Vintage Rewind: The Roland Jupiter 8

The keyboard most predominant during the 80s is identifiable by a bright orange, glowing power switch located near its moniker: Roland. 

Dave Gale, in his MusicTech article called Vintage Rewind from 2016, explains that the Roland Jupiter-8 is as much a desired object today as it was in 1981. “The value of the 40-year-old instrument remains high, currently auctioning for around $20,000.”

Roland’s classic synthesizer allows you too play several sounds at once (polyphony) and sustain notes or arpeggios indefinitely. The Jupiter 8 represents a major milestone in the history of popular music and creates the recognizable “sound of the 80s.”

Many artists cite the Roland Jupiter 8 as their favorite instrument, including Thomas Dolby and Howard Jones.

Some memorable tracks featuring the Jupiter, or JP-8 include:

  • Hungry Like the Wolf - Duran Duran
  • Thriller - Michael Jackson
  • Stand Back - Stevie Nicks
  • Radio Ga Ga - Queen
  • I Am the City - ABBA
  • The Celts - Enya
  • The Sun Always Shines on TV - a-ha

…just to name a few.

My latest album “Not That I’m Crazy” features the Roland Jupiter-8 and other sounds from the 80s.