The 1980’s (a tragically underrated decade, musically speaking)

I’ll be 42 this month and over the last couple of years I’ve been contacted with ghosts (friendly ghosts, mind) from the past wanting to reconnect via Facebook. It’s been neat to see how wrong (or right) my predictions were of where I thought these old friends would end up, both professionally and personally. Aside from the odd casualty I’ve been relieved to find that most of my friends have ended up on their feet and are living happy, productive lives. Some own their own companies and others, like me, ended up working for “The Man”. When I was in high school the thought of being a parent, owning a house and staying in the same profession for over 20 years seemed like a fantasy. All I cared about were clubs, concerts, drinking and where I was going to sleep that night. 16 years ago I made the decision to move countries, by myself, with nothing but a duffle bag of cd’s, a suitcase full of clothes and about $1,500 in cash. No job secured, no car and no prospects. I moved from the east coast of Canada to San Diego, California, something I said I would do ever since I was a junior in high school, and thank God I was arrogant enough to believe I could actually make a go of it. I ended up getting a job at a daily newspaper, saved up enough money to buy a car, ended up meeting my wife, had two kids and eventually moved to northern California and bought a home after being promoted up through the ranks of advertising management. Somewhere in between I became somewhat mature, a dedicated husband and father with, EGAD, responsibilities.

The weight and the strain of the current recession here in the States has hit all of us hard, and the fact that I work in an industry that is dependant on local businesses and is desperately trying to re-invent itself to varying degrees of success and failure is a massive pressure.

What reconnecting with these friends from the past has done is reenergize my sense of adventure and given me a faith that all roads, bumpy as they may be, will lead me where I’m meant to be. I am grateful that I work for a media organization that is more forward thinking than 95% of the others out there and are investing in multi-media solutions that will hopefully lead to an overall solution to this industry crisis…eventually.

I graduated high school in the late 80’s and, this being a music blog and all, I thought it apropos to list some of the tracks and albums that defined my life’s soundtrack during those halcyon days. The list is massive, and I left off quite a few, because one damning fact when revisiting your musical past that everyone should be aware of is that it can be cringe inducing to a very large degree if you’re not careful. My obsessive nature demands that I spend a ton of time searching, researching, analyzing and listening to these songs, but rest easy folks I won’t bore you with the gory details. Suffice it to say that the hair on the back of my neck stood up more than a couple of times and that the phrase “Oh God, did I really listen to that?” came up more often than I actually thought it would.

Oh well. So here we go, your ultimate 80’s soundtrack for a gloomy February winter. Enjoy! First, the songs of the 80’s!!

ABC, The Look Of Love
Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Two Tribes
Aztec Camera, Oblivious
Adam Ant, Friend Or Foe
Art Of Noise, Moments In Love
B52s, Love Shack
Bauhaus, Bella Lagosi’s Dead
Big Audio Dynamite, The Bottom Line
Black Flag, My War
Butthole Surfers, Movin’ To Florida
Camper Van Beethoven, Take The Skinheads Bowling
China Crisis, Working With Fire And Steel
The Clash, Rock The Casbah
The Cure, In Between Days
The Damned, Grimly Fiendish
David Bowie, Let’s Dance
Dead Kennedy’s, Holidays In Cambodia
Dead Or Alive, You Spin Me Round
Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Come ON Eileen
Dire Straits, Money For Nothing
Elvis Costello, Everyday I Write The Book
English Beat, Mirror In The Bathroom
The Fixx, Saved By Zero
Foreigner, Juke Box Hero
Frank Zappa, Valley Girl
Genesis, Turn It On Again
Hoodoo Gurus, Like Wow, Wipeout!
The Housemartins, Happy Hour
Human League, Fascination
Icicle Works, Birds Fly (Whisper To A Scream)
Images In Vogue, Call It Love
Jazz Butcher, The Human Jungle
Jesus And Mary Chain, April Skies
Joe Jackson, Steppin’ Out
John Lennon, Just Like Starting Over
Killing Joke, Love Like Blood
The Kinks, Destroyer
The Lilac Time, Black Velvet
Lloyd Cole, Brand New Friend
Love And Rockets, Ball Of Confusion
Madness, Our House
Malcolm McLaren, Buffalo Gals
Men Without Hats, The Safety Dance
Michael Jackson, Thriller
Ministry, Everyday Is Halloween
Nash The Slash, Psychotic Reaction
New Order, The Perfect Kiss
Orange Juice, Rip It Up
O.M.D., Souvenir
Paul McCartney, Take It Away
Paul Simon, Graceland
Pet Shop Boys, Left To My Own Devices
Pete Townshend, Let My Love Open The Door
Peter Gabriel, Games Without Frontiers
The Pixies, Wave Of Mutilation
The Pogues, Dirty Old Town
The Police, Don’t Stand So Close To Me
Pop Will Eat Itself, Grebo Guru
Prefab Sprout, When Love Breaks Down
Psychedelic Furs, Forever Now
Queen, Another One Bites The Dust
The Ramones, The KKK Took My Baby Away
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Higher Ground
Renegade Soundwave, Biting My Nails
The Replacements, Alex Chilton
Rolling Stones, Emotional Rescue
Roxy Music, Avalon
Rush, Tom Sawyer
Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Love Missile F1-11
Simple Minds, Someone Somewhere In Summertime
Sisters Of Mercy, Dominion (Mother Russia)
The Smiths, How Soon Is Now?
SNFU, The Devil’s Voice
The Special AKA, Nelson Mandela
The Spoons, Nova Heart
Squeeze, Tempted
Tin Tin, Kiss Me
Stone Roses, Fools Gold
The Stranglers, Skin Deep
Stray Cats, Rock This Town
Styx, Mr Roboto
Talk Talk, It’s My Life
Talking Heads, Once In A Lifetime
The The, Uncertain Smile
They Might Be Giants, Birdhouse In Your Soul
Thomas Dolby, One Of Our Submarines
Time Zone, World Destruction
U2, New Years Day
Urban Dance Squad, Deeper Shade Of Soul
The Waterboys, Fisherman’s Blues
The Who, You Better You Bet
The Wonder Stuff, Grin
XTC, Making Plans For Nigel
Yes, Owner Of A Lonely Heart

And Now, The Albums!!!!

Pixies, Doolittle
The Wonder Stuff, Hup!
The The, Mind Bomb
XTC, Oranges And Lemons
Pop Will Eat Itself, This Is The Day, This Is The Hour, This…Is This!
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mothers Milk
New Order, Technique
Spacemen 3, Playing With Fire
Beastie Boys, Paul’s Boutique
They Might Be Giants, Lincoln
The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses
The Cure, Disintegration
Renegade Soundwave, Soundclash
The Waterboys, Fisherman’s Blues
Happy Mondays, Bummed
Cowboy Junkies, The Trinity Sessions
My Bloody Valentine, Isn’t Anything
Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation
Jane’s Addiction, Nothing Shocking
Public Enemy, It Takes A Nation Of Millions
Pixies, Surfer Rosa
Pet Shop Boys, Introspective
The Pogues, If I Should Fall From Grace With God


Pop Wil Eat Itself, Box Frenzy
Replacements, Pleased To Meet Me
Big Black, Songs About F*#!ing
Def Leppard, Hysteria
The Cure, Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me
The Housemartins, The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death
Prince, Sign O’ The Times
The Cult, Electric
The Sisters Of Mercy, Floodland
Love And Rockets, Earth Sun Moon
George Michael, Faith
Butthole Surfers, Locust Abortion Technician
Men Without Hats, Pop Goes The World
Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper, Bo-Day-Shus!
Guns And Roses, Appetite For Destruction
Jesus And Mary Chain, Darklands
Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Flaunt It Rock
Beastie Boys, Licenced To Ill
The The, Infected
The Housemartins, London 0, Hull 4
Billy Bragg, Talking With The Taxman About Poetry
Talk Talk, The Colour Of Spring
Mojo Nixon, Frenzy/ Get Out Of My Way
Paul Simon, Graceland
Run-DMC, Raising Hell
XTC, Skylarking
Bad Brains, I Against I
The Woodentops, Giant
Pet Shop Boys, Please
The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead
New Order, Brotherhood

Love And Rockets, Express
The Cramps, A Date With Elvis
Husker Du, Candy Apple Grey
Big Audio Dynamite, No. 10 Upping Street
The Jazz Butcher, Distressed Gentlefolk
Nick Lowe, The Rose Of England
New Order – Low-Life
Prefab Sprout – Steve McQueen
The Pogues – Rum Sodomy And The Lash
The Cure – The Head on the Door
Love And Rockets, Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven
B.A.D., This Is Big Audio Dynamite
The Fall, This Nation’s Saving Grace
Tears For Fears, Songs From The Big Chair
Dire Straits, Brothers In Arms
Mekons, Fear And Whiskey
Big Black, Atomizer
Tom Waits, Rain Dogs
The Jesus And Mary Chain, Psychocandy
Psychedelic Furs – Mirror Moves
Replacements, Let It Be
u2 – Unforgettable Fire
The Minutemen, Double Nickels On The Dime
The Smiths, The Smiths
Simple Minds – Sparkle in the Rain
Depeche Mode – Some Great Reward
Echo and the Bunnymen – Ocean Rain
Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Welcome To the Pleasuredome
Talk Talk – Its My Life
Bruce Cockburn – Stealing Fire
Alphaville – Forever Young
Style Council – My Ever Changing Moods
Stranglers – Aural Sculpture
Art of Noise – Who’s Afraid of the Art of Noise
Thomas Dolby – The Flat Earth
Jazz Butcher, Sex And Travel
Icicle Works – The Icicle Works
Aztec Camera – Knife
The Alarm – Declaration
Orange Juice – The 3rd Album
Nash the Slash – American Bandages
Prince – Purple Rain
Tones On Tail, POP
Malcolm McLaren, Duck Rock
Tears for Fears – The Hurting
U2 – War
Neil Young, Trans
Jazz Butcher, Bath Of Bacon
Talking Heads – Speaking in Tongues
Big Country – The Crossing
New Order- Power Corruption and Lies
China Crisis – Working with Fire and Steel
The The, Soul Mining
Pink Floyd, The Final Cut
Ramones, Subterranean Jungle
Elvis Costello – Punch the Clock
UB40 – The Labour of Love
The Police – Synchronicity
Yazoo – You and Me Both
Blancmange – Happy Families
The Cramps, Smell Of Female
David Bowie – Let’s Dance
Aztec Camera – High Land Hard Rain

Heaven 17 – The Luxury Gap
The Stranglers – Feline
Blue Peter – Falling
OMD – Dazzle Ships
Bauhaus – Burning from the Inside
The Style Council – Introducing
Bruce Cockburn – The Trouble with Normal
R.E.M. – Murmur
The Fixx – Reach the Beach
XTC – Mummer
The Kinks – State of Confusion
Prince – 1999
Modern English – After the Snow
Gang of Four – Hard

Simple Minds – New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)
Paul McCartney, Tug Of War
Roxy Music – Avalon
Nick Lowe, Nick The Knife
Orange Juice, You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever
The Spoons – Arias And Symphonies
ABC – Lexicon Of Love
Joe Jackson – Night And Day
Peter Gabriel – Security
The Cure, Pornography
Clash – Combat Rock
The Beat – Special Beat Service
Men At Work – Business As Usual
Psychedelic Furs – Forever Now
Yazoo – Upstairs At Eric’s
Haircut 100 – Pelican West
China Crisis – Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms
Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Too-Rye-Ay
The Jam – The Gift
Dire Straits – Love Over Gold
Thomas Dolby – The Golden Age Of Wireless
XTC – English Settlement
Soft Cell – Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret
Gang Of Four – Songs Of The Free
Stray Cats – Built For Speed
Depeche Mode – A Broken Frame
Elvis Costello – Imperial Bedroom
Talking Heads – The Name Of This Band…
Pete Shelley – Homosapien
Fun Boy Three – Fun Boy Three
Grandmaster Flash – The Message
The Buggles – Adventures In Modern Recording
Men Without Hats – Rhythm Of Youth
Nash The Slash – And You Thought You Were Normal
Bauhaus – The Sky’s Gone Out

Simple Minds – Sons & Fascination
Psychedelic Furs – Talk Talk Talk
OMD – Architecture & Morality
The Clash – Sandinista!
Kraftwerk – Computer World
Japan – Tin Drum
Adam And The Ants – Kings Of The Wild Frontier
Killing Joke – Killing Joke
Eno & Byrne – My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts
The Police – Ghost In The Machine
Echo And The Bunnymen – Heaven Up Here
Joy Division – Still
The Jam – Sound Affects
Joe Jackson – Jumpin’ Jive
The English Beat – Wha’ppen?
Elvis Costello – Trust
The Stranglers – La Folie
New Order – Movement
Squeeze – East Side Story
Gang Of Four – Solid Gold
The Kinks – Give The People What They Want
Tom Tom Club – Tom Tom Club
Black Flag, Damaged
The Cars, Shake It Up

The Cars, Candy-O
The Cramps, Psychedelic Jungle
Depeche Mode, Speak And Spell
Bauhaus, Mask

The Pretenders – The Pretenders
The Beat – I Just Can’t Stop It
Echo And The Bunnymen – Crocodiles
Joy Division – Closer
Psychedelic Furs–Psychedelic Furs
Bauhaus–In The Flat Field
Dead Kennedys–Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables
Adam Ant, Kings Of The Wild Frontier
AC/DC, Back In Black
Alice Cooper, Flush The Fashion

David Bowie, Scary Monsters
The Clash, Sandinista!
Blue Peter, Radio Silence
Yello, Solid Pleasure
Bob Marley, Uprising
XTC, Black Sea
The Police, Zenyatta Mondatta
PiL, Second Edition
The Ramones, End Of The Century
The Stones, Emotional Rescue (underrated!)
RUSH, Permanent Waves
Bruce Springsteen, The River
Teenage Head, Frantic City
Queen, The Game
The Cramps, Songs The Lord Taught Us
The Cure, Boys Don’t Cry
D.O.A., Something Better Change
Joe Jackson, Beat Crazy
Elvis Costello, Get Happy!
Squeeze, Argybargy
John Lennon, Double Fantasy
Madness, Absolutely
The Monks, Suspended Animation
OMD, Organisation
The Specials – More Specials
Talking Heads – Remain In Light
Killing Joke – Killing Joke
The Jam – Sound Affects