Monday, February 6, 2012

1985 - Best year for music, ever?

The other day, I found myself wanting to hear some Psychedelic Furs, so I put on Mirror Moves (1984) and I tweeted about it. That led somehow to me listening to The Smiths' Meat Is Murder (1985), which in turn led me to listen to OMD's Crush (1985). Naturally, Listen Like Thieves (1985) by INXS and The Cure's The Head On the Door (1985) followed. And New Order's Low-Life (1985). And then I got curious. What other records were released in 1985? So I consulted Wikipedia and here's the list of really great albums I singled out:

Cupid & Psyche 85
Big Lizard In My Back Yard
The Dream of the Blue Turtles
Feargal Sharkey
Hunting High and Low
Voices Carry
This Is Big Audio Dynamite
Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven
Fishbone - EP
Dream Into Action
Hounds of Love
Dead Man's Party
Around the World In a Day
Brothers In Arms
Clan of Xymox
Easy Pieces
Flip Your Wig
I Don't Want to Grow Up
King of Rock
Little Creatures
Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper
No Jacket Required
Oil & Gold
Play Deep
A Secret Wish
Songs from the Big Chair
Telephone Free Landslide Victory
White City

Amazing records. I believe the first quarter of those are debut albums, no less! (Someone on another forum commented on how they would have liked to have seen the band names along with the album titles. I listed them this way because this is how I saw it in Wikipedia, just the album titles, and I was surprised at how many records I knew - and loved! - just from the titles.)

As a way to somehow impossibly quantify this hypothesis, let's take a look at year that an album was released that changed the path of popular music: 1991, the year Nirvana's Nevermind came out.

We also got: Apocalypse 91...the Enemy Strikes Black, Achtung Baby, Badmotorfinger, Blood, Chorus, De La Soul is Dead, Don't Try This At Home, Electric Bird Digest, Electric Landlady, Flyin' the Flannel, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, Girlfriend, The Globe, Our Frank, The Low End Theory, Mama Said, Metallica, Mr. Bad Example, Native Son, Naughty By Nature, Niggaz4Life, Never Loved Elvis, No Pocky For Kitty, Positively Phranc, The Reality of My Surroundings, Ropin' the Wind, Rumor and Sigh, Sailing the Seas of Cheese, Screamadelica, The Soul Cages, Trompe le Monde, Use Your Illusion I & II, Why Do Birds Sing?

Pretty good. Don't know if I'd call it great, though.

And now, let's look at another watershed year in music. Initially, I was going to go with 1967, the year The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released, but 1966 was the year that Revolver was released, as was the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. More records included Aftermath, Face to Face, Fifth Dimension, It's a Man's Man's Man's World, Otis Blue, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. Lots of jazz released in 66, though. I don't know enough jazz to be able to recognize album titles and suggest that '67 was a good year for jazz. I presume it might be.

I should have gone with '67: Sgt. Pepper, Alice's Restaurant, Gentle on My Mind, Disraeli Gears, Magical Mystery Tour, King and Queen, John Wesley Harding, Their Satanic Majesties Request, Sounds of Silence, Strange Days, Surrealistic Pillow, The Who Sell Out, United, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

So...for me, I think 1985 was possibly the best year for music, ever. (Let's hear it for subjective opinions!) Let me know if you have a different year you'd nominate. Or better still, let me know that you agree with me.

(Purchase the albums using the iTunes links to help support Your Older Brother's Music Blog!)


  1. '85 was the year I graduated high school, and yes, it rocked.

  2. I've never seen this list before, but I think I have to agree! By the way, Scritti Politti's Cupid and Psyche '85 is one of my favorite albums of all time. Descendents, yes please. I love it when you blog!

    1. I just pulled album names from Wikipedia. There's lots here to like - rap, alternative, punk, mainstream rock. And solid albums through & through, not just singles.

      I love C&P'85 too. Bought it digitally recently - I think it's the first time I've owned the record!

  3. Everyone's gonna have their own opinion on this one....I heard something recently that the closest musical bonds are formed around age 14...anywayz, I don't think you can argue much with what came out in '73 (my junior hs year)'s a partial of what I know and like:

    Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band
    Aerosmith Aerosmith
    The Six Wives of Henry VIII Rick Wakeman
    Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player Elton John
    Artificial Paradise The Guess Who
    Better Days Paul Butterfield's Better Days
    Composite Truth Mandrill
    GP Gram Parsons
    Heartbreaker Free
    In Concert Derek and the Dominos Live 1970
    Life and Times Jim Croce
    Who Do We Think We Are Deep Purple
    Tyranny and Mutation Blue Öyster Cult
    Blueprint Rory Gallagher
    Billion Dollar Babies Alice Cooper
    In the Right Place Dr. John
    All Out Grin
    Black Caesar James Brown Soundtrack
    Camel Camel
    Dixie Chicken Little Feat
    ELO 2 Electric Light
    Raw Power The Stooges
    Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory Traffic
    Solid Air John Martyn
    The Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd
    The Captain and Me The Doobie Brothers
    Byrds The Byrds
    The New Age Canned Heat
    Tanx T. Rex
    For Your Pleasure Roxy Music
    Larks Tongues in Aspic King Crimson
    Ring Ring ABBA
    Houses of the Holy Led Zeppelin
    Atem Tangerine Dream
    Beck, Bogert & Appice Beck, Bogert & Appice
    Be What You Want To Link Wray
    Birds of Fire Mahavishnu Orchestra
    Closing Time Tom Waits
    Cosmic Wheels Donovan
    Eat It Humble Pie
    Foghat Foghat aka Rock and Roll
    Grand Hotel Procol Harum
    In Deep Argent
    Paris 1919 John Cale
    Penguin Fleetwood Mac
    The Pointer Sisters Pointer Sisters
    Still Alive and Well Johnny Winter
    Tower of Power Tower of Power
    A Wizard, a True Star Todd Rundgren
    The Beatles 1962-1966 The Beatles Compilation
    The Beatles 1967-1970 The Beatles Compilation
    Bloodshot The J. Geils Band
    Aladdin Sane David Bowie
    Catch a Fire Bob Marley & The Wailers
    Music and Me Michael Jackson
    Desperado Eagles
    Red Rose Speedway Paul McCartney and Wings
    Diamond Girl Seals and Crofts
    Ooh La La Faces
    Thirty Seconds Over Winterland Jefferson Airplane Live
    There Goes Rhymin' Simon Paul Simon
    Space Ritual Hawkwind Live
    Bachman–Turner Overdrive Bachman–Turner Overdrive
    Yessongs Yes Live
    Tubular Bells Mike Oldfield
    Living in the Material World George Harrison
    Bananamour Kevin Ayers
    Frampton's Camel Peter Frampton
    Live Songs Leonard Cohen Live
    Razamanaz Nazareth
    Raw Power The Stooges credited to Iggy and the Stooges
    You Broke My Heart So I Busted Your Jaw Spooky Tooth
    The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get Joe Walsh
    Fresh Sly & the Family Stone -
    #10 The Guess Who
    Fantasy Carole King
    Jack the Toad Savoy Brown
    Jesus Christ Superstar Various Artists Soundtrack
    Leon Live Leon Russell Live

  4. part 2...

    A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night Harry Nilsson and Gordon Jenkins
    Roger McGuinn Roger McGuinn
    Super Fly T.N.T. Osibisa Soundtrack
    A Passion Play Jethro Tull
    History of the Grateful Dead, Volume One (Bear's Choice) Grateful Dead Live 1970
    Queen Queen
    Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid Bob Dylan Soundtrack
    Mott Mott the Hoople -
    Foreigner Cat Stevens -
    Tres Hombres ZZ Top -
    Genesis Live Genesis Live
    The New York Dolls New York Dolls
    We're an American Band Grand Funk Railroad
    African Herbsman The Wailers Compilation
    Berlin Lou Reed
    Call of the Wild Ted Nugent and The Amboy Dukes
    Countdown to Ecstasy Steely Dan
    Honky Tonk Heroes Waylon Jennings
    Moontan Golden Earring
    The Sweet Sweet US-only compilation and debut
    10cc 10cc
    Innervisions Stevie Wonder
    (pronounced 'lĕh-'nérd 'skin-'nérd) Lynyrd Skynyrd -
    Killing Me Softly Roberta Flack
    Let's Get It On Marvin Gaye
    Goats Head Soup The Rolling Stones
    Boulders Roy Wood
    Brothers and Sisters The Allman Brothers Band
    Deliver the Word War
    Hard Nose the Highway Van Morrison
    Leg End Henry Cow
    Out of Our Hands Flash
    Over-Nite Sensation Frank Zappa
    Eric Clapton's Rainbow Concert Eric Clapton Live
    The Wild, the Innocent & the E-Street Shuffle Bruce Springsteen
    G.I.T.: Get It Together The Jackson 5
    Crazy Eyes Poco
    Everybody Likes Some Kind of Music Billy Preston
    Faust IV Faust
    Sladest Slade Compilation
    In a Glass House Gentle Giant
    Sweet Freedom Uriah Heep
    Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Elton John
    These Foolish Things Bryan Ferry
    Selling England by the Pound Genesis
    Head Hunters Herbie Hancock
    Moondog Matinee The Band
    Mystery to Me Fleetwood Mac
    Time Fades Away Neil Young Live
    Wake of the Flood Grateful Dead
    Burnin' Bob Marley & The Wailers
    Hat Trick America
    Pin Ups David Bowie Covers album
    Quadrophenia The Who
    The Adventures of Panama Red New Riders of the Purple Sage
    All American Boy Rick Derringer
    Ashes Are Burning Renaissance
    For Everyman Jackson Browne
    Gone Crazy Grin
    The Joker Steve Miller Band
    Laid Back Gregg Allman
    On the Road Traffic Live
    Side 3 Raspberries
    Spectrum Billy Cobham
    Stranded Roxy Music
    Ringo Ringo Starr
    Abandoned Luncheonette Hall & Oates
    Tattoo Rory Gallagher
    Mind Games John Lennon
    Preservation Act 1 The Kinks
    Brain Salad Surgery Emerson, Lake & Palmer
    Ass Badfinger
    Montrose Montrose
    Ferguslie Park Stealers Wheel
    Happy Children Osibisa
    Ladies Invited The J. Geils Band
    Loud 'n' Proud Nazareth
    Next The Sensational Alex Harvey Band
    (No Pussyfooting) Robert Fripp and Brian Eno
    Nutbush City Limits Ike & Tina Turner
    On the Third Day Electric Light Orchestra
    Sabbath Bloody Sabbath Black Sabbath
    Band on the Run Paul McCartney & Wings
    Tales from Topographic Oceans Yes
    Bachman–Turner Overdrive II Bachman–Turner Overdrive
    I Got a Name Jim Croce
    The Ozark Mountain Daredevils Ozark Mountain Daredevils
    Ridin' the Storm Out REO Speedwagon

    1. Part 2, holy crap! that's a lot of records. I don't know a lot of them, but there are some stone classics in there - Band on the Run, GP, Houses of the Holy, Brain Salad Surgery, Mind Games, Tubular Bells, Catch A Fire...Yeah, 73 seems to be a solid year. :)

      I'll stick with 85 (my freshman/sophomore years of high school), though. :)

  5. Just seeing that super sweet big Blancmange-Believe You Me pic is awsome. Those are some great albums on your '85 list. Yello's Stella is still one of my favs. I guess I am not the only person who still knows/remembers some of those bands.

    - Michael Byer

    1. Are you kidding? That Blancmange record is one of my favorite albums of all time. Such synth pop perfection, with some weird songs thrown in. I love it.