Tuesday, May 06, 2008
The 1980's was not a great decade for me when it came to music appreciation, since I was semi-comatose for much of the time. To be truthful, my strongest musical memory is listening to the Cocteau Twins. I liked them so much I (unwittingly) bought several of their albums twice.
However, even though I bottomed out in 1988, and much of the decade leading up to that occasion was a vague blur, several things stand out: the heady early days of MTV, the cheap synthy sound of the new romantic movement (I can't bring myself to capitalize that phrase), one-hit wonders like "99 Luftballoons," a trip to Barbados that was highlighted by discovering the great Calypso pop singer Mighty Gabby.
My own musical aspirations ground to a halt in 1982 after I did a "poetry reading" at the Mudd Club organized by Lydia Lunch and featuring Thurston Moore, Nick Cave and several other downtown performers way better known than I was. The audience was expecting music and was not happy with our recitations. One by one we were booed and heckled.
I personally take great pride in the experience since I backed myself up with prerecorded drum tracks long before anyone I knew was doing that sort of thing. But nevertheless, by that point I had already started my adddiction-fueled descent into lethargy, and I never performed again. Nor did I listen very closely to music, at least for a while.
Chapter Two of my 80's musical experience occurred after I got sober in 1988. The last thing I bought before I went to rehab was John Hiatt's "Bring the Family," and the first time I played it was the day I came back to work. I couldn't have picked a better album to celebrate my sobriety - Hiatt was a newly sober guy singing honestly and with humor about his everyday life - and it set the tone for the kind of music I would listen to not only for the rest of the decade but well into the 90's.
1. I Can Dream About You - Dan Hartman
2. Anything Can Happen - Was (Not Was)
3. On the Roof - The Feelies
4. Nena - 99 Luftballoons
5. Over the Hillside - Blue Nile
6. The Paris Match (Tracy Thorn Version) - Style Council
7. Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? - Culture Club
8. Borderline - Madonna
9. Blue Monday - New Order
10. Do It Again/Billie Jean Medley - Club House
11. Black Coffee in Bed - Squeeze
12. Here Comes Alice - Jesus and Mary Chain
13. She Bangs the Drum - Stone Roses
14. Bastards of Young - The Replacements
15. There Is a Light That Never Goes Out - The Smiths
16. Talk of the Town - Pretenders
17. Fisherman's Blues - The Waterboys
18. If I Had a Boat - Lyle Lovett
19. Anchorage - Michelle Shocked
20. On the Streets of This Town - Steve Forbert
21. Snowin' On Raton - Townes Van Zandt
22. The Way It Always Starts - Gerry Rafferty & Mark Knopfler
23. Slow Turning - John Hiatt
(This is a long one.)