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1982 – Situation

February 18th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Music · No Comments · Music

It has to be said that 1982 was a pretty poor year for music. Yes it had highlights like The Number of the BeastTown Called Malice and The Message but they stand out even more for being rare diamonds in a pile of poo.

Most years you can look at a list of debut albums and see loads by acts that will go on to be huge. What is there is 1982? Culture Club, Fun Boy Three, Flock of Seagulls, Yazoo, Janet Jackson, Lionel Ritchie, Donald Fagen, Asia and Kenny bloody G. The first four of them did not last long so what hugeness they had was short-lived. The debut of Kenny G is reason enough to mark 1982 as a bad year.

Even establishes acts were not putting out too much, or were putting out stuff that disappointed the fans and/or critics. The B-52’s released Mesopotamia which I personally liked but got written off. Bowie released the Baal EP, again I liked it but it didn’t set the world on fire. Supertramp followed up the brilliant Breakfast in America with the forgettable …Famous Last Words. Led Zeppelin released Coda – a compilation of old unreleased tracks. Does anybody even remember Fleetwood Mac’s album Mirage?

The few standout albums of the year were:

  • The Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden. the first one with Dickinson as lead singer and the only Iron Maiden album you really need.
  • Pornography by the Cure. At the point where the band could have imploded they instead took off.
  • Combat Rock by the Clash. Their last good album.
  • A Broken Frame by Depeche Mode, proving that they could still survive after the songwriter left.
  • Upstairs at Eric’s by Yazoo. Keeping Basildon on the map.
  • The Nightfly by Donald Fagen. Soudning just like a Steely Dan record, which is fine.
  • Thriller by Michael Jackson. While it was no Off The Wall it seemed to do OK.

The Yazoo thing was interesting for me. At the time my neighbour in the flat upstairs (I had moved out of Dad’s spare room by now) worked for Mute records. She came down one day with a bit of gossip. Vince Clarke had found a new musical partner after leaving Depeche Mode through an advert in the music press and it turned out to be someone he knew anyway from the local music scene in Basildon. “Is is Alf?” I asked.

This made me appear to be very clued up, but actually Alf was the only person from the Basildon music scene I could name. I had seen her band The Screaming Ab-dabs a couple of times locally and was really impressed with her as a singer. She used to hang around our college and I knew her name, or at least her nickname Alf, because she used to wear a donkey jacket with ALF in chains on the back.

The few highlights for me amongst the singles of the year are Bananarama and the Funboy Three, Planet Rock by Afrika Bambaataa, Africa by Toto, 1999 by Prince, Golden Brown by the Stranglers, The Boiler by Rhoda/The Special AKA, and Annie I’m Not Your Daddie by Kid Creole & the Coconuts. The best single of the year was The Model by Kraftwerk and that was a re-release from 1978 so doesn’t really count and shows how poor 1982 was.

Slim pickings indeed, but Situation by Yazoo has to be the track of the year for me. At this time I was going out of my way to snap up everything that Depeche Mode and Yazoo put out. I had the albums, the singles from the albums in both 7″ and 12″ format, and anything else that cropped up. Situation was the B side of Only You, but released as a single in the US. The 12″ single version of Don’t Go is a close second, but Situation is 1982 for me.

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