Few people could argue against 1984 being one of history’s finest years for pop music. Above all else, the mighty Frankie Goes To Hollywood came and gave pop a hefty kick up the arse with a combination of great tunes and greater controversy. They were the first band since the 60s to score three #1 hits in a row, but each one – ‘Relax’, ‘Two Tribes’ and ‘The Power of Love’ were deserving of their success. Each one sounds as good as ever and in the case of ‘Two Tribes’, there’s still a real edginess you’d think would be long gone.
The Stranglers were an important part of the first movement of British punk. Not so much in that they were capable of writing angry, antagonistic songs, but more in the fact that they managed to inject various elements of late 60s dark psychedelia into the then new musical phenomenon.
In April 2020, adult pop heroes The 1957 Tail-Fin Fiasco made an unexpected return with their video single ‘Dream Pharma’. It had been almost eighteen months since the world heard from them, and the band themselves weren’t entirely sure they were going to make new music, but here they were.
When the Led Zeppelin anthology was released in 2004, fans were given lots of reasons to get excited. Not only was the black and white footage from Denmark ’69 available for the first time, but the double disc set also included a full set from London that same year, alongside highlights of Knebworth 1979 (full show here) and Earls Court 1975. As has been discussed many times, fans would like to see the latter pair of shows released uncut…but it’s never going to happen.
In terms of pop, 1982 was a strong year: Madness took a further step towards songwriting sophistication with their album ‘The Rise & Fall’, Prince made a huge breakthrough with his ‘1999’ double platter of much filthiness and Phil Collins showed us that the previous year’s ‘Face Value’ wasn’t just a one-off solo success when his “tricky second album” spawned a #1 hit single and a few of his best solo tunes.