Robert Smith's 30 favourite songs from the 80s

Started by SueC, November 12, 2020, 00:39:57

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This list has been doing the rounds:

Robert Smith's 30 favourite songs from the 1980s: alphabetical order...

    ABC – 'The Look of Love'
    The Associates – 'Tell Me Easter's On Friday
    Bananarama and Fun Boy Three – 'It Ain't What You Do It's the Way That You Do It'
    David Bowie – 'Let's Dance'
    Kate Bush – 'Cloudbusting'
    Cocteau Twins – 'Persephone'
    Cristina – 'Things Fall Apart'
    Daf – 'Sex Unter Wasser'
    Depeche Mode – 'Personal Jesus'
    Dinosaur Jr – 'Freak Scene'
    Echo and the Bunnymen – 'The Killing Moon'
    Peter Gabriel – 'Red Rain'
    The Human League – 'Human'
    The Jesus and Mary Chain – 'Some Candy Talking'
    Joy Division – 'The Eternal'
    Chaka Khan – 'I Feel For You'
    Madness – 'Return of the Los Palmas Seven'
    Mel and Kim – 'Respectable'
    My Bloody Valentine – 'Lose My Breath'
    New Order – 'Everything's Gone Green'
    Yoko Ono – 'Walking on Thin Ice'
    The Pixies – 'Gigantic'
    The Pretenders – 'Don't Get Me Wrong'
    Prince – 'Starfish and Coffee'
    Psychedelic Furs – 'Heaven'
    Siouxie and the Banshees – 'Dear Prudence'
    Soft Cell – 'Tainted Love'
    The Sugarcubes – 'Birthday'
    Suzanne Vega – 'Small Blue Thing'
    Tom Waits – 'In the Neighborhood'

This originally appeared here:

...and there's an article to go with it at that location.

And because this could be fun, I'd like to invite CF members to re-post that list with how they respond to each song...

Love it  :heart-eyes
Like it  :cool
Neutral  :1f636:
Highly allergic   :1f635:
More research needed   :1f637:

(...and perhaps to create their own personal list!  :))

Personally I was tickled that he knew about Red Rain and Small Blue Thing (of course, since the man presumably doesn't live in a cave, this shouldn't have surprised me).
SueC is time travelling


Well, here goes with doing the comparisons, would love to hear yours!  :)


Love it  :heart-eyes
Like it  :cool
Neutral  :1f636:
Highly allergic   :1f635:
More research needed (i.e. unfamiliar with the song)  :1f637:

    ABC – 'The Look of Love'  :1f636:
    The Associates – 'Tell Me Easter's On Friday  :1f637:
    Bananarama and Fun Boy Three – 'It Ain't What You Do It's the Way That You Do It'  :1f637: - but never liked anything by them before
    David Bowie – 'Let's Dance' :cool
    Kate Bush – 'Cloudbusting'  :1f637:  - but like a few things I've heard from her
    Cocteau Twins – 'Persephone'  :1f637:
    Cristina – 'Things Fall Apart'  :1f637:
    Daf – 'Sex Unter Wasser'  :1f637:
    Depeche Mode – 'Personal Jesus' :cool  (for once, not a fan of this band)
    Dinosaur Jr – 'Freak Scene'  :1f637:
    Echo and the Bunnymen – 'The Killing Moon'  :heart-eyes
    Peter Gabriel – 'Red Rain'  :heart-eyes
    The Human League – 'Human'  :1f637:  - didn't usually enjoy their overly synthetic sound
    The Jesus and Mary Chain – 'Some Candy Talking'  :1f637:
    Joy Division – 'The Eternal'  :1f637:  - I generally found their music dire
    Chaka Khan – 'I Feel For You'  :1f635:
    Madness – 'Return of the Los Palmas Seven'  :1f637:
    Mel and Kim – 'Respectable'  :1f637: - but never liked anything by them before
    My Bloody Valentine – 'Lose My Breath'  :1f637:
    New Order – 'Everything's Gone Green'  :1f637:  - occasionally liked things I heard on the radio by them
    Yoko Ono – 'Walking on Thin Ice' :1f637:
    The Pixies – 'Gigantic'  :1f637: - I like some of the songs I've heard from them
    The Pretenders – 'Don't Get Me Wrong'  :cool
    Prince – 'Starfish and Coffee'  :1f637: - I like a couple of tracks by this artist but dislike the artist and wouldn't have financed his art
    Psychedelic Furs – 'Heaven'  :1f637:
    Siouxie and the Banshees – 'Dear Prudence'  :cool
    Soft Cell – 'Tainted Love'  :1f636:
    The Sugarcubes – 'Birthday'  :1f637:
    Suzanne Vega – 'Small Blue Thing'  :heart-eyes
    Tom Waits – 'In the Neighborhood'  :1f637:  - occasionally liked things I heard on the radio by this one

When compiling my own list, I decided to limit myself to one song only per artist - and the cases where I found that difficult are marked ***.

I couldn't, however, limit myself to 30 tracks - I had 33 for a while and just couldn't in all fairness push anyone off.  Then I found additional songs I couldn't push off either, and ended up with 50.  Probably if I spent more time on this, I'd add more to the list...

The B-52s - Loveshack
Big Country - Chance ***
Cactus World News - Cashen Bay Strand
Capercaillie - Iain Ghlinn' Cuaich ***
Chris Rea - Josephine *** - I preferred the piano version but can't find it...

The Church - Under The Milky Way Tonight ***
Clannad - Theme from Harry's Game
The Cure - Plainsong ***
Echo & The Bunnymen - The Killing Moon
Enya - The Sun In The Stream

Eric Clapton / Michael Kamen - Edge Of Darkness
Eva Cassidy - Fields Of Gold
Fleetwood Mac - Gypsy
Fiction Factory - (Feels Like) Heaven
Goanna - Solid Rock

Icehouse - Great Southern Land
Jackson Browne - Lives In The Balance ***
Joe Jackson - Right And Wrong
John Farnham - You're The Voice
John Mellencamp - Justice & Independence '85 ***

Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Unomathemba ***
Lloyd Cole & The Commotions - Forest Fire ***
Lou Reed - Good Evening Mr Waldheim ***
Neil Young & The Bluenotes - This Note's For You
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Ship Song (recorded in 1989 :P)

Paul Kelly & The Coloured Girls - Bicentennial  ***
Peter Gabriel - Red Rain
Pink Floyd - Learning To Fly ***
The Police - One World (Not Three) ***
Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody

REM - Orange Crush ***
Simple Minds - Shake Off The Ghosts
Sinéad O'Connor - Black Boys On Mopeds ***
The Smiths - How Soon Is Now
Split Enz - I Walk Away

Stevie Nicks - Edge Of Seventeen (Beautiful Child, my first pick, was 1979)
Stevie Ray Vaughan - Couldn't Stand The Weather
The Stone Roses - Fools Gold
The Stranglers - Golden Brown
Suzanne Vega - Small Blue Thing ***

Talking Heads - Seen And Not Seen ***
Thomas Dolby - Hyperactive
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - I Won't Back Down ***
U2 - Wire ***
Ultravox - Vienna

Visage - Fade To Grey
The Warumpi Band - Blackfella, Whitefella ***
The Waterboys - Old England ***
World Party - Ship Of Fools ***
XTC - Making Plans For Nigel ***

(...and I'm still going, "Oh no, there's all this other fabulous stuff that now occurs to me that should have gotten a mention!"  ...this exercise made me realise just how much good music there was around in the dreaded plasticky 80s... I could easily mention another 50 songs by other artists but I'll restrain myself... no wonder though that Triple J traditionally do a sample size of 100... ;))

It would be interesting to compare notes with other people's personal favourites!  :)
SueC is time travelling


I'm gonna do it differently, I'll just mention the songs I know:

ABC – 'The Look of Love' (It's quite ok, a typical 80s pop song I guess)

David Bowie – 'Let's Dance' (Was good at the time, but a bit overplayed on radio. One thing I always wanted to know: could anyone please tell me how you "tremble like a flower"?)

Kate Bush – 'Cloudbusting' (Very good, I do prefer this over her other hit at the time, "Running up that hill"!)

Depeche Mode – 'Personal Jesus' (Was ok at the time, but not one I listen nowadays; again one that was overplayed on daytime radio.)

Dinosaur Jr – 'Freak Scene' (Very good, noisy & very influential on 'grunge' & indie-rock.)

Echo and the Bunnymen – 'The Killing Moon' (I already knew Robert liked this one, and it's a classic!)

Peter Gabriel – 'Red Rain' (Strangely enough, of all the "hits" PG had in the 80s, this was one of my favourites of his - I do remember a party in the 90s, a friend was putting on a Gabriel cd and I asked him to play "Red Rain" before putting on "Sledgehammer" or whatever...)

The Human League – 'Human' (Very soft, good song though.)

Joy Division – 'The Eternal' (Haven't listened to this for a long time...)

Chaka Khan – 'I Feel For You' (Uh, well, not something I'd buy, but also not one I switch the radio off when it's coming on)

Mel and Kim – 'Respectable' (Okay at the time, but in general I disliked this "disco" sound made by "Stock, Aitken, Waterman")

The Pixies – 'Gigantic' (Gigantic song indeed! Sung by Kim Deal, I believe.)

The Pretenders – 'Don't Get Me Wrong' (I really like Chrissie Hynde & Co., finally in 2009 I saw them live and it was a great concert.)

Psychedelic Furs – 'Heaven' (Great song, one of their best.)

Siouxsie and the Banshees – 'Dear Prudence' (feat. RS on guitar, 'nuff said!)

Soft Cell – 'Tainted Love' (Liked it way back when, but totally overplayed on radio now, so I can't stand it any more.)

The Sugarcubes – 'Birthday' (Another good one, was a promising band back then, Björk started a successful solo career...)

I want to add a few comments:
Cocteau Twins (don't know that song, but I like their "sound", they have a distinct sound of their own.)
New Order (Some stuff was okay for me, some not so much.)
My Bloody Valentine (I have their '91 album, that's enough.)
Tom Waits (a good songwriter for sure, his way of "singing" never "gelled" with me though...)
I'm walking slowly and quickly, but always away...


Interesting!  :cool  I have a fair bit of "research" to do (as you can see from my own response list) but I'm going to start with the ones you've responded positively to, because statistically I think that "filter" will increase the strike rate for coming across something I'm going to enjoy.  More overlap with your taste than with RS's.  Having said that, Brett's comment was, "Well, if listening to some stuff we'd run from was part of the background that resulted in some of our own favourite songs, then that's great!"

Just out of curiosity, would you find it easy to stick to 30 artists for your own favourite songs from that era?  (...and if you get the time, I'd love to know what they are...and you don't have to stick to 30...)

PS:  Trembling like a flower could be a reference to what petals do in high winds.  We live in a really windy area so we see a fair bit of this.  If I lived in Europe I'd probably scratch my head.  But I don't find it an arresting simile...
SueC is time travelling