OK, hands up all those who got a detention for tapping out the intro to ‘Antmusic’ on the school desk? Yeah, me too. I think I got the second detention inside a couple of minutes for singing “We don’t need no educashun” in an act of pseudo-defiance masking a clear case of copping the arse at my musical career being stopped in its tracks.
Which may have been the only occasion that a punishment was meted out for enjoying music and pop culture. Probably not but it felt like it. Still, scoring a volley from the halfway line – returning a goal kick ‘with interest’ – made up for it that lunchtime. You had to be there.
One of the beauties – and I’ll come back to these things when I can fully do them justice – of growing up in ‘my era’ was the proliferation of singles, tapes, eps and flexi-discs which were available with, or through the pages of, music papers.
Yes, younger readers, NME wasn’t always a freebie handed out in HMV. Once upon a time, it was the bible with the books of Record Mirror, Sounds, Melody Maker and even Smash Hits was half-decent. One such item was Adam and the Ants pastiche of the Village People, “A.N.T.S” released on a flexidisc, as well as The Jam’s “Pop Art Poem”.
You recall those flimsy plastic discs which required a coin to balance them out? It wasn’t random, they had a circle marked out where we had to place the money. I have it in mind it was 2p piece but I could be wrong. A random thought which distracts from the memories. A tangent and honestly, reading this back I find I’m about to drift off on another.
I stopped reading NME regularly some years ago; I can’t pinpoint a particular moment but I suspect that getting utterly fed up with commuting played a part in it, as well as one of my periodic disinterests in the current music scene. At those moments, I devour music’s rich past, feeling that I’ve gorged myself until I realise I haven’t even scratched the surface.
But finding the NME reduced to a flimsy rag, a pointless flyer in HMV a couple of years back, levied a feeling of desperation that I find hard to capture in words. Wednesday was the best day of the week; the new paper hit the stands, anticipated with such eagerness that I would arrive at Guildford station thirty minutes early to buy a copy to read with a cup of tea – not coffee – on the platform, ignoring the Portsmouth-bound trains which left before the last I could catch to the office.
I recall meeting one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever met over a copy of the NME, deferring to her wishes to pick up a copy before I at the kiosk. Although to be fair, I’d forgotten that moment until now but I also recall the joy of finding the ads for various of my then-favourite bands at the Marquee, Astoria or Aylesbury Friars. Anywhere within the western half of the M25 was fair game.
Happy days which even a flaccid imitaion of the real thing can’t destroy.
Anyway, 1980 a fine and outstanding year for music. I have no idea how to pare this down to 50 songs but I did. Tomorrow, if I compiled it again, I dare say 20 of them would change. The other 30 would be by the Jam…
If the playlist doesn’t open in your Spotify client, click here to open in your browser.
|Motörhead||Ace of Spades|
|Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark||Enola Gay|
|The Ruts||Staring At the Rude Boys|
|Stevie Wonder||Master Blaster (Jammin’)|
|The Clash||The Magnificent Seven|
|The Damned||Wait For The Blackout|
|The Cure||A Forest|
|Secret Affair||My World|
|The Vapors||News At Ten|
|The Teardrop Explodes||Treason|
|Siouxsie and the Banshees||Christine|
|Bruce Springsteen||The Ties That Bind|
|Talking Heads||Once In A Lifetime|
|The Jam||Dream Time|
|Dexys Midnight Runners||There There My Dear|
|Ramones||Baby, I Love You|
|The Police||Don’t Stand So Close To Me|
|Pretenders||Stop Your Sobbing|
|Adam & The Ants||Antmusic|
|Hazel O’Connor||Will You?|
|Joy Division||Twenty Four Hours|
|The Rolling Stones||Emotional Rescue|
|Echo & the Bunnymen||Villiers Terrace|
|U2||11 O’Clock Tick Tock|
|Split Enz||I Got You|
|The Specials||Do Nothing|
|XTC||Sgt Rock Is Going to Help Me|
|Visage||Fade To Grey|
|The B-52’s||Give Me Back My Man|
|Skids||A Woman In Winter|
|The Professionals||Mods Skins Punks|
|Thin Lizzy||Killer On The Loose|
|The Piranhas||Getting Beaten Up|
|The Jam||That’s Entertainment|
|Splodgenessabounds||Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps|
|Dead Kennedys||Kill The Poor|
|Kate Bush||Army Dreamers|
|Joy Division||Love Will Tear Us Apart|
|Stiff Little Fingers||Tin Soldiers|
|The Jam||Going Underground|
|Echo & the Bunnymen||Do It Clean|
|The Beat||Mirror in the Bathroom|
|Ian Dury & The Blockheads||Sueperman’s Big Sister|
|The Chords||Something’s Missing|
|Bob Marley & The Wailers||Could You Be Loved|
|Diana Ross||Upside Down|
|Magazine||A Song From Under The Floorboards|
|Squeeze||Another Nail In My Heart|
|Adam & The Ants||Dog Eat Dog|
|Comsat Angels||Independence Day|
|Bad Manners||Here Comes The Major|
|The Jam||Man In The Corner Shop|
|Elvis Costello & The Attractions||High Fidelity|
|The Undertones||My Perfect Cousin|
|The Durutti Column||Sketch For A Summer|
|The Cure||Killing An Arab|
|The Psychedelic Furs||India|
|The Feelies||Everybody’s Got Something To Hide (Except Me And My Monkey)|
|The Chords||So Far Away|
|The Freshies||I’m In Love With A Girl On A Certain Megastore Check-Out Desk|
|Stiff Little Fingers||Back To Front|
|Pink Floyd||Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2|
|The Spinners||Working My Way Back to You|
|Odyssey||Use It Up and Wear It Out|
|The Human League||Being Boiled|
|The Fall||New Face In Hell|
|The Specials||Too Much Too Young|
|UB40||The Earth Dies Screaming|
|The Chords||The British Way Of Life|