Sunday 7 October 2007

The Eighties- Oh, But There Was Style!

Whatever people say, there was something very stylish about the early eighties. Until Stock, Aitken and Waterman appeared with their nasty little mission to turn the whole world of music into a processing machine for Belinda Carlisle clones and Boy Bands, music hit a state of brilliance, it has never quite found since.

There was so much great music produced in the early eighties, so many great bands were formed then, or produced their greatest works in that period.

I find the eighties a paradoxical time. Like the renaissance, it was very dark in social terms, a decade of greed, selfishness and the systematic destruction of a sense of social responsibility.
But in artistic terms, certainly in Music and Films, it was a peak.

As some of you will know, many of my favourite groups originated in this period; notably Depeche Mode and New Order, but also The Human League, Heaven 17 and several others.
The three tracks I've chosen here are examples of eighties tracks I love for their sense of style and sophistication; they ooze city lights, luxury and good times.

If eighties music is not your cup of tea, or you are interested in matters of thought, I've done a post at Imagined Community, which may interest you.

Lastly, although this may seem an odd place to mention it, I'm very flattered to appear in Iain Dale's top 500 UK political blogs.
I'm not sure how I appear in this work at all, but all I can say is I am extremely honoured and a big thankyou to those who thought I deserved a place in it (174- that's really not bad going for a little blog like this).

I hope you enjoy these tracks and enjoy the rest of your weekend!



Anonymous said...

You can't beat 80's music! What a fantastic decade for great tunes!

Anonymous said...

There were definitely some great film, literary, artistic, and music moments in the eighties, but the Renaissance? Nah, not even close. If you could say there was a Renaissance in the twentieth century, I would say it started with the Harlem art movement in the twenties yeah it took forty more years to trickle into the mainstream, but that period rocked the WORLD. maybe I'll write about it.

Anonymous said...

I believe you beat me by neuf points. Well done.

Anonymous said...

I think the Brits had the market on Eighties music, especially with the bands you mention and others such as, Spandau Ballet, Eurythmics, Thompson Twins, Culture Club, Duran Duran, Soft Cell, Tears for Fears, not to forget the "American gone Brit," Madonna.

The eighties were a time of reidentification on many social fronts and will go down as such.

Anonymous said...

We never hear any of this stuff on mainstream radio - it's as though it is the lost era. I'm fed up with hearing Stones, Bowie, Roxy Music - as though these are the sum total of our musical past. It's clear that the money men determine the playlists.

Scot Aitken and Waterman were a disaster for the music industry and I don't think British music has ever really recovered from it.

Anonymous said...

Plod- I've always thought so, eighties music occupies four shelves on my CD cabinet.
It was such a creative perod, a time when the music in the charts was stuff REAL music afficionados listened to.

Helen- I didn't say it WAS the renaissance, but it certainly had similarities. There are several early eighties tracks which have a technical perfection and sophistication that seems to be ignored now.

Blue Monday is possibly the paradigm.

Jeremy- I'm not sure exactly how it was calculated, but I think there was some stiff competetion. Just looking at the blogs in the 150-200 mark, off the top of my head, there were Lynne Featherstone MP, and Adam Price MP. So maybe we can all quietly smile a little.

Alexys- I don't have any Thompson twins (though i keep meaning to get some) or culture club. The rest are represented in my collection, Tears for Fears in their entirity.

I agree that the UK certainly still led the way in music in the eighties, hard to judge if it still does.
I think, being realistic, both the UK and the US have become more insular markets.

E-K- Have you ever tuned into Heart FM? They play a lot of eighties stuff.

Stock Aitken and Waterman killed the Music Industry, no doubt about it.
Seeing him and Simon Cowell doing their horrid pop Idol thing as if they are heroes makes me sick.
Makinng a virtue out of turning music into a hit machine.

Anonymous said...

I think it all depends on 'your' era. I love early 90's music. Not saying the 80's wasnt fantastic, I just like hearing tunes from the 90's.
Congrats on the top 500. "applause"

Anonymous said...

Some of todays greatest artists also arose in the eighties. Most notable U2.

Anonymous said...

You did not mention Kajagoogoo or Bananarama - who are planning a reunion I was horrified to hear!!

Anonymous said...

oh nostalgia! U2 are still going strong, and so are Depech Mode!

Anonymous said...

Yes they were amazing! I hope you don't mind my borrowing them for my musical collection blog? I shove everything shiny, happy, cool and otherwise in there...

Stock, Aitken, Waterman... I totally agree with you... hey where ARE you? I thought you were American... surely YOU didn't have to suffer the dreadful allthesamesounding SAW too...?

ALL of their productions sounded like the work of one group... only the vocalists ever changed. And in an era dominated by the thunky cowbell this was denigrationally lacking from any SAW track which I thought really shoved the final nail in their musical coffin...

I did like Sinitta though. She was sexy....

Righto. Great post!!

Shade to Grey is the best song on there!

All the best 2u



Anonymous said...

Scribble- Smooth Operator is the only one I am old enough to actually remeber being released, I developed my real; appreciation of eighties music in my late teens and early twenties, mainly because I loved Depeche Mode and New Order.
The Music I mainly listened to as a teenager was The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers and the like.

Phish- Indeed, the eighties bands have shown amazing survival skills. I've not seen U" live, but I have seen Depeched Mode and the Human League, and they're still amazing live today.

Mutley- I do have some Bananarama, but on a more serious level, I do like Shakespeare's Sister- especially the album Hormonally Yours.

Crashie- When I went to see Depeche at the NEC in 2001, the touts were selling tickets for about £150 quid. There wasn't an empty seat in the Arena. I'd got ours six months in advance.
To be honest, I was near hysterical- I was twenty feet away from David Gahan.

Gledwood- Help yourself- I think it's great we have this ability to access music videos this way.

I think the Music scene now is mixed, a lot of nasty pop idol stuff, a lot of dreary R&B, but there are some very good indie bands.
Just nothing...stylish.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but what about the hair? And the shoulder pads?

I have mixed feelings about the '80s.

Anonymous said...

...a decade of greed, selfishness and the systematic destruction of a sense of social responsibility...

Sadly it was and the music fitted it well. It started out all right with Madness and the like and then went down. New Order also did that. Started out well and then sort of lost it.

Culture Club, Duran, Duran - don't know but it was pretty dire.

Strangely, for someone my age I remember the 90s better.

Anonymous said...

Bananarama - utter shite.

Anonymous said...

I missed the 80s. I had children.

Anonymous said...

Cheer up Liz. If you missed the 80's, you got to see the seventies (and maybe) sixties too!

Anonymous said...

Ruthie- The early eighties was quite stylish, it got less so.

I think the fact was, we had genuine icons then, rather than celeb culture.

James- I don't know, I like quite a bit of New Order's later stuff- Discotheque and Republic are both good albums.

Duran Duran, ah well, they are boys from my town, so...

This is Planet Earth is classic, dark, brooding, industrial.

E-K- Oh, but Siobhan Fahey...

Liz- I was one.

Phish- There was a track came out recently, a fairly commercial piece which contained the line 'I've got love for you if you were born in the eighties'.
Sadly, I'm out of that category- just.

Anonymous said...

How funny! I love Blondie The original rapper song! I lived thru the 80s and loved every minute of it. I so love Dire Straits,The Cars, The Pretenders, Robert Plant, INXS!!, Devo, The Ramones, The Romantics, Wall of Voodoo, Fabulous Thunderbirds, and of course my all time fav Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble! Rock on!

Anonymous said...

maybe I am todd but who is Waterman and Aitkin??