Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rolling Stone magazine released another, “Best Albums of the 80’s” list recently. I remember when the first one came out in 1989! They’ve been basically the same list every time since and for good reason. Good music is good music and a good album is a good album. For the most part, this list is always going to be the same. I don't agree with alot of these choices, but I certainly agree they're all great records loved by many.
Best Albums of the 1980s Chosen by Rolling Stone readers (March 2011)
01. U2: The Joshua Tree
02. Guns N' Roses: Appetite for Destruction
03. Michael Jackson: Thriller
04. Bruce Springsteen: Born In The USA
05. Prince: Purple Rain
06. AC/DC: Back In Black
07. The Smiths: The Queen Is Dead
08. The Clash: London Calling
09. The Cure: Disintegration
10. Metallica: Master Of Puppets
It’s unscientific, by basic common knowledge that our most impressionable years are between, say….12 and 18, give or take a year or so. By 19, 20 we take shape and start to define ourselves, who we are and our independence (or lack thereof) in the world. In other words, they’re the greatest (or worst) years of our lives and the musical soundtrack that we hear is what gets us through those years and sticks with us forever. There’s a whole lot of “firsts” going on and the music captures each moment like a time capsule. For the rest of your life, whenever you hear that song, you’ll remember when you first heard it for whatever reason. By the late 20’s, most people are longing for their days of youth when times were simpler and the music was always better. When I see a list like that (again) it leads me to believe that still holds true. But I’ve always loved to discover music and although I still love (most) of the music I loved when I was 16, I get also get bored very easily….
I was 10 years old in 1982, the 80’s were my decade. My mom bought me the Back In Black tape when 8 or 9, so I had a good start, but didn’t really get into tunes until 1984, the year and the album. It was a huge year in every way, when the decade really took shape and I watched it all T.V.! I didn’t really like most of the music I heard, but I was very limited to what I could hear as a kid in a small Canadian town. When Much Music took shape in 1984, I never got to see it, it was a new cable box that was an extra charge my parents weren’t willing to fork over for. But, Much Music did come through on cable stereo and I got to hear it. I listened to it for as long as I could, even faking sick from school some days so I could listen all day. I absorbed a lot of music, but could only afford a little. Rap was what I first got into, I heard the video for Run DMC's "Rock Box" and I was like, this is it! I totally got into breakdancing and movies like Beat Street and Breakin'. But then......I discovered Van Halen. 

Pretty soon I had Eddie Van Halen hair, VH were my favourite group and I was a self proclaimed metal head. Although you could say I was more into hard rock than metal, but in 1984 Judas Priest was heavy. My little record collection slowly grew between 84 and 87. I had to be selective with what I bought on my meager allowance earnings. Then by 87-88, I was starting to feel ripped off by a few records from my favourite bands that weren’t quite up to par.
By 1988, I discovered I could get Vancouver radio on cable and started listening to CFOX and Rock 101 constantly. I would fall asleep and wake up with the radio on. It was then I discovered David Bowie, the Stones, Floyd, Zeppelin, etc. I became friends with the guys that worked at the record store, hanging out there almost daily. Picking their brains for music knowledge until they finally just gave me a job and I was off.
So, I thought it would be interesting to compare what I considered my favourite albums of the 80’s when I was 16, B.R.S. (Before Record Store) to what I now consider to be my favourite records of the decade. I went with 7 just because. And they’re in order of what came to me when I thought about it, with a little help from some record flipping.
Favourite Albums’s of the 80’s in 1987
Van Halen – 1984
First record I ever bought. Although I never really liked “House Of Pain” and “Girl Gone Bad” I still went through 3 copies of this record in 3 years. Side one is “1984”, “Jump”, “Panama”, “Top Jimmy” and “Drop Dead Legs”, that's as good as a great album it gets.

Judas Priest – Defenders Of The Faith
My second album. I didn’t know anything about music at the time, I was 13, but I saw the video for “Love Bites” and thought it was the coolest song I’d ever heard. Listening to the album now, some of the lyrics seem pretty cheesy. And considering Rob’s since revealed team, I really don’t want to know where a lot of the lyrics come from. But I totally dug the imagery of songs like “The Sentinal”, “Jawbreaker” and “Freewheel Burning”. Not to mention the Hellion on the front cover! Talk about ass kicking metal!

Motley Crue – Shout At The Devil
Out of my first 3 records, this is the one I still listen to regularly. It’s same one I first bought and it’s since been autographed by Mick and Nikki. “Looks That Kill” was the best video ever when I first saw it on the Much Music “Power Hour” at my friends place! The Crue, Halen and Priest were my first 3 big bands. This album stills kills and it's still my favourite Crue.

Cinderella – Night Songs
It’s always easy to look back and judge bands like Cinderella in hindsight. But at the time, this is what rock bands were. And out of all the new Crue wannabe bands that sprouted up between 85 and 86, Cinderella were the only one I really got into. Tom Keifer’s voice was a little cooler than the guy from Ratt, the riffs were way cooler than Dokken and they had some really good songs. Plus, only one ballad and it wasn’t too sucky, ballads were really starting to suck by the mid/late 80's. I used to play guitar with this record daily after school and knew every tune, “Night Songs”, “Shake Me”, “Push Push”, “Somebody Save Me”, “Hell On Wheels”…great tunes!

The Cult – Love
I was introduced to the Cult when “Electric” came out. I dug some of the other the tunes off of that record, but when I saw the video for “She Sells Sanctuary”, I bought “Love” instead. It was probably the first record that really introduced me to atmosphere instead of just rocking out. I had a light show in my bedroom, with some cool red and blue lights shining through some posters and desk light thing that changed colour. This album is perfect for bedroom light shows! Songs like “Brother Wolf, Sister Moon” and “Black Angel” were made for the dark. And it was very easy to play most of the songs on guitar, I was Cult riff master. Got to see them play the album on the “Love Live” tour in 2010, very cool!

Aerosmith – Permanent Vacation
I first got into Aerosmith when “Done With Mirrors” came out in 1985. A friend of mine had the record and we used to listen to it at his place all the time. “Permanent Vacation” was my first ‘new’ Aerosmith record and I bought it the day it came out. I had a huge sense of local pride with the record being recorded in Vancouver, a place I’d actually been too! The whales from the Vancouver aquarium even provided the intro! Then the songs were (and still are) fantastic. “Hearts Done Time”, “St John”, “Permanent Vacation”, “Hangman Jury”, “I’m Down” and one of my favourite instrumentals, “The Movie”. Although I never did (and still don’t) like “Angel”, but I wanted my mom to buy me the leather trench coat Joe Perry wore in the video.
David Bowie – Never Let Me Down
I discovered Bowie at the same time as my best friend. We listened to a lot of music together, even used to skip school and go to the second hand stores downtown to search for records. We saw the video for “Day-In, Day-Out” and he ended up getting the record. We listened to it all the time at his place and I eventually got a copy on tape. I wore that tape out. It’s regarded as one of his worst albums now and I would agree with that….somewhat. I still think some of the songs are great, “Day-In…”, “Time Will Crawl”, “Never Let Me Down” and I even like “The Glass Spider”. Instead of doing assignments and home work, I used to write the lyrics to the intro of that song in my note book.
Favourite Albums of the 80’s in 2011
Neil Young – Landing On Water
Already wrote a blog about how much I love this album and don’t hesitate to call it my favourite.

Kate Bush – Hounds Of Love
I loved “Running Up That Hill” when it first came out, it was so different and out of this world. But I was 14, into Judas Priest, Motley Crue and Van Halen and couldn’t afford to be buying Kate Bush records. A few years later I came around and bought her next album, “The Sensual World”. I listened to that CD to death and it’s still a favourite. But I finally picked up “Hounds” on vinyl in the early 2000’s. Side one was as great as I expected with “Running…”, “Hounds Of Love”, “Cloudbusting”, etc. But then I discovered “The Ninth Wave”!! A fantastic musical roller coaster ride into Kate’s dreamland  that takes up side two....with instruments of all sorts, incredible vocals, witches and demons, a foot stomping Irish jig and even the helicopter from “The Wall” makes an appearance! It’s best heard sitting comfortably, with the lights low and the left speaker on the left side and the right on the right side. When I first listened to it that way and she hit the “I put this moment…here” part, I had goose bumps!! You have to hear it to truly understand what I’m talking about and I strongly suggest you do.
David Bowie – Scary Monsters…and Super Creeps
By 1989 I had all the Bowie records and I was a bona fide Bowiephile. That’s why 1987 was cut off year for this list. After I discovered Bowie a whole new world opened up to me and the following years were periods of immense discovery (and still are). This is the one released in the 80’s that I definitely listen to the most.
Prince – Purple Rain
My friend was the Prince fan and I was the Van Halen fan. I dug Prince and heard it all at his place, so I never felt the need to get any of his stuff. I did always have the Black Album on CD and even the Gold Experience at one time, but got rid of that along the way. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I finally discovered Prince for myself though. This is simply a great record that you can put on anytime.
Eurythmics – Savage
Another band I dug in the 80’s, but avoided because I was metal head/rocker dude. I’ve just blogged about this one and it’s an album everyone should own.
Aerosmith – Rock In A Hard Place
Last blog I did. I enjoyed this one a lot when I first discovered it in the 80’s, but it was after 1987. Actually wrote my first song way back when based on the melody to “Bolivian Ragamuffin”.
Men At Work – Cargo
My sister had the “Business As Usual” record when these guys were the band in 1982/83. I dug the tunes, but was more into the sillyness of “Dr Heckyll & Mr Jive” than “Down Under”. I didn’t understand why “Dr Heckyll” wasn’t on my sister’s record, not knowing it was from the album that had just come out called, “Cargo”. What can I say, I was 11. In the early 2000’s I got a box of records from a friend and this was in there. I realized one of my favourite songs, “It’s A Mistake” is also on this album. The album grown on me since, especially side two. Some very cool tunes throughout, “Heckyll” and “Mistake” of course, plus “High Wire”, “I Like To”, “No Restrictions”, etc. And there’s a great guitar solo on “I Like To’, the dude really tears it up! That’s right, there’s a great guitar solo on a Men At Work record! Plus the cover is great, a deserted island kinda beach scene with tons of stuff to discover every time you look at it.

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