Thursday, September 5, 2013

The New Wave of 1982

Human League photo humanleague_50_zpsf4bea2ca.jpg  photo Adam-Ant002_zpsnf2iy6we.jpg
Bananarama photo Bananarama_zpsde2d906c.jpg Flock of Seagulls photo AFlockofSeagulls_zps3a7bb77f.jpg
Clockwise: Human League; Adam Ant; A Flock of Seagulls; and Bananarama.

When I was in the car yesterday, driving to get a haircut, there was a block of music on the radio that instantly made me smile. It was music I remember, and was, in fact, music that was in my collection. It brought me back to the early 1980s, and the New Wave movement that was taking over my record collection. So when I heard the opening bars from the Human League, a warmth came over me, and I had to smile. So it inspired me to write this post, only to limit it to a couple of songs that were released in 1982. And I am leading off with the song that inspired it all, by the Human League. "Don't you Want Me" was an introduction for many to the delights of New Wave music. It is bold and upbeat, but there is just an edge of danger and darkness. While the song was released in 1981 in the UK, it came to the US in 1982, and topped the Billboard Hot 100 in the US for three weeks in July. So be ready to enjoy the Human League in their music video for "Don't you Want Me".

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Adam Ant was a darling of the MTV crowd. First with his group Adam and the Ants, and later as a solo artist, Adam combined his musical strength with his sexy performances to create a personae that was much like an 'Elvis for a New Age'. The group was managed by Malcolm McLaren, best known for his management of the Sex Pistols. With the song "Goody Tow Shoes", the musician made his first foray into the Billboard Hot 100 as a solo artist, making the way to #12 on the Pop chart. It helped the album 'Friend or Foe' make it to #16 on the US album chart, and be certified Gold in sales. So let us all enjoy as Adam Ant shakes his moneymaker in the music video for "Goody Two Shoes".

"He Was Really Sayin' Somethin'" is a soul song written by Motown songwriters Norman Whitfield, William "Mickey" Stevenson, and Edward Holland, Jr. and was a 1964 hit for the 'girl-group' the Velvettes. Eighteen years later, it was released with a slightly modified title by another girl-group, this one from another country. Keren Woodward, Sara Dallin and Siobhan Fahey made up the group Bananarama, and they certainly had an impact on the charts of the time. Early on, they formed a working relationship with the group Fun Boy Three, which worked out well for both groups. "Really Saying Something" was a collaboration for the groups, and it was the fifth UK hit in a row for both. While there was a nod to the origins of the song, it was really filled with the sound of the new musical movement. So this is Bananarama and Fun Boy Three starring in the music video for "Really Saying Something".

If there was a look early on for the New Wave, it would have been the trademark hair of the band, A Flock of Seagulls. While it seemed to defy the laws of gravity, the music they were making was pure Pop. The was was formed in Liverpool, which had also given the world the Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers. Brothers Mike Score and Ali Score, with Frank Maudsley and Paul Reynolds, were early faces of New Wave, with their overworked haircuts, Neo-Romantic wardrobe, and the electronic sound. Their song, "I Ran (So Far Away)", was a worldwide hit, and went to #9 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The band burned bright, but like so many others, sputtered out as quickly, never being able to recapture the lightning for another hit. But in 1982, A Flock of Seagulls were on top of the world with "I Ran (So Far Away)".

I hope the music brought you as much joy as it does me!


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