Take one of my all-time favorite 1980s songs, Tainted Love, by Soft Cell. I recognize the song by the opening chords. But what's amazing, is that this song was actually recorded in 1964 by R&B singer Gloria Jones, who later re-recorded it as more of a disco song in 1976. It wasn't until Soft Cell released the song in 1981 that it became a hit, peaking at #8 on the Billboard charts.
Here's Gloria Jones' version:
And here's Soft Cell's version:
Switching gears, I wonder if I'm the only one who thought Cyndi Lauper wrote her first hit song, Girls Just Want to Have Fun. Well, if I was, then I'm the only one mistaken, as new wave/rock singer-songwriter Robert Hazard actually recorded the song in 1979, five years before Lauper. (I actually found out that most of her big hits on She's So Unusualincluding All Through the Night and Money Changes Everythingwere actually covers, too.
Here's Hazard's version:
And here's Lauper's iconic hit:
While Cher made one of her infamous comebacks in 1987, starting with the hit I Found Someone, the song was actually recorded originally a few years later by another 1980s icon, the late Laura Branigan, although Cher's version was a hit.
Here's Branigan's version:
And here's Cher's version:
See the Soundwaves post for more of these 1980s hits that might surprise you, including I Want Candy and Bette Davis Eyes.
Ah, 80s music. The gift that keeps on giving.