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The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #1 Super Freak


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3 hours ago, timschochet said:

Santana was a band that was always changing lead singers, and in 1979 they picked up one of their best ever in Scottish born Alex Ligertwood.

didn't realize the Scots were on the same dental plan as the English.  

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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #65 867-5309/Jenny
9 minutes ago, timschochet said:

65. Tommy Tutone “867-5309/Jenny” (from Tommy Tutone 2

https://youtu.be/6WTdTwcmxyo

One of the all time classic one hit wonders (this list has a few of those) and not a bad little rocker. If you attended high school in the early 80s then you know this song by heart. 

Depends how one defines a one-hit wonder, but they did a have a top 40 hit (albeit barely at #38) one year earlier with “Angel Say No

Edited by zamboni
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6 minutes ago, Pip's Invitation said:

Those of us who were in elementary school in 1981 dialed 867-5309 to see if Jenny was there.

Presumably almost everyone who had that number changed it. 

Yup - at first we were also hoping that it would spell something cool upside down on a calculator, like this. But no such luck.

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3 minutes ago, Encyclopedia Brown said:

In the video, I wonder how the lead singer and guitar player can be so chummy on stage when the guitar player betrayed the lead singer in every aspect regarding Jenny.

One of the comments explains that Jenny later became Stacey’s mom. 

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12 hours ago, timschochet said:

66. Santana “Winning” (from Zebop!)

https://youtu.be/0FmPg4lrBKc

Santana was a band that was always changing lead singers, and in 1979 they picked up one of their best ever in Scottish born Alex Ligertwood. He convinced them in 1981 to cover a little known Russ Ballard song (of Argent fame) and it turned into their biggest hit of the decade. Of course Carlos couldn’t help but use the opening guitar lick to give the tune a Latin flavor. I’ve always loved this song. 

 

I didn’t realize it was a cover.  All I know is it’s a song I can’t change the channel fast enough on.  
 

there, I said it.  I’ll show myself out now.

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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #64 Ghost Town

64. The Specials “Ghost Town” (from Ghost Town

https://youtu.be/RZ2oXzrnti4

One of the last singles by The Specials before they shrank their numbers down to become Fun Boy Three, “Ghost Town” is regarded as a classic of the Ska genre. At least partly due to its political subject matter (the lyrics are a commentary on the 1981 riots in central England) the song won the NME award for Single of the Year (sort of the British Grammies). 
I can’t quite go that far. It’s a memorable, catchy tune though a bit repetitive. I’ve heard it several times used recently as an anthem for the pandemic. 

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53 minutes ago, timschochet said:

64. The Specials “Ghost Town” (from Ghost Town

https://youtu.be/RZ2oXzrnti4

One of the last singles by The Specials before they shrank their numbers down to become Fun Boy Three, “Ghost Town” is regarded as a classic of the Ska genre. At least partly due to its political subject matter (the lyrics are a commentary on the 1981 riots in central England) the song won the NME award for Single of the Year (sort of the British Grammies). 
I can’t quite go that far. It’s a memorable, catchy tune though a bit repetitive. I’ve heard it several times used recently as an anthem for the pandemic. 

I assume @HellToupee is crying because he expected this to be a lot higher. 

I visited the uk in 1981- this song was everywhere. Loved it right away and one of the songs from that year that to me sounds just as current now as then.

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56 minutes ago, timschochet said:

64. The Specials “Ghost Town” (from Ghost Town

https://youtu.be/RZ2oXzrnti4

One of the last singles by The Specials before they shrank their numbers down to become Fun Boy Three, “Ghost Town” is regarded as a classic of the Ska genre. At least partly due to its political subject matter (the lyrics are a commentary on the 1981 riots in central England) the song won the NME award for Single of the Year (sort of the British Grammies). 
I can’t quite go that far. It’s a memorable, catchy tune though a bit repetitive. I’ve heard it several times used recently as an anthem for the pandemic. 

Great song. I expected this to be much higher, but it's here and that's what matters.

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35 minutes ago, Andy Dufresne said:

One of the rare times that Tim tabs a song I've never heard before. It doesn't speak to me, either.

Oddly ... SiriusXM's First Ware channel -- which would normally play a song of this era and provenance a ton -- seems to ignore "Ghost Town" entirely. Or else I just consistently miss it.

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And Tim called it repetitive...a trait that works for me, and a hallmark of most of my favorite stuff from then and now (and just about all post punk...set up a groove/hook and go with it) 

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1 hour ago, timschochet said:

64. The Specials “Ghost Town” (from Ghost Town

https://youtu.be/RZ2oXzrnti4

One of the last singles by The Specials before they shrank their numbers down to become Fun Boy Three, “Ghost Town” is regarded as a classic of the Ska genre. At least partly due to its political subject matter (the lyrics are a commentary on the 1981 riots in central England) the song won the NME award for Single of the Year (sort of the British Grammies). 
I can’t quite go that far. It’s a memorable, catchy tune though a bit repetitive. I’ve heard it several times used recently as an anthem for the pandemic. 

I realize I state this a lot, but it's a good song (not great), but no way near one of my favorite Specials' songs.

Edited by Osaurus
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18 minutes ago, Osaurus said:

I realize I state this a lot, but it's a good song (not great song), but no way near one of my favorite Specials' songs.


 Culturally it’s a monster song  

Last year it came in at #2 on the Guardian’s 100 greatest UK #1 songs 

Great video - long version 

2017 article about Ghost Town

“It’s an odd, eerie song, nodding to pop convention and sitting wilfully outside of it. It’s included, in passing, in Dorian Lynskey’s beautifully written book on protest songs, “33 Revolutions Per Minute”, but unlike the band’s “Free Nelson Mandela” does not merit its own chapter.

 

Perhaps because “Ghost Town” cannot be “placed”. It’s not explicitly against any one event. It does not exhort its listeners into any one particular political view. It is not part of any one social movement for change. It is, rather, a stealth protest song. 

Starting with a Hammond organ’s six ascending notes before a mournful flute solo, it paints a bleak aural and lyrical landscape. Written in E♭, more attuned to “mood music”, with nods to cinematic soundtracks and music hall tradition, it reflects and engenders anxiety. 

The whispered chorus of “This Town/ is coming like a Ghost town” is then heard, followed by front man Terry Hall’s deadpan vocals lamenting how “all the clubs have been closed down” because there is “too much fighting on the dance floor”.

One of the clubs referred to in the song was The Locarno in Coventry, the Midlands UK city where the 2 Tone record label started in the late 1970s. 

2 Tone had emerged stylistically from the Mod and Punk subcultures and its musical roots and the people in it, audiences and bands, were both black and white. Ska and the related Jamaican Rocksteady were its musical foundations, sharpened further by punk attitude and anger. It was this anger that Dammers articulated in “Ghost Town”, galvanised both what he had seen on tour around the UK in 1981 and what was happening in the band, which was riven by internal tensions. 

England was hit by recession and away from rural Skinhead nights, riots were breaking out across its urban areas. Deprived, forgotten, run down and angry, these were places where young people, black and white, erupted. In these neglected parts of London, Birmingham, Leeds and Liverpool the young, the unemployed, and the disaffected fought pitch battles with the police. 

“Ghost Town” was the mournful sound of these riots, a poetic protest. It articulates anger at a state structure, an economic system and an entrenched animosity towards the young, black, white and poor. It asks,

why must the youth fight against themselves. 

In his book Lynskey argues that “like all great records about social collapse, it seems to both fear and relish calamity” and its ambiguity allows it to soundtrack more than the riots about which it was written. It is an angry elegy for lost opportunity, lost youth, an acid flavoured lament for what was and what could be. 

The streets that The Specials conjure up in “Ghost Town” are inhabited by ghosts; dancing is a memory, silence reigns. The sounds of life, community, creativity are no longer, “bands don’t play no more”. In the song’s short bridge section in the bright key of G♭ major, Hall asks us to,

remember the good old days/before the ghost town/ when we danced and sang/ and the music played ina de boom town". 

And as Charles Dickens wrote in his “A Christmas Carol”, ghosts are spectres not only of the past, but of the present and future too, traces of what was, is and might have been. “Ghost Town” is the haunting track of thousands of lost futures. And in 2011, when England erupted again and the cities burnt, “Ghost Town” was remembered and replayed.

Strange music video

Its audio-visual manifestation was also strange. The music video was directed by Barney Bubbles and filmed in the East End of London, Blackwell Tunnel and a before-hours City of London. Opening with upshots of brutalist grey tower blocks to the sound of those Hammond organ chords and flute, it seems as though there is no one in town but The Specials, who are all crowded into a 1962 Vauxhall Cresta, careering through the empty streets and lip syncing. 

This in itself constitutes “eerie” if we use cultural critic Mark Fisher’s work, “The Weird And The Eerie”, to understand it. He wrote how,

The sensation of the eerie occurs either when there is something present where there should be nothing, or there is nothing present when there should be something.

Here, in a major capital city, where the streets should be teeming, there is no-one but The Specials, a group of young black and white men, from a depressed and demoralised Midlands town. They are in charge. 

As if to further underline this, the camera was placed on the car bonnet so we see The Specials as if they are crashing into us. And when they all sing “yah, ya ya, ya, yaah, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya…”, they seem like an insane Greek chorus, before Lynval Golding, the band’s rhythm guitarist and vocalist, murmurs the last line “the people getting angry”. The song fades out in dub reggae tradition, inconclusive, echoing. 

Not a dance track

So what did those fight-ready Skinheads do in those small town discos when “Ghost Town” came on? Not moonstomping, not smooching. This was not a dance track. It wasn’t the “romantic” one the DJ played at the end of the night. 

When “Ghost Town” played, the Skinheads sang along with Terry Hall, smiled manically and screeched. They joined into to the “ghastly chorus” and became, for a few minutes, part of that army of spectres. Because protest sometimes has no words. 

It’s just a cry out against injustice, against closed off opportunities by those who have pulled the ladder up and robbed the young, the poor, the white and black of their songs and their dancing, their futures. Drive round an empty city at dawn. Look at the empty flats. 

See the streets before the bankers get there and after the cleaning ladies have gone. And put young, poor, disadvantaged people in that car. See how “Ghost Town” makes sense. Now.“

Edited by HellToupee
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1 hour ago, timschochet said:

64. The Specials “Ghost Town” (from Ghost Town


I can’t quite go that far. It’s a memorable, catchy tune though a bit repetitive. I’ve heard it several times used recently as an anthem for the pandemic. 

it's no April Wine, that's for sure...

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63. The Greg Kihn Band “The Break Up Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em)” (from RocKihnRoll)

https://youtu.be/VLFfSDEA26o

I’m, er, proud to say that the Greg Kihn Band played at my high school Grad Nite party at Disneyland, along with Berlin. 
I like this song, I’m guessing some around here will hate it. Oh well. I also think there should be a special award given for the worst album titles of all time, and the Greg Kihn Band  should win this award: 

RocKihnRoll

Kihntagious

Kihnspiracy 

 

 

 

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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #63 The Break Up Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em)
3 minutes ago, timschochet said:

63. The Greg Kihn Band “The Break Up Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em)” (from RocKihnRoll)

https://youtu.be/VLFfSDEA26o

I’m, er, proud to say that the Greg Kihn Band played at my high school Grad Nite party at Disneyland, along with Berlin. 
I like this song, I’m guessing some around here will hate it. Oh well. I also think there should be a special award given for the worst album titles of all time, and the Greg Kihn Band  should win this award: 

RocKihnRoll

Kihntagious

Kihnspiracy 

Holy crap. I'm jealous. Berlin rules.

And I like this song. Catchy.

Edited by Andy Dufresne
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2 Tone was a very cool little sub genre, and if you aren't familiar, there's a little treasure chest of very cool music waiting for you to discover it, made when guys in perms and mint green onesies were making millions. 

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34 minutes ago, timschochet said:

63. The Greg Kihn Band “The Break Up Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em)” (from RocKihnRoll)

https://youtu.be/VLFfSDEA26o

I’m, er, proud to say that the Greg Kihn Band played at my high school Grad Nite party at Disneyland, along with Berlin. 
I like this song, I’m guessing some around here will hate it. Oh well. I also think there should be a special award given for the worst album titles of all time, and the Greg Kihn Band  should win this award: 

RocKihnRoll

Kihntagious

Kihnspiracy 

 

 

 

There was a nice little niche of this style of music from this era.  

Edited by FairWarning
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1 hour ago, timschochet said:

Nice write up @HellToupee

Nice thread tim , please don’t ruin it with Yoko Ono

 

42 minutes ago, timschochet said:

and the Greg Kihn Band  should win this award: 

RocKihnRoll

Kihntagious

Kihnspiracy 

They are so bad it’s almost genius but not quite 

Edited by HellToupee
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14 hours ago, timschochet said:

Tommy Tutone “867-5309/Jenny”

Screw anyone who hates this song.  It is quintessential 1981 music.

Year I graduated high school and moved out to Colorado.

Music was 90% high school crusin' and this song along with Lover Boy Turn Me Loose was the constant backdrop to hot summer nights, crusin' in my friends first car chasing girls to all hours.  

Not great but has to be included in any top-100 of 81 tunes.

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46 minutes ago, timschochet said:

63. The Greg Kihn Band “The Break Up Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em)” (from RocKihnRoll)

https://youtu.be/VLFfSDEA26o

I’m, er, proud to say that the Greg Kihn Band played at my high school Grad Nite party at Disneyland, along with Berlin. 
I like this song, I’m guessing some around here will hate it. Oh well. I also think there should be a special award given for the worst album titles of all time, and the Greg Kihn Band  should win this award: 

RocKihnRoll

Kihntagious

Kihnspiracy 

 

 

 

and his latest disc - Kihntgititup

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46 minutes ago, Andy Dufresne said:

Holy crap. I'm jealous. Berlin rules.

And I like this song. Catchy.

I highly advise you don't see them live these days. Oof.

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15 minutes ago, Osaurus said:
1 hour ago, Andy Dufresne said:

Holy crap. I'm jealous. Berlin rules.

And I like this song. Catchy.

I highly advise you don't see them live these days. Oof.

nunn too pleased?

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1 hour ago, Bracie Smathers said:

Screw anyone who hates this song.  It is quintessential 1981 music.

Year I graduated high school and moved out to Colorado.

Music was 90% high school crusin' and this song along with Lover Boy Turn Me Loose was the constant backdrop to hot summer nights, crusin' in my friends first car chasing girls to all hours.  

Not great but has to be included in any top-100 of 81 tunes.

You are just asking to get chewed out, aren't you? 

ETA - the song was released in December of 1980, so you may have dodged a bullet. Uh oh, the album was released in 1980, this song was released as a single in 1981. T&P.

Edited by northern exposure
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"Ghost Town," as Osaurus notes, is nowhere near among The Specials' best songs aurally, but was a monster hit in the U.K. due to its topicality. That it sits at #64 here is more of an across the pond thing than a Tim thing. Most U.S. charts wouldn't even have it as a top 100 song.

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1 hour ago, Bracie Smathers said:

Screw anyone who hates this song.  It is quintessential 1981 music.

Year I graduated high school and moved out to Colorado.

Music was 90% high school crusin' and this song along with Lover Boy Turn Me Loose was the constant backdrop to hot summer nights, crusin' in my friends first car chasing girls to all hours.  

Not great but has to be included in any top-100 of 81 tunes.

meh ...kinda between "pleasant" and "not offensive"

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21 minutes ago, northern exposure said:

You are just asking to get chewed out, aren't you? 

ETA - the song was released in December of 1980, so you may have dodged a bullet. Uh oh, the album was released in 1980, this song was released as a single in 1981. T&P.

Tim is going by the earlier of the album or song, so that would be a 1980 event here.

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4 hours ago, Doug B said:

One of the rare times that Tim tabs a song I've never heard before. It doesn't speak to me, either.

Oddly ... SiriusXM's First Ware channel -- which would normally play a song of this era and provenance a ton -- seems to ignore "Ghost Town" entirely. Or else I just consistently miss it.

Because it's second wave, maybe. That's probably why you've missed it. I think first wave is Jamaican ska from the late sixties/early '70s and second wave is that 2 Tone ska of The Specials, Madness, The English Beat, and so on. Third wave is generally American '90s ska like the Bosstones (early Bosstones) and the West Coast bands like that.

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Our education system has really failed us. I have never read MacBeth nor Romeo and Juliet but I know the waves of both the feminist movement and ska bands.

Totally ####### useless information. What light from yonder window breaks? It is the East and ska/feminism is the sun...

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2 hours ago, timschochet said:

63. The Greg Kihn Band “The Break Up Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em)” (from RocKihnRoll)

https://youtu.be/VLFfSDEA26o

I’m, er, proud to say that the Greg Kihn Band played at my high school Grad Nite party at Disneyland, along with Berlin. 
I like this song, I’m guessing some around here will hate it. Oh well. I also think there should be a special award given for the worst album titles of all time, and the Greg Kihn Band  should win this award: 

RocKihnRoll

Kihntagious

Kihnspiracy

I always thought that Kihn was channeling Tom Petty here, and then Petty returned the favor by channeling Kihn on "Jammin' Me."

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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #62 Jessie’s Girl

62. Rick Springfield “Jessie’s Girl” (from Working Class Dog

https://youtu.be/qYkbTyHXwbs

If you weren’t pining for Jenny in 1981, perhaps you were looking for Jessie’s girl- though who knows? Maybe it was the same girl (who later became Stacy’s mom?) Rick really isn’t much of a good friend to Jessie here. In fact he’s kind of a jerk. Should have stayed on General Hospital. 

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9 minutes ago, timschochet said:

62. Rick Springfield “Jessie’s Girl” (from Working Class Dog

https://youtu.be/qYkbTyHXwbs

If you weren’t pining for Jenny in 1981, perhaps you were looking for Jessie’s girl- though who knows? Maybe it was the same girl (who later became Stacy’s mom?) Rick really isn’t much of a good friend to Jessie here. In fact he’s kind of a jerk. Should have stayed on General Hospital. 

That mirror in the video never stood a chance with wifebeater-clad Rick and his guitar. 

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18 minutes ago, Doug B said:

Neil Giraldo strikes again :thumbup:

I knew that Giraldo played on the album, but wasn’t sure if it was he or Rick on the solo. Rick’s a pretty damn good guitar player in his own right. Oh Well cover

Edited by zamboni
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28 minutes ago, zamboni said:

I knew that Giraldo played on the album, but wasn’t sure if it was he or Rick on the solo. Rick’s a pretty damn good guitar player in his own right. Oh Well cover

It’s Giraldo on the studio track. I would bet Springfield has soloed on “Jessie’s Girl” live from time to time.

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A woman I work with went to a concert where a seventy year old Rick blasted out Jessie's Girl and a few weeks later she went and saw a seventy-five year old Peter Cetera belt out Glory of Love. 

She said both guys brought the house down, that the crowd went absolutely nuts each time. 

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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #1 Super Freak

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