Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Come See, Come See, Remember Me - 1984 Part 3.

A last look at my favourite albums of the year back in 1984. This was my top ten, thirty years ago.

'Gravity Talks' was Green on Red's debut full length LP, released in the USA in 1983, before appearing in UK record shops to coincide with the band's first visit to these shores. Green on Red were another band that I saw live many many times and I was delighted to catch up with main man Dan Stuart once again, earlier this year (here).

Do I really need to say anything regarding the inclusion of The Smiths first LP in this list? I don't think so. Other than to note, perhaps, that it's way too low down the order.

The were a lot of good, retro-tinged, guitar bands coming out of Australia in the mid-80s and The Hoodoo Gurus debut LP arrived as part of that wave. Albums two and three, 'Mars Needs Guitars!' and 'Blow Your Cool!', were probably superior, but 'Stoneage Romeos' is still a fun ride.

I saw Miles Davis in concert twice during 1984 and the time spent in the same room as this giant of 20th century music, overshadowed virtually everything else all year. Hence the high position for 'Decoy', a good late period LP, but, in my opinion, not as strong as its predecessor, 'Star People', or successor, 'You're Under Arrest'. Great to see this clip again though.

Rank and File operated within the short-lived Cowpunk genre. 'Long Gone Dead', the second of their three LPs, is a lot of fun, but is absolutely not the fifth best album of 1984!

Unfortunately, the nearest I ever got got to catching the mighty Gun Club in concert was passing a worse for wear Jeffrey Lee Pierce in the entrance to Dingwalls one night, as I was on my way into the venue to see another band. Mind you, this performance was a pretty cool thing to witness on tea-time telly at the time. (Somebody tell Jools that his mic is still on!)

I've no qualms about the lofty positions occupied by Lloyd Cole's first LP and REM's second - both terrific pieces of work that still hold up effortlessly today. Which brings us to The Triffids, with two albums in the top 10. 'Treeless Plain', was another one of those records that only arrived on a UK label in 1984 following its actual release (in Australia) the previous year - and a stunning debut it is too. With the benefit of hindsight, it's obvious that there are serious omissions from this list and erroneous inclusions in it, but if I had to make the top 20 again today, the number one would be the same. I've watched this clip a few times over the past couple of days and still struggle to make it through without becoming emotional. David McComb - gone, but never forgotten.

(Addendum:  A wider look at the full sheet upon which my Top 20s LPs of 1984 are listed, reveals a 'late addition' scrawled in the margin - and what a belter it is. The Nomads are still rockin' today, thirty years on.)


Anonymous said...

1984 was an odd year for me as I think I was beginning to be distracted by stuff beyond music (?life), so I missed out on quite a few of these. Of course, REM and The Smiths for massive exceptions. For me, the first Smiths album will always be the one, although I know it has many detractors, not least members of the band. Yes, the mix could have been better but I know I only think that in retrospect; at the time I thought it was perfect. On later albums I thought Moz started to parody himself lyrically, whereas here he captured both humour and melancholy in beautiful balance.

Funnily enough, although I most own just about every standard release by Miles, I don't have 'Decoy'. I'm wary of some of the more 'period' sounding stuff he did in the 80's, although he often still captured something that was beyond anyone else (e.g. 'Human Nature' or 'Time After Time'). You saw him live? I just don't know what to say...

C said...

Now here we have it. Such a perfect taster for the year. Like you I had Green On Red, Gun Club, Hoodoo Gurus and the mighty Nomads on repeat play. I suspect those three may have been on my Top 20 list too - but I'll just have to guess at it!

Great stuff, TS. Thanks for the memories.

C said...

Erm, I really should learn to count. *Four*

The Swede said...

SB. I spent a few hours, earlier this year, listening to every live version of 'Time After Time' that I could find on YouTube - a rewarding and addictive exercise. I saw Miles twice more in 1985. Like Dylan, even when he wasn't playing anything, you couldn't take your eyes off him. I'm with you as regards The Smiths 1st LP.

C. You can't count? My top 20 was a top 21!

Old Pa's Corner said...

I love that you still have the written lists. I don't seem to keep anything. Some fabulous classics there and some I have not heard....there must be so much we have not heard but what can you do.

Have you got similar list for the next 30 years. I bet you have. I agree the Smith is 'took me out' even did a post about it.

Scott said...

Interesting Top Ten rundown. Totally agree with the first Smiths album and Rattlesnakes still sounds immense today. Nice to see the Gun Club and The Hoodoo Gurus in there too. Will have to check out the Rank and File album, never heard that before. I heard a lot of these albums through the always wonderful recommendations of David Fricke in Melody Maker.

The Swede said...

Old Pa. I've always scribbled down something towards the end of the year, but 1984 seems to be the only one to have survived.

Scott. Thanks again. How about sharing some of your own record shop memories?

Scott said...

In the New Year I may well share some stories from my 14 years working in record stores. I still miss that Friday afternoon buzz when all the new releases would arrive and you would get the first listen to all the new stuff before they came out the following Monday...

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