Back to the 80s: V is for The Vapors.

Once again we’re back for another round in my Back to the 80s Challenge and gradually working our way down to the end of the list.

Before jumping in though, recently I was extremely fortunate to see my all time favourite band of any era – Midnight Oil. They were, as expected, absolutely brilliant and I haven’t come down from the ceiling as yet (could take a few days). Anyway, back to the challenge and this week we’re down to the letter V.

Formed in the UK in 1978, The Vapors were discovered by one of the band members of The Jam and were offered to support them during one of their tours a year later. Their first single was released in 1979, but failed to chart. Their second single ‘Turning Japanese’, reached the top three in the UK, as well as becoming a hit in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The song appeared on their debut album New Clear Days. Two more singles later made it into the UK Singles Chart and they released another album in 1981. The band broke up in 1982, believed to be due to a lack of support from their record label.

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter V include:- Van Halen.

What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter V can you think of? Have you seen any good bands recently?

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Back to the 80s: U is for U2

It’s time once again for my Back to the 80s challenge and now that we’re getting closer to the end, we’re reaching the letters of the alphabet that really will be a challenge!

This time around is a band that became a huge success in the 1980s and another band that I was fortunate to see live. Back in the day, they were one of my favourites, but personally, they reached a point where musically, I eventually lost all interest (hey, it happens sometimes).

U2 were formed in Dublin, Ireland in 1976 and released their first album Boy in 1980. The album received positive reviews and they released the album October a year later. The album War was released in 1983 and the single ‘New Year’s Day’ was to become the band’s first hit outside of the U.K. They toured Europe and the U.S, which resulted in their live album Under a Blood Red Sky. The album Unforgettable Fire was released in 1984, which was successful in the U.S and became No.1 in the U.K. The single ‘Pride (In the Name of Love)’, became their biggest hit and the band performed at the Live Aid concert in 1985, with a television audience estimated of 2 billion people. It would help establish what Rolling Stone magazine labelled as ‘the band of the 80s’ that same year.

Their fifth album, The Joshua Tree, was released in 1987 and was critically acclaimed. It went to No.1 in over twenty countries and won two Grammy Awards. A year later, the album Rattle and Hum was released and reached No.1 world wide. Over the years, U2 would go on to release eight more albums, tour extensively, become one of the most best-selling artists in history and be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

This song was my favourite from their very early years and I recall a different clip. But oh dear, Bono’s hair in this one – so very 80s! πŸ˜‰

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter U include:- Ultravox, Uncanny X-Men, UB40, Underworld.

Have you ever lost interest in certain bands when they change musical direction? What were some of your favourite bands during the 1980s? What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter U can you think of?

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Back to the 80s: T is for Tears for Fears.

Once again we’re jumping back into my Back to the 80s Challenge and we’re moving ever so closer to the finish line.

For this part of the challenge we’ve come to a band that I introduced to my kids a couple of years ago, and my daughter seemed to appreciate them at the time (yes, you have to introduce your kids to good music from an early age. πŸ˜‰ )

Tears For Fears were formed in England in 1981 and had success with their third single ‘Mad World’ in 1982. Their first album was released a year later, reaching platinum status and became successful in other countries. It wasn’t until the release of the single ‘Shout’ from their second album Songs From the Big Chair in 1984, that the band reached international fame. The album also included the hits ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ and ‘Head over Heels’. Their third album The Seeds of Love was released in 1989 and was another world-wide hit. The band split in 1991 where they pursued solo careers, only to reform in 2000.

‘Shout’ was the song that my daughter favoured the most (as do I). So did a lot of people in fact, as the song went on to become one of the most recognisable songs of the 1980s.

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter T include:- Talking Heads, Thompson Twins, The The, The Clash, The Triffods, TISM.

What is one of most recognisable songs of the 1980s for you? Have you introduced music from your childhood down to your own children? What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter T can you think of?

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Back to the 80s: S is for Simple Minds.

Another week and it’s time once again for my Back to the 80s challenge. We’ve made it down the the letter S and I can’t believe I’ve made it this far (it’s been a long challenge), but the end is almost in sight.

I’m back to another band that was a favourite of mine back in the 80s and listened to quite a bit – and even saw them live in concert.

Simple Minds were formed in Glasgow, Scotland in 1978 and released their first album in 1979. By 1981, they released four more albums and the single ‘Love Song’ became an international hit. The single ‘Promised You a Miracle’, hit the UK Top 20 and the Australian Top 10. Their album New Gold Dream was released in 1982 and became a commercial success. Despite their popularity, it wasn’t until the single ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ appeared in the film ‘The Breakfast Club’ in 1985 that they broke into the US market.

Simple Minds performed at Live Aid in 1985 and in the same year released the album Once Upon a Time, resulting in four world wide hit singles. The band would go on to undergo line-up changes, became more political in their lyrics, produce more albums and perform world tours. In 2007, the band marked their 30th anniversary. They continue to release albums and tour to this day.

I couldn’t quite decide which music video to put up for this one, as two songs in particular stand out as favourites. ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ was the other contender and is great live. Even to this day, I still can’t remember if I ever saw The Breakfast Club (yes, I know, shame)! But yeah, Alive and Kicking is my favourite – never get tired of this one. πŸ™‚

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter S include:- Spandau Ballet, Spy vs Spy, Simply Red, Style Council, Sunnyboys, Split Enz, Stray Cats.

Have you seen ‘The Breakfast Club’? What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter S can you think of?

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Back to the 80s: R is for Roxy Music.

With my Back to the 80s challenge, I’m enjoying re-discovering certain bands and discovering new ones. As some of my stories are set during the 1980s, I’m enjoying the research and looking into the music that was popular at the time. This certainly helps with my character’s taste in music and therefore, learning more about their personalities.

This week, I couldn’t resist going past another band that is a personal favourite. And why not? My challenge, my rules. πŸ˜‰

Formed in England in 1971, Roxy Music released their first album a year later, reaching No.10 in the album charts. It was not until they released their fifth album in 1975, that they had their first U.S. hit with ‘Love Is The Drug’. They disbanded in 1976, but reunited two years later and released two more albums. The album Flesh + Blood was highly successful in the U.K and reached No.1 in the charts. In 1981, they recorded their own version of John Lennon’s ‘Jealous Guy’ as a tribute and became the band’s only No.1 single. They released their final album Avalon in a year later and disbanded in 1983.

Sorry to all you John Lennon fans out there (hey, I’m one too), but personally, I prefer Roxy Music’s version of Jealous Guy. It’s beautifully done and a fitting tribute. This version usually brings a tear to my eye!

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter R include:- Roxette, Re-flex, The Rockmelons, Real Life, Redgum.

Which version of Jealous Guy do you prefer? For writers, do you use music as a way of finding out more about your characters? What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter R can you think of?

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Back to the 80s: Q is for Queen.

There was never any doubt which band I’d use this time around for my A-Z Challenge. Queen are one of the all time greats and an old favourite. Sadly, I never did get to see them in concert, which would have been awesome.

Queen were formed in London in 1970 and released their debut album in 1973. In 1975, they released their fourth album, A Night at the Opera, featuring ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, which has been voted one of the greatest songs of all time.

Queen released three more albums during the 1970s, making them an international success. They toured the US, Canada, Japan and Europe and performed a free concert tour in Hyde Park, London. The 1980s were a time of experimentation for the band, including the use of synthesisers, writing movie soundtracks (Flash Gordon) and a collaboration with David Bowie on the single ‘Under Pressure’, reaching No.1 in the UK.

In 1985, they performed at the Live Aid concert, with a television audience of over one billion. In 1986, they released the album A Kind of Magic, which proved very successful and included songs from the movie Highlander. That same year, they went on tour, which was also to be their final one with Freddie Mercury. Freddie’s health was brought into question in 1988, and despite being diagnosed with AIDS, he denied anything was wrong. The band continued to record during this time, releasing two more albums and a second compilation album.

Within hours of confirming he had AIDS, Freddie Mercury died in November, 1991. A year later, a concert was performed in his honour, raising money for AIDS charities. Their final album featuring Freddie was released in 1995, reaching No.1 in the UK and has sold over 20 million copies world wide. A statue of Freddie was unveiled in 1996 in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1997, John Deacon chose to retire, while Brian May and Roger Taylor continue to perform to this day.

Of-course I had to put this song on my playlist (love Highlander)! And yes, there can only be one Freddie. We may never see his like again. May he rest in peace.

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter Q include:- Quiet Riot.

Are you a Highlander fan? What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter Q can you think of?

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Back to the 80s: P is for The Promise.

This week for my Back to the 80s Challenge I’m focusing on a band that remains a bit obscure. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even remember them and once again my husband had to help me out. I guess this is all part of the fun of undertaking research – that it is not always easy and it can be a voyage of discovery.

The Promise was formed in Brisbane, Australia in 1983. The band’s first single ‘Heart to Sell’, released the following year was well received, reaching the Top 30 in their home town. The follow-up single ‘Walking with a Weight’ in 1985 reached number 67 nationally. Two more singles followed and the band built a considerable live following. They supported Australian bands such as INXS, The Angels and The Divinyls and released their first album in 1987. Believed to be on their way to becoming another Australian success story overseas, things fell apart for them on the eve of their American signing, never realising their full potential.

With that keyboard and bass guitar, ‘Heart to Sell’ has a real 80s sound. πŸ˜‰

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter P include:- Pseudo Echo, The Proclaimers, The Police, Pet Shop Boys, Party Boys, Psychedelic Furs.

What kinds of difficulties have you had when undertaking research? Do you enjoy the prospect of learning new things while researching? What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter P can you think of?

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