How do you describe your favourite musical moments of the 1980s, when it feels that all you did in your spare time was listen to music?
If I wasn’t watching Countdown, it was Video Hits. If it wasn’t Video Hits, I was listening to EON-FM’s Top 8 at 8. If I wasn’t listening to it on the radio (and getting into huge arguments with parents about listening to the radio too much), I was reading about it in Smash Hits. If I wasn’t reading about it I was watching movies and videos and loving the soundtracks, largely the John Hughes films (note I don’t make mention of any soundtracks which feature Kenny Loggins).
Most of what I listened to was pop, and most of what I really loved about 80s music was the stuff from the early 80s, and largely British and Australian. Natalie Craig’s article which spoke of her muscial experiences of Bon Jovi, Europe and Poison spoke of the latter period of the 80s. I knew them, but weren’t huge fans of their over the top productions and plastic American smiles. I know Europe are Swedish, but they were trying to be Bon Jovi, and they are NO WAY in the league of Abba, but I digress…
Apart from listening to it on the radio, I listened to music on tape, with a tape player, and on my bright yellow walkman rip-off. I went through so many AA batteries, I’m sure I kept Eveready in business for much of 1985. The tapes were either mixed tapes which I bought, or were Christmas presents, or mixed tapes I had made from taping off the radio. I’m kind of hoping there’s a statute of limitations on copyright violations.
There was a bit of an obsession with hair in the 80s and the haircut bands I knew and loved were Haircut100, Spandau Ballet, and Wham! but not Pseudo Echo- loathe is not strong enough a word to describe my feelings for them.
Here are a few of my favourites:
Simple Minds- Lovesong is the first song of theirs I remember after listening to it at camp. and I loved Don’t you forget about me from The Breakfast club
Madness-I remember seeing the House of Fun on Countdown and loving the video. It was only years later that Mr BG told me what it really was about- oh how innocent I was!
The Models-I thought James Freud was a bit of a spunk, but it was a shame that they dumped Andrew Duffield, when they expanded the lineup. Out of Mind Out of Sight was cool, but I Hear Motion was my favourite song of theirs.
Split Enz and Crowded House- given that one of my closest friends was a Frenz of the Enz, it was hard not to get into them. Crowded House were a big part of my tape collection in the second part of the 80s. I think Neil Finn’s songs in Split Enz were always the ones which applealed to me the most, with One Step Ahead and Message to my Girl being my all time faves.
The Cure kept on popping up on a lot of mixed tapes my sister and I owned. There was a darkness I liked, but they could also write a mean pop song.
New Order’s Bizarre Love Triangle was one of my favourite songs of the decade, and through that song I also discovered Blue Monday. In my ignorance, it was only later that I discovered their previous incarnation as Joy Division, which happens to be Mr BGs favourite band. *hangs head in shame*
Madonna- I can’t not say anything about her. She was not my favourite artist, but I knew all her songs. She was a shameless rip-off merchant of musical and fashion styles, but her continous evolution made her fascinating. Like a Virgin is her standout song of the 80s for me.
Violent Femmes- Blister in the Sun was played ad nauseum in our classroom at lunchtimes in VCE. I was sick of it by the end of the year, but it was part of my final year at school.
My favourite novelty song is Divine’s You think you’re a man- is hilarious and definitely preferred over It’s Raining Men as a novelty song. I can still sing it word for word
Oingo Boingo Stay was a weird song that still bounces around in my head.
Towards the end of the 80s I was listening to more U2, The Beatles and The Doors when I started uni (I remember a bit of paisley beginning to creep into my wardrobe around this time). In fact I discovered 60s music in a big way. By the end of the decade, and the start of the 90s, I had gotten a job at the record counter at Myer, helped by an avid interest more kinds of music.
This is just a snippet. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve discovered more bands from the 80s I overlooked at the time, simply because they weren’t on my radar. This is largely in part to Mr BG, who was 5 years older and had different tastes.
So this is one of these half-forgotten songs I was re-introduced to, Golden Brown by The Stranglers.