William Shatner is an interesting choice for a host. I'm not sure if Shatner had an actual hit, but he did record an album of covers during his "Star Trek" days that has been lampooned many times over the last few decades. He makes a good host, and his background of a record store (in the Rhino Records headquarters) fits this special perfectly.
What makes this documentary great though is the recounting of every song and its artist. There's in depth detail of the artist before hitting it big, why and how the song was written, what the influence and/or significance of the song was in the long run, and what the artist or artists are doing now. How the producers of this special managed to do that for about three minutes each is astounding.
2002 was a turning point year for VH1. Before and during that year, the network's motto was "Music First". Although they didn't show 24 hours worth of music, they did have a lot of music-oriented programming. When 2003 hit, the network changed its logo, its core audience, and its focus. It's now full of mostly reality shows (some of which are actually pretty good), but does manage to squeeze in very entertaining and addictive 4- or 5-part documentaries such as "I Love The '80's".
Although this documentary and others are aired occasionally on VH1 and VH1 Classics, it's high time it gets its own DVD release. If trashy shows like "Flavor of Love" and "I Love New York" can get DVD releases, these shows definitely can. I would buy it, not to mention having a hard time putting away the DVD set until I'm done watching the whole thing. VH1 executives should really give the DVD release a try.