80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ The Alarm

Here’s a band that has been unfairly derided, criticized, and just downright ignored. This is a classic case of being on the wrong side of the “media darling” fence and suffering for it. My pet peeve is music “critics” and radio station business suits who dictate to me what I should like and what I should listen to. The upshot of that nonsense is simply having missed out on some tremendously gifted 80’s bands and artists in favor of the flavor-of-the-month mainstream dreck like Cher, Michael Jackson, and (*gag me with a fork*) Madonna, just to name a few of the usual suspects.

When I first seriously started to listen to the Alarm, it was a good 20 years after they released their first LP. I couldn’t recall hearing any of their songs during the 80’s in the southeast region of the US. Back then, if it wasn’t the aforementioned crap on a stick passed off as classic 80’s music, heavy metal, or the requisite “you live in the south, so here’s some twangy country” pablum, it simply wasn’t aired. Occasionally, I would catch a glimmer of something really good on early MTV, before music politics and money-based bottom line drove that venue into the ground faster than you could say “AOR.”

But, I digress; back to The Alarm. Comprised of Mike Peters (vocals, guitars, harmonica), Dave Sharp (guitars), Eddie Macdonald (bass), and Nigel Twist (drums), the band formed in Wales in 1981, evolved from a punk band named The Toilets that had been kicking around since 1977. One of the reasons this band has been unfairly criticized is due to their chance meeting with Ian Wilson, then U2’s manager. Wilson liked what he heard and became The Alarm’s manager as well, arranging a show with The Alarm as the opening act for U2. Several more appearances supporting U2 were born from this success.

Two years later, The Alarm became the opening act on U2’s US tour. In my humble opinion, the close proximity to U2 both in sharing a stage and a manager led to the constant assessment of how they stood up to U2. Rather than stand on their own merits, the ubiquitous comparisons were a lazy way for critics to find a baseline for what they were writing.

Do yourself a favor: Listen to The Alarm with an open mind and remove the U2 connection entirely from the equation. What you will hear is a great 80’s band who could more than stand their own against other tremendous bands of the day including Big Country and yes, even U2. It’s a good thing I believe in the philosophy of “better late than never.” Otherwise, given the limited on-air music selection deep in the bowels of the southeast US, I would have lived my entire life without hearing some of the greatest bands/ artists the 80’s had to offer, including The Alarm.

“Strength” via YouTube user backporchvideos:

“Rain In The Summertime” via YouTube user coconuthodges:

“Rescue Me” via YouTube user backporchvideos:

“Presence Of Love” via YouTube user elizaanddarcy:

 Purchase The Alarm music here.

80’s Discography

Eponymous (EP 1983)

Declaration(1984)

Strength(1985)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eye Of The Hurricane(1987)

Electric Folklore Live(1988)

Change(1989)

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10 thoughts on “80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ The Alarm

  1. Hey ((((Robert)))))

    Thanks for your comment and affirmation that this is a great band.

    All the best,
    MissP
    xo

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  2. Hi MissP,
    The Alarm is one of my favorite bands since I heard their single “Spirit of ’76” from the album Strength. “Absolute Reality”, “Rain in the Summertime” and “Rescue Me” were also big hits here in my country, the Philippines. When I got a copy of “Electric Folklore Live”, I was ecstatic and disappointed at the same time. The 6 songs included in the live album just wasn’t enough to quench my thirst for this band. When “Change” came out, I got it right away and played it over and over. However, the original line-up’s last studio album, “Raw” somehow escaped my radar. It’s the only album I haven’t heard up to now. While I still have a high regard for Mike Peters, the new line-up just didn’t quite excite me as they did back in the 80’s.

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  3. Hey (((((McDoc)))))

    Thanks so much for your thoughts on and experiences with the music of The Alarm. I came across fairly recent videos on YouTube of the Alarm. so I had a feeling they were still around. What you said confirms that, and also speaks to the “modern” version of many bands that have survived the 80’s – if the line-up is different, it lacks the magic it had back in the 80’s. Some bands that have managed to survive intact still sound fantastic (“A-Ha,” “Simple Minds,” and “Depeche mode” for example).

    Hope all is well with you – so great to hear from you again! 🙂

    Hugs,
    MissP
    xo

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  4. One of my faves as well. I, too fell in love with them when I heard “Spirit of 76”. I was listening to Rain in Summertime just the other day so it is perfect timing that you post something about this great band.

    cheers,

    moezy

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  5. Thanks (((((((((Moezy)))))))))))

    They are a band that I love to revisit from time to time.

    All the best,
    MissP
    xo

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  6. I love the really early stuff from The Alarm – “The Stand” and “The Deceiver” in particular are all time favorites. I sort of lost interest in them after “Strength,” but was always glad to see they were still recording. 😀

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  7. Heya ((((Joey)))) – Great to “see” you! Yes, The Alarm had some very notable music – definitely worth digging out of the vault.

    Have a fabulous weekend!

    Hugs,
    MissP
    xo

    Like

  8. I saw the Alarm in concert twice in the 80’s and never considered them anything like U2 (who I have always intensely disliked). I was certainly into mainstream pop (Duran Duran being one of my favourites), but somehow managed to stumble across the Alarm with the help of my brother who was a fan first. You are right, a seriously underrated band!

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