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Life In Vinyl 1985 – Vol. 1

March 16th, 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments


What a year in music 1985 was for me! And what a pity that in terms of quality and excitement in British pop, it was nowhere as great as that incredible stretch from 1979 to 1981. In fact, by 1985, the corporatisation of pop music had already set in, and it was going to get a boost from Live Aid, an event from which every single act that took part in it enjoyed increased record sales “” except for poor Adam Ant.

And still, it was a great music year for me. I had just arrived in London the previous November, and took full advantage of the range of concerts on offer. In four weeks between January and February at the Hammersmith Odeon alone, I saw acts as diverse as Chaka Khan, Leonard Cohen and Meat Loaf. In summer I saw U2 (of whom I was a fan then, believe it or not) in three countries, and Bruce Springsteen at Wembley. The culmination was Live Aid, which, for all criticisms one may legitimately level at the event, was nevertheless a magical day. I made a mix of the best Live Aid moments a couple of years ago. It’s still available here.

But it wasn”t just the access to live shows that was so special, but also my engagement with the charts. Previously I would consume records that usually had already been made hits by people in other markets. Now I was one of the hit-making market. I”d study the charts, I”d look out for new acts and champion them. I”d study their chart progress. And when they had a hit, I”d delight in my utterly useless status of having been an early adopter. If they became mainstream eventually, I might superciliously pull the “I like their early stuff” line.covers-gallery_1Some of these early adopted singles became hits “” such as Since Yesterday or Black Man Ray “” and others didn”t. For example, I bought Prefab Sprout”s sublime When Love Comes Down in spring; it became a Top 30 only after it was re-released in November. The Blow Monkeys” Wildflower, a song I adored, didn”t even hit the Top 75. Irish band In Tua Nua also didn”t have a UK hit, though they were quite big in Dublin, where they supported U2. I was going through a bit of an Irish phase at the time, what with U2 and having a big crush on a cute Dublin girl.

Needless to say, I spent idiotic amounts of money on music. I bought some pretty bad music in 1985/86, and lots of great music. And, as ever, some music might have been bad but still occupy a special place in my musical heart because they remind me of good times. And 1985 was good times.

This mix covers the first eight months of the year. My arbitrary division of the year is governed by the time I started a new job, which also signalled a new chapter in my life.covers-gallery_2As always, CD-R length, covers, PW in comments. What are your 1985 memories?

1. Amii Stewart – Friends
2. Blow Monkeys – Wildflower
3. Killing Joke – Love Like Blood
4. Strawberry Switchblade – Since Yesterday
5. Colourfield – Thinking Of You
6. Tears For Fears – Head Over Heels
7. China Crisis – Black Man Ray
8. The Alarm – Absolute Reality
9. Prefab Sprout – When Love Breaks Down
10. Marillion – Kayleigh
11. Madonna – Crazy For You
12. Depeche Mode – Shake The Disease
13. U2 – Bad (Live)
14. Ramones – Bonzo Goes To Bitburg
15. Style Council – Walls Come Tumbling Down
16. In Tua Nua – Somebody To Love
17. Redskins – Bring It Down (This Insane Thing)
18. Bruce Springsteen – I”m On Fire
19. Eurythmics – There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)


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  1. halfhearteddude
    March 16th, 2017 at 07:32 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Hey-Its Mike
    March 16th, 2017 at 19:53 | #2

    RE “I bought some pretty bad music in 1985/86, and lots of great music. And, as ever, some music might have been bad but still occupy a special place in my musical heart because they remind me of good times.”

    I could say the same. In fact, I find it hard to respect anyone who can’t say the same about any of their pre-adult-responsibility years.

    Thanks for this eclectic collection.

  3. Tom Frost
    March 16th, 2017 at 22:03 | #3

    Thanks…that’s the soundtrack for tomorrows commute to work taken care of! A very nice mix. I loved that Amii Stewart track back in the day…it should have been a much bigger hit. I’m already looking forward to Vol.2. Thanks again

  4. rekkids
    March 17th, 2017 at 16:12 | #4

    Thanks !

  5. Martin Whittle
    March 19th, 2017 at 15:45 | #5

    1984 – 5. I Sold advertising for the NME so was immersed in the music scene! Great to see The Redskins represented here! Personally for the next volume I’d include The Pogues, Pet Shop Boys, Orange Juice (May be outside the timeframe!) Zeke Manyika, New Order, James and Talking Heads ‘Road To Nowhere!

    Thanks as always for your great work!


  6. RiffRaffRaves
    September 12th, 2018 at 11:55 | #6

    Please could up re-up the links for Life In Vinyl 1985 Vols 1 & 2 – they are dead and I have all the other years, which are great. Thanks.

  7. halfhearteddude
    September 12th, 2018 at 21:24 | #7

    Both are back up.

  8. kontroller
    September 11th, 2019 at 12:20 | #8

    A great mix, many thanks! It doesn’t concern me greatly (as I can’t stand the song) but it seems like the Eurythmics track starts skipping towards the end.

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