THIS IS MY HISTORY, ANDREW GOODWIN, THE AUTHOR OF NEW MUSIC EAR. THESE ARE MY MEMORIES OF MY MUSIC UPBRINGING AND HOW MY TASTES HAVE EVOLVED AND HOW MY LOVE FOR MUSIC EMERGED. I HOPE YOU CAN FIND SOME MEMORIES FROM READING THESE ARTICLES TOO :)
1983 - 1986
In 1983 with MTV only being shown on "cable" TV (which only those in the higher wages bracket could afford at the time) I saw much of the video channel in friends' houses. All we had to see our favourite music was Top Of The Pops, kids' shows like Razzmatazz and Cheggers Plays Pop, the morning shows Tiswas and Swap Shop and the much maligned The Tube.
During the years of 1983 to 1986 most of the favourite artists' of mine either appeared or rose to fame in these times. I first saw Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video on a videocassette at my friend's house and admittedly it scared me at first! I just expected a music video not a horror film! Regardless of this unexpected shock I loved the music, and like everyone else, loved the album "Thriller". The years of 1983 and 1984 were, in my opinion, the best years for music. I was still taping the Top 40 on Radio 1 and hardly any songs were not recorded, because the music was just so good. This is why it is much revered to this day. Bands I started liking in the previous years grew to massive fame and evolved such as Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran and were being respected as musicians and not just "pretty boy bands". Queen were hitting a high peak again, David Bowie, Rod Stewart and Elton John were making 80s Pop classics, Adam left the Ants and continued to thrive solo, The Police's popularity was at an alltime high and Blondie had disappeared. The "charts" were full of brilliant records from the whole music spectrum. One of the bands that emerged at this time was Liverpool band The Icicle Works, fronted by Ian McNabb. I played "Love Is A Wonderful Colour" so much I am surprised the cassette didn't wear away completely. I was listening to more Rock like Van Halen, ZZ Top, Marillion, Bryan Adams, Whitesnake and Heart. Also I loved fabulous Soul voices like Paul Young and the songwriting and originality of artists like Nik Kershaw. The music was now in my soul!
Also coming through in 1983 and 1984 were two of my all time favourite artists' Prince and Madonna. Prince just went from strength to strength after his videos appeared on MTV, classics like "1999" and "Little Red Corvette" were followed by the gigantic "Purple Rain" movie and soundtrack album. Through the musically almost barren years of the 9os these two became my staple musical diet. Madonna appeared on The Tube singing "Holiday" and I was hooked, this cute dancing little diva became the biggest selling female artist ever from these humble beginnings. Throughout this 4 year period she dominated the charts with hit after hit including "Like A Virgin", "Material Girl" and "Papa Don't Preach". So I was introduced to the King, Queen and Prince of Pop, or so the media called them!
These two powerful years in music drove me to writing poems at first and then song lyrics. I realised I was pretty good at doing this, within months I had over a 100 song lyrics at my disposal. I was designing my own record sleeves with my own songs as titles. Nothing became of these lyrics until much later in the 2000s when I recorded my own songs, but that's for another history blog!
Frankie Goes To Hollywood also appeared on The Tube with a very unusual performance and with the song "Relax" being "banned" by Mike Read on Radio 1 and Top Of The Pops it was a massive hit. The notorious band and their promoter Paul Morley and producer Trevor Horn (from The Buggles, whose "Video Killed The Radio Star" video was the first to show on MTV!) became an overnight sensation. 3 Number 1 hit singles in a row, a massive debut album and its such a shame they grew apart because after 2 albums they split. They were also the first concert I witnessed in 1987 they have a major part to play in my history. We all had a "Frankie Say" T-Shirt while girls had Wham!'s similar "Choose Life" or "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" shirts. "Welcome To The Pleasuredome", the debut album had a very risqu cover which stayed hidden from my mum and dad, but the controversy, as with Prince and Madonna is what gives fans that mystique and curiosity. I can understand the bad boys like Oasis and the like getting the young fans even though I think the music is a little below standard, but that's my opinion. Controversy, sex and attitude sold records as it does today. For me, it was all about the music and nothing more.
Coming to 1985 and 1986 the "charts" had lost some of the big names of the previous years, either because the media branded "boy" bands made more grown up music and the little girls left them as fans or simply they had disbanded due to the price of fame. There were good things coming, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden and Europe became ultimate Rock legends. Bangles appeared with the gorgeous Susanna Hoffs as lead singer, Cyndi Lauper, Billy Idol, Nick Heyward, The Cult and Big Country capitalised on their previous years' success as big stars and in my music collection. Kate Bush, Tina Turner and Paul Simon also continued their long aqaited comebacks.
A-ha broke through in 1985, suffering from the "boy band" tag given to them by the media as Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet before them.. Their debut "Hunting High and Low" was huge, and they too evolved with the "Scoundrel Days" album. They grew as musicians and are still superb today. I still had some Pop inside me even though my tastes moved on, Samantha Fox (famous for Page 3 poses in morning newspapers) made some great, catchy songs and proved she wasn't just a glamour model. She still has a huge fanbase today and has made a comeback on 80s tours. There were some great tracks from Glass Tiger, Cutting Crew, Mr Mister, Berlin amongst others.
To finish this part of my history let's skip back to July 13th, 1985. A sixteen hour concert was held at Wembley, London and at JFK Stadium, Philadelphia and in various places around the World. This was a mega live concert broadcast to the globe in aid of Famine Relief for Africa. I remember it being a hot, sunny day but nobody was outside. Windows were open all around the streets and TV sets were on loud to witness Live Aid. The brainchild of Bob Geldof and Midge Ure (of Ultravox) who called all their friends in the business to perform for free. Heroes far and wide played mini sets, some were incredible and some were not so great, but nobody cared. This was the biggest event I had ever seen. Musically, this made me want to see and hear live music, which became a reality 2 years later. The memories of Queen's Freddie Mercury proving he was the greatest frontman ever, holding the whole of Wembley in the palm of his hands. U2 showing they were the new kids on the block in the Rock Pop world, although Bono overstayed his welcome a little, it was enthralling. Phil Collins incredibly playing both sides of the Atlantic in one day. Madonna (after early Penthouse pictures appeared of her as an young model) declared "I ain't taking shit off today!" before being backed in a great performance by The Thompson Twins paving the way for her superb live tours that were to come. It was a day when egs were forgotten, stars were singing with each other, some hit bad notes, some forgot the words, and yet it was awesome. Just like the original Band Aid single, music did good and brought people together, thats how music should be...
1986, for me, proved to be the end of the 80s as we had grown used to, since 1980 we had all genres of music, everyone loved everything, no boundaries and the variety was all consuming to the average listener. in 1987 I was searching desperately for these days gone by, and that's for next time!
CHECK BACK FOR MORE NEW MUSIC EAR MEMORIES!