Tag Archives: 1983

The Police – Wrapped Around Your Finger (1983)

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‘Wrapped Around Your Finger’ was the second single off The Police’s fifth, final and most successful album Synchronicity. Written by Sting, it was never going to be one of Andy Summers’s favourite tracks, but he still got to play around with his trademark effects, even when playing second fiddle.

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Mtume – Juicy Fruit (1983)

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Back to 1983, before I forget to say…”I’ll be your lollipop/You can lick me everywhere.” James Mtume was part of Miles Davis’s band, full of avant-garde, obscure fusion jazz. But the ’80s came along and he and his band started creating a far more commercial soul sound. I stumbled across ‘Juicy Fruit’ years after its release, via one of the Classic Mastercuts compilations that I came to love in the early ’90s. Then, when it was famously sampled by Biggie Smalls for his debut single, the song evolved from a certified slow jam groove into something far more juicaaay. Have a relaxing Easter break.

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David Bowie – Let’s Dance (1983)

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Okay then, unless you are a die-hard Police fan, or you prefer one of Bowie’s other trinity of singles off Let’s Dance, this is the best pop sound from 1983. It seemingly emerged from nowhere with its unique sound. Stevie Ray Vaughan played lead guitar; David Bowie sang through new teeth; Rodgers produced with a slightly off time signature; and everyone bought the record. Have a great weekend.

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Thompson Twins – Hold Me Now (1983)

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I list this song with trepidation. More synth pop from 1983, by which time Thompson Twins had reduced to a trio: Tom Bailey, Alannah Currie and Joe Leeway. The three of them contributed to a sound that filled radio play and dance floors, but it made for a really awkward, swaying moments; or maybe that was just me. Listening to ‘Hold Me Now’ today, I can hear more than a touch of The Police during that chant half way through.

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The Smiths – This Charming Man (1983)

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Michael Stipe and Morrissey have been oft been compared, but the really interesting equivalence is between their bands’ lead guitarists. Whatever Peter Buck got up to, Johnny Marr could more than match in his songwriting and fretwork. After the relative failure of ‘Hand In Glove’, Johnny Marr wrote The Smiths’ second single ‘This Charming Man’ as something a little more upbeat. Full of jangling and chiming guitar, the song was an immediate breakthrough.

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R.E.M. – Talk About The Passion (1983)

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While synth pop continued to eat up the charts both sides of the pond, something very different was happening in Athens, Georgia. 1983 saw R.E.M. release their debut album Murmur, revealing a sound that didn’t sound half as transient as daytime radio play. The heady mix of West Coast pop, Michael Stipe’s new wave vocals and Peter Buck’s jangly guitar signal the signs of greatness to come. ‘Talk About The Passion’ my friends, talk about the passion.

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China Crisis – Wishful Thinking (1983)

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A lot of chat about 1983, among a good set of friends last week. Annus mirabilis or not? Well, ‘Blue Monday’, ‘Uncertain Smile’, ‘Liquid Liquid’, ‘Blister in the Sun’ and ‘Modern Love’ are already blogged and represent a very good start. Now for something very archetypal of that time… China Crisis and ‘Wishful Thinking’. Gary Daly and Eddie Lundon were established songwriters searching for that one song. I am not sure ‘Wishful Thinking’ is it, but what they had discovered was the sound of pure synth pop. The song featured on their sophomore album Working With Fire And Steel. Have a great week.

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Yello – Lost Again (1983)

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Released in 1983, You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess is Yello’s third album. You can hear the trio’s influence on bands like Pet Shop Boys, The KLF. They would change themselves too; this was the last album to feature all three founding members (Dieter Meier, Boris Blank, Carlos Perón). Perón would get ‘Lost Again’.

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Jackie Stoudemire – Dancing (1983)

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In 1983, 17-year-old Harlem singer Jackie Stoudemire released ‘Dancing’ on label TAP Records. It’s an obscure late disco track beloved by crate-diggers. However, indie-pop merchant Jens Lekman heard it and used its insatiable groove on ‘#29’ of his Postcards undertaking. Throughout 2015, Lekman wrote and released a new song (“Postcard”) every week. And I thought a song a day was tough…

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The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping (1983)

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The Waitresses

Decent festive songs are scarce, but then Christmas sounds were better in the 1980s. The riff may be military-grade cheese, but the rest is pure New Wave Yuletide.

I will be doing my own wrapping up on Boxing Day with a listen back at the year. That review will be beginning of a holiday hiatus; I’m taking some time out until January. Until then, Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

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New Order – Blue Monday (1983)

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Bernard Sumner

‘Blue Monday’ is widely regarded as a key bridge between synthesized disco and house music scene that would take the dance floors by storm by the end of the decade. According to Bernard Sumner, the track is a derivative of Klein + M.B.O.’s ‘Dirty Talk’, Sylvester’s ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real), ‘Donna Summer’ ‘Our Love’ and Kraftwerk’s ‘Uranium’. Whatever the source of inspiration, this was alternative dance 101. Bernard Sumner’s machine-like vocals were the icing on the cake.

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Men At Work – Overkill (1983)

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Men At Work

It’s not ‘Down Under’, but that’s a good thing right, because this is ‘Overkill’. “I can’t get to sleep/I think about the implications,” Colin Hay laments. “I worry over situations/I know will be all right/Perhaps it’s just imagination.” Genius songwriting; it featured on Men At Work’s 1983 album Cargo.

 

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Talking Heads – This Must Be the Place (1983)

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Despite the heady creativity of their first four long players, it was their fifth (1983’s Speaking In Tongues), and more specifically its single ‘Burning Down The House’, that became Talking Heads’ commercial breakthrough. The closing track ‘This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)’ was the gem of the album. Listening to it now, the song sounds very Tom Tom Club. At the time, it was the closest thing to a love song in David Byrne’s catalogue.

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The Style Council – Long Hot Summer (1983)

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The Style Council

Former Dexys Midnight Runner Mick Talbot started working with Paul Weller in 1982. Paul Weller had given up The Jam to form The Style Council because fronting one of UK’s best-loved bands had become tiring for its superstardom. So, to complete the transformation, he tapped his love for soul. ‘Long Hot Summer’ would feature on the band’s first collection of singles, Introducing the Style Council and firmly alienate a number of Weller’s fans.

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Kraftwerk – Tour De France (1983)

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Kraftwerk

Le Tour started yesterday. In 1983, ‘Tour De France’ was another Kraftwerk celebration of man and machine, but this time it was a little less industrial. A month later the great Laurent Fignon would win the tour at the sprightly age of 23. Sadly, Fignon died of cancer 5 years ago at a premature age of just 50. People speculated about the wear and tear he had but his body through. The song communicates a sense of the physical endurance needed to do well in this most gruelling of tests – natural or manufactured.

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