours trying to decipher it’s meaning, I can definitely tell you it means nothing.  Nik has never had a number one of his own (although he did pen “The One and Only” for Chesney Hawkes in 1991) but arguably this is one of the best number ones that never was.

You can see Nik Kershaw perform alongside other 80s legends at Isle Be Back in May! Click here for more info and ticket packages.

"Together in Electric Dreams" by Giorgio Moroder and Phil Oakey

I love the Human League (Susan and Joanne do get an uncredited backing vocal on this hit) but when you add the production of Giorgio Moroder, this tune just takes off.  This hit was taken from the soundtrack to the under-rated 80’s film “Electric Dreams”.

"Hide & Seek" by Howard Jones

I’m a massive “Howie” fan and have seen him perform numerous times.  This powerful and ethereal tune stands out for a number of reasons but is probably best remembered as one of the memorable performances of Live Aid when 70,000 people sang “Hope You Find It” back to Howard.

"Broken Land" by The Adventures

Just a well-crafted brilliant tune from Northern Irish Band; The Adventures.  A big thank you to Gary Davis for bringing this one back to my attention on his Sounds Of The 80s show, 30 years after its original release

'It's A Sin' by The Pet Shop Boys

The boys from the North of England love a bit of drama in their production. Arguably this is the one that takes that production to another level. And for all of you muso’s out there, who doesn’t love a bridge in a minor key.

(Side note: have you checked out the cover version inspired by the Channel 4 tv show of the same name? Elton John and Years & Years take on the classic in a brand new way.)

"Forever Young" by Alphaville.

Alphaville only had one top 40 hit in the UK and this wasn’t it.  However, Forever Young was a massive hit all over Europe. The song has since been sampled and covered and remixed within an inch of its life.  Go back and listen to the 1984 original for a little piece of Electronic heaven.

"I Ran" by A Flock of Seagulls

The band had a handful of hits in the UK but this one just missed the top 40.  It did however break the band in the US where it went top 10.  20 plus years later it made an appearance on the GTA Vice City soundtrack meaning gamers could take a virtual spin around a neon Miami humming along to the Seagulls.  Also check out the re-recorded orchestral version from 2019, quite the masterpiece.

"Say Hello, Wave Goodbye" by Soft Cell

Not the obvious choice for a Soft Cell tune, but a heartfelt sentiment and heart breaking vocal from Marc Almond as a gay man trapped in a straight relationship.  Plus the Almighty Remixers did an amazing G.A.Y. style remix of this tune in the early 2000’s, what’s not to love?

"All Night Long" by Lionel Richie

Proving that Motown were still releasing bangers right into the 80’s This Richie penned classic starts as a slow bump and grind, and finishes as an all-out Latin-American party.

"Relax" by Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Banned by the BBC in 1984 for being “overtly sexual” this tune showcases producer Trevor Horn at the peek of his powers.

Join DJ Rubik At Isle Be Back, May 13th-14th 2022

DJ Rubik will be playing massive 80s tunes and joining an amazing line-up of 80s legends at the Black Isle Show Ground in May. There will be show-stopping performances from the likes of ABC, Nik Kershaw, Toyah, T’Pau, The Fizz, Blancmange and more!

Looking forward to the event, DJ Rubik said: “I’ve now been playing gigs for 40 years. I’ve absorbed loads of musical influences, right through the 90’s and the Ibiza years into EDM and K-Pop. But, given the chance, I always go back to my main love: the 80s. Playing for the crowd at Isle Be Back, alongside some of my own musical heroes will be a massive treat for me. I plan to recreate for you some of the sounds and memories of the 80’s and of course make some amazing new memories for all of us.”  

You can get your tickets to the event now! Can’t wait that long? DJ Rubik will be hosting 80s party nights across Scotland to get you in the mood for the big event! Check out the poster below for full details of how to book tickets. With big 80s tunes, big hair, big videos and opportunities to win tickets to Isle Be Back, you won’t want to miss out.

Isle Be Back Party Tour Schedule Poster