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Confessions of an 80s man

Andrew Sullivan has been gently poking fun at 80s music recently. Steady on Sully, I am a proud 80s-era teenager (although I never sported a mullet haircut, honest). In my ‘umble opinion, you can keep your droning Coldplays, Travises and thuggish Oasises, for me, nothing comes close to the brio of Madness, the wonderful, cleverness of the Stranglers or for that matter, these dudes from Norway.

And of course, one should always remember to buy Danish!

(I originally said that Aha is from Denmark. Several latitudes of error. Thanks for the eagle-eyed reader for pointing this out).

24 comments to Confessions of an 80s man

  • smallwit

    As a-ha (didn’t realise they were still around) are from a country that is not in the EU, that is an additional reason for buying their records.

  • I believe A-Ha recently toured the UK. I had quite a long chat with their guitarist at the “Norway Day” celebration (100 years) a few years ago. He is a rather decent bloke who is so laid back its amusing. Great pop rock in the Cheap Trick vein.

  • Bah! All the good stuff from the 80s (Iron Maiden, Marillion) was reallt just a streamlined version of the music of the 70s.

    Madness always irritated the hell out of me. ‘Mockney’ always makes me want to puke.

  • Bruce Hoult

    We don’t get a lot of big bands out here in NZ, but I well remember attending the “Sweetwaters” music festival in January 1982. Mostly, it was a chance to spend a weekend with my highschool friends after we had all scattered to our first year at various universities around NZ in 1981.

    Ultravox were the absolute stars of Saturday night, with a totally awesome huge sound, but the rest weren’t bad either! Midnight Oil, the Angels, Men at Work, Cold Chisel, Split Enz , and many many more.

    Good times.

  • lucklucky

    a-ha horrrroor! 🙂

    The Waterboys, NewOrder, Love & Rockets, Stranglers, Momus, The Swans, The Pogues, The Pixies and many many more. They are to be remembered. Sadly europop trash somewhat washes them from memory.

  • And let us remember that Ah-a gave us probably the best music video ever in the form of ‘Take on Me’. I never get tired of seeing that video.

  • Travis and Coldplay – ugh! Recently, I loudly opined that I think Coldplay are a bunch of maudlin cunts. I was more than a little “under the influence”, and my outburst wasn’t entirely appropriate – considering the somewhat genteel surroundings – but I haven’t heard a better description of them.

    Travis is certainly in the same boat.

  • Jso

    Joy Division became New Order after their lead singer killed himself or something.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Tim Hall, maybe that is why the group was called Madness! I could not disagree more (and what is it with this dislike of “mockney”?, sounds a bit snobby to me). They had a cheerful energy that puts most modern dreary acts into the shade.

    I think that is what I liked about a lot of 80s music: the joie de vivre.

  • archduke

    how could you mention the 80s while forgetting to mention the genius of Morrisey & Marr in the guise of “The Smiths” – one of the greatest rock bands ever.

    and on the synth front :
    Soft Cell. Human League. Depeche Mode. Yazoo. Erasure. Pet Shop Boys. Cabaret Voltaire.

    come to think of it – the amount of quality music that came out of that decade is pretty incredible.

  • archduke

    trivia factoid :
    A-ha’s first album was produced by Tony Mansfield – he was the lead singer in New Musik (“world of water”, “sanctuary”, “living by numbers”). Thats why its got more of a synth/futuristic sound to it , whereas later ones were more rocky. I still prefer their first album – still listen it to it to this day..

  • RAB

    Joy Division are probably the only band I have ever walked out on. Their whole set sounded like the Floyds Set the controls for the heart of the sun, being played backwards. Ian Curtis was not a happy bunny even then.The were much better as New Order.
    I used to hang out at the avant garde end of the spectrum with the likes of the Pop Group, the Slits and Crass. Oh and This Heat. I expect only Andrew Ian Lodge to have heard of them.

  • hardatwork

    Aha’s morten harket was originally going to be priest. A sort of reverse bono.

  • “Cheap Trick”, Andrew? Wow. Never in my life would it occur to me to compare bloody “A-ha” to Cheap Trick. Did you ever see Rick and the boys live? They were (and still are) a rock band.

    A-ha fell on my ear like a kool-aid stained doilie.

    I would say The Babys compared a lot better to Trick.

    Did anyone here ever listen to a Canadian band called April Wine?

  • Lee

    Re: April Wine

    I sure did. A friend had the record “Stand Back,” and played it all the time. Those guys were really good.


  • (and what is it with this dislike of “mockney”?, sounds a bit snobby to me)

    I have to admit I was probably thinking bands that copied Madness like the grossly overrated Blur; a bunch of middle-class art-school types affecting fake working class personas.

    I still never liked Madness, though.

    I do remember April Wine. They were The Darkness only without the humour.

    “I like to rock!
    Some like it hot
    I like it, you like it
    I like to rock”

    They don’t write ’em like that any more.

  • I tipped to them when a band I worked for covered “All Over Town”, from “Nature Of The Beast” (1981). Slammin’ guitar part.

    I’d never heard of them, and I was sold, right away.

  • The 80’s were a fun time and the music was fun. It seems quite fashionable to trash 80’s music now, but that attitude is so poser. Most of the critics were happily bopping along to it at that time.

    It was an optimistic time…rebounding economy, good jobs, good money, Reagan. Must admit I was NOT a Reagan Youth.

    I even liked the 80s fashion. We would get all dolled up and elegance was in. Not upper class elegance, but fun elegance.

    The depressing music of the grunge 90’s and the grungy anti-fashion…yuck. At the time, I thought these people need some antidepressants.

  • gravid

    New Order, The Fall, The Cure, The Sisters of Mercy, Happy Mondays, The Shamen. Public Enemy.
    All the little indie labels. Marvellous.

  • archduke

    and dont forget The Wedding Present, with their insane “lets release a brand new single every month” project.

    about the only artist who’s done that recently is AFX.

  • RAB

    In the insanity stakes you couldn’t beat the 60’s

    A band called Moby Grape released 6 singles on the same day!

  • Oh, the 80s, as kentuckyliz says, the music was fun. I do like a lot of 90s stuff, but the artists now are all such twats. Back then it was all about partying, now they are all nanny state preachers.

  • archduke

    serf -> yer getting old mate. there’s a lot of fluffy pop still around , like “girls aloud” or justin timberlake to name but two. Liily Allen aint bad either.

    there were a lot of nannystate preachers in the 80s too – remember Band Aid, or Grange Hill’s “Just say No?”