Go ahead, you can laugh all you want about the ‘80s
and the alleged musical empty-headedness that took place,
but 1982 remains one of my favorite years for music.
Read on if you dare, and watch as Midwestern rock radio
and the British rock leanings of MTV collide head-on.
"Show Me," ABC (The Lexicon of Love)
You could really insert any song from this album here, since this is one of the Best Pop Albums Ever Made. Seriously. And this song, with that exploding rhythm section, is one of the most definitive album openers of all time.
"Senses Working Overtime," XTC (English
For a kid growing up in small town Ohio, MTV had a profound impact on my taste in music. Lord knows none of the Columbus stations were playing this. Hell, Columbus now has a modern rock station, and they don’t even play this. Or any other XTC song, now that I think about it. That’s just wrong.
"I Have the Touch," Peter Gabriel (Security)
Shake those hands? How about beat those drums?
"Analog Kid," Rush (Signals)
Back in 1982, Rush was my favorite band because…they were my best friend’s favorite band. Despite my pitiful attempt at conformity, I quickly realized that Rush really was my favorite band, and this fast-paced rocker about a boy and his dream girl launched my career as an air drummer.
"Wind Him Up," Saga (Worlds Apart)
One good Canadian prog band deserves another. Okay, maybe describing Saga as ‘good’ is stretching it a bit, but there is no way you could have convinced me otherwise back then. Me in 1982: "Wow, listen to that guitarist fly!" Me in 2007: "Wow, listen to that guitarist wank."
"Soul Survivor," Asia (Asia)
One of the few cowbell-free songs on the album, Carl Palmer made up for it in the fade with a big ol’ helping of double kick drum.
"The Chauffeur," Duran Duran (Rio)
Suddenly, Rush had some competition for my affections. Between their dazzling videos and my man-crush on John Taylor, it would be years before these guys would do any wrong in my book. I may never need to hear "Rio" again, but this ballad never gets old.
"Surprises," Billy Joel (The Nylon
Billy’s last great record was one dark little album. "Don’t look now, but you have changed / Your best friends wouldn’t tell you." That’s a nasty thing to say, but admit it: you all know someone just like Billy’s subject.
"More than This," Roxy Music (Avalon)
In my top five favorite songs of all time. I used to say that I wanted this song played at my funeral. I eventually realized how ridiculous that is. I have since changed my funeral song to "Song 2." Woo hoo.
"Love on Your Side," Thompson Twins (Side
Time to pick up the pace a little. For a synth-pop band, these guys were pretty kinky. "I was told that boys meet girls and girls meet boys / You say that’s not true"? That line totally went over my head when I first heard it.
"Town Called Malice," The Jam (The
Rarely has bleak been so bouncy. Best Motown song not recorded in Motown.
"Change," John Waite (Ignition)
You can keep "Missing You" and everything else after it associated with Waite’s name (ahem, Bad English). This, for my money, is the last great Babys song that never was.
"Dirty Creature," Split Enz (Time
I can’t help it: any time I see a video where instruments are subjected to water, I think, "What a waste!" But it did make for an awfully cool video in this case.
"Hey Little Girl," Icehouse (Primitive
Iva Davies has taken a lot of flack for making a career out of ripping off David Bowie and Bryan Ferry, but as rip-off artists go, I’ll take this over Oasis any day of the week.
"Twilight Zone," Golden Earring (Cut)
Full-length version, please. Amazing how one band could have only two hits, but both of them massive and, as a kicker, nine years apart from each other. That would never, ever happen today. You think anyone’s giving Lou Bega another shot?