1980 – (Ron is 22)
Warning: Long Post!
In the summer of 1980, I turned 22 years old. I was working full-time, and I was busy with my band. I believe I went to Europe in July, 1980 – and I was headed to New Zealand for the first time, shortly thereafter. It was quite a time. You were there, too – what are you favorites from 1980? Starting from a list of over 1,100 titles, mine were:
I was buying singles by A Certain Ratio – some from England, some from Belgium. Speaking of Belgium, the 2nd Aksak Maboul album turned up, I liked the first one better. I still bought ‘space rock’ – “Belle Alliance” by Ash Ra from Germany. I remember getting an album & Single from Wild Willy Barrett (“Krazy Kong Album”). I remember liking the dub album by Basement 5 better than their proper album. I still fancied Lucio Battisti, the Italian singer-songwriter (“Una Giornata Uggiosa”). I liked the debut album by The Beat, known in the US as The English Beat – and I liked their singles, especially “Mirror In The Bathroom”. The debut album from The Birthday Party came along, and their single “Happy Birthday” really drove me nuts – a great record. I loved the debut Buggles album – and I got loads of variant singles when I got to Europe that summer. We were all still listening to Kate Bush, but I confess that the “Breathing” single broke the spell for me. I was mightily amused by the album “Wasp” by Shaun Cassidy. I was right into John Cooper Clarke. I was starting to hear stuff from New Zealand a lot – it was being sent to me via Air Mail (like the “AK 79” sampler LP with The Swingers). I was very amused with the Cristina single, a cover version of “Is That All There Is?” – I found my copy in London. I really liked NZ band The Crocodiles – the 45 “Teenarama” made a big impression on me. I really liked The Cure, and I liked their 2nd album “17 Seconds” even better than their debut album. I liked the album and singles from Dalek I Love You. The soundtrack from the film “McVicar” by Roger Daltrey was actually a pretty good album by The Who. I loved “The Black Album” by The Damned – and couldn’t wait to get my hands on a European-only 45 of ”White Rabbit”. I loved Department S from the word go – finding “Is Vic There” in 2 different versions on 45. I liked Dave Dobbyn better than his band Th’ Dudes – especially his “Lipstick Power” 45. The golden age of Ian Dury & The Blockheads may have been over, but I still liked his “I Want To Be Straight” single. John Foxx “Metamatic” cannot be over-estimated – I had seen him on stage with Ultravox in 1978 (“Touch & Go”). Freeez “Southern Freeez” was and is one of my favorite albums. I was aware of Fred Frith “Gravity”, but I like it better now than I did then. Gang Of Four “Outside The Trains Don’t Run On Time” was a really important British single for me. I think I got The Gordons “Future Shock” in the mail – wow! Gruppo Sportivo “Copy Copy” didn’t have the same magic as the previous 3 x Sportivo albums – but I still liked it. I got to work with Human Hands in 1980, but I wasn’t involved in their “Sensible Guy” single. Flowers “Icehouse” was on display in Chelsea Records in Manners St. in Wellington – that’s all it took. The Igloos cover a Syd Barrett song (“Octopus”). Japan “Gentlemen Take Polaroids” had Ryuichi Sakamoto from Y.M.O. on it – I had been with Japan since the “Quiet Life” album. I was sent the debut Kewi A Go Go Party album in the mail (“Life Is Like A Penguin”) by Eric from Boudisque. I liked the NZ band The Knobz “Culture” 45 on the Bunk label. Knox cover a Syd Barrett song (“Gigolo Aunt”). Krisma “Cathode Mama” LP from Italy was amusing. Lavvi Ebbel 45 “Out Of The Blue” from Belgium really made me happy (again, thanks to Eric). I found the debut Lio album by myself, in a FNAC store in Paris – which one? Montparnasse?) Eric @ Boudisque again – the debut 10” from Fay Lovsky, then known as Fay Lovesick (“Sound On Sound”). Lots of Madness records in 1980 – I liked the “Work Rest & Play” EP probably the best. Magazine were one of my favorite bands – lots of singles released in 1980 – “Sweetheart Contract” probably my favorite – I had seen them live in ’79 and would see their San Francisco “Urgh” show in 1980. Martha & The Muffins – Canadian band, British records – “Trance & Dance” had some great stuff; good live band, too. I had cotton’d on to Mi-Sex in ’79 – but I also liked their 2nd LP “Space Race”, another good live band. The Mockers seemed to attract a lot of attention in Wellington NZ, having a B-Side called “Murder in Manners St.” – which I had bought on Manners St. I was buying records by The Monochrome Set, but my fandom would take almost 20 years to germinate. One of the best 45’s I was ever sent from Holland was The Monomen “Come In Handies” b/w “S.O.B.S.” in a plastic sleeve (Thanks, Eric!) – I even got to see them live in Amsterdam! The Mothmen “Pay Attention” LP, I just love “Not Moving” from that debut album. New Musik “From A To B” was great, best single from them at that time was “This World Of Water”. Harry Nilsson “Flash Harry’ – what a weird album! Eric sent me the 3rd album from The Nits “New Flat” – and I had a new favorite band – I absolutely loved the 45 “Holiday On Ice” (a German 45 for a Dutch band). 1980 was all about 45’s for Gary Numan “I Die, You die” and “We Are Glass” – his best work. Orchestral Manoeuvres’ debut album is pretty good, I like the “Red Frame, White Light” single better (& the “Messages” 10”). John Otway & Wild Willy Barrett had a lot of 45’s – “DK 50/80” made the biggest impression. Interesting live act, Mr. John Otway. The Andy Partridge “Take Away” solo LP is a bit confounding – I think I like his work with XTC better. The Passions “Michael & Miranda” LP is really good; I also go for their subsequent singles. Jacques Plafond “Hark!” LP is sent to me by Eric from Holland, and we are all amused. Plastics “Top Secret Man” is amusing, seems as lot like Devo; I like it better now than I did then. 2nd LP by P-Model “Landsale” is real good, I guess I liked the 1st album (“In A Model Room”) better. “Now” by Pop Mechanix is one of the best singles I was sent from New Zealand – where’s the LP? (Uh, there was never a Pop Mx LP). Psychedelic Furs – they seem to be a good band, loved the “Sister Europe” and “Mr. Jones” singles. Pylon “Gyrate”! Random Hold “The View From Here” LP is amazing – we will have to wait a few years to hear “Avalanche”. Revillos “Rev Up!” LP has to wait until I see the videos for “Where’s The Boy For Me” and “Scuba Scuba”. The Rolling Stones “Emotional Rescue” LP continues in the trend of “Some Girls”, so they’re still listenable. Ryuichi Sakamoto “B-2 Unit” album reminds me of the Andy Partridge LP – only it was a lot more expensive. The Selecter album “Too Much Pressure” is fine – I never got to see them live (at least, I don’t think I saw them live). Simple Minds “Empires & Dance” resonates, but I will like their next LP even better. Soft Boys cover a Syd Barrett song (“Vegetable Man”). The Sound “Heyday” single is great. Spandau Ballet’s debut single “To Cut A Long Story Short” is my favorite record by them. The Specials “More Specials”…er, M.O.R. Specials? Uh, I liked Side One really well. Spizz! Athletico Spizz 80 “Do A Runner” – great, great LP – still not on CD in 2010? Spliff “The Spliff Radio Show” – my favorite English-language German record of 1980. Really liked “Passion” by Rod Stewart (and the album “Foolish Behavior”). Continued my Stranglers fandom – two great singles in 1980 “Bear Cage” & “Who Wants The World”. Surf Punks (saw ‘em live at The Roxy) and was amused by the “My Beach” LP on Epic. This Heat “Health & Efficiency” 12” – I like this better than either of their albums! Pete Townshend “Empty Glass” – an album that you could sit down with the lyrics sheet! Toy Love LP & singles were great in ’80 (eventually got to meet Chris Knox in NZ). Waitresses “I Know What Boys Like” single! Even Tom Waits’ “Heart-attack & Vine” LP! Steve Winwood “Arc Of A Diver” (with Vivian Stanshall lyrics!). Robert Wyatt had a bunch of singles in 1980 – but no LP? “At Last I Am Free” was my favorite of those. XTC “Black Sea”! I didn’t go for Yello in 1980 – that had to wait approx. 20 years. Y.M.O. “X Infinity Multiplies” 10” was and is amazing! Snakeman Show! I suppose one could get to Yes “Drama” via The Buggles…Frank Zappa “I Don’t Want To Get Drafted” single! Hector Zazou “La Perversita” LP on Invisible from France – still not on CD in 2010?
Sure there was more than this going on in 1980 – but these are what stuck out for me.