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!)


Be the first to comment on this article.

February 7, 2012 at 1:45 am

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

-Your Older Brother, Samreply
February 7, 2012 at 1:46 am

See? Proof! 🙂

February 7, 2012 at 4:59 am


February 7, 2012 at 5:22 am

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!

February 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm

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)…here'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

February 7, 2012 at 4:17 pm

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

-Your Older Brother, Samreply
February 8, 2012 at 3:46 am

But *why* man? WHY?!?

-Your Older Brother, Samreply
February 8, 2012 at 3:47 am

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!

-Your Older Brother, Samreply
February 8, 2012 at 3:50 am

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. 🙂

February 9, 2012 at 5:13 pm

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

-Your Older Brother, Samreply
September 3, 2014 at 3:43 pm

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.

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.