Wish me luck: The Holy Grail! (and don’t poach it from me).
Seems fitting that I’m still in M when that record shows up. Here’s the final week of the 13th letter of the alphabet as we look at the Billboard rock charts in the eighties.
The Moody Blues was a group that I grew to like due in part to my collection. My Mom always liked them and a lot of her taste passed off onto me very early (Queen, Chic, Patrick Hernandez, KC and the Sunshine Band) but the Moody Blues didn’t make the cut for some reason. As I started collecting and even more so these days, I started loving “Gemini Dream” and that made me go back and dig into their ‘80s albums at least and I found that their early ‘80s work was pretty damn great. Long Distance Voyager is a pretty brilliant record thanks in part to “Gemini Dream” but “22,000 Days” and “Meanwhile” are awesome as well.
“Here Comes the Weekend” is a fun track, though I definitely wouldn’t put it up against any of their more popular tunes. Sur La Mer is an album that very much sounds like 1988 but I like it less and less the more I like earlier works.
If you know Gary Moore for anything outside of his solo work it would be for his two brief stints in Thin Lizzy in the ‘70s but for the most part he was a solo artist. His albums wouldn’t generate too much in the way of hits and his biggest success was after this decade with his bluesy rock record in 1990 called Still Got the Blues.
“Don’t Take Me For A Loser” is from Corridors of Power which is probably his best record of the decade. I like “Ready For Love” the best of all his singles but there’s a track on that album (After the War) called “Led Clones” that’s sung by Ozzy and makes fun of bands like Kingdom Come that sounded just like Zeppelin. That’s the one track I will always remember from Gary Moore.
“The Last of the Famous International Playboys” 1989, Modern Rock #3 (download)
“Interesting Drug” 1989, Modern Rock #11 (download)
“Ouija Board, Ouija Board” 1989, Modern Rock #2 (download)
I have a tremendous respect for Morrissey now but back in the day I wouldn’t get anywhere near him. All the depressed, sad sacks in my school were listening to him and I just was way too happy of a person at the time. In the end, I look back and kind of regret not catching him at his prime because all three of these songs are quite brilliant. They are all from Bona Drag which was his second record and ended up being a compilation of one-off singles and b-sides that released after Viva Hate was released in 1988.
I swear to God that one day I’m going to sit down and listen to Astral Weeks but that’s so far down the list that it may be a while. Van Morrison has never been on my radar at all as I simply don’t consider him and ‘80s artist but both of these are pretty cool, laid back tunes. Neither are anything that make me want to immediately go buy his catalog but they are decent lounging music. Morrison started writing “Tore Down A La Rimbaud” (about poet Arthur Rimbaud) back in 1975 but he says it took him about eight years to get the lyrics right. Of the two, I like the R’n’B flavored “Ivory Tower” better though – from his album No Guru, No Method, No Teacher.
I hate both these songs by the Motels, the riffing in “Mission of Mercy” just sounding totally fake and I really dislike the lyrics and vocals of Martha Davis in “Little Robbers.” Give me “Take the L” or “Only the Lonely” any day over these two.
“Shout at the Devil” 1983, #30 (download)
It’s a little bit of a surprise “Shout at the Devil” didn’t cross over to the Hot 100 but not as much as you’d think. The song didn’t have a pop hook to be played on Top 40 radio but even moreso, the song just wasn’t very good. I bet you’re shocked to hear me say that but the damn thing is just played way too slow for any energy to be drawn out of it. The band surely knew that as it was often played faster in concert and rerecorded for Generation Swine in ’97. It may be kind of blasphemous to say but that version is simply much better than the original.
“See A Little Light” 1989, Modern Rock #4 (download)
I started college in 1994 and despite that being quite a few years after Husker Du had broken up that’s all I heard about in my freshman year at our campus radio station. That year was my first introduction to the group and Bob Mould solo and I’ve loved him ever since. I prefer his harder material with Husker Du and albums like 1998’s The Last Dog and Pony Show but overall I just love his total versatility going from pop to rock to electronic, electric to acoustic and being skilled at all of them.
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“The Line Between the Devil’s Teeth (and That Which Cannot Be Repeat)” 1989, Modern Rock #18 (download)
I don’t really know much of Murphy’s solo work as after Bauhaus I kind of went the Love and Rockets way as if somehow I could only choose one of the two branches of the original gang. This track came from Deep which I am familiar with and just find well – kind of odd I suppose.
Best Song: Bob Mould, “See A Little Light”
Worst Song: The Motels, “Little Robbers”
Also appeared in the Hot 100
The Monroes (1): “What Do All the People Know”
Moody Blues (7): “The Voice” “Gemini Dream” “Sitting at the Wheel” “Blue World” “Your Wildest Dreams” “The Other Side of Life” “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere”
The Motels (5): “Only the Lonely” “Take the L” “Suddenly Last Summer” “Remember the Nights” “Shame”
Motley Crue (7): “Looks That Kill” “Too Young To Fall In Love” “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” “Home Sweet Home” “Girls, Girls, Girls” “Dr. Feelgood” “Kickstart My Heart”
Alannah Myles (1): “Black Velvet”