90 thoughts on “‘Spillyear 1980

  1. I was 2, and probably wasn’t listening to:

    1. Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime
    2. The Pretenders – Tattooed Love Boys
    3. David Bowie – Ashes To Ashes

  2. Difficult. Plenty of good songs and a few….less good! I’m going for

    Blondie – Atomic
    Dire Straits – Romeo and Juliet
    AC/DC You Shook Me All Night Long

      • You’re right – I did check but now see that Atomic was first released in 1979, it was a remix was released in 1980. Rapture would’ve been my second choice. With regard to DS I just remember that particular song, although I did have the album it hasn’t been played for years. The boombox playlist seems to have gone a bit peculiar, will see whether it sorts itself out.

      • The rap was flat out silly, which is why it worked. I’d add the Tide is High, but I inadvertently had to listen to it all this past weekend in a not good context.

      • Suzi, if the playlist has gone weird because it has George Benson and The Brothers Johnson on it, that’s my doing. I hated them initially but grew to love them by the end of the year. Definitely time for bed now, Hyvää yötä.

      • I’ve recently dug out my old vinyl albums and spent some time thinking, Oh? did I really have that? I don’t have any Dire Straits on my iPod and don’t think that I ever will have but I liked them at the time. Blondie, yes, great in any year, liked them then and like them now. Atomic one of my favourite tracks but I really like most of their stuff. Life for me was a bit domestic and child-filled in 1980 but it seems I was still buying albums. Had moved from the city to a small village just a couple of years earlier. The idea was appealing, the reality less so!

    • In reply to fuelburning, I don’t think the playlist has gone weird because of George Benson it just doesn’t seem to be playing in sequence.

  3. What a year – and boy, did my 19-year old self enjoy it!

    Dexys Midnight Runners – Geno
    Squeeze – Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)
    XTC – Sergeant Rock Is Going To Help Me

    And that’s without trying…

  4. 1980 is commonly referred to as THE golden year of classic rock. I was fifteen years old for most of that year. I went to twenty-six major gigs, plus the first ever Monsters Of Rock all-dayer at Donington. Be prepared for three blindingly obvious, narrow genre, bona-fide rock anthems.
    But with so many to choose from, which 3 will it be?

    I’ve got about 30 mins of emails to write. With this task on top as indulgent, nostalgic listening material, I’ll be back in about an hour with a trio!


  5. Are you fighting the Front,
    or just fronting a fight
    Sometimes it’s hard to see
    the left from the right
    Are we angry, are we looking for peace
    Or just tryin’ to win the war…
    …by killing all the enemy off
    Just to kill all the enemy off
    Kill the enemy off
    Kill the enemy off”

    two swords – the beat

      • Man at C&A spang instantly to mind (but I had to sleep too)!
        “The Mickey Mouse badge told the Ayatollah at his feet;
        You drink your oil you schmuck, we’ll eat our heads of wheat (or) we’ll eat the heads of the weak!”
        …. 36 years and still not worked out what they say properly….

    • Oh, to hell with it, I’ll go for:

      Elvis Costello – Secondary Modern
      Siouxsie and the Banshees – Christine
      Young Marble Giants – Final Day

      I think those would have been my choices at the time. I was 22.

  6. AC/DC – Back In Black
    Black Sabbath – Heaven And Hell
    Motörhead – Ace Of Spades

    Yes, all title tracks from their respective LPs. Not necessarily the most-played songs from each in my iTunes (that is, respectively, Have A Drink On Me, Children Of The Sea and (We Are) The Road Crew, but you can’t argue with ’em as selections.

    Others released that year that are still getting played EVERY month chez DsD come from:
    UFO, Def Leppard, Ted Nugent, Krokus, Blackfoot, Gillan, Scorpions, Whitesnake, Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy, Michael Schenker, Judas Priest – the latter two of which are on the same bill at Bradford St. George’s Hall this next Monday. Can’t wait!

    At the beginning of 2010, Classic Rock magazine issue 141 ran a feature on exactly why 1980 was so pivotal in heavy rock. I could’ve sworn I’d kept that issue, but I can’t find it in the pile in my office.
    [Job to add to the TTD list – cull that pile of mags; all of the 2015 Best Of … issues will be out in a couple of weeks. Another £30 up the swannee.]

    • * sigh! *

      Already remembered I’ve missed Blizzard Of Ozz, Rush, Gabriel, Saxon (yes I know they’ve annoyed the shit out of me for over thirty years, but there are two great songs on their Wheels Of Steel LP), Queen, Van Halen, Rossington-Collins, and I’m sure there’ll be more if I think about it.
      But I haven’t even written one of those emails yet!
      So … g’night all.

      • Classics. My friends who lived Over Wyre in the smaller villages loved their metal but… To Cut a Long Story Short, under peer group influence, I was just about to enter a very brief and dodgy new romantic phase. (I do like early Spandau Ballet singles)

    • Hi DsD. I saw Judas Priest in 1976 at Thames Poly by taking breaks from working behind the bar which lay beneath the hall. The encore involved some extremely loud explosions, which shook the building. As these went off, the bar was filled with folks rushing downstairs, only to be followed by a wall of dense, acrid smoke. JP’s ‘spectacular’ finale included setting off what were essentially smoke bombs in a very confined space.

      We lived near the Woolwich barracks and in 1974 had experienced the King’s Arms IRA bombing just a couple of hundred metres along the street from our flat. We immediately thought we were experiencing another attack. Why someone would want to bomb a bunch of headbangers wacked out on speed never really crossed our minds at the time, but did later as we all laughed about it. Sadly, how times have changed.

    • I sort of ignored AC/DC at the time. I remember dismissing them as a shoddy Led Zeppelin rip-off. In fact, I didn’t really get into them until the end of the 80s or even later, and it was the back In Black album that did it.

  7. The Gee Dees‘ album was released in 1980. A demonstration of how not-good they were in the studio, but with a couple of great songs and a sizeable dollop of Brent. I’ll go for Althea, of which Garcia was proud, I seem to remember. Hunter should be too.
    I’ll have to research the other two songs.

  8. 1) Steve Forbert – Romeo’s Tune – Shakespeare with a Southern style. Love the piano work on this tune.

    2) George Jones – He Stopped Loving Her Today – You know how it’s gonna end, and yet it tugs at your heartstrings every time.

    3) Passengers – Hot Leather – I turned 10 in 1980, so naturally I didn’t discover this one at the time. But I’ve had a thang for Euro space disco for a while – a weird embarrassing sorta thang I really need to seek treatment for but there ya go.

    • That section after 4:40 in Hot Leather and especially around 5:30 when the beat drops is just deep house heaven. Will have to check to see if it’s been sampled. Can’t find it. Seems so familiar; a tune awaiting someone like Nina Kraviz getting her talented hands all over it.

    • I’d forgotten about Steve Forbert. I loved Alive on Arrival. If You’ve Gotta Ask You’ll Never Know is, for me, the standout on 1980’s Little Stevie Orbit

    • George Jones was the first one I thought of. Listened to it a couple of times to make sure I wanted to include it and welled up partway through the second play. What a voice he had for songs like that.

  9. The year I packed my Civil Service job in and set out on my travels. Off to the States, I took a half a dozen cassettes which included The Beat, Grace Jones and Talking Heads. Travelling through the States, hardly anyone I met had heard of the bands, and didn’t really like the music very much either.

    The Beat – Mirror in the Bathroom
    Dexy’s – Geno
    The Jam – Going Undergound

  10. Dexys Midnight Runners – Geno
    Killing Joke – Requiem
    Poison Girls – Persons Unknown

    First two easy, being two of my three favourite singles ever. Third choice a bit harder as it could also have been UK Subs – Warhead or Siouxsie & The Banshees – Israel

  11. Great choices there @wyngatecarpenter I was pondering Siouxsie too, but as you’ve mentioned her I’ll go in another direction,
    1.Levitation by Hawkwind
    2. Nightporter by Japan
    3. Kings of the Wild Frontier by Adam and the Ants

    • Nightporter donds. Pretty sure I didn’t listen to Japan until 1981. Pretty sure none of my friends did until Tin Drum came out. Then it was a mad scramble to catch up with their history and then they broke up.

      • I wasn’t aware of Japan until I saw Ghost on TOTPs as I was rather young at the time, but it’s such a great song I had to include it.

  12. Half way through 1980 was my first anniversary of moving to Bristol. I didn’t know many people, apart from the ones I worked with and, to be honest, I was seriously wondering if I’d make the right decision when I left London. I had a reasonable amount of disposable income, though and I was buying a fair few albums and singles. I spent a lot of time at home listening to music, because I hadn’t yet really found my feet.

    Here are ones I can remember owning at the time; Elvis Costello Get Happy, The Cure Seventeen Seconds, Elvis Costello Get Happy, Peter Gabriel Peter Gabriel 3, Magazine The Correct Use Of Soap, The Fabulous Thunderbirds What’s The Word, Echo And The Bunnymen Crocodiles, Joy Division Closer, Siouxsie And The Banshees Kaleidoscope, David Bowie Scary Monsters And Super Creeps, The Skids The Absolute Game, Talking Heads Remain In Light and The Teardrop Explodes Kilimanjaro. I was given Sandinista! by The Clash and The Jam‘s Sound Affects for Christmas, but I can’t say that I played either more than once in 1980.

    So, plenty to choose from and that is leaving out any singles.

    OK, let’s take the plunge

    Joy Division – The Eternal
    Echo And The Bunnymen – Going Up
    The Cure – A Forest

  13. With a three-year old and moving house to manage, 1980 was a busy year. Apart from the GD album, I remember a few great singles, some of which have been mentioned already. But not these two, curiously:
    The SpecialsToo Much Too Young
    Elvis Costello I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down (mainly for the way my son tried to sing it)

    (and Grateful DeadAlthea)

  14. Not as good as the year that came next… Plus, various of the songs I would have chosen have already been claimed. Presumably I can have Visage, Fade to Grey – released in 1980 even if it didn’t become a hit until 1981? And I’m faintly astonished that neither of these two has been mentioned yet:

    Abba, The Winner Takes It All

    Kate Bush, Breathing

  15. Difficult to go with just 3 so I’ll do a soul one and a rock one if that’s OK

    1) Every Generation – Ronnie Laws
    2) Funkin for Jamaica – Tom Browne
    3) And The Beat Goes On – The Whispers

    1) Dead Souls – Joy Division
    2) Dance Stance – Dexys
    3) Afraid – Crisis

  16. Some further donds –

    For Israel and Althea, neither of which i knew of, let alone loved, in 1980.

    For Back in Black, and that’s probably my only dond for Rich’s list. FM radio was essentially dead, and it was all college radio here then, college rock and new wave. Sabbath (whom i did love) was broken up, and i never much liked Ozzy solo. I like the odd Motorhead or Priest tune, but i was well over the lumbering classic rock/ metal / Midlands metal by that time. Until the Cult and Appetite anyway.

    Dond for Mirror in the Bathroom, but i suspect i didn’t hear that until later. If some of the big British bands that figure in everyone’s lists here – Joy Division, XTC, Bunnymen, Simple Minds, Teardrop Explodes, Siouxie, etc – made it over here before they became poppier and ready for their MTV close ups 4 years down the road, i wasn’t aware of it. I was surprised to find that XTC had like 16 albums before Senses Working Overtime, the first song i heard from them.

    dond for Tom Browne, which i was definitely listening to at the time. I really should look at the singles lists and not just albums. Kind of like the idea of separate lists for rock and funk. But wait – what are the Clash or the Police tunes from this year then? Regatta de Blanc, funk, rock, punk? dunno. Thanks to Beth for the unexpected Police support. I played the crap out of that one fine side of Zenyatta Mondatta, probably couldn’t even tell you what was on the other side.

  17. I was 10 – most of the stuff I listened to was via TOTP’s

    Dexys Midnight Runners
    Adam and The Ants
    The Beat, Madness, The Specials, and The Selecter … Top of the Pops was the whole family sitting down and discussing the merits of what was on – I detested the dinosaurs that my dad still clung onto as ‘proper’ music, my brother probably had the same record collection as DsD – my mum like the soundtrack to FAME (the film) – the one album she got all year – we all liked Blondie (maybe for different reasons!) ….

    All the 2tone stuff mentioned above were on my radar – (I didn’t take note of the lyrics till later in life, at the time they were just bouncy – I bought singles from my Aunts/Nan’s department in the hardware shop they worked at or at Judge Dreads place (he lived in the same village as us) – I love those singles – the only albums I had in 1980 were Madness and Blondie… singles cost me 10p when they didn’t sell or I had ‘superb’ staff discount.

    Geno / Breakin’ Down the Walls of Heartache – was my fav single (chant along perfection at any age)
    Telegram Sam / Crowds – I picked up because I liked the blue cover (I liked Crowds, didn’t like the A side and would only find out it was a cover later in life, this also happened with the B side of Grace Jones ‘Private Life’ single – a song called ‘She’s Lost Control’ – that I thought was ace!)

    Bad Manners – Special Brew (I love you, yes I do, cos I know that you love-ah me too …. gets sung in our house almost every day!)

    Top 3 bouncy shout along tunes that I had then and love still today:

    Madness – Embarrassment
    Dexys – Geno
    Adam and the Ants – Ant Music

    The Cure and Bauhaus would soon supplant Ants and Madness – but not before I had a complete poptastic couple of years at age 12/13.

  18. 1980 was the year a lot of things got perfected: disco funk (Kool’s gang – Celebration), disco (Grace Jones), new wave (Blondie, Talking Heads), the live rock album (Warren Zevon), a future for punk (Mink Deville meets Parisian chanteusses) and, sadly, Canadian ‘placebo rock’ [Millions of albums by Bryan Adams, Saga, Prism, Triumph, Red Rider, Toronto, and Max Webster were for some reason bought and presumably listened to more than once. That’s on top of all the ‘placebo new wave’ (Martha’s Muffins, Blue Peter) out of the frozen north as well. 1980 set the bar of shallowness so low that Celine and Shania could limbo under it a decade later. My apologize to the music world; if I’d seen where it was leading I would have tried to do something.]

    My milestones from 1980:
    X – Your Phone’s Off the Hook, but You’re Not
    From influential LA band’s debut combining punk, poetry/short stories and rockabilly, which became the launchpad for cowpunk and then alt-country..

    Professor Longhair – Big Chief
    From the second and last studio album by the grandaddy of the New Orleans R&B/jazz rock sound

    Nic Jones – The Little Pot Stove
    From Penguin Eggs, the perfect folk album (or second most perfect, depending on the source)

    Sneaky P.S.: T-Bone Burnett and U2 made their debuts in 1980, and I don’t know how to even begin calculating the number of albums they’ve sold since; U2 as a band and T-Bone Burnett as an uber producer and composer with a trophy case full of Grammy, Golden Globe, Critic’s Choice, People’s Choice, and Academy awards.

  19. 18 years old, lived for live music and truly blessed to live near London :
    The Factory Records weekend @ the Moonlight Club in W. Hampstead, where Joy Division played all three nights, 1st band on, middle & headline.
    Simple Minds, who seemed to have set up home at the Marquee in Wardour St.
    The Associates blowing The Cure offstage at their Christmas party in the Notre Dame Hall amongst many other highlights that year :
    A Certain Ratio – ‘Flight’
    Simple Minds – ‘Capital City’
    The Associates – ‘A Matter of Gender’

  20. Late again. Donds for many of the above – Peter Gabriel, The Beat, The Pretenders, The Police, Motorhead and many more. I won “Ace of Spades” in a hospital radio raffle (I was in hospital with psoriasis, like The Singing Detective). I was 21 in 1980, still in Bristol, moved to a new (cold) flat and a new job, like Carole, not terribly happy – shame I didn’t know her then! Can’t say that these were my favourite songs of the time but they are memorable and I don’t think they’ve been mentioned above:

    Randy Crawford – One Day I’ll Fly Away
    Jon and Vangelis – I hear You Now
    The Vapors – Turning Japanese

    • Yes, a real shame. I wonder if we were ever in The Dugout at the same time? I occasionally went to the Alexandra Club in Clifton and the Green Rooms on the edge of Queens Square too.

      All long gone now, though.

      • I used to go to the Dugout and Chutes, not so much the Green Rooms or Alexandra Club but given that our musical tastes are similar we probably did cross paths! A long time ago (and rather hazy memories).

  21. It’s interesting to see how UK focused most of the noms are. It must have been a golden age for UK music, I suppose. Over in the US though, a bunch of young privileged barely teenagers were carving out a new sound and DIY spirit and Japan was absorbing punk and post punk from all corners of the globe.

    Will go for:

    Teen Idles – Teen Idles (Ian Mckaye’s pre-Minor Threat band)
    Friction – Big Sn(Suicide-influenced amazing Japanese post punk)
    Mo-Dettes – Paint it black (just love it!)

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