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Another Lover – Giant Steps

Another Lover – Giant Steps

The 1980s are famous for big hair, big drums, big egos and big keyboard-driven hit songs. Some of these synthpop songs were instant classics and sound just as good today. Songs like “She Blinded Me with Science” by Thomas Dolby or “Too Shy” by Kajagoogoo were bursting with keyboards squeeks and beeps and soaring vocals and still garner airplay more than 25 years after their release. One of my favorites from the era is “Perfect … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1980s, Pop

Tubthumping – Chumbawamba

Tubthumping – Chumbawamba

Pure subversive silliness, this one. “Tubthumping” has to be one of the most unexpected one-hit wonders ever since it came from British band, Chumbawamba, that prides itself on embracing social disruption, anarchy and anti-authoritarianism with some well-placed commentaries on contemporary society’s addiction to consumerism. In other words, they like to stick it to the man. So the fact that “Tubthumping” (also known as “I Get Knocked Down”) is such a poppy rush of music with a singalong … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1990s

How Long – Ace

How Long – Ace

I’m pretty sure I’m awarding “How Long” by Ace bonus points due to my affinity for “Tempted” by Squeeze. Both songs are ably sung by Paul Carrack, a man who found success with Ace, British critical darlings, Squeeze, and as a singer with Mike and the Mechanics in the mid- to late-1980s. Carrack obviously does something right to hit the Billboard charts with three different bands. But he doesn’t need a band to get airplay; … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1970s, Pop

The Night Chicago Died – Paper Lace

The Night Chicago Died – Paper Lace

“The Night Chicago Died” was one of my favorite songs as a young kid. I had no idea who Al Capone was. The hardest thing I had ever tasted in my life was sour orange juice. I had no idea what prohibition was or how it was related to Al Capone or how Al Capone and the Chicago cops were connected. I had no clue that the East Side of Chicago, the same East Side of … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1970s, Pop

Beach Baby – The First Class

Beach Baby – The First Class

The Beach Boys aren’t the only act who hit Top 40 gold with songs about the beach and babys. First Class did a first-class job with their 1974 hit “Beach Baby” that reached #4 on the Billboard Top 40 in 1974 making The First Class a one-hit wonder. The Beach Boys sang “Don’t Worry Baby” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” First Class essentially combined the two titles and concepts, added soaring three- and four-part harmonies in the background, … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1970s, Pop

Perfect Way – Scritti Politti

Perfect Way – Scritti Politti

Cupid & Psyche 85 is one of the most exceptional records produced in the 1980s. That’s one big claim, I realize. But the production on that LP is amazingly deep, soulful and funky. If you appreciate great production values and relentless hooks in a synthpop package, spin this record. “Perfect Way” is the big American hit. A song so bouncy and joyous, it reached #11 on the Billboard Top 40 in 1985 transforming Scritti Politti into … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1980s, Pop