I can’t believe how hard these lists have been. For a decade that most people say was void of much “quality” music. It’s been
nearly impossible to stick to my own rules. So much so that I was tempted to have an 80’s vol 3, but it’s time to move on. We’ve all tracked down so many songs we’ve forgotten about, so save them, write them down. We’ll be back to themed lists by the end of August and use that gold then. To make it easier, at the end of this post, I will list the mixtapes coming up.
Last week I explored the music I was listening to in the middle of the 80’s. For this week I decided to explore the early 80’s and the late 80’s. For me, those two times in my life were more the “real” me than the soul-searching, parent hating, cigarette smoking, skateboard dating, mohawk styling rebel I was during my “Ally Sheedy” phase. As much as I loved the music I was listening to then, I am less likely to listen to it now. The music I listened to in the early and late 80’s was the real me. That music was timeless, and became what we are now calling Classic Rock. I was weened on Steely Dan, The Carpenter’s, Simon and Garfunkel and The Eagles. That’s where my love for music started, and that is where it would end up.
In 1981 I was 11, for the next few years I had a permanent position set up right next to our record player at home. I used headphones, because my sister could not rip herself away from the TV that was in the same room. There was only one record player in the house, so that was my perch. From that perch there were 4 albums that were in constant rotation, I wore these covers out staring at them as I listened to the music – both sides:
But because I have to at least
pretend attempt to stick to the rules. They get only an honorable mention..
In 1985 I saw my very first concert without parents. It was Don Henley’s Building the Perfect Beast tour. In 1988 I saw my first concert with people I had only known a week: As part of the celebration of the incoming class of 92 at University of Iowa – a little known band called REM put on a concert at Hancher Auditorium. Up until this time they had only played shows around their hometown, some European tours and college campuses. Who knew?
This list could contain so much amazing music from so many amazing musicians. Some notables I am leaving out are Prince, Roxy Music, INXS, The Police and Peter Gabriel. I also want to give a shout out to The Indigo Girls, their first and epic CD was released in 1989. I could put every single one of their songs from that album on this list. So many more didn’t make the cut. But when I sat down to make my mix I had 27 songs. I figured that was a little excessive, so sorry songs. I’ll miss you, but you’re in a brand new mix in my iTunes, so no worries. Instead I went with my Guilty Pleasures.
In no particular order “Music that I Predict Will Stand the Test of Time in the Older Jen Kehl’s Cassette Collection”
Jackson Browne – That Girl Could Sing (1980) I used to sit and imagine the song was about me. The only part I heard, or knew the words to were “that girl could sing.” And of course I had these pre-teen dreams of Jackson Browne hearing me sing and saying “she’s a star!” Thank’s so much Jackson, your faith in me kept me singing, and now I’m famous – in my kitchen. You rock.
Asia – Only Time Will Tell (1982) – I don’t even know what to say. This is an 80’s anthem – no 80’s mix would be complete with out it.
Juke Box Hero – Foreigner (1981) I need to do a whole post on Foreigner, their history is pretty amazing. Sadly, this particular song was recorded after Foreigner split in half. It was intended to be part of a more commercial sound, and they succeeded. The other notable song from this album is Urgent.
This song was so mysterious to me, I really heard the lyrics, I could picture this boy who wanted to be a star. Hmmm…. maybe he was my soulmate; see previous song.
Too Much Time on My Hands – Styx (1981) Well this was the beginning of the end for Styx. They had a lot of trouble agreeing about where their sound should go after Babe – which was such a chart topper. But Paradise Theater? Epic. Thanks for not killing each other before this album. – This is also the album where they were accused of backmasking satanic messages on their album (that means if you play it backwards you can hear it) I had to quote their response “we had enough trouble to make the music sound right forward.” Also, James Young quotes,”If we were going to put something Satanic in our songs, we would have put it so it was in the song forward. Not so you would have to buy some $400 tape recorder to hear it.”
Our House – Madness (1982) I always wanted this to be my house.
When I turned 15 I started dating my first musician. This would turn into a series of unfortunate relationships. And by unfortunate, I mean “relationships with musicians”. They all saw a modicum of commercial success, they all had musicians egos, they all performed live. Which sucked. If you’re the girlfriend. Because then you’re the roady. I digress… the one great thing about dating musicians is you have to listen to the music they listen too. Did I say great? OK, well it can be great. Not when it’s Sister Christian by Night Ranger that you’re listen to over and over and over again.
But when it’s Something About You by Level 42, well then it might stick:
Fast forward to the late 80’s, because I had to get here somehow. My music choices started to change and morph, as did the music atmosphere itself. These next two songs are interlopers as far as the Classic Rock theme would suggest. But they were very influential to me, and are still in rotation.
Everyone heard of Talking Heads in the 80’s; who couldn’t pick David Byrne out of a line-up? However when they decided to take a chance – exploring a different style in a different place (Paris) – they created an album that the critics loved but the public couldn’t get their hands around. It didn’t even hit the charts in the US. However it did cross my 6-disc CD changer that cost me an arm and a leg…
Mr Jones – Talking Heads (1988)
I just couldn’t listen to Kate Bush, I couldn’t handle the eerie sadness that permeated all of her music. But her musical counter part, the wacky to her weird was right there next to Talking Heads in my CD Changer. Laurie Anderson’s Strange Angels was the “Alternative” genre of the late 80’s; she was someone who made art and music, effortlessly intertwined. Her talent was well-known among other musicians and she had some notables on this album including Meatloaf and Bobby McFerrin, and if that’s not enough – she’s also married to Lou Reed, so there’s that. May I please implore you to LISTEN TO THE LYRICS? You won’t be sorry, I promise. With lyrics like: “I don’t know about your brain, but mine is really – bossy.”
Babydoll – Laurie Anderson
Starting in 1986 I began to live a double life. Every summer I toured with The Grateful Dead, fitting in shows during the school year if I could drive there in 3 hours. This was a revelation to me. Camping out with thousands of your best friends, sharing food, water, fires and other stuff. It was an amazing time… (I think this may have been when I decided showers were over-rated) In 1987 The Grateful Dead came out with its first truly commercial album, while none of the songs were new to folks who saw them live, something – that wasn’t a bootleg – to stick in your cassette deck was freaking amazing!
Throwing Stones – The Grateful Dead (1987) while this song was not the one that reached the top 10, it is the one that my friends and I waited – and listened – and hoped to catch the first few notes of as we sat out on the lawn of a huge amphitheater and then rose – screaming as it began. “The kids they dance and shake their bones” we were those kids, it was amazing.
Phew! I can’t believe I made it! That was the HARDEST list ever. And I didn’t even break the rules, WHAT? Did I just tell a bold-faced lie! Yup. This week, you get a pass if you can’t stick to 5 songs, I get it.
Now it’s your turn. I want to hear what you’ve got! This week’s theme is The 80′s Part 2. For next week we begin a new decade. Start thinking, it’s the 1990’s part 1.
The rules of Twisted MixTape are as such: Try and create a 5 song mix based on this week’s theme. As we move through the decades the assumption is you know about the music in the past, but not what is to come. Create your own post and link it up, or put your mix in the comments. If you’re going to link-up there must be a song – relating to the theme – in your post. Share this all over the place, the more the merrier. And go visit my lovely cohort – Kristi at Finding Ninee. She’s always got a song, a funny story and some silly Drawrings. Mostly, just have fun, there’ s no pressure here.
As promised The List of all Lists:
July 16 – 90’s and before pt.1
July 23 – 90’s and before pt. 2
July 30 – The 00’s and before
Aug 6 – Duets ( this can be duets or duos like Hall & Oats or Loggins & Messina you decide)
Aug 13 – No Strings Attached (I know none of this feel this way – wink wink. But there are a lot of great songs about having a relationship/one night stand with no strings attached)
August 20 – You know what? I suck/ You suck. Get your venom out here, or maybe that ballad that basically says ‘you suck'”, or play it this way: you’re the one who did wrong and you know it. This is your apology/acknowledgement for being an ass. Or a mix of the two. You decide.
August 27 – I think this is the week I see Steely Dan, SO with that being said. Let’s do a “BEST OF” pick a band, any band, and put together a “Best of” playlist. Easy peasy for the end of summer.
AND NOW: Because you know you need to own these songs, click on the links to go to iTunes:
That Girl Could Sing – Hold Out
Only Time Will Tell – Asia
Juke Box Hero – 4 (Expanded Version)
Urgent – 4 (Expanded Version)
Too Much Time On My Hands – Paradise Theatre
Our House – Total Madness – The Very Best of Madness
Something About You (Single) – Level Best
Mr. Jones (2005 Remastered) – Naked [w/Bonus Track]
Baby Doll – Strange Angels
Throwing Stones – In the Dark (Expanded) [Remastered]