80’s Music Rules ~ Angelic 80’s Voices

Favorite music, favorite singers, favorite anything, really, is purely subjective. We all have different tastes and criteria that float each of our individual boats. So, I don’t expect people to agree with my selections for this entry, and readily admit up front that this is completely based on my own personal preferences.

That said, there were some outstanding male voices that emerged throughout my favorite music decade.

Iva Davies – Frontman for the iconic Australian band Icehouse, Iva Davies has a voice that easily spans several scales. Recently, I came across a cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes” that Davies nailed as well, if not better, than the Thin White Duke himself. Operatic, earnest, and flooded with emotion that envelops listeners and transports them to a place far within themselves, Davies’ voice is easily recognizable and welcomed when an escape from the cruel, cold world is prescribed. Enjoy the following performance given a full 30 years after breaking onto the music scene.

 Heroes” via YouTube user Maiblume4:

 Morten Harket – Nothing I can possibly say will do justice to Morten Harket’s voice. The amazing thing about this man is that his singing has gotten even better over the years. Best known for his work with A-Ha and the heavily rotated song “Take On Me,” Harket has continued to knock audiences out with his stunning vocals. A few months ago I featured Harket and A-Ha as “Criminally Underrated” because of the widespread assumption that they were “one-hit wonders.” Not true. Both Harket solo and along with a re-formed A-Ha continue to record and perform before sell-out audiences all over the world. The following is just one example of what he is capable of two decades after his world debut.

 “Darkspace” via YouTube user callimitty:

Bryan Ferry – Widely noted for his work with Roxy Music, Ferry’s career began in 1970, but blossomed in the 80’s with his newly re-formed version of the band. Ferry’s voice may not have the range of Harket’s or Davies’, but it is unmistakably gorgeous and sexy. “More Than This” is one of the most beautiful, long-lived love songs from the 80’s. More than 25 years after first hearing this song, I still swoon with overwhelming emotion when I play it. Bryan Ferry gave a world-class performance at the historic Apollo in 2001 and continues to thrill audiences worldwide. I can’t, and don’t even want to imagine my music collection minus Ferry’s seductive crooning. I know this: “Flesh and Blood” and “Avalon” (among other Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music LPs) were intimate friends that saw me through difficult times in the 80’s. Live from the Apollo and still incredibly sexy:

“My Only Love” via YouTube user azija44:

David Sylvian – I have heard that David Sylvian is not fond of his voice during his early Japan days. It’s true that he managed to mask a sultry, sexy, and hypnotic voice under a layer of post-punk glib for several years. When the “real” Sylvian finally emerged, it was as though he were taken over and possessed by aliens, the transformation was that dramatic. Post-Japan, Sylvian’s voice is mellow, hypnotic, and fabulously expressive. He continues to evolve, lyrically and musically with a voice that, like Morten Harket’s and fine wine, grows ever better with age. Whenever I need to curl up with a voice that transports me beyond the daily stresses and annoyances, Sylvian’s, via the LPs “Gone to Earth” or “Secrets of the Beehive” is one of the first to come to mind. Meanwhile, this is a fabulous example of David Sylvian live:

 When Poets Dreamed Of Angels” via YouTube user samadhisound:

Freddie Mercury – Somehow I feel that anything I write about Mercury’s voice has either a) already been written, or b) is woefully inadequate. The best I can do is to describe Mercury’s voice as a finely-tuned instrument, and that he was its master musician. The depth and range of Mercury’s voice knew no bounds. The members of his band Queen could only accompany him, rather than augment what was a superior and vital part of their sound. His untimely death in 1991 was the music industry’s and the world’s devastating loss. I firmly believe that he would have continued to evolve, always remaining elevated above the mere mortals of the music world. Freddie Mercury holding his own beautifully with opera singer Montserrat Cabelle in what would be his last performance:

 “Barcelona” via YouTube user buckey888:

80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Bands/Artists ~ Morten Harket

I am going to feature at least one criminally underrated band or artist each week. To qualify, the band/artist must be well-known for one 80’s song, leading unsuspecting (and clueless) people like me to wrongfully determine that they were “one-hit wonders,” never to be heard from again.

A-Ha/Morten Harket

The band A-Ha was known here in the states during the 80’s for the quirky tune “Take on Me” featuring impossible vocals, lots of synthesizer, and an animated video that blended real footage with sketchy line drawings. A delightfully funny send-up emerged on YouTube not too long ago, inspiring me to look further into what the band had produced in the 20 or so years following.

I was stunned by the treasure trove that I uncovered. Morten Harket, at times along with A-Ha, and at other times solo, has been very prolific musically speaking. His voice has remained a remarkable instrument of range and emotion, and his songs have evolved over time to be relevant and current. Added to this, the man has hardly aged physically.

From the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in 1998, a truly beautiful song with an impossibly long note:

A-Ha ~ Summer Moved On (via Peremarquette1225 on YouTube)

Jump ahead ten years to 2008 and yet another album release. This video is a live performance of “Darkspace” from Morten Harket’s latest album “Letter From Egypt.” Lower, darker and moodier, Harket’s voice is still strong and satisfying:

Morten Harket ~ Darkspace (via Oximets on YouTube)

Dear Santa, if you’re listening: I’d really love to have “Letter From Egypt” for Christmas.