80’s Music Rules ~ My Top Ten 80’s LPs

Before I embark down this slippery slope, I want to preface it with the caveat that this is a purely subjective list. Anytime anyone is asked to come up with favorite *anythings* the resulting list must be viewed from the perspective of my mother, whose favorite saying is, “Everybody’s taste is different. That’s what makes the world go ‘round.” Well put, Mom.

This was a difficult task, indeed. Ask any audiophile to pare their list of favorite music collections down to a mere 10, and the frustration level is sure to climb quickly. It’s tantamount to asking a long-distance runner which leg they’d like to sacrifice, or a hoarder which pet they’d like to keep. OK, maybe it’s not all that bad, but it’s certainly not a walk in the park.

After much consideration, I have narrowed my list of well-loved 80’s LPs to the very paltry ten listed below. This was a thought-provoking and extremely painful process. There are no explanations (excuses) as to why, only a profound sense of loss when imagining not being able to hear these treasures again. Yes, I know the Gary Numan selection missed the 80’s by a year….but it’s my blog and my rules. Feel free to chime in with your own list – I’m always happy to see what floats someone else’s boat.

Armoury Show – Waiting For The Floods (1985)
“Waiting For The Floods” via YouTube user RNregina:

Chameleons – Strange Times (1986)
“Soul In Isolation” via YouTube user LefthandOfDarkness:

Gary Numan – The Pleasure Principle (1979)
“Metal” via YouTube user amenka:

Japan – Quiet Life (1980)
“All Tomorrow’s Parties” via YouTube user ghostsonatasong:

The Lucy Show – Undone (1985)
“This Is No Heaven” via YouTube user Robertpere1:

Peter Murphy – Wild Birds (1985-1995)
“Indigo Eyes” via YouTube user sweatingfretboards:

Roxy Music – Avalon (1982)
“Avalon (Live)” via YouTube user higmadon:

Simple Minds – Sons & Fascination (1981)
“Love Song” via YouTube user Dexbam:

Strange Advance – Worlds Away (1982)
“Worlds Away” via YouTube user mysweeteventhorizon:

Vis-A-Vis – Heart and Soul (1985)
“I Am The Night (Colour Me Black)” via YouTube user JAMR1977:

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

chameleons1The Chameleons (aka The Chameleons UK) – and in particular Mark Burgess – created a host of incredible post-punk music during the 80’s and beyond. Burgess stormed that period with an immeasurable talent for songwriting that evoked (and still does) an array of deeply felt emotions and clear visuals. Poetic imagery laced with drama-infused vocals completes a very poignant picture with each and every song.

 

The Chameleons formed in Middleton, England in 1981. The original band was comprised of singer chameleons2and bassist Mark Burgess, guitarist Reg Smithies, guitarist Dave Fielding, and drummer John Lever. From my perspective, the band used what was to become known as “shoe-gaze” guitar  (fuzzy, distorted hooks) a good 10-15 years before that sound took hold as a specific genre. It complimented the moodiness of each song, whether happy or sad, in a particularly successful fashion

 

Their best-known single, Swamp Thing, is a mesmerizing blend of jangle guitar interspersed with thrumming bass and provocative lyrics. Widespread release of Swamp Thing earned the Chameleons a very loyal and devoted following, but not anything of the magnitude that this band deserved. One very dark song in particular haunts me in a way that is difficult to describe: Soul In Isolation. It became my mantra during a very dark period in my life and feels like an old friend each time I play it. That song hosted my innermost fears and deepest secrets, much like a best friend in time of need.

 

Burgess and company continue to tour and play timeless, meaningful music. Give them a visit on their website: http://www.thechameleons.com/ (Author’s note – the website seems to be down at the time of this writing – I’m hoping this is just a temporary occurrence). If you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing The Chameleons in action, treat yourself. If it has been a while since you’ve listened, take the time to get reacquainted. This is a vitally important band with a lot to say in a manner that will hook you in.

 

“Soul In Isolation” via YouTube user LefthandOfDarkness:

 

“Up The Down Escalator” via YouTube user martind1000:

 

“Monkeyland” via YouTube user martind1000:

 

Purchase The Chameleons chameleons3

 

Discography (via Wikipedia):

  • 1983 Script of the Bridge (Statik; issued 1984 on MCA in the US; reissued 2008 as 25th Anniversary 2CD edition)
  • 1985 What Does Anything Mean? Basically (Statik)
  • 1986 Strange Times (Geffen)
  • 2000 Strip (Paradiso)
  • 2001 Why Call It Anything? (Artful)
  • 2002 This Never Ending Now (Paradiso)

 

Compilations (via Wikipedia):

  • 1986 The Fan and the Bellows (Hybrid)
  • 1990 John Peel Sessions (Strange Fruit)
  • 1992 Here Today…Gone Tomorrow (Imaginary)
  • 1993 The Radio 1 Evening Show Sessions (Nighttracks)
  • 1993 Dali’s Picture/Live in Berlin (Imaginary)
  • 1994 Northern Songs (Bone Idol)
  • 1997 Return of the Roughnecks: The Best of the Chameleons (2CD) (Dead Dead Good)