Tag Archive: 1980s

  • Great British Band: Tears for Fears

    Tears for Fears, Mad World

    Not the most cheerful band, Tears for Fears. In fact, most of their early output focussed on repressed childhood trauma and Primal Therapy. Hence, probably not the ideal pop group to go for a night out with – unless you’re the kind who likes to end the evening with everyone silently looking down at a table, not wanting to be the first to leave. That said, at times they could be excellent. Such as above…

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  • Top 40 UK Number Ones, part 4

    1-10

    The Beatles Rain

    Now, after a week of carrot-dangling, we’re finally at the summit – celebrating the greatest UK Number One singles of all time. Each one is brilliant for a reason. The Kinks make the list for introducing the world to an early incarnation of rock music with “You Really Got Me“. Sinead O’Connor’s heartfelt rendition of a song written by Prince remains one of the most angry and emotional love songs of all time. The Rolling Stones had many decent smash hits, but “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” kicks all of them right in the underpants. “Billie Jean” makes the cut for not only being one of Jackson’s finest, but also because it’s one of his WEIRDEST – that people still dance enthusiastically to a song about an insane delusional fan is completely brilliant. The Beach Boys managed two UK Number One’s, the first of which, “Good Vibrations”, is a masterpiece of musical arrangement, and possibly the electro-theremin‘s finest hour. Paul Hardcastle managed to mix the dialogue from a documentary about post-traumatic stress disorder,Vietnam Requiem”, with serious synthesizers to make a dance record with an ideology. “Ghost Town” by The Specials also veered into the pop charts waving a political flag, this time spookily condemning Thatcher’s Britain, and creating a truly eerie pop/reggae fusion. The Jam kept “Golden Brown” by The Stranglers off the top spot with Weller’s ode to Woking, which is also a great rock record to dance to – just watch “Billy Elliot” if you don’t believe us. Althea and Donna were a shock one week/one hit wonder back in 1978, thanks to some sterling work by the late, great John Peel – if there is such thing as a cult number one, then this is it. And The Beatles were always going to be sitting somewhere near the top, and, as it is, they snatched the crown with probably the greatest A/B side combination of them all – “Paperback Writer” and (the EVEN BETTER) “Rain”. Only two other A/B combos came into contention throughout the 40 – “Penny Lane”/”Strawberry Fields”, until we realised that it didn’t make it to the top of the charts, it peaked at Number 2. And “Start”/”Liza Radley” by The Jam. But, in the end, this one prevailed, whilst the other two didn’t. Hence, this is our best Top Ten ever. Enjoy…

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    1A. The Beatles, Paperback Writer (1966)

    1B. The Beatles, Rain (1966)

    2. Althea and Donna, Uptown Top Ranking (1978)

    3. The Jam, A Town Called Malice (1982)

    4. The Specials, Ghost Town (1981)

    5. Paul Hardcastle, 19 (1985)

    6. The Beach Boys, Good Vibrations (1966)

    7. Michael Jackson, Billie Jean (1983)

    8. The Rolling Stones, Satisfaction (1965)

    9. Sinead O’Connor, Nothing Compares 2 U (1990)

    10. The Kinks, You Really Got Me (1964)

    Top 40 UK Number Ones, part 1

    Top 40 UK Number Ones, part 2

    Top 40 UK Number Ones, part 3

  • Great British Band: Talk Talk

    Talk Talk, Life’s What You Make It

    If you’re after a slightly darker version of Duran Duran, then can we recommend Talk Talk? They’re another band who chose to use the same word twice in their band name, as if to really hammer the point home, and they were big in the 1980s amongst kids with fringes. Above is one of their finest moments.

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  • Rest In Peace: John Hughes

    Without him, no Ferris…

    ferris

    Only a few days after being officially named our Fourth Favourite Film Director of all time, John Hughes was hoiked by the cruel sherpherd’s crook of death, as he suffered a fatal heart attack whilst enjoying a morning mooch around New York. In passing away terms, this is probably a bigger cock punch than Michael Jackson’s death for the Interestment Family. Afterall, MJ embarked on a massive artistic decline throughout the 1990s – followed by all those strange allegations about wine in coke cans, and spooky sleepovers – while Hughes hung up his director spurs in 1991, having rarely made a bad film. Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, Trains Planes and Automobiles, Uncle Buck – some of the greatest films of the 1980s. Now that he’s passed, we can even forgive him Curly Sue. Look after him, God/Buddha/Mohamed/Science, he’s one of the good guys.

  • Great British Band: Spandau Ballet

    Spandau Ballet, To Cut a Long Story Short

    What a different place the world would be if Spandau Ballet had hit the charts under their original band name, The Makers. A name that they only changed because someone spotted “Spandau Ballet” scrawled on the wall in some German nightclub toilets and thought it sounded really cool. The rest is history, and above is their best song.

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  • Great British Band: Dire Straits

    Dire Straits, Sultans of Swing

    It’s easy to forget that Dire Straits were a good band. Or at least, so says great friend of the site Matt. Unfortunately, we’ve never quite got past the weird computer workmen video, with the song lyric that we forever misheard as “chips for free”. Free chips? Did you hear that – free chips? Excellent! Oh, and we love that joke about Dire Straits forming a band with Chris Rea – they’re going to called it… Chris Straits. And, actually, on listening to the above track, they were pretty bloody good. A Great British Band after all. Yay!

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  • Great British Band: The Cure

    The Cure, Boys Don’t Cry

    The Cure looked like a gang of Edward Scissorhands impersonators making records, and that’s just one of the reasons that we think they’re great. Above is their most popular song, which is also a bit of a fib. Some boys cry all the damn time.

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  • Interestment’s Top Four: Summertime Classics

    No room for the Fresh Prince…

    jazzy-and-fresh

    Something about the sunshine and the outdoors can make certain records sound magnificent. Only a few years ago there was that Macarena song – a repetitive number, with a vocal delivery from two grown men who wouldn’t make 10p busking in the middle of Covent Garden on Australia Day. And yet, the combination of heat, cold beers, heavy drugs, and an semi-erotic dance made it the hit of the Summer. Hence, this list is not about summertime hits, but songs about the Summer itself. After much debate, the top four ended up looking like this…

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    1. MFSB, Summertime

    An up-tempo instrumental take on the sultry jazz classic, we love this. MFSB stands for Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, which lends this track a wholesome family appeal, and it’s great for dancing around to in a field full of borderline trustafarians. At, say, The Big Chill.

    2. Roy Ayers, Everyone Loves The Sunshine

    When Roy Ayers was wondering what people might love, he eventually hit the nail on the head. Everyone really does love the sunshine. Except perhaps for Stephen Hawking that time his girlfriend took the batteries from his wheelchair and left him to crackle and burn in the sweltering heat (true story). But robotronic genius aside, this is one magnificent ode to the weather.

    3. The Style Council, Long Hot Summer

    For a brief period in the 1980s, Paul Weller – the Modfather – became a little bit camp, and this video catches him riding the crest of a slightly pink wave. And it’s no bad thing at all. In fact, we much prefer his Style Council days. Hence Long Hot Summer can be found rotating at around 45 rpm on the Interestment turntable with startling regularity during the sunshine months. Make no mistake about it, this is a classic record.

    4. Alice Cooper, School’s Out

    It’s hard to find a decent rock record that encapsulates that Summer feeling, probably because most decent heavy rock bands are made up of people who prefer the night time. This, by a strange woman/man called Alice Cooper, is one of the few exceptions. Sadly, grown men in leather get little chance to celebrate the school holidays in these increasingly suspicious times.

  • Happy Birthday Cyndi Lauper, here’s a fairy tale!

    Three Little Pigs, by Christopher Walken

    It’s a strong day for the sisterhood, a very strong day indeed. Meryl Streep turns 60, which would normally be the biggest news imaginable. And yet, she’s been pipped at the post by Cyndi Lauper, who we prefer by a fraction. She’s 56 today, she’s a loon, she’s the one we’d like to spend the evening smiling widely at as she thrashes her head around in a gigantic chocolate cake. Hence, we thought we’d buy her a gift, so we bought four walkie-talkies from a nearby toy shop, then ran around town, hiding in bins, behind walls, in toilets at the back of poky Italian restaurants, simultaneously pretending to be on the run from some bad Transformers, and also discussing present ideas. It boiled down to a toss up between some peach coloured sandals or a clip of Christopher Walken doing a story. In the end we got her both. Happy Birthday Lauper!

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  • Great British Band: Bananarama

    Bananarama, Cruel Summer

    Before they were all Stock Aitkin and Waterman-ised, Bananarama were basically punk rockers, at various stages doing backing vocals for The Jam, Fun Boy Three, and Iggy Pop. We liked their crazy dungarees and their hair. Plus we particularly adored the above track, immortalised by The Karate Kid.

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  • Great British Bands: Loose Ends

    Loose Ends, Hanging on a String

    For the most part, we have never been able to compete on a soul music level with our violent stateside cousins, but for a very small window in the 1980s, when Loose Ends and Soul II Soul were as good as anything Uncle Sam could muster. Above is the proof.

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  • Great British Band: The Rolling Stones

    The Rolling Stones, Loving Cup

    It’s damn near impossible to select a Rolling Stones song, as they’ve made so many brilliant ones. Hence, we decided to go with something from our favourite of their albums, Exile on Main Street. Take it away Rubber-Face and the lads!

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  • Great British Band: Echo & The Bunnymen

    Echo & The Bunnymen, The Game/Lips Like Sugar

    Although, as a child, the bitter disappointment of not seeing a rabbit on guitar or a big brown hare on drums was pretty hard to swallow, we couldn’t fault these guys as a band. Possibly the best British guitar band of their generation. Brilliant.

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  • Interestment’s Top Four: 80s Films

    Some fantastic movies missed out…

    fletch

    Were a decade ever yin/yanged, it was the 1980s. One part bleak, the other part loud, colourful, and a little bit transvestite. Depressed, unemployed miners wandered the streets in fluorescent shorts and crop tops, their exhausted wives secretly dried their evening tears on big yellow leg-warmers. Absolutely everyone had AIDS. Some might say that it was the decade that veered away from good taste, but you can ignore them, it’s just the pipe smoking women who are struggling to leave the 1970s art house alone. They’re idiots. We happen to adore 1980s cinema, and in our quest for a top four, some enormous names clunked onto the cutting room floor – ET, Purple Rain, Ghostbusters, Platoon, Back To The Future, Goonies, Scanners, Fletch, The Thing, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off… the list is actually endless…

    1. Breakdance: The Movie

    breakdance-the-movie

    Over in America, this was called Breakin’ – but that was probably a bit too slang for British tastes. In a decade awash with great underdog stories – The Karate Kid, Rocky IV, Teen Wolf – this was the most vibrant and moving. It’s the tale of a frustrated young jazz dancer making friends with some hardened breakdancers/bodypoppers, who like to earn their stripes by taking down suckers in street dancing battles. The final sequence features three toned go-getters teaching some crusty old people what being young is all about. The tears flowed like champagne that day.

    2. Robocop

    robocop

    The 1980s celebrated extreme violence, and movies don’t come much more gruesome than Robocop – the story of a good police officer getting shot to smithereens, before being resurrected in machine form. He’s a bit like a kinder version of Darth Vader, only in Detroit, and a policeman. In amongst the gore lurks a tale about the human spirit, and how it can never really die. This made Robocop not only a stomach turner, but something of a tear jerker too.

    3. The Breakfast Club

    the-breakfast-club

    By far the best of the John Hughes films, for a while this was the coolest film of all time – thanks mainly to Judd Nelson’s startling portrayal of a school rebel. He even trailblazed diamond earrings on sixth formers. Yes, he was that mega-wicked. Joining him was the spoilt little princess (Molly Ringwald), the geek (Anthony Michael Hall), the total douche (Emilio Estevez) and Little Miss Weirdo (Ally Sheedy). As with most films about teenagers, this one demands that we all just love one another, both emotionally, and probably a bit sexually too. Dynamic stuff.

    4. 9 1/2 Weeks

    nine-half-weeks

    At the height of their looks, Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger made for one very sexy couple. This was their ode to love making and milky desires in the middle of the night. It’s also one of about a million sex dramas made in the 1980s – notably including the brilliant Fatal Attraction, which very nearly made the list. In this, Rourke plays a mysterious stranger, who makes Basinger all giddy by smearing food on her, but doesn’t appear to be good husband-material. This, of course, drives her to the edge of insanity, which wouldn’t have pleased facial haired feminists one bit. A smashing film.

  • Great British Bands: The Style Council

    The Style Council, Long Hot Summer

    The debate will rage for years – The Jam or The Style Council? Both Paul Weller groups, they genuinely divide people. In our case, we like to take The Jam from October to March, then from April to September we prefer The Style Council. The ultimate summer pop group, above is Weller’s best song.

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  • Interestment’s Top Four: Falsetto Male Singers

    Not including a certain legend…

    prince-falsetto

    As a gentleman, you are expected to coat yourself in a luxuriant mane of soft fur, and talk as if your testicles are the size of grapefuits, swinging heavily around your knees. That, we are told, if what it takes to be a man. Hence, whenever you see groups of tough guys in a pub/bar, the accompanying sound will often be a rumbling deep hum, like thunder rolling in from the east. It’s weird, and frankly unnecessary – especially given that some men can casually step up to a mic and allow their natural pitch to soar through the airwaves without a care in the world. Prince is a long time master of the falsetto, but even his macho flexing couldn’t budge this little gang of real men. Our top four reads thusly…

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    1. Curtis Mayfield

    curtis-mayfield-falsetto

    One of soul music’s finest, Curtis would often soar up to womanly notes, yet the hard hitting political nature of his songs kept his vibe firmly in the manly camp. A fine figure of a gent, and sorely missed.

    2.Antony Hegarty

    antony-hegarty

    Hegarty, the guy behind Antony and The Johnsons, is an intriguing man/woman/man, with a voice not a thousand miles away from Nina Simone at times. He could shatter glass, he’s that excellent.

    3. Junior Murvin

    junior-murvin

    If you’re going to have one track that defines and overshadows the rest of your career, then it might as well be Police and Thieves. It’s an amazing Lee Scratch Perry produced track, and finds Murvin singing like a mouse in a helium balloon. And to great effect.

    4. Jimmy Somerville

    jimmy-somerville

    Somerville’s success was built on singing a bit like Sylvester, but a more hysterical white Scottish version. At times, his frantic squealing was quite remarkable. As below.

  • Thursday Love Song: Freddie Jackson

    Freddie Jackson, Rock Me Tonight (For Old Time’s Sake)

    For those not in the know, Thursdays are now reserved for love making, rose petals and soft breezes blowing through fine feathery mullets. Today, 80s soul sensation Freddie Jackson explains to an ex-girlfriend that it would be fine for them to have sex again, because he knows how she likes to do it, and it would pay a fitting homage to their relationship. The follow up singles, Please Just One More Time, I Get So Lonely and It’s The Last Time, I Promise were never released.

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  • Second hand bargain: The Breakfast Club

    Detention never felt so sensual

    breakfast-club

    Such is the unrepentant nature of the current financial downturn that new meals are being invented. Where once there was a mid-morning lunch known as “brunch”, there is now a one-meal-a-day rule in most workplaces/households, meaning that breakfasts are being mixed with dinners, lunches, suppers, tiffins, elevensies, and high teas – making “brunner”. One day, futuristic children with silver outfits and plastic haircuts won’t believe that humans used to eat three whole meals every day. Brunner will be all they know. Which makes great friend of the site, Woody‘s, amazing second hand discovery even more poignant and meaningful. “It’s The Breakfast Club, on Amazon, for a penny!” he roared, cheerfully. For those who don’t know, The Breakfast Club is the story of a geek, a twit, a prom thing, a doofus, a goth, a hippy, a dimwit, a douche bag, a moron, a stupid face, a nomark, a male model, a twunt, and a numb-nuts – all getting to know each other over a tense Saturday morning detention. It stars our second favourite redhead (after the sexy one in Mad Men), Molly Ringwald, and our third favourite Estevez, Emilio. A brilliant brilliant film. Get your 1p copy here.

    Fantastic sticking-it-to-the-recession!

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  • Album covers analysed: The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses

    Great British band’s ode to France…

    stone-roses

    The best thing about bands and pop groups in the 1980s was that loads of them might have looked glitzy and glam, but they were spawned of a deeply thoughtful political ideology. Wham, for example, were rampant Stalinists. Culture Club were Thatcher’s favourite transvestite cod reggae band. And Bananarama were total lefties. Not to mention these guys, The Stone Roses. Painted by some as the kind of tough Manchester street kids it was best to avoid, their 1989 album was oozing with strange artistic and political influences – the cover was the lead guitarist’s homage to both the popular squiggly line artist Jackson Pollock, and French riots from the 1960s. Hence the tricolor creeping in from the left. Plus, for those baffled by the lemons, seemingly flung willy nilly into view, they are rumoured to be the perfect antidote to tear gas. The same tear gas used on those angry French hippies on that fateful day in May 1968. A deep, political – almost confusing – piece. Fantastic record.

    Here they are singing some if it…

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  • Thursday Love Song: Cyndi Lauper

    Cyndi Lauper, Time after Time

    Don’t let so-called society tell you when you’re allowed to make love to your life partner. Let us tell you instead! From now on, we have declared Thursday to be the ideal time for rose petals, hot sensual bathing, and soft love songs playing in the background. Today, let us oil your ears with a bit of classic Cyndi Lauper.

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  • Album covers analysed: Lionel Richie, Can’t Slow Down

    Hey, check out Mr Relaxed!

    lionel-richie-cant-slow-down

    It must have been hard being Lionel Richie in the early 1980s – he’d gone from being a sax player/singer with The Commodores to becoming probably second only to Michael Jackson in terms of solo superstar status. It was presumably impossible to relax with the limelight glaring so hard into your face. And yet, to glance at his album covers would be to witness the face and body of a man content, happy with his lot. His first album – cleverly titled Lionel Richie – found him dressed down in his most casual sweater/chino combo, and then this one took his cool demenour all the way up to warp factor nine. Seemingly in an unfurnished mansion – possibly with an ocean view – Lionel has decided to thumb his nose at convention with a deft chair rotation, which finds him sitting backwards in his seat. Again, the outfit is casual beyond belief, as if he’s just returned from buying the papers and a croissant. If record sleeves could speak, this one is saying: “heeeeey, come on in, relax, let’s have a snog.”

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    Here’s the great man singing to the entire planet during the 1984 Olympics.

  • Great British Bands: Motorhead

    Motorhead, The Ace of Spades

    Lemmy, what a guy! He really knows how to make strange facial growths seem almost handsome. Here he is taking to a bizarrely-angled microphone at a rock concert. Absolutely brilliant.

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  • Interestment’s Top Four: Hip Hop Criminals

    50 Cent not included…

    50cent_01

    There are few jobs where having a long criminal record is advisable. It’s probably important that bodyguard applicants have at least been in a fight, and city bankers have presumably been arrested numerous times during their youth for behaving like hateful little toads. But, of all jobs, a good position in Hip Hop damn near demands that you spend a decent portion of your life sitting thoughtfully in a cell contemplating why you shouldn’t have shot that gang member in the face, or why selling heroin to children mightn’t make the world a better place. Our most divine of contributors, Hip Hop Sam, doffs a slightly sarcastic cap to some of the rap game’s most intriguing criminals. His top four reads like so…

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    1. Slick Rick

    slick3

    For many years now Hip Hop’s wisest philosophers have arksed the question – “does life imitate art, or does art imitate life?” Of course, nobody actually cares, with the exception of Wimbledon’s finest export, Slick Rick. His 1988 classic, Children’s Story, tells a tale of a character getting involved in shootings, before running from the police in a high speed chase. Ironically, Slick was himself involved in a shooting/high speed chase with the police only two years later… with hilarious consequences (jail for five years)!

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  • Album covers analysed: Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, The Message

    Look away sissies, it’s some tough guys!

    flash

    The strangest thing about having a photograph taken is that it never feels like a mistake at the time. You stand there proudly with an electric pink sweatband around your head, your new sneaks resplendent in the mid-morning sun, you feel a million dollars. Then ten years later you’re literally hurling yourself across a room in slow motion to prevent your bed partner from seeing the results. It’s a shame really. Especially for the band members of The Furious Five, who presumably refuse to mention this excellent record to anyone who didn’t buy it when it came out in 1982. The cover somehow features a seven-strong crew (The Furious SIX?) casually loitering on the pavement, some holding hands, others aggressively showing off their studded bracelets, tiaras, and leather trousers – the must-have macho street gear of the time. It’s a strong look. Although, in at least three cases, the outfits would now only be accepted in clubs for consenting adults. A brilliant, brilliant record.

    Listen to one of the cuts after the jump…

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