Top 100 80s pop picks.
Posted by floppybootstomp
I grew up in the eighties. From the 2-tone Ska revival to the Madchester rave thingy, I lived the whole hideous 3652 days of it. Not that it makes me a genius or nothing, you know, managing not to drop dead for ten whole years. Plenty of people can do that trick six or seven times a lifetime… even longer if there’s a reason to.
One aspect of the decade that impacted me more than the music (which was mostly lousy) was the politics. 4 million unemployed, the welfare state dismantled, vast swathes of the country turned into no-go areas and industrial wastelands. The one bright spark was that things were getting better elsewhere: military dictatorships collapsing in South America, Charter 88 and Solidarity leading the charge for change and hope.
So here are my fave songs of the period. You will notice a lack of dance music, electro-soul and only a token New Romantic in the 100. I’ve also kept away from the best-selling bands of the era: Madonna, Michael Jackson, Queen, Prince, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Wham! and U2. That’s because I hate them. The 1980s taught me to hate the popular. My distaste for popular tunes is also inexplicably vehement. Two bars of Blue Monday by New Order or anything by Five-Star and I turn into a gibbering eejit (No change there then). So, enjoy my pop-picks, pop-pickers.
Inventors of ‘shambling’ and fashion gurus for indie-kids everywhere. Dress in black, shave the back and sides off a bubble perm so it flops forward into your eyes, wear a long, baggy coat and Dr Martins boots, sell bootleg cassette tapes in the street for your Enterprise Allowance money (it’s what we had instead of jobs back then). God, nostalgia is depressing.
Proper rock anthem, played by the hardest group ever. Lemmy plays a 7ft. guitar made from pig-iron and screams about snake-eyes watching you. Lovely stuff. And don’t forget the joker
Saw them live at the Dog Club in Wood Green circa 1985. Just a bloke with a keyboard on a supermarket trolley screaming about asbestos. Brilliant. Dog Club was a mid 80s hippy hang out where you could go and see bands, fire-eaters, people dressed as nuns coming out of a hearse. Bands I saw there? Nick Cave, The Cardiacs, Ozric Tentacles, Thee Katatonix, Out Vile Jelly probably.. great days, great club.
4) Electrica Dharma – Força Dharma
Catalan nationalism in Jazz/folk stylings. My family is from Barcelona province, so Cat-Nat is our default setting. Pretty good band, these, noodling around the bars and clubs of Barcelona for the local hepcats. Coool.
Best all-round pop-song of the decade by far. Haunting and brooding and lovely. Good message too. Shut up and don’t feed the media shitstorm. Modern celebs should listen and learn.
American folk with a lick of lyrical leftwingery. Awesome live, they rock n’ roll while remaining conscious of their musical and labour history. Cowboy music for those who know that 25% of actual cowboys were anarchists. After a day on the trail they would relax reading Proudhon and Kropotkin rather than the bible. Yee haw!
Sends shivers down my spine. I doubt Vikings or Picts ever made music like this, but it’s certainly evocative stuff (Not that I know anything about the society being evoked, other than my stack of fantasy novels.). Ian Anderson has a fine voice, and his band always tickle my fancy.
From the Dominican Republic, the first hit by Guerra’s fab band. Popularizing the Caribbean dance music of Merengue, he became a huge Latin star. The song is a plea for coffee (and food) to rain on the famished poor. Very affecting. The chorus usually gets my tears flowing.
My first trip to Mexico in 1990 opened up my eyes in many ways. One of the most pleasant to listen to, is Rockdrigo’s music. He was a pioneer singer-songwriter in the Bob Dylan mould and he composed a number of classic songs. He died in the 1984 earthquake and his music was distributed in cassettes (he never had a record contract in his lifetime). Even most Mexicans don’t know about him. Takes me back to those days of tequila and lime juice. Chingada, man.
Yeah, I was a goth. Back when I had hair and thought I was getting close to some semblance of cool. It never happened, so I started listening to obscure 60s music and hanging out with Glam-rockers (perhaps the most uncool of the 80s revivalists) never looked back since. So, from Leeds, that fine goth city, a bit of SoM. Mr Eldritch’s vocalising is, as always, highly melodramatic. Lipstick on tha’ window pane, mate? Try Windolene.
17) The Communards – Don’t Leave Me This Way
18) Zodiac Mindwarp & the Love Reaction – Prime Mover
24) Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance
28) The Pogues – Streams of Whiskey
29) The Cult – She Sells Sanctuary
32) A House – Heart Happy
35) Duran Duran – Careless Memory
36) The Jam – A Town Called Malice
37) Run DMC – My Adidas
39) Fuzzbox – We’ve Got a Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use it!
41) Tears for Fears – Mad World
43) Aswad – Dub Fire
46) The Beastie Boys – You Gotta Fight For Your Right To Party
47) King Kurt – Destination Zululand
48) The Specials – Ghost Town
49) Baron Rojo – Los Rockeros Van al Infierno
51) The Teardrop Explodes – Reward
56) The Stranglers – Golden Brown
58) Alpha Blondy – Cocody Rock
59) The Mighty Lemon Drops – Like An Angel
60) Cabaret Voltaire – Sensoria
63) Talk Talk – Such a Shame
64) The Police – Walking On The Moon
65) Laurie Anderson – Oh Superman
66) Aerosmith – Rag Doll
70) The Pastels – Coming Through
71) The Smiths – Panic
74) Los Lobos – El Canelo
75) Marillion – Garden Party
77) The Stone Roses – She Bangs The Drums
79) Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Gino
80) XTC – Senses Working Overtime
82) Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Joan of Arc
83) Spitting Image – The Chicken Song
84) The Wonderstuff – Unbearable
85) Sonic Youth – Dirty Boots
86) The Cramps – Bikini Girls With Machine Guns
87) W.A.S.P. – Blind in Texas
88) Buggles – Video Killed The Radio Star
89) Underground Zero – Canes Vanatici
94) The Special AKA – Free Nelson Mandela
98) X-Mal Deutschland – Incubus Succubus
99) Shakin Stevens – This Ole House
100) Sepultura – Inner Self
About floppybootstompLecturer, teacher, writer and traveller all perfectly good nouns aren't they? Do they have anything to do with me? Ask the taxman.
Posted on August 14, 2010, in Music Stuff and tagged 80s music, floppybootstomp compress, glam rock, hanoi rocks, hayzee fantayzee, heavy metal, indie music, top 100 80s hits. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.