Joe Pisani: Why Wham!, Boy George and Milli Vanilli are good for your heart

During the COVID lockdown, I was so stressed — along with two-thirds of America — that I developed gastritis. I tried everything to cure it, including deep breathing, shallow breathing, meditation, contemplation, cabbage juice, kefir, Prilosec and a bunch of other treatments I never heard of or want to hear about again. Did I mention hot baths in lavender Epsom salt?

You knew about the shortage of toilet paper and hand sanitizer, but did you know the shelves were wiped clean of antacids because of the epidemic of agita?

To quote my late mother, who never went to medical school or knew Dr. Freud: “It’s all in your head.” She was right. The problem was I couldn’t get it OUT of my head.

However, I recently learned there’s a cheap, effective cure for stress: Blondie, Michael Jackson, Milli Vanilli and all that annoying ’80s rock ’n’ roll.

It has been scientifically proven that music from the ’80s promotes a healthy heart, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress and lets you keep what little hair you have left. This is not fake news.

A groundbreaking study by a Turkish hair transplant clinic, which was probably funded by U.S. taxpayer dollars as part of our foreign aid program, concluded: “An ’80s pop playlist is the most effective at reducing anxiety.”

To figure out the connection between music, stress and hair loss, Vera Clinic hooked up 1,540 people to monitors, which measured heart rate and blood pressure, and then played different types of music. The “researchers” found that 96 percent of the test subjects had a reduction in blood pressure while listening to music such as the New Kids on the Block ... and that heavy metal like Black Sabbath had a similar effect.

Just because it’s a hair transplant clinic, don’t disparage the research. Science is real. I’ll bet the little hair I have left that these Turks are more accurate than the pollsters who’ve been screwing up election results for the last six years.

I’m also convinced my problems started after that Jimi Hendrix concert in 1969, when I began to lose my hair ... and my hearing. By the ’80s, my hair was gone, and no amount of Lionel Ritchie or Wham! could bring it back.

Based on this valuable research, Congress should pass a public-health bill banning Muzak in elevators. From now on, they should be required by law to play the Beastie Boys and Whitesnake. And the president should issue an executive order changing the National Anthem to “Don’t Stop Believin’” or “Wake Me Up (Before You Go Go).”

Some companies such as Whole Foods are already doing their patriotic part by playing ’80s music, and since Amazon trillionaire Jeff Bezos has no hair, he probably should schedule an appointment at Vera Clinic.

Who could ever forget historic hits such as “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson, “Walk Like an Egyptian” by the Bangles, “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club, and “Like a Virgin” by Madonna. How did Madonna even make it out of the ’80s?

Admittedly, there were some duds, especially Starship’s “We Built This City (On Rock ’n’ Roll),” which is considered the worst song ever written. In the music video, which MTV played incessantly, Starship band members have torturously teased hair and are singing to Abraham Lincoln’s statue at the Lincoln Memorial, when suddenly it comes to life and starts to boogie with the fervor of John Travolta in “Saturday Night Fever.” Just watching it gave me second-hand embarrassment for Starship, not to mention poor Abe.

Despite that pathetic performance, the 1980s produced one of the greatest pop tunes in modern, medieval and ancient history — Bette Midler’s rendition of “Wind Beneath My Wings,” which I wish she’d sung at the presidential inauguration. Listening to it still brings tears to my eyes, even more tears than listening to Debby Boone sing “You Light Up My Life,” which she should have sung to Tom Brady during the Super Bowl halftime show.

These songs made America great, and these songs can stop the epidemic of stress-related heart disease in America. I’m sure Dr. Fauci agrees.

In the interests of my personal health, my mental well-being and national unity, I vow to stop listening to Leonard Bernstein, Tony Bennett and Ella Fitzgerald and start listening to “Love Shack,” the “Ooh Ooh Song” and “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” You should too.

Joe Pisani can be reached at