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Life In Vinyl 1987 Vol. 2


By the second half of 1987, the rate by which my record collection was growing had slowed down. Unemployment for part of that time was one reason, employment at strange hours another, and a phase of intense socialising in the little time I had complicated the acquisition of records further.

Still, I bought records, including some quite awful ones. What we have here, then, is a collection of what is still presentable. It includes a few pop hits which the purists might scoff at, but I stand by them. Bananarama, that still underrated trio of women, had long decamped to the dreaded Stock Aitken Waterman, who had produced their 1986 hit Venus. In 1987, SAW gave Bananarama two great pop songs, I Heard A Rumour and Love In The First Degree. The latter is especially good, as far as commercial pop goes.

The same goes for I’ve Had The Time Of My Life, the excellence of it is obscured by its mega-hitness and the mainstream nature of the movie it scored, Dirty Dancing. The arrangement is very much 1980s, but the saxophone solo that leads up to the breakdown… sometimes you just have to love’80s pop! This track might also be the swansong for this series of A Life in Vinyl.

Then there is a song whose title is immediately suspect, but what a great slice of fun Walk The Dinosaur is, with that percussive “Boom boom, ackalacka boom”. Inevitably the Was (Not Was) song provoked a dance craze (no, I didn’t, since you ask), and the video had sexy cavewomen and Flintstones. A total novelty number, right? Well, the song apparently is about nuclear holocaust: “A shadow from the sky much too big to be a bird/A screaming crashing noise louder than I’ve ever heard.”

I have mentioned Bright Blue’s Weeping before, as the song that surreptitiously smuggled the anthem of the anti-apartheid movement on to South Africa’s state radio, in the middle of the racist regime’s state of emergency. Bright Blue were a group of white South Africans, so the controllers either suspected nothing untoward in the song, or (more likely) subversively pretended not to notice. The lyrics are hardly obscure, especially as they were written in a time of frantic oppression, and the strains of Nkosi Sikel’ iAfrika (now half of South Africa’s national anthem) are hidden in plain sight. And so this rather lovely song served as another kick against the pricks.

Apartheid was defeated within a couple of years, and in 1994 South Africa became a democracy, with Nelson Mandela as its first president. Until 1990, the law decided where you could live, according to race. Many communities were uprooted and destroyed, with the people dumped into new townships which soon became gang-ridden because with the destruction of communities came the destruction of the values these communities enforced. Today, communities — in South Africa and around the world — are being destroyed and uprooted by “urban development”, the evil of gentrification. Spike Lee referred to it in 1989 in Do The Right Thing. Two years earlier, The Housemartins raised the issue in Build. And 34 years later, the economic cleansing (which in some areas is linked to race and ethnicity) continues.

And on that cheerful note: CD-R length, home-built covers, text above in illustrated PDF, PW in comments.

1. Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield – What Have I Done To Deserve This
2. Black – Wonderful Life
3. Then Jericho – The Motive
4. Squeeze – Hourglass
5. Alexander O’Neal & Cherelle – Never Knew Love Like This
6. Smokey Robinson – Just To See Her
7. Bananarama – Love In The First Degree
8. Was (Not Was) – Walk The Dinosaur
9. Aztec Camera – Deep & Wide & Tall
10. Bright Blue – Weeping
11. Chris Isaak – Blue Hotel
12. The Smiths – Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before
13. The Housemartins – Build
14. Jesus and Mary Chain – Darklands
15. INXS – Never Tear Us Apart
16. Gino Vannelli – Wild Horses
17. Bruce Springsteen – Tougher Than The Rest
18. George Michael – Kissing A Fool
19. Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes – (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life


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  1. amdwhah
    June 10th, 2021 at 11:42 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Jens Martens
    June 14th, 2021 at 13:46 | #2

    Swansong? I don’t like the sound of that. But I guess it’s a natural cause … 1987 is nearing the advent of a CD player, at least in my parents household…

    My own vinyl collection extends well into the year 1990 … when I moved out of my parents home and invested in my own CD player…

    Some great stuff in there, once again … man, what a good year it was.

  3. amdwhah
    June 15th, 2021 at 10:23 | #3

    I could go on for a few more years, but I have a feeling that the series isn’t very popular, judging by the lack of comments. Maybe I shall cover 1988, but I don’t know if I can handle doing that dreadful musical year 1989 (which in any case I spent collecting obscure 2nd-hand soul and jazz fusion records rather than investing in much new material). I bought my final new LP in late 1991.

  4. Jens Martens
    June 21st, 2021 at 13:33 | #4

    Oooh, please do go on – if you yourself enjoy writing it up at least as much as I am perusing it (and I suspect lots of other silent readers do as well) … Popularity isn’t expressed in the number of comments, I suppose …

  5. Jens Martens
    June 21st, 2021 at 13:34 | #5

    @Jens Martens
    PS: I agree on 1989 … had to look up the charts for that year … jeez

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