I Love the Eighties: My Top 100 Albums of 1983

1983

Does anybody out there remember the great comic strip Bloom County? It was an irreverent look at all things Eighties, political and pop culture. Creator Berkley Breathed had brilliantly and deftly built a world of anthropomorphic animals who interacted with the humans in this small community known as Bloom County. Throughout the life of this strip, the characters parodied, satirized and poked fun at the American sensibilities of the decade, all the while maintaining writing integrity throughout the lifespan of the strip. One particular week, the strip dedicated itself to a weekend-long musical festival in the California desert at the end of May called the “US Festival,” since the whole thing, according to the organizers led by Apple’s Steve Wozniak, was about us. The festival consisted of three days with different musical themes, New Wave, Heavy Metal and Rock, with the headliners being respectively The Clash, Van Halen and Men at Work.

Well, Bloom County nailed the cynicism of the era when, in the first day’s strip about their own “US Festival” when the characters were collectively asked why this musical festival was being called the “US Festival,” to which all the characters stopped what they were doing and answered the question by yelling in unison that “All the money is going to – US!!!” Besides my favorite comic strip of all-time, what I learned about the US Festival was that it showed the power of the latest genre that was reappearing at the time, heavy metal. Heavy Metal Day proved to be the most popular day according to attendance records. The festival also showed that New Wave and Classic Rock were waning in popularity. If organizers only had the vision to have totally bagged the other two days and turn them into “College Rock Day” and “Pop Music Day,” then those days would have been more successful as well. The bands that came out of the festival with the most commercial momentum were INXS and U2 from New Wave Day, Mötley Crüe and Van Halen from Metal Day and Stevie Nicks from Rock Day.

5.18 motley-crue-shout-at-the-devil

Still, 1983 was more than that lame first attempt to give Gen X its first “Woodstock.” 1983 was the year when the power of MTV was finally realized by everyone from radio programmers to record companies to Mom & Pop Record Stores. MTV was this country’s first national radio station, and it unified the 22-and-under crowd. In addition to all of that, the very same youth that was embracing metal and college rock were also embracing Michael Jackson and his 1982 album Thriller, one of the three biggest-selling albums of all-time, standing alongside the Eagles’ first Greatest Hits collection and Adele’s recent classic 21.

5.18 P-Funk All Stars - Dancefloor Guerillas

To me, the year 1983 represents one of the final years during which so many different genres of music are all listened to and purchased, from the reggae of UB40 to left-wing politics of The Clash to the universally loved music of a young black man, Michael Jackson to the rock ‘n’ soul of duo Hall & Oates to the loud yet still melodic pop metal of Def Leppard to the thrashing sounds of Metallica to new, jangling guitars of R.E.M. In other words, the musical planets of the universe had aligned in 1983, much to the delight of music lovers all around the world.

5.18 Tracey Ullman - You Broke My Heart in 17 Places

So, with that big, overblown introduction to the music of 1983, allow me to unveil my Top 100 Albums for that year since I have discovered that 40 just “isn’t enough!” Hold on people!

5.18 R.E.M. - Murmur

5.18 Talking Heads - Speaking in Tongues

  1. R.E.M. – Murmur
  2. Talking Heads – Speaking in Tongues
  3. The Police – Synchronicity
  4. The Style Council – Introducing the Style Council
  5. David Bowie – Let’s Dance
  6. Culture Club – Colour by Numbers
  7. Madonna – Madonna
  8. Marshall Crenshaw – Field Day
  9. New Order – Power, Corruption & Lies
  10. U2 – War
  11. Def Leppard – Pyromania
  12. Tears for Fears – The Hurting
  13. Elton John – Too Low for Zero
  14. Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Punch the Clock
  15. Eurythmics – Touch
  16. John “Cougar” Mellencamp – Uh-Huh
  17. Duran Duran – Seven and the Ragged Tiger
  18. Wham! – Fantastic
  19. Billy Idol – Rebel Yell
  20. Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes
  21. X – More Fun in the New World
  22. Metallica – Kill ‘Em All
  23. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts – Album
  24. Cyndi Lauper – She’s So Unusual
  25. Tracey Ullman – You Broke My Heart in 17 Places
  26. The The – Soul Mining
  27. ZZ Top – Eliminator
  28. Cheap Trick – Next Position Please
  29. Todd Rundgren – The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect
  30. Huey Lewis & the News – Sports
  31. Iron Maiden – Piece of Mind
  32. Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
  33. Lionel Richie – Can’t Slow Down
  34. Kiss – Lick It Up
  35. Yes – 90125
  36. Whodini – Whodini
  37. UB40 – Labour of Love
  38. Stevie Nicks – The Wild Heart
  39. Randy Newman – Trouble in Paradise
  40. Genesis – Genesis
  41. Tom Waits – Swordfishtrombones
  42. New Edition – Candy Girl
  43. Quiet Riot – Metal Health
  44. Journey – Frontiers
  45. Paul McCartney – Pipes of Peace
  46. Donna Summer – She Works Hard for the Money
  47. Robert Plant – The Principle of Moments
  48. Echo & the Bunnymen – Porcupine
  49. U2 – Under a Blood Red Sky
  50. The Cure – Japanese Whispers
  51. Billy Joel – An Innocence Man
  52. The Kinks – State of Confusion
  53. Big Country – The Crossing
  54. Herbie Hancock – Future Shock
  55. P-Funk All-Stars – Urban Dancefloor Guerillas
  56. Various Artists – Flashdance OST
  57. Bryan Adams – Cuts like a Knife
  58. John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band – Eddie and the Cruisers OST
  59. Various Artists – Valley Girl OST
  60. Night Ranger – Midnight Madness
  61. Martin Briley – One Night with a Stranger
  62. The Fixx – Reach the Beach
  63. The Waterboys – The Waterboys
  64. Aztec Camera – High Land, Hard Rain
  65. Bob Dylan – Infidels
  66. Spandau Ballet – True
  67. Let’s Active – Afoot
  68. Pink Floyd – The Final Cut
  69. Stray Cats – Rant ‘N’ Rave with the Stray Cats
  70. The Rolling Stones – Undercover
  71. Electric Light Orchestra – Secret Messages
  72. Mötley Crüe – Shout Out the Devil
  73. T-Bone Burnett – Proof Through the Night
  74. Malcolm McLaren – Duck Rock
  75. The Replacements – Hootenanny
  76. Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band – The Distance
  77. Pat Benatar – Live from Earth
  78. Paul Young – No Parlez
  79. Styx – Kilroy Was Here
  80. The B-52’s – Whammy!
  81. The Plimsouls – Everywhere at Once
  82. Stevie Ray Vaughan – Texas Flood
  83. Ozzy Osbourne – Bark at the Moon
  84. Dio – Holy Diver
  85. Heaven 17 – The Luxury Gap
  86. Was (Not Was) – Born to Laugh at Tornadoes
  87. Ramones – Subterranean Jungle
  88. Paul Simon – Heart and Bones
  89. Men at Work – Cargo
  90. The Gap Band – The Gap Band V: Jammin’
  91. Jackson Browne – Lawyers in Love
  92. Slayer – Show No Mercy
  93. Thompson Twins – Quick Step & Side Kick
  94. The Pointer Sisters – Break Out
  95. Depeche Mode – Construction Time Again
  96. Cocteau Twins – Head over Heels
  97. Peter Gabriel – Plays Live
  98. Billy Bragg – Life’s a Riot with Spy Vs. Spy
  99. Midnight Star – No Parking on the Dance Floor
  100. Hüsker Dü – Metal Circus

5.18 Metallica - Kill Em All5.18 Midnight Star - No Parking on the Dancefloor

And, there you have, my Top 100 albums of 1983. Start the discussions down below.

I Love the Eighties: My Top 100 Albums of 1982

1982

When it comes to the years 1982 through 1987, I have been having all kinds of trouble editing my lists down to 40 albums. I simply love too many albums from each of those years. Of course, 1982, 1983 and half of 1984 all represent the college years BEFORE I met my wife. So, they all represent me while I was attempting (or NOT) to grow up. Those years flew by and represent me at the pinnacle of irresponsibility: no career, no family, no nothing. Simply, that time was spent packing as much fun into those years as possible. Additionally, that time period represented the time period during which my album collection ballooned from a modest 50 albums to a very obsessive 200 or so LPs. As a matter of fact, my 200th album was purchased by a fraternity brother and given to me during a silly ceremony at a house meeting during the Spring of 1982, also the end of my freshmen year. The 200th album? The classic 1979 album by the ever-brilliant Neil Young, Rust Never Sleeps, a gift that continues to keep on giving. By the time I got married in early 1985, my collection was a very healthy 350 albums, while today the collection now pushing 2500 albums, picture discs, 12-inch and 7-inch singles and CDs, most of which were purchased “on sale” or used or back in my Columbia House days.

5.17 Asia - Asia

Simply put, 1982 was a great and diverse year for music. First off, MTV reached Central Indiana, momentarily changing the type of music played on radio here. Next, we were living through the opening salvos of hip hop from the likes of Kurtis Blow, Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five and Afrika Bambaataa & Soul Sonic Force. Additionally, we were living through the last gasps of AOR, which seemed to have just peaked in popularity during the previous two years as Asia, Survivor, Saga and Aldo Nova all releasing great albums in the genre. Hoosier legend John Mellencamp rose to prominence under the moniker “John Cougar” after his outstanding performance on Saturday Night Live with his mega-hits “Hurts So Good” and “Jack and Dianne.”

5.17 John Cougar - American Fool

However, 1982 will probably be most remembered for the release of not just one but THREE unforgettable and huge-selling albums known throughout rock history: Michael Jackson’s Thriller, 1999 by Prince and Men at Work’s debut album, Business as Usual. Usually, a year is lucky to have a single classic album released during it, but to have two bonafide classics and a debut album that ended the year with the most sales. Needless to say, 1982 was a robust year for albums, as well as singles.

5.17 Men at Work - Business as Usual

So, without any more pretense, let’s get this party going. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you my list of the Top 100 Albums of 1982. Start the countdown!

5.17 Prince - 1999

5.17 Michael Jackson - Thriller

  1. Prince – 1999
  2. Michael Jackson – Thriller
  3. Queen – Hot Space
  4. Talking Heads – The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads
  5. The Psychedelic Furs – Forever Now
  6. Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska
  7. Peter Gabriel – Peter Gabriel (aka IV: Security)
  8. E.M. – Chronic Town
  9. Daryl Hall & John Oates – H2O
  10. Dexys Midnight Runners – Too Rye Aye
  11. ABC – The Lexicon of Love
  12. Pete Townshend – All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes
  13. Rush – Signals
  14. Yazoo – Upstairs at Eric’s
  15. George Clinton – Computer Games
  16. The Jam – The Gift
  17. Duran Duran – Rio
  18. Dire Straits – Love Over Gold
  19. Marshall Crenshaw – Marshall Crenshaw
  20. Marvin Gaye – Midnight Love
  21. Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Imperial Bedroom
  22. Men at Work – Business as Usual
  23. Utopia – Swing to the Right
  24. Roxy Music – Avalon
  25. The (English) Beat – Special Beat Service
  26. The Alan Parsons Project – Eye in the Sky
  27. The Clash – Combat Rock
  28. Billy Joel – The Nylon Curtain
  29. The Time – What Time Is It?
  30. Iron Maiden – The Number of the Beast
  31. Toto – Toto IV
  32. Utopia – Utopia
  33. XTC – English Settlement
  34. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Long After Dark
  35. Wall of Voodoo – Call of the West
  36. Adam Ant – Friend or Foe
  37. Cheap Trick – One on One
  38. Billy Squier – Emotions in Motion
  39. Culture Club – Kissing to Be Clever
  40. Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five – The Message
  41. Joe Jackson – Night and Day
  42. Kiss – Creatures of the Night
  43. Donald Fagen – The Nightfly
  44. Frida – Something’s Going On
  45. John Cougar – American Fool
  46. A Flock of Seagulls – A Flock of Seagulls
  47. Laurie Anderson – Big Science
  48. Led Zeppelin – Coda
  49. Haircut One Hundred – Pelican West
  50. INXS – Shabooh Shoobah
  51. Lionel Richie – Lionel Richie
  52. Modern English – After the Snow
  53. Pat Benatar – Get Nervous
  54. Paul McCartney – Tug of War
  55. Simple Minds – New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)
  56. Split Enz – Time and Tide
  57. Phil Collins – Hello, I Must Be Going
  58. X – Under the Black Sun
  59. Squeeze – Sweets from a Stranger
  60. Stray Cats – Built for Speed
  61. Graham Parker – Another Grey Area
  62. Supertramp – “…Famous Last Words…”
  63. Talk Talk – The Party’s Over
  64. The Gap Band – The Gap Band IV
  65. The Go-Go’s – Vacation
  66. The Waitresses – Wasn’t Tomorrow Wonderful
  67. Asia – Asia
  68. Huey Lewis & the News – Picture This
  69. Berlin – Pleasure Victim
  70. Richard & Linda Thompson – Shoot Out the Lights
  71. The Who – It’s Hard
  72. Aldo Nova – Aldo Nova
  73. Robert Plant – Pictures at Eleven
  74. Eddie Money – No Control
  75. .38 Special – Wild-Eyed Southern Boys
  76. Missing Persons – Spring Session M
  77. Blondie – The Hunter
  78. Fleetwood Mac – Mirage
  79. Eddie Grant – Killer on the Rampage
  80. Judas Priest – Screaming for Vengeance
  81. Billy Idol – Billy Idol
  82. Don Henley – I Can’t Stand Still
  83. George Thorogood & the Destroyers – Bad to the Bone
  84. Van Halen – Diver Down
  85. Vanity 6 – Vanity 6
  86. Rick Springfield – Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me
  87. Warren Zevon – The Envoy
  88. Devo – Oh No! It’s Devo!
  89. Scorpions – Blackout
  90. Lou Reed – The Blue Mask
  91. The Dream Syndicate – The Days of Wine and Roses
  92. The Misfits – Walk Among Us
  93. Fear – The Record
  94. Thomas Dolby – The Golden Age of Wireless
  95. Elton John – Jump Up
  96. Flipper – Album (Generic Album: Flipper)
  97. The Descendents – Milo Goes to College
  98. Bad Brains – Bad Brains
  99. Crosby, Stills & Nash – Daylight Again
  100. Survivor – Eye of the Tiger

5.17 Culture Club - Kissing to Be Clever5.17 Utopia - Swing to the Right

And, there you go fans! That’s it – My Top 100 Albums for 1982. I hope you enjoyed it. Let the criticism begin!

5.17 Frida - Something's Going On5.17 Rush - Signals

I Love the Eighties: My Top 40 Albums of 1981

1981

Back in May 1981, I was graduating from high school, preparing for my last three months of living at home before arriving at the Ball State campus, and facing the world as a young adult. Personally, I was ready to leave my little community of family, friends and a whole stifling world of people in the hopes of becoming part of some sort of educational-based intellectualism. Unfortunately, outside of my classes, I left college disappointed by the experience. Sure, I chose my alma mater for three reasons: (1) the science department was every bit as good as Indiana or Purdue’s for the life sciences, (2) I was going to be a “preferred walk-on” on the Cross Country and indoor and outdoor Track teams, and (3) the size was big enough to be “lost in” while small enough to gain some valuable leadership experiences. Well, reasons 1 and 3 remain great, while number 2 was just plain stupid. I should have known that I was no longer in love with running, at least in the way to be success at the collegiate level.

5.16 Billy_Squier_-_Don't_Say_No

Yet, I was leaving high school as an academic underachiever, who had a firm grasp of scientific concepts, grammatical and writing skills and a knowledge base in history/government/economics/political science that may have exceeded a majority of my peers, mainly because I was constantly reading all kinds of material, from Karl Marx to Ayn Rand, from the Bible to the Qur’an. This is not an attempt to brag, but to give you a bit of my background. During my two-year confirmation coursework in my Lutheran church, I became enamored with Matthew 25:31-46, in which Jesus directs Christians to care for those who have less, since you never know when that person you are aiding could be God, Himself. First off, I am a terrible hypocrite when it comes to living these verses out-load; yet, I do try, especially during my teaching career. It was when I read that section of the Bible back in the seventh grade, I thought if you were to extrapolate those verses into the political realm, then the liberal political view, with all of its faults, would be the most Godlike. So, sorry fellow Hoosiers, I am a liberal. I know most of you believe that makes me dumb, Godless, and the like. And, I understand that my educational background seems to make me out to living in some ivory tower that I have never seen, even figuratively. Oh, and I will not change my beliefs.

But, one area in which college did not disappoint was in the development of my love of music. Slowly, I found some like-minded musical souls with whom I shared our love. I also got involved with a group of young men who encouraged me to become a member of their college bowl team as a pop music specialist. So, not only was I added to this team for my scientific background but because of my prodigious knowledge in popular music. Thus, this blog would have never existed without that group of seniors who noticed something in me. My career in the college bowl was short-lived when I got involved with an intramural basketball team, which I needed as an outlet.

5.16 Rick_James_-_Street_Songs

Now, 1981 was a pretty good year for music. By 1981, punk rock had evolved into new wave, hardcore (like Black Flag, Hüsker Dü and the Dead Kennedys), goth (Bauhaus, the early Cure and Siouxsie & the Banshees) and new wave (Devo, The B-52’s and all the popular forms of a left field type of pop music). The synthesizer was the instrument of choice of the early Eighties and was being incorporated by all forms of music, including even by heavy metal and southern rock artists. Although my Top 40 was diverse, the use of the synthesizer was prevalent. Yet, it was the music that shone through, not the synthesizers.

So, let’s dive back into 1981. Sure, the songs were all about “Celebration,” “Looking for Love,” and “Physical.” Yet, it was the albums in which had the real music. So, here is my Top 40 Albums of 1981.

5.16 tom petty - hard promises

  1. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Hard Promises
  2. Brian Eno and David Byrne – My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
  3. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Private Eyes
  4. Rush – Moving Pictures
  5. The Police – Ghost in the Machine
  6. Squeeze – East Side Story
  7. The J. Geils Band – Freeze-Frame
  8. Tom Tom Club – Tom Tom Club
  9. Phil Collins – Face Value
  10. Stevie Nicks – Bella Donna
  11. Rick James – Street Songs
  12. Prince – Controversy
  13. The Rolling Stones – Tattoo You
  14. Electric Light Orchestra – Time
  15. Billy Squier – Don’t Say No
  16. Genesis – Abacab
  17. The Moody Blues – Long Distance Voyager
  18. Journey – Escape
  19. Lindsey Buckingham – Law and Order
  20. Duran Duran – Duran Duran
  21. Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Trust
  22. Foreigner – 4
  23. The Human League – Dare!
  24. Loverboy – Get Lucky
  25. Billy Joel – Songs from the Attic
  26. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts – I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll
  27. Rickie Lee Jones – Pirates
  28. Triumph – Allied Forces
  29. The Go-Go’s – Beauty and the Beat
  30. Dan Fogelberg – An Innocent Man
  31. Devo – New Traditionalists
  32. Hanoi Rocks – Bangkok Shocks Saigon Shakes Hanoi Rocks
  33. The Cars – Shake It Up
  34. Debbie Harry – Koo Koo
  35. AC/DC – For Those About to Rock We Salute You
  36. Pretenders – Pretenders II
  37. Pat Benatar – Precious Time
  38. Rick Springfield – Working Class Dog
  39. Saga – Worlds Apart
  40. Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band – Nine Tonight

5.16 eno & byrne - my life in the bush of ghosts5.16 stevie nicks - bella donna

And, that’s 1981 to me these days, not so much my political views which I continue to hold on to. I’d much rather discuss rock & roll, science (especially microbiology), and the arts, but I do have strong political views that are not based on emotion but on a pragmatically studied views gained from The Bible, Qur’an and political studies. Let’s go rock and roll!

I Love the Eighties: My Top 40 Albums

1980

Whew! Man, have the past six or so days been crazy! My step-father had hip replacement surgery, so with Mom being incapacitated with her condition, that left me to be his “coach.” And, what they mean by “coach” is that I am in charge of his diet, meds and exercises, meaning insurance no longer covers the eldery’s rehabilitation under the guise of “research says…” So, why is it that I am so cynical when it comes to healthcare? Well, I worked in hospital labs during my first eight years after college. Plus, I was once told by an arrogant insurance man back in the mid-Eighties that insurance companies would and should be taking over healthcare because costs were becoming too high. Since I had a healthcare economics class just in the months leading up to this conversation, I felt ready to tell the man that I hoped he would NEVER have an insurance company refuse to cover treatments. Ironically, within a decade, that is exactly what happened to this man’s family, forcing them to do several fundraisers in order to pay for treatments for his grandchild. But, us Americans just totally believe that the volatile stock market is the best way to control costs, though the reality is those very costs have exponentially skyrockets since the Eighties when this very belief was implemented. It’s simple math, but what do I know.

Well, I do know music, especially music from arguably the greatest decade, the 1980s. Over the course of the next two weeks, I will be presenting my 40 favorite albums for each year from 1980 through 1989. Today, allow me the honor to present my Top 40 albums for the great year 1980.

1980 just happened to be a pretty strong year for quality albums. It was such a good year that good albums by the likes of Van Halen, Split Enz, Pat Benatar, Cheap Trick, Jackson Browne, The Cure, The English Beat, John Cougar and Bob Seger. Yet, the albums on this list are of the highest quality, so let’s get this party started. On with the countdown!

5.15 talking heads - remain in light no.1

5.15 peter gabriel - 3 no.25.15 ACDC - Back_in_Black

  1. Talking Heads – Remain in Light
  2. Peter Gabriel – Peter Gabriel (III: Melting)
  3. AC/DC – Back in Black
  4. David Bowie – Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
  5. The Police – Zenyatta Mondatta
  6. Bruce Springsteen – The River
  7. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Voices
  8. Prince – Dirty Mind
  9. Daryl Hall – Sacred Songs
  10. Queen – The Game
  11. The Jam – Sound Affects
  12. The J. Geils Band – Love Stinks
  13. The Romantics – The Romantics
  14. Pretenders – Pretenders
  15. Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Get Happy!!!
  16. Dexys Midnight Runners – Searching for the Young Soul Rebels
  17. Various Artists – Times Square OST
  18. Judas Priest – British Steel
  19. Rush – Permanent Waves
  20. The Clash – Sandinista!
  21. The Vapors – New Clear Day
  22. Donnie Iris – Back on the Streets
  23. Ramones – End of the Century
  24. The Jacksons – Triumph
  25. Dire Straits – Making Movies
  26. The Cars – Panorama
  27. John Lennon & Yoko Ono – Double Fantasy
  28. Billy Joel – Glass Houses
  29. The B-52’s – Wild Planet
  30. Blondie – Autoamerican
  31. Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard of Ozz
  32. Stevie Wonder – Hotter Than July
  33. Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables
  34. The Alan Parsons Project – The Turn of a Friendly Card
  35. Devo – Freedom of Choice
  36. Joy Division – Closer
  37. Kurtis Blow – Kurtis Blow
  38. REO Speedwagon – Hi Infidelity
  39. Paul Simon – One Trick Pony
  40. Squeeze – Argybargy

5.15 ozzy osbourne - blizzard of ozz5.15 Times square ost

And, there you have it! My Top 40 albums of 1980. Let the discussion begin!

The Family: A Lesser Known Prince Project

5.8 The Family 1985

Back in 1985, Prince ruled the rock and pop culture world. It had been something of a whirlwind during the previous three years. Toward the end of 1982, Prince released his 1999 album which caught the fancy of the world at the same time during which Michael Jackson’s vision of a unity of races would occur in the aftermath of his world-shaking Thriller album. Together, Prince and Michael signified a changing of the guard in the music world. This was now a brave new world, ready for Generation X to begin its grapple with society. And these two African-American musicians were breaking down racial barriers with their musics blending of pop, R&B, rock, funk, jazz and any other form of music into something completely new and exciting. Where the two men diverged was in their lyrical content and musicianship. Where Micheal stuck to the PG-world of lyrical content while using some of the finest musicians available to him in the world to bring his songs to life, Prince was totally self-contained, crude and blunt. In other words, Michael was safe, while Prince was dangerous. Totally ironic when thinking about how their adult lives developed in the aftermath of their isolating mega-celebrity.

5.8 prince - 19995.8 the time - the time

So, in 1985, with Prince being the restless musical soul that we learnt over the next few years that he was, he was attempting to expand upon Rick James’ vision of expanding his musical empire beyond just his music. Prior to this year, Prince had written and performed the music for a funk band that would become he alter-ego to be called The Time. This funk band would be the purely black side of his personality and would be fronted by his good friend Morris Day. Prince then surrounded Day with the best musicians around Minneapolis, Prince’s hometown, that were not part of Prince’s band, The Revolution. In addition to Day, Prince added a keyboardist by the name of Jimmy Jam and a bassist Terry Lewis. Those two would go on to spread the “Minneapolis Sound” beyond the state of Minnesota as they helped Prince define the sound of the Eighties as they produced, among other, Janet Jackson and The Human League. When you read the notes on The Time’s first two albums, you will not find any reference to Prince, but you will see that the albums were “Written, Performed and Produced by Jamie Starr,” a pseudonym used by Prince.

5.8 the time - what time is it5.8 vanity 6- vanity 6

After the release of The Time’s second album, What Time Is It? in 1982, Prince put together a girl group trio headed by his then-girlfriend Vanity, which he dubbed Vanity 6. This group’s eponymous debut album was released during that pivot year of 1982, making a total of three highly successful albums that Prince had created in one year. Then the three bands went out on tour and killed audiences everywhere.

5.8 prince - purple rain

Then the defections started, just as Prince was prepping for the release of all thing surrounding Purple Rain. Jam and Lewis were fired for doing production work on the side while on tour. And, Vanity left the fold to go solo on Motown. The Time easily replaced their fired duo, but second keyboardist Monte Moir left to work with Jam and Lewis. Still, new hires kept The Time afloat. Replacing Vanity, Prince’s love interest in the movie Purple Rain was much more daunting. He settled upon Apollonia, who looked fantastic but just could not sing. So, instead of giving the renamed Apollonia 6 great material, Prince gave that batch of music for his newest love interest, Sheila E., which ended up on her 1984 debut album The Glamorous Life. So, in 1984, Prince had released a movie and album of the same name, an album by The Time, one by the newly refurbished Apollonia 6 (with Revolution bandmates Wendy and Lisa’s vocals doubling around Apollonia’s to cover her singing shortcomings), and the aforementioned Sheila E. album.

5.8 sheila e - the glamous life5.8 apollonia 6 - apollonia 6

But, the ever-restless yet creative soul that Prince was, he decided that his new girlfriend, Susannah Melvoin, Revolution guitarist Wendy Melvoin’s twin sister, needed a band. So, in lieu of marriage, Susannah was put into a band with saxophonist Eric Leeds and former members of now defunct Time: drummer Jellybean Johnson, Day’s former sideman Jerome Benton and keyboardist/vocalist Paul “St. Paul” Peterson. The quintet was filled out with musicians from the world of Prince, in addition, of course, the man himself. Prince dubbed this band The Family.

5.8 prince - parade

Unfortunately, The Family could only hold things together for one album, an eponymous-titled debut. On this obscure album, which, for some reason, I purchased shortly after it arrived in the record stores while I was still in Medical Technology School. I was NOT ready at all for the sounds that came from this album. It was full of sophisticated R&B, steeped in a Prince-ly state of jazz that was like nothing I had heard before. However, it did prepare me for Prince’s 1986 masterpiece of sophisticated funk, Parade.

5.8 The Family - The Family

Ironically, over the years, The Family has been the peripheral Prince album that has aged the best. I am very comfortable with its sound, as it is no longer the jarring musical change of direction that it was in 1985. It’s mix of soft funk and jazz progressions totally paved the way for D’Angelo’s last album, the sound of the last couple of albums by Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé last two masterpieces, Kamasi Washington’s brilliant jazz forays, the music of the great Thundercat, among so many others today. But, we are talking about an album for 1985. That was 33 years ago!

5.8 The Family - The Screams of Passion

At the time, The Family was so far ahead of things that the album barely registered a blip on the charts. However, “The Screams of Passion” did peak in the Top 20 of the R&B Chart of Billboard magazine. Additionally, this album is notable for it containing the first commercially released version of one of Prince’s most famous compositions, “Nothing Compares 2 U.” This was the song that Sinead O’Connor had heard and influenced her to record her stripped down version that became a world-wide hit in 1990. Until just within the past six months, The Family’s version of “Nothing Compares 2 U” was believed to have been the original recording of the song. However, archivists cataloging music found in the late artists’ infamous Vault discovered the original demo of the song that Prince record back during the creation of the Purple Rain album. Imagine that: arguably Prince’s greatest composition was thrown aside for something “greater.” The newly discovered version is floating around the internet right now and can be downloaded from iTunes. Plus, you can order a picture disc seven-inch single from the official Prince website. Still, The Family will continue to remain of Prince collectors’ “Holy Grails,” if for nothing else but that great song.

5.8 fdeluxe

Like I said, The Family only stuck around for one album, then everyone split. However, in 2011, four-fifths of The Family, minus Jerome who rejoined the original members of The Time under the new name The Original 7even, got back together under the name of Fdeluxe. Under their new name, the band have continued their original sound and have released three independent studio albums, along with an EP and a live album. All of Fdeluxe’s albums can be found as electronic downloads on bandcamp.com.

5.8 fdeluxe 2016

So, matter whether they go by the Prince-owned name of The Family or the recently rechristened moniker Fdeluxe, you are hearing a band that was at one time thirty years ahead of musical trends. So, now that the music world has caught up, maybe this quartet can find some success. They were much more than five pretty faces.

2018: This Year Is Off to a Slow Start

Well, folks, I thought I would give you a quick update about new releases thus far in 2018. Simply put, there’s a drought going on. Oh, sure, there are some singles that are selling; however, if they had been released during a normal year for music, most would have been just minor hits. Thus is the state of the music industry. It is very much akin to the US steel industry: once mighty, powerful and creative, but now, it is simply another passing mention in history books. Thanks to Napster, we no longer have companies running the show, which should be a good thing, right Prince? (He fought throughout the Nineties to regain control of his music, the very same freedom most artists have today.) Thanks to a lack of vision at the record companies, they allowed their industry to implode. Now, artists are no longer getting the proper guidance they need while young, so with few people in their lives to tell them some of their musical ideas are crap, the artists release them and are left wondering why they are not selling their product. You would have thought that artists would have figured out the proper manner in which to survive the current climate, but, generally speaking, they have not.

An artist who has figure out today’s system is the great Kendrick Lamar, today’s finest rap artist. First, Lamar has released three consecutive transcendent albums that have both pushed the boundaries of hip hop while racking up this forgotten word – sales. Then, there’s Chance the Rapper who does NOT release any physical forms of his music, totally relying upon mp3s, which appeals to the millennials and younger, but sometimes us old fuddy duddies just want your music on vinyl or CD. We love the artwork and the recording information and lyrics. But, the young people don’t care, so why should the talented Chance follow the old paradigm? Unfortunately, neither of these talented men have released albums this year.

And, to be honest, I have only purchased five new CDs this year: Kai Danzberg, MGMT, Greta Van Fleet, Janelle Monáe and Leon Bridges. Other than those, I have been buying old vinyl. Yet, these five albums are easily the best of 2018.

5.7 kai danzberg - pop up radio

If you remember, several weeks ago, I spent a whole blog entry pimping Kai Danzberg’s latest CD, the independently released Pop Up Radio. That album has remained a mainstay in my CD player, as I still dig his brand of power pop, which follows the impeccable trail once blazed by my beloved Jellyfish.

5.7 mgmt - little dark age

Then, one of the finer bands of the late 2000 (or The Aughts, right Bond?), MGMT, released their first album in five years. On the album titled Little Dark Age, the duo stepped away from the psychedelic rock excursions of their previous two albums, rediscovered that Eighties Casio keyboard they threw in the closet after the surprise success of their debut album, only to release another new wave-influenced gem like their debut. Unfortunately, this album only hearkens back to the heady days of their debut album’s success, as it lacks the spontaneity of that classic album with its series of unparalleled singles.

5.7 greta van fleet - from the fires

Next up is a new Michigan band who is being favorably compared to Led Zeppelin. I about talking about Greta Van Fleet, who actually released their debut EP, From the Fires, back in November 2017. Unlike all the Zeppelin wannabes of the Eighties, such as Whitesnake, Greta Van Fleet actually has grasped Jimmy Page’s ghost without any guitar references from Eddie Van Halen showing up. This band is a nice little band whom I cannot wait to see how they develop. These guys sound as if they grew up with me listening to much of the same pre-punk music I listened to, such as Grand Funk, Jethro Tull and Aerosmith. They have learned the moves, now I am ready for them to those moves their very own.

5.7 leon bridges - good thing

The fourth album that has caught my ear this year is the great retro-soul artist Leon Bridges, with his newly released album Good Thing. Back in 2015, Bridges burst on the scene sounding as if the ghosts of Otis Redding and Sam Cooke had impregnated Erykah Badu, upon the release of his magnificent debut album Coming Home. Now, on the new album, Bridges sounds less of a revivalist and more like the innovator he showed himself to be when he performed on SNL a couple years ago. On Good Thing, Bridges has become his own artist, by making the music that sounds more like him and less like his heroes. This is the type of growth you like to hear a new artist make.

5.7 Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer

Finally, how is Janelle Monáe NOT a superstar? I mean, come on now! This is her third straight flat-out classic album, yet, this woman has NEVER had a Top 10 single. She has the right pedigree, with her association with the guys in Outkast AND her friendship with Prince. Like those artists, she transcends their sounds to make her musical statement. On her new album, Dirty Computer, Miss Monáe, fresh off her critically acclaimed performance in the movie Hidden Figures, finally created the album that her previous two kept promising. From the opening salvo of the title track she created with the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, to the Prince-soundalike hit “Make You Mine,” this album is stuffed full with potential hits, if radio would just play them. C’mon radio programmers, pretend as if it is 1982 (still not a great year for radio programming, but much better than today) and add Monáe’s songs to your playlist like you once did for a young Prince. The world NEEDS her music if we are ever going to heal from Prince’s untimely death.

As we finally enjoy the warmth of spring here in the month of May, I give to you five albums that have made this year worth suffering through all of the other drivel dropped on us thus far. Here’s to hoping we get some better music sent our way over the next seven months. I have little hope, as there seems to be a lack of new music being released by my heroes this year. Keep your fingers crossed that 2018 picks up, but don’t hold your breath. I have been reading the upcoming releases for this year, and the pickings look slim. Of course, Willie Nelson just released another album. But, when was the last time he released a good album?

I Love The Seventies: My Top 200 Albums from the “Me” Decade

i heart the 70s

I decided to do a quick wrap up of my favorite albums from the Seventies, that decade of polyester leisure suits, high-heeled sneakers and acting like a queen (my apologies to Cheech & Chong). So, here it is! My Top 200 Albums of the Seventies.

5.3 the clash - london calling

  1. The Clash – London Calling (1979)
  2. Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run (1975)
  3. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Damn the Torpedoes (1979)
  4. Cheap Trick – At Budokan (1979)
  5. Big Star – #1 Record (1972)
  6. Queen – A Night at the Opera (1975)
  7. The Rolling Stones – Some Girls (1978)
  8. Kiss – Destroyer (1976)
  9. Ramones – Ramones (1976)
  10. Queen – A Day at the Races (1976)
  11. Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Armed Forces (1979)
  12. Ramones – Rocket to Russia (1977)
  13. The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers (1971)
  14. Elvis Costello – My Aim Is True (1977)
  15. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (1976)
  16. Talking Heads – Fear of Music (1979)
  17. Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life (1976)
  18. Boston – Boston (1976)
  19. The Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street (1972)
  20. Cheap Trick – In Color (1977)
  21. Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures (1979)
  22. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (1977)
  23. Alice Cooper – School’s Out (1972)
  24. The Clash – The Clash (1977)
  25. Ramones – Road to Ruin (1978)
  26. Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols (1977)
  27. Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge over Troubled Water (1970)
  28. Raspberries – Raspberries (1972)
  29. Led Zeppelin – IV (1971)
  30. Kiss – Alive! (1975)
  31. The Knack – Get the Knack (1979)
  32. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Abandoned Luncheonette (1973)
  33. Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
  34. Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On (1971)
  35. Rush – 2112 (1976)
  36. The Stooges – Funhouse (1970)
  37. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Déjà Vu (1970)
  38. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Daryl Hall & John Oates (1975)
  39. David Bowie – Station to Station (1976)
  40. Thin Lizzy – Jail Break (1976)
  41. The Who – Who’s Next (1971)
  42. Van Halen – Van Halen (1978)
  43. Led Zeppelin – III (1970)
  44. Big Star – Radio City (1974)
  45. Pink Floyd – The Wall (1979)
  46. Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)
  47. Paul Simon – Still Crazy After All These Years (1975)
  48. The Who – Quadrophenia (1973)
  49. Heart – Dreamboat Annie (1976)
  50. Cheap Trick – Heaven Tonight (1978)
  51. Talking Heads – 77 (1977)
  52. Lynyrd Skynyrd – One More from the Road (1976)
  53. Raspberries – Starting Over (1974)
  54. Boz Scaggs – Silk Degrees (1976)
  55. The Jam – In the City (1977)
  56. David Bowie – “Heroes” (1977)
  57. Parliament – Mothership Connection (1975)
  58. Various Artists – Saturday Night Fever OST (1977)
  59. Steely Dan – Can’t Buy a Thrill (1972)
  60. The Cars – The Cars (1978)
  61. Electric Light Orchestra – Face the Music (1975)
  62. Blondie – Parallel Lines (1978)
  63. John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970)
  64. Bruce Springsteen – Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978)
  65. Randy Newman – Good Old Boys (1974)
  66. Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)
  67. Carole King – Tapestry (1971)
  68. Alice Cooper – Billion Dollar Babies (1973)
  69. Bob Dylan & the Band – The Basement Tapes (1975)
  70. Queen – Jazz (1978)
  71. Bruce Springsteen – The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle (1973)
  72. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – You’re Gonna Get It! (1978)
  73. David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
  74. Michael Jackson – Off the Wall (1979)
  75. Talking Heads – More Songs About Buildings and Food (1978)
  76. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Street Survivors (1977)
  77. Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac (1975)
  78. The Jam – All Mod Cons (1978)
  79. Daryl Hall & John Oates – X-Static (1979)
  80. Queen – Sheer Heart Attack (1974)
  81. Elvis Costello – This Year’s Model (1978)
  82. Iggy & the Stooges – Raw Power (1973)
  83. The Police – Regatta de Blanc (1979)
  84. The Band – The Last Waltz (1978)
  85. Devo – Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (1978)
  86. Nick Lowe – Jesus of Cool (1978)
  87. The Police – Outlandos d’Amour (1978)
  88. Chic – Risqué (1979)
  89. Neil Young – After the Gold Rush (1970)
  90. Van Morrison – It’s Too Late to Stop Now (1974)
  91. Steely Dan – Aja (1977)
  92. Funkadelic – One Nation Under a Groove (1978)
  93. Chic – C’est Chic (1978)
  94. Elton John – Captain Fantastic & the Brown Dirt Cowboy (1975)
  95. Todd Rundgren – Something/Anything? (1972)
  96. Jimmy Cliff and Others – The Harder They Come OST (1972)
  97. Van Morrison – Moondance (1970)
  98. Led Zeppelin – In Through the Out Door (1979)
  99. Supertramp – Breakfast in America (1979)
  100. AC/DC – Highway to Hell (1979)
  101. The B-52’s – The B-52’s (1979)
  102. Billy Joel – The Stranger (1977)
  103. Lynyrd Skynyrd – (pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd) (1973)
  104. Todd Rundgren – Runt: The Ballad of Todd Rundgren (1971)
  105. Paul Simon – There Goes Rhymin’ Simon (1973)
  106. Kraftwerk – The Man Machine (1978)
  107. Elton John – Tumbleweed Connection (1970)
  108. David Bowie – The Man Who Sold the World (1970)
  109. Richard Hell & the Voidoids – Blank Generation (1977)
  110. Bee Gees – Main Course (1975)
  111. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Second Helping (1974)
  112. Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It On (1973)
  113. Bob Dylan – Blood on the Tracks (1975)
  114. Stevie Wonder – Fullfillingness’ First Finale (1974)
  115. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
  116. Bob Dylan & The Band – Before the Flood (1974)
  117. Elton John – Madman Across the Water (1971)
  118. Electric Light Orchestra – Eldorado (1974)
  119. Joni Mitchell – Blue (1971)
  120. Sly & the Family Stone – There’s a Riot Goin’ On (1971)
  121. Van Morrison – Saint Dominic’s Preview (1972)
  122. Bob Marley & the Wailers – Natty Dread (1974)
  123. Black Sabbath – Paranoid (1970)
  124. Grateful Dead – Workingman’s Dead (1970)
  125. Todd Rundgren – Runt (1970)
  126. T. Rex – Electric Warrior (1971)
  127. Laura Nyro – Gonna Take a Miracle (1971)
  128. Elton John – Honky Chateau (1972)
  129. David Bowie – Aladdin Sane (1973)
  130. Boz Scaggs – Silk Degrees (1976)
  131. Gram Parsons – GP (1973)
  132. Raspberries – Fresh (1972)
  133. Elton John – Caribou (1974)
  134. Bill Withers – Just as I Am (1971)
  135. Randy Newman – Sail Away (1972)
  136. The Band – Stage Fright (1970)
  137. Stevie Wonder – Talking Book (1972)
  138. Al Green – Let’s Stay Together (1972)
  139. The Beach Boys – Surf’s Up (1971)
  140. Stevie Wonder – Music of My Mind (1972)
  141. Marvin Gaye – Trouble Man (1972)
  142. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Cosmo’s Factory (1970)
  143. Chic – Chic (1977)
  144. Parliament – The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein (1976)
  145. Todd Rundgren – A Wizard, a True Star (1973)
  146. Jackson Browne – Late for the Sky (1974)
  147. Patti Smith – Horses (1975)
  148. Derek & the Dominos – Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)
  149. Eagles – Hotel California (1976)
  150. Iggy Pop – Lust for Life (1977)
  151. Daryl Hall & John Oates – War Babies (1974)
  152. The Rolling Stones – It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (1974)
  153. Elton John – Elton John (1970)
  154. Raspberries – Side 3 (1973)
  155. Gram Parsons – Grievous Angel (1974)
  156. The Rolling Stones – Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! (1970)
  157. The Doobie Brothers – What We Once Vices Are Now Habits (1974)
  158. Paul McCartney & Wings – Band on the Run (1973)
  159. Electric Light Orchestra – A New World Record (1976)
  160. The J. Geils Band – The Morning After (1971)
  161. Steve Miller Band – Fly like an Eagle (1976)
  162. The Runaways – The Runaways (1976)
  163. The Isley Brothers – 3+3 (1973)
  164. David Bowie – Low (1977)
  165. The Allman Brothers Band – At Fillmore East (1971)
  166. Paul Simon – Paul Simon (1972)
  167. New York Dolls – New York Dolls (1973)
  168. Rufus featuring Chaka Khan – Rufus (1975)
  169. The Kinks – Muswell Hillbillies (1971)
  170. The Who – Live at Leeds (1970)
  171. David Bowie – Young Americans (1975)
  172. Flamin’ Groovies – Shake Some Action (1975)
  173. Badfinger – Straight Up (1971)
  174. Rush – Rush (1974)
  175. Dwight Twilley Band – Sincerely (1975)
  176. Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (1970)
  177. Neil Young – Harvest (1972)
  178. Blondie – Blondie (1976)
  179. The Flamin’ Groovies – Shake Some Action (1976)
  180. Shuggie Otis – Inspiration Information (1974)
  181. Neil Young – On the Beach (1974)
  182. Kiss – Kiss (1974)
  183. The O’Jays – Ship Ahoy (1973)
  184. Feelgood – Down by the Jetty (1975)
  185. The Flamin’ Groovies – Teenage Head (1971)
  186. Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy (1973)
  187. Bob Seger – Live Bullet (1976)
  188. Kiss – Love Gun (1977)
  189. The Band – Rock of Ages (1972)
  190. David Bowie – Hunky Dory (1971)
  191. The Doobie Brothers – The Captain and Me (1973)
  192. Iggy Pop – The Idiot (1977)
  193. AC/DC – If You Want Blood You’ve Got It (1978)
  194. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Rust Never Sleeps (1979)
  195. Todd Rundgren – Hermit of Mink Hollow (1978)
  196. Cheap Trick – Dream Police (1979)
  197. Blondie – Eat to the Beat (1979)
  198. Doobie Brothers – Minute by Minute (1978)
  199. Ace Frehley – Ace Frehley (1978)
  200. Styx – Pieces of Eight (1978)

5.5 Styx_-_Pieces_of_Eight

Well, ladies and gentlemen. That’s the Seventies according to the folks at If My Albums Could Talk. Monday, it’s back to the present, though the week my be short on entries. I will be taking some time away from the blog at the end of the week and into the following week as some elderly relatives will need some assistance from us. Keep on rockin’ in the free world!

I Love 1979: My Top 40 Albums of 1979

we-love-70s_1979

When I think back to 1979, I literally smile at the memories. Musically, for me, 1979 was a terrific year. In my little world, 1979 is as important to my musical tastes as 1977 is to rock history. We are talking about a seismic year. The music that got me the most excited, punk, had completed its metamorphosis into the more pop-oriented new wave, thus beginning a five-year pop music run that was a thing of beauty. Of course, 1979 being the final chapter of the Seventies, I figured 1979 would be a predictor of what the Eighties would sound like.

5.3 frank zappa - sheik yerbouti

1979 also saw the unraveling of disco. As with most things that reach a saturation point, people will be awaiting its demise. And like most other musical revolutions, this one was buckling under its own weight caused by all of those who jumped on the bandwagon in the aftermath of the Saturday Night Fever explosion. By the middle of the Summer of 1979, when Chicago DJ Steve Dahl sponsored a “Disco Demolition Night” between games of a Chicago White Sox doubleheader. As patrons entered old Comiskey Park that night, they would drop off their disco records for Dahl’s stunt. Between games, with Dahl in centerfield, next to a large pile of hundreds of disco records. Upon Dahl’s signal, someone pushed a button which caused the pile to explode. In the aftermath, a melee began, which, along with the destroyed area of the outfield, caused the cancellation of the night cap game in the form of a forfeiture by the Sox. And, although disco never really died, it simply went underground, while also being absorbed by rap and new wave. Shortly afterwards, disco re-emerged under the banner of dance music, as it was known throughout the Eighties. Then, the Gen X-ers of the Nineties headed a small disco revival scene that lasted for a short period of time. Yet, of all the genres of popular music that exist, the most powerful remain to be disco and punk, along with metal, hip hop and bubblegum.

5.3 cheap trick - at budokan

Ultimately, 1979 stands as a transition year. Some of the biggest artists of the Seventies released albums during the year, such as Led Zeppelin, Eagles, Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac, while some hard-working second tier bands such as AC/DC and Supertramp were finally getting their time in the sun as they struck platinum with their mega-hit albums Highway to Hell and Breakfast in America. respectively. 1979 was also the year when some fresh young talent began to hit their stride, as Cheap Trick, The Knack and The Cars all had albums in the Top 10. 1979 was so crazy that even Frank Zappa had a hit album. Finally, one of the most critically-acclaimed albums of all-time was released in 1979 by The Clash, and that album is known as London Calling.

To me, all of this pointed to the fact that music was healthy and every bit as vital as it was in the Sixties. So, let’s take a look at my countdown.

5.3 the clash - london calling

  1. The Clash – London Calling
  2. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Damn the Torpedoes
  3. Cheap Trick – At Budokan
  4. Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Armed Forces
  5. Talking Heads – Fear of Music
  6. Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures
  7. The Knack – Get the Knack
  8. Pink Floyd – The Wall
  9. Michael Jackson – Off the Wall
  10. The Police – Regatta de Blanc
  11. Daryl Hall & John Oates – X-Static
  12. Chic – Risqué
  13. Led Zeppelin – In Through the Out Door
  14. Supertramp – Breakfast in America
  15. AC/DC – Highway to Hell
  16. The B-52’s – The B-52’s
  17. Ramones – Rock ‘n’ Roll High School OST
  18. The Jam – Setting Sons
  19. David Bowie – Lodger
  20. Fleetwood Mac – Tusk
  21. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Rust Never Sleeps
  22. Cheap Trick – Dream Police
  23. Blondie – Eat to the Beat
  24. The Cars – Candy-O
  25. Earth, Wind & Fire – I Am
  26. Gary Numan – The Principle Pleasure
  27. Utopia – Adventures in Utopia
  28. Buzzcocks – Singles Going Steady
  29. Rickie Lee Jones – Rickie Lee Jones
  30. Marianne Faithfull – Broken English
  31. Prince – Prince
  32. Joe Jackson – Look Sharp!
  33. Bram Tchaikovsky – Strange Man, Changed Man
  34. The Kinks – Low Budget
  35. Nick Lowe – Labour of Lust
  36. Van Halen – Van Halen II
  37. Frank Zappa – Sheik Yerbouti
  38. Donna Summer – Bad Girls
  39. Molly Hatchet – Flirtin’ with Disaster
  40. Bob Dylan – Slow Train Coming

And, there you go! That is the best I can do with 1979. Unfortunately, I have tens of more albums that could have been in this list. I left off albums by The Boomtown Rats, The Records, 20/20, Paul Collins’ The Beat, Queen, Blackfoot, Journey, Pat Benatar, among so many others. Oh well! That’s what happens when everyone releases great albums in a single year.

5.3 ac.dc - highway to hell5.3 michael jackson - off the wall

That’s a wrap on the Seventies. Next week, I will get back to album reviews before I jump into the Delorean for a trip through the Eighties in a week.

I Love 1978: My Top 40 Albums of 1978

i love the seventies_1978

I have just finished re-editing my list for 1978 because of the depth of great music. Of course, this is not a 1977-type year, but those seismic years are few and far between. Yet, this year remains something of a milestone year in rock music for this writer.

During the Summer of 1978, while the movie Grease was packing teens in the movie theaters, I was running with a couple of high school teammates and another runner from another school in a 1600-meter relay team in the old AAU state tournament. I was doing this in preparation for my running in a national track meet to be held in Fort Collins, Colorado, at Colorado State University. And, I was doing all of that running workouts while playing Babe Ruth baseball, where I made the All-Star team but turned down the honor in order to run in the AAU State Championships before my trip out west. Just for giggles, I was playing basketball in our high school basketball summer open gym workouts. Yet, for some reason, the basketball coach was very upset that I was running in those two big meets at the time. I mean, come on! I had a chance to run in a couple of meets that most kids would never get the opportunity to do just to remain at home for two weeks so I could be playing basketball. Little did Coach know, but I ran my race early in the week, then played basketball with high school and college players from all around the United States. In other words, I was playing against better competition out in the Rockies than back home. Plus, I actually met and shook hands with the great Jesse Owens while at this event. And, that, my friends, is the greatest non-family event to have occurred in my life. I have never been able to describe what is different in the person that makes them able to achieve greatness, but whatever it is, Mr. Owens had it oozing from every pore in his body; yet, he was the most humble and down-to-earth gentleman. And, it was my honor to have met him. And, that happened in 1978!

5.2 Roadmaster - Sweet Music

Additionally, in 1978, I made one of the greatest album purchases in my high school days. I remember going to the local independent record store called The Browser. This place sold music, of course, but also young men’s clothing. Still, I walked in the store after cashing my paycheck from detassling corn, and walked out with three terrific albums, all that remain as favorites to this day. The albums were The Rolling Stones’ Some Girls, Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf AND REO Speedwagon’s You Can Tune a Piano, but You Can’t Tuna Fish. To this day, it remains one of my greatest days of purchasing music.

5.2 Van_Halen_album

1978 will be remembered for disco music reaching its peak in popularity, while punk was morphing into a more accessible form known as new wave. And soundtracks were everywhere: Grease, Sgt. Pepper, Thank God It’s Friday, FM, to list a few. Arena rock was beginning to ascend in popularity. In many ways, 1978 was a transition year. Regardless, it was a solid year with much diversity.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 40 albums that I still enjoy today. Start the countdown!

5.2 Rolling Stones - Some Girls

  1. The Rolling Stones – Some Girls
  2. Van Halen – Van Halen
  3. Cheap Trick – Heaven Tonight
  4. Ramones – Road to Ruin
  5. The Cars – The Cars
  6. Blondie – Parallel Lines
  7. Bruce Springsteen – Darkness on the Edge of Town
  8. Queen – Jazz
  9. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – You’re Gonna Get It!
  10. Talking Heads – More Songs About Buildings and Food
  11. The Jam – All Mod Cons
  12. Elvis Costello – This Year’s Model
  13. The Band – The Last Waltz
  14. Devo – Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
  15. Nick Lowe – Jesus of Cool
  16. The Police – Outlandos d’Amour
  17. Jackson Browne – Running on Empty
  18. Funkadelic – One Nation Under a Groove
  19. Chic – C’est Chic
  20. Kraftwerk – The Man Machine
  21. AC/DC – If You Want Blood You’ve Got It
  22. Todd Rundgren – Hermit of Mink Hollow
  23. Doobie Brothers – Minute by Minute
  24. Ace Frehley – Ace Frehley
  25. Styx – Pieces of Eight
  26. Roadmaster – Sweet Music
  27. Thin Lizzy – Live and Dangerous
  28. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Along the Red Ledge
  29. Neil Young – Comes a Time
  30. Big Star – Third/Sister Lovers
  31. REO Speedwagon – You Can Tune a Piano, but You Can’t Tuna Fish
  32. The J. Geils Band – Sanctuary
  33. Patti Smith Group – Easter
  34. Little Feat – Waiting for Columbus
  35. The Jacksons – Destiny
  36. Warren Zevon – Excitable Boy
  37. Fotomaker – Fotomaker
  38. Bob Seger – Stranger in Town
  39. Dire Straits – Dire Straits
  40. Commodores – Natural High

5.2 Funkadelic - One Nation Under a Groove5.2 The Band - The Last Waltz

I really do feel bad for the artists whose albums were left off this list. Besides the many soundtracks that I listed earlier, The Clash, Boston, Parliament, Faith Band, Peter Gabriel, Genesis, Foreigner, Willie Nelson and Wings. However, I stand by my list, and I hope you found it a little bit interesting.

I Love 1977: My Top 40 Albums of 1977

i heart the 70s_1977

I have been so very excited about this list, that it has been difficult for me to contain myself. You see, in the history of rock music, there have been a handful of magical years that seem to capture the imagination of people who lived through it. Ask anyone who lived through 1957 and 1967, especially those who came of age during those years. 1957 had landmark music being released by the true Mt. Rushmore of Rock and Roll, with all the first year inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame dropping this music: Elvis, Buddy, Little Richard, Ray Charles, James Brown, The Killer Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, the Everly Brothers, Fats Domino and Sam Cooke. Then, 1967 came along with the Summer of Love, which began with The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper, and continued with classic music being released by Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Cream, Pink Floyd, The Who, The Byrds, Bob Dylan, Jefferson Airplane, the Stones, The Kinks, The Velvet Underground, among so many others, made that year arguably the second important year in the rock era. And, with that in mind, along came 1977. Unfortunately, if you were like me, and grew up in the Midwest of the United States, then you had to dig hard on your own to discover the greatness of this year, since unlike the aforementioned two years which were blasted over radios throughout the country.

5.1 Kiss - Love Gun

See, I transitioned from an eighth grade hotshot to a high school freshman low man on the totem pole. So, as I became more and more bored with the latest music by Neil Diamond or Foreigner being played on the radio, I began to take album reviews in magazines more seriously by adding some of those recommendations to my budding album collection. By the start of my high school years in the Fall of 1977, I was a highly regarded distance running prospect, and my album collection numbered in the 50s. What I remember the most about 1977 was the summer was dominated by Fleetwood Mac’s run of singles from their Rumours album, along with a novelty song by Alan O’Day, “Undercover Angel,” being played seemingly on the hour all summer long. And, in the fall, they gave way to a song by Debbie Boone, “You Light Up My Life,” which never sounded good to me, but for some reason convinced females all over the country to love this song. And, then by the winter, we got yet another album, a great album nonetheless, that captured society’s imagination like the soundtrack to the movie Saturday Night Fever did.

5.1 Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks

Yet, while the commercial charts were showing this stuff being popular, disco and punk were rich pools of musical standards. Look, these artists DEBUTED in 1977: Elvis Costello, Sex Pistols, The Jam, The Damned, The Clash, Cheap Trick, Blondie, Talking Heads, Meat Loaf, Television, a solo Peter Gabriel, and Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson. Talk about a murderer’s row of rock artists! All in one year! So, when I say that 1977 was a rich year for music, I am actually underselling it. And, honestly, I could have gone 75 or 80 albums deep and still not have lost any artistry in the albums. So, yes, I probably have left off your favorite album my list. Sorry! It more than likely deserved to be listed. Bottom line: 1977 was a great year for great music, despite what were hits on American Top 40.

So, let’s see what’s on my list! Let it roll!

5.1 elvis costello - my aim is true

  1. Elvis Costello – My Aim Is True
  2. Ramones – Rocket to Russia
  3. Cheap Trick – In Color
  4. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
  5. The Clash – The Clash
  6. Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols
  7. Talking Heads – 77
  8. The Jam – In the City
  9. David Bowie – “Heroes”
  10. Various Artists – Saturday Night Fever OST
  11. Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell
  12. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Street Survivors
  13. Steely Dan – Aja
  14. Billy Joel – The Stranger
  15. Jackson Browne – Running on Empty
  16. Richard Hell & the Voidoids – Blank Generation
  17. Chic – Chic
  18. Iggy Pop – Lust for Life
  19. David Bowie – Low
  20. Kiss – Love Gun
  21. Iggy Pop – The Idiot
  22. Parliament – Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome
  23. The Rubinoos – The Rubinoos
  24. Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers – L.A.M.F.
  25. Pink Floyd – Animals
  26. Bob Marley & the Wailers – Exodus
  27. Electric Light Orchestra – Out of the Blue
  28. Styx – The Grand Illusion
  29. Queen – News of the World
  30. The Damned – Damned, Damned, Damned
  31. Television – Marquee Moon
  32. Cheap Trick – Cheap Trick
  33. Randy Newman – Little Criminals
  34. Dennis Wilson – Pacific Ocean Blue
  35. Kraftwerk – Trans Europe Express
  36. AC/DC – Let There Be Rock
  37. Blondie – Plastic Letters
  38. Rush – A Farewell to Kings
  39. Ramones – Leave Home
  40. Peter Gabriel – Peter Gabriel (aka I)

5.1 Cheap_Trick_In_Color5.1 SNF OST

Oh no! I left off Heart, The Vibrators, The Saints, Earth Wind & Fire, ABBA and so many other great albums by great artists. But, can you really believe this happened in one year? I just feel so lucky to have experienced it while it was going on.

I am not a musician. But, this post has made me interested if classical music or jazz ever experienced years such as 1977 where it seemed as if everything released that year was classic? Or, is this a symptom of buy-buy-buy economy?