Logan’s Music Library Countdown Week 4

by Logan B.

I have nothing to say.  (Oh yeah, except to remind everyone about the pretense of this list.  I’m posting my highest ranked — not necessarily favorite — single from each year according to the list at Acclaimed Music.)  Okay.  Let’s get to the list:

  • 1981 – Monday: "Radio Free Europe", R.E.M.
  • 1982 – Tuesday: "Sexual Healing", Marvin Gaye
  • 1983 – Wednesday: "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)", Eurythmics

1981: Susan sort of stole my thunder on this one, but that’s okay.  She has more to say about it than I do.  Still, it’s my highest ranking song from the year.

1982: I think the best description I’ve heard of this song comes from the review at All Music Guide: "Using a melodic and minimal reggae-tinged track, Gaye found the perfect way to distill his love for both sexual relations and Bob Marley."

1983: I’m really running out of things to say about these songs.  I guess "Sweet Dreams" was a huge worldwide success, and only came over from Britain in 1983 because MTV was looking for this kind of stuff to play in its early days.  It sounds so typical of the 80’s now, but it was the first of its style to get big here in the US.

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28 thoughts on “Logan’s Music Library Countdown Week 4

  1. Like U2, REM is one of those bands that seemed to bring along a lot of political charge in their early days. That’s faded now, to be sure, but I remember listening to these bands and just getting so MAD that things weren’t right in the world. Of course I had no idea what they were singing about. “Radio Free Europe”? What’s that?

  2. That’s interesting, Steve. Early U2 and REM are before my time, music-listening-wise, so I don’t really think of them that way. In fact, in my mind they’re practically the music establishment. Of course you’re right, though, that they began as very edgy, politically motivated groups.

  3. If REM & U2 started as the bands they are now, they never would have become successful. Their “edgy” quality, coupled with fairly mainstream sound, permitted them to survive record companies (who want cool music, but mostly want to sell records).

  4. You don’t have the Talking Heads?

    If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you rent their live performance, Stop Making Sense. Should be out on DVD.

    Sorry to beat you to the punch with REM. I’m guessing a lot of my 80’s stuff will overlap with the Acclaimed list.

  5. Nope, I don’t have any. To tell the truth, I’m not sure I even know any Talking Heads. The whole Punk/New Wave thing is just a blank in my music knowledge. That’s a good to rent that DVD. I’ll see if I can get it; I definitely want to fill this hole in.

    And that’s fine if you beat me on some of these 80’s songs, Susan. As I look at the list, I doubt we’ll conflict very much. I really don’t have very much *cool* music from the 80’s. We’ll be fine.

  6. “Once in a Lifetime” (#1 from Acclaimed’s list for 1981) is a fine piece of music, with one of the greatest intros of all time

    And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
    And you may find yourself in another part of the world
    And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
    And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful
    Wife
    And you may ask yourself-well…how did I get here?

    .

    However, the definitive song from that year is Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love.” It evokes specific pop cultural memories like no other song from that era.

  7. And for you Talking Heads neophytes, #10 on the Acclaimed list for 1981 is the Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love”. The Tom Tom Club is one half of the members of the Talking Heads.

  8. My favorite Talking Heads tune is “Nothing But Flowers”–I just think it’s so brilliant:

    Years ago
    I was an angry young man
    I’d pretend
    That I was a billboard
    Standing tall
    By the side of the road
    I fell in love
    With a beautiful highway
    This used to be real estate
    Now it’s only fields and trees
    Where, where is the town
    Now, it’s nothing but flowers
    The highways and cars
    Were sacrificed for agriculture
    I thought that we’d start over
    But I guess I was wrong

    Once there were parking lots
    Now it’s a peaceful oasis
    you got it, you got it

    This was a Pizza Hut
    Now it’s all covered with daisies
    you got it, you got it

    I miss the honky tonks,
    Dairy Queens, and 7-Elevens
    you got it, you got it

    And as things fell apart
    Nobody paid much attention
    you got it, you got it

    I dream of cherry pies,
    Candy bars, and chocolate chip cookies
    you got it, you got it

    We used to microwave
    Now we just eat nuts and berries
    you got it, you got it

    This was a discount store,
    Now it’s turned into a cornfield
    you got it, you got it

    Don’t leave me stranded here
    I can’t get used to this lifestyle

    Although it doesn’t have the coolness factor of “Psychokiller.”

    As for “Tainted Love,” that song took on a whole new meaning for me when Coil covered it and released it as an AIDS benefit single.

  9. According to the Tom Tom Club Website, “Genius of Love” has been sampled almost 50 times by rappers and DJs.

    It’s a great song.

  10. Mmmm. Some great stuff for 1981.

    A few of my favorites that made the Acclaimed list.

    Ceremony – New Order
    Super Freak – Rick James
    Rapture – Blondie
    Start Me Up – The Rolling Stones
    Don’t You Want Me – Human League
    Vienna – Ultravox

  11. I was happy to see the Teardrop Explodes (not many people know them!) and the Birthday Party made the list.

    I have Ultravox on vinyl but not digital, too bad.

  12. I know I know the name Julian Cope (Teardrop Explodes), but can’t remember which of his work I’ve heard.

    I haven’t really gotten into Nick Cave (Birthday Party). But The Birthday Party always makes me think of The Wedding Present.

  13. Thanks to an anonymous donor (anonymous, at least, until he or she wishes to identify him- or herself), we’ve got some Talking Heads up on the radio.blog.

    Now that I hear it, I think I do know “Once in a Lifetime”, by the way.

  14. My favorite Talking Heads song is “Stay Up Late.” That may not make any sense to anyone, but I like its sort of baby-loving mischievous tone.

    I think Bryce is right about “Tainted Love.” I used to have the extended version on record — it was Soft Cell’s medley of “Tainted Love” that went directly into a delightful cover of the Supremes’ “Where Did Our Love Go?”

    What an amazing perfect record that was. And I don’t normally like that kind of stuff.

  15. “Sexual Healing” is such an excellent song. So sad about how he died.

    I’m happy to see The The’s “Uncertain Smile” up there so far on the list for 1982. And I love how number 10 reads:

    The Clash – “Should I Stay Or Should I Go/Straight To Hell”

  16. Susan:

    RE: The The — me too.

    For those unacquainted with The The, check out the band’s This is The The Day Web site. There is Jukebox feature, but I would recommend that you start by clicking on the “Cinema” link and scrolling down and watching the “Kingdom of Rain” video. Great song.

  17. RE 1982:

    I can’t argue with Marvin Gaye, but if anybody owns “The Message” — that has to go up on the Radioblog.

  18. I never got into The The much … but I was impressed by the fact that Johnny Marr of the Smiths ended up playing with The The for awhile. Now if I recall right, The The was actually an individual person who chose a band name?

  19. Yeah, Matt Johnson was The The.

    Jools Holland does piano on “Uncertain Smile.”

    I didn’t know Johnny Marr played with them…or maybe I did and I’ve forgotten.

  20. Speaking of Johnny Marr…

    I actually have a cassette tape of the first Electronic album. Johnny Marr + Bernard Summner (of New Order/Jpy Division) + vocals on a couple of tracks by the dude from the Pet Shop Boys (Neil Tennant?).

    It’s not as exciting as it sounds like it should be. Although I do like a couple of the songs.

  21. The Eurythmics really blew my 13 year old mind. (I thought I was younger than that though, memory’s a funny thing.) A girl dressing like a man, but still looking pretty? I remember going to a bookstore and finding a book that had old pictures of her with long, black hair. I guess it was really fascinating to me.

  22. Susan,

    I think Johnny Marr played on the album that had a pierced dove on the cover (or something like that). I tried listening to it and it didn’t remind me of the Smiths … which was what I was looking for. I died the day the Smiths broke up. Well, not really. But they were, in my opinion, one of the great bands.

  23. Perhaps I should also add that Johnny Marr has had brief stints with Talking Heads (on the Naked album) and the Pretenders. He’s a little guitar whore but I still love him.

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