Times Of Our Lives: 1984 – Keep On Keepin’ On


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.

Band Song
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.
Orange Juice Bridge
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
Swansway Soul Train
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 Fall c.r.e.e.p.
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
Madness Fireball XL5
Section 25 Looking from a Hilltop
Frankie Goes To Hollywood Relax
Big Country Wonderland
The Long Ryders Ivory Tower
R.E.M. Harborcoat
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
R.E.M. Pretty Persuasion
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
Scott Walker Rawhide
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
Madness Michael Caine
A Craze Wearing Your Jumper
Echo & the Bunnymen Angels and Devils
The Smiths Reel Around The Fountain
R.E.M. Second Guessing
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



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