Promoting Veganism with 80’s Pop Music
From Animal Rights/Vegan Activist Strategies Articles Archive

FROM David Jack James
December 1, 2020 Facebook post

Five years ago I decided that I needed to come up with a unique and creative way to reach people with the vegan message, and I knew that somehow I would use ‘80s music to help the suffering animals.


Five years ago, I decided that I needed to come up with a unique and creative way to reach people with the vegan message, and I knew that somehow I would use ‘80s music to help the suffering animals. I had been very unsuccessful in my personal life reaching friends and family with the vegan message. The people I cared about the most didn’t care about all of the pain and suffering and violence that they cause. I thought... if I could come up with something fun and interesting, making ‘80s music a part of it, then maybe people would be more open to the vegan message.

I’ve always loved ‘80s music. And I knew that Bryan Adams was vegan, and of course Morrissey. Then I found out that Def Leppard’s guitarist Phil Collen was vegan. These three world-famous musicians whose music I loved as a teenager were speaking publicly about the animals and being vegan! And people love rock stars! I started searching for other ‘80s artists who were vegan. Richard Marx was vegan! Poison’s drummer Rikki Rockett was vegan! Stevie Wonder was vegan! I found many vegan quotes from all of these guys. And I knew that I had something.

I started a do-it-yourself website, having no experience and no idea what I was doing. I decided that I wouldn’t try to sell anything, or use any advertisements, or ask for any money because it had to be all about the animals. I came up with “80s pop animals” because it was the only succinct phrase I could think of that incorporated the animals and ‘80s music. I started writing about every vegan topic I could think of... while gathering data to compile a list of the best songs from the ‘80s. Everyone I knew loved ‘80s music. If I could come up with a definitive list of the top 500 pop songs of the ‘80s, maybe people would be interested in that, and then I could create images of the ‘80s artists and their quotes, and post them on Facebook, and hope that people would come to my website to learn about the animals and veganism. I had to try something, and I had always heard “follow your passion,” so that’s what I did.

I gathered lots of data to compile the Top 500 Pop Songs of the ‘80s. It took forever. But I knew that it had to be perfect if I were to have any credibility with a list like this. I put the list on my website along with lots of images and essays. Friends with technical skills helped me with logos and other graphics. I created a Facebook page and hoped that I would have 100 followers. I posted the songs and the images, and hoped for the best.

When I started my little vegan project masquerading as an ‘80s music project, I knew of only six vegan ‘80s music artists, and now that number has doubled, as you can see in this image. Now, an average of 121 unique visitors come to my website ( every day. My Facebook page ( now has 4,287 followers. These may seem like insignificant numbers, but for me and my “small potatoes” project, these numbers are astronomical. People visit my website, and I can see that they look at the pages about the animals in addition to the music pages. Some of my posts on Facebook get hundreds of shares, and a few have even gotten thousands of shares. I have received dozens of messages from people who have gone vegan because of what they learned on my website or in my social media posts. This project is a success for the animals.

Regarding the ‘80s music artists in this image... Bryan Adams, Richard Marx, Phil Collen (Def Leppard), Morrissey (The Smiths), Stevie Wonder, Rikki Rockett (Poison), Grace Slick (Starship), Terri Nunn (Berlin), Annabella Lwin (Bow Wow Wow), Rick Allen (Def Leppard), Brian May (Queen), and Tom Bailey (Thompson Twins)...

I know that we have been disappointed over and over again by fake vegan celebrities who were never vegan, but I feel very confident that we can trust this wonderful dozen. The only ones I am not 100% confident about are Stevie Wonder, Grace Slick, and Rick Allen, because they aren’t as vocal about the animals when speaking about being vegan. But the other nine are very committed to veganism and the animals. And of all celebrities—even athletes and actors—people listen to musicians the most.

Unfortunately, way back at the beginning of this project, I thought that there were eight vegan ‘80s musicians. I had included two who were not vegan, which was my mistake for misunderstanding their actual quotations, and trusting specious sources. I assumed that people who claim to love all animals, who speak emphatically against factory farms, and who are proclaimed vegan by vegan organizations and publications...are actually vegan! I was wrong. Those two are Joan Jett and Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders). I apologize to the vegan community, and more importantly, to the animals, for promoting them as vegans. I fervently cling to the hope that they will go vegan soon.

Of course, there are other ‘80s music artists who “ain’t quite vegan,” but know that they should be. We have the world’s most famous vegetarian, Paul McCartney. And those who claim to know about the horrible suffering and violence, but can’t seem to make the connection (or admit publicly that they are vegan): Belinda Carlisle, Howard Jones, Mick Jones (The Clash), Tom Scholz (Boston), and Kate Bush. Chaka Khan went plant-based for health reasons to lose weight. Then there are the dead guys who were plant-based for a while, and called it vegan: Prince and John Lennon. And finally, the lying Boy George, who claims to be both vegan and not vegan. I do have all of these artists (except Boy George) on my website because their quotes for the animals and veganism are important and influential, even if they can’t seem to stop exploiting, harming, and killing animals.

I have made hundreds of wonderful vegan friends during the past five years while working on this project on Facebook. Many of you have supported this project from the beginning. I couldn’t possibly tag everyone I should, or thank any of you enough for supporting my vegan ‘80s music project. We have made a difference. Who would have thought that ‘80s music could help spread the vegan message and help the animals? It's happening.

Return to: Animal Rights/Vegan Activist Strategies