How popular are sunglasses to American culture? Popular enough that they often show up in the lyrics of some of our favorite songs. In fact, there have been entire songs written around the idea of wearing them. In the more than 80 years since the first pair of aviator sunglasses made it to the retail market, we have become a culture obsessed with those dark lenses that protect our eyes and make us look cool.
Below you will find a selection of some of the greatest songs that somehow reference sunglasses – brought to you by wholesaler Olympic Eyewear. In that place where sunglasses and popular music collide are some pretty interesting lyrics. You might be familiar with the titles below.
Sunglasses at Night
If we had to choose an anthem for sunglasses, it would have to be Corey Hart’s ‘Sunglasses at Night’. Corey Hart may have been a 1980s flash in the pan, but his song about wearing sunglasses when the sun goes down became an instant hit and defined a generation. It was Hart’s best-selling record and a song that has been covered by multiple bands since.
What made ‘Sunglasses at Night’ such a popular song? The concept. Both the song and its accompanying video made it cool to wear sunglasses at any time of the night or day – for the sole purpose of looking cool. More than one rock star has picked up on it, that’s for sure.
The Boys of Summer
The 1984 Don Henley hit, ‘The Boys of Summer’, only contained a single line referencing sunglasses. That line is in the chorus. It says, “you got your hair combed back and your sunglasses on, baby.” Still, it only took that single line and an incredibly well-done music video to make the point.
Throughout the video, Don Henley wears a dark pair of shades similar to what Tom Cruise wore in Risky Business. Both were big marketing coups for Ray-Ban.
Punk rocker Iggy Pop released his Blah-Blah-Blah album in 1986 with the help of collaborator David Bowie. The third song on side one of the final album was a song entitled ‘Shades’. The song talks about the singer’s obsession with a pair of sunglasses given him by the love of his life. Pop scored some big points with the lyrics of this song given that the words attribute the bright glare requiring use of the sunglasses to the girl who gave them. Apparently, her light was so bright she was blinding.
It would be nearly impossible to create a list like this without including ZZ Top’s ‘Cheap Sunglasses’, a song that pays as much homage to the incredible duo’s stage look as the kind of music they are known for. The song is all about buying a pair of sunglasses to protect both your eyes and your identity. And as the boys from ZZ Top say, there are two kinds of sunglasses: “rhinestone shades or cheap sunglasses.”
We could go on and on talking about songs that reference sunglasses in one form or another. You get the point. As Olympic Eyewear explains, sunglasses have become part of the American culture and virtually inseparable from what makes us who we are. That’s why there are now so many designer labels sold online and at retail outlets from coast-to-coast.
Thanks to some amazing musicians who were at the peak of their fame in the 1980s, we all see cheap sunglasses in a different light, so to speak. And yes – we can all be cool enough to wear our sunglasses at night.