Paul’s Hot ’80s

Hot ’80s takes a look at my musical memories from five of the decade’s summers and distills each one into a single disc playlist. For this exercise, I’ve chosen 1981, 1983, 1984, 1987 and 1989. Once again, you won’t necessarily hear the biggest hits of the period; more the ones that stuck with me then and still do now. The cover photograph is of Eamonn Coghlan winning gold at the World Championship 5000m in Helsinki, 14 August 1983.

Part 1: Summer 1981
01 Vangelis – Heaven & Hell (3rd Movement)
02 John Foxx – Europe After The Rain
03 Ultravox – All Stood Still
04 Visage – Visage
05 Our Daughter’s Wedding – Lawn Chairs
06 Depeche Mode – New Life
07 Bill Wyman – (Si Si) Je Suis Un Rock Star (Single Version)
08 Kirsty MacColl – There’s A Girl Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis
09 Kate Bush – Sat In Your Lap
10 Dexys Midnight Runners – Show Me
11 U2 – Fire
12 The Jam – Funeral Pyre
13 The Kinks – Better Things (Single Version)
14 Squeeze – Tempted
15 Level 42 – Turn It On (Single Edit)
16 ABBA – Lay All Your Love On Me
17 Bucks Fizz – Piece Of The Action
18 Elaine Paige – Memory
19 Kate Robbins – More Than In Love
20 Phil Collins – If Leaving Me Is Easy

1981 was a pivotal summer. There was much greater awareness of what was happening in the charts and while I still didn’t own any records, I had built up a tiny collection of taped tapes. Some from the radio, others nth generation copy compilations. Our summer holiday that year was spent in Courtown Harbour, a glorious week that August. Vangelis’ Third Movement became the theme for the American television documentary series, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage by Carl Sagan which was broadcast on BBC1 that June. It sets the scene for the initial synth pop sequence on the playlist. Elaine Paige’s Memory was a favourite of my mother’s; the Stages LP was a fixture in our Good Room from 1983 onwards.


Part 2: Summer 1983
01 Clannad – Newgrange
02 Tom Robinson – War Baby
03 The Police – Wrapped Around Your Finger
04 Flash & The Pan – Waiting For A Train
05 The Lotus Eaters – The First Picture Of You
06 Yazoo – Nobody’s Diary
07 Marillion – Garden Party (7″ Edit)
08 Rod Stewart – Baby Jane
09 David Bowie – China Girl (Single Version)
10 Eurythmics – Who’s That Girl
11 Kajagoogoo – Hang On Now
12 Thompson Twins – Watching
13 David Grant – Watching You, Watching Me
14 Madness – Wings Of A Dove
15 Roman Holliday – Don’t Try To Stop It
16 Echo & The Bunnymen – Never Stop
17 Bruce Foxton – Freak
18 The Style Council – Money Go Round (Single Edit)
19 Robert Plant – Big Log
20 Thin Lizzy – The Sun Goes Down (7″ Remix)

1983 was a very hot summer, especially July. Clannad’s Newgrange (released to coincide with the Solstice) acts a precursor to a wide variety of pop selections. Many of them blared out of the radio at the top of the drills on the farm where we picked strawberries. There are some deliberate juxtapositions – the Watching pair plus Bruce Foxton followed by Weller’s new mob. Thin Lizzy’s The Sun Goes Down makes for a thoughtful conclusion. We stayed in Courtown again – the third and final year. A daily treat of HB ice cream was still vital.


Part 3: Summer 1984
01 Jeffrey Osborne – On The Wings Of Love
02 Windjammer – Tossing & Turning
03 Phil Fearon featuring Galaxy – Everybody’s Laughing
04 Scritti Politti – Absolute
05 Mike Oldfield – To France
06 Bananarama – Rough Justice (7″ Mix)
07 Talk Talk – Dum Dum Girl
08 A Flock Of Seagulls – The More You Live, The More You Love
09 Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Talking Loud And Clear
10 Billy Idol – Eyes Without A Face (7″ Mix)
11 Elton John – Sad Songs (Say So Much) (Single Mix)
12 Spandau Ballet – Only When You Leave (7″ Version)
13 Elvis Costello & The Attractions – I Wanna Be Loved
14 The Farmer’s Boys – In The Country
15 Tracey Ullman – Sunglasses
16 Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Perfect Skin
17 The Smiths – William, It Was Really Nothing
18 The Cure – The Caterpillar
19 The Bluebells – Will She Always Be Waiting
20 Blancmange – The Day Before You Came

The summer of 1984 started with a school trip to London which was almost immediately followed by 24 days at Irish college. The weather was almost as good as the previous year – especially August – and many of the songs included here date from that sticky spell. While it was the summer of Frankie, I have decided to let others share the limelight – so you get the wistfulness of The Bluebells coupled with Lloyd Cole’s razor sharp debut along with Blancmange’s blinding ABBA cover to finish. The family holiday was spent travelling around the Ring of Kerry. We dropped into a hotel to see Top Of The Pops. Two Tribes #1. Like 1983, there were also numerous day trips to the beaches on the Hook peninsula.


Part 4: Summer 1987
01 Gary Moore – Friday On My Mind
02 Def Leppard – Animal
03 The Cult – Wild Flower
04 Beastie Boys – No Sleep Till Brooklyn
05 Run D.M.C. – It’s Tricky
06 Mel & Kim – F.L.M.
07 Five Star – Whenever You’re Ready
08 Herb Alpert – Diamonds
09 Madonna – Who’s That Girl
10 Prince – If I Was Your Girlfriend (Edit)
11 Robert Cray – Right Next Door (Because Of Me)
12 The Christians – Hooverville (And They Promised Us The World)
13 Curiosity Killed The Cat – Misfit
14 Peter Gabriel – Red Rain
15 Genesis – Throwing It All Away
16 Fleetwood Mac – Seven Wonders
17 Jennifer Warnes – First We Take Manhattan
18 Public Image Limited – Seattle
19 The Smiths – Girlfriend In A Coma
20 New Order – True Faith (7″ Mix)

Gary Moore’s Friday On My Mind immediately takes me back to my Inter Cert; panic and stress followed by sheer relief when it was finally over. The Cult’s Electric was purchased in Waterford along with Slayer’s Reign In Blood. We also saw Platoon in the cinema that day – and cycled there and back. The Smiths’ break up was unusual in the sense that it was announced two months before their new album, rather than afterwards. No internet meant that I didn’t hear about it until that week’s NME; I was on holidays in Lahinch so wasn’t doing my usual radio listening. New Order’s Substance was purchased in Galway. Day trip.


Part 5: Summer 1989
01 Gladys Knight – Licence To Kill
02 Simply Red – A New Flame
03 Malcolm McLaren & The Bootzilla Orchestra – Waltz Darling
04 Martika – Toy Soldiers (7″ Version)
05 The Bangles – Be With You (Single Mix)
06 The Darling Buds – You’ve Got To Choose
07 The Primitives – Sick Of It
08 Dinosaur Jr. – Just Like Heaven
09 Tin Machine – Under The God
10 Roy Orbison – California Blue
11 The Pogues – Misty Morning, Albert Bridge
12 The Waterboys – And A Bang On The Ear
13 Paul McCartney – This One
14 Fine Young Cannibals – Don’t Look Back
15 London Boys – London Nights
16 Donna Summer – I Don’t Wanna Get Hurt (7″ Remix)
17 Kylie Minogue – Wouldn’t Change A Thing
18 Paul Rutherford – Oh World (7″ Mix)
19 ABC – One Better World (Edit)
20 Public Enemy – Fight The Power

Licence To Kill was the last film I saw in The Ritz Cinema. I was with my new flame in the double seat. August 1989 – once again, an extremely scorching summer. It closed down the following February; The Delinquents (with Kylie) was the last picture show. While The Cure hung heavy in 1989, the singles came out in April & September so I turn to Dinosaur Jr’s superb cover of Just Like Heaven to provide them with a spiritual inclusion on this playlist. Both The Pogues and London Boys tracks remind me of misspent times in the capitol. ABC’s One Better World is euphoric even now but bombed. There was no more ice cream; the part-time job in the L&N supermarket was key to building my record collection and providing funds for social activities. Who wants to be the disco king?

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