Finally, The Cars Are Hall of Famers!

5.31 The Cars - The Cars

Yesterday around noon time, I’m looking out the window to peer into our backyard, when I see a red fox cautiously running across my backyard, close to the farmer’s fence that separates my yard from the soybean/cornfield out back. The problem was that my Shih Tzus simply let the fox cross their yard without a peep. Heaven forbid when the cat next door strolls ever so slowly through their yard. The dogs’ silence was deafening. Come to find out, the fox has made a den under a neighbor’s backyard deck a couple of doors down. The neighbors are working with the local animal control expert to “help” the fox family find new housing, albeit not in a residential area.

5.31 The Cars 1978

My first inclination was to use this story as a lead in to talk about the seminal English glam band from the Seventies Sweet and their song “Fox on the Run.” However, I thought that idea was a tad bit cliched, so I moved on. Then, while researching, I got to reading about MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), which lead to reading about other infections that I find interesting while others find repulsive, which lead to videos about lancing cysts…well, you, unfortunately, get the picture. In other words, I got sidetracked by the gross part of my training that I kind of miss: culturing infected areas of the body. Sorry, I said I was a microbiologist, so I happen to find these things fascinating, especially the battle we are beginning to lose as the critters develop resistance to our older antibiotics, which is due to our hubris where we emphasize finding meds to allow hair to grow on the President’s head instead of finding the next generation of life-saving medications. Like I said, I have a warped educational interest.

Back on track, I got to reading about the latest Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony that just took place, and I was thinking that an induction ceremony would have been way cooler if one class would have been back a few years ago with Cheap Trick, The Cars and ELO all being immortalized on the same night. That would have been epic to listen to those three bands, all of whom were popular around the same time, be able to play their music on the same stage. And all of that finally lead me to the epiphany that I have been neglecting The Cars in my blog. And, I have NO excuse for it. I know, I get caught up with my favorites, Cheap Trick, Prince, Tom Petty, etc., and I totally remain silence on a band that totally made new wave, and even punk, cool to listen to in cornfields of Central Indiana.

5.31 The Cars Rolling Stone cover 1979

In 1978, there were many great albums being released, so The Cars eponymous debut was something of a slow burner. Initially, the album was receiving some great reviews in the rock magazines of the time. Most waxed on poetically of how the band cleverly mixed the sounds of Album Oriented Rock with the synthesizer touches of New Wave, combining rock, bubblegum, power pop and the minimalism of the Velvet Underground into a crowd pleasing sound that was both rock and pop. The Cars, along with Cheap Trick, were being pimped by the media as the new sound of rock music.

5.31 the cars - just what i needed

Back when the debut album was released, The Cars’ record company, Elektra, tapped “Just What I Needed” as the first single. The song, a perfect mix of everything I mentioned in the previous paragraph, slowly was added to rock radio stations across the country. But, for a song that was perfectly suited for car radios and super HiFi systems was not finding its niche on Top 40 radio. I felt it had to do with radio programmers preferring stupids ballads, soft rock and disco to great pop songs like The Cars working making. So, “Just What I Needed” stalled at number 27.

5.31 The Cars - My Best Friend's Girl PD

Later, “My Best Friend’s Girl,” a song that leaned more toward New Wave, was released, but stalled at number 35. Still, The Cars album kept selling. It seemed as though many of my friends were hopping on The Cars’ bandwagon. In other words, The Cars were winning the war as this album kept selling, eventually spending 139 straight weeks on the Top 200 Album Chart. So, once more Elektra released another single, this time in early 1979. The song was “Good Times Roll,” the third great single on The Cars. But, once again, the band faced resistance from Top 40 radio, and the song peaked at 41.

5.31 The Cars - Good Times Roll single

Still, you could feel the band gaining momentum. Even though The Cars had peaked at number 18 on the album chart, the album just would not quit selling. Those sales caused Elektra to hold off releasing the follow-up album for a couple of months. So, when the second album, Candy-O, was released during the Summer of 1979, the public AND Top 40 radio was ready for it. But, for The Cars to be such a slow smoldering commercial success truly set the table for the band’s continued success in the Eighties, when the band both artistically and commercially peaked in 1984 with their brilliant and vastly underrated Heartbeat City. Today, an artist would not have received the support and patience that The Cars received with that debut album. Everyone would have pulled support after the first single stopped moving, and The Cars would not be immortalized with the other gods of rock music in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Cars sold enough copies in 1979 to end up being ranked number 9 for the whole year by Billboard magazine. Not bad for an album that had briefly brushed the Top 20 upon its release. Also, the last time Rolling Stone magazine did a Top 500 Albums of All Time list back in 2012, The Cars was ranked at 284, while the album has sold over six million copies. And, one more tidbit for you. The album was produced by long-time Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker, who was a pretty hot producer just with those two bands. RTB produced The Cars’ first four albums.

5.31 The Cars RRHOF 2018

Well, now that The Cars are finally in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, I now can turn my attention to The Jam, a band that never experienced any US success but made leader Paul Weller a member of rock’s hierarchy in the UK, and the RRHOF is for the world, not just the States. Plus, if Bon Jovi and Journey can get it, then a great influential band like The Jam should be a no-brainer. Still, for the time being, Long Live The Cars!

The Trials and Tribulations of Cheap Trick

5.30 cheap trick logo

Oh my! Today’s writing exercise, this blog, has been an exercise in futility. If it’s not my ADHD coupling with my perfectionism to undermine my writing, then it’s my lack of sleep last night that leads to my falling asleep and inadvertently erasing everything that I have written. Oh well! Maybe, I figure out a way to finish this.

If you consider Cheap Trick’s long, Hall of Fame career, you can divide it into several phases. Basically, three-quarters of the band remains the same as they did way back in 1974, when guitarist Rick Nielsen, lead singer Robin Zander, inventor of the 12-string bass Tom Petersson and drummer Bun E. Carlos finalized their lineup. Eventually, the band signed with Epic Records, and, in 1977, released their eponymous debut album, along with their terrific sophomore release In Color. In 1978, the band toured Japan, where they were treated as though they were the second coming of the Beatles. So, their management had the band’s two Budokan shows recorded for a future special Japanese release in 1978 as a special gift to the country’s fans who backed the boys from Rockford, Illinois.

5.30 cheap trick in the 70s

In 1978, Epic released the band’s epic album Heaven Tonight, which received huge reviews only to fall victim to slow sales. Then, At Budokan was released in late 1978 in Japan, and it became the biggest-selling import album of all-time until the powers-that-be decided to release this live album in the U.S. and push back the release date of the band’s fourth studio album, Dream Police. In much the same way that Frampton Comes Alive had changed Peter Frampton’s career, so did At Budokan made Cheap Trick superstars.

5.30 cheap trick - at budokan

And when Dream Police was released in 1979, it was immediately a hit album, spawning a couple of Top 40 hits. But rock fans were suffering from New Wave/Power Pop fatigue cause by over-saturation on the radio with The Knack, Cheap Trick and many other bands being called “teenybopper bands.” That’s when the next phase in the band’s history started.

5.30 cheap trick - found all the parts

Original bassist Tom Petersson left the band in 1980 to pursue a solo career, after the release of a ten-inch, four-song EP called Found All the Parts that included the band’s next single as a seven-inch bonus single “Everything Will Work If You Let It.” Unfortunately, the single did not catch on, nor did the actual last album recorded with Petersson called All Shook Up. Thus, ended their classic phase and ushered in the John Brandt phase, that lasted five years and four albums.

5.30 cheap trick with jon brandt

But, in 1987, rumors were flying that Tom Petersson was returning to the band, which coincided with Cheap Trick’s most successful chart run covering four years, two albums and a the band’s first compilation. During this comeback phase, the band scored their only number one song “The Flame,” a power ballad that fit Cheap Trick perfectly next to all the hair metal bands they influenced to begin with. But, our heroes hated that song and refused to play after their comeback album, Lap of Luxury, ran its course.

5.30 cheap-trick rockford caricatures

After that comeback period ended with the release of their first Greatest Hits album in 1991, the band began what must have seemed like a 40-year travel through their own metaphorical desert. After they left Epic, the band joined Warner Brothers label, recorded an underrated Woke Up with a Monster album, which unbelievably flopped, despite the band being pimped by grunge and alternative bands of the early Nineties as huge influences on them. In response, Warners dropped Cheap Trick. The band then began a seven-year period during which they recorded one studio album that was outstanding, only to have their independent label go belly up right after the album was released. So, any momentum the band  was gaining on alternative radio was wasted, and the album stalled before it could ever take off. It was during the years 1997 through 2001 that the band’s labels released a one more greatest hits package, along with THREE live albums. The last one, Silver, was released in conjunction with the band’s twenty-fifth anniversary as a recording and touring band.

5.30 rick nielsen silver guitar pick

After Silver had some minor success on the independent label charts, small labels were competing to sign Cheap Trick, as the band had brilliantly maneuvered to regain the rights to their classic run of albums from the beginning of their career, which meant the band members would be make a HUGE portion of any sales of the album. This was a brilliant economic move, allowing the band to sign with Big Red Records, with whom the band has been ever since.

5.30 cheap trick - silver

Now, from 2003 to 2008, Cheap Trick released three new studio albums to great acclaim, along with a new compilation package from Epic’s Legacy label, who was releasing Cheap Trick’s classic albums now. However, drummer Bun E. Carlos was suffering from a debilitating back problem, which greatly limited his impeccable playing ability. Although the studio albums were strong during this period (Special One, Rockford and The Latest), the band’s touring sets were becoming quite stale as Bun E. could only play the easier songs.

5.30 las vegas guitar picks

Unfortunately, this led to the band using Rick Nielsen’s son Daxx to drum on tour and use Bun E. in the studio. That is until the band felt so rejuvenated with Daxx as the drummer, as he was bringing the band’s thunderous drum sound back, that they made the decision to record a charity Christmas song with Daxx as the drummer. And, of course, a lawsuit was filed.

5.30 cheap trick 2016

After a couple of years of wrangling in the courts, the parties finally settled on unreported terms. It seems that Carlos remains financially involved in the band Cheap Trick, as does Daxx. It also appears that we are now in the Daxx phase of the band, as they are recording and have recorded in the studio with Daxx as Cheap Trick’s drummer. And, it seems that Bun E. has remained the band’s archivist, since an album of unreleased material was released in 2016 with comments made by Bun E. Daxx Trick has released two excellent studio albums, 2016’s Bang, Zoom, Crazy…Hello! and 2017’s We’re All Alright, along with the band’s first Christmas album, titled Christmas Christmas. Carlos also released his first solo album in 2016 called Greeting from Bunezuela!, which was great in its own right.

5.30 bun-e-carlos-greetings-from-bunezuela

Now that Cheap Trick is freed up to pursue its newest phase with Daxx Nielsen as their drummer, the 2016 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees have a great future ahead of them. No longer will they be burdened with the whole “potential” noose around their necks, thus freeing them to follow their muse in the manner they should have been allowed all along.

5.30 cheap trick rrhof

And, the Dead thought they had a long, strange trip. Long live Cheap Trick!

For This Old Guy, 2018 Has Been a Slow Year for Music

5.28 Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer

As we near the halfway mark of 2018, I began to evaluate this year for significant album releases. Outside of live albums released by Neil Young (from a concert nearly 50 years but still good) and John Mellencamp (a collection of recent live recordings), none of the truly big artists today have released new music. If you go back to the beginning of December 2017, you will discover that U2 dropped Songs of Experience, which was one of the band’s more wish-washy album. Let’s face, some of music’s biggest names have sat out 2018 thus far.

So far, Bruce Springsteen has sat down for the past four years without releasing NEW music. But, I will give him a pass, since he has been performing on Broadway. Then, we are now going to feel the losses of Prince, David Bowie, Tom Petty and George Michael, since we will probably only get “recently discovered” material from the latter three at best, while we might see the beginning of a great run of Prince albums as the family hires curators for his famous Vault. As a matter of fact, it was announced that a previously unreleased album from his purple badness will finally be released in 2019. I am very excited by this news, since, according to, there are tens of unreleased albums reportedly sitting in The Vault.

5.28 Leon Bridges - Good Thing

Then the artists who are positioned to take the baton from the previous generation’s heroes are silent. Supposedly Kanye West is releasing a new album in the upcoming weeks, but how many years has that been said? Where is Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar, Pearl Jam, Green Day, Jay-Z or Lady Gaga? I know, Taylor Swift and Eminem, two critical darlings, released albums during the 2017 winter holidays, but they stiffed. We are in some need of excitement.

Well, there have been a handful of truly good albums released so far in 2018, but they have been dropped by commercial unknowns. Earlier this year, I dedicated a whole blog to a great new artist Kai Danzberg’s album Pop-Up Radio, which is holding up well as the year progresses. The problem is he is a totally independent artist. You can download his album on Bandcamp, but you will not find his CD in a store anywhere, except maybe in his native Germany. Still, I have five albums that have been logging much time in my CD player and streaming sites.

5.28 Lake Street Dive - Free Yourself Up

Thus far, my favorite of these five is by an artist who has been unfairly overlooked, although her past three albums, including this new one, are excellent albums carrying the DNA of Prince, George Clinton, TLC and Outkast. The artist is Janelle Monáe, and her new album is Dirty Computer. The woman is multi-talented, and you probably saw her acting in the great movie Hidden Figures. Miss Monáe has created her most mature set of songs in her all-too-brief career. She is a world-class songwriter, singer and rapper. Her music shows off her influences without ever being derivative. The highlights of the album are the all-too-short title song recorded with Beach Boy visionary Brian Wilson, “Crazy, Classic Life,” the true 21st century girl power anthem she recorded with Zoë Kravitz “Screwed,” “I Like That” and “Americans.” But, this talented woman has never had a Top 10 hit song! How is that, when so much crap is clogging up the charts each week? Music lovers unite behind this talented woman!

Over the past couple of years, there has been something of a swelling underground of what is referred as neo-soul acts. These people are heavily influenced by the smooth R&B sounds popularized in the Seventies in places like Philadelphia. I am talking about artists such as Al Green, the Spinners, the Chi-Lites, The O’Jays, etc. Newer artists like Mayer Hawthorne, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, among many others have been blazing this trail for a long while. Recently, Leon Bridges, whose music sounds as if he had discovered unreleased Otis Redding songs, and Lake Street Dive, a quartet of white musicians who remind one of early Fitz & the Tantrums but with a female lead singer. Both released new albums in the past couple of weeks and find them expanding their sonic palettes in natural ways that will appeal to the Boomers who slow danced to this type of music, as well as the Millennials who preferred a bass to nearly any other instrument. Now, neither album was a groundbreaking in the genre as Raphael Saadiq’s 2011 release Stone Rollin’, but they are both great examples of this whole neo-soul category.

5.28 The Aces - When My Heart Felt Volcanic

Now, if you prefer your music to be on the pop side of things but find today’s radio pop hits a little too sugary for your teeth, then I have two relatively new independent pop groups for you. The first band is The Go! Team. Everything about their sound should not work, but somehow it does. Either these people are complete Dr. Demento nuts, or they possess some sort of Frank Zappa-esque perverted sense of humor. First, they lay down infectious melody after infectious melody. But, it’s what they add over those melodies that makes me fun and blows my mind. One minute they are breaking down the barriers between hip hop and pop/rock, and the next the are using marching band instruments to play one terrific pop song. The band is not afraid of trying something out, giving their songs a cheerleader type of chorus (think of the 80s song “Mickey”) but maintaining some sort of pop sensibility and you have The Go! Team. My suggestion is simple, find their album Semicircle and play it. Then, report back to me with your analysis. Everything tells me I should hate it, but I love it!

My final new album worth seeking out is When My Heart Felt Volcanic by The Aces. First off, apparently there have been many bands who have had the name The Aces, so be careful during your search. Now, if you love the all-sister group HAIM, this band is for you. The Aces are an all-female quartet, not that it really matters. But, there is something about them that reminds me of the Bangles. It could be the singer, or the fact that this collection of songs would fit on the Bangles’ Everything album. The bottom line is that this four ladies are a tight band who are NOT prefabricated in any way, shape or form. The album is flawed, but that’s what makes them so endearing to me. I actually have an Eighties flashback every time I play their CD. They are not power pop but are a rock band with pop instincts. I cannot wait to follow this band into the future.

5.28 Kai Danzberg - Pop Up Radio

So, as May winds down, schools begin to let out and summer rolls in, I have identified four more albums worth seeking out. I am not worried about the year yet. There is still time for more great music to be released. I guess after doing research on the history of rock music, I keep awaiting those landmark years to happen since it has been a very long time since the last one of those years happened. Here’s to my five favorite albums of 2018, as well as the music about to be released over the next seven months. I am sure thing will pick up soon.

I Love the Eighties: My Top 200 Albums for the Decade

i heart the 80s

I love Albert Einstein. When I taught, I placed his quotes all around my classroom and in my student laboratory room. Many great sayings have been attributed to the man, though I am not certain that all of them are truly his, from what I have read. However, I discovered this quote way back in my teenage years, during which I spent time in some sort of Hamlet-like state of brooding, though truth be told, I lacked the attractive looks for such an act to be endearing. Anyway, the quote goes, “All great spirits will meet violent opposition from mediocre minds.” Sure, it sounds arrogant, but when people begin to attack you for a simple shock-strewn paragraph about yesterday’s school shooting at a nearby school, it always pops into my mind. I was shocked by these Facebook attacks that basically began due to those readers not actually reading the words I had typed. Instead they continued to make their straw-man points, project their innate anger onto my innocence commentary and then show the audacity of their superiority of their “mediocre mind” over mine. Needless to say, it was yet another exasperating day in the actions and beliefs of the humanity around me.

5.26 nwa

Well, let’s get down to the real purpose of today’s blog, and that’s to wrap up that crazy decade called The Eighties. From 1980 through 1989, we can totally new languages of rock music that began in this decade that continues to influence music today. We also witnessed the last creative gasps of some original rock heroes from the Sixties. But, importantly, the rock torch was passed from the Boomers to the Xers, as the Xers’ language was beginning to be spoken in the popular music of the day. Those cultural differences are the reasons why Prince, hip hop and punk were never embraced by the Boomers. The Boomers had their time, and the Eighties represented the rise of Generation X.

5.26 rem

So, in my feeble attempt to wrap of this great decade of music, may I present to you My Top 200 Albums of the Eighties? I hope you all enjoy it.

5.23 prince - sign o the times

  1. Prince – Sign ‘o’ the Times (1987)
  2. N.W.A – Straight Outta Compton (1988)
  3. Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique (1989)
  4. Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)
  5. R.E.M. – Lifes Rich Pageant (1986)
  6. Pixies – Doolittle (1989)
  7. Prince & the Revolution – Purple Rain (1984)
  8. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Southern Accents (1985)
  9. Talking Heads – Remain in Light (1980)
  10. Prince & the Revolution – Parade (1986)
  11. Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA (1984)
  12. R.E.M. – Murmur (1983)
  13. Prince – 1999 (1982)
  14. Michael Jackson – Thriller (1982)
  15. Bob Mould – Workbook (1989)
  16. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Hard Promises (1981)
  17. XTC – Skylarking (1986)
  18. Brian Eno and David Byrne – My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (1981)
  19. R.E.M. – Reckoning (1984)
  20. Peter Gabriel – Peter Gabriel (III: Melting) (1980)
  21. AC/DC – Back in Black (1980)
  22. Talking Heads – Speaking in Tongues (1983)
  23. The Style Council – Our Favorite Shop (aka ‘Internationalists’) (1985)
  24. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Big Bam Boom (1984)
  25. The Style Council – Café Bleu (aka ‘My Ever Changing Moods’) (1984)
  26. The Smiths – The Smiths (1984)
  27. The Police – Synchronicity (1983)
  28. Prince & the Revolution – Around the World in a Day (1985)
  29. Peter Gabriel – So (1986)
  30. R.E.M. – Document (1987)
  31. The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses (1989)
  32. Joy Division – Substance 1977-1981 (1988)
  33. U2 – The Joshua Tree (1987)
  34. George Michael – Faith (1987)
  35. Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction (1987)
  36. John Cougar Mellencamp – The Lonesome Jubilee (1987)
  37. Paul Simon – Graceland (1986)
  38. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Private Eyes (1981)
  39. David Bowie – Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) (1980)
  40. Rush – Moving Pictures (1981)
  41. Madonna – Like a Virgin (1984)
  42. The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead (1986)
  43. Fine Young Cannibals – The Raw & the Cooked (1989)
  44. Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989)
  45. Prince – Lovesexy (1988)
  46. Prince – The Black Album (1987)
  47. Run-D.M.C. – Raising Hell (1986)
  48. Beastie Boys – Licensed to Ill (1986)
  49. The Style Council – Introducing the Style Council (1983)
  50. Queen – Hot Space (1982)
  51. The Police – Ghost in the Machine (1981)
  52. The Police – Zenyatta Mondatta (1980)
  53. Squeeze – East Side Story (1981)
  54. David Bowie – Let’s Dance (1983)
  55. Queen – The Works (1984)
  56. Talking Heads – Little Creatures (1985)
  57. Depeche Mode – Music for the Masses (1987)
  58. Metallica – …And Justice for All (1988)
  59. Madonna – Like a Prayer (1989)
  60. Tom Petty – Full Moon Fever (1989)
  61. The Replacements – Pleased to Meet Me (1987)
  62. Tear for Fears – Songs from the Big Chair (1985)
  63. The Replacements – Tim (1985)
  64. Culture Club – Colour by Numbers (1983)
  65. Talking Heads – The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads (1982)
  66. The J. Geils Band – Freeze-Frame (1981)
  67. Tom Tom Club – Tom Tom Club (1981)
  68. Bruce Springsteen – The River (1980)
  69. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Voices (1980)
  70. Prince – Dirty Mind (1980)
  71. Daryl Hall – Sacred Songs (1980)
  72. Queen – The Game (1980)
  73. The Jam – Sound Affects (1980)
  74. Madonna – Madonna (1983)
  75. The Replacements – Let It Be (1984)
  76. The J. Geils Band – Love Stinks (1980)
  77. The Psychedelic Furs – Forever Now (1982)
  78. The Romantics – The Romantics (1980)
  79. Pretenders – Pretenders (1980)
  80. R.E.M. – Fables of the Reconstruction (1985)
  81. Bruce Springsteen – Tunnel of Love (1987)
  82. New Order – Substance 1987 (1987)
  83. Traveling Wilburys – Traveling Wilburys, Volume 1 (1988)
  84. The B-52’s – Cosmic Thing (1989)
  85. De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising (1989)
  86. R.E.M. – Green (1988)
  87. Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman (1988)
  88. Eric B & Rakim – Paid in Full (1987)
  89. Game Theory – Big Shot Chronicles (1986)
  90. Janet Jackson – Control (1986)
  91. Marshall Crenshaw – Field Day (1983)
  92. New Order – Power, Corruption & Lies (1983)
  93. Phil Collins – Face Value (1981)
  94. Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Get Happy!!! (1980)
  95. Dexys Midnight Runners – Searching for the Young Soul Rebels (1980)
  96. Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska (1982)
  97. Peter Gabriel – Peter Gabriel (aka IV: Security) (1982)
  98. R.E.M. – Chronic Town (1982)
  99. Daryl Hall & John Oates – H2O (1982)
  100. Dexys Midnight Runners – Too Rye Aye (1982)
  101. Metallica – Master of Puppets (1986)
  102. Various Artists – Times Square OST (1980)
  103. ABC – The Lexicon of Love (1982)
  104. Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense (1984)
  105. The Smiths – Meat Is Murder (1985)
  106. Terence Trent D’Arby – Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D’Arby (1987)
  107. Pete Townshend – All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes (1982)
  108. U2 – War (1983)
  109. Def Leppard – Pyromania (1983)
  110. Hüsker Dü – Zen Arcade (1984)
  111. Run-D.M.C. – Run-D.M.C. (1984)
  112. Minutemen – Double Nickels on the Dime (1984)
  113. Eurythmics – Be Yourself Tonight (1985)
  114. Hüsker Dü – Candy Apple Grey (1986)
  115. Fine Young Cannibals – Fine Young Cannibals (1985)
  116. Hüsker Dü – New Day Rising (1985)
  117. Hüsker Dü – Flip Your Wig (1985)
  118. The Cult – Electric (1987)
  119. World Party – Private Revolution (1986)
  120. John Cougar Mellencamp – Scarecrow (1985)
  121. The Cure – Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (1987)
  122. Pet Shop Boys – Please (1986)
  123. INXS – Kick (1987)
  124. Michael Jackson – Bad (1987)
  125. Talking Heads – True Stories (1986)
  126. Bruce Springsteen – Live/1975-1985 (1986)
  127. Slayer – Reign in Blood (1986)
  128. Pet Shop Boys – Actually (1987)
  129. The Dukes of Stratosphear – Psonic Psunspot (1987)
  130. Def Leppard – Hysteria (1987)
  131. Robbie Robertson – Robbie Robertson (1987)
  132. Hüsker Dü – Warehouse: Songs and Stories (1987)
  133. The Waterboys – Fisherman’s Blues (1988)
  134. The Replacements – Don’t Tell a Soul (1989)
  135. Whitney Houston – Whitney Houston (1985)
  136. Tears for Fears – The Seeds of Love (1989)
  137. Tina Turner – Private Dancer (1984)
  138. The Waterboys – This Is the Sea (1985)
  139. L. Cool J – Radio (1985)
  140. Scritti Politti – Cupid & Psyche 85 (1985)
  141. Jane’s Addiction – Jane’s Addiction (1988)
  142. Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation (1988)
  143. The Church – Starfish (1988)
  144. Living Colour – Vivid (1988)
  145. The Smithereens – Green Thoughts (1988)
  146. Fishbone – Truth and Soul (1988)
  147. Simply Red – A New Flame (1989)
  148. Bonnie Raitt – Nick of Time (1989)
  149. Faith No More – The Real Thing (1989)
  150. Neneh Cherry – Raw like Sushi (1989)
  151. Nirvana – Bleach (1989)
  152. Elvis Costello – Spike (1989)
  153. Paul McCartney – Flowers in the Dirt (1989)
  154. Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine (1989)
  155. Crowded House – Crowded House (1986)
  156. New Order – Low-Life (1985)
  157. Alison Moyet – Alf (1984)
  158. Wham! – Make It Big (1984)
  159. Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Welcome to the Pleasuredome (1984)
  160. Peter Wolf – Lights Out (1984)
  161. The Cars – Heartbeat City (1984)
  162. General Public – …All the Rage (1984)
  163. Shelia E. – The Glamorous Life (1984)
  164. Pretenders – Learning to Crawl (1984)
  165. Tears for Fears – The Hurting (1983)
  166. Elton John – Too Low for Zero (1983)
  167. Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Punch the Clock (1983)
  168. Eurythmics – Touch (1983)
  169. John “Cougar” Mellencamp – Uh-Huh (1983)
  170. Duran Duran – Seven and the Ragged Tiger (1983)
  171. Rush – Signals (1982)
  172. Yazoo – Upstairs at Eric’s (1982)
  173. George Clinton – Computer Games (1982)
  174. The Jam – The Gift (1982)
  175. Duran Duran – Rio (1982)
  176. Dire Straits – Love Over Gold (1982)
  177. Marshall Crenshaw – Marshall Crenshaw (1982)
  178. Marvin Gaye – Midnight Love (1982)
  179. Stevie Nicks – Bella Donna (1981)
  180. Rick James – Street Songs (1981)
  181. Prince – Controversy (1981)
  182. The Rolling Stones – Tattoo You (1981)
  183. Electric Light Orchestra – Time (1981)
  184. Billy Squier – Don’t Say No (1981)
  185. Judas Priest – British Steel (1980)
  186. Rush – Permanent Waves (1980)
  187. The Clash – Sandinista! (1980)
  188. The Vapors – New Clear Day (1980)
  189. Genesis – Abacab (1981)
  190. The Moody Blues – Long Distance Voyager (1981)
  191. Journey – Escape (1981)
  192. Lindsey Buckingham – Law and Order (1981)
  193. Duran Duran – Duran Duran (1981)
  194. Wham! – Fantastic (1983)
  195. Billy Idol – Rebel Yell (1983)
  196. Depeche Mode – Black Celebration (1986)
  197. Queen – A Kind of Magic (1986)
  198. Robert Cray Band – Strong Persuader (1986)
  199. Kate Bush – Hounds of Love (1985)
  200. Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes (1983)

Bruce Springsteen

And that’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed this list. Let me know what you all think!

I Love the Eighties: My Top 100 Albums of 1989


Well, it has finally happened in a school distinct here in Indiana. A school shooting has happened. It is the school system from which my father graduated, is a major conference rival of the schools were I last taught and coached and is only a twenty-minute drive from here. Every time these school shootings happen, I get more and more pissed off at myself, my leaders, my elders and my generation for forcing our children, THE FUTURE and LEGACY of our country to continually suffer from the scars of this gun-obsessed culture. As a teacher, I weep. As a parent, I cry. As an American, “my hands are clenched in fits of rage” (my apologies to Don McLean, it just fits). I come from a family of responsible gun owners, but I have chosen not to own one, even though I know how to properly handle them, thanks to the tough teachings of my maternal uncle, God rest his soul. Yet, something must be done to correct this societal ill. The school’s mascot is a Miller, and I still have friends who teach and coach there. Beginning today, I urge everyone to be #MillerStrong in support of a hurting community. Okay, deep breath Keller! That’s enough of this crap! Let’s move on with what this blog is truly about – Rock Music. Specifically, the music of 1989.

5.25 Replacements - Don't Tell a Soul

1989 was an exciting year. First, it was the last year of the Eighties, which had always been exciting to me to face another decade coming to its end. Second, I began working on the classwork necessary to get my teaching license. Since this was during the days before people were being encouraged to obtain a Master’s Degree and Teacher’s License, I was working with Ball State, my alma mater, as to which classes to take at Miami of Ohio before I moved back to Indiana in order to transfer back to good ol’ Ball U. And, finally, as well as most excitedly, we had our younger son at the end of the school year. He was born while I was taking an education night class, so I was wearing a hospital-issued beeper (remember those?) so my wife could contact me if she went into labor while I was in class. Fortunately, #2, just as his brother did, waited until midnight on a Saturday morning to send his mother into labor. This time, she was technically admitted to the hospital for a whole seven minutes before giving birth to this mountain of a baby. I say this because there has been nothing petite about #2, except for his confidence, which we worked hard to improve. Needless to say, the young man is successful, holding onto a Master’s Degree and about to marry the love of his life whom he has dated since the end of their high school freshman year.

5.25 De La Soul - 3 Feet High and Rising

Many nutty things happened in 1989. Since we were living near Cincinnati, the news was all about Pete Rose’s gambling shenanigans, in addition to the protests over in China that were put to rest after military action. And, finally, my Batman was made into a movie, which jump-started the current superhero movie being released every six weeks, or less. And, yet, I am addicted to them, although they are no longer all must-see events in a theater. But, they remain must-owns in my Blu-Ray collection. Yes, I am a loser, but you probably surmised that.

5.25 Aerosmith - Pump

Anyway, rap and alternative music ruled my listening pleasures. The Beastie Boys grew up, put their frat boy, beer-swilling, party-going personas, grew up and created perhaps the greatest rap album of all-time, though at the time, it caught everyone by surprise and was a commercial disappointment. But, the whole project was so far ahead of the time, with layers and layers of samples, making it difficult to discern where the sample ended and the new music began, thus opening a whole new production technique to the genre that we still find Kanye trying to catch up with. Also, a new rap group, De La Soul, burst on the scene, showing us that samples from Hall & Oates and Steely Dan could be turned into funky hip hop tunes.

5.25 Faith No More - The Real Thing

On the alternative side, The Cure and Love & Rockets, two goth punk bands from the UK, toned down the noise and scored Top Ten singles. I really thought one of my favorite alternative bands, The Replacements, would follow R.E.M. into commercial success with their 1989 album Don’t Tell a Soul, but I was wrong…again! Finally, an innovative band of college kids from Boston, Pixies, released their seminal Doolittle album which would never lead the band to commercial success but would influence an unknown Seattle band’s sound that would eventually rule the world for a short time in the Nineties, as Nirvana would openly copy their sound from the Pixies. And, speaking of Nirvana, their great debut album, Bleach, was released on a public who only wanted the latest Poison-copycat band’s music.

5.25 SRV - In Step

Oh, sure, we still had teenybopper music; tired, partied-out hair metal tunes and some last gasps from some classic rock giants (Paul McCartney, Lou Reed, Alice Cooper and Billy Joel), but the year truly did belong to the burgeoning rap and alternative scenes. And, MTV was once again playing a role in these genre’s success with their seminal programs Yo! MTV Raps and 120 Minutes.

5.25 The Cult - Sonic Temple

Well, let’s take a look at the music that I like, which is probably different from you, which is why opinions on music, politics and the like are so much fun. Everyone brings a different perspective. You just gotta respect each other.

5.25 1.Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique

5.25 2.Pixies - Doolittle

  1. Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique
  2. Pixies – Doolittle
  3. Bob Mould – Workbook
  4. The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
  5. Fine Young Cannibals – The Raw & the Cooked
  6. Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation 1814
  7. Madonna – Like a Prayer
  8. Tom Petty – Full Moon Fever
  9. The B-52’s – Cosmic Thing
  10. De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising
  11. The Replacements – Don’t Tell a Soul
  12. The Cure – Disintegration
  13. Tears for Fears – The Seeds of Love
  14. Simply Red – A New Flame
  15. Don Henley – The End of the Innocence
  16. Bonnie Raitt – Nick of Time
  17. Faith No More – The Real Thing
  18. Neneh Cherry – Raw like Sushi
  19. Nirvana – Bleach
  20. Elvis Costello – Spike
  21. Paul McCartney – Flowers in the Dirt
  22. Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine
  23. New Order – Technique
  24. Neil Young – Freedom
  25. XTC – Oranges and Lemons
  26. King’s X – Gretchen Goes to Nebraska
  27. EPMD – Unfinished Business
  28. Boogie Down Productions – Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip Hop
  29. Mötley Crüe – Feelgood
  30. Kate Bush – The Sensual World
  31. Lenny Kravitz – Let Love Rule
  32. The The – Mind Bomb
  33. The Cult – Sonic Temple
  34. The Smithereens – 11
  35. Love & Rockets – Love & Rockets
  36. Tone-Lōc – Lōc-ed After Dark
  37. Bangles – Everything
  38. The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels
  39. Roy Orbison – Mystery Girl
  40. Prince – Batman
  41. 10,000 Maniacs – Blind Man’s Zoo
  42. Jody Watley – Larger Than Life
  43. Bob Dylan – Oh Mercy
  44. UB40 – Labour of Love II
  45. Aerosmith – Pump
  46. Enuff Z’Nuff – Enuff Z’Nuff
  47. 2 Live Crew – As Nasty as They Wanna Be
  48. The Jesus & Mary Chain – Automatic
  49. Skid Row – Skid Row
  50. The Tragically Hip – Up to Here
  51. The Someloves – Something or Other
  52. Soundgarden – Louder Than Love
  53. Lisa Stansfield – Affection
  54. Queen – The Miracle
  55. Alannah Myles – Alannah Myles
  56. Depeche Mode – 101
  57. Eurythmics – We Two Are One
  58. Stevie Ray Vaughan – In Step
  59. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Mother’s Milk
  60. Billy Joel – Storm Front
  61. John Cougar Mellencamp – Big Daddy
  62. Ice-T – The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech…Just Watch What You Say
  63. 3rd Bass – The Cactus Album
  64. Terence Trent D’Arby – Neither Fish nor Flesh
  65. Phish – Junta
  66. Camper Van Beethoven – Key Lime Pie
  67. Peter Murphy – Deep
  68. Chris Isaak – Heart-Shaped World
  69. Quincy Jones – Back on the Block
  70. Tracy Chapman – Crossroads
  71. David Byrne – Rei Momo
  72. The Jungle Brothers – Done by the Forces of Nature
  73. Biz Markie – The Biz Never Sleeps
  74. Queen Latifah – All Hail the Queen
  75. Soul II Soul – Club Classics Vol. One (aka ‘Keep on Movin’’)
  76. John Lee Hooker – The Healer
  77. Trip Shakespeare – Are You Shakespearienced?
  78. Melissa Etheridge – Brave and Crazy
  79. Lou Reed – New York
  80. Taylor Dayne – Can’t Fight Fate
  81. Technotronic – Pump Up the Jam: The Album
  82. Van Morrison – Avalon Sunset
  83. Lyle Lovett – Lyle Lovett and His Large Band
  84. Ministry – The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste
  85. Mudhoney – Mudhoney
  86. Big Daddy Kane – It’s a Big Daddy Thing
  87. Heavy D & the Boyz – Big Tyme
  88. The Neville Brothers – Yellow Moon
  89. Indigo Girls – Indigo Girls
  90. Babyface – Tender Lover
  91. Chris Rhea – The Road to Hell
  92. The DOC – No One Can Do It Better
  93. Urban Dance Squad – Mental Floss for the Globe
  94. Young MC – Stone Cold Rhymin’
  95. Cher – Heart of Stone
  96. LL Cool J – Walking with a Panther
  97. Alice Cooper – Trash
  98. MC Lyte – Eyes on This
  99. Debbie Gibson – Electric Youth
  100. Milli Vanilli – Girl You Know It’s True

5.25 New Order - Technique

5.25 Enuff Z'Nuff - ST

So, that’s the last year of the Eighties. Shortly, I will give you my wrap up of the Eighties, then I promise to go back to reviewing albums. This is a holiday weekend in the States, as we celebrated Memorial Day, a day to think about the loved ones who served in the military and lost their lives, as well a day to remember all of our lost loved ones. Peace to you all.

We Love the Eighties: My Top 100 Albums of 1988


Succinctly, 1988 was a crazy year for music. Rap music was finally moving away from being something of a novelty genre into a powerful new voice for Gen Xers all over. First, MTV debuted one of its most successful programs ever, Yo! MTV Raps began bringing this most threatening new brand of music out of the ghettos of big cities and into white suburbia. And, sales quickly followed. This genre quickly became THE voice of Generation X, with artists such as Run-DMC, Public Enemy, N.W.A, Beastie Boys, Eric B. & Rakim and Boogie Down Productions leading the way, even though teen rap sensations DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince won the first Rap Grammy Award.

5.24 Metallica - And Justice for All

Now, outside of that glorious half-hour of Yo!, MTV was basically the realm for hair metal. No longer was MTV the smorgasbord of musical genres, but an outlet for money-making artists. That decision would end up causing the network to nearly self-destruct until the Alternative Nation and Gangsta Rap pushed the network into its second Golden Age of videos. But, back in 1988, music was beginning to get in a rut. Baby Boomers were still running things, so hair metal was less of a stress for them to program on their radio stations than any alternative music or rap artists’ music. Even my radio hero, Casey Kasem, would not allow rap songs on his Top 40 countdown show only to move on to the next non-rap song in the countdown. And, Cincinnati was the same way, except for the last great radio station I ever heard, WOXY-FM, 97-X, 97.7 FM in Oxford, Ohio, who would play alternative music, reggae, thrash metal and rap all of the time. Really, these last couple of years of the Eighties were interesting as the radio world was playing catch up to the generational shift of interests in music, just as things happened in the Fifties at the beginning of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

5.24 Lita Ford - Lita

In essence, we were witnessing a cultural shift from the Boomers to the Xers, as represented by the shift in music toward alternative music and hip hop. At the time, I was so frustrated with music, that I was constantly creating mixtapes for my hour-long car trips from my home in Oxford down to Good Samaritan, along the section of Highway 27, known as the Highway to Heaven due to all of the fatal car accidents that have occurred over the years. Fortunately, I survive my daily two hours of driving on this road. The cultural shift was easy to see in retrospect, as Neil Young stage one of his infinite number of comebacks with the MTV Video of the Year for his “This Note’s for You,” a video that was banned on MTV for depicting artists “selling out” for allowing corporations to play their music in advertisements. The video was a scathing indictment of MTV for its role in this perversion of rock music. But, that attitude was left over from the Age of Aquarius, while Gen Xers saw nothing wrong with the artist finding more ways to exert control over their own music. Nowadays, no one blinks when you hear the latest Black Keys or Lady Gaga single in a commercial between segments of Modern Family. But, back then, the Boomers were still trying to hold rock to some ideal that these pieces of art were all extensions of the artwork from the Renaissance instead of a commodity the artist can control for his or her personal gain.

5.24 Neil Young - This Note's for You

In 1988, my beloved Cheap Trick staged a comeback. It was perfect timing for the band to comeback since they had a hand in the creation of hair metal, as well as alternative music. But, their company forced the band to start recording songs written by outside songwriters, including a power ballad that was totally uncharacteristic of the band. The band resisted for as long as they could, so they did a sarcastic performance of the song that the label loved. That song was “The Flame,” the only number one song in their career. To this very day, it is rare for them to play it live in concert. I remember that I was so disappointed when I heard that song and felt so betrayed that they had become a hair-metal-power-ballad-playing band.

5.24 The Sugarcubes - Life's Too Good

On the other hand, N.W.A and Public Enemy each released cultural milestones. Both groups brought the viewpoint of a young black man’s point-of-view to the world. It was as if a nuclear bomb had been dropped. And, personally, I loved it! This was as significant of a moment when these two albums dropped as when the Ramones or the Sex Pistols released their debuts. It was an exciting time, watching how my nephews and me could drive their fathers up a wall by playing rap music around them, listening to these Boomers try to tell me that no one would remember any of them. Last time I looked, both bands are members of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I guess rock was really an evolving animal.

5.24 Cheap Trick - Lap of Luxury

Still, remember, all of these lessons have been learned in retrospect. At the time, I was angry that radio was not playing some great music, forcing some teeny bopper groups like Tiffany and New Kids on the Block, but teen idols have always been around and will always be there for the little kids. But, there was loads of lame dance music that was good for a song or two but couldn’t keep it flowing for an album. And, I cannot emphasize enough that I hate a majority of the hair metal thing.

Well, let step down from my soapbox now. But, take a look at what I have been ranting about with my Top 100 Albums of 1988.

5.24 1.N.W.A - Straight Outta Compton

5.24 2.Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation

  1. N.W.A – Straight Outta Compton
  2. Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
  3. Joy Division – Substance 1977-1981
  4. Prince – Lovesexy
  5. Metallica – …And Justice for All
  6. Traveling Wilburys – Traveling Wilburys, Volume 1
  7. R.E.M. – Green
  8. Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman
  9. The Waterboys – Fisherman’s Blues
  10. Jane’s Addiction – Jane’s Addiction
  11. Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
  12. The Church – Starfish
  13. Living Colour – Vivid
  14. The Smithereens – Green Thoughts
  15. Fishbone – Truth and Soul
  16. Cowboy Junkies – The Trinity Sessions
  17. Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers – Conscious Party
  18. Pixies – Surfer Rosa
  19. The Pogues – If I Shall Fall from Grace with God
  20. The Style Council – Confessions of a Pop Group
  21. Pet Shop Boys – Introspective
  22. Boogie Down Production – By All Means Necessary
  23. Talk Talk – Spirit of Eden
  24. The Smithereens – Green Thoughts
  25. Camper Van Beethoven – Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart
  26. Graham Parker – The Mona Lisa’s Sister
  27. Mudhoney – Superfuzz Bigmuff
  28. Eric B & Rakim – Follow the Leader
  29. Queensrÿche – Operation Mindcrime
  30. U2 – Rattle & Hum
  31. Guns N’ Roses – G N’ R Lies
  32. Slick Rick – The Great Adventures of Slick Rick
  33. Bangles – Everything
  34. Talking Heads – Naked
  35. Sade – Stronger Than Pride
  36. My Bloody Valentine – Isn’t Anything
  37. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts – Up Your Alley
  38. Dinosaur Jr. – Bug
  39. Too $hort – Life Is…Too $hort
  40. Lita Ford – Lita
  41. Keith Richards – Talk Is Cheap
  42. Megadeth – So Far, So Good…So What?
  43. Morrissey – Viva Hate
  44. The Posies – Failure
  45. Guy – Guy
  46. King’s X – Out of the Silent Planet
  47. Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel
  48. Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians – Globe of Frogs
  49. Information Society – Information Society
  50. Jeff Healey Band – See the Light
  51. The Sugarcubes – Life’s Too Good
  52. Richard X. Heyman – Living Room!!
  53. Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars
  54. Anita Baker – Giving You the Best That I Got
  55. Ice-T – Power
  56. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Tender Prey
  57. They Might Be Giants – Lincoln
  58. The Pursuit of Happiness – Love Junk
  59. Siouxsie & the Banshees – Peepshow
  60. Steve Winwood – Roll with It
  61. Neil Young & the Blue Notes – This Note’s for You
  62. The Godfathers – Birth, School, Work, Death
  63. Cheap Trick – Lap of Luxury
  64. Leonard Cohen – I’m Your Man
  65. Van Halen – OU812
  66. EPMD – Strictly Business
  67. Robert Plant – Now and Zen
  68. The Go-Betweens – 16 Lovers Lane
  69. Ministry – The Land of Rape and Honey
  70. UB40 – UB40
  71. Soundgarden – Ultramega OK
  72. Rick Astley – Hold Me in Your Arms
  73. Brian Wilson – Brian Wilson
  74. The Jungle Brothers – Straight Out of the Jungle
  75. Violent Femmes – 3
  76. Melissa Etheridge – Melissa Etheridge
  77. Steve Earle – Copperhead Road
  78. Billy Bragg – Workers Playtime
  79. Kylie Minogue – Kylie
  80. Danzig – Danzig
  81. DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince – He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper
  82. Paula Abdul – Forever Your Girl
  83. Robert Cray Band – Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
  84. Cocteau Twins – Blue Bell Knoll
  85. Happy Mondays – Bummed
  86. The Proclaimers – Sunshine on Leith
  87. New Edition – Heartbreak
  88. Big Daddy Kane – Long Live the Kane
  89. Crowded House – Temple of the Low Men
  90. Salt-n-Pepa – A Salt with a Deadly Pepa
  91. Poison – Open Up and Say…Ah!
  92. Ultramagnetic MC’s – Critical Beatdown
  93. Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock – It Takes Two
  94. Taylor Dayne – Tell It to My Heart
  95. New Kids on the Block – Hangin’ Tough
  96. Roxette – Look Sharp!
  97. Enya – Watermark
  98. Lucinda Williams – Lucinda Williams
  99. Bon Jovi – New Jersey
  100. Winger – Winger

5.24 Mudhoney - Superfuzz Bigmuff

5.24 Poison - Open Up and Say...Ahh

Now that 1988 is a wrap, we only have one more year to celebrate in the Eighties: 1989. See ya tomorrow!


I Love the Eighties: My Top 100 Albums of 1987


Today, we are covering the last important year of the decade as far as music is concerned. 1987 was the last truly big year for the large number of great albums released. 1987 will forever be held up next to 1983 and 1984 as those rare transcendent years such as 1972, 1977 and 1979 before them. Then again, I am partial to 1984 as the best year of the Eighties, but 1987 is pretty damn good for music.

5.23 u2 - the joshua tree

In 1987, I changed jobs at the beginning of the year, after taking a job at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati, as I spent the next 16 months traveling back forth in order to work in the Hematology Department that was doing simultaneous clinical and research work with flow cytometry machines modified to not only provide a Complete Blood Count (CBC, meaning all of the cellular counts of the red and white blood cells, along with a platelet counts as well as a white blood cell differential count. The latter part was the new technology that we were testing for the whole time period to correlated the machine versus the techs’ counts. It was an easy project to be part of, as the machines were accurate. The problem in 1987 was the bulkiness of the machines. The original one was around twenty feet long, while the second version was a large tabletop version. See? I really am intelligent! I just prefer to act like a dumbass.). Anyway, when I started there, our phlebotomists were all pre-med students from the University of Cincinnati (UC). Many of those people are physicians now, but they were wild back then. One evening in October, a group of them called me because they had one extra ticket to see R.E.M. at Millet Hall on the Miami of Ohio University campus in Oxford, Ohio, and wanted me to go with them. Reluctantly, my wife let me go, even though she never stop reminding me of her generosity that evening. I eventually made it up to her when we saw them in 1995.

5.23 Whitney Houston - Whitney

These guys loved XTC, Elvis Costello, New Order and the rest of the alternative artists that made the Eighties so great. We could spend hours after second shift work discussing the merits of XTC’s Skylarking versus the album it parodied, The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper, and how and where XTC succeeded while Prince failed (that was one guy’s opinion, while I backed my man Prince, of course!). It was just fantastic to have daily interaction with a bunch of young men with common interests.

5.23 grateful dead - in the dark

Throughout the Eighties, artists who had been in a drought for years staged major comebacks. Back in 1984, Tina Turner had one of the most wonderful comeback stories ever. And, in 1986, Paul Simon staged a major comeback behind his brilliant Graceland album. And in 1987, the Grateful Dead unexpectedly had their first Top 10 single of their groundbreaking career with the appropriately titled “A Touch of Grey,” which rode something of a hippie zeitgeist that summer. Finally, the band had a song that engaged their traveling fans, as well as the record-buying Boomers a last-gasp time to purchase some new music. Still, “A Touch of Grey” was a great song, and the album it came from, In the Dark, was the band’s most solid album since the early Seventies classics of Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty.

5.23 whitesnake - whitesnake

1987 will forever be associated with some of the following artists’ finest albums being released that very year: Prince, U2, George Michael, Guns N’ Roses, INXS, Terence Trent D’Arby, The Cult, Midnight Oil and Eric B. & Rakim. Plus, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Depeche Mode and The Cure all released excellent albums as well. But, the year belonged to rap, alternative and all types of metal, including the unfortunate hair metal, which was hogging the airwaves on radio and MTV.

5.23 Ice-T - Rhyme Pays

So, let me prove to you, my faithful reader, see what I have been rambling over and over about. Here is My Top 100 Albums of 1987.

5.23 prince - sign o the times

5.23 rem - document

  1. Prince – Sign ‘o’ the Times
  2. E.M. – Document
  3. U2 – The Joshua Tree
  4. George Michael – Faith
  5. Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction
  6. John Cougar Mellencamp – The Lonesome Jubilee
  7. Prince – The Black Album
  8. Depeche Mode – Music for the Masses
  9. The Replacements – Pleased to Meet Me
  10. Bruce Springsteen – Tunnel of Love
  11. New Order – Substance 1987
  12. Eric B & Rakim – Paid in Full
  13. Terence Trent D’Arby – Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D’Arby
  14. The Cult – Electric
  15. The Cure – Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
  16. INXS – Kick
  17. Michael Jackson – Bad
  18. Pet Shop Boys – Actually
  19. The Dukes of Stratosphear – Psonic Psunspot
  20. Def Leppard – Hysteria
  21. Robbie Robertson – Robbie Robertson
  22. Hüsker Dü – Warehouse: Songs and Stories
  23. Game Theory – Lolita Nation
  24. Whitney Houston – Whitney
  25. Suzanne Vega – Solitude Standing
  26. Warren Zevon – Sentimental Hygiene
  27. Various Artists – A Very Special Christmas
  28. John Hiatt – Bring the Family
  29. Midnight Oil – Diesel and Dust
  30. The Psychedelic Furs – Midnight to Midnight
  31. Sting – …Nothing like the Sun
  32. George Harrison – Cloud Nine
  33. 10,000 Maniacs – In My Tribe
  34. The Jesus and Mary Chain – Darklands
  35. Whitesnake – Whitesnake (aka ‘1987’)
  36. Anthrax – Among the Living
  37. Los Lobos – By the Light of the Moon
  38. Fleetwood Mac – Tango in the Night
  39. Grateful Dead – In the Dark
  40. ABC – Alphabet City
  41. Flying Color – Flying Color
  42. The Style Council – The Cost of Loving
  43. The Smiths – Strangeways, Here We Come
  44. Tom Waits – Franks Wild Years
  45. Squeeze – Babylon and On
  46. Mötley Crüe – Girls, Girls, Girls
  47. Echo & the Bunnymen – Echo & the Bunnymen
  48. Sonic Youth – Sister
  49. Dinosaur Jr. – You’re Living All Over Me
  50. Public Enemy – Yo! Bum Rush the Show
  51. Aerosmith – Permanent Vacation
  52. Los Lobos and Various Artists – La Bamba OST
  53. Pink Floyd – A Momentary Lapse of Reason
  54. T’Pau – Bridge of Spies
  55. Sinéad O’Connor – The Lion and the Cobra
  56. Roger Waters – Radio K.A.O.S.
  57. Alexander O’Neal – Hearsay
  58. X – See How We Are
  59. Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam – Spanish Fly
  60. David Bowie – Never Let Me Down
  61. Boogie Down Productions – Criminal Minded
  62. Ozzy Osbourne & Randy Rhodes – Tribute
  63. Lyle Lovett – Pontiac
  64. Schoolly D – Saturday Night! The Album
  65. Heart – Bad Animals
  66. The Go-Betweens – Tallulah
  67. Belinda Carlisle – Heaven on Earth
  68. Yes – Big Generator
  69. Jody Watley – Jody Watley
  70. The dB’s – The Sound of Music
  71. Faith No More – Introduce Yourself
  72. Sisters of Mercy – Floodland
  73. Rick Astley – Whenever You Need Somebody
  74. Swing Out Sister – It’s Better to Travel
  75. Great White – Once Bitten
  76. Jennifer Warnes – Famous Blue Raincoat: The Songs of Leonard Cohen
  77. Big Black – Songs About Fucking
  78. Kool Moe Dee – How Ya Like Me Now
  79. Smokey Robinson – One Heartbeat
  80. Stevie Wonder – Characters
  81. Pixies – Come on Pilgrim
  82. Men Without Hats – Pop Goes the World
  83. Joe Satriani – Surfing with the Alien
  84. Richard Marx – Richard Marx
  85. Debbie Gibson – Out of the Blue
  86. Siouxsie & the Banshees – Through the Looking Glass
  87. Hoodoo Gurus – Blow Your Cool
  88. Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Uplift Mofo Party Plan
  89. Bryan Ferry – Bȇte Noir
  90. Pebbles – Pebbles
  91. Cher – Cher
  92. LL Cool J – Bigger and Deffer
  93. The Housemartins – The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death
  94. The Fat Boys – Crushin’
  95. Ice-T – Rhyme Pays
  96. Heavy D & the Boyz – Living Large
  97. Love & Rockets – Earth, Sun, Moon
  98. Keith Sweat – Make It Last Forever
  99. Tiffany – Tiffany
  100. DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince – Rock the House

5.23 jody watley - jody watley

5.23 husker du - warehouse

Now do you get it? This was a killer year! It’s always great to be motivated to listen to some forgotten classics. Plus, what can you say about a year during which Rick Astley burst onto the scene? It all happened here in 1987!

I Love the Eighties: My Top 100 Albums of 1986


1986 was the year when I graduated for the second straight year after my internship. Now, people go on and on these days about how great of an economic recovery that the Eighties experienced, but the reality was that the recovery really did not begin for another two years, as the President most associated with the recovery was leaving office. Why do I bring this up? Well, this was the reality facing my eleven classmates and me upon graduation. For the first time in the history of St. John’s School of Medical Technology, no one from a graduating class was hired as a tech. Luckily, I was the first in our class to be hired, but we had to move to Oxford, Ohio, while the rest of my classmates took up to six months to a year until we were all employed as techs. I actually had three job offers, all of them at little 60-bed hospitals in and around Cincinnati. We chose Oxford for the salary and because Oxford is a cool town.

5.22 the smiths - the queen is dead

Now, in 1986, music began to bounce back a bit from the underwhelming year of 1985. After three straight legendary albums, Athens, Georgia band R.E.M. released their first second masterpiece which was, ironically enough, recorded in Indiana at John Mellencamp’s studio, produced by Mellencamp’s producer Don Gehman. The band’s garage-based background truly came alive on this album. The English version of R.E.M., The Smiths, also released their masterpiece album, The Queen Is Dead. This album was played by college students all over Oxford that year. The other big alternative album of the year was by XTC, who, with the production by Todd Rundgren, conjured up images of the Summer of Love 19 years later, with their loving parody of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album, only with a Gen X cynicism underlying the production sounds on their album Skylarking.

5.22 bon jovi - slippery when wet

A couple of diverse artists had huge commercial breakthroughs. First, the American version of Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, took the advice of a group of Toronto teens as to which songs they recorded should be put on their new album, Slippery When Wet. Then, there was the Jackson family’s youngest member declaring her independence when she followed her newly declared independence by going to Minneapolis for a touch of the Purple Sound as Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis made their reputations as producers with Miss Jackson’s Control album. And, then, in one of the largest surprises since Tina Turner’s great 1984 comeback, one-time Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel finally had his big commercial breakthrough with his album So and his first number one hit single “Sledgehammer.”

5.22 Poison-Look-What-the-Cat-Dragged-In

One other significant breakthrough happened with hair metal gained more commercial inroads as the Cheap Trick tribute band Poison broke through with their first hit song, “Talk Dirty to Me”, and the album from which it came Look What the Cat Dragged In sold in big numbers. This happened while rap music began hitting the Top 10 on both the Album and Singles charts behind Run-DMC and Beastie Boys, marking the beginning of commercial success for the former underground musical sensation rap music.

5.22 run dmc - raising hell

Additionally, as a reaction against the assent of hair metal, popping up from the underground, was another form of heavy metal, known as thrash metal, led by the “Big Four”: Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax, who all released classic albums of the genre, and any other, this year. And, although, Metallica bassist Cliff Burton lost his life in a bus crash in Europe, Metallica was destined for greater heights in the very near future. And, metal proved its commercial appeal with great albums from Iron Maiden and David Lee Roth. Also, the alternative underground was gaining steam behind Hüsker Dü, Bad Religion, Minutemen and Billy Bragg, among many others.

5.22 paul simon - graceland

Finally, apartheid, the evil oppression of the majority blacks in South Africa by the minority population of whites began to unwittingly crack when Paul Simon defied established sanctions by traveling to the banned country so he could record new music with black South African musicians to create his cultural landmark album Graceland. Not only did Simon showcase the talents of these musicians, but he unwittingly led the uprising of the blacks behind Nelson Mandela to peacefully wrestle power away from the minority rule. Truly, this was a beautiful moment in rock history.

5.22 cameo - word up

With that background out of the way, it is time for the countdown. So, let’s get this party started! (Sorry P!nk!)

5.22 1.rem - lifes rich paegent

5.22 3.xtc - skylarking

  1. R.E.M. – Lifes Rich Pageant
  2. Prince & the Revolution – Parade
  3. XTC – Skylarking
  4. Peter Gabriel – So
  5. Paul Simon – Graceland
  6. The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead
  7. Run-D.M.C. – Raising Hell
  8. Beastie Boys – Licensed to Ill
  9. Game Theory – Big Shot Chronicles
  10. Janet Jackson – Control
  11. Metallica – Master of Puppets
  12. Hüsker Dü – Candy Apple Grey
  13. World Party – Private Revolution
  14. Pet Shop Boys – Please
  15. Talking Heads – True Stories
  16. Bruce Springsteen – Live/1975-1985
  17. Slayer – Reign in Blood
  18. Crowded House – Crowded House
  19. Depeche Mode – Black Celebration
  20. Queen – A Kind of Magic
  21. Robert Cray Band – Strong Persuader
  22. Wham! – Music from the Edge of Heaven
  23. David & David – Boomtown
  24. Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Blood & Chocolate
  25. The Style Council – Home & Abroad
  26. New Order – Brotherhood
  27. The Housemartins – London 0 Hull 4
  28. Various Artists – C86
  29. Anita Baker – Rapture
  30. Joe Jackson – Big World
  31. Talk Talk – The Colour of Spring
  32. Van Halen – 5150
  33. Bangles – Different Light
  34. The Human League – Crash
  35. Billy Idol – Whiplash Smile
  36. Madonna – True Blue
  37. Georgia Satellites – Georgia Satellites
  38. The The – Infected
  39. David Lee Roth – Eat ‘Em and Smile
  40. Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet
  41. Cameo – Word Up!
  42. Iggy Pop – Blah Blah Blah
  43. Belinda Carlisle – Belinda
  44. Bruce Hornsby & the Range – The Way It Is
  45. Lionel Richie – Dancing on the Ceiling
  46. Eddie Money – Can’t Hold Back
  47. Public Image Ltd. – Album
  48. Boston – Third Stage
  49. Billy Joel – The Bridge
  50. Cyndi Lauper – True Colors
  51. Genesis – Invisible Touch
  52. Huey Lewis & the News – Fore!
  53. Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band – Like a Rock
  54. Journey – Raised on Radio
  55. The Costello Show (aka Elvis Costello) – King of America
  56. Poison – Look What the Cat Dragged In
  57. James Brown – In the Jungle Groove
  58. The Fabulous Thunderbirds – Tuff Enuff
  59. Cinderella – Night Songs
  60. The B-52’s – Bouncing Off the Satellites
  61. Pretenders – Get Close
  62. The BoDeans – Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams
  63. Dwight Yoakam – Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc.
  64. Patti LaBelle – The Winner in You
  65. Billy Ocean – Love Zone
  66. Steve Winwood – Back in the High Life
  67. Europe – The Final Countdown
  68. Tina Turner – Break Every Rule
  69. Doug E. Fresh – Oh, My God!
  70. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Your Funeral…My Trial
  71. Megadeth – Peace Sells…but Who’s Buying?
  72. Big Audio Dynamite – 10, Upping St.
  73. Aretha Franklin – Aretha
  74. Luther Vandross – Give Me the Reason
  75. Steve Earle – Guitar Town
  76. Billy Bragg – Talking with the Taxman About Poetry
  77. Bad Brains – I Against I
  78. Communards – Communards
  79. The Go-Betweens – Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express
  80. Jackson Browne – Lives in the Balance
  81. Duran Duran – Notorious
  82. Various Artists – Top Gun OST
  83. They Might Be Giants – They Might Be Giants
  84. Stryper – To Hell with the Devil
  85. Violent Femmes – The Blind Leading the Naked
  86. Electric Light Orchestra – Balance of Power
  87. Ozzy Osbourne – The Ultimate Sin
  88. Van Morrison – No Guru, No Method, No Teacher
  89. Kool Moe Dee – Kool Moe Dee
  90. Freddie Jackson – Just like the First Time
  91. Concrete Blonde – Concrete Blonde
  92. Whodini – Back in Black
  93. Salt-n-Pepa – Hot, Cool & Vicious
  94. Big Black – Atomizer
  95. Throwing Muses – Throwing Muses
  96. Iron Maiden – Somewhere in Time
  97. Sonic Youth – Evol
  98. Love & Rockets – Express
  99. Siouxsie & the Banshees – Tinderbox
  100. New Kids on the Block – New Kids on the Block

5.22 metallica - master of puppets5.22 queen - a kind of magic

5.22 whodini - back in black5.22 Top_gun_(album)

And, that’s a wrap on another year of this great decade called the Eighties. We have just three more to go as we head into a big holiday weekend. I hope you all will check in the upcoming days as I wrap up the music of the great Eighties. Cheers all!

I Love the Eighties: My Top 100 Albums of 1985


Brothers and Sisters in Rock & Roll! Today, I am tackling 1985, THE transitional year of my life. During the year 1985, I got married, graduated from college, welcomed Son #1 to the world and began my year-long internship in St John’s School of Medical Technology. Instantly, I went from an irresponsible young adult to something resembling a budding adult during this, my twenty-second rotation around the Sun. Needless to say, it was a very crazy year and would never recommend beginning your adult life in this manner, yet, we all grew closer through the experience. Half-way through my internship, I was the one person from our twelve-student class to receive a second shift lab job in the histology department, preparing PAP smears for the next day’s reading for the histologist and cytologist, a job which provided a little money for the family as well as valuable laboratory experience. Finally, I learned at the end of 1985 that I would be the Indiana Society for Medical Technology scholarship winner to be awarded during the Spring of 1986 at the ISMT Spring Conference. That scholarship was the only scholarship award to a student of Medical Technology in the state of Indiana. Not bad for a former underachiever in high school and most of college, was it?

5.21 3.Prince - Around the World in a Day

Musically, 1985 was a pretty interesting year. One thing I noticed generally about popular music 1985 was the shared production values across the board. About halfway through 1984, I noticed that music production began to sound a little “flat” and too “slick.” It was as if the producer were removing the artist’s personality in an effort to get more radio play that could lead to more record sales. Now, artists were beginning to sound less distinctive and more standardized. For me, that meant boring and much less exciting. No longer could you tell if an artist recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama; Kingston, Jamaica; London, England; or in a New York cockroach-infested apartment. Nearly every Top 40 on Casey Kasem’s weekly countdown had the same bland sheen. Other than the singer, one could not be blamed if they could not tell one band from another. It’s not as bad as today, where The Imagine Dragons, Coldplay and OneRepublic all sound like the very same band with the same singer. I now have a difficult time discerning which band is playing on Spotify unless I can see the playlist. Most of the time, I play this off as someone who is just old, but I really feel as though I try to stay abreast of new music.

5.21 Fine Young Cannibals - ST

Besides that development, I thought 1985 was a decent year, especially the further you ventured away from the mainstream. While the mainstream was getting bland as Billy Ocean, Phil Collins and even my beloved Heart were releasing well-scrubbed music, I began to discover great alternative artist like Fine Young Cannibals, The Jesus and Mary Chain and Hüsker Dü; rap artists such as LL Cool J and Doug E. Fresh; cowpunk groups with Lone Justice and Jason & the Scorchers; R&B voices like Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam and Ready for the World; and metal artists like Megadeth, Slayer and the LA hair metal bands. Once again, the action was in the underground, much like it was decade ago. The catch was that my generation was becoming less patient for music to change, as if it had to change at all. Plus, the Boomers were for the first time now acting as if rock was solely a product of the Sixties and ended in 1975. Thus, the whole Classic Rock format popping up at this time in the wake of the whole Coca-Cola recipe change and their going back to “Classic Coke” flavor.

5.21 IRON-MAIDEN-Live-after-Death

Arguably, the musical highlight of 1985 was Live Aid, held the very day that Son #1 was born. Originally, I was all set to get up at 6 AM to eat breakfast and read the newspaper before the British portion of this “bicontinental” concert began at 7 AM EST. Of course, the night before, my wife and I were discussing how appropriate it would be if Son #1 were to be born on the same day as Live Aid. Well, that’s exactly what happened. For a first child, my beautiful lady gave birth to a healthy 7 lbs, 14 oz. baby boy after a quick four-hour labor. After a small wait, my wife was taken to her recovery room in which the TV was set to the channel with Live Aid. We had only missed the opening artist (Status Quo, not a big loss to an American; yet, a slight loss to a huge music fan!). Appropriately enough, we began watching the concert as Paul Weller’s new band, The Style Council, took the stage. After a fast song or two, the band, obviously sensing an important moment in a young couple’s life, promptly began to play that said couple’s song, “You’re the Best Thing.” As we lay in bed together, with our newborn son, I really could not believe how lucky I was to have a beautiful woman and a beautiful baby boy all together in a small hospital bed, barely awake, but soaking in the sound of our most important song in our life played on. It was a moment that I will continue to cherish for the rest of my life.

5.21 queen - live aid
One of the most iconic pics from Live Aid as Queen’s incomparable lead singer Freddie Mercury and the band steal the show

As Live Aid continued throughout the day, I watched it at my in-laws’ home and at the hospital. Overall, it was a fine day, that was pretty lily white with regards to the performers, as well as lacking diversity in addition to the biggest names of the day. You see, Prince, Springsteen, Wham!, LL Cool J, The Time, Freddie Jackson, R.E.M., Michael Jackson, and any of the metal and alternative artists that were rising up from the underground at the time. That’s why some many Monsters of Rock and Lollapolooza tours happened in the wake of Live Aid, to make up for these slights. But, that is nitpicking, as Sir Bob Geldoff and his minions did a great job pulling this whole thing off with two concerts in London and Philadelphia trading artist performances all day long. The whole thing completely pushed the technology of the day into the realm of what we take for-granted today. Nitpicking aside, it was a pretty great day, as I ended my Live Aid experience much the way I started it – watching it with my young family, lying together in a hospital bed, watching our beloved Daryl Hall & John Oates play anything they damn well please, then ending their set by performing a wonderful Temptations medley with former Tempts, David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks. It was a beautiful way to end my first day as a father.

5.21 LL Cool J - Radio

So, with no further adieu, here is my Top 100 Albums of 1985. Tell me what you think in the comments.

5.21 1.Tom Petty - Southern Accents

5.21 2.Style Council - Our Favorite Shop5.21 2.Style Council - International (USA)

  1. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Southern Accents
  2. The Style Council – Our Favorite Shop (aka ‘Internationalists’)
  3. Prince & the Revolution – Around the World in a Day
  4. Talking Heads – Little Creatures
  5. Tear for Fears – Songs from the Big Chair
  6. The Replacements – Tim
  7. R.E.M. – Fables of the Reconstruction
  8. The Smiths – Meat Is Murder
  9. Eurythmics – Be Yourself Tonight
  10. Fine Young Cannibals – Fine Young Cannibals
  11. Hüsker Dü – New Day Rising
  12. Hüsker Dü – Flip Your Wig
  13. John Cougar Mellencamp – Scarecrow
  14. Whitney Houston – Whitney Houston
  15. The Waterboys – This Is the Sea
  16. L. Cool J – Radio
  17. Scritti Politti – Cupid & Psyche 85
  18. New Order – Low-Life
  19. Kate Bush – Hounds of Love
  20. Dexys Midnight Runners – Don’t Stand Me Down
  21. Lone Justice – Lone Justice
  22. Camper Van Beethoven – Telephone Free Landslide Victory
  23. The Cult – Love
  24. The Jesus & Mary Chain – Psychocandy
  25. Sting – The Dream of the Blue Turtle
  26. Run-D.M.C. – King of Rock
  27. Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms
  28. INXS – Listen like Thieves
  29. Robert Palmer – Riptide
  30. Sheila E. – Romance 1600
  31. The Power Station – The Power Station
  32. Arcadia – So Red the Rose
  33. Simply Red – Picture Book
  34. The Outfield – Play Deep
  35. Mötley Crüe – Theatre of Pain
  36. Simple Minds – Once Upon a Time
  37. Candy – Whatever Happened to Fun
  38. Phil Collins – No Jacket Required
  39. Graham Parker & the Shot – Steady Nerves
  40. Heart – Heart
  41. Sam Cooke – Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963
  42. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Freaky Styley
  43. Tom Waits – Rain Dogs
  44. The Cure – The Head on the Door
  45. Bob Dylan – Empire Burlesque
  46. a-ha – Hunting High and Low
  47. The Dukes of Stratosphear – 25 O’Clock
  48. Ready for the World – Ready for the World
  49. Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam with Full Force – Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam with Full Force
  50. Sade – Promise
  51. John Fogerty – Centerfield
  52. The Three O’Clock – Arrive Without Travelling
  53. The Hooters – Nervous Night
  54. Aretha Franklin – Who’s Zoomin’ Who
  55. The Pogues – Rum, Sodomy & the Lash
  56. Mick Jagger – She’s the Boss
  57. ZZ Top – Afterburner
  58. Luther Vandross – The Night I Fell in Love
  59. Stevie Ray Vaughan – Soul to Soul
  60. Suzanne Vega – Suzanne Vega
  61. Starship – Knee Deep in the Hoopla
  62. Dead or Alive – Youthquake
  63. Bryan Ferry – Boys and Girls
  64. The Highwaymen –Highwayman
  65. Robert Plant – Shaken ‘n’ Stirred
  66. Mister – Welcome to the Real World
  67. Howard Jones – Dream into Action
  68. Big Audio Dynamite – This Is Big Audio Dynamite
  69. Paul Young – The Secret of Association
  70. Commodores – Nightshift
  71. Echo & the Bunnymen – Songs to Learn and Sing
  72. Sisters of Mercy – First and Last and Always
  73. Night Ranger – Seven Wishes
  74. Grace Jones – Slave to the Rhythm
  75. Everything but the Girl – Love Not Money
  76. Lloyd Cole & the Commotions – Easy Pieces
  77. Atlantic Starr – As the Band Turns
  78. Cameo – Single Life
  79. Megadeth – Killing Is My Business…and Business Is Good
  80. Freddie Jackson – Rock Me Tonight
  81. Minutemen – 3-Way Tie (For Last)
  82. Level 42 – World Machine
  83. 10,000 Maniacs – The Wishing Chair
  84. Rush – Power Windows
  85. DeBarge – Rhythm of the Night
  86. Stryper – Soldiers Under Command
  87. Slayer – Hell Awaits
  88. Pete Townshend – White City: A Novel
  89. Iron Maiden – Live After Death
  90. Miami Sound Machine – Primitive Love
  91. Mike + the Mechanics – Mike + the Mechanics
  92. The Jets – The Jets
  93. Various Artists – The Indestructible Beat of Soweto
  94. Chris Isaak – Silvertone
  95. George Clinton – Some of My Best Friends Are Jokes
  96. Stevie Wonder – In Square Circle
  97. X – Ain’t Love Grand
  98. The Fall – This Nation’s Saving Grace
  99. The Clash – Cut the Crap
  100. Various Artists – Miami Vice TV Soundtrack

5.21 The Highwaymen - Highwayman

And that’s a wrap on 1985. Stay alert as 1986 is just around the corner!

5.21 Power Station - ST5.21 Ready for the World - RFTW

I’m out!


I Love the Eighties: My Top 100 Albums of 1984


This weekend has been a very quiet one for me. In a couple of weeks, Son #2 will finally be marrying is long-time girlfriend. As a matter of fact, they have been dating nearly 13 years, beginning during the final month of their freshman year in high school. It is fairly obvious to us parents that their relationship was pretty special early on; however, they knew they needed to wait so they could grow up more. Anyway, this weekend was the bachelor and bachelorette parties. The guys idea of fun was not anything that my son’s future father-in-law and me felt necessary to be a part of. However, my future daughter-in-law wanted my wife, her mother and aunt to attend her bash, so I have been kinda been flying solo this weekend, watching superhero movies and listening to music.

5.20 Tina Turner - Private Dancer

Today, I am celebrating the great music from 1984, which was, perhaps, one of the strongest years of not only the Eighties but also of rock history. Once again, we are talking about a truly landmark year, where Prince and The Boss both became mega-superstars, Tina Turner staged one of rock’s greatest comebacks and both hip hop and alternative musics made a huge step in their respective development. And, hair metal began its ascent into history, following up the inroads made by Quiet Riot and Mötley Crüe the previous year, as genre-forefathers Van Halen released their most successful album-to-date, 1984, followed by Bon Jovi, Ratt and Twisted Sister.

tpa-101-fat-boys-st-front-cover5.20 minutemen double nickels on the dime

Unfortunately, 1984 also marked the beginning of the decline of new wave, as the genre began to mutate into straight up pop, alternative rock as well as other genres such as goth. And, 1984 was the year during which Madonna broke into the public’s consciousness, as her debut really broke through during the summer, as well as her follow-up, Like a Virgin, which hit number one at the end of 1984 and stayed there into 1985. And, the previous work laid down by The Cars and Pretenders paved the way for their hugely successful year in 1984.

5.20 new edition new edition5.20 nick cave - from her to eternity

The other thing that seemed to peak in 1984 was the quality of music videos, as videos followed Michael Jackson’s finest video moment in “Thriller” with more videos that seemed to be more mini-films than simple videos. Perhaps the best example of this was the video for Journey’s frontman, Steve Perry ‘s first solo hit single “Oh Sherrie.” In this landmark musical video, the premise was a video parodying the making of a large video, only for Perry to make the “perfect” take by stripping the whole shooting down to him “singing” while emoting the lyrics to his then-girlfriend/muse, Sherrie Swafford. At that moment, it seemed as though the whole video-thing had moved full circle, which it had until being revitalized all over again in the Nineties as the vehicle for rap and grunge to take over the music world.

So, finally, let’s take a look at My Top 100 Albums of 1984. Envelope please!

5.20 prince - purple rain

  1. Prince & the Revolution – Purple Rain
  2. Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA
  3. R.E.M. – Reckoning
  4. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Big Bam Boom
  5. The Style Council – Café Bleu (aka ‘My Ever Changing Moods’)
  6. The Smiths – The Smiths
  7. Madonna – Like a Virgin
  8. Queen – The Works
  9. The Replacements – Let It Be
  10. Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense
  11. Hüsker Dü – Zen Arcade
  12. Run-D.M.C. – Run-D.M.C.
  13. Minutemen – Double Nickels on the Dime
  14. Tina Turner – Private Dancer
  15. Alison Moyet – Alf
  16. Wham! – Make It Big
  17. Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Welcome to the Pleasuredome
  18. Peter Wolf – Lights Out
  19. The Cars – Heartbeat City
  20. General Public – …All the Rage
  21. Shelia E. – The Glamorous Life
  22. Pretenders – Learning to Crawl
  23. Metallica – Ride the Lightning
  24. Talk Talk – It’s My Life
  25. Sade – Diamond Life
  26. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts – Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth
  27. The Psychedelic Furs – Mirror Moves
  28. The Time – Ice Cream Castles
  29. Van Halen – 1984
  30. U2 – The Unforgettable Fire
  31. Bananarama – Bananarama
  32. Depeche Mode – Some Great Reward
  33. INXS – The Swing
  34. Joe Jackson – Body and Soul
  35. Whodini – Escape
  36. Lindsey Buckingham – Go Insane
  37. Los Lobos – How Will the Wolf Survive?
  38. Bangles – All Over the Place
  39. The Art of Noise – Who’s Afraid of the Art of Noise
  40. Steve Perry – Street Talk
  41. Don Henley – Building the Perfect Beast
  42. Glenn Frey – The Allnighter
  43. Eurythmics – 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother)
  44. Thompson Twins – Into the Gap
  45. Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Goodbye Cruel World
  46. The Alan Parsons Project – Ammonia Avenue
  47. Echo & the Bunnymen – Ocean Rain
  48. Let’s Active – Cypress
  49. The Smiths – Hatful of Hollow
  50. Nik Kershaw – Human Racing
  51. The Jacksons – Victory
  52. Bryan Adams – Reckless
  53. Roger Waters – The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking
  54. The Waterboys – A Pagan Place
  55. Chaka Khan – I Feel for You
  56. Foreigner – Agent Provocateur
  57. .38 Special – Tour de Force
  58. Simple Minds – Sparkle in the Rain
  59. Julian Lennon – Valotte
  60. John Lennon & Yoko Ono – Milk & Honey
  61. Scandal Featuring Patty Smyth – The Warrior
  62. Ratt – Out of the Cellar
  63. The Go-Go’s – Talk Show
  64. XTC – The Big Express
  65. Rush – Grace Under Pressure
  66. Shannon – Let the Music Play
  67. The dB’s – Like This
  68. David Bowie – Tonight
  69. Klymaxx – Meeting in the Ladies Room
  70. New Edition – New Edition
  71. Various Artists – Footloose OST
  72. Bronski Beat – The Age of Consent
  73. Bon Jovi – Bon Jovi
  74. The Kinks – Word of Mouth
  75. Meat Puppets – Meat Puppets II
  76. Rockwell – Somebody’s Watching Me
  77. Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry
  78. Iron Maiden – Powerslave
  79. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – From Her to Eternity
  80. Billy Bragg – Brewing Up with Billy Bragg
  81. Teena Marie – Starchild
  82. Stevie Ray Vaughan – Couldn’t Stand the Weather
  83. Pat Benatar – Tropico
  84. Spinal Tap – This Is Spinal Tap
  85. Ramones – Too Tough to Die
  86. Cocteau Twins – Treasure
  87. Robyn Hitchcock – I Often Dream of Trains
  88. The Hoodoo Gurus – Stoneage Romeos
  89. Howard Jones – Human’s Lib
  90. Various Artists – Breakin’ OST
  91. Scorpions – Love at First Sting
  92. Kurtis Blow – Ego Trip
  93. The Cure – The Top
  94. Billy Ocean – Suddenly
  95. Midnight Oil – Red Sails in the Sunset
  96. The Fat Boys – The Fat Boys
  97. Dwight Twilley – Jungle
  98. Violent Femmes – Hallowed Ground
  99. Elton John – Breaking Hearts
  100. Chicago – Chicago 17

5.20 husker du - zen arcade5.20 r-e-m-reckoning

And, there it is…My Top 100 Albums for 1984. I hope this list contains all of your favorites from that year.