We are getting closer to the end of this countdown. When I am undertaking such an endeavor as this countdown, I become overly hyper-focused, listening to the music I am researching 24/7, constantly doing internet researches on the subject and bugging my poor wife with the latest obscure piece of trivia. Good thing she is a special education teacher, because it often seems as though I have been her biggest project over the past 32 years. I am a very lucky man.
Changing the subject, do you remember the fashion of the New Wave 80s? I remember young ladies wearing mini-skirts with large polka dots, polo shirts with popped collars (guys went that route too) and had “exploding” hair. And, the guys were wearing parachute pants, sleeve-less concert T-shirts, headbands with “Japanese” characters and mullet hair cuts. I even wore this turquoise shirt with a black triangle that snapped to the turquoise part. It looked like something the band members of A Flock of Seagulls would wear. I also liked to wear leather ties, especially the one that had a piano keys on it, though, fortunately, I never owned a fish tie.
Anyway, maybe the fashions were a bit much back then, but at least we had some sweet music. So, let’s get going!
30. The Knack – “My Sharona” (1979). When The Knack rode this gem to number 1 here in the US, I knew we were on the cusp of some very exciting pop music. To a Midwestern kid, this song was his call to arms.
29. Peter Gabriel – “Sledgehammer” (1986). I never thought Peter Gabriel would ever have a number one hit in the US. But, when I heard this song and saw its video, I knew this was going straight to the top.
28. David Bowie – “Fashion” (1980). Like I said, David Bowie is a godfather of this musical genre. Who knew this song would go on to become a something of a milestone in New Wave musical history.
27. Elvis Costello – “Alison” (1977). This may be THE slow dancing song of New Wave. What more can I say?
26. The Police – “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” (1981). The Police rode this song all the way to #2. And, I drove my dormitory neighbors crazy playing this song (and the rest of the album) all the time for the two months after its release.
25. The Records – “Starry Eyes” (1979). Power pop tended to be more of an American phenomenon. But, on this song, The Records proved the Brits still are in touch with their inner Beatlemania.
24. The Call – “Walls Came Down” (1982). At one time, critics believed The Call would be something near to what U2 eventually became, the biggest band in the world. Fortunately, the band left us with this gem. And, the band had a little help from The Band’s keyboardist Garth Hudson.
23. Elvis Costello & the Attractions – “Pump It Up” (1978). Costello & His Attractions knocked this song out of the park with the musicians’ intensity.
22. Joy Division – “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (1980). Here is the beginning of the UK’s post-punk scene. Who knew darkness could be so beautiful?
21. Tears for Fears – “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” (1985). This duo jumped from cult status to bonafide superstars with this super hot song. Lyrically, the song touched human nature perfectly. Musically, it was a perfect pop song.
Well, 280 songs down, and 20 more to go! Stay tuned for the best New Wave has to offer! Hang on for the finale!