Week 6 - Fri 9th Oct
National Album Day is happening on Saturday 10th October..........and the theme is the 80s. So, the RPM Record Club's Seven Day Soundtrack is reflecting this with an 80s theme as well. Go on over to the RPM National Album Day page to check out an album sleeve collage featuring the long players which have been gracing RPMers sound systems this week. But now, while that's being put together, here's some songs to keep you going; over to..........
"Well....what difficult choice; there were so many great albums released in the eighties. Here are my three choices...........yesterday they were different and tomorrow they will probably change again. Also, a big thanks to Philip for introducing me to Fantastic Negrito via the 7 Day Soundtrack. As a result I bought 'Please Don't Be Dead' a couple of days ago.....superb album!"
"As it is the 80’s album theme, I’ve not only chosen tracks from Albums I love but the 3 bands I saw so often I lost count."
"Great Idea! Here are my 3 selections for this week's special. A difficult decade to choose from for somebody of my age, but I've picked 3 albums and tracks which are each represented by what I think are powerful live performances. I've checked Hawkwind's output for the decade and I'm hoping to find a bookie that will give me good odds on there being at least one track from them present this week........"
"Hi all........it’s been hard to come up will a final 3.........But here they are before I change my mind again !!!!"
If I Should Fall From Grace With God by the Pogues - Chosen track; Thousands Are Sailing
Substance 1987 by New Order - Chosen track; Bizarre Love Triangle.
Doolittle by The Pixies - Chosen track ; Debaser.
"My 1980 Album choices are by singers who I have loved for years and who have very distinctive voices."
Rent by Liza Minnelli from ‘Results’ 1989 -
"Produced by Pet Shop Boys, and this track was a single of theirs in 1984. This is a perfect song for Liza as it fits her cabaret style. Superb. (Sorry that the video isn’t the best)
North and South by Gerry Rafferty from ‘North and South’ 1988 -
"This track is a real mixture of folk and rock music with a tale to tell and uses Uillean pipes. (I bet Piers and Tim will know all about them!)"
"Here are my three choices for the 3rd National Album Day......."
"Greetings to all you RPM lovelies. Three tracks from fave albums from the 1980s in chronological order. The songs speak for themselves."
"Three songs from two inventive musicians..............."
Jump by Van Halen from 1984 -
When Doves Cry by Prince from Purple Rain -
Kiss by Prince from Parade -
"The 'eighties'.............. a decade I'd rather forget I'm afraid!! My vinyl collection probably numbers around 1500 albums and 1200 singles but, of those, over 65% of the albums and 75% of the singles are of artists from the 1960's (or before). The eighties saw very few (if any) of the mainstream, commercially successful bands gaining a place in my collection as specialist labels began their trawl through the backlog of obscure and unreleased catalogue of sixties garage and psychedelic bands. We did pick up on REM at a very early stage in their career and saw them several times during the decade, similarly with New Order, who we 'accepted' (at the time) as a sort of substitute for the much missed Joy Division. However, as New Order moved into 'Ibiza' type club music, so our interest declined and, in fact, I sold all my bootlegs, singles re-mixes and albums, retaining only the 're-recording' of their debut single 'Ceremony', itself the last song written before Ian Curtis committed suicide. There was also, of course, the introduction of the CD in 1982 which saw record companies drastically reduce the release of new material on vinyl and, as a confirmed 'Luddite', saw yours truly promise never to buy anything on CD until the Beach Boys legendary, unreleased and presumed destroyed 'Smile' album was released. However, it wasn't too long before some enterprising people managed (somehow) to gain access to Brian Wilson's private vaults and utilise the extended playing time of CD's to issue 80 plus minutes of this hitherto unheard classic album which featured full length versions of 'Good Vibrations' and Heroes and Villains' alongside many totally unreleased songs. However, from my vinyl collection, here's a few 'eighties' goodies.........."
The Fall- 'This Nation's Saving Grace' LP released September 1985. Beggars Banquet label selected track; My New House
"Sitting squarely at the centre of the eighties, here's the Falls eighth album, and one of their most (cough!!) accessible offerings. Some of Mark E Smiths (possible) influences make their appearance here with 'Yarbles' (with its obtuse lyrical reference to Athur Alexanders 'Everyday I have to cry some') referring to 'A Clockwork Orange', 'I am Damo Suziki', a tribute to the bands sometime vocal collaborator and member of musical influencers to Smith, 'kraut rock' group Can with other lyrical nods to Iggy Pop and The Twilight Zone TV show. The album was voted number 6 in the NME Awards for 1985 and garnered praise from The Guardian and Mojo amongst others. It's important to note that this album featured Smith's American wife Brix (Smart) who introduced a more commercial outlook to the bands output thanks to four full or part compositions on this album."
The Cramps- 'Songs the Lord Taught Us' LP' released 1980. Illegal label.
Selected track: Garbage Man
"Recorded during late 1979, early 1980, this track is from the band's great debut album with 'Garbage Man' being selected as their first single. Trading heavily on 'schlock horror' B-movies, sexual double entendres and early rockabilly, the band were favourites on NYC 's early 'punk' scene based around CBGB's and Manx's Kansas City bars. It took four years, however, for the IRS label to take the plunge and sign the band whose line up, by that time had formalised around Lux Interior, his wife Poison Ivy Rorschach, Bryan Gregory and Nick Knox. We were lucky enough to catch the band at Sheffield Uni in March 1986 on a tour which saw the band headline for six nights at the Hammersmith Ballroom and 3 nights at the Hammersmith Odeon! Despite this, the band were never more than a 'cult' band, both here and in the US, but their influence on many others who followed (The Gun Club, Rev Horton Heat, Rocket from the Crypt etc) cannot be underestimated."
Rain Parade 'Emergency Third Rail Power Trip' LP released mid 1983.
Selected track 'Look at Merri
"One of my favourite all-time albums from a comparatively short lived and under-recorded band, with just two studio and one live albums released between 1980 and 1986. The early 1980's saw a slew of US bands, initiated by the Dream Syndicate, being collectively known as 'the paisley underground'. Also included in the 'scene' were 13 O'Clock, Long Ryders and Green on Red, with the Bangs/Bangles becoming the most popular in commercial terms. We managed to catch both Green and Red and the Long Ryders at the Leadmill but, somehow, we unfortunately missed the Rain Parade due to some now forgotten reason. The 'paisley underground' was reviewed by noted critic Pat Thomas as 'a marriage of classic rock and punk', not what immediately springs to my mind..... to me, the bands imaginative lyrics and instrumental experimentation show direct descent from '60's US psychedelic bands such as Love, Kaleidoscope and the Byrds. However, whenever I listen to 'Emergency.....' I do wonder what John Squire and Ian Brown were listening to in their bedrooms when they began to think of forming the Stone Roses just at the exact moment this album was released in 1983. In my opinion the similarities between that band's 1989 debut and this album are too close to be accidental! There have been the occasional reformations and, in recognition of the scenes' close inter- band relationships, an album of cover versions was recently released with songs performed by members of other bands from the 'stable'."
I have completed the homework assignment you set for this week, and name below 3 favourite albums from the 1980s selecting one song from each of them.
There were several artists and albums that narrowly missed out, including Los Lobos (How Will The Wolf Survive?), Prince (Sign O' The Times), Tom Waits (Rain Dogs) and Donald Fagen (The Nightfly).
In the end I plumped for three artists each of whom I have seen twice in live performance, and in the first two cases I could easily have chosen any of their 1980s studio albums, while the third case I think represents the finest original songwriting in the blues idiom in many a long year, perhaps unmatched until the turn of the century (I'm thinking of Mighty Mo Rodgers).
Best wishes as always to all RPMers,"
Born In The USA by Bruce Springsteen. (1984)
Song chosen: Glory Days.
"For a while back there I did not take Bruce seriously, not least because of the mocking attitude of the NME at the time. (In the '70s it had the best writers and was the most informative, funny and entertaining of the inkies, but it could also be the most annoying- but then this was part of the entertainment. I remember a picture of Lowell George sprawled across a car bonnet with the caption "I have seen the future of rock'n'roll and it's sliding down my windscreen." Anyone paying attention in 1975 would have understood the reference). The attitude shifted with a rave review of "Darkness on The Edge of Town" (by Tony Parsons?) and I bought that and "Born to Run" at the same time and was a fan from that time on."
Murmur by REM, (1983)
Song chosen : Talk About The Passion.
"I recall the first time I heard of REM. It was in the Christmas 1981 edition of NME when their New York correspondent, one Richard Grabel, mentioned a young band from Athens, Georgia as the best thing he'd seen all year. The next occasion was in 1983 when I bought a copy of an American music mag called "Record," which at the time was published in a newspaper format, and the front page carried the headlines and opening paragraphs of two reviews of new albums. One of these was Richard Thompson's "Hand of Kindness" (another terrific record by the way), the other was "Murmur." In my view REM were the best new American band of the 1980s. I saw them in November 1984 at the UEA LCR, and over twenty years later in July 2005 at Portman Road."
Strong Persuader by Robert Cray, (1986).
Song chosen: Right Next Door (Because of Me).
"While Mr. Cray is a fine soulful singer and an outstanding guitarist, it is the quality of his material- especially on this album- that really makes him one of the greats. After all, in any area of popular music, if you don't have the songs you don't have very much. The subject matter may have been familiar to those who listened to blues or soul or country, but he treated it in a distinctive modern way by taking on a persona that he referred to as "Young Bob," and in this persona, rather than blaming all his problems on troublesome women in the traditional manner, ruefully reflecting on his own culpability (see also "Smoking Gun" and "I Guess I Showed Her"). Is this the best blues album of the decade? Well it has to be a contender, along with my much-loved "Copeland Special" and possibly albums by SRV and indeed JLW.
As with REM, I saw Robert Cray on two occasions over twenty years apart- excellent each time."
"Tim asked us all for some eighties numbers to go with the theme set for the 3rd National Album Day. By sad coincidence I was to hear this week, of the death of Eddie Van Halen, one of the artists who helped redefine the way that electric guitars are played.
In an era when other' Rock God' guitarists, surrounded by clouds of CO2, and while dressed as avenging angels, (in lycra leggings), pompously threw shapes whilst gurning though their solos on custom built signature guitars, Eddie wore worn, baggy Tshirts, jeans and baseball boots and with unrestrained energy, bounced about the stage playing the stripey guitar, that he had stripped down and resprayed himself, and he did it always with a delighted grin. He arrived seemingly from nowhere, and he brought with him a breath of fresh air, breathing life into a nearly stagnant genre. His music was always a joyous mixture of astounding technique and happy attitude. No one could mistake that he enjoyed his chosen career.
As a tribute to EVH I might have settled for ‘Eruption’ or ‘You Really Got Me’, (EVH was the only artist that I feel could have covered the Kinks classic rock song, and do it justice with humour and panache), but in keeping with the theme I have gone for EVH’s collaboration with another 1980’s musical giant, Michael Jackson, who was busy at the time reshaping popular music for the era. Here is Eddie Van Halen at his (super flash) best in 1982........."
"But I hope that at least Allan will agree with me, that some of the most interesting things to come out of the eighties, were those parts of the 60s revival, spearheaded from Japan by Shonen Knife........"
Shonen Knife - Flying Jelly Attack
"Have a great week folks, and even if the nostalgia gets to you, don’t get too carried away with the hair spray!"
“The 1980s, especially the decade’s early years when I was in my mid-teens, were my musical formative years. A lot of bands I discovered then, I still listen to today. It was the riffs, speed, musicianship (of varying degrees of proficiency, admittedly), attitude and excitement of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal that initially caught my attention; Saxon, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Diamond Head etc. Then, looking for more musical complexity and lyrical depth, the Neo Prog bands; Marillion, Pendragon, IQ, Twelfth Night etc. In interviews these fresh-on-the-scene bands would list their influences from the late 60s and 70s….which, of course, sent me off down other pathways to discover who they were talking about; too long a list to even contemplate starting. After reading an interview with Iron Maiden’s bassist Steve Harris, where he cited Jethro Tull as an influence, it wasn’t long before I discovered folk music……but that’s altogether another story. Here then, I’ve chosen three early encounters with bands I’ve been listening to now for nigh on 40 years……………and it seems like only yesterday.”
Motorcycle Man by Saxon (Wheels of Steel LP) – “I bought Saxon’s Wheels of Steel album (1980) from the record department of Boots (the chemist) in Bury St Edmunds……remember when Boots sold records? I’d often stop by the shop on the walk home from high school as they often had some great reduced LP bargains which had just dropped out of the charts (or had possibly never even made it into them). Wheels of Steel was one of the first records I bought…….I suspect I’d heard the 747 (Strangers in the Night) single somewhere which inspired the purchase of the album….but I can’t remember if it had been reduced!.....it had been in the charts reaching number 5, however. Hearing this, the opening track, for the first time (on my Fidelity HF42 record player….see pic below) was like getting a musical electric shock……….and it still has the same effect today………..”
Fidelity HF42…allegedly delivering a mighty 1½ watts of musical power, no less.
The Prize by Magnum (The Eleventh Hour LP) – “Another acquisition from the Boots record department was Magnum’s 1983 album, The Eleventh Hour. I’d already previously bought Magnum II and Chase The Dragon from the reduced section and loved them and also found Kingdom of Madness, their first album, in the local library which I’d copied onto cassette tape. I’d been waiting for a new studio album with bated breath, so bought The Eleventh Hour upon its release. Although not their masterpiece…..that was to come along in the form of On A Storytellers Night in 1985…..I have a particular soft spot for the LP, the acoustic guitar introduction to The Prize engendering nostalgic thoughts of travelling throughout the east of England to catch any live gigs by the band that my friends and I could get to………in fact, after Hawkwind, Magnum are the band I’ve most likely seen the most.”
Phantom of the Opera by Iron Maiden (Iron Maiden LP) – “When Iron Maiden sacked Paul Di’Anno, the punky-metal vocalist on their first two LPs, I was not happy. When I first heard songs featuring their new air raid siren-voiced front man, Bruce Dickinson, I was not that convinced they had chosen wisely…….and anyway; didn’t he used to be called Bruce Bruce and hadn’t he been the singer in Samson? What’s going on! My loyalty to Paul Di’Anno actually influenced my not buying Maiden’s new 1982 album upon release, something going by the name of The Number of the Beast. You fool! It’s now probably my favourite NWOBHM album, ever. I984’s, Powerslave, won me over, however, and putting it simply; Iron Maiden would not be Iron Maiden without our Bruce. First encounter with Maiden would have been either their eponymous 1980 debut or second album, Killers……….my memory fails me as to which. However, for maximum 80s value, I’m going with Phantom of the Opera from that 1st LP for my third song choice, as the amazing intro was used around 1985 by Lucozade for their add campaign featuring British two-time Olympic decathlon champion, Daley Thompson…..and also because my belated birthday present from the son has arrived today in the form of the 40th anniversary, crystal vinyl picture disc of album numero uno. Nice.”
"Apologies to Tony for presumably losing a stack of cash; I'd chosen my 3 songs before reading your piece....honest. Hawkwind certainly featured heavily during the 80s as a way of life.....loads of gigs were attended culminating with a mammoth 6 on the Chronicle of the Black Sword tour of 1985......but as they have featured a lot recently in my choices, I decided to go with other worthy contenders........"
Postscript: “I’m glad Eddie Van Halen has been chosen by some RPMers……….if you hadn’t of done, I would’ve. Although the first two Van Halen LPs were released at the end of the 70s, the impact of his playing sent shockwaves into the 80s……suddenly every rock / metal guitarist was furiously tapping their fingerboards trying to emulate Eddie. There hadn’t been such an influential player on the guitar playing community since Hendrix woke everyone up at the end of the 60s. By the time Van Halen’s 6th album, 1984, came out in…well, 1984, the band and EVH had honed their songwriting skills to come up with an 80s rock album which was synonymous with it’s time. I was working in Sound Plus, a guitar shop (sadly no more) in Bury St Edmunds and Jump and Panama were two singles which got a heavy amount of play on the store’s sound system at the time……….and they still sound great today. RIP EVH.” Tim.