Clockwise: David Bowie, Talking Heads, The Clash, & The Fixx.
Thirty years ago, my Friday night might be spent dancing to some great music, whether I was out in the clubs, or if I was at home in my apartment. Having just moved to New York City, I was fairly broke, so I was heading out as much as you might think. But that didn't stop me from playing albums, or listening to the radio to get my weekend started. And there certainly was a lot of music to get that job done. And if the song wasn't right for it, there was more than likely a DJ somewhere working on a dance mix. The music I picked for tonight is all uptempo fun, even if it might not have been traditional dance material. The first song certainly played with the line, especially considering it was released by edgy Rocker David Bowie. While he was no longer Ziggy Stardust, and The Thin White Duke was no more, and the Berlin Era had passed, but Bowie had no intention to disappear. A few years before, he put out one of my favorite Bowie albums, 'Scary Monsters'. In 1983, he released an album produced by Nile Rodgers, giving it a smooth and sexy feel. "Let's Dance" was the title cut, and it was everything one could ask for. After all, it had Bowie, a soulful band track, and it had people all over wanting to turn up the volume and play it. The song went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and also topped the chart in the UK and all over the world. Enjoy the music video for David Bowie's "Let's Dance".
You can purchase David Bowie's 'Let's Dance' from iTunes and Amazon. In the summer of 1983, you couldn't escape the music of the Talking Heads, but then again, no one wanted to do that. With the release of 'Speaking In Tongues', the darlings of the critics and students all over had their fix of the latest music from the band. As usual, they sounded like no one else, always pushing the envelope. While David Byrne was thought of as the frontman, all the music was written by him and bandmates Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison, and Tina Weymouth. The first single off the album was the incendiary "Burning Down the House", the percussive shit that was heard any place that was playing cool music. The song made it to #9 on the Billboard Hot 100, the highest charting single for the band ever, This is the music video for the Talking Heads big hit, "Burning Down The House".
You can purchase Talking Heads' 'Speaking in Tongues' from iTunes and Amazon. Another band who burned bright in 1983 were the London-based members of The Fixx. Sleek and stylish, the group had the looks, bite, and talent to score on the charts. Cy Curnin, Adam Woods, Rupert Greenall, and Jamie West-Oram were in the band for the making of 'Reach the Beach', the 1983 release that delivered their huge hit to the world. "One Thing Leads to Another" went to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #2 on the US Mainstream Rock chart, appealing to everyone. The album made it to #8 on the Billboard album chart. This is the music video for "One Thing Leads To Another" by The Fixx.
You can purchase The Fixx's 'Reach the Beach' from iTunes and Amazon. My final entry is one of my favorites, for I find it simply irresistible. It was initially released in 1982, when The Clash had a new album out, 'Combat Rock'. At the time, the lineup of the band was Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, and Topper Headon. Despite the retro feel for "Should I Stay of Should I Go" was written by the band. Rumor had it the song was written about the strife in the band. Others claimed it was about the end of the relationship between Jones and singer Ellen Foley. Almost a decade later, Jones said it was neither, only an attempt by the band to write a song they loved to play. It was first released in 1982, then re-released in 1983. In the US, the snog made it to #45 on the Billboard Hot 100. But it did make it to #13 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks. For me, this is a classic, one I can't get enough of. Here are The Clash playing "Should I Stay or Should I Go".
You can purchase The Clash's 'Combat Rock' from iTunes and Amazon. By the end of 1983, both Headon and Jones were dismissed by the band. By 1986, The Clash had so many issues, they disbanded and Joe Strummer went to Spain to avoid facing anyone. However, in 1991, the song was re-re-released in the UK, and went to #1 on the British Pop charts. But I can tell you all four albums were in my collection back in the day, and the songs were certainly part of my weekend soundtrack!