1981

I love dipping back in to old compilation albums and discovering early efforts by two or three bands who went on to become big names. Stevo’s first compilation, Some Bizzare Album, uncovered this one.

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The first time I heard this I was knocked sideways. I expected experimentation from Brian Eno and David Byrne, but My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts took it to a whole new level.

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Is there a better opening line to a song than Julian Cope’s delighted response to pop stardom: “Bless my cotton socks, I’m in the news!”?

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One of the best riffs of all time when Muddy Waters recorded it back in 1955, it somehow sounds even better in the dextrous hands of George Thorogood a quarter of a century later.

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Not many bands slipped through the cracks of my post-punk world in the early 80s but Modern English seem to have passed me by completely.

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Virgin Prunes began life at the same time, at the same social club in Dublin, as U2 – but went in a very different direction, blending avant-garde cabaret with improvisation and experimentation.

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I was never a New Romantic. I never went to Blitz or Billy’s or Le Beat Route. I have never worn make-up. And yet… 

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When Elvis Costello brought out an album of country cover versions in 1981 – remarkably, his sixth album in four years – my music world was turned upside down.

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People were shocked when Grace Jones performed her “One Man Show” at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in October 1981. Including me.

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The Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash On The Wheels Of Steel was not the first hip-hop hit but it was a landmark in the emergence of rap upon its release in 1981 – and the first hit to use scratching.

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