Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Big Fat Lie About 80s Music

Some good news this week. Phil Collins has retired from the music business! YEAH! Time to share what may be my most controversial piece yet!

The 80s are back, apparently. Young people seem to think that everyone in the 80s was into the music they now identify as uplifting and fun. Not so.

In a music shop I heard the unmistakable sounds of Phil Collins. I hear Phil Collins every time I venture out in public. If I go into a shop, there's Phil. If I pass a building site Phil is blaring out at me. What surprised me was that the music in the music shop was chosen by 'young people'. They think Phil Collins is cool.

Our children are being fed a big fat lie. Phil Collins is not cool. Never was. Never will be. The man is boring. And in the entertainment industry, that matters.

The man broke up with his wife by fax! He's paid out 17 million pounds and 25 million pounds in divorce settlements. He has houses in Switzerland, New York and England. He doesn't need any more money. And have you ever seen him act? I sat through the film Buster in 1988. Never heard of it? With good reason.

The music of the 80s was not great. Mainstream 80s music was poxy then, and it's poxy now.

Phill Collins, Eurythmics, Belinda Carlyle. I don't know who decided their music should be radio staples. Radio stations that are meant to be nostalgic for people in their forties are an insult.

When the radio station Vega started, their motto was 40 years of music. I was hoping that as each year went by they would drop from their playlist a year from the 80s.

Mondo Rock and Dragon were always poxy. Yes, Tears for Fears and Spandau Ballet had their day. Do we need to hear it all again? No we don't. Not everyone was into the American rock of Bryan Adams, John Cougar Mellencamp, Guns and Roses, and Bon Jovi. Some people simply never liked Dire Straits or Billy Joel or INXS. Believe me. I speak the truth. And if these are the best examples of mainstream 80s music, you can imagine how awful the rest were. Stars on 45, Kenny Rogers, Barbra Streisand and Diana Ross when past their prime, Juice Newton, Air Supply, Charlene, Laura Branigan, Lionel Richie, Elton John, The Pointer Sisters, Whitney, Chris de Burgh, Rick Astley, Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, Sheena Easton, Milli Vanilli, Culture Club. That was 80s music. Phil Collins in context. He might look OK amongst that lot, but compared to The Beatles and The Stones? Lets just say Peter Gabriel can hold his head high.

I was in Year 12 when U2 and Eurythmics became popular. Yes, they were big. But was this the music that the 'cool young people' were listening to? Partly.

In the 80s the 'cool young people' in Sydney were listening to The Velvet Underground. To X. To early Cure and The Smiths. To Feedtime. The Go-Betweens. The Saints. The Damned and Killing Joke. To early Bowie and to Kate Bush. To Magazine, and Joy Division and XTC and The The. To Nick Cave and the Laughing Clowns. To James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, and Prince. To the Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Doors, The Beach Boys and Aretha. To jazz and blues.

Look at the charts. 80s music was not all Walking on Sunshine. It was mostly pretty dire, and plenty of people looked outside the charts to find something to listen to. Just like now.


Lady Estrogen said...

That was impressive, indeed! ;)

Motherhugger said...

In thirty years Justin Beiber will be played on the radio every day, and we'll be asking why.

Melissa said...

Oh God, I hope not!

What about Prince though ? He was pretty amazing 80's.

I was proud to love Bowie whilst my friends were into Wham.

Motherhugger said...

Melissa, you must have been cool.
Yes, Prince may have been the best of 80s music. I still love Rasberry Beret, and his songs performed by other artists. I looked at a Best of CD for the kids, but not really suitable.