Friday, December 21, 2018

Primal Alt Rock Favorites

I’ve been listening to a lot of 80s alt rock and 1st Wave alt rock lately and I decided to create a list of my favorite early alt rock bands or songs. Some of these bands were basically one hit wonders and some of them turned into superstars, and some are still actively making new music and touring. I’ve seen other similar lists with other bands, but those other bands simply never struck a chord with me. There might even be a few on here you haven’t heard.

I ended up with 67. Why 67? Well, this is how many I found that met my criteria, of being considered alt rock by someone or on a band comparison to someone else on this list, was before 1995 and wasn’t obviously conventional pop. Some of these songs border on pop or more conventional rock. It was hard to differentiate where to draw the line. Many of these bands have multiple songs that I dig, but I just picked one that I really love by that band. The first on this list is a perfect example. This is also not representative of all of the music I listened to back then. I love metal and straight up rock as well as some bluegrass and some country music, but it is very representative of great alternative rock music from that era. There is some incredible alternative music being made today, but these bands set the stage of what would follow, and it is a pretty diverse set. All of these songs are awesome! Links provided for a YouTube song. There are lots of versions for most of these songs.

U2 – Stories for Boys - I found a really old version of this maybe their first video
The Smiths – How Soon is Now?
The Cure – In Between Days
Siouxsie and the Banshees – Cities in Dust
Pet Shop Boys – Two divided by Zero
The Clash – Rock the Casbah
Echo and the Bunnymen – The Cutter
Violent Femmes -Blister in the Sun
The English Beat – Mirror in the Bathroom
Eurythmics – Missionary Man
Culture Club – Karma Chameleon
Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Relax
Still makes me want to get up and dance!
Modern English – I Melt with You
Oingo Boingo – Dead Man’s Party
Psychodelic Furs - Love My Way
Depeche Mode – Enjoy the Silence
The Cult – She Sells Sanctuary
The Police – Don’t Stand So Close to Me
Talk Talk – It’s My Life
The Call – The Walls Came Down
The B-52s – Private Idaho
Naked Eyes – Always Something There to Remind Me

Monday, December 17, 2018

Riding the 1st Wave

 Birth School Work Death
     I was in the car the other day, listening to Siruis/XM radio, channel 33, 1st Wave, which I adore. The song that come on the radio was Birth, School, Work, Death by The Godfathers. It brought back some good memories. I used to own that album on cassette. Here is the YouTube video: Birth School Work Death
     I was really into music in the mid 80s, I even DJed for a brief time in the spring and summer of 1987. It was the end of the first wave of alternative rock, but there was still great music coming out. This album was just one example.
     Sherman, set the wayback machine for 1988. It was early summer and I had just bought the tape maybe a week before, after seeing The Godfathers on an MTV video; they actually played videos back then. My roommate was from Chicago and we were driving up for the weekend to see what we could get into, two young and single dudes. He was in the driver’s seat as I read a paper which he had acquired earlier that detailed all the entertainment that week in Chicago, and we had just gotten into range to listen to his favorite radio station. Birth, School, Work, Death came on the radio and I mused that it would be cool if we could see somebody like The Godfathers that weekend. I turned the page and voilĂ , like magic they were playing at the Metro that very night. It was an awesome show and a really cool venue.
     We made a lot of trips to Chicago that summer, but nothing topped the serendipity of that concert. St. Elmo’s Fire had been released a few years before that, and were felt like we were living a little bit like those twenty-something’s in the big city. Within a little more than a year, though, we would both be married and our lives would settle into a different trajectory, but the summer of 1988 was my introduction into adulthood in many ways.
     Thanks Sirius/XM 1st Wave for the trip down memory lane and well done!.

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