80’s Music Rules ~ Angelic 80’s Voices ~ Part Two

In August 2009, I featured five of what I considered “angelic voices” from the 80’s – Morten Harket, Bryan Ferry, Iva Davies, David Sylvian, and Freddie Mercury. Continuing that theme, I would like to add five more singers to that list, with a slight twist.

This list is purely subjective, 100% male, and comprised of singers that I feel should be showcased for their power, range, and creativity. One singer is not from the 80’s era, but encompasses all that made David Bowie and Iva Davies outstanding 80’s vocalists, and whose music is definitely retro. Let’s start with him.

Colin Troy – I have previously featured his group, Slave To The SQUAREwave, along with manager and keyboardist, Rob Stuart. Colin’s voice has incredible range. Bowie-esque and emotive, Colin far surpasses Bowie in style and technique. S2TSW, as a whole, is a formidable contemporary group, and Colin’s voice catapults them out of the park and into the stratosphere.

Sinners of Saint Avenue” via YouTube user Sparksmusic:

Peter Murphy – Known for his work with 80’s goth band Bauhaus, Peter Murphy struck out on his own and established himself as an extraordinary vocalist. Love Hysteria is a solid collection of Peter Murphy songs and a great primer for those not familiar with his music. When work is overwhelming, Murphy is a favorite iPod selection to take me away from harsh reality and into more bearable surroundings.

Indigo Eyes” via YouTube user sweating fretboards:

Rude Van Steenes – Frontman for the criminally underrated and heartbreakingly short-lived Canadian band Vis-A-Vis, Rude’s voice is a strong and compelling instrument. Both of my fave Djs, David Marsden and Ed-FM have done their best to keep this important sound alive on the airways. Check out the very few Vis-A-Vis offerings on YouTube and you, too, will fall under Rude’s spell.

Shadow Play” via YouTube user RudeVanSteenes:

Darryl Kromm – Lead singer for another criminally underrated Canadian band, Strange Advance, Kromm provides vocals that are soothing, lush, and a treat for your ears. In addition to a backing band that nails every Strange Advance song we were lucky to hear, Kromm’s voice set an 80’s standard that most heavily-rotated singers could only aspire to.

Worlds Away” via YouTube user mysweeteventhorizon:

Paul Humphrey – Blue Peter is one of my all-time favorite criminally underrated Canadian bands. Humphrey gave (and still gives) a first-rate performance somewhat reminiscent of David Byrne on steroids. As with all the bands and artists that never received the recognition they were due, it makes me wonder what Byrne had that Humphrey did not. In my mind, the answer is, “Nothing.”

“Don’t Walk Past” via YouTube user johnmcboston:

80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ (Much More Than) One-Hit Wonders

It’s time to go on a rant about extraordinarily gifted artists and bands who were unfairly labeled “one-hit wonders.” Oftentimes, these artists were not properly promoted after charting; although they continued producing incredible music, the powers that be at the record companies and radio stations turned a deaf ear in order to promote the next flavor of the month. We, the listeners, were the big losers.

So much fantastic music from the 80’s has since been unearthed, that it’s not even necessary to listen to the contemporary repetitive swill out there. My iPod has 10 days’ worth of obscure 80’s listening gems. Each week, when I listen to the champions of the little guys, David Marsden and Ed-FM, I am treated to even more music that wasn’t promoted, that should have been, and that absolutely rocks.

This week will showcase three wrongly identified “one-hit wonders.” I urge you, if you haven’t already done so, to explore and enjoy their music. You will discover music your ears have been longing for, that will soothe your soul, and make you fall in love with your speakers all over again.

Gary Numan

Numan’s first group, Tubeway Army, scored big hits with “Cars” and “Are Friends Electric” back in the late 70’s/early 80’s. Since then, Gary Numan has been a very busy man, working hard to reinvent himself and finally finding success with a move to a decidedly Goth/Industrial/Dark Wave genre. Starting in the mid-90’s, Numan hit his stride with the albums Sacrifice, Exile, Pure, Hybrid, Jagged, and the latest, Dead Son Rising (sheduled to be released later in 2010). Never heard of them? If you enjoy Dark Wave, do yourself a huge favor and check them out. Both Trent Reznor and Marilyn Manson have cited Numan as an influence. Exile and Hybrid are personal favorites of mine. Gary Numan has transcended Tubeway Army in a huge way and deserves much more than the limited success of the past 15 years.


“Absolution” via YouTube user Patrickingham21:

“Exile” via YouTube user MollyClark4430:

“Haunted” via YouTube user Industrial82:

Modern English

Modern English scored a big hit in the 80’s with “I Melt With You.” If you haven’t taken the time to listen to any other of their eclectic 80’s tunes, you are cheating your ears out of pure pleasure in a big way. Their four 80’s LPs were Mesh and Lace (1981), After the Snow (1982), Ricochet Days (1984), and Stop Start (1986). My personal favorite is “Someone’s Calling” from the After The Snow LP. Definitely take the time to go back and check out any Modern English music you may not have heard the first time around. This band deserved to be more than a “don’t blink or you’ll miss them” phenomenon.

“Someone’s Calling” via YouTube user ealdrett:

“Ink and Paper” via YouTube user delahuerta:

Blue Peter

Virtually unknown outside of Canada, Blue Peter enjoyed a couple of hits with “Don’t Walk Past” and “Radio Silence.” The band, led by Paul Humphrey, continues to play in and around Toronto to this day. If you like the style of David Byrne, front man of Talking Heads, you’ll love Blue Peter. Humphrey embodies all that is great about Byrne, with a little David Bowie and Bryan Ferry thrown in for fun. Criminally underrated doesn’t even begin to describe Blue Peter’s talent. Even if you were lucky enough to have heard either of their hits back in the 80’s, chances are you missed out on gems such as “Falling,” “Take Me to War.” “All Your Time,” “Unchained Heart,” and “Video Verite.”


“Don’t Walk Past” via YouTube user johnmcboston:

“I Walk Alone” via YouTube user orbitalpopdog:

“Video Verite” via YouTube user orbitalpopdog: