Back to the 80s

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. 😉

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

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

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. 😉

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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Back to the 80s

Back to the 80s: O is for Oingo Boingo

Another week, and it’s time once again for my Back to the 80s Challenge – my very own A-Z Challenge! This time, we’ve made it to another one of those awkward letters, where I’m left scratching way back into my memory banks – and this is where the help of my husband usually comes in. 😉

The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo were formed in 1972 and were a musical theatre troupe. In the late 1970s, they shortened their name to Oingo Boingo and released an EP a year later. They released three albums during the early 1980s and their music began to appear on a number of movie soundtracks. Their best known song ‘Weird Science‘ was written for the movie of the same name and appeared on their album Dead Man’s Party. Song writer and front man Danny Elfman, then began composing for major films. They released three more albums and explored different musical directions, but eventually played their final concert in 1995. Danny Elfman continues to compose for film and television and has been nominated for four Academy Awards.

I always thought that the song ‘Stay’ was a love song, but when I looked further into it, I’ve come to the conclusion that it may be about suicide. And as it is from their album Dead Man’s Party, it seems to make sense.

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter O include:- Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.

What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter O can you think of? What are you thoughts about the song ‘Stay’ – do you think it is about suicide? Is it just me or does Danny Elfman have a creepy looking vibe going on in that video and do it really well?

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Back to the 80s

Back to the 80s: N is for New Order.

It’s time once again for my A-Z Challenge of 1980s music. We’re just over the half-way mark now, so we’re getting closer to the end of my biggest blogging challenge yet.

It’s certainly been interesting and at times, a bit of an eye-opener, regarding some of the bands I’ve covered so far. It’s good to know that some of these bands and musicians don’t always follow the road to obscurity after they’ve reached a certain level of success.

New Order were formed in 1980, with the remaining band members from Joy Division, after the death of Ian Curtis. Gillian Gilbert was invited to join the band in the same year to play keyboard and guitar. After the release of their first album, New Order were introduced to post-disco and electro, which saw their music go in another direction. In 1983, they released their second album and ‘Blue Monday‘ was released as a separate single. The song would go on to become one of their most successful, being widely acclaimed and widely covered since its original release.

They released four more albums, including Brotherhood in 1986, which featured ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ (later to be ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the 500 greatest songs of all time), but it wasn’t until 1990 that they had their first No.1 UK hit. Over the years, there were issues with band members and recording labels, but they released more albums, toured and worked on various side projects. They continue to release albums and tour to this day.

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter N include:- Noiseworks, 1927.

What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter N can you think of? What has been your biggest blogging challenge?

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Back to the 80s

Back to the 80s: M is for Midnight Oil.

This week I’ll be continuing with my A-Z Challenge of 1980s music and this week is brought to you by the letter M. The letter M gets a big ‘Yay!’ from me, because I’ll be talking about my favourite band – Midnight Oil.

I became a fan back in the early 1980s when I was in High School (*cough*) and bought practically every album. Even though they were my favourite, I never did get to see them live, so I was stoked to hear the announcement earlier this year of them reforming and doing tours. I was anxious to get hold of a ticket to see them at their Sydney concert and I was fortunate to become a ticket holder. So, hubby and I will be going to Sydney in November to see them live and as it’s the time of my birthday, it will be the best birthday present ever! 🙂

Formed in 1975, Midnight Oil were a pub band; mainly playing in Narrabeen in Sydney’s northern beaches. Despite receiving next to no commercial radio support, their first album, released in 1978, made it in the Australian Top 50. By the time of the release of their third album, the pub rock scene was at its height and Midnight Oil were playing to packed houses. Released in 1982, Midnight Oil’s next album 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 became a huge success in Australia and stayed in the charts in excess of 200 weeks. By this time Midnight Oil were well known for their support of environmental and social justice issues.

In 1986, they toured the Australian outback with the Warumpi band, which became known as the ‘Blackfella/Whitefella’ tour. The release of their album Diesel and Dust in 1987 gave them international recognition. Midnight Oil would tour the United States, and in 1990 played outside the Exxon office in New York in order to draw attention to the environmental disaster caused by the oil tanker Exxon Valdez. In 2000, the band performed at the closing ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games with the word ‘Sorry’ emblazoned across their clothing, in reference to the Stolen Generation.

The band officially disbanded in 2002 when lead singer, Peter Garrett, announced his departure to pursue a career in politics. Since then, Midnight Oil has remained a cultural icon. ‘Power and the Passion’ and ‘Beds are Burning’ were listed in the Top 30 Best Australian songs of all time; the band has won 11 ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Awards and has been inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter M include:- Men at Work, (The) Models, Machinations, Mental as Anything, Mondo Rock, Madness, Moving Pictures.

Do you have a favourite band that you have never seen? What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter M can you think of?

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Back to the 80s

Back to the 80s: L is for Level 42.

It’s been a fair while (yes, I’m slack I know) since I posted for my very own A-Z Challenge on the theme of 1980s music. It was a challenge I set myself to help me with my research for some of my stories, which are set during this time period. It has been a challenge for not only certain letters of the alphabet, but also upon my memory. So far, I have covered the letters A-K, so I still have a fair way to go! Having said that, I’m looking at doing two of these posts each month (so consider yourselves warned 😉 )

Level 42 were formed in England during the late 1970s and signed with a small, independent label in 1980. A year later, they signed another recording contract and released the single ‘Love Games’ which became a Top 40 hit. Over the next three years, they released three more albums, with some of their songs reaching the Top Ten. It was during this time that they experimented with their musical style and became popular as a live band. In 1985, they released the album World Machine, which gave them international success and positive reviews from critics. In 1987, they released the album Running in the Family, where the song ‘Lessons in Love’ became an international hit. Within the same year, the band began to break up. They would continue with new band members and release more albums, however, the group eventually disbanded in 1994.

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter L include:- Loverboy, Los Lobos, Lipps Inc.

What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter L can you think of? Have you ever taken part in the A-Z Challenge?

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Back to the 80s

Back to the 80s: K is for Kids in the Kitchen.

kids-in-the-kitchenIf I was having a tough time coming up with band names for last month, it’s nothing compared to this months challenge for the letter K. I could only come up with one – yes, one! – that really stood out. And they are once again, another Aussie band.

Kids in the Kitchen were formed in Melbourne in 1983 and their debut single ‘Change in Mood’ reached No.10 in Australia later that same year. The following year, they were nominated for ‘Most Promising New Talent’, as well as ‘Best Debut Single’ at the Countdown Music and Video Awards. In 1985, they released their debut album Shine, where the single ‘Current Stand’ became a hit overseas and reached No.12 in Australia. Their second album, Terrain was released in 1987, which failed to chart. Unfortunately the group could not emulate their earlier success and broke up in 1988.

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter K include:- Kajagoogoo, Kraftwerk, Kool and the Gang.

What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter K can you think of?

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Back to the 80s

Back to the 80s: J is for The Jam.

The JamWe’re back to the 80s again this month, and this one had me a bit stumped. I was racking my brains trying to come up with bands starting with the letter J, which is why I’ve cheated a bit as this month’s band starts with ‘The’ (yeah, real naughty of me). The Jam happened to be one of those bands that I was fortunate to discover back in the 80s as my sister worked in a record store at the time, and as she was introduced to new bands, so was I. 🙂

The Jam were formed in England in 1972, and were influenced by the Mod music and lifestyle. They gained a small following on the punk scene and incorporated 1960s rock and R&B influences within their music, which would later have them tagged as ‘revivalists’. In 1977, they signed with Polydor Records and released their debut album. A second album was released later that same year and it was around this time that the bands lead singer, Paul Weller, became the chief songwriter.

In the years that followed, they released three more albums, including Sound Affects in 1980, which included the song ‘That’s Entertainment’; one of the bands most celebrated songs. Their next album, Start! reached No.2 in the U.K and would become their most successful album in America. The album The Gift released in 1982, not only reached No.1 in the U.K, but also became their final album. It featured ‘Town Called Malice’, which had become a No.1 hit. The Jam played a farewell tour of the U.K before disbanding in 1982.

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter J include:- Joy Division, Japan, Judas Priest.

What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter J can you think of? How have you discovered new music?

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Back to the 80s

Back to the 80s: I is for INXS.

INXSThis month for my Back to the 80s challenge, I’m featuring another Aussie band. INXS came to my attention back in the summer of 1980/1, after the release of their single ‘Just Keep Walking’. Listening to this song would forever remind me of Christmas holidays down the south coast and hot summer days upon the beach. The song became their first Australian Top 40 single.

INXS were formed in Sydney in 1977, and were originally named The Farris Brothers. They began to regularly support local pub bands such as Midnight Oil and in 1980, released their first, self-titled album. By 1984, they had released three more albums, which began to see them receive international airplay and success, including Canada and the U.S. ‘Original Sin’ from their album The Swing, became their first No.1 single.

In 1985, they performed for the Oz for Africa concert, as part of Live Aid and later that year released their album Listen Like Thieves. Their album Kick was released in 1987, which made them popular worldwide, reaching No.1 in Australia, No.3 in the U.S and No.9 in the U.K. After the success of this album, they went on to release four more. By now they had reached international success, but sadly, on 22 November, 1997, lead singer Michael Hutchence was found dead in his hotel room in Sydney. A state funeral was given and televised. Months later, the State Coroner ruled his death to be that of suicide. Despite this verdict, there is continued speculation over his death.

INXS would continue to perform over the coming years with various lead singers and in 2012, announced they would no longer be touring. Throughout their career, INXS won seven ARIA music awards and in 2001, was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.

I was fortunate to see them live in Sydney during their Kick concert at the height of their career. Down near the front of the stage, I couldn’t help but notice that Michael Hutchence definitely had a kind of presence about him (sounds corny, I know, but it’s true). His untimely death was a great loss to the Australian music industry and the world. May he rest in peace.

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter I include:- Icehouse, Ian Durry and the Blockheads, I’m Talking.

Is there a song or particular type of music that reminds you of summer? What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter I can you think of?

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