I know, I know. I promised this playlist ages ago but here it is. We’ve reached 1984, the end of my years in forced labour or compulsory education, as the adults called it.
I left college and some great bands departed the scene as well. OK, I can immediately think of Orange Juice but there were others, there always are. It’s an indication of the slack-jawed research and dubious recollections with which you are all now heartily familiar.
Some bands should have called it a day as well. Echo & the Bunnymen released their last great album in 1984 with Ocean Rain. Was the Crystal Day in ’84? I have a vague recollection that it was.
NME was all over it like a rash and to be honest, had I not lived in the Cotswolds at the time, I’d have probably gone. Bands did great ‘events’ back then; I’m not sure that they do now or perhaps that’s more due to the proliferation of big gigs, etc., nowadays.
Another band who should have called it a day was the Psychedelic Furs. They’ve gained some notoriety for the outstanding achievement of being the runaway winners of the ‘Worst Gig I Ever Saw’ award.
Chippenham Golddiggers was a nightclub forty minutes’ drive away from home and hosted a number of good gigs down the years.
The first incarnation of Madness in about ’87 was brilliant but some things stick in my mind, such as the Bruce Foxton answering a demand from the audience for “TUBE STAYTIONNNNNNNNN!” with, “That was yesterday, this is today” when he should have said, “At least scream for a song I f***ing well wrote”.
He didn’t play any Jam songs that night and we spent the evening counting parkas, sta-prest trousers, bowling shoes, penguins and boating jackets. We were OK – just – in Fred Perry’s and trainers.
I bumped into Foxton some years later at Guildford railway station and found him to be a perfectly amiable chap, working in A&R at the time. More tales of the rich and famous on trains another day although had I known then what I know now, Saville would have been thrown head first from the train at Stoke Mandeville. Through closed doors.
Anyway, back to the Golddiggers. Or you would if you could; it’s offices now. A friend from junior school was well-connected to the music biz and got us a few freebies. The Style Council, Thompson Twins (ugh!) and the Psychedelic Furs. He didn’t particularly like them but knew a couple of us thought they were brilliant.
They were on record but on stage, they were awful. I can’t remember the guy’s name – John something or other but he wasn’t one of the Butler brothers – played guitar and did a mannequin challenge before it was hip. Didn’t move a muscle, not even to flick the ash off his fag.
I’ve seen a few bands who weren’t lively on stage – Oasis at Gloucester Leisure Centre was like watching Thunderbirds with guitars and drums although in front of us a punter was so paralytic that he was trying to stand up but ended up limbo dancing for most the evening. Incredibly, he didn’t keel over until he was upright and then he collapsed into a dishevelled heap.
At least Oasis made no concerted effort to move; Richard (?) Butler of the Furs was vogueing before Madonna had even heard of it and was giving his bandmate daggers every time he looked round to see no movement. I’d like to think yer man was being obnoxious to wind Butler up, that it served more purpose than him simply being a grade A twat on that particular evening but you can’t be sure and I’m sure that
Anyway, here’s the 1984 playlist, imaginatively titled “N-n-n-n-nineteen Eighty-Four”. If it doesn’t work in your Spotify desktop client, click here to listen in your browser.
|The Mighty Wah!||Come Back (The Story of the Reds) / The Devil in Miss Jones (Combined and Extended)|
|The Smiths||Still Ill|
|R.E.M.||(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville|
|Bruce Springsteen||Born In The U.S.A.|
|Madness||March Of The Gherkins|
|Echo & the Bunnymen||Silver|
|The Style Council||You’re The Best Thing|
|Tracie||Far from the Hurting Kind|
|Bananarama||State I’m In|
|Womack & Womack||Teardrops|
|the redskins||Keep On Keeping On|
|The Higsons||Music To Watch Girls By|
|The Wake||Talk About the Past|
|The Psychedelic Furs||Heartbeat|
|The Mighty Wah!||In the Bleak/Body and Soul/Midwinter|
|Siouxsie and the Banshees||Bring Me The Head Of The Preacher Man|
|The Jazz Butcher||Southern Mark Smith (Big Return)|
|The Pale Fountains||You’ll Start A War|
|The Fall||Lay of the Land|
|The Men They Couldn’t Hang||Ironmasters|
|The Alarm||Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke ?|
|Prefab Sprout||Green Isaac (I)|
|The Style Council||My Ever Changing Moods|
|Elvis Costello & The Attractions||Joe Porterhouse|
|Tracie||(I Love You) When You Sleep|
|R.E.M.||So. Central Rain|
|The Specials||Nelson Mandela|
|Madness||One Better Day|
|Orange Juice||Salmon Fishing In New York|
|The Bangles||Going Down to Liverpool|
|Lloyd Cole and the Commotions||Rattlesnakes|
|The Long Ryders||I Had a Dream|
|Billy Bragg||It Says Here|
|Elvis Costello & The Attractions||Worthless Thing|
|The Screaming Blue Messiahs||Tracking The Dog|
|The Three Johns||Teenage Nightingales To Wax|
|Section 25||Looking from a Hilltop|
|Frankie Goes To Hollywood||Relax|
|The Long Ryders||Ivory Tower|
|The Farmer’s Boys||In The Country|
|Echo & the Bunnymen||The Killing Moon|
|Billy Bragg||Like Soldiers Do|
|the redskins||Kick Over The Statues|
|The Specials||Racist Friend|
|The Fall||Oh! Brother|
|Siouxsie and the Banshees||Swimming Horses|
|The Larks U.K.||Tell Me & Do I Dare|
|The Higsons||Ice Age|
|The Long Ryders||Still Get By|
|The Alarm||The Deceiver|
|The Smiths||What Difference Does It Make?|
|Bobby Womack||American Dream|
|Quando Quango||Atom Rock|
|The Men They Couldn’t Hang||The Green Fields Of France (No Man’s Land)|
|The Long Ryders||Wreck of the 809|
|Bruce Springsteen||Downbound Train|
|Lloyd Cole and the Commotions||Perfect Skin|
|Orange Juice||Lean Period|
|A Craze||Wearing Your Jumper|
|Echo & the Bunnymen||Angels and Devils|
|The Smiths||Reel Around The Fountain|
|Big Country||Where The Rose Is Sown|
|Billy Bragg||Strange Things Happen|
|The Style Council||Shout To The Top|
|Frankie Goes To Hollywood||Two Tribes|