This week we have two indie one hit wonders from 1981. The songs were both in the chart in April of that year. They have little in common but strangely both feature snippets of telephone conversations!
Firstly we have British band Landscape. Strictly, I suppose they weren’t a one hit wonder as their second song “Norman Bates” made number 40 but it is this song they are remembered for. The weird, wacky and irritatingly catchy “Einstein a Go-Go”!
“Einstein a Go-Go” (extended) by Landscape reached number 5
(Uploaded to YouTube by Steve Chase)
Next is British punk/new wave band “Department S” who took their name from the 1969/1970 TV series.
“Is Vic there?” by Department S reached number 22
(Uploaded to YouTube by Adi Karić)
This week we have British electronic singer,songwriter and producer, Thomas Dolby. His real name is actually Thomas Robertson but his stage name came from his nickname of “Dolby”, after Dolby Laboratories of cinema fame, which he got for his hobby of playing with tapes and keyboards.
His music was a bit too experimental and unusual for mainstream success the majority of the time, but the tracks here did reasonably well.
He is now Professor of the Arts at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland USA.
First up is a track which I love but only got to 49 in the UK. It did well in the US peaking at number 5.
The scientist speaking in the song is Dr Magnus Pyke OBE who was a scientist and TV personality of the day, known for his eccentric way of speaking and wild gesticulating!
“She Blinded Me With Science” from 1982
(Uploaded to YouTube by Gustavo Mario Rodriguez)
“Hyperactive” from 1984 which got to number 17
(Uploaded to YouTube by NewWaveWonders)
This week it’s New Wave band Blondie who had a string of hits mainly in the 70s and 80s, including 6 number 1s. The band were fronted by the very photogenic Debbie Harry who not only looked great, adorning many a teenager’s wall at the time, but had a great vocal style. She and the band backed that up with great songs and great musicianship.
These are two songs just before the explosion that was their first number 1 hit “Heart of Glass”.
“(I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence, Dear” reached number 10 in May 1978
(Uploaded to Youtube by emimusic)
“Hanging on the Telephone” reached number 5 in Nov 1978
(Uploaded to Youtube by emimusic)
This week it’s two tracks from a proper British punk & New Wave band, The Stranglers, “the men in black”.
Both these songs reached number 8 in 1977, the first in May and the second in September of that year.
This is a classic raw track with a memorable bass and proper punk vocal. It was a controversial track at the time due to it’s leery lyrics! It was a massive summer hit that year.
(Uploaded to Youtube by Lucaprodan)
“No More Heroes” a more melodic track then the first with prominent harpsichord style keyboards.
(Uploaded to Youtube by NewWaveWonders)
The new year kicks in and as the tree and decorations are put away for another year, we have two downbeat tunes from 1981! They come from two massive 80s new wave bands who were influenced by reggae and ska music.
First up is “Invisible Sun” by The Police from the album “Ghost in the Machine”
If you asked people to name a Police song I bet this wouldn’t feature highly. It’s album mate “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” is far more famous and popular, due to its light poppy lyrics, but for me the political, thought provoking “Invisible Sun” is far superior. It was banned by the BBC due to its lyrics and video being influenced by the troubles in Northern Ireland. It still managed to reach number 2 in the charts. I remember buying the single and placing it on the turntable and hearing the fabulous low key yet haunting counting intro leading into a bleak verse with a hard hitting more uplifting chorus. Andy Summer’s guitar riff and solo is fantastic and Stewart Copeland’s drums are brilliant, along with Sting’s strong vocal. A very underrated track.
(Uploaded to Youtube by Golden Eighties)
Next up is another famous band from the 80s, Madness. They are known for their ska sound and upbeat wacky songs (and even wackier videos!) sung in a talking style by lead singer Suggs. In keeping with the bleak theme from the Police, here is a lesser known song which is downbeat, for them anyway! Here is the official video of “Grey Day” by Madness
(Uploaded to Youtube by Metropolis Touring)
This week we have two lovingly crafted New Wave tracks from 1989
First it’s “Lovesong” by The Cure. It was covered by Adele on her mega-selling 2011 album “21” and is a good version, but I prefer the original.
(Uploaded to Youtube by Robert74231)
Next it’s “Proud to Fall” by Ian McCulloch who was front man of the band Echo & the Bunnymen. This was from his first solo album “Candleland”.
(Uploaded to Youtube by RockAndPopClassic)