INDISPENSABLE MUSIC SPOTLIGHT
I’ve seen a slew of articles over the past year or so heralding the 80s as the greatest decade for music. It’s an interesting premise that I don’t agree with. However, there was a lot of great music released in that decade. YouTube channels list the “Greatest” one hit wonders or forgotten songs, but so many are better left forgotten. Nearly all of them are synth-laden pop tunes that were a dime a dozen at the time and haven’t aged well. Yet, many new artists seem to be looking back on that decade for inspiration. I also met someone a few years back who told me she hated 80s music. When pressed, she admitted she had only been exposed to hair metal. I decided to catalog some of my favorite artists by sifting through my LPs, many of whom are well-known and others who may have fallen into obscurity. Here is Part Two of my favorite music from the decade.
The Feelies: This band is so underrated. I’ve seen them live several times over the course of a few decades. Crazy Rhythms is simply one of the best of the early 80s NYC-area post-punk/pop albums and a perennial favorite of mine.
The Fleshtones: I just love Peter Zaremba. The sheer joy of watching this video (and hopefully making it too) is beyond words. Purveyors of American garage rock of the highest caliber, this is simply an incredible band. I would really like to download Hexbreaker (released only as an LP) since it’s one of my favorite records from the decade, but the sites that have downloads might be sketchy. Who the hell owns the IRS catalog? Reissue this!
The Jam: Another band with political leanings, the Jam were a mod revival/punk band with a signature sound. Led by singer/songwriter/guitarist Paul Weller, the group was formed in 1972 and continued into the 80s. “A Town Called Malice” from 1982’s The Gift was a huge success. Then Weller shocked the music world by pulling the plug, eventually going solo and forming other groups like the Style Council.
The Jazz Butcher: Jazz Butcher founder Pat Fish was a true original. The band had a rotating cast of characters, and the biggest character was Fish himself. Clever, witty songs with impeccable guitar-laden pop (the good kind of pop) over the course of 40 plus years will be an enduring legacy for the troubadour we lost in 2021.