As 2022 begins to pull to a close, it seems almost unbelievable we’ve made it through another year in what feels like the blink of an eye. At Real Gone, we’re getting ready to bring you our highlights for 2022, but first, it’s time for our advent calendar!
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.
…And so ends Record Store Day for another year.
As with previous events, we enjoyed the build up more than the event itself. There’s a pleasure in perusing the list of releases, wondering if any of your favourite bands will issue a must-have coloured vinyl LP, or keeping your ear to the ground for oddities that might even be too obscure or limited to make the main list. We’ve enjoyed sharing our top picks for the day with fans and readers…and as always, we’ve raised eyebrows and a wry smile at photos on social media of middle aged men who’ve abandoned their families to sit on a fishing stool under a blanket outside of their favourite stores at 6 AM. You’ve got to admire that kind of tenacity – especially on what turned out to be a particularly Arctic April, weather wise.
The British ska revival of the late 70s was an exciting time. The short-lived 2-Tone label (founded by The Specials’ Jerry Dammers) was home to arguably some of the greatest music to come from the UK. Over the course of three years, with a mix of good-time party music and political messages, The Specials, The Selecter and The Beat became hugely popular, and although they moved away from their ska roots quicker than most, Madness became one of the most popular British pop bands of all time.
Although primarily thought of as a ska outfit (and often dismissed as a “bit of fun” and a novelty band), over the course of six album releases between 1979 and 1985, Madness showed their musical palette was far broader than that of their early ska revival peers. In fact, from their third album (‘7’) onward, Camden’s favourite sons all but ditched their ska roots and continually moved forward, crafting a unique brand of pop music along the way. With each passing album, it’s possible to hear the band becoming more comfortable in their shoes as pop’s master craftsmen, and parts of their fifth album, ‘Keep Moving’ (released in 1984), arguably captures the post-ska Madness at their finest.