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The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #1 Super Freak


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1 hour ago, zamboni said:

Long way to go, but this is one of my favorite music years - unless anyone else is chomping at the bit to do a next 100, I might take a stab at it.

Just not sure yet if I’ll have the time to put it together, not to mention doing the eloquent write ups that Tim, Pip, Bracie, et. al. have done to date.

I have no issue with that. I'll be dealing with the Third 100 from '71 for a while, and presumably the Genrepalooza 4 draft will still be going. 😆

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86. The Kinks “Destroyer” (from Give the People What They Want)  https://youtu.be/_WJ6FbcWYRU The Kinks were actually a pretty good 80s band, as Ray Davies still had some songwriting chops l

67. Journey “Stone In Love” (from Escape)  https://youtu.be/kFqXFE8OSG4 Sorry @wikkidpissah there’s going to be a few more standard type rockers coming up here. What can I say? They were big i

44. Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (from Bella Donna)  https://youtu.be/H5i7j0VhEHw The music to this song was written by Mike Campbell (l

5 hours ago, FairWarning said:

Heck, you could have 5-6 songs from this album in here.  It probably was the album of '81.

I can't go that far, as I can't say Escape is as great as Moving Pictures (Rush), Fair Warning (Van Halen), Fire of Unknown Origin (Blue Oyster Cult), Discipline (King Crimson). Diary of a Madman (Ozzy), Allied Forces (Triumph) or High 'n' Dry (Def Leppard), but it is certainly Journey's best record. :yes: 

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47 minutes ago, timschochet said:

93. Rush “YYZ” (from Moving Pictures

https://youtu.be/LdpMpfp-J_I

Years ago I started a thread called “My brother thinks Neal Peart is the greatest drummer ever”. It led to a pretty fun discussion, some of it centered around this song. My late brother used to play the Exit...Stage Left version back in the day as proof of his theory. 
Of course, even without the drum solo it’s a great rock instrumental. As all good Rush fans no doubt know already, YYZ is short for Toronto Airport. (IATA code.) 

And it is pronounced Y-Y-Zed. 

How many instrumentals are so good that a crowd sings along with their own parts?? (See below and check in around the 1-minute mark) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eSlvoO3Vw8

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7 minutes ago, Ghost Rider said:

I can't go that far, as I can't say Escape is as great as Moving Pictures (Rush), Fair Warning (Van Halen), Fire of Unknown Origin (Blue Oyster Cult), Discipline (King Crimson). Diary of a Madman (Ozzy), Allied Forces (Triumph) or High 'n' Dry (Def Leppard), but it is certainly Journey's best record. :yes: 

In 1981 it was bigger than all of them.  Was it better than any on your list? No.  

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21 minutes ago, Ghost Rider said:

I can't go that far, as I can't say Escape is as great as Moving Pictures (Rush), Fair Warning (Van Halen), Fire of Unknown Origin (Blue Oyster Cult), Discipline (King Crimson). Diary of a Madman (Ozzy), Allied Forces (Triumph) or High 'n' Dry (Def Leppard), but it is certainly Journey's best record. :yes: 

The bolded does not get its due for the masterpiece it is. Nor does their 1979 album Just a Game. 

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12 minutes ago, Pip's Invitation said:

The bolded does not get its due for the masterpiece it is. Nor does their 1979 album Just a Game. 

And it is pronounced "al-u-min-i-um farts" in Canada, btw

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2 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

I forgot 1981 also included all of the more mainstream, bigger bands.

Yes, extremely versatile year. Not just the more obscure stuff we often shoot for, but also some of the popular Top 40 stuff.

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26 minutes ago, Pip's Invitation said:

The bolded does not get its due for the masterpiece it is. Nor does their 1979 album Just a Game. 

Yep, I will go to my grave swearing by Triumph. Their run was short, but pretty great. Just a Game, Allied Forces, Never Surrender, Thunder Seven...all damn good rock records. 

 

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1 hour ago, zamboni said:
1 hour ago, El Floppo said:

I forgot 1981 also included all of the more mainstream, bigger bands.

Yes, extremely versatile year. Not just the more obscure stuff we often shoot for, but also some of the popular Top 40 stuff

I mentioned this is the year I dived in in terms of music. Part of that was switching from the am dial to exclusively listening to the local college stations. journey was ubiquitous that year along with some other biggies, but I'm hearing songs like the tom petty tune for the first time here.

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4 hours ago, Ghost Rider said:

I can't go that far, as I can't say Escape is as great as Moving Pictures (Rush), Fair Warning (Van Halen), Fire of Unknown Origin (Blue Oyster Cult), Discipline (King Crimson). Diary of a Madman (Ozzy), Allied Forces (Triumph) or High 'n' Dry (Def Leppard), but it is certainly Journey's best record. :yes: 

1981 is a strong year for music, especially if you like to rock.  

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3 hours ago, El Floppo said:

I mentioned this is the year I dived in in terms of music.

The post-punk countdown was indeed right up your alley. This is your year, man...

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4 hours ago, Ghost Rider said:

Yep, I will go to my grave swearing by Triumph. Their run was short, but pretty great. Just a Game, Allied Forces, Never Surrender, Thunder Seven...all damn good rock records. 

 

I must have seen Triumph 4-5 times in the early 80's.  They were a very popular warmup act here in the Great Lakes.  

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11 minutes ago, rockaction said:

The post-punk countdown was indeed right up your alley. This is your year, man...

I have a playlist I made during scorchys post punk thread I've been meaning to pull from to update that. Also been throwing a bunch of stuff off the top of my head into 1981 playlist...will throw some up after timmy finishes.

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11 minutes ago, FairWarning said:

I must have seen Triumph 4-5 times in the early 80's.  They were a very popular warmup act here in the Great Lakes.  

My first concert without my parents was Triumph and Yngwie Malmsteen in 1986. 

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Just now, El Floppo said:

I have a playlist I made during scorchys post punk thread I've been meaning to pull from to update that. Also been throwing a bunch of stuff off the top of my head into 1981 playlist...will throw some up after timmy finishes.

Nice. I'll tune in. scorchy's thread was under-attended and underrated, IMHO. I personally got some great music and information out of that thread.

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Just now, rockaction said:

Nice. I'll tune in. scorchy's thread was under-attended and underrated, IMHO. I personally got some great music and information out of that thread.

Ditto. I'm still making my way through the playlist. 

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2 minutes ago, Pip's Invitation said:

My first concert without my parents was Triumph and Yngwie Malmsteen in 1986. 

A classmate of mine had a band who opened up for Malmsteen in the late 80's.  Malmsteen opened up a lot in the later 80's also.  First concert I went to was Rush/Rory Gallagher (Moving Pics Tour) 1981, Kalamazoo.

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Just now, Pip's Invitation said:

Ditto. I'm still making my way through the playlist. 

I sort of bricked this past week and allowed my faulty Spotify app to take over whenever I click on a Spotify link instead of using the browser site of spotify.com in Firefox. It's put a real crimp in my listening to Genrepalooza and scorchy's list because every time I try to load something, it loads the application -- which I've tried to uninstall many times  -- and crashes everything.

That's really neither here nor there about the list and its quality, just relaying a personal anecdote of some frustration. I have no idea how to change it back.

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3 minutes ago, rockaction said:

Nice. I'll tune in. scorchy's thread was under-attended and underrated, IMHO. I personally got some great music and information out of that thread.

Agreed. That was an amazing list and thread...so much stuff I either had forgotten about or had never heard. Loved it- and feel badly for not having posted my own followup in there.

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6 minutes ago, Pip's Invitation said:

My first concert without my parents was Triumph and Yngwie Malmsteen in 1986. 

Yngwie can be entertaining in small doses. I hope he was the opener.

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21 minutes ago, timschochet said:

92. The Ramones “The KKK Took My Baby Away” (from Pleasant Dreams

https://youtu.be/hT1OKo1rT84

One of their best from the 80s (they were mostly a 70s band, but there are a few gems like this and “My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down” still in them.) 

This is the song Joey wrote when Johnny stole his girlfriend. I didn't know that until a few years ago, and it makes me wince a little bit to hear the song. The absurdity of it is gone and all you're left with is broken sentiments from a slightly broken guy. I cannot imagine staying in a band where that had happened, but the Ramones were something else altogether. Plus, their continued existence was a financial necessity for the guys in the band.

R.I.P Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee

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4 minutes ago, rockaction said:

This is the song Joey wrote when Johnny stole his girlfriend. I didn't know that until a few years ago, and it makes me wince a little bit to hear the song. The absurdity of it is gone and all you're left with is broken sentiments from a slightly broken guy. I cannot imagine staying in a band where that had happened, but the Ramones were something else altogether. Plus, their continued existence was a financial necessity for the guys in the band.

R.I.P Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee

This is something that rarely gets brought up in the music press, but it had to be a factor in a lot of cases. 

Heck, the two founders of Ween hate each other (and have for about 20 years now) but still tour together because it's by far the best way for either of them (and the guys in their touring band) to make money. They see it as a business partnership. There haven't been any new records since 2007, and there won't be. 

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1 minute ago, Pip's Invitation said:

This is something that rarely gets brought up in the music press, but it had to be a factor in a lot of cases.

Yeah, we want to glamorize guys in bands as sort of artistic auteurs that have a burning desire for nothing but expression, but I think a larger percentage of them think of their band as a business than fans would like to believe.

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The Ramones are admittedly a band I never “got”. Same with the Clash to a lesser degree.

And I do have some fondness for punk. Maybe it has something to do with critics insisting that people admire both bands.

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19 minutes ago, zamboni said:

The Ramones are admittedly a band I never “got”. Same with the Clash to a lesser degree.

And I do have some fondness for punk. Maybe it has something to do with critics insisting that people admire both bands.

When I was in high school, I was resistant to REM for the same reason. Their early '90s material converted me. 

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20 minutes ago, zamboni said:

The Ramones are admittedly a band I never “got”. Same with the Clash to a lesser degree.

And I do have some fondness for punk. Maybe it has something to do with critics insisting that people admire both bands.

We talked about this in the Genrepalooza thread. Unless you were privy to them at the time, The Ramones can sound like rather unremarkable music you'd expect to hear anywhere, rather than a special jolt of extraordinary creativity or contrarianism that we expect out of truly great bands. One can say that's a knock on them, but one might say that they helped shaped societal expectations of music so greatly that they almost genericide themselves to the dustbins of "so what?"

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And yeah, what Pip latched onto, too. Sometimes you just want to tell the music critic community to fob off. Before Pet Sounds got its reevaluation and became the centerpiece of all things emo and beautiful, I hated the critics' take on the Beach Boys vis a vis their lionization of The Beatles. Made me especially like the Beach Boys' later output, which I considered superior to the sort of dirge that was coming out of The Beatles from late '66-onward.

Heretical, I know. But I know the feeling.

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1 minute ago, rockaction said:

And yeah, what Pip latched onto, too. Sometimes you just want to tell the music critic community to fob off. Before Pet Sounds got its reevaluation and become the centerpiece of all things emo and beautiful, I hated the critics' take on the Beach Boys vis a vis their lionization of The Beatles. Made me especially like the Beach Boys' later output, which I considered superior to the sort of dirge that was coming out of The Beatles from late '66-onward.

Heretical, I know. But I know the feeling.

I'm on a group chat with four other music geeks, one of whom has been my friend for 35 years (we met as freshmen in high school) and the other three of whom are his friends. Those three are older than us and were tweens/teens/college kids in the 70s. One of them said that in the 70s and into the 80s, it felt like the music critics at the major outlets were writing for each other as opposed to the general public. And it really does seem like that if you think about it. 

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14 minutes ago, rockaction said:

We talked about this in the Genrepalooza thread. Unless you were privy to them at the time, The Ramones can sound like rather unremarkable music you'd expect to hear anywhere, rather than a special jolt of extraordinary creativity or contrarianism that we expect out of truly great bands. One can say that's a knock on them, but one might say that they helped shaped societal expectations of music so greatly that they almost genericide themselves to the dustbins of "so what?"

I hear you. I wasn’t late to the game on The Ramones, especially growing up in the NYC area. The sound never resonated with me, although I fully respect their culture influence. :shrug:

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1 minute ago, Pip's Invitation said:

I'm on a group chat with four other music geeks, one of whom has been my friend for 35 years (we met as freshmen in high school) and the other three of whom are his friends. Those three are older than us and were tweens/teens/college kids in the 70s. One of them said that in the 70s and into the 80s, it felt like the music critics at the major outlets were writing for each other as opposed to the general public. And it really does seem like that if you think about it. 

And they might well have been. I know that Lester Bangs' reviews are a bit jarring to read. He's probably the one I've read most from the era. (I'm not too familiar with the rock criticism of that era other than Christgau and I'm not that attuned to that era's writings, really.) So I couldn't give an intelligent response. I think playing tastemaker is a time-honored tradition in the press, and I can say that it seems like critics are always writing for each other in order to advance their theory of what is the good and the just with respect to music.

But I'd ask: Does anybody think your average Pitchfork or A.V. Club review during each outlet's heyday wasn't intended to impress their colleagues over the general audience, really? I guess there could be one difference in that the critics during those days might have been writing to what they believed was an elevated audience that had sought their expertise out, and also had valid opinions of their own, but the language is almost borderline jargon in those reviews. It's at least definitely written for those who share a set of premises and norms. Regardless, your point is taken. I'm not sure how much things have changed. Lot of English degree-holding music critics rather than music degree-holding critics, or those that were once in bands turned critics.

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2 minutes ago, rockaction said:

And they might well have been. I know that Lester Bangs' reviews are a bit jarring to read. He's probably the one I've read most from the era. (I'm not too familiar with the rock criticism of that era other than Christgau and I'm not that attuned to that era's writings, really.) So I couldn't give an intelligent response. I think playing tastemaker is a time-honored tradition in the press, and I can say that it seems like critics are always writing for each other in order to advance their theory of what is the good and the just with respect to music.

But I'd ask: Does anybody think your average Pitchfork or A.V. Club review during each outlet's heyday wasn't intended to impress their colleagues over the general audience, really? I guess there could be one difference in that the critics during those days might have been writing to what they believed was an elevated audience that had sought their expertise out, and also had valid opinions of their own, but the language is almost borderline jargon in those reviews. It's at least definitely written for those who share a set of premises and norms. Regardless, your point is taken. I'm not sure how much things have changed. Lot of English degree-holding music critics rather than music degree-holding critics, or those that were once in bands turned critics.

Can't really answer that. I had pretty much stopped reading music criticism by the time those sites ascended. 

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4 minutes ago, zamboni said:

I hear you. I wasn’t late to the game on The Ramones, especially growing up in the NYC area. The sound never resonated with me, although I fully respect their culture influence. :shrug:

I thought you came of age during that time, so I figured you'd be an early adopter or not at all. Just not digging it then. Makes sense. To each their own. The Ramones were instant for me back in '88 or so when I was a sophomore in high school. Just got everything about it, down to the bubblegum and power chords being so different from the classic rock that was on the small-town radio stations everywhere that I lived. So different. I was trying to get away from all that AOR, proggy, or classic seventies stuff back then. So it made sense, even in '88. (When you're in a cultural vacuum, any breath of fresh air is inviting, now matter how passe.)

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2 minutes ago, rockaction said:

I thought you came of age during that time, so I figured you'd be an early adopter or not at all. Just not digging it then. Makes sense. To each their own. The Ramones were instant for me back in '88 or so when I was a sophomore in high school. Just got everything about it, down to the bubblegum and power chords being so different from the classic rock that was on the small-town radio stations everywhere that I lived. So different. I was trying to get away from all that AOR, proggy, or classic seventies stuff back then. So it made sense, even in '88. (When you're in a cultural vacuum, any breath of fresh air is inviting, now matter how passe.)

Back in the late ‘70s when I was still in elementary school, you were allowed one of three paths: Kiss, punk, or disco. No one would admit to disco at the time, so it was Kiss or punk - I enlisted in the Kiss Army. As my musical tastes expanded, ironically I started liking punk and disco more than Kiss (which became a joke in comparison to the great metal bands  emerging in the early ‘80s).

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2 minutes ago, zamboni said:

Back in the late ‘70s when I was still in elementary school, you were allowed one of three paths: Kiss, punk, or disco. No one would admit to disco at the time, so it was Kiss or punk - I enlisted in the Kiss Army. As my musical tastes expanded, ironically I started liking punk and disco more than Kiss (which became a joke in comparison to the great metal bands  emerging in the early ‘80s).

Oh, wow. We're probably around the same age then. I thought you were older than that. Yeah, Kiss was my favorite band in kindergarten-second grade and then I had a brief dalliance back with Kiss as a more reflective person in ninth grade.

We knew nothing of punk in my town, but disco was so ubiquitous that I certainly knew it and loved it. 

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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #92. The KKK Took My Baby Away
Just now, rockaction said:

Oh, wow. We're probably around the same age then. I thought you were older than that. Yeah, Kiss was my favorite band in kindergarten-second grade and then I had a brief dalliance back with Kiss as a more reflective person in ninth grade.

We knew nothing of punk in my town, but disco was so ubiquitous that I certainly knew it and loved it. 

Born in 1968. But I’ve wanted people off my lawn since 1998.

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3 minutes ago, zamboni said:

Born in 1968. But I’ve wanted people off my lawn since 1998.

Born in 1973. Wanted people off my lawn since 1973.

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4 hours ago, Leroy Hoard said:

Yngwie can be entertaining in small doses. I hope he was the opener.

Saw Yngwie open up for Maiden on the Powerslave tour.  Yngwie and his blistering sweep picking speed was impressive for about 15 minutes and then the chants for Maiden began.  Opening for Maiden had to be rough.  

I still have that ticket stub somewhere signed by 4 of the Maiden members.  Bruce couldn’t be bothered.   

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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #91. Mony Mony

91. Billy Idol “Mony Mony” (from Don’t Stop

https://youtu.be/sYYAv-QW38Q

In 1981, Billy Idol left the punk rock band Generation X for a solo career, and this cover of the Tommy James classic became one of his first big hits. It would later prove to be one of the most popular dance songs of the decade, even though the song was banned from many high school dances (including mine) because students loved to chant “Get laid, get ####ed!” after each line of the verse. 

Edited by timschochet
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Just now, timschochet said:

the song was banned from many high school dances (including mine) because students loved to chant “Get stoned, get ####ed!” after each line of the verse. 

Not mine, fortunately (?)

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9 minutes ago, timschochet said:

91. Billy Idol “Mony Mony” (from Don’t Stop

https://youtu.be/sYYAv-QW38Q

In 1981, Billy Idol left the punk rock band Generation X for a solo career, and this cover of the Tommy James classic became one of his first big hits. It would later prove to be one of the most popular dance songs of the decade, even though the song was banned from many high school dances (including mine) because students loved to chant “Get stoned, get ####ed!” after each line of the verse. 

swing and a miss

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

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