Top 40 – A Retrospective – 1984

George Orwell predicted we’d live under totalitarian rule, under the watchful eye of Big Brother. Instead we were all watching MTV.

Apple computers launched the first PC. (see video)

The Smiths’ first album. Robert Smith joined Siouxsie and the Banshees. Tina Turner returned. U2 became the biggest band in the world. Somewhere, your favourite dilettante would root through daddy’s music collection and steal the first three Police albums on cassette.

The Smiths

Does the body rule the mind or does the mind rule the body? I don’t know.

This is actually my favourite Smiths album, and the one I listen to more than any other. It makes me sweetly melancholy.

I once played this song at a coffee house and had someone throw their panties on stage. Such is the power of Morrissey.

Marillion – Fugazi

This is a dark and nasty album, through and through. There are some amazing lyrics — JIGSAW has an amazing metaphor in it about being Siamese children connected by the heart, holding the word scalpels on trembling lips.

But the title track is something magnificent.

King Crimson – Three of a Perfect Pair

Their previous effort, Beat was a bit too ‘pop’ for me — though the track Neal and Jack and Me is a favourite. This is a return to mind-boggling performances — check out the tapping on Sleepless.

Bob Marley – Legend

True, this is a greatest hits album — but did you know it’s one of the best-selling greatest hits albums of all time? I just recently re-purchased it on red, yellow and green vinyl — an anniversary edition re-issue.

Tina Turner – Private Dancer***

Tina returns. I just rediscovered this album, actually — I’d forgotten how good it was. Did you realize she does a cover of Bowie’s 1984 from Diamond Dogs? So weird.

The title track, which re-launched her career, was composed by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits.

Bruce Cockburn – Stealing Fire

My favourite Bruce Cockburn album, and one that should be on everyone’s shelf for these two songs alone.

Siouxsie & The Banshees – Hyaena

Their first album on a major label, Robert Smith is in the band! Terrible music video, but this is a great song.

Prince – Purple Rain

You cannot find any Prince songs on YouTube. Seriously. You’ve heard Purple Rain and When Doves Cry, though, right?

Depeche Mode – Some Great Reward

Yes, it’s got Master and Servant, and Blasphemous Rumours and People are People…. but it’s also got this beautiful love song.

U2 – The Unforgettable Fire

I really should share one of many live versions of this song, which is an amazing anthem about heroin addiction — but here’s the album version of BAD — the first of the Eno/Lanois years for U2 that would make them the biggest band in the world.

Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense

Best live album ever? Perhaps.

Bryan Adams – Reckless

You’re going to have to cut me some slack on this one. I was nine years old when this album came out, and it was HUGE. In the early ’80s the Canadian government, in order to promote Canadian culture, introduced CAN-CON laws — Canadian content, and suddenly, guys like Bryan Adams were getting massive airplay (see also, Corey Hart, Honeymoon Suite, Glass Tiger, Red Rider, Alannah Myles, Kim Mitchell) when they likely shouldn’t have, by virtue of being Canadian.

EVERY song off this fucking album got played on the radio. I remember going to buy it at the record store and it was sold out! When does that happen? Instead of saving my $10, I went to the book store and bought a collection of short stories by George R. R. Martin called Sandkings which I own to this day. So get off my back about a little nostalgia.

Don Henley – Building the Perfect Beast

Former Eagles makes good — “Out on the road today I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac.” Epic.


5 responses to “Top 40 – A Retrospective – 1984

  1. Thank you for leaving off “Born In The USA.” Seriously.

    How’s about The Pretenders? Strangely enough, I think I appreciate Chrissie Hynde more in retrospect than I did at the time. Talk about a survivor!

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