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Adam & The Ants Tag


So, did you expect to see me here this week? The thought of taking a break after last week’s post crossed my mind, but only briefly. In addition to having all the songs that charted on the Hot 100 in the 1980s, I have all the songs from the rock charts as well, so it’s natural for me to continue on.

In the new edition of Bottom Feeders, we’re taking a look at all the songs that hit both the Rock and Modern Rock charts but didn’t cross over to the Hot 100 in the Reagan era.

The Rock chart began in March of ’81 as Top Tracks and was a top 60 chart. In September of ’84 it was renamed Top Rock Tracks and a month later was cut down to the top 50 positions. In April of ’86 it was renamed the Album Rock Tracks chart, and today it’s called the Mainstream Rock chart and features 40 songs. For our purposes here, we’re calling it simply “the Rock chart.”

The Modern Rock chart didn’t start until September of ’88 and only featured 30 positions until 1994, when it also went to 40, and since there won’t be much to talk about from that list, we’ll combine the two charts into one discussion.

So, for the first time, enjoy music from the Billboard rock charts …

Accept
“Balls to the Wall” 1984, #21 (download)

Accept were a very underrated rock band from Germany featuring easily one of the best names in metal – singer Udo Dirkschneider. “Balls to the Wall” is the title track from their 5th and most well known album in the US. They released new albums through 1996 and then split, but a reunion album is on the docket for a September 2010 release. No Udo this time around though.

lit80s

If you’ve been reading this column for the past four years or so, you may remember me calling out certain songs as one of “the top blahblah new-wave songs ever.” I’ve done it a few times, as I recall — most recently last Tuesday, in fact — and good commenter Pete stated:

“John, I’d be curious to know what your other top 5 new wave songs are …”

Well, Pete my friend, because you asked for it, here are not only my top 5, but my top 15! Who says it’s a waste of time to comment on Popdose?

First off, some ground rules:

  • While acts such as Roxy Music, Sparks and David Bowie certainly laid the groundwork, if not the entire friggin’ blueprints for what we call new wave, this list is limited to artists who came of age and were active during the classic new-wave period from 1979 through 1984, give or take as I feel like.
  • And what the heck is new wave, anyway? While we can argue it was just an umbrella term coined by Seymour Stein to cover any of his acts that weren’t overtly commercial, let’s agree for our purposes that we know it when we hear it.
  • It would be easy to rattle off ten or twenty songs that really should be on this list, like for example, New Order’s “Blue Monday.” But this is Popdose: we assume you’ve seen obvious lists like that a million times and the average Popdose reader is more knowledgeable and likes to be challenged. So, while we’re not gonna go all Pitchfork-y on you and rattle off names like Pylon or the Plastics, you may seem some less obvious choices.
  • This list will be from a very American point of view, since I sort of grew up in America and stuff. Don’t worry though – it’s probably the most Anglo-centric Americanized list you’ll ever read.
  • And last, but not least, this is my list, my opinions, my decisions. It is by no ways meant to be comprehensive, complete or the final word on anything. That’s why you’re going to leave comments after you read it, so I can either praise you for bringing up an act I forgot, or ridicule you for suggesting I left out the Bongos and how dare I.

And with that, let’s begin!

mega logo

We, at the site, really do strive to bring the coolest stuff possible to the readers and I think you’d agree our commitment pays off. But sometimes things float through our transom that don’t make it to the site for one reason or another. Such was the case when your own, your very own Dirk McQuickly Jason Hare e-mailed some links to the staff. A friend of his transferred old cassettes recorded from radio broadcasts in the ’80s, complete with commercials, DJ banter and other ephemera, to MP3. Nerdlet that I am, I downloaded as many as I could and reveled in a little regressive therapy at maximum volume.

Then I recalled, “Wait a minute. I’m a notorious packrat! I might have a few tapes of my own!” I did, in fact. Recordings of the fabled WPLJ from 1980s New York actually existed in a tape box that had an inch of dust congealed atop it. I thought this would be a very cool addition to our little Internet menagerie, and it would have been – were it not for the fact I only bought the cheapest, crappy blanks back then.

Yes, friends, the tapes had stretched, warped, some even seized up into circular spools of utter uselessness, but all were rendered ruined by time. But that doesn’t stop a man on a mission, now does it? I decided to build the playlist back from the ground up, based on the information on the J-card. Also, this one particular tape was playable but it sounded horrible, warbly, drifting in azimuth alignment so that sound meandered from fuzzy and muddy to irritatingly sharp.

Here's an example of a great song that couldn't be confined to a B-side. Wide Boy Awake was Adam & the Ants bassist Kevin Mooney's first project after splitting from the Ants following 1980's Kings of the Wild Frontier. While his new group only released