Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Music of 1985

1985 was a big year of music for me.  There are some big hitters in this list for me.  


Albums I Listen to Today

1. Past, Present and Future by Watermelon Men.  In 1987 my roommate and I would go to Cut Corner Records in Lexington and just look for interesting albums.  This was one of my purchases and instantly became a favorite.  I have played it to death for 45 years and never gotten tired of it.  It was the best album in 1985 and it's still the best album from 1985.  The fact that it and their second album Wildflowers are not available here in the US for streaming is a real shame.  One of these days I'm going to make a famous movie and the entire soundtrack will be songs off of these two albums.  

2. Our Favorite Shop by The Style Council.  In the US this album was released as The Internationalist and that was the version I owned.  This was another album I discovered in 1987 at Cut Corner and it is still one I go to all the time.  

3. Hounds of Love by Kate Bush.  I discovered Kate Bush from her doing a backing vocal on a Big Country song.  From that I went and bought this album at the mall record store.  Loved it when I bought it in 1986 and love it still. 

4. Meat is Murder by The Smiths.  I can still remember the day I bought this album and played it for the first time.  WOW!

5. Fables of the Reconstruction by R.E.M.  For me REM put out 2 great albums, Reckoning and this one.

6. Promise by Sade.  I bought this album because of the song Sweetest Taboo.  Their first album is good, but this album is a huge step up. 

7. Hunting High and Low by A-Ha.  This was the album of my senior year in high school and I still enjoy listening to it.  

8. Love Not Money by Everything But the Girl.  The same person who introduced me to the album Avalon by Roxy Music introduced me to this album and Everything But the Girl.    

Albums I No Longer Listen To Today

9. Lone Justice by Lone Justice.  This is as good a debut album as a band can have and it's hard to understand why they didn't become superstars.  I feel like today they would have found their audience and thrived much better.  

10. Suzanne Vega by Suzanne Vega.  This is another one that my brother brought home from college.  it was big on that summer of playing putt putt and going to Taco Johns.  

11. Big Lizard in My Backyard by The Dead Milkmen.  Another album that I got introduced to by my freshman roommate in college.  There are a few songs on this album that I still come back to all the time.  

12. This Is Big Audio Dynamite by Big Audio Dynamite.  A really good album and one of those albums that when I bought it back in 1986 made me feel really cool.  

13. Working Nights by Working Week.  A solid fun album.  I got this album because of my interest in anything Simon Booth was doing back in the 80's. 

14. The Restless Stranger by American Music Club.  I'm a big fan of this album, their next album Engine, and then California.  They are an odd band who have a second act I never paid any attention to, but these three albums have stuck with me since I bought them back in the 80's.  This was one of the few purchases I made with my old roommate who went to Cut Corner with me where I really liked it and he did not.  

15. This Is the Sea by The Waterboys.  I bought Fisherman's Blues when it came out and then went out and bought this one.  

16. Pictures For Pleasure by Charlie Sexton.  I really liked this album when it came out.  He's another one I was sad to see never caught on. 

17. Welcome to the Real World by Mr. Mister.  I played this album to death back in 1985/86

18. The Wishing Chair by 10,000 Maniacs.  This is an OK album but their other stuff with Merchant is so much better I just never think about this album.  


  1. I still listen to Brothers in Arms, by Dire Straits, which is one of my favorite albums ever (and which provided the soundtrack for the best ever episode of Miami Vice). I still listen to Fables, by R.E.M. -- and from 1985 until 1993, one of the big events of my year would be buying the new R.E.M. album.

  2. I still really like Dream of the Blue Turtles, by Sting, and Scarecrow, by John Mellencamp, but I don't listen to either of them as much as I probably should.

  3. Suzanne Vega's first album is one of my five favorite albums of all time, and I still listen to it a lot.

    1. I should have said something about Lone Justice, which is also one of my favorites (although not top 5), and which I still listen to fairly often.

  4. In 1985, I saw "Back to the Future," "Fletch," "St. Elmo's Fire," and "Silverado." I liked all of them, but "Silverado" was the one I ended up watching to this day.

  5. I'm pretty sure that I bought Suzanne Vega's first record and Matthew bought Hounds of Love on the same trip to Camelot Records in the Kentucky Oaks Mall on Thanksgiving break from our freshman years of college.

  6. I've still got the cassette copy of Past, Present and Future that I made in Matthew's dorm room, and I listened to it within the last five years, anyway.

  7. I don't know that I danced more to any record than This Is Big Audio Dyanmite over the course of my life.

  8. When I got to Western, at one of the first parties I walked into, two guys were playing acoustic guitar and a third was singing. They were playing "Driver 8," and I just couldn't believe how great they sounded. But, most of all, I just couldn't believe I was standing in some apartment in Bowling Green, late at night, listening to some guys I didn't know play R.E.M. songs, and I hadn't even asked my parents' permission to be there.

  9. My gosh, I liked the Waterboys in the 1980s, but I hadn't much listened to them in years, and I think I like them more now. "You saw Brigadoon!"

  10. I've always loved Simple Minds' "Alive and Kicking" and its video.

  11. I like myself a little Mike + The Mechanics every now and then.

  12. What the heck? No. 155 is His Majesty's Pop Life/The Purple Mix Club by Prince, which appears to have been released only in Japan. I might have to take off next week from work.

    1. I have all kinds of guesses--even somewhat informed guesses--of what it might've been like to be Prince in 1985, and I'll bet I'm NOT EVEN CLOSE.

    2. You know how you sometimes hear one of those DJ mixes where some person with all sorts of knowledge of different musical styles can lace together all of these interesting songs by all of these different musicians in one continuous loop? Well, that's what it's kind of like listening to 1985 Prince.

      Except that the person who loops all the music together is Prince, all of the songs are written by Prince and every instrument of every song is played by Prince.

  13. The Beat Farmers were a really great cover band. Here's their "There She Goes Again," and here's their "Reason To Believe"--both great.

  14. Once owned and listened to from the top 500:

    Hounds of Love, Kate Bush (I’m counting the ones I recorded from records other people purchased)
    Brothers In Arms, Dire Straits
    Meat Is Murder, Smiths
    Songs from the Big Chair, Tears for Fears
    Tim, Replacements
    Fables of the Reconstruction/Reconstruction of the Fables, R.E.M.
    Little Creatures, Talking Heads
    Around the World in a Day, Prince and the Revolution
    No Jacket Required, Phil Collins
    The Dream of the Blue Turtles, Sting
    Suzanne Vega, Suzanne Vega
    Hunting High and Low, a-ha
    Scarecrow, John Mellencamp
    Once Upon a Time, Simple Minds
    Listen Like Thieves, INXS
    Southern Accents, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
    Be Yourself Tonight, Eurythmics
    The Best of the Doors
    Songs to Love and Sing, Echo and the Bunnymen
    Brother Where You Bound, Supertramp
    White City: A Novel, Pete Townshend
    Dream Academy
    This Is Big Audio Dynamite
    Fine Young Cannibals
    Welcome to the Real World, Mr. Mister
    Lone Justice
    Play Deep, The Outfield
    Wide Awake in America, U2
    Sun City, Artists United Against Apartheid
    Voices Carry, ’Til Tuesday
    Romance 1600, Sheila E
    That’s Why I’m Here, James Taylor
    Ain’t Love Grand, X
    The Wishing Chair, 10,000 Maniacs
    Lost and Found, Jason and the Scorchers
    Pictures for Pleasure, Charlie Sexton
    Under a Raging Moon, Roger Paltry

    The ones of these that I actually acquired in 1985 (or maybe 1986, while they would still be considered new releases) were Brothers in Arms, Songs from the Big Chair, No Jacket Required, Dream of the Blue Turtles, Suzanne Vega, Hunting High and Low, Scarecrow, Once Upon a Time, Promise, White City, Dream Academy, Welcome to the Real World, Lone Justice, Play Deep, Wide Awake in America, Sun City, Voices Carry, Lost and Found, Pictures for Pleasure, Under a Raging Moon … this is why you market to teen-agers … My first job was working for my parents’ pottery business, and I guess I spent all the money on records and tapes. It certainly wasn’t on dates, and I think I had decided I was too old for football, baseball and basketball cards by this point.

    Over time, I’ve listened most to Tim, Fables, Around the World, Suzanne Vega, White City and Lone Justice. The Replacements were probably the band I listened to most in my early 20s. Maybe 10,000 Maniacs. Or U2.

  15. Oh, that Supertramp album is one I bought at the time of its release, too. I got it on cassette from the Columbia record club. I joined that thing probably 20 times.

  16. Well, I've been 17 years old for the last three or four hours, and I seriously kind of forgot I've got an eighth-grader to pick up from her middle school in a few minutes. That was a fun lark. Thanks for getting these posts going.

  17. Barbra Streisand issued "The Broadway Album" on November 4, 1985, and I've probably listened to that album more often than any other from that year -- except for Suzanne Vega.