Catching up on forty years. 1983: Billie Jean – Michael Jackson

This is the year that MTV discovered that maybe black people made some half-decent music.


Catching up on forty years. 1982: Town Called Malice – The Jam

So why pick out The Jam?

Mainly because Town Called Malice has passed the test of time…and…it does give us the backdrop for that incredible dance scene in Billy Elliot.

Catching up on forty years. 1981: Souvenir – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

1981 was after all the year of Architecture and Morality…but also the year of AIDS, MS-DOS, the SDP and MTV.

Catching up on forty years. 1980: Don’t Stand So Close To Me – The Police

The Police’s Don’t Stand So Close To Me…a chance to run around at breaks for weeks afterwards chanting Don’t Stand So Close To Me! Sometimes, a hit’s success really is as simple as that…

Catching up on forty years. 1979: Breakfast in America – Supertramp

Breakfast in America comes around again…just off to Texas, where everyone’s a millionaire.

Catching up on forty years. 1978: Teenage kicks – The Undertones

The music of the Undertones is bang on message – full of that teenage insecurity. Just over two minutes of perfect imperfection, with the perfect lyric “Teenage dreams, so hard to beat” which is, of course, engraved on John Peel’s gravestone and briefly on a Belfast flyover.

Catching up on forty years. 1977: Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac

My fave track of Rumours is Go Your Own Way, not so much for the lyrics but for one of the best bits of drum thumping you’ll ever hear. Remember, a pre-teen boy won’t give a hoot about all this lovey-dovey stuff but some decent drumming and air guitar and the song is his.

Catching up on forty years. 1976: Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

We jacked up the volume. I felt so grown-up. We’d got to my favourite bit
“I see a little silhouetto of a man,
Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango”

Catching up on forty years. 1975: Space Oddity – David Bowie

I paid attention to this slightly weird man on our black and white television who sang of Major Tom, and being stranded and floating away and space flight. Imagine if I’d seen him in colour.

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