I have always been a huge music fan, it has always provided the soundtrack to my life. Much like a smell or place can make memories and feelings return, so can a song. The kids were messing with my iPod via the car stereo the other morning, a favorite activity when we are a few minutes early to school, and they stumbled upon a song I hadn’t heard in a long time, it instantly took me back to that period in my life for a brief moment.
I thought I would go back to the beginning of real music appreciation for me, the 80′s. Prior to this I mainly listened to what my parents liked and Queen… They were by far my favorite band of the 70′s. In 1980 I turned 9 and started making my own music decisions.
This was a hard list to compile, but I limited myself to my 8 favorite albums of the 80′s… So many records were excluded, so many great songs did not make the list, but I had to limit myself or I would have rambled for pages and pages.
These are my 8 from the 80′s in no particular order, please list yours below:
1. The Cult – Sonic Temple (1989) – This album is not their best, but it came at a time of transition in my life. 1989 was the year I graduated from High School, there is that excitement mixed with fear that comes when you realize your adult life in beginning. This record was probably the most straight forward rock album they had released to that date and really was one of the last big hair type rock records before Nirvana broke with Nevermind in ’91. For me it will always remind me of New Years 89/90, a handful of friends and I saw The Cult play the Long Beach Convention Center on New Years Eve 89, it was an amazing show and the start of a transition for all of us.
2. The Cure – Head On The Door (1986) – By far my favorite Cure record. I bought this at a record store in the Glendale Galleria on cassette right when it came out. I listened to it over and over again, and I didn’t have auto-reverse, I had to pop the tape out and flip it over. Again, I had already been a huge fan of the group, being introduced to them by the heavy rotation of the Let’s Go To Bed video on MTV. I don’t know why this album spoke to me, but to this day I can listen to it from the start of side one to the end of side two.
3. Depeche Mode – Black Celebration (1986) – Another band that has a large body of great works, but this album has always been my favorite. It’s probably the darkest of all the DM albums, there is a loneliness to it that spoke to a lonely teenage boy.
4. New Order – Technique (1989) – I picked this New Order/Joy Division record because it was the soundtrack to my first real date, I took a girl to see The Sugar cubes/Public Image Limited/ New Order at Irvine Meadows (Yes, it was still Irvine meadows back then.) We only went out once or twice after that night, but it is a powerful memory and I can’t hear Mr. Disco without thinking of it.
5. Devo – Freedom Of Choice (1980) – Devo continues to this day to make great music, I had this one on vinyl and I used to listen to it all the time in my room. Whip It was a huge radio and MTV hit, but I loved Girl U Want. You don’t get more 80′s than Devo.
6. Suicidal Tendencies – Self Titled (1983) – This was another Glendale Galleria purchase, although on vinyl. This record really introduced me to punk and what was going on at the beach, at that time there wasn’t much of a punk scene that I was aware of in the valley. It opened a door for me to discover a bunch of other punk music from around the country.
7. Love and Rockets – Express (1986) – After the split of Bauhaus Peter Murphy went solo and the three remaining members formed Love and Rockets. I remember driving around with my friends listening to this on the car stereo, feeling that freedom you had when it was just you and your friends going nowhere and doing nothing.
8. Echo and The Bunnymen – Songs To Learn and Sing (1985) – This one isn’t really fair because it’s a compilation, but it was how I learned about the band, I bought the tape at the Warner Brothers Company Store when my Dad was working on the lot for my Uncle. They used to sell Warner/Sire records and Tapes for .50 cents and a dollar for a double record. This was another one that I wore out and then picked up on CD later in life and wore that out too.
OK, I hope that wasn’t too boring for you, it’s not easy for me to express the emotions that many of these song evoke, but it doesn’t really matter because they only work for me anyway, you have your own list, your own memories, your own personal soundtrack.
Rock on, Jack