With debut albums from Crowded House and The Housemartins standing alongside massive hits from Madonna, a-ha and Red Box, 1986 would already have a strong enough grounding to challenge 1984 as one of the decade’s finest years for music. With Huey Lewis’s ‘Fore!’ challenging 1983’s as his masterpiece, a strong AOR debut from Robert Tepper and Jackson Browne’s ‘Lives In The Balance’ channelling a very commercial sound, it was also very much a year for great Transatlantic AOR and sounds that now seem so entrenched within that decade, you can’t help but love them.
The year also saw the rise of a few alternative greats: Husker Du made the leap to a major label with their ‘Candy Apple Grey’ album; Husker man Bob Mould produced Soul Asylum’s second release ‘Made To Be Broken’ and R.E.M. continued their rise to worldwide fame with ‘Life’s Rich Pageant’, an album that would endure the passing years and eventually be considered one of their best. XTC’s ‘Skylarking’ also gave 1986 some power pop gold; Robert Cray reignited an interest in the blues with the commercial (but brilliant) ‘Strong Persuader’ and Bon Jovi scored massive success with ‘Slippery When Wet’.
Real Gone’s huge trawl through the year celebrates all of these things – and the omnipresent ‘Graceland’ from Paul Simon – and far more besides. It’s time to put the kettle on again… This is a long journey, but we hope it’s one that’ll both reawaken old memories and introduce you to some new (old) music along the way.