Music History

What Was Music Like the Last Time a Trudeau was Prime Minister?

Canadians woke up to a new government this morning with Justin Trudeau’s Liberals pwning the Conservatives and slew-footing whatever chances the NDP had. It was a drop-the-mic performance.

The last time we had a Trudeau in power, it was June 1984 when Pierre was wrapping up his last term in office before handing things over to John Turner for a few months before he and the Liberals lost an election Brian Mulroney and the Conservatives. Young Justin was only 12. What was music like back then?

The biggest albums on my radio station, 102.1 the Edge (still in its incarnation as CFNY, The Spirit of Radio) were:

  1. Psychedelic Furs – Mirror Moves
  2. U2 – Unforgettable Fire
  3. Simple Minds – Sparkle in the Rain
  4. Depeche Mode – Some Great Reward
  5. Bronski Beat – Age of Consent
  6. Echo and the Bunnymen – Ocean Rain
  7. Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Welcome To the Pleasuredome
  8. Thompson Twins – Into the Gap
  9. The Smiths – Hatful of Hollow
  10. Jane Siberry – No Borders Here

The biggest pop songs of the year?

  1. George Michael and Wham, “Careless Whisper”
  2. Stevie Wonder, “I Just Called to Say I Love You”
  3. Wham!, “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”
  4. Cyndi Lauper, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”
  5. Frankie Goes to Hollywood, “Relax”

Other musical notes from June 1984:

  1. The biggest scandal in UK music was the homo-eroticism of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax.”
  2. Elton John was still marrying women.
  3. MuchMusic will wasn’t on the air. It wouldn’t debut until August 31.
  4. Bruce Springsteen had just released Born in the USA.
  5. Prince’s Purple Rain came out five days before the election that saw Trudeau pere leave office.
  6. The Red Hot Chili Peppers were still an unknown commodity. Their debut album wouldn’t be out until July 10, 1984.
  7. There wasn’t a single compact disc manufacturing plant in North America. The first one wouldn’t open until September 21.
  8. It would be months before “Do They Know It’s Christmas” was recorded.
  9. This is Spinal Tap was still in theatres.
  10. Kurt Cobain was 17.

So Justin is moving back into the house where he grew up. What do you suppose he’ll be listening to?


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38150 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

3 thoughts on “What Was Music Like the Last Time a Trudeau was Prime Minister?

  • Wow, just going through the top ten album list from your station helped me pinpoint what year it was when I experienced my “musical awakening”. I owned 8 out of 10 of those albums and have repurchased all of them on itunes. Thanks Alan.


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