My Favorite New Wave Songs: #41-50

7.17 wall of voodoo

When making these lists, I always wish that I could stuff 25 extra songs into the Top 50, but that is numerically impossible, so I will stick with my Top 50 New Wave Songs, no matter how imperfect it may seem. Plus, beginning today, I would like to offer a little commentary on each song.

If you are curious about great compilations of New Wave Music, and there literally seems to be hundreds of them with the same core songs, let me direct you toward a couple that I personally enjoy. First, and foremost, by far the greatest collection of New Wave is the 19-CD set by Rhino Records called Just Can’t Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the 80s. Initially, this set was released in three groups of five CDs over a year-and-a-half period of time in 1994 and 1995. Those CDs are essential in their coverage of genre, except if the company had waited possibly five more years to do the set Rhino might have been able to include songs by the big artists of New Wave, such as The Police, The Cars, Cheap Trick, Elvis Costello, Eurythmics, Joe Jackson, among others. Still, the set is impeccable. Now, over the four subsequent years, Rhino released four more CDs in the series: New Wave Xmas, New Wave Dance Hits, Ladies of New Wave and New Wave Halloween. These CDs were released with little fanfare, so with middling sales, you may have to pay top dollar for these four CDs.

Additionally, may I suggest a three-CD set from the United Kingdom’s Greatest Ever! label. This label has released many great compilations, but their Punk & New Wave box gives the listen a great view of the genre from Britain’s point of view. If you add this set to the Rhino set and pick up the greatest hits of the artists left off these collections, then your New Wave collection would be impeccable.

Let’s get going with the countdown…

7.17 after the fire - der kommissar

50. After the Fire – “Der Kommissar” (1982). Shortly after Falco released the original version of this song in German, this new wave band recorded the English-version of the song with a little “rockier” sound into the Top 10 in the US.

7.17 Bow_wow_wow_candy_standard_international_edition

49. Bow Wow Wow – “I Want Candy” (1982). Adam & the Ants started the whole pop music with African rhythms sound, so manager Malcolm McLaren stole the Ants and teamed them up with jailbait singer Annabella Lwin, who was 13 when she joined the band. In 1982, the band released this gem of a cover of The Strangeloves’ hit, becoming an MTV. This song just might be the most ubiquitous New Wave song.

7.17 David_Bowie_-_Heroes

48. David Bowie – “‘Heroes'” (1977). If any artist could claim to be the godfather of new wave, David Bowie is one of the (and Roxy Music is the other). In 1977, Bowie traveled to Berlin with producer Brian Eno to create a “new” sound, which sounds an awful like new wave.

7.17 the-human-league-dont-you-want-me-am

47. The Human League – “Don’t You Want Me” (1981). When this song hit the top position in the US during the summer of 1982, we all knew New Wave was the music of the moment. On their great album Dare, from which this song comes, the band wanted to make electronic music sound like a rock band. Mission accomplished!

7.17 cyndi lauper - she bop

46. Cyndi Lauper – “She Bop” (1983). I once read in an Al Franken book that he thought Cyndi Lauper was going to be the big female singing star of the 80s instead of Madonna. And, I was with now-Senator Franken. This is a flat-out great song, and one of the first that tackled the ticklish subject of female masturbation, pardon the pun. This song single-handedly (again, pardon the pun!) opened the door for subject matter for female singers and songwriters.

7.17 Eurythmics_WILTY

45. Eurythmics – “Would I Lie to You” (1985). After two albums of icy music juxtaposition with Annie Lennox’ soulful vocals, Eurythmics decided it was time to create a blue-eyed soul album. This was the lead single that pulled me further into the creative force of Dave Stewart’s songwriting. I say that Eurythmics and Duran Duran are the two New Wave bands that deserve a place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

7.17 The_Ghost_In_You_CD_Single

44. The Psychedelic Furs – “The Ghost in You” (1984). This haunting ballad grabbed me the first time I heard it while walking through the Students Center on the Ball State University campus. I immediately turned around at the end of the song and headed to the local record store to purchase the album. The album is outstanding, but this song lives on as a comment on the world of celebrity worship.

7.17 wall-of-voodoo-mexican-radio-illegal-records

43. Wall of Voodoo – “Mexican Radio” (1982). This band never really got it due as a band. Wall of Voodoo kind of got pigeonholed as a one-hit wonder due to the novelty of the video for this song. Nothing they did could ever overcome the singer’s head rising through a pot of baked beans in the video. However, I saw them open for DEVO during a live satellite concert on Halloween of 1982. And, let me stress this again, as great a song “Mexican Radio” is, Wall of Voodoo was an even more talented band, as evidenced by their Call of the West album.

7.17 Talking_heads_burning_down_the_house_standard_cover_art

42. Talking Heads – “Burning Down the House” (1983). Since Talking Heads remains my favorite New Wave artist, I could have been biased and ranked many of their songs higher, but, in reality, this song was an inevitable end to their study of African rhythms and funk music. It remains one of the band’s more enduring songs in addition to their only Top 10 hit in the US.

7.17 kajagoogoo too shy

41. Kajagoogoo – “Too Shy” (1983). This is flat-out a great song! This bassline is the best part of the song to me. And, to think that it might have never been recorded if not for a chance meeting between a budding lead singer of the band Limahl and Duran Duran keyboardist Nick Rhodes. Rhodes offered to produce the band, and the rest is history. And, we get a great bassist as a member of a band with one of worst names in rock history. But, rightfully, this song lives on.

Look at that group of ten songs. Now, those are some songs for the eternity. And, in my mind, this list only gets better. So, hold on for the rest of the week, as I unveil my Top 40 Favorite New Wave Songs.

My New Wave Countdown Enters the Top 100

7.16 eurythmics7.16 dexys mr

Last Thursday was Son #1’s birthday. That day holds significance not just for the birth of my first son, which would be huge in any person’s life, the birth of a child. But, in a move that foreshadowed much of our relationship, Son #1 was born the same day as arguably rock music’s greatest day since that community was playing two concerts, in London and Philadelphia, to raise money to feed the people suffering from the African drought in the mid-1980s. That event is forever known as Live Aid.

Not only were there several classic rock and pop artists, many New Wave artists got international exposure by performing mainly in London. Oh, those were heady days. Not only were my wife and I bringing this beautiful baby boy into the world, my generation was actually working to solve a problem. Unbelievably, the whole Live Aid/Band Aid/We Are the World/USA for Africa thing continues to take in money and give large portions to the starving in Africa, thanks to the efforts of former Boomtown Rats lead singer Sir Bob Geldoff. Now, my son is a good-looking married intelligent adult on the cusp of doing great things in life. Still, his birth will be forever linked in an appropriate manner with Live Aid.

With that said, let’s take one last look at a major portion of My 300 Favorite New Wave Songs. Hopefully, the rest of the week will be spent discussing the songs in My Top 50.

51. Thomas Dolby – “She Blinded Me with Science” (1982)

52. INXS – “Don’t Change” (1982)

53. The Cult – “She Sells Sanctuary” (1985)

54. Candy – “Whatever Happened to Fun” (1985)

55. Dexys Midnight Runners – “Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile)” (1981)

56. Culture Club – “Time (The Clock of My Heart)” (1983)

57. Love & Rockets – “So Alive” (1989)

58. Squeeze – “Tempted” (1981)

59. David Bowie – “Let’s Dance” (1983)

60. The Psychedelic Furs – “Love My Way” (1982)

61. The Style Council – “Shout to the Top” (1985)

62. Spandau Ballet – “True” (1983)

63. The Waitresses – “I Know What Boys Like” (1981)

64. M – “Pop Muzik” (1979)

65. Gary Numan – “Cars” (1980)

66. Tracey Ullman – “They Don’t Know” (1983)

67. Elvis Costello – “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes” (1977)

68. The Power Station – “Some Like It Hot” (1985)

69. Culture Club – “Karma Chameleon” (1983)

70. Buggles – “Video Killed the Radio Star” (1979)

71. Scritti Politti – “Perfect Way” (1985)

72. Tommy Tutone – “867-5309/Jenny” (1982)

73. Falco – “Rock Me Amadeus” (1986)

74. XTC – “Senses Working Overtime” (1982)

75. The Kings – “Switchin’ to Glide” (1981)

76. The Housemartins – “Happy Hour” (1986)

77. The Fixx – “One Thing Leads to Another” (1983)

78. Boomtown Rats – “I Don’t Like Mondays” (1979)

79. The Members – “Working Girl” (1983)

80. Modern English – “I Melt with You” (1982)

81. Joe Jackson – “Is She Really Going Out with Him?” (1979)

82. Crowded House – “Now We’re Getting Somewhere” (1986)

83. Planet P Project – “Why Me?” (1983)

84. Madness – “One Step Beyond” (1979)

85. Duran Duran – “The Reflex” (1984)

86. General Public – “Tenderness” (1985)

87. Frankie Goes to Hollywood – “Two Tribes” (1984)

88. Violent Femmes – “Blister in the Sun” (1983)

89. Talking Heads – “Take Me to the River” (1978)

90. New Order – “True Faith” (1985)

91. The Cars – “Dangerous Type” (1979)

92. The Smiths – “Girlfriend in a Coma” (1986)

93. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts – “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” (1981)

94. Thompson Twins – “Hold Me Now” (1984)

95. Jo Boxers – “Just Got Lucky” (1983)

96. Flash & the Pan – “Hey, St. Peter” (1979)

97. Laurie Anderson – “O Superman (for Massenet)” (1982)

98. The Vapors – “Turning Japanese” (1980)

99. Eurythmics – “Love Is a Stranger” (1983)

100. The Jam – “A Town Called Malice” (1982)

I know! You all see some of my favorite artists listed this low, but such is the quality of songs in My Top 50, which will begin to be unveiled tomorrow. So, tune in, same Bat Time, same Bat Channel!

My Favorite New Songs, #101-150

7.13 adam-the-ants-adam-and-the-ants7.13 frank & moon zappa

Today is Son #1’s birthday. He is becoming a good, independent young man, but I do miss the days of me and my boys going to a record store and browsing. I remember going to the local record store and taking #1 into the store in his stroller, taking him out and placing him on top of the records while I flipped through the albums. Since children imitate adult’s actions, I would watch him flipping through albums and choosing an album based on the cover art, which isn’t a bad way to go. At the time, his favorite band name was Little Feat. You just never know what will stick with a toddler.

Anyway, when he was around three years old, he loved the Escape Club’s megahit “Wild Wild West”. He would play the cassette single (or “cassingle”) over and over, while jumping on his bed singing interesting versions of the lyrics that only a young child could come up with. See, once again, another life changed by New Wave music.

So, here’s #150 through 101, setting us up for my top 100. Enjoy!

101. The B-52’s – “Rock Lobster” (1979)

102. Adam & the Ants – “Antmusic” (1980)

103. Joe Jackson – “Steppin’ Out” (1982)

104. Toni Basil – “Mickey” (1982)

105. Cheap Trick – She’s Tight” (1982)

106. Crowded House – “Don’t Dream It’s Over” (1986)

107. The Undertones – “Teenage Kicks” (1978)

108. Diesel – “Sausalito Summernight” (1980)

109. Missing Persons – “Words” (1982)

110. Frank & Moon Unit Zappa – “Valley Girl” (1982)

111. Pseudo Echo – “Funky Town” (1986)

112. Bram Tchaikovsky – “Girl of My Dreams” (1979)

113. Haircut One Hundred – “Love Plus One” (1982)

114. The Sicilian Vespers – “Baccala” (1988)

115. Talk Talk – “It’s My Life” (1984)

116. Duran Duran – “Is There Something I Should Know?” (1983)

117. Naked Eyes – “Always Something There to Remind Me” (1983)

118. Cheap Trick – “I Can’t Take It” (1983)

119. Peter Gabriel – “Shock the Monkey” (1982)

120. Divinyls – “I Touch Myself” (1990)

121. The Tubeway Army – “Are ‘Friends’ Electric” (1979)

122. Fotomaker – “Where Have You Been All of My Life” (1978)

123. Tim Curry – “I Do the Rock” (1979)

124. Martin Briley – “The Salt in My Tears” (1983)

125. Berlin – “Sex (I’m a…)” (1982)

126. ABC – “The Look of Love (Part One)” (1982)

127. Moving Pictures – “What About Me” (1982)

128. Musical Youth – “Pass the Dutchie” (1982)

129. Blondie – “Rapture” (1980)

130. The Payola$ – “Eyes of a Stranger” (1982)

131. Sniff ‘n’ the Tears – “Driver’s Seat” (1979)

132. UB40 with Chrissie Hynde – “I Got You Babe” (1985)

133. Tears for Fears – “Mad World” (1983)

134. The Outfield – “For You” (1986)

135. Ministry – “Everyday Is Halloween” (1984)

136. ‘Til Tuesday – “Voices Carry” (1985)

137. Billy Idol – “Rebel Yell” (1984)

138. A Flock of Seagulls – “Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)” (1983)

139. Eurythmics – “Here Comes the Rain Again” (1983)

140. The Stranglers – “Peaches” (1977)

141. Bonnie Tyler – “Total Eclipse of the Heart” (1983)

142. Tom Tom Club – “The Man with the 4-Way Hips” (1983)

143. XTC – “Making Plans for Nigel” (1981)

144. Patti Smith Group – “Because the Night” (1978)

145. Charlie Sexton – “Beat’s So Lonely” (1986)

146. INXS – “Need You Tonight” (1987)

147. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – “So in Love” (1985)

148. The Human League – “Mirror Man” (1983)

149. Depeche Mode – “Never Let Me Down” (1987)

150. Crowded House – “Something So Strong” (1986)

Tomorrow, we begin our venture into My 100 Favorite New Wave Songs. It’s going to get more fun!

Riding the New Wave into the Top 200: #151-200

7.12 culture club7.12 a flock of seagulls

Outside of the warped period fashion statements, I have been immersed in Eighties music of all genres. Metalheads, remember the bands that were lumped into the awkwardly named genre, The New Wave of British Heavy Metal? I’m talking about such stalwarts as Iron Maiden, Saxon, Judas Priest, Motorhead, and the rest. And, those artists influenced the next batch of American metal maniacs like Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer and the rest of thrash nation.

By the time punk had fully reached the California scene as the Seventies turned into the Eighties, the sound was called Hardcore, and the scene’s big names were Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, X, Husker Du (though they really developed outside of the scene in Minnesota, they get lumped in the pile due to their sound and the label they were signed to – SST). And, while I was in college, this thing called college rock, to be later known as alternative rock, began to spring up to include many of the aforementioned artists as well as R.E.M., Camper Van Beethoven, The Replacements, et. al.

Still, if you were looking for flat-out fun music that had a good beat and was easy to dance to (thanks, ‘American Bandstand’!), New Wave was the way to go. Like I said on both days of this countdown, everyone was listening to this stuff AND integrating it into their sound. In 1981, Rush released its masterpiece album Moving Pictures. If you listen to the album, you know it is a great Rush album. But, the music and technology of that moment pushed the trio into directions that they made not have traveled. Same thing can be said for another progressive rock band, Yes. Their most successful album, 90125, was steeped in New Wave music. At the beginning of all this cross-pollination of genres, music was fresh and exciting. But, like any musical trend, it became flat and tired as the record companies began removing the souls from the artists strictly for the sound and quirks of New Wave, which is what forced the sound underground until the 21st century.

So, enough of the drivel, you say? Certainly! Let’s take a look at the next 50 songs in the list of My 300 Favorite New Wave Songs.

151. Joe Jackson – “You Can’t Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want)” (1984)

152. Roxy Music – “Dance Away” (1979)

153. The Human League – “(Keep Feeling) Fascination” (1983)

154. Stray Cats – “(She’s) Sexy + 17” (1983)

155. A Flock of Seagulls – “I Ran” (1982)

156. Marshall Crenshaw – “Someday, Someway” (1982)

157. Berlin – “No More Words” (1984)

158. The Art of Noise – “Close (to the Edit)” (1983)

159. Adam Ant – “Goody Two Shoes” (1982)

160. The Cars – “Touch and Go” (1980)

161. New Order – “Bizarre Love Triangle” (1985)

162 Paul Young – “Everytime You Go Away” (1985)

163. Bangles – “Hazy Shade of Winter” (1986)

164. Stray Cats – “Rock This Town” (1982)

165. Midnight Oil – “Beds Are Burning” (1988)

166. Nik Kershaw – “Wouldn’t It Be Good” (1984)

167. Kim Wilde – “Kids in America” (1982)

168. The Cars – “Just What I Needed” (1978)

169. Aztec Camera – “Oblivious” (1983)

170. Men at Work – “Who Can It Be Now” (1982)

171. Buzzcocks – “Ever Fallen in Love (with Someone You Should’nt’ve)” (1979)

172. Eddie & the Hot Rods – “Do Anything You Wanna Do” (1977)

173. Devo – “Working in a Coalmine” (1981)

174. Bangles – “Manic Monday” (1986)

175. Culture Club – “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” (1982)

176. Nick Lowe – “So It Goes” (1978)

177. The B-52’s – “Love Shack” (1989)

178. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – “If You Leave” (1986)

179. Depeche Mode – “People Are People” (1984)

180. Roman Holiday – “Stand By” (1983)

181. The Police – “Roxanne” (1978)

182. Big Country – “In a Big Country” (1983)

183. Phil Seymour – “Precious to Me” (1980)

184. The Flying Lizards – “Money (That’s What I Want)” (1979)

185. Billy Idol – “White Wedding” (1982)

186. The Clash – “Rock the Casbah” (1982)

187. Fine Young Cannibals – “Suspicious Minds” (1986)

188. Split Enz – “I Got You” (1980)

189. Murray Head – “One Night in Bangkok” (1985)

190. Blondie – “Atomic” (1979)

191. Siouxsie & the Banshees – “Peek-A-Boo” (1988)

192. Devo – “Freedom of Choice” (1980)

193. Eurythmics – “Who’s That Girl” (1983)

194. Frankie Goes to Hollywood – “Relax” (1983)

195. Graham Parker – “Local Girls” (1978)

196. Iggy Pop – “Lust for Life” (1977)

197. INXS – “The Original Sin” (1984)

198. Let’s Active – “Every Word Means No” (1983)

199. Madness – “Our House” (1983)

200. Men at Work – “Down Under” (1982)

Fifty more songs today, with 50 more to follow tomorrow. Then, as we enter the Top 100, the song descriptions will return. I will make sure that I have a thesaurus nearby so I will have more adjectives than “amazing”, “huge” or “tremendous”, since those seem to have become overused lately. Here’s to a deepening vocabulary for describing arguably the greatest genre of music during the rock era. It was definitely the most fun.

New Wave Day 2: #201 Through 250

7.11 Cyndi Lauper 80s7.11 Madonna 80s

I’d like to thank you all for the show of support with my comeback. I guess that I am far from the only person who is attracted to the exuberance of New Wave music. There for a while in 1983 I thought the music genre would live forever. And, maybe it did. To this very day, I can find artists whose music would have fit right in with New Wave of the late-Seventies and early-Eighties. Go ahead and listen to recent artists’ music by the likes of La Roux, The Killers, The xx, Phoenix, The Ting Tings, Interpol, Lady Gaga, among hundreds of others and tell me their music isn’t an updated version of New Wave? Maybe, that will be a topic in the future?

Now, back in the day, artists every where were copping full on New Wave songs or at least some of the electronic trappings that made New Wave unique. In addition to my list of major artists who dropped New Wave songs on us from yesterday, go back and listen to Kim Carnes’ “Bette Davis Eyes”, one of the top selling songs of 1981, for the electronic drum sound hook that made her pop song more modern-sounding. By 1983, everyone was jumping on-board. ZZ Top added synthesizers to their swampy Southern Rock sound to great success. Even the Rolling Stones, no strangers to jumping on and off musical trends to timeless success, made their New Wave song “Undercover of the Night”, in which the sound was totally New Wave, although the lyrics were overtly political. To top things off, Bruce Springsteen recorded his “Duran Duran” song called “Dancing in the Dark”, which was an acknowledgement of arguably our generation’s greatest rock voice of the commercial appeal of New Wave. But, like all great musical trends, New Wave petered out by 1985, although there were occasional songs released throughout the Eighties and into the Nineties.

Today, I present to you my next 50 songs in My Top 300 New Wave Songs of the Late-Seventies and Eighties. Let’s do it!

201. New Order – “Blue Monday” (1985)

202. Gary Numan – “Down in the Park” (1979)

203. Nick Gilder – “Hot Child in the City” (1978)

204. Pretenders – “Back on the Chain Gang” (1982)

205. Simple Minds – “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” (1985)

206. Tears for Fears – “Shout” (1985)

207. The Art of Noise with Tom Jones – “Kiss” (1987)

208. The Cars – “Good Times Roll” (1978)

209. Nena – “99 Luftballoons” (1984)

210. Information Society – “What’s on Your Mind (Pure Energy)” (1988)

211. Talk Talk – “Talk Talk” (1982)

212. Eddy Grant – “Electric Avenue” (1983)

213. Taco – “Puttin’ on the Ritz” (1983)

214. Donnie Iris – “Ah! Leah!” (1981)

215. The Go-Go’s – “We Got the Beat” (1981)

216. Katrina & the Waves – “Walking on Sunshine” (1985)

217. Duran Duran – “Girls on Film” (1981)

218. Rick Springfield – “I’ve Done Everything for You” (1981)

219. Stray Cats – “Stray Cat Strut” (1982)

220. The Plimsouls – “A Million Miles Away” (1983)

221. Billy Idol – “Eyes Without a Face” (1984)

222. Duran Duran – “Rio” (1982)

223. Roxy Music – “Avalon” (1982)

224. Joan Armatrading – “(I Love It When You) Call Me Names” (1981)

225. Depeche Mode – “Just Can’t Get Enough” (1981)

226. Cyndi Lauper – “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (1983)

227. Paul Carrack – “I Need You” (1982)

228. Bananarama – “Cruel Summer” (1984)

229. Pretenders – “Talk of the Town” (1981)

230. Sly Fox – “Let’s Go All the Way” (1986)

231. The Tubes – “Talk to Ya Later” (1981)

232. Doctor & the Medics – “Spirit in the Sky” (1986)

233. Howard Jones – “No One Is to Blame” (1986)

234. Animotion – “Obsession” (1985)

235. Tears for Fears – “Sowing the Seeds of Love” (1988)

236. Shoes – “Too Late” (1980)

237. Nick Lowe – “Cruel to Be Kind” (1979)

238. Greg Kihn Band – “The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em)” (1981)

239. The Church – “Under the Milky Way” (1988)

240. The Dream Academy – “Life in a Northern Town” (1985)

241. Sparks & Jane Wiedlin – “Cool Places” (1983)

242. The Go-Go’s – “Our Lips Are Sealed” (1981)

243. Blondie – “Dreaming” (1979)

244. Communards – “Don’t Leave Me This Way” (1986)

245. The Cure – “Boys Don’t Cry” (1981)

246. The Tubes – “White Punks on Dope” (1975)

247. Tom Robinson Band – “2-4-6-8 Motorway” (1978)

248. The Blow Monkeys – “Digging Your Scene” (1985)

249. Wang Chung – “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” (1986)

250. Pretenders – “Brass in Pocket” (1980)

Another 50 down, and two hundred to go! Many great, great pop/rock songs to come, some of which you might even like! So, my suggestion is to pop in your copy of the movie “Valley Girl” and start reliving your glory days of the 80s!

Let’s Start the Countdown of My 300 Favorite New Wave Songs

7.10 Duran Duran 1981
I really did have blue parachute pants when I was in college. I am not sure whether I am proud or should I be embarrassed?

Hi there folks! I’m back…and it’s going to be with a fiber optics cable-based blast of 25Mb/s. Modest, I know! But, you can’t stress the homeostasis of this hilljack’s system too much without shards of gray matter traveling the speed of light throughout Central Indiana. Yes, today, I joined what many of you have had since the latter part of the twentieth century. Hell, Elvis Presley and Pat Boone were just battling for the number song in the surrounding areas, that’s how far behind we are here. Okay, it’s NOT really THAT bad, but when it comes to infrastructure of any kind, we Hoosiers are lagging way behind. That is a fact.

So, enough of this bellyaching Keller, what kind of music information do ya have? Well, during this time of intermittent internet service, I have been reading, researching, and mainly sticking to my usual limited interests. On Father’s Day, I got a great autobiography of John Oates, which happened to be a signed copy, from Son #2. The book is a good, fast read. Additionally, I have been getting in touch with my youth by re-reading a compilation of my favorite comic book of the mid-70s, Howard the Duck. Sure, the 1986 movie was horrible, but the comic book was genius. And, yes, I did understand the sarcasm and parody of those books.

So, all of this lead me back to the music world of my high school/college years: New Wave! Baby boomers often look back to the music of the early-60s, the time between “The Day the Music Died” (the deaths of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens & The Big Bopper), Little Richard becoming a preacher and Elvis Presley joining the army and the arrival of The Beatles and the rest of the British Invasion. Often, I read about the genius of the Phil Spector sound, the singles of The Shangri-La’s, the budding brilliance of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, “The Twist”, Gary U.S. Bonds, the fantastic Motown sound, to list but a few. So, those of us on the early wave of Generation X got our brilliant pop hits in the form of New Wave music.

The term of New Wave music was a business term to lump this “new” sound of pop music that was based in punk’s attitude, looked back in reverence to the pop music of the early 60s, an unironic love of bubblegum music of the late 60s/early 70s, and a love of 50s & 60s kitsch art and fashion. This was a time of fun and irony during a mess of society that had been made as the industrial age came to a creaking, Tin Man-like end in the rain of unemployment. And, us teens were left with the notion that the American Dream really might not be what it was all cracked up to be. Of course, many of us went the way of debt to have a life equal to our parents. Yet, as I wrote in my high school senior year Economics paper, supply side economics was simply building a house with cards and it would crash at the turn of the century. Fortunately, due to an undeclared war at the time, the crash was delayed by seven years. But, my generation just decided to boogie to some great tunes in a futile effort to buy in to the good times were right at our finger tips.

That, unfortunately, was the theme of much of the music at the time. Yet, somehow, the words went flying over our heads as we danced into the wee hours, many people unfortunately becoming active participants in the drug culture of the 80s. Regardless, nothing takes away from the great music that came out during that decade of the 80s. And, much like the 70s, for better or worse, has been associated with disco music, then the 80s is associated with New Wave, Hair Metal or College Rock (the original name of Alternative Music). Or, are all three genres really that different from each other? I almost could accept songs by Poison, Motley Crue and Bon Jovi on this list. Still, I left them off.

Starting today, I give you my first 50 songs in My 300 Favorite New Wave Songs. Let the countdown begin!

251. The Belle Stars – “Sign of the Times” (1983)

252. Arcadia – “Election Day” (1985)

253. Translator – “Everywhere That I’m Not” (1981)

254. Yazoo – “Only You” (1982)

255. The Escape Club – “Wild Wild West” (1988)

256. The Jim Carroll Band – “People Who Died” (1980)

257. Erasure – “Victim of Love” (1985)

258. Johnny Hates Jazz – “Shattered Dreams” (1988)

259. Dead or Alive – “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” (1985)

260. Fine Young Cannibals – “She Drives Me Crazy” (1988)

261. Re-Flex – “The Politics of Dancing” (1984)

262. Plastic Bertrand – “Ca Plane Pour Moi” (1978)

263. Peter Schilling – “Major Tom (Coming Home)” (1984)

264. Squeeze – “Black Coffee in Bed” (1982)

265. The Psychedelic Furs – “Pretty in Pink” (1981)

266. Mister – “Broken Wings” (1985)

267. Public Image Ltd. – “Rise” (1986)

268. Scandal – “Goodbye to You” (1983)

269. Total Coelo – “I Eat Cannibals” (1985)

270. The Romantics – “Talking in Your Sleep” (1984)

271. The Flirts – “Jukebox (Don’t Put Another Dime)” (1983)

272. Timbuk 3 – “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades” (1986)

273. Heaven 17 – “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thing” (1982)

274. Paul Hardcastle – “19” (1984)

275. The [English] Beat – “I Confess” (1982)

276. Moon Martin – “Rolene” (1979)

277. The Tubes – “White Punks on Dope” (1976)

278. Baltimora – “Tarzan Boy” (1985)

279. The Motors – Dancing the Night Away” (1978)

280. The Tubes – “She’s a Beauty” (1983)

281. Matthew Wilder – “Break My Stride” (1983)

282. Erasure – “Victim of Love” (1986)

283. Wang Chung – “Dance Hall Days” (1984)

284. EBN/OZN – “AEIOU Sometimes Y” (1983)

285. Devo – “Peek-A-Boo” (1982)

286. Dwight Twilley – “Girls” (1984)

287. Echo & the Bunnymen – “Lips like Sugar” (1986)

288. Greg Kihn Band – “Jeopardy” (1983)

289. The Motels – “Only the Lonely” (1982)

290. The Yachts – “Look Back in Love (Precis of a Friend)” (1983)

291. Laid Back – “White Horse” (1983)

292. Oingo Boingo – “Dead Man’s Party” (1985)

293. Cutting Crew – “(I Just) Died in Your Arms” (1987)

294. Bronski Beat – “Smalltown Boy” (1984)

295. Altered Images – “I Could Be Happy” (1981)

296. Yello – “Oh Yeah” (1985)

297. Golden Earring – “Twilight Zone” (1983)

298. Styx – “Mr. Roboto” (1983)

299. a-ha – “Take on Me” (1985)

300. When in Rome – “The Promise” (1988)

Yes, I did have Styx in the countdown, even though I still begrudge that song’s success since it was the death knell for the band. Also, you will find that I left out many of the biggest artists of the decade, even though I could make a case for much of their music being new wave. Hall & Oates? “You Make My Dreams”. Prince? “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man”. Michael Jackson? “Dirty Diana”. “Smooth Criminal”. “BEAT IT”!!! I decided to keep the list to those endearing artists with their great forward thinking fashion. So, I thought I would enshrine these well-deserving musical visionaries who found magic in the bottle a couple of times before disappearing.