I have been thinking a lot about music lately.
It’s no secret that music, to me, is a big part of my life. Ever since my first cassette (Choose 1985) and my first vinyl record (Bad), I have been into listening to music.
Thanks to my mum, I have also been playing music for a long time. Starting with Piano as a child (even though I didn’t enjoy it much and never practiced, I am glad I learnt it), and then progressing to trumpet, tuba and bass guitar.
I say now that I like a wide range of music, but back in the 80’s it was not quite so easy.
I didn’t ever buy my own albums, I had to rely on being given tapes and records that my family thought I would like (I really did like my ‘Funbusters’ double cassette. Some classic songs were on it!)
I found myself listening to Choose 1985 over and over again on my dodgy little walkmen. The tracklist was:
Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Jr – What a way to start a compilation album. It sucks you right in with that eery ghost music at the start.
Sunglasses at Night – Corey Hart – That Keyboard riff lives on I tell you. Dunno if this bloke ever did another song, but who cares. One of the best One Hit Wonders eva!
Pride – U2 – I think this is my favourite U2 song ever, because of it being on this compilation. It is definitely my most listened to song.
Missing You – John Waite – Who the hell is John Waite? That is a good question. This song was a little dud, and perhaps should not have been included this high up on the track list, but dammit, I can still sing along with it in my head
No Say In It – Machinations -This song was so damn poppy and catchy. A highlight! Makes up for Missing You…
You think You’re a Man – Divine – “…but you’re only a boy”. This song is terrible, but when I was 9 I loved it. And who is Divine? Well read this. I always thought it sounded like a guy singing, but why was he talking about a boy not having enough to satisfy him? It was quite confusing for a 8/9 year old.
Dynamite – Jermaine Jackson – A poor poor substitute for his brother. This song was a like a shocking example of where 1980’s music was going. Was there a way back from these poppy one hit wonders??
Searchin’ (I Gotta Find a Man) – Hazell Dean – Apparently not. Hmmm..maybe this album really was crap and I just never realised it. Seriously I listened to this thing hundreds of times. I still have the tape as well….
What’s Love Got to Do with It – Tina Turner – Aaah. Tina saves the day with this one. I actually don’t think I appreciated it so much back then, but now I do..
Out of Touch – Hall & Oates – I remember my Oma gave me a Hall & Oates cassette for Christmas once. I think I was 9 or so. I remember her saying to me that I should start listening to “good music”. I think she had a point. Hall & Oates are good, and this song is a classic. But back then I think I relegated the album to the back of my cassette box…
Soul Kind of Feeling – Dynamic Hepnotics – The falsetto of the singer in this song makes it all worth while. The horns were fun too. Although maybe they were ‘electro’ horns. Shit. Everything was done electronically back then wasn’t it?
- Jump – Pointer Sisters – Aaaah. This song was good. Not as good as The Neutron Dance, but still pretty damn funky
Flesh for Fantasy – Billy Idol – I LOVE Billy Idol, and it is because of this song. Even though the backing keyboards made it sound like my tape player was running out of batteries… I went on to buy his Vital Idol CD and I still listen to it. See! This album is really starting to pick up!
No Second Prize – Jimmy Barnes – I was a big fan of Jimmy Barnes’ solo career. I think this was probably one of his first solo efforts and it still stands up. Wailing away at his best…
Shake this City – Non Stop Dancers – No idea who this mob is, but apparently the original bassist from AC/DC, Larry Van Kriedt, was once in them. This is also one song that I cannot find in mp3 format to restore the wonder of this great compilation in iTunes. Does anyone have it???
I Walk Away – Split Enz – Usually at this point in any album I start getting sick of it and ready to pick my next album to listen to, but this song it so damn good that I would always wait for it to finish. I think this song made me appreciate Neil Finn from an early age. (Then my sisters Yr 4 teacher used to play Six Months in a Leaky Boat during class which I thought was awesome)
Everybody wants to Rock – Uncanny X-Men -This is pretty much where i would give up. Or my batteries were going dead and this song would sound like a dirge. Can’t find this one anywhere in mp3 either….but that’s probably just as well
Agadoo – Black Lace – I remember it clearly. This song was voted (on some Sydney Radio station) to be the worst song of 1985. Pretty hard to deny it, but damn the actions were funny. It was a disco classic!
Other tapes I would listen to are a bit embarrasing, but hey, it was the 80’s! I loved the Footrot Flats soundtrack. We all know the Slice of Heaven song that sat at the top of the charts for weeks, but Dave Dobbyn did the rest of the album as well and it was fantastic. Very Kiwi, but very fun.
I also loved the Star Wars soundtrack, specifically the main song. Of course, i was a huge fan of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. I would read along with all the lyrics in the album sleeve as I listened to that album over and over and over.
As the 80’s continued I remember enjoying Whispering Jack from our own Johnny Farnham, Paul Simon’s, “You can call me Al”….
And then in 1987 came Kylie, with Locomotion. Yes. I was a little obsessed. And remember I was a 11 year old boy who started to enjoy staring at those impressive lumps on the chest, but more so I just thought Kylie was the cutest person I had ever seen. Anyone remember that scene in “I Should be so lucky” where she is in the bathtub full of bubbles? Phhwwoarr..
1987 was a HUGE year in music though. You had:
- Mel & Kim (“Respectable”. Who knew that 2 little black girls could dress so COOL)
- Icehouse (“Man of Colours” is still one of the BEST EVER AUSSIE ALBUMS)
- Europe (“The Final Countdown” is never going to fade. Just classic, even as a karaoke song!)
- Bon Jovi (“Living on a Prayer”. Still one of the best Rock Songs of ALL TIME)
- Psuedo Echo (“Funky Town”. C’mon. None of us knew it was a cover back then!)
- George Michael (“Faith”. No I am not gay, but damn it was (and is) an excellent song)
- Tiffany (ooh, that red hair in her “I think we’re alone now” video clip is still fresh in my head!)
- Midnight Oil (“Beds are Burning”. What an amazing year for Aussie music!)
- INXS (“Need You Tonight” was one of my favourite songs of their BEST album, “Kick”)
- Hoodoo Gurus (“What’s my Scene”. This song introduced me to the fact that there was more to Aussie music than what you always hear on the radio)
- The Firm (Star Trekkin’. Oh yes. What a video clip. What a classic song.)
- Michael Jackson (Bad came out and blew me away. I always thought it was better than Thriller back then. Perhaps I was wrong…but still)
- Crowded House (“Don’t dream it’s over” is still just about one of the best songs ever written)
- Prince (“Sign O’ the Times”. I was very influenced by video clip back then and I loved the fact that all the lyrics to the song were in the clip. It is also a top song and still my favourite Prince track)
- Guns n’ Roses (Little did I know that when I saw “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine” on TV that I was witnessing something huge that would go a long way to influencing my life. More on The Gunners in the next Part!)
Not a bad year hey? There were so many more songs that blew me away that year. I had gotten into the habit of putting my little tape recorder up against the TV’s speaker when Rage or Video Hits was on so I could tape my favourite songs. I still have those mix tapes somewhere….
Also, little did I know that 1987 also sparked the beginning of bands like Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Public Enemy.
1988 was the start of high school in a new town and a whole new period of my life and musical experience…..
To be continued……