November 19, 2012


When Reagan Met Gorbachev: Ultimate Cold War Playlist

Paul Natkin
Paul Natkin

On November 19, 1985, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev met for the first time at the Geneva Summit in an attempt to alleviate Cold War tensions. Spoiler alter: It didn't work. But on the upside, the 46-year-showdown between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. produced more party jams than any other war. 

Seriously! Rock, metal, New Wave and punk gave us songs to fit every aspect of Cold War culture: Political chess games (Murray Head's "One Night In Bangkok"), impending doom (Queen's "Hammer to Fall"), post-apocalypse (Nena's "99 Red Balloons"), political activism (Sting's "Russians"), reactionary satire (Randy Newman's "Political Science"), Cold War propaganda (R.E.M.'s "Radio Free Europe") and fear-fueled hedonism (Prince's "1999"). In short, the Cold War sucked, but it was also the bomb. Listen below for proof.