Check out 10 awesome tracks from the new 4CD Throwback ‘80s, out this Friday! Get it here.
Joey Scarbury “Theme From ‘Greatest American Hero’ (Believe It Or Not)”
This is one TV theme song that is perhaps more fondly remembered than the show itself. But while we all do remember the titular hero Ralph (William Katt and his curls) in the show, who the hell was Joey Scarbury, the guy who sung the song? Well, he did later record the theme to Hardcastle and McCormick if you’re interested...
Proclaimers “I’m On My Way”
Baby boomers will tell you how great the ‘60s were in terms of the sheer diversity of music on the radio and on the charts, but the ‘80s were the same, as electronic and new wave pop, AOR rock and glam metal all mixed it up alongside the truly individual, like these two hard-strumming Scots twins. It was a time when sheer songcraft could still win through, that’s for sure. Of course “I’m On My Way” reached a whole new generation when it appeared in Shrek.
Deborah Harry “I Want That Man”
Before Madonna, before Cyndi, there was Debbie. From Blondie’s first Australian hit “In The Flesh” in 1977 which, like Madonna’s “Holiday”, was a bigger hit here than anywhere thanks to Countdown, through the ‘80s and beyond, Ms. Harry has been the embodiment of sexy fun and glamour for 40 years now, and Blondie’s recent down under tour showed she’s still got it.
Georgia Satellites “Keep Your Hands To Yourself”
One of the great hard rock singles of the decade, the Satellites came on like a hillbilly AC/DC or something and were rare newcomers in a genre otherwise filled by ‘70s throwbacks (ZZ Top, Aerosmith etc) and silly-looking hair metal heroes. By appearances, they were typical one-hit wonders, but the Satellites actually made three great albums and singer Dan Baird has released a bunch more. And it’s no wonder Australia loved them; they sounded like they could have recorded for Alberts alongside TMG, the Angels, and the Tatts.
The Dream Academy “Life in a Northern Town”
Another one-hit wonder with more depth than might be apparent, England’s Dream Academy had ties with Pink Floyd ‘s David Gilmour (he produced and/or played on two of their albums; he produced “Life In A Northern Town”), and band-member Kate St.John went to play with Van Morrison for years. They were also years ahead of their time in dedicating “Life in a Northern Town” to now much-loved early ‘70s folkie Nick Drake.
1927 “That’s When I Think Of You”
Soft-edged, radio-friendly Aussie pub rockers who made even Boom Crash Opera and Noiseworks sound out of control, by comparison, 1927 were perhaps unlikely hitmakers in an era best remembered for Appetite for Destruction. But guitarist Garry Frost had previously been in the Moving Pictures – he co-wrote “What About Me?” – and knew how to write a hit; this their first single was a Top 10 hit, and their first album ...ish achieved 5 x Platinum sales.
Jenny Morris “She Has To Be Loved”
We call her own but Jenny came across from NZ in 1981 with new wave popsters the Crocodiles, who also featured future Models drummer Barton Price. With close connections to INXS (Jenny co-wrote “She Has to Be Loved” with Andrew Farriss) and songs from Neil Finn and Paul Kelly, Jenny was sheer class and her string of hits in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s highlight an artist who deserved to be heard on the international stage.
Christopher Cross “Ride Like The Wind”
The prince of soft rock had a surprisingly brief career chart-wise, but his hits have gone the distance and define the style that ironic hipsters now call ‘Yacht Rock’. And he just toured Australia last month!
Renee Geyer “Say I Love You”
After a number of searing blues and soul albums and near hits like “Stares & Whispers” and “Heading In The Right Direction”, Renee finally cracked the pop audience with the Caribbean flavoured “Say I Love You”. The video depicted the party sound that was in the grooves. John “Swanee” Swan gets his mug in there – can you pick anyone else?
Continuing with the Caribbean feel, and with the tradition of specifically-named homegrown Caribbean-inspired hits that began with TMG “Jamaica Run” and Dragon’s “April Sun In Cuba”, Melbourne’s Models, were, by ‘85, along way from being the quirky and arty synth-poppers of yore. And yep that’s Sydney ABC personality James Valentine on sax, and Zan & Sherine on backing vocals.
- Dave Laing