Friday, October 30, 2020

The Blitz Kids who reached the Top 10 first

Spandau Ballet : To Cut A Long Story Short

The carefully coifed Spandau Ballet release their debut single, "To Cut A Long Story Short", which will race up the charts to UK#5, selling 23,000 copies in a single day. 

Alan Lewis of Sounds writes "There's nothing here that's going to surprise anyone who's had even a casual ear on post-synthesizer rock, especially the Foxx/Ultravox school...This is clearly NOT the work of out-of-work hairdressers who've managed to stumble through a few gigs, but a massively competent records by a band with plenty in reserve."

Thursday, October 29, 2020

A new Psychedelic Furs single visits with Mr Jones

The Psychedelic Furs : Mr Jones

In October of 1980 The Psychedelic Furs released "Mr Jones" b/w "Susan's Strange". It's a muted version compared to the one that would appear on Talk Talk Talk, possibly because it is produced by Ian Taylor instead of the band's usual producer, Steve Lillywhte.  Thanks to Bob Dylan's "Ballad Of a Thin Man", Mr Jones had become a shorthand to the type of self-important movers snd shakers rebellious rockers hate. Richard Butler would later say the song is actually about pop culture's version of romance.

"It's basically saying that advertising and radio and pop songs sell you an idea of what love is and what it should be like, and it's largely idealized and very difficult to realize in the real world. It was a criticism of that really. Movie stars and ads define romance, don't they?"

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Rough Rough Sounds of Young Scotland

Fire Engines : Get Up And Use Me

In October of 1980 Edinburgh's Fire Engines released their debut single "Get Up And Use Me". NME's Paul Morley reviewed the single calling it "a confirmation and revelation that these striking Fire Engines can assault and agonize in new, forceful ways with the guitar/bass/drums line up. David Henderson and Murray Slade's guitar conflict-heroically racy- is the most indignant and electric I've heard since the Au Pairs...I'm losing sleep. My body won't stay still. No one'll steal this lot's soul. They'll catch on a like a disease. We'll all be twitching. "

The Fire engines never did make a "well produced" single. Sometimes playing it rough is best. Franz Ferdinand would cover the sing twenty years later. 


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Tom Robinson: My All Time Top 10

 Sector 27: Invitation

Tom Robinson's new band Sector 27 is the frontman's attempt at a clean slate. He tells NME "Last year's words belong to last year's language, and next year's words await another voice. I don't disown the past, I've just walked away from it." Robinson almost immediately hits some roadblocks. His five record deal with EMI as the Tom Robinson Band ( which begand with "2 4 6 8 Motorway", "Glad To Be Gay" and "Power in the Darkness") , but the new material has been rejected. Robinson gets to keep his masters as he is shown the door . He has started his own label, Panic Records. And because he is now the only one marketing his music he agrees to give Smash Hits his all time Top 10. 


1. U2 : I Will Follow - Forget the critical bullshit. Just go see them. Great on record, staggering live. 
2. Richard and Linda Thompson : I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight - Possibly the finest album of English music recorded in the 70's. Timeless and compelling. 
3. The Out : Who is Innocent? - Along with Clive Pig's "Sweet Sixteen", the most underrated mini classic of '79. 
4. The Cure : Boys Don't Cry - It's not what they say, it's the way they say it. 
5. The Clash: White Man in Hammersmith Palais - Barely dented the Top 100 while "Tommy Gun" soared into the hit parade. Is there no justice? 
6. Echo and the Bunnymen: All That Jazz - See you at the barricades babe/ See you when the lights go low, Joe. 
7. Coil : Alcoholstark/ Motor Industry - Two chilling sides by sadly defunct Northampton band. Search out and listen. 
8. Peter Gabriel: I Don't Remember - a personal favourite from a favourite person. 
9. XTC: Roads Girdle The World - Ever since "Drums and Wires" I've been an avid fan. 
10. The Teardrop Explodes: Treason - Once a good band becomes too popular ( i.e. Teardrop Explodes, Joy Division, Specials, Police), it suddenly becomes uncool to admit you like them. Me, I love 'em all.


Monday, October 26, 2020

A visit to the Ralph Records stable

Yello : Bimbo

In 1980 The Residents' San Francisco based record company, Ralph Records, was going strong sending mutant rock out to the masses via mail order. On October 15, Solid Pleasure , the debut album by the Swiss trio Yello was released. This album would be hugely influential on the electronic and dance music scenes. Dieter Meier, the spiritual head of Yello, is an eccentric millionaire who provides vocals and lyrics like :

Look at myself in the window of a glass door 
Look in my eyes 
Look at myself in the window of a toy store 
Wink at the size 

The Residents : Easter Woman

The Residents followed up their winning concept album Eskimo with another solid exercise. The Commercial Album consists of 40 commercial length tracks. Why? The five part answer is in the liner notes: 

Point One - Pop Music is mostly a repetition of two types of musical and lyrical phrases: The verse and the chorus. Point Two: These elements usually repeat three times-in-a-three minute song, the type usually found on Top 40 radio. Point Three: Cut out the fat, and a pop song is only one minute long. Then, record albums can hold their own Top 40:twenty minutes per side. Point Four: One minute is also the length of most commercials, and therefore their corresponding jingles. Point Five: Jingles are the music of America!

Andy Partridge, Lene Lovich and Phil "Snakefinger" Lithman all play on the album.

Snakefinger : Golden Goat

The Residents' weirdness rubs off on UK artist Snakefinger who brings twisted takes on everything. The opening track contains the lyrics "I have seen the Golden Goat and he would like to lick my throat. I know his mane, I know his spoor, I know he waits outside my door."

Fred Firth : Dancing In The Street

Henry Cow guitarist Fred Frith released Gravity, his second solo album on Ralph Records. It's full of experimental dance music of all things, including a frantic cover of "Dancing In The Streets", the #6 best Indie single of 1980 according to Trouser Press.


Sunday, October 25, 2020

Cheap Trick misses a step on All Shook Up

Cheap Trick : Baby Loves To Rock

On October 24, 1980 Cheap Trick released All Shook Up, a dream team effort with Beatles producer George Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick. But if you're looking for Beatlesque numbers, you'll likely be disappointed. With the exception of "World's Greatest Lover", Cheap Trick sounds more like "Led Zeppelin gone psycho", as Rolling Stone's David Fricke wrote in his review, one of the few positive ones the album received.

 It didn't help matters that bassist Tom Peterson had just left the band. He would tell Billboard:

We were playing 300 nights a year and we'd record two albums a year on our time off. After awhile, we'd gotten to the point where we were successful, but we were still on this schedule and still doing albums in two or three weeks. We needed more time to think, to air out and encourage the creativity to write. Nobody wanted to do that.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

John Lennon releases "(Just Like ) Starting Over"

John Lennon : (Just Like) Starting Over

On October 20 in the US and 24 in the UK , 1980 John Lennon released the single "(Just Like) Starting Over", his first in five years and the final of his lifetime. Composed of three songs Lennon had demo'd , the song reminded fans of his Rock and Roll album of 1950's covers. In interviews Lennon would refer to his performance as "Elvis Orbison".

I’d done that music and identified with it – that was my period – but I’d never written a song that sounded like that period. So I just thought, Why the hell not? In the Beatles days that would have been taken as a joke. One avoided clichés. ‘Course now clichés are not clichés anymore.

The single charted well even before Lennon's death pushed the ironically named song to Number One. In the US it had reached Number 3 and in the UK Number 8. 

Yoko, whose "Kiss Kiss Kiss" was the B side, told Ken Sharp:

We knew that song would be the first single. I love ‘Starting Over’, but when I hear it now it just chokes me up a bit because it’s how we felt at the time. We really thought that we were starting over and it didn’t work out that way.

Much more can be discovered about the song on The Beatles Bible


Friday, October 23, 2020

The Joe Jackson Band Get Beat Crazy


The Joe Jackson Band : Beat Crazy

On October 24 The Joe Jackson Band released Beat Crazy, featuring the most colorful album cover of the year and 11 songs, some tackling racism and homophobia. None of the singles charted and the album failed to keep up with sales of the previous releases Look Sharp! and I'm The Man

Joe Jackson would dismiss the band after this album, keeping the phenomenal bassist Graham Maby around as much as possible, while exploring a wide variety of musical styles.

Looking back, Jackson has said Beat Crazy didn't really work:

The stereotypical difficult third album, in which we tried to change the formula a bit without quite knowing how. It's darker than the first two, and the reggae influence is more pronounced. There's some good stuff on it (I especially like the title track and 'Biology') but it’s not quite the triumphant swan song of this band.

I bought his when it came out and returning to it these many years later I think the problem, aside from the repeated use of the N-word in "Battleground",  is the songs are too long. "Mad At You" runs over six minutes in length and many of the others could have been edited by a minute as well. 

The Smash Hits review was positive:

Robert Christgau gave the album a grade of B, writing:

Just in case Jackson is about to turn into last year's model for good, I thought I'd mention that I kind of like his poorest-selling album. The melodies escape me as usual, but the beat is getting tougher and more resilient and the lyrics are at their best. Granted, the social comment and romantic reflections still sound smug at times, but anybody who can justify a dedication to Linton Kwesi Johnson ("Battleground") and say something new about fooling-around-on-the-road ("Biology") hasn't thrown it in yet.


Thursday, October 22, 2020

Ochestral Manoeuvres In the Dark gets organised

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark : Statues

On October 24, 1980 Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark released Organisation, their second album of the year. Featuring their recent single "Enola Gay", early version of the album also offered a seven inch single of live recordings from November '78 and invitations to join their fan club.

 The song "Statues" is a tribute to Ian Curtis. 

A review by Steven Grant of Trouser Press is less kind:

Orchestral Manoeuvres sounds like Freddy cannon doing the Ultravox songbook. The music is predictably ethereal, and wallows in the doomsaying that is the trademark of "serious" synthesizer artistes...the end result is bland music; Gary Numan sets houses on fire by comparison. 


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Gang Of Four offer something yellow

Gang Of Four : He'd Send In The Army

On October 22, 1980 Gang of Four released the Yellow EP, a collection of four previously released singles in the UK, including 1980's "Outside The Trains Don't Run On Time", He'd Send In The Army", Armalite Rifle" and "Its Her Factory". All four songs are now included on CDs of the band's staggering debut Entertainment!, even if they're not quite as good.

To help promote their first two releases Gang Of Four headed off on an America Tour where they were nearly given an opportunity to perform on Saturday Night Live. Instead, they spent night after night performing and day after day explaining their Marxist/Socialist views to music journalists. 

Here's drummer Hugo Burnham to Trouser Press, for instance:

None of us belongs to a political party. Our politics are socialist to differing degrees...Generally speaking, we try to encourage wider thought, appreciation of different attitudes --not just accepting the status quo of attitudes towards other people, be it your wife, your kids of The Russians.


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The Clash offer rarities on the black market

The Clash : Time Is Tight


On October 21, 1980 The Clash released the Black Market Clash EP in the US and Canada. Featured are nine rare songs previously unavailable over the past years, leading off with "Capital Radio", the title track from a 1977 UK-only EP. There's "Cheat" from the UK version of the debut album. You'll also find B-sides like "City of the Dead","The Prisoner", "Armagideon Time" and "Pressure Drop" as well as a cover of Booker T and the MG's' "Time Is Tight" from the Sandanista sessions.

Robert Christgau of the Village Voice gave the album a grade of A-, writing:

CBS's transparent attempt to class up a dumb new line of ten-inch LPs that some marketeer thinks will make collectors of us all, this hodgepodge makes more sense than Elvis the C's long-awaited full-sized hodgepodge nevertheless. First side combines B's and a U.K.-only album cut from '77-'78, when everything they did was touched with the desperate euphoria of revolutionary holdouts, with two garageland covers, the Toots appropriate and the Booker T. a stroke. Second is spacy Clash dub plus hooks, with the yearning "Bankrobber" more lyrical than anything else they've committed to plastic. Yet.

The EP has since been superseded by the 21-track Super Black Market Clash.


Monday, October 19, 2020

U2 releases its cinematic debut Boy

U2 : I Will Follow

On October 20, 1980 U2 released their debut album Boy. You can hear the early influences on a band that would influence so many bands of the 1980's. I can hear the guitars of the Buzzcocks, the anthemic lyrics of The Clash, the energy of The Skids and the propulsion of Joy Division. The members of the Irish band were all still under 21years of age and under the influence of Steve Lillywhite who would produce the first three albums.

Bono told BP Fallon:

For the LP we wanted a more cinematic sound.We wanted this big screen Panavision feel. There was a lot of little music about at the time. A lot of underground bands making little noises: beep beep and squeak squeak and they were doing it all in the name of art. And we felt we should stamp on this music. That we should develop a big and a broad sound.


The result is an album full of energy and grandeur, a sound that would propel U2 through the decade. The debut paved that way, especially among the critics. Red Starr of Smash Hits sums it up"

Smash Hits

Right from the start U2 had the glory. These are songs that must be played loudly and in front of large crowds. U2 may have been young but they seemed to know exactly what would it take to be the biggest band of the 80/s.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Japan finds its signature sound on Gentlemen Take Polaroids

Japan : Gentlemen Take Polaroids

On October 19, 1980 Japan's new single, the title cut from the forthcoming Gentlemen Take Polaroids, had peaked at #60 in the UK charts. The band's sophisticated euro-pop sound was a perfect distillation of Roxy Music and David Bowie, augmented by the fretless bass of Mick Karn. For many this album, with its cover featuring a heavily pancaked David Sylvian, was an entry point into the Japan catalogue but critics familiar with their earlier glam rock work called them out for being phony. 

Said Patrick Humphries of Melody Maker :

"There's something infinitely unsatisfying about this album. From the false image of the band to the hollow songs they perform. "

As the decades have obscured the question of Japan's credibility, more music lovers have discovered one of the era's most irresistible signature sounds. There is substance behind all that pancake makeup after all. 


Saturday, October 17, 2020

Gen X hits UK charts with "Dancing With Myself", a social distancing classic

Gen X : Dancing With Myself

In October of 1980 Gen X released the UK#62 "Dancing With Myself". Former Rich Kids guitarist Steve New, former Sex Pistol Steve Jones and former Tom Robinson Band guitarist Danny Kustow all play guitar on the single which was remixed by Billy Idol after Gen X broke up. In 1981, the new Billy Idol single, heavy on vocals and percussion, became a hit on the US dance floor. A music video for that single earned heavy rotation on MTV for Idol's performance as an Omega Man character fighting off mutants on the roof of a skyscraper. From punk rocker, Idol became a

The song has taken on new meaning during these times of social distancing. 


Friday, October 16, 2020

With Making Movies, Dire Straits releases cinematic third album

Dire Straits : Skateaway

On October 17 1980, Dire Straits released Making Movies, their third album. Featuring the UK#8 hit "Romeo and Juliet" and the future MTV hit "Skateaway", the album was a Top 20 hit in the US and a Top 5 hit in the UK.  While recording with the difficult producer Jimmy Iovine ( Patti Smith's Easter and Tom Petty's Damn The Torpedoes), Mark Knopfler's brother David left the group. The E Street Band's Roy Bittan came in to play keyboards.

"We had a great time playing with Roy," Mark Knopfler told Trouser Press. "I want to get a keyboard player in the band on a permanent basis and go on that way."

The songs are longer with the lead off track "Tunnel Of Love" clocking in at 8:11. 

"Maybe it's because a lot of people write one-and-a-half minute songs that I felt like writing songs that are eight minutes long. It's probably I've just got a lot more garbage to say."

Rolling Stone's David Fricke was impressed by the album and its lyrics, giving Making Movies 4 out of 5 stars:

Making Movies is the record on which Mark Knopfler comes out from behind his influences and Dire Straits come out from behind Mark Knopfler. The combination of the star's lyrical script, his intense vocal performances and the band's cutting-edge rock & roll soundtrack is breathtaking—everything the first two albums should have been but weren't. If Making Movies really were a film, it might win a flock of Academy Awards

Iovine is also impressed by the album.

"I think (Mark) wanted to take Dire Straits to that next step, especially in terms of the songs, and to have the album really make sense all together, which I think it does. It's a really cohesive album. He stunned me, as far as his songwriting talents. The songs on that album are almost classical in nature."


Thursday, October 15, 2020

Springsteen released his #1 album The River and hits the road on a sold-out tour

Bruce Springsteen : The Ties That Bind

On October 17 1980 Bruce Springsteen released  the double album The River, a #1 LP that would sell more than 2 million copies. The first single, "Hungry Heart", would be Springsteen's first Top 10 hit. If Born To Run was an album for dreamers hitting the highway, The River is for those who stayed home and resigned themselves to lives of quiet despair. Or maybe it's not so quiet. The album kicks off with four straight rockers, including the Byrdsy "The Ties That Bind", which may be my favorite song on The River.

Work began on the album in April of 1979 and went on for a year and a half, during which Springsteen appeared on stage only twice. It was at this time that Dave Marsh released his book Born To Run: The Bruce Springsteen Story so the legend of The Boss was firmly established when Springsteen finally hit the road again on The River Tour that crisscrossed the United States twice. The band also played 20 dates in Europe. Every show as a marathon lasting between 3 to 5 hours. The band tried out something new on the tour. Springsteen would invite a female member of the audience to come on stage and dance with him during "Sherry Darling", track two from the new album. (Wouldn't you know it doesn't happen on the live version I found).

Paul Nelson of Rolling Stone called The River a rock n roll version of The Grapes of Wrath, writing:

What makes The River really special is Bruce Springsteen’s epic exploration of the second acts of American lives. Because he realizes that most of our todays are the tragicomic sum of a scattered series of yesterdays that had once hoped to become better tomorrows, he can fuse past and present, desire and destiny, laughter and longing, and have death or glory emerge as more than just another story. By utilizing the vast cast of characters he’s already established on the earlier LPs – and by putting a spin on the time span – Springsteen forces his heroes and heroines into seeing themselves at different and crucial periods in their lives. The connections are infinite (and, some would say, repetitious).

David Hepworth scored the album a 9.5 out of 10 writing 

The E Street Band couldn't put a foot wrong if they tried and Springsteen has rarely sung better, approaching each composition as if it were his last --an object lesson in drama, conviction and involvement. Soul? Everybody talks about it but Springsteen's got it. 

From Robert Christgau a grade of A-:

These are the wages of young romantic love among those who get paid by the hour, and even if he's only giving forth with so many short fast ones because the circles of frustration and escape seem tighter now, the condensed songcraft makes this double album a model of condensation--upbeat enough for a revery there, he elaborates a myth about the fate of the guys he grew up with that hits a lot of people where they live.

As a special bonus here's Howard Kaylan of Flo and Eddie talking to me about "Hungry Heart":

We had been recruited to sing with Bruce Springsteen on stage the first day we met him in Cleveland Ohio. He brought us up to sing with Ronnie Spector and we sang "Baby I Love You" and "Walking in the Rain" . We had a great time. He remembered that blend--Mark and me --when we sing together have this specific sound. He brought us into the studio with Jon Landau. We recorded the song "Hungry Heart". It was the only song on The River that we sang on. And when we left the studio, Mark and I looked at each other and went "This is not going to work" This is the most anti-Springsteen song we'd ever heard. There's no Thunder, . There's no Night. There's no Cars. There's no Screen Door Slamming. It doesn't sound like Bruce. What does he mean "every body's got a hungry heart" What does that even mean? 

 And then we heard from Max Weinberg: "I think its going to make the album" and then we heard its definitely on the album. And then we heard it was coming out as the first single and we went "Oh no Oh no . We're gonna be responsible for the end of Bruce Springsteen, and then it was a #5 record! I still don't hear it to be quite honest with you compared to every other brilliant thing Bruce has run past these ears.

I still listen to that song and I don't hear it. To me its like the #3 hit "She'd Rather Be With Me" for the Turtles. I understand it was a hit. I understand it was a bigger international hit than "Happy Together" even but i don't hear it. I didn't hear it when we cut it and I don't hear it 47 years later I don't hear it and "Hungry Heart" is one of those songs. I will take the gold records. we went on tour with this guy all over the world for the better part of a year trying to get a good live version of it in Amsterdam and in London and in New York and in LA. So we had a great time but I don't get it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

"Dog Eat Dog" unleashes a new hit sound for Adam and the Ants

Adam and the Ants : Dog Eat Dog

On October 16, 1980 Adam and the Ants performed their monumental single "Dog Eat Dog"on Top Of The Pops launching the single,  b/w "Physical (You're So)", to UK#4. The performance, featuring Adam Ant in his finest foppery and make-up leading bandmates in chants, captured the imaginations of UK fans everywhere even though the sound of two drummers bashing away Burundi style was already familiar. It was a big moment for Ant, who had teamed up with Malcolm McLaren only to have the latter steal his band and copy his sound with Bow Wow Wow.

"If I learnt anything from him," Ant would tell Smash Hits, "it's that if you've got an idea you've got to keep it to yourself. An idea shared is an idea halved."


The single and the forthcoming album King Of The Wild Frontier are the moment Ant says he learned the difference between rock'n'roll and showbiz :

 It took me a long time to discover they were two very different things and that one was more appealing to me than the other. I felt that rock'n' roll had lost all of its colour, all its flair. Show business has got more life to it. You have to be of a much higher calibre to survive it. 

I realised that the most important thing was not to compete with any other groups. Not to feel jealous of anybody else. Just to get on with your own career. Also to be vert\y colorful - and to push that to an extreme- and be very 'total' about what you do.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

"People Who Died" poet Jim Carroll releases debut LP Catholic Boy

The Jim Carroll Band : People Who Died

On October 13, 1980 The Jim Carroll Band released its debut album, Catholic Boy. Two years earlier, Carroll had published his legendary memoir, The Basketball Diaries, recounting the years between 12 and 15 when he was both a basketball star and a heroin addict. The six foot three poet stopped playing basketball but he didn't give up heroin. 

In 1973 Carroll moved to California get a fresh start, and with the encouragement of former girlfriend Patti Smith, to whom he'd be often compared, he formed a rock band with Steve Linsley (bass), Wayne Woods (drums), Brian Linsley and Terrell Winn (guitars). Keith Richards was an early fan who helped the band get a record deal with Atco.

The best known song on the debut album is "People Who Died", a list of friends who died from drug overdoses, disease and by accident.

Life turned on a dime for Carroll. The song helped make The Basketball Diaries a best-seller and he became a heroin-chic celebrity.

"When I came back to New York, it was such a joke, because I was always referred to as the pure young poet who wasn't in it for what he could get out of it," he later told New York magazine. "And all of a sudden, the pure young poet comes back... and I'm hanging out with the Rolling Stones." 

In 1981 the ABC version of Saturday Night Live, "Fridays",  had the Jim Carroll Band on the show to perform "People Who Died" and "It's Too Late", which opens with the line "It's too late/ To fall in love with Sharon Tate". You'll have to fast forward through the show to see the performances. ( at 28:00 and 41:00) Carroll looks like a red-headed version of Bowie. He's not much of a singer. The band doesn't play with much imagination. But the lyrics are incisive and street wise:

Teddy sniffing glue he was 12 years old
Fell from the roof on East Two-nine
Cathy was 11 when she pulled the plug
On 26 reds and a bottle of wine
Bobby got leukemia, 14 years old
He looked like 65 when he died
He was a friend of mine

Catholic Boy was met with mostly unenthusiastic reviews. In a three star review for Rolling Stone Ken Tucker :

The Jim Carroll Band play like a well-rehearsed New York Dolls–blunt, loud and catchy, but lacking that late, great group's vehement humor and spontaneity. Yet what's most striking about their debut album, Catholic Boy, isn't the music but the words. There are reams of them, and they flood almost every line with endless detail. Unifying metaphors, even when they're overwrought, are exhaustively and exhaustingly sustained.

Robert Christgau gave the album a B+ writing :

He's got a great eye, a great memory, great connections. He knows how to put himself across. And he wrote "People Who Died."

The band made the strange decision to appear in the 80's film Tuff Turf starring James Spader and Robert Downey Jr who plays drums with Carroll's band in the scene above. There were more albums and books before Carroll died of a heart attack at the age of 60. 

Monday, October 12, 2020

INXS debut kicks off a decade the Australian band would dominate

INXS : Just Keep Walking

On October 13 1980 INXS released their self-titled debut album, featuring "Just Keep Walking", their first Australian Top 40 hit. The set of energetic new wave pop would most likely have been forgotten by now if the band hadn't blown up by the mid-80's. Even lead vocalist Michal Hutchence dismissed the debut:

 I'm not a great fan of the first album. It's naïve and kinda cute, almost. It's these young guys struggling for a sound. All I can hear is what was going to happen later and it's probably an interesting album because of that. "Just Keep Walking" was the first time we thought we'd written a song. And that became an anthem around town. It's funny, I remember kids in pubs saying it and hearing it on the radio the first time. We'd never heard that before.

Hutchence makes a good point. From the very start you can hear the three Farriss brothers find the groove. They are Andrew on keyboards and guitar, Jon on drums and Tim on guitar. Kirk Pengilly is already finding some catchy riffs on saxophone.And Hutchence is already slipping into some Jaggeresque posturing. There's a but more XTC than white funk on the debut, but by 1983's Shabooh Shabooh and the single 1984 Nile Rodgers produced single "Original Sin", the band would be well on its way to super stardom.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

The Jacksons' Triumph is truth in advertising

The Jacksons : Lovely One

On October 12 The Jacksons released Triumph (US#10 pop, #1R+B) . Recorded in the wake of Michael Jackson's Off The Wall, the album sold a million copies and prompted a 39 city tour that grossed $5.5 million. Triumph's opening track, "Can You Feel It", wasn't a hit but a special video produced to open every concert was the most technically advanced made so far .

Triumph sounds like the great lost Michel Jackson album. He handles most of the writing and lead vocal duties. The brothers produced the album. The first single, "Lovely One" (#12) , which sounds like another infectious dance track from Off The Wall, is the highlight, but the whole album is joyful.

While the album only finished #83 in the Village Voice Pazz and Jop critics poll, it made Robert Christgau's top 10 for the year.