This is a strange idea for a playlist I had the other day, how many places in eighties music are based on real places. Here are a few I could think of off the top of my head.
7-Up, New York City
"My Own Way", Rio album by Duran Duran A now defunct night club, which as the song states, is on 45th avenue, between 6th and Broadway.
"Arlington House, address no fixed abode..." One Better Day - Madness. Arlington House was a hostel for the homeless on Arlington Rd NW1 which runs parallel to the high street in Camden town, London
The Star Hotel is a song by 80s aussie band Cold Chisel the band played a gig there and after they left there was a huge riot,about 300 people trashed the pub.
It's a street in London, and it's the title of a song by Gerry Rafferty, excellently covered by the Foo Fighters
Balboa Island, CA
It's an island (a very small one, very close to shore) just off of Newport Beach, CA. Very spendy and trendy place to live, closely crammed with old/classic beach houses. Sparks mentioned it in 'I Wish I Looked A Little Better' "I went to Balboa Island and laid in the sand/I may be as ugly as sin, but at least now I'm tan"
Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, NY
"You May Be Right" Billy Joel sings "I was stranded in the combat zone, I walked through Bedford-Stuy alone, even rode my motorcycle in the lane..." Actually Chris Rock grew up in that Brooklyn ghetto, and he makes fun of Billy Joel and that song.
Berlin (East and West)
Berlin is the biggest city in Germany and it's mentioned in the song City Of Night(Berlin)by Peter Schilling, who is German, but he is from Stuttgart, which is the 6th largest city in Germany.
The Cadallac Ranch is located in Texas. The ranch contains many half-buried cadallacs sticking out of the ground. Bruce Springsteen saw the place and wrote a song by the same name. It appears on "The River" album.
"Cadillac Ranch" is located on Route 66 near Amarillo, Texas. It is a line of ten Cadillacs buried nose-down in the dirt, ranging from 1949 to 1963 models. Here's the official website to check it out: http://www.libertysoftware.be/cml/cadillacranch/crmain.htm
It is in North East London - and is in the wondrous soung of the same name by the Shop Assistants
"Holiday in Cambodia" by the Dead Kennedys. It's about how rich people in the US have no idea what poverty and hardship feels like. Cambodia is in southest Asia, between Thailand and Vietnam.
Copacobana, New York City
Barry Manilow sung about this nightclub-turned-discotheque-turned-nightclub-again. The song eventually became a Broadway musical with Manilow as Tony.
The Specials' song "Ghost Town" refers to the dying economy in their home town of Coventry, England.
Rather a lack of accuracy, in the Journey song "Don't stop Believin'" there's the line "Just a city boy...Born and raised in South Detroit...He took the midnight train going anywhere..." There is no such thing as South Detroit. The area south of downtown is referred to locally as "Downriver", although that is the location of the former railroad station.
Dublin, Dundee, Humberside
Dublin, Ireland, Dundee, Scotland and Humberside, England, are all name-checked in "Hang the DJ" by the Smiths.
Dublin, Dundee, Humberside
From the song is "Panic" by The Smiths, from the album 'Louder Than Bombs'. Morrissey sings of Dublin, Dundee, Humberside. He also mentions Leeds, London, Birmingham, Carlisle.
The song "Seven Wonders" by Fleetwood Mac Emmeline is the tree that Evangeline waited for Gabriel in the epic poem "Evangeline" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow- it is located in St.Martinville, Louisiana
(This might possibly be from the late '70s) Tom Petty's song "American Girl" supposedly relates the story of a girl that killed herself by jumping from the roof of a sorority house. Tom Petty grew up in Gainesville, Florida (home to the University of Florida). A line in the song says "She could hear the traffic roll by out on 441". Highway 441 is called 13th Street in Gainesville, FL; and Panhellic Drive (where most of UF's sororities are situated) is indeed within easy earshot of 441.
The Frankin River is located in Tasmania, Australia. The song "Let The Franklin Flow" became a hit in 1983 for "Gordon Franklin and the Wilderness Ensemble", which was really Shane Howard (of Goanna) and a bunch of backing musos. The song was a protest regarding the (then) intended damming of the Franklin River.
Hazard is an "old Nebraska town" as referred to in the Richard Marx song, "Hazard". There is an Hazard, NE, but I don't know if there is a river there.
"Born To Run", Bruce Springsteen Freehold NJ, well, that's the part where Bruce was singing about 'cuz he grew up there... it also runs through Howell, Lakewood... etc...
"Where The Streets Have No Names", Joshua Tree album by U2
Joshua Tree album by U2....Joshua Trees are a form of palm trees that grow in desert areas near Death Valley, Ca. and in other Desert areas.
The song is by Bertie Higgins. Key Largo is part of the Florida Keys, in south Florida, about 90 miles from Cuba.
King's Cross Station in London
Waiting at the king's cross, good luck bad luck waiting in a line -King's Cross by the Pet Shop Boys 1988 from album Actually.
R.E.M.'s "This is the End of The World as We Know it"... There is a line that goes "the other night I tripped at Knox" which is a reference to a show that they played there many years before. Appaently they had a little too much fun on campus that night.
Kosciusko is a song by Australian group, Midnight Oil, from their mid 80's album "Red Sails In The Sunset" The name originates from Mt Kosciusko, the highest mountain in the Australian Alps, loacted in New South Wales.
From the ZZ Top song "La Grange" - it's a small town in Texas, between Houston and San Antonio.
From "Rev on the Red Line" by Foreigner (Running all night on Lake Avenue, It's a piece of cake if you know what to do). From Lou Gramm's hometown of Rochester, NY. Lake Avenue is a long street that starts up by Charlotte Beach, and goes south into the city. It was and still is a notorious hangout for street drag racers.
Lakeside Park, Toronto, Canada
The place is in the city of St. Catharines, Ontario. It is about 100 kms from Toronto. There is a bar beside "Lakeside Park" called "The Lakeside" and at the close of every Friday and Saturday night they play that song. It's from the Rush song "Lakeside Park".
There is/was a hangout called "The Last Resort" on campus at Providence College in Providence, RI. In the song "Last Resort" by the Eagles, the lyrics say, "She came to Providence...." This is probably just a coincidence....
Love Shack, Athens, Georgia
"Love Shack", Cosmic Thing album by The B-52's
Malta is an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. Referred to in Kate Bush's "Night of The Swallow" (very rare as a single) as the wintering place for birds.
Manly Ferries are the ferries that take people from Sydney from Cirqual Quay to the Northern Beaches (Manly Wharf) - they've been running for years and well known in Sydney "As the Manly ferry cuts its way to Cirqular Quay" - Reckless, Australian Crawl
Medjugorje (pronounced meh-joo-gor-ee-ay) is a small mountain villiage in Bosnia where it is reported visions of the Virgin Mary have continually appeared since 1981. Featured on The Innocence Mission's song of the same name (from The Innocence Mission).
The Pretenders song, "My City Was Gone" is about lead singer Chrissy Hynde's home state of Ohio. Towards the end of the song, she refers to Seneca and Cuyahoga Falls, both of which are located in northeastern Ohio.
One Tree Hill
U2's song 'One Tree Hill' from The Joshua Tree album is named for a volcano in Auckland, New Zealand with a monument and a tree on the summit. Tree not expected to last very long so Bono may have to retitle the song 'No Tree Hill'.
Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York USA
Billy Joel's The Ballad of Billy the Kid. Oyster Bay is a town in Nassau County on Long Island, New York, where Billy Joel Grew up.
The song Paisley Park by Prince on his 1985 album "Around The World in A Day". The place is in Minneapolis, Minnesota -where he is from and also named his recording studio that.
Panama is located at the top of South America, on a stretch of land called the Isthmus. It's also in a Van Halen song, "Panama".
In "Maniac" (from the Flashdance sdtk) the lyrics start: "Just a steel-town girl on a Saturday night..." The movie was set in Pittsburgh, which at one time had a huge steel industry.
Rockaway Beach, Long Island
"Rockaway Beach" by The Ramones. A beach on the south shore in Queens, where the Ramones lived.
If you ever look at a map of New York, it's the peninsula off the coast of Long Island, with Jamaica Bay separating it from Brooklyn and Queens.
by Depeche Mode, on the Earth Girls Are Easy, Soundtrack and various other compilations. it's a highway that runs through Illinois, Missouri ,Kansas Oklahoma Texas New Mexico Arizona and California
Goodnight Saigon, from the Billy Joel album "The Nylon Curtain", is located on the Saigon River in South Vietnam.
Salisbury is an ancient town in southern England, featured in Kate Bush's "Sat In Your Lap": "...To Salibury/A monastery/The longest journey/Across the desert/Across the weather/Across the elements/Across The Water...
San Francisco, CA
"We Built This City" by Starship That radio annoucer goes "Looking over that Golden Gate Bridge on another gorgeous sunny Saturday,I've seen that bumper-to-bumper traffic...your favorite radio station in your favorite radio city, the City by the Bay, the city that rocks, the city that never sleeps!!!!"
Geographically, it's in California. Lyrically, it's in "Saualito Summernight" by Diesel.
Sayreville is the boyhood home of Jon Bon Jovi..If you listen to the end of "Raise Your Hands" on the Slippery When Wet LP...If you listen real careful at the end he pays homage to his hometown
The town of John Mellencamp's birth, featured in his song, "Small Town"
On Sunset Boulevard in L.A. It's in "Sunset Grill" by Don Henley.
Surfer's Paradise is on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. It is mentioned in 'The Boys Light Up' by Australian Crawl.
Plus a few more I ran out of space
In the song Mean To Me, by Crowded House. Te Awamutu is a small town in New Zealand, where the Finn brothers (Crowded House and Split Enz) were born.
Tel Aviv is in Israel, and "Tel Aviv" is the title of an instrumental track from Duran Duran's 1981 debut.
Toorak Road is in Toorak, a suburb of Melbourne, in Victoria, Australia. It is mentioned in the song 'Hoochie Gucci Fiorucci Mama', by Australian Crawl.
American Girl, by Tom Petty Lyric: Out on 441 Like waves crashing on the beach. Geography: In Gainesville, Florida, near where Tom Petty grew up
Capital of Austria in Ultravox's hit "Vienna", taken from the album of the same name.
In the song "Vienna Calling" by Falco, (from the album Falco 3), Vienna is the capital of Austria.
"...from Lake Geneva to the Finland station...", Pet Shop Boys, "West End Girls". Lake Geneva is, very obviously, in Switzerland. Finland Train Station exists until this very day in St.Petersburg, Russia.
It's mentioned in the song "Big In Japan" by Alphaville. "Shall I stay here at the zoo" Zoo Station is a train station in Berlin, Germany where many junkies go to buy drugs. [-]