When we think of 1985, we think of "New Coke," Live Aid, and "Back To The Future."
Ronald Reagan was President, and the Kansas City Royals beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. We also think, or at least I do, about tons of great music from new and established artists alike. Here is a sampling from music released in 1985:
"Take on Me," A-Ha (Hunting High and
Smack dab in the middle of the early MTV generation came this Norwegian electro-pop band that followed in the footsteps of successful UK pop acts like ABC and Spandau Ballet. This single, featuring a video enhanced by animation, helped launch A-Ha in the U.S.
"Invisible," Alison Moyet (Alf)
After leaving synth-pop group Yaz, Moyet released her first solo effort in ’85. She had a bluesy growl and a powerful voice that was a nice counterpoint to all the synthesizers.
"Push," the Cure (The Head On The
It takes more than half this song for Robert Smith to start singing, but I could listen to it even if it was just instrumental all the way through. The Cure is one of those bands that sound like no one else, yet many have tried to emulate them.
"We Close Our Eyes," Go West (Go West)
In an era marked by keyboards, drum machines and slick production, bands were differentiated by their lead singers. Peter Cox fronted Go West with a gravelly voice, kind of like the male version of Alison Moyet. I’m old enough to admit that I saw Go West on this tour, and they fucking rocked.
"And We Danced," the Hooters (Nervous
Forget that this Philadelphia rock band broke right in the midst of a new wave movement. Their music was timeless and they wrote some of the catchiest melodies in history. The creative duo behind this band also wrote Cyndi Lauper’s "Time After Time," and has likely become millionaires several times over from it.
"Like To Get To Know You Well," Howard
Jones (Dream Into Action)
I saw this tour in person as well, and I remember Howard Jones being enamored with a ridiculous stadium cheer we called "The Wave." There is no doubt in my mind, though, that Jones sipped tea after the show and called us stupid Americans.
"Something About You," Level 42 (World
This song was Level 42's highest-charting single, reaching #7 on the US Singles chart. But most people don’t realize they're still together and making music.
"Everytime You Cry," the Outfield (Play
Overuse of baseball terminology can be annoying, especially when you consider the sport of choice in the Outfield’s native U.K. is soccer. But these guys were obsessed with the American pastime. Lead singer Tony Lewis had a voice that was even higher than Sting's (almost downright girly), but you couldn’t deny that they could write catchy tunes.
"Bastards of Young," the Replacements
Do the whiny punk bands of today have any idea how to really rock? The Replacements’ Paul Westerberg could school them all on how to ooze cool and rock out while still managing to write great songs.
"I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On," Robert
Palmer is best known for singing to us on MTV, wearing a suit and tie while surrounded by incredibly hot chicks in skimpy outfits. And we all wanted to be him.
"Smooth Operator," Sade (Diamond Life)
This was the song that broke Sade in a big way. Nigerian-born Sade Adu fronted the band, and her background growing up in both Africa and England gave her urban pop music a sophisticated flair. And she was, and is, damn hot.
"Marlene On The Wall," Suzanne Vega (Suzanne
Alt-pop songstress Vega was way cool but she wasn’t hot in the same way that Susanna Hoffs was hot. She was more of a bookworm kind of hot, like Lisa Loeb would later become.
"Never," Heart (Heart)
The Wilson sisters have had longevity like few female rockers ever have. This album was somewhat of a comeback release at the time, and it was full of great tunes. Naturally, the sisters sported the big hair of the decade.
"So Far Away," Dire Straits (Brothers
Many people forget this song, as two other tracks on the record were top 10 hits ("Walk of Life" and MTV anthem "Money for Nothing"). The best melodies are so simple that they sound like children’s music, and this song is a good example of that.
"Everytime You Go Away," Paul Young (The
Secret of Association)
The term "blue-eyed soul singer" was used to describe guys like British singer Paul Young, because they were effectively, well, soulful white guys. This hit song was actually written by another blue-eyed soul singer, Daryl Hall of the legendary Hall & Oates.