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
Hunting High and Low
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
Flip Your Wig
I Don't Want to Grow Up
King of Rock
Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper
No Jacket Required
Oil & Gold
A Secret Wish
Songs from the Big Chair
Telephone Free Landslide Victory
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.
(Most all links on the page are to the album on the iTunes music store)