Where Were You in 1990?

6-28-2011

Where were you in 1990?

I was living in England, working for a newly-formed export CD company in 1990.  I got to watch British TV as much as I wanted and I got to hear a bunch of interesting pop singles by new artists that I wouldn’t have heard otherwise.  I was watching “Top Of The Pops”, “The Chart Show”, “Bedrock”…listening to Radio 1…

I believe that we can all identify and assign music to certain times in our lives – this set of songs are particularly easy for me to name – I was living in England when I first obtained most of them. I do still listen to plenty of English music, notably Scritti Politti, The Monochrome Set and A Certain Ratio, but I haven’t been back to England since 1990.  Try and make yourself the following collection:

A CERTAIN RATIO – Spirit Dance (from “Four For The Floor”, also found on their wonderful remix A&M album, “ACR:MCR”)

INGA HUMPE – First 5 Minutes (from the “Planet Oz” CD, co-written with Liam Sternberg, a writer who had previously worked with Lene Lovich – Inga used to have a group with her sister, “Humpe Humpe” – remember them?  Germans!)

ADAMSKI – Killer (featuring Seal) (This song reminds me of Saturday mornings walking around Bristol – I would hear this blaring out of record shops & cars)

FRAZIER CHORUS – Cloud 8 (7” version) (I first saw this on “The Chart Show” and fell in love with it – I love all of their stuff and wish there was more!)

THE STRANGLERS – Sweet Smell Of Success (one of their last singles with Hugh Cornwell, from the album “10”)

DARLING BUDS – Tiny Machine (7” version) (another one that reminds me of wandering around the town that I lived in, Bath – overcast Saturday mornings)

L’AFFAIRE LOUIS’ TRIO – Chacun De Son Cote (the lead off single from their 3rd album – while living in England, France was close and cheap enough to go on the weekends…and I frequently did!)

JESUS JONES – Real Real Real (7” mix) (another one probably introduced to me by “The Chart Show” on TV – nice riff!)

THE CHARLATANS – The Only One I Know (I think I have Radio 1 to thank for this one – or maybe I heard it playing in a record store – my first thought was “Who’s covering ‘Hush’ by Deep Purple?” – this is before they sign to Beggar’s Banquet)

NED’S ATOMIC DUSTBIN – Kill Your Television (I liked the name and sentiment – I do not remember where I first heard it – again, before they signed to a big label – Sony)

LUXURIA – The Beast Box Is Dreaming (7 inch) (I was a big Magazine fan – and had actually seen Luxuria in L.A., before this single – my memory is of going to Bristol to buy an autographed copy of Howard’s book of lyrics)

WONDER STUFF – Circlesquare (I had been following The Wonder Stuff since their debut album – I noticed an EP on the Polygram release sheet, “Lunarthug EP” GONCD 9, which was never released – this was what got released in it’s place, but it got a new number, GONCD 10.  I never got to see this band live – too bad)

THE NITS – Radio Shoes (Like France, Holland was close enough to go for the weekend – I got to stand in the rain and watch The Nits work on the video for this – a stop-frame-motion thing – as I recall, they had me improvise an introduction for this song on tape – or possibly film)

JANE CHILD – Don’t Wanna Fall In Love (Definitely a Radio 1 song – which I remember making fun of – I found an inexpensive Japanese 3” of it sometime later – presumably to listen and laugh at – nice unsubtle lyrics – horrid video)

THE CREEPS – Ooh I Like It (one from “The Chart Show”, though I doubt it charted in England – wonderful Swedish band with about 4 albums total, I think – it was songs like this that made it really fun to watch cruddy TV in England!)

THE ADVENTURES OF STEVIE V – Dirty Cash (another one I used to make fun of and laugh at – so typical of the time – I found a CD of it recently for less than $1)

OH WELL – Oh Well (This must be one that I purchased just to see what the hell it was – a techno-y version of the Fleetwood Mac classic with Zappa samples in it!  The same group also did a similar version of Golden Earring’s “Radar Love”!)

MICHEL POLNAREFF – L.N.A.  H.O. (from his masterpiece “Kama-Sutra” – my friends in Paris were telling that Polnareff had been there, holed up in the Royal Monceau hotel for months – I needed to hear what that sounded like!  To date, this is his final album of new material – much to the chagrin of the MPM’s – ‘Michel Polnareff Maniacs’, of Tokyo, Japan)

KIRSTY MacCOLL – Don’t Come The Cowboy With Me, Sonny Jim (the 4th of 4 singles from her wonderful “Kite” album – I saw this played live on the French & Saunders show – it was tons of fun to buy 3” CD singles in 1990!)

PREFAB SPROUT – Looking For Atlantis (the CD single for this was a truncated Greatest Hits CD, so that suited me.  I probably bought it on name recognition)

MANO NEGRA – Pas Assez De Toi (1990 French CD single from “Puta’s Fever” – probably purchased on a weekend trip to France – I also bought the “Pita’s Fever” video, where you can see the video for this – amazing!)

Missing from this collection: World Party  “Way Down Now”, Candy Flip “Strawberry Fields Forever” (I only have it on a 12”), They Might Be Giants “Birdhouse In Your Soul” (I saw them on dozens of TV shows playing this song), The B-52’s “Roam” (again, all over TV – even children’s shows!), MAM “Oote” (Dutch art rockers that are friends of mine), Joe Meek singles (I listened to tons of Joe Meek material while I lived in England – I got to meet the guys from the fan club and the author of the Joe Meek book, John Repsch – Jim Blake from the fan club gave me tapes of “I Hear A New World”, the Silas Dooley Jr. album and LOTS of Meek-produced singles…also concurrent with my year in England was the debut I.R.S. single by Dread Zeppelin “Heartbreaker”, my old Pasadena friends…

What were you listening to in 1990?

Ron Kane

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4 Responses to Where Were You in 1990?

  1. rcgaulke says:

    I was listening to your mix tapes!!!!!!

  2. Brian Ware says:

    This subject was on my mind recently as Kenna and I were discussing some of the music that we were listening in the first couple of years of our marriage and how hearing certain songs now takes us right back. In don’t keep careful records of my music purchases, but certainly in 1990 the following were in heavy rotation –

    Adam Ant – Manners And Physique
    Animal Logic – debut LP
    Basia – London Warsaw New York
    Danny Wilson – Be Bop MopTop
    China Crisis – Diary Of A Hollow Horse
    Duran Duran – Liberty (Sorry Jim)
    Mental As Anything – Cyclone Raymond
    INXS – X
    Schnell Fenster – Okay All Right Uh Huh Oh Yeah
    Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin – The Big Idea
    The Smithereens – 11
    Swing Out Sister – Kaleidoscope World
    Jenny Morris – Shiver
    The Outfield – Diamond Days
    Rush – Presto
    Jack Bruce – A Question Of Time

  3. ronkanefiles says:

    Excellent list, Brian! I concur on the Schnell Fenster, Jenny Morris, Mentals etc.

  4. 30kwattpa says:

    Hi Ron,

    My list at the time would have been:

    SPUD – Sour
    Bailter Space – Thermos
    Skeptics – Amalgam
    Can – Live at the Berlin Waldbuhne 1971
    Cosmic Psychos – Go the Hack
    Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
    Tommy Garrett – The 50 Guitars of Tommy Garrett
    Burt Bacharach – Plays His Hits
    Sly Stone – Anthology
    Straitjacket Fits – Melt
    Herbie Hancock – Takin’ Off

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