Sunday, February 5, 2017

Impromptu 1984 Mixtape

I wasn't planning on posting today, but I read this post over at Len's most excellent 45 Ruminations Per Megabyte blog where he poses the question, "if you were making a 1984 mixtape, what would you include?" And there went my weekend. Well, here you go, Len - this is what it would look like today. Tomorrow, of course, you'd get a different mix.  Since your tape contains 23 tracks, I'll do the same. (It's nice not having to worry about cassette tape time constraints, though.)


Track 1: "Let's Go Crazy" by Prince (#1 in September). Forgive the obvious choice, but it's one of the greatest album openers in pop history. I distinctly remember a trip down Interstate 45 on a hot afternoon in October 1984 where all I listened to was "Let's Go Crazy" for two hours straight, singing at the top of lungs. I hope the other travelers appreciated the marathon performance, because my voice was shredded by the time I reached my destination.

Track 2: "I Feel For You" by Chaka Khan (#3 in November). Start a mixtape with a Prince two-fer? You betcha! Written by Prince, rap by Melle Mel, harmonica solo by Stevie Freakin' Wonder. Nuff said.

Track 3: "Waterfront" by Simple Minds. The fact that this didn't make the pop chart only goes to show that it was released a year too early. Release this bombastic shuffle after "(Don't You) Forget About Me" and it's a top ten smash.

Track 4: "Talking In Your Sleep" by The Romantics (#3 in January). I owned the cassette of this album in my car in late '83/early '84 and it was in medium rotation there. Reminds me of leaving the high school campus for lunch with friends Brett and Roy. It's a catchy thing but it's far from being the best song on the In Heat album.

Track 5: "Deeper and Deeper" by The Fixx. The best song on the Streets of Fire soundtrack is another song that shoulda charted but didn't. I saw the band in the summer of 1984, but I can't remember a thing about the show.

Track 6: "Alibis" by Sergio Mendes (#29 in August). I've already given this song much love in this post.

Track 7: "(You Can Still) Rock in America" by Night Ranger (#51 in January). The best track on the Midnight Madness album.  Yeah, I said it.

Track 8: "White City" by Thomas Dolby.  This wasn't released as a single, but it's my favorite track from The Flat Earth album. If you want to substitute "Hyperactive" (#62 in February) for this one, I'm okay with that.

Track 9: "Pride (In The Name of Love)" by U2 (#33 in December). Simply put, this is U2's best song.

Track 10: "The Lebanon" by The Human League (#64 in June). An overlooked dance tune with overtly political lyrics. Great bass line and is that a guitar on a Human League track?

Track 11: "The Reflex" by Duran Duran (#1 in June). When I graduated from high school in May 1984, this song was just about all I played in my car, had the 12" single, waited for the video on MTV, etc.  I specifically remember dancing to this song at a post-graduation party in the park about 1 AM.

Track 12: "Miss Me Blind" by Culture Club (#5 in April). Some of my friends played in a cover band called Cambrai and they played this song once when I was at a club called Elvira's in BC in the spring of '84. I want to dislike Culture Club for many superficial reasons, not the least of which is Boy George (read embarrassing story here).  That said, this is the band at their best and I can't resist.


Track 1: "Panama" by Van Halen (#13 in August). The best thing the band had released since its debut album and my favorite tune from the band.

Track 2: "It's My Life" by Talk Talk (#31 in May). Not only my favorite Talk Talk song, it's one of my favorite eighties songs (it's also the group's only US Top 40 single). I had a cassette dub of the group's debut album, The Party's Over, and I bought the LP of It's My Life. Not long after I had purchased the album, I was at a high school pool party near graduation. They had a Houston rock radio station playing (probably 101 KLOL) and I was stopped in my tracks when I heard the single It's My Life played alongside Ozzy and AC/DC. Never heard it again on that station, but I was pleasantly surprised that afternoon.

Track 3: "New Moon on Monday" by Duran Duran (#10 in March). The only good song on Seven and the Ragged Tiger ("The Reflex" was boring as all get-out until Nile Rodgers got a hold of it.). This one doesn't get much play anymore and that's a shame because that chorus has at least three hooks that I can count.

Track 4: "You Can't Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want)" by Joe Jackson (#15 in June). Not the follow-up I wanted from Joe, but I sure listened to Body and Soul on every bus trip to one-act play contests that spring. The bass and guitar players sure try their best. I liked that album a lot more back then than I do now.

Track 5: "They Don't Know" by Tracey Ullman (#8 in April). Ullman recorded a fantastic album of '60s girl group tunes and this Kirsty MacColl single brought me to it. If you need it, I'm able to sing all the vocal parts with bonus Pips-ish choreography.

Track 6: "Magic" by The Cars (#12 in May). Summer, summer, summer. Summer '84 I was driving along in the Markmobile with this song blasting from my Pioneer deck and completely missed a stop sign. And of course their was a cop right there. This one's from the mediocre Heartbeat City album, which I had dubbed on one side of a C-90 tape with Purple Rain on the other. If you want to substitute "Hello Again" (#20 in October) for this one, I'm okay with that.

Track 7: "Head Over Heels" by The Go-Go's (#11 in May). My favorite Go-Go's song especially the pounding the piano takes. Finally saw the group in 2000. Belinda was looking especially lovely. (Love ya, Belinda, call me!)

Track 8: "Time Will Reveal" by DeBarge (#18 in January).  I've already given this song much love in this post.

Track 9: "Time the Avenger" by The Pretenders. That guitar/bass lick caught my ear from the get go and then it kicks up a notch at the chorus. If you want to substitute "Middle of the Road" (#19 in February) for this one, I'm okay with that.

Track 10: "Hold Me Now" Thompson Twins (#3 in May). Reminds me of driving in my car listening to the Into The Gap cassette during the spring of my senior year in high school. When I listen now, I still try (and usually fail) to hit the high falsetto notes during the last chorus - "Oh, will you stay with me?" - just like I did 30+ years ago.

Track 11: "Rebel Yell" by Billy Idol (#46 in March). Leaves me wanting "more, more, more" (too easy?). Guitarist Steve Stevens steals the show. Saw Idol and Stevens the day after I graduated high school. 

If you don't like that one, I compiled this list two months ago:

No comments :

Post a Comment