108 thoughts on “Spillyear 1985

  1. Too much to choose from! Surprised how many records I like from 1985. I added these three to the playlist, because I’ve just enjoyed listening to them:

    A-Ha – Take On Me
    I remember liking this at the time. It’s impossible not to love that riff, isn’t it?

    REM – Wendell Gee
    Just one of their most beautiful songs, from what is sometimes my favourite album.

    The Pogues – I’m A Man You Don’t Meet Every Day
    Why is the only song Cait sings one that’s explicitly narrated by a man? More to the point, why didn’t she sing more?

    But I could easily have chosen “Marlene on the Wall”, or something from Psychocandy or Meat is Murder or Brothers In Arms (one of the few post-60s/non-Dylan albums my parents listened to) or Hounds of Love…

  2. 1985 is looking like another one of those years where there wasn’t much new in the shops to tempt me. Fortunately, there were a few things, so thanks to the Jesus And Mary Chain, Joni Mitchell and Grace Jones I have three albums to choose from. Those albums are, of course Psychocandy, Dog Eat Dog and Slave to the Rhythm, which are a pretty eclectic selection, I suppose.

    Anyway, here are;

    JAMC – Just Like Honey
    Joni Mitchell – Good Friends
    Grace Jones – Slave to the Rhythm

  3. Marlene on the Wall has been mentioned, but not chosen, however although I listed in recently I’ll go for another from the same album. A good year, hard to choose

    The Queen and the Soldier – Suzanne Vega
    The Whole of the Moon – The Waterboys
    Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) – Kate Bush

  4. 1985 was the year we moved into our present house, meant to stay for a few years then move on, Furniture not yet in its rightful place and packing cases all around as we listened to Live Aid.

  5. 1985 – Age 14 going on 15. I had spent one miserable schoolyear in Chicago while my father was between jobs, depressed, inconsolable, and basically impossible to live with. I didn’t know anyone there and basically stayed in my room the entire time and listened to the radio a whole lot. I had never experienced cold and snow like that and was starting to get depressed myself.
    In June of 1985 we headed home, to a mobile home that my uncle basically gave us. It wasn’t much, was way out in the sticks, and we had no choice but to leave a lot of our stuff behind going from a 5BR house to a trailer, but it was worth it all just to be a family once again.

    1. a-ha – The Sun Always Shines On TVNow, back me up on this one, Chinny. I originally dismissed this duo as lightweight MTV prettyboys that my sister liked. And then came one of the most grandiose epic productions ever waxed. I got chills just listening to it, but Sisty was disappointed that it was so “dark.” And sis let me keep the 45.

    2. Y&T – Summertime GirlsIt just wouldn’t be the ’80s without a little bit of hair metal, now would it? And this is one of those lost gems in a field filled with shit. Those lyrics aren’t too far removed from Frankie and Annette but it just works perfectly. Makes me think of the beach on even the coldest winter day.

    3. Pat Benatar – The Ooh Ooh SongDumb title, but one helluva record. Manages to sound like the Runaways, the B52s, and the Chordettes all trying to share the same stage. Needless to say, radio was expecting something tough – but not too tough – and yet poppy – but not too poppy – from Patty B and didn’t have a clue what to do with it.

    • I’ll back you up on A-Ha, although I did fall for Morten’s cheekbones, the music has stood the test of time. My hubby finds the track you chose very dark too, but I like it 🙂

  6. Too many good songs to choose from.

    Commodores ~ Nightshift
    Aretha Franklin ~ Freeway Of Love
    Wham ~ Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

    1985, we plotzed down our life savings on our house. It was a very busy time for us.
    The title to this song reminds me of the Real Estate agent we dealt with !
    Eurythmics ~ Would I Lie To You ?

  7. Whoa, this was a good year. And i’m only up to June. Back when i get to Dec.

    (nothing from Meat is Murder or Fables though.)

    • Ok then.

      Prince – Raspberry Beret (no video, obvs)
      The Cult – She Sells Sancuary
      U2 – A Sort of Homecoming (live)

      also

      Smiths – How Soon is Now? (would have been top 3, but some confusion over the release year)
      The Cult – Rain
      Pogues – Sickbed of Cúchulainn
      Robert Plant – Little By Little
      INXS – What You Need
      Shiela E – A Love Bizarre
      Tears for Fears – Head Over Heels
      Thompson Twins – Lay Your Hands on Me
      Power Station – Some Like It Hot
      Katrina and the Waves – Going Down to Liverpool
      Husker Du – Terms of Psychic Warfare

      • Lots of donds for your picks, Amy, Cult, Prince and Mr Plant in particular. I love Around the World In A Day, still my favourite Prince album. My auntie bought me a raspberry beret in Harrods because I listened to it so much (she worked there, they’re not known for their berets).

      • I was wondering about How Soon is Now but it was released in 1984 although only as a b-side. Which scuppered its chances of being a big hit when it was released as an proper a-side in 1985.

      • Thanks Beth!

        Steve – How Soon was also released at a different time here in the US too i think. All i know is that i first heard it on MTV (which is probably where I got most of my tunes in 85), so ’85 is probably when i first heard it. I’m going to put it on the list anyway, as i can’t put Prince on. Not sure if anyone put it on for ’84.

      • It probably belongs on any 1985 list as hardly anybody got to hear it before then. I picked an Eva Cassidy for 1998 that she first released in 1992 so I don’t know why I was quibbling earlier.

  8. This was a great year. The Waterboys, Pogues and Talking Heads had standout albums, and massive donds to all suggestions from those. I was tempted to put The Sickbed of Cúchulainn, but instead I’ve gone for these.

    I was in the middle of a two year VSO stint in Sri Lanka, so resources were few. I used to listen to a daily radio show broadcast from Queensland and was able to pick up on new stuff from there, but it wasn’t available in the markets where I was. The DJ thought The Waterboys were the bee’s knees, so I got to hear This is the Sea, which I still think is the bee’s knees. So

    The Pan Within – The Waterboys

    For some reason Talking Heads albums were available on Thomsun cassettes – pirated copies from Singapore, I believe. So I was able to buy Little Creatures and play it to death. When I left Sri Lanka, we had a party and the track my friends played as I was drunkenly bundled into a taxi was Road to Nowhere, so I’l go for that ( although, I do like Television Man almost as much)

    On the Road to Nowhere – Talking Heads

    I loved the early Eagles stuff, but fell out of love with them by the time Hotel California came out. However, Don Henley’s Boys of Summer is a classy bit of stuff. Unfortunately. I can’t access the original video for this, so if someone els can post it, I’d be eternally grateful.

    Boys of Summer – Don Henley

    • Donds for “Boys Of Summer”. I never bought it, though, otherwise I might have nommed it.

      I’d pretty much stopped buying singles by 1985. I might have bought the occasional one, but I was mainly only listening to albums by the mid-80s, or whatever the radio threw up.

      • I gave up on singles as well, but not before picking up a few 12″ jobbies when I was in Newcastle in 1983-4 – stuff like SOS, Echo & . . and Grandmaster Flash. I was doing a PGCE and had a grant. During teaching practice we’d meet up on Friday night and get hammered, then continue in the Bigg Market over Saturday lunchtime. I’d then head off to HMV and buy some discs. That’s when I bought singles. Happy days!

  9. I was unemployed, having finally given up on teaching at the end of the autumn term 1984. Two years and one term of being desperately unhappy! So it felt like a relief, not having to do it, and I really didn’t mind being unemployed. I started writing a novel – two hours every Tuesday morning – and we ate a lot of lentils.

    Little Blue Number by Richard Thompson
    Money For Nothing by Dire Straits (yes, I do know it’s got Sting on it). The last band my kids and I all liked!

    And the would’ve liked it if I’d been paying attention pick – Southern Accents by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, now my favourite TP song.

  10. At the time I was at school and the only person I knew who was into Prince, not just a bit into Prince, really into Prince. I listened to his albums on my walkman all the time, bought a live video and wrote a list of questions to ask him if I ever happened to meet him, much to the bemusement of my Wham and Duran Duran obsessed friends. Strange how he wasn’t really appreciated until Under A Cherry Moon, at which point, I went entirely off him and turned goth.

    Anyway, I can’t ignore the bands I now love, but hadn’t heard of at the time, namely The Sisters of Mercy with Marian (Version), Einstürzende Neubauten with Seele Brennt and Strawberry Switchblade with the epic Since Yesterday, which inspired my hairstyling for several years.

    • if this is me repeating myself my apologies, but Dieter from Yello gave a great critique of the Living Years by Mike and the mechanics on a roundtable once, must have been late 80’s. he opened with “This song is verse than the verst pornoGraphy” before trashing pretty much everything about it. though not my sort of track, i did think through my grin that he was being a bit harsh but it was very memorable.

  11. probably tops 1986 in difficulty for me. chameleons, dead can dance, sisters, xymox all had albums and I’d struggle to pick my favourite track as it would vary frequently. i picked one from each for this list (assuming it works). such a good year you could discount all those albums, the smiths, REM and JAMC and still be spoilt for choice.

    1985 playlist

  12. Just three songs, you say? Good god!

    So, from an original list of about 50, I give you…

    10,000 Maniacs – Can’t Ignore The Train
    James – Hymn From A Village
    Colourbox – Just Give ‘Em Whiskey

    I don’t know why, but I can’t do the YouTube thing. Otherwise, I would…

  13. Meat is Murder is probably my favourite Smiths album to listen to all the way through. It doesn’t have so many stand-out tracks as The Queen is Dead but it feels more coherent somehow. That does make it hard to pick a track from it though.
    I thing the Pogues Rum Sodomy & the Lash was the LP I played the most that year and, in some ways, it’s hard to see why. I already loved other versions of The Gentleman Soldier and The Band Played Waltzing Matilda and didn’t like what they did to them at all. Often skipped those last two tracks after I’d played it a few times. Still kept going back to it though. Just that sound I suppose which was so exciting and still quite new although it was their second album. I think I actually for the most part prefer the actual songs on “If I Should Fall From Grace”.

    Anyway, enough of this drivel. My final three picks are the three singles I played over and over that year:

    Madonna – Into the Groove
    Ramones – Bonzo Goes to Bitburg
    Madness – Yesterday’s Men

    1985 was the year I moved from Shepherds Bush to Clapham (ie from London to London),

  14. I was 26, still living in a small flat. I’ve donded quite a few already; Dire straits, Talking Heads, The Watreboys, but but feel I have to include Suzanne Vega – Small Blue Thing
    Sade – The Sweetest Taboo and The Eurythmics – Sisters are Doni’ It for Themselves – unusually all female choices for me.

  15. I was just emerging from a miserable year or so trying to work out what to do after I graduated. I was living in Bedford in a happy shared house with good mates, after having had a lonely time of it. I’d developed diabetes the year before so was getting used to all that, and throwing myself into left-wing politics, which mostly meant being slagged off by my fellow Labour Party young socialists for being the wrong type of young socialist.

    It was also the year of The Eurythmics only UK number 1 single, with euphoric harmonica from Stevie Wonder, There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)

    • “throwing myself into left-wing politics, which mostly meant being slagged off by my fellow Labour Party young socialists for being the wrong type of young socialist. “

      Sounds familiar. I was heavily involved in Labour politics. I was aligned with the CPLD, the Tribunites and, being in Bristol, the Bennites. There was a lot of factional infighting and I can remember some really nasty arguments with Militant and other entryist groups. I can remember being very forcefully told by one aggressive Militant supporter that Feminism and Gay Rights were middle class nonsense and a distraction from building a working class revolutionary movement.

      • Probably getting active in the Labour Party was my abbreviation / acronym baptism ! It’s stood me in good stead since then. The Militants were as middle class as I was, but they just adopted an approximation of the working class accent from their nearest metropolis.

      • “There was a lot of factional infighting”…

        *sighs* it was ever thus – I was a member of the International Socialists in the early 70s, the meetings were always held in the back rooms of pubs (smoky, smelled of beer) and I had to get a babysitter each time I wanted to go. Finally gave up going after I realised I was paying money I couldn’t afford to a babysitter just to sit in a smoky, beery back room and listen to a lot of blokes arguing.

      • A few references to Simple Minds here, which reminded me of this little extract. I post it without comment on the stance of any of the fictional parties….

        imageimage

      • You (along with Beltway) are right about High Fidelity. I’d quite forgotten that Belle and Sebastian took the heat off Simple Minds for the film version, and I’m not sure I’d draw that parallel, but it’s an excellent fact to add to the discussion. I do remember it was Sara Gilbert (Darlene from Roseanne) who played the unfortunate girlfriend.

      • Ah, I thought it seemed distantly familiar. The film adaptation was really good, too, though I don’t think Belle & Sebastian are a legitimate target.

        • Possibly, though, in American film terms when you bear the tastes of the American mainstream in mind, Simple Minds, Bryan Adams and U2 would be seen as entirely acceptable and popular acts, whereas Belle & Sebastian could be considered to be lacking in the kind of muscular swaggering qualities beloved of the stadium rock circuit?

  16. Plenty of memorable songs from 1985, many of which have already been mentioned. I’ll go with these:

    Richard Thompson – Love in a Faithless Country
    Talking Heads – And She Was
    Simple Minds – Don’t You (Forget About Me)

    • On a personal level, 1985 was a year for moving forward. Our marital shenanigans were set aside in a workable truce and I changed jobs. I had to spend a lot of time in a depressing Midlands scrap metal processing site with some extremely dull people but managed to create an IT system for them that catered for all the imprecision involved in their business; I was quite proud of that.

  17. !985 was an unusual year in Kingston, there were two very distinctive hits that were played everywhere and all the time. They were “Every Posse Get flat” by Paul Blake and the Blood Fire Posse and “Under Mi Sleng Teng” by Wayne Smith. Get flat was unique because it was all synthetic computer music, totally different; Sleng Teng was catchy but incomprehensible. Both huge hits.
    It was also the breakout year for Sophie George with Girlie, Girl, an album I did the photos for.
    There were as usual many other hits and a few I remember are;
    Ring The Alarm” by Tenor Saw,
    Here I Am” by Barrington Levy,
    Revolution by Dennis Brown,
    She Just a Draw Card by Leroy Smart and
    Gregory Isaacs ongoing contribution, GP [General Penitentary] was
    a very personal song.
    If I have to choose three they’d be;
    1. Get Flat
    2. Draw Card,
    3. Girlie Girlie.
    4. GP.

    • Good to have that perspective first-hand from Jamaica GF. I used to think that song was about someone behaving in an overly girly way, and later worked out it was telling a chap to stop his philandering ways. Good song it is too.

  18. I was already living in Germany, where the charts were full of the execrable Modern Talking (‘Cheri, Cheri Lady’, anyone?). I’m going to include as a bonus track ‘Live is Life’ by Opus, which isn’t necessarily one of my favourite songs ever, but it was HUGE in Germany, played on every dance floor and I remember it playing when I went to the Bhagwan disco in Hamburg-Eppendorf with friends. I got there first, and the guy taking the drinks orders greeted me in ENGLISH. “Goodness,” I thought, “there must be more to this spiritual stuff than just wearing beads and the colours of the sunset, HOW did he know I was English before I even said anything?” Ah, the Mysteries of Life…

    Godley & Creme – Cry
    Falco – Rock Me Amadeus
    David Bowie & Pat Metheny – This Is Not America

    • Debby, you know you have added 5 different versions of Rock me Amadeus by Falco to the playlist? I mean, I like a bit of 80s euro-pop but that tests even me!!!

      Life is Life is still a massive thing in Europe – I good friend of mind (Scottish lad) married a girl from the Czech Republic and they had a great wedding out there – foolishly he left his future mother in law to sort the entertainment, on the strict instruction that she should not hire one of those cheesy “man and his 80s keyboard” entertainers that still seem popular in Mitteleurope – of course, that is precisely what she did organise, and he must have played this at least 8 times over the course of the night, much to the unending delight of the Czech guests (and to be fair, to the Brits after a good few Staropramens)

      I still like the Laibach version but that is another story…

      • Nooooooo! I’m so sorry! Every video I clicked on was ‘not available in your country’ (as is so often the case over here) until I found a live version which I then added to the list – or so I thought. I had no idea I’d managed to add all the others as well, thanks for pointing that out: I have removed all the surplus versions 😉

        On a side note: in the Battle of the Blogs, I am sticking with this one for the time being. Our internet (& tel & TV) access keeps going down for no satisfactorily explainable reason, so I have to grab my minutes where I can ♥

  19. So, in 1985 I was a couple of years into secondary school and a serious Duran Duran fan, but I can’t suggest their only single of that year because it was crap; A View to a Kill. It was the year I went to my first gig; Simple Minds hence I’ll suggest their only other single of that year. This was the year when Paul Hardcastle’s song 19 seemed to spend forever in the charts. It was also the year I probably heard Sade for the first time.

    Therefore mine are:
    Simple Minds – Alive & Kicking
    Paul Hardcastle – 19
    Sade – Sweetest Taboo

    As always, can’t do the YouTube thing…

    • I should add – I never bought music at this point – I never had any money. I recorded it all off the radio, as did most teens in the 80’s didn’t they??

  20. 85 the Fall This Nation’s Saving Grace with LA and spoilt victorian child, gut of the quantifier
    House of Love … go for jig of life .. though seventh wave is one whole thing really
    remember driving on holiday family all packed in a car, with me sister, a big Kate fan demanding silence as she’d heard Dave Lee Travis would be playing a track, the first ever hearing of anything from the album, Running Up that Hill came on, she was so excited she swore and then Travis immediately played it again
    Remember watching live aid, desperate to get to Tesco, waiting for a crap band to come on.. think i finally got to do some shopping for Duran Duran .. it was scorching .. i sat on a flat roof watching the telly through and open window

    • also think Frankie Goes to Hollywoods welcome to the pleasure dome came out in 85 .. title track (with Steve Howe on guitar) Stevie Ray Vaughan was probably doing some fine blues around 85 but what were New Order up to

      • Low-Life might have been released in 1985, I think, but I am pretty sure that I didn’t buy it until 1987. Not sure why I waited now , to be honest.

  21. Having posted a cheeky extract about Simple Minds, I’ll mention a couple of permanently unfashionable artists. Simply Red – Holding Back The Years was first released, though as a much-played hit single it belongs to the following year when it was re-released. Anyway, I think it’s lovely. I’ve a soft spot too for Phil Collins – One More Night.

    • On reflection, these were the years I was buying a lot old records, and delving back into the great history of soul, reggae, jazz, folk. I was missing out on whatever was coming out away from the mainstream, but some chart music has stuck, somehow.

      I was out busking with a friend every weekend, wrestling with my accordion, raising funds for the miners. We were, I think, not as good as we thought we were…

    • That’s right, High Fidelity it is. A celebration of themed list-making if ever there was one ! And a frank appraisal of the social skills of (some of) those who indulge in it to….

  22. So I would have been 7 in 1985 and just about becoming musically aware – OldiebutGoodie mentioned Commodores – Nightshift which was one of my earliest memories of watching Top of the Pops – in fact it is a really vivid memory, my mum worked as a care assistant in a school for children with physical and severe learning disabilities across the playing field at the back of our house – they had held some sort of “disco” or fund raising event that I had been to with her and then I came home for supper and really distinctly remember watching that song on Top of the Pops and it leaving a really profound impact – my dad worked night shifts regularly so I think I thought it was about him on some level! – as my parents go through a period of profound change and difficulties and ill health right now, it’s a comforting thing to hear this and to be reminded of such warm and safe times – in fact, thanks to the miracle of YouTube, here is, what I guess, that very performance – amazing to be able to spool back 31 years like that….

    Some other picks that I would have plumbed for this year have already been mentioned – “How Soon is Now?”, “Road to Nowhere”, “Sun Always Shines on TV”, “She Sells Sanctuary”, but for the remainders I” go for:

    The Smiths – Rusholme Ruffians

    As I sit here typing I realise I am wearing the oldest item of clothing I own, a Meat is Murder T-shirt bought in the early 90s that I recently found languishing in a drawer at my parent’s home – it was an album that profoundly shaped my 1990s teenage years, influencing many aspects of my life (including my vegetarianism which was demoted to pescatarianism a few years back) and it’s an album I still love to this day – I would happily choose any track from it for 1985, but I’ll settle for this one – I made Manchester my adopted home around 9 years ago and The Smiths mentally soundtrack it for me at least once a day – as I drive through Rusholme most days, I hear this in my mind’s ear, and I adore the juxtaposition of a jaunty melody and a tale of a stabbing (damn, I should have mentioned it on the mothership this week)

    Echo and The Bunnymen – Bring on the Dancing Horses

    What can I say, I’m a native scouser, this stuff soundtracked my childhood constantly from big brothers stereo to local radio – this just shows Mac at his most imperious and most melodically gifted.

    The Pogues – A Pair of Brown Eyes

    And I’m the son of an Irishman, The Pogues were always there too – generally a bit too noisy/punky for my da (although he was very partial to The Irish Rover at family parties) but we loved this, and I still do – MacGowan’s songwriting was never better than this period.

  23. Looking back at it their doesn’t seem to be a lot to choose from – this is where the 80s begins to peter out for me. But as usual there was good stuff, including some stuff I liked at the time while my mates were busy collecting Madonna picture discs

    Dexys Midnight Runners – My National Pride (aka Knowledge Of Beauty)
    https://youtu.be/S6_TBbBxFb4

    Microdisney – Birthday Girl
    https://youtu.be/9nkkWa_B-_k

    Rubella Ballet – Trial 13
    https://youtu.be/iDqDT8vZ2lg?

  24. Not too sure about my mental state choosing this but “you were a survivor after all” made me/is making me slightly emotional.
    I’ll choose Wedding Pres/Dinosaur/Wolfgang Press as my 3 – but bloody hell a hard choice.

    1985 playlist

    The WEDDING PRESENT – ‘Go Out And Get ‘Em Boy’ – 7″ 1985
    Dinosaur (Jr.) – Repulsion
    The Wolfgang Press – Heart of Stone

    Camper Van Beethoven – Take the Skinheads Bowling
    Subhumans-Someone Is Lying
    Propaganda -Dream within a dream
    Yello– Koladi-Ola
    Red Lorry Yellow Lorry – Talk About The Weather
    Big Audio Dynamite – E=MC2
    In Between Days by The Cure
    Colourbox – Arena II
    Dinosaur (Jr.) – Forget The Swan
    Dexys Midnight Runners – Listen to This

  25. It has just occurred to me, no doubt because of all the Simple Minds chat, that 1985 was the year that John Hughes brilliant film Breakfast Club was released.

  26. The Meat Puppets: Up on the Sun

    Lots of ace guitars in 1985 but I put Schoolly D’s “PSK” on the playlist and will give a nod to

    Marcel King: Reach for Love (New York Remix)
    Cherelle ft. Alexander O’Neal – Saturday Love (couldn’t escape this if you went out clubbing or Ashford and Simpson’s “Solid”.)

    JAMC, Husker Du, Miracle Legion, REM and Sonic Youth were my 1985 bands

  27. Late to the party as always and pop/rock was pretty much irrelevant to me at this time (only discovered the Smiths in later years !!) so it is a purely soul filled trio from me

    Hanging On a String – Loose Ends
    Feel So Real – Steve Arrington
    If You Were Here Tonight – Alexander O’Neal

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