1982 Mix

MTV (Music Television, youngsters) first went on the air in August 1981. Hungry for “content”, MTV would show videos from bands that had no chance of getting play on mainstream radio. My impression is that beginning in 1982, MTV helped to begin the process of mainstreaming “underground” or “alternative” music. 

1982 was also the year when several significant groups called it quits. The Jam, The Clash, Stiff Little Fingers, and Richard & Linda Thompson all released their final albums in 1982. Shoot Out the Lights, the final Richard & Linda Thompson album, is a stunning snapshot of a dissolving relationship and probably their best album. The Jam’s last album, The Gift,  shows that the band was exiting at the top of their game, but also shows how far Paul Weller’s musical interests had drifted. Stiff Little Fingers’ last releases moved away from their punk sound, alienating many fans. The Clash’s Combat Rock seemed at first like a bit of a disappointment, but my appreciation for it has grown over the years.

At least we still had Bowie. And of course, new groups rose to prominence in 1982 even as old favorites were calling it quits. Culture Club had a huge hit with their first album. Groups like Bow Wow Wow and Missing Persons emerged from relative obscurity and scored big hits (both of these bands, by the way, were highly telegenic). The album 1999 helped Prince move from being a well regarded niche act to an international superstar. Go watch the video for “Little Red Corvette” and you’ll understand why.

Huang Chung were not yet a big name in 1982. In 1983 they would switch record labels, change the spelling of their name and re-record “Dance Hall Days”. The re-recorded version became a big hit, but I think I prefer this earlier, looser version.

Meanwhile, punk rock continued to thrive in its own world, and middle American rock acts (like Marshall Crenshaw, Tommy Keene, and most notably, R.E.M.) continued to make earnest guitar-focused music. 

The Gang of Four song “To Hell with Poverty!” has always been a favorite. In my college years it became something of a personal anthem. That was when I was young and stupid enough to confuse actual poverty with not having a lot of cash (but always being just a phone call away from Mom and Dad’s help).


Part 1: I’m Probably Not the Kind of Girl You Think You Want

  1. Always Unknowing – Roxy Music
  2. Do You Really Want to Hurt Me – Culture Club
  3. Hurt – New Order
  4. Dance Hall Days – Huang Chung
  5. Blue Hotel – Lene Lovich
  6. Destination Unknown – Missing Persons
  7. From the Air – Laurie Anderson
  8. I Fell in Love – The Roches
  9. I Melt With You – Modern English
  10. Cat People (Putting Out Fire) – David Bowie
  11. Major Tom (Völlig Losgelöst) – Peter Schilling
  12. Delirious – Prince
  13. Black Coffee in Bed – Squeeze
  14. Go – The Replacements
  15. I Have the Touch – Peter Gabriel
  16. Did She Jump or Was She Pushed? – Richard & Linda Thompson


Part 2: You Tasted Mustard When She Painted Your Face

  1. Know Your Rights – The Clash
  2. I Want Candy – Bow Wow Wow
  3. Talking to a Stranger – Hunters & Collectors
  4. Read About It – Midnight Oil
  5. Shabby Doll – Elvis Costello & The Attractions
  6. Save it for Later – The English Beat
  7. Back to Zero Now – Tommy Keene
  8. You’re My Favorite Waste of Time – Marshall Crenshaw
  9. Lesson in Love – Paul Carrack
  10. The Hanging Garden – The Cure
  11. 1,000,000 – R.E.M.
  12. Talkback – Stiff Little Fingers
  13. Raining Raining – Nick Lowe
  14. Tears in Rain – Vangelis
  15. Ghosts – The Jam
  16. Situation – Yazoo
  17. T.V. Party – Black Flag
  18. Reason for Existence – Subhumans
  19. To Hell with Poverty – Gang of Four
  20. Mad World – Tears for Fears
  21. True Romance at the World’s Fair – Algebra Suicide
  22. Looking for the Next Best Thing – Warren Zevon