Thursday, 6 June 2013

30 years on and the magic's still there!

1983 was a interesting year for music with a healthy mix of some very fine albums, and although to my mind not a vintage year, now 30 years here are a few choice morsels: 

Hall & Oates - Rock n Soul (Pt. 1)

By 1983 Hall & Oates had established themselves as one the number one live draws as well as one of the most successful acts in the world having release 'Private Eyes' (1981) to great critical acclaim and 'H2O' (1982) to great commercial success as well as a plethora of instantly recognisable No.1 singles played across the clubs of America and Europe. Of course it seemed like a great time to make a record of their greatest hits up until this point, as well as throwing in a couple of new singles into the mix to ensure fans got something extra from the purchase. At their roots Daryl and John where a singles band and nowhere is this better showcased than in this record which includes 'Private Eyes', 'You Make My Dreams', 'Sara Smile', 'Maneater' and 'Private Eyes' amongst others. 

David Bowie - Let's Dance

Bowie had hit something of a cultural block following the success of 'Scary Monsters' in 1980 and he was in danger of falling out of fashion very quickly like Stevie Wonder and Bob Dylan who found it difficult to repeat the magic of the 1970s with the new studio technology and production techniques being used. Thank goodness he had the fortune to link up with former Chic guitarist turned crack-producer Nile Rodger who hone Bowie's sound and brought him kicking and screaming into the 80s throwing of the shackles of avant-garde rock and positioning him as a pop artist with some thoroughly danceable tunes. Many times have I been caught in front of the mirror dancing along to the title track or the album's triumph 'China Girl' (written by Iggy Pop' 

The Police - Synchronicity

In 1983 the Police were arguably as big as Michael Jackson. Their on stage humour and catchy pop music had made them one of the most prolific bands of the era, but behind the scenes - as is now well documented - the group was plagued by bitter infighting between the twin egos of drummer Stewart Copeland and vocalist/bassist Sting. This would be the band's final album before their official split in 1986 but they went out in style with and album that would contain their biggest hit and a couple of other brilliant singles: 'Every breath you take', 'King of pain' and 'Wrapped around your finger' 

Yes - 90125 

If someone had suggested in 1982 that progressive rock group Yes would have album at any point during the 1980s I am sure they would have been laughed out of the room, but happen it did on the back of the stellar 90125. The band had been working hard to redefine their sound since prog had fallen out of favour and a string of lacklustre album had not help. Cue the arrival of production legend Trevor Horn who had joined the group in 1980 an had started to work their music into something that consumer audience would like on 'Drama' (1980). Following the return of the group's lynchpin, vocalist Jon Anderson, after a hiatus (the highlight of which was 'State of Independence' made in collaboration with Vangelis. The resulting album under the direction of Horn, 90125, was to be the 'Big one' for the group. Driven by the driving slice of 80s rock 'Owner of a lonely heart' it was a lesson in Horn's signature style which would define much of the music of this period. Highlights include 'Leave It', 'It can happen' and 'Cinema'. 

Genesis - Genesis

What better way to cement your position as one of the decade's most prolific and successful acts than to name your 11th album after the band? Lack of inspiration perhaps or just arrogance? Who knows? This was the album that was to position Genesis as a world conquering machine, culminating in their next release 'invisible Touch' (1986). Choc full of great tracks including the infectious 'Mama' and the toe-tapping 'That's All' this is the sound of a band very comfortable in what it's doing. 

So there you have it, my five favourites from 1983, what are yours? 

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