This is the first in a series of ten radio shows I’ve put together documenting music of the 1980s. The first question you may be asking is “why?” and to be honest, I didn’t really have a reason when I decided to do this. You could say I chose this decade willy-nilly (I did), but the more I’ve delved deep the more I’m certain that the 80s deserves a better representation than whatever passes for nostalgia radio these days. There are gonna be some “hits” from time to time but really, I’ve tried hard to avoid most of the stereotypes consuming those ten years. Consider this an “alternative history” of 1980s music. It isn’t all pop, it isn’t all new wave, or punk, or whatever. I tried hard to create a well rounded playlist for each decade that still fits into the loosely defined aesthetic of HIGH LIFE.
To explain my process: each show specifies a year and all of the music played in each show was released during the year in question. There are bound to be some historical errors but this is an example of my methodology: if an English band released a record in England in 1984 but it wasn’t released in the US until 1985, I considered the songs for the 1984 show. Sometimes the release dates are a little fuzzier for some of the more obscure bands and via research I attempted to make my best judgement.
You may not hear a lot of your favorite 80s artists. I’m not a huge fan of a lot of the mid-to-late 80s alternative rock scene ala Butthole Surfers, Husker Du, or The Replacements, but I tried to find homes for some of their better songs somewhere. These are incomplete playlists dictated by the two-hour maximum time allotted for a radio show. I did my best. I hope you enjoy this edition of HIGH LIFE and stick with me for the next nine weeks. If there’s a call for it I may make these available for download.
Kisses, Lord Topia.
Here’s the playlist:
Glenn Branca - Lesson #1 For Electric Guitar
Winston Edwards & Blackbeard - Downing Street Rock
New Age Steppers - Fade Away
Poly Styrene - Toytown
The Specials - Stereotype
Grace Jones - Pars
Lizzie Mercier Descloux - Five Troubles Mambo
Harald Grosskopf - So weit, so gut
OMD - Bunker Soldiers
Suicide - Diamonds, Fur Coat, Champagne
Chandra - Kate
Prince - When You Were Mine
Diana Ross - My Old Piano
Gary Burbank - Who Shot JR
David Bowie - Up the Hill Backwards
The Clean - Oddity
Echo & the Bunnymen - Stars Are Stars
Colin Newman - &Jury
Adam & the Ants - Kick! (Single Version)
The Ramones - Return of Jackie and Judy
The Cure - So What
Swell Maps - The Helicopter Spies
Siouxsie and the Banshees - Christine
Joy Division - A Means To An End
Young Marble Giants - The Man Amplifier
Talking Heads - Crosseyed and Painless
Public Image Limited - Poptones
Snakefinger - Living In Vain
New Age Steppers - Animal Space
Stream it here: HIGH LIFE 8-31-14 (1980 Edition) NOTE: I totally mistitled this show on Mixcloud as 9-1-14, I’m aware it’s wrong and Mixcloud won’t let you change the titles so…oh well.