1984 Mix

I had the great fortune to be a music nerd living in Minneapolis in 1984. It was one of those times when you could tell, in real time, that great things were happening around you. The Replacements, a band up until then known as much for their shambling drunken live performances as for their music, released the album Let it Be, which was a huge leap forward in musical sophistication and ambition. Hardcore punk band Hüsker Dü released Zen Arcade, a double album with a narrative through-line (aka a “rock opera”) that explored themes and musical styles far from the band’s punk origins. I still have the copy of Zen Arcade I bought at Oar Folkjokeopus in Minneapolis on the day it was released. The release of these albums would have made 1984 a major year for music in the Twin Cities, but but they were not the biggest thing to come out of Minnesota music that year, not by a long shot.

I saw the movie Purple Rain in a Minneapolis theater shortly after it was released. The audience was rapturous, delirious, totally captivated. In retrospect, it wasn’t a very good movie, except for the concert scenes. The soundtrack album was a sensation, in both an artistic and commercial sense. Purple Rain, the album, has sold more than 25 million copies and spun off two #1 singles. Prince was also a busy and successful producer in 1984. The Time’s “Jungle Love”, produced by Prince was a #20 single. Another song he produced, Sheila E.’s “The Glamorous Life”, was a #7 single that also spent two weeks at the top of the dance chart. 1999 had been a successful album, but 1984 was the year that Prince vaulted to super-stardom.

By the way, the full name of the Prince song included in this mix is: “17 Days (the rain will come down, then U will have 2 choose, if U believe, look 2 the dawn and U shall never lose)”.

1984 was also the year that rap-rock was born. Rock bands had incorporated aspects of rap into their work for several years (“Ring ring, it’s seven A.M./Move yourself to go again”). Rap-rock involved rap artists incorporating rock sounds explicitly into their music and/or collaborating with rock artists. Run-D.M.C.’s “Rock Box” is generally acknowledged to be the first rap-rock track, incorporating a heavy rock guitar riff played by session musician Eddie Martinez. “World Destruction”, another pioneering rap-rock track, was a collaboration between Afrika Bambaataa and John Lydon, perhaps the oddest duo since David Bowie and Bing Crosby.

Note: The song “88 Lines About 44 Women” is delightfully filthy. I recommend you not play it for your Sunday school class.

Part 1: I What’s Going On Inside My Head?

  1. Unsatisfied – The Replacements
  2. Rock Box – Run-D.M.C.
  3. Strut – Sheena Easton
  4. 88 Lines About 44 Women – The Nails
  5. Why? – Bronski Beat
  6. How Soon is Now? – The Smiths
  7. Blasphemous Rumours – Depeche Mode
  8. Fala – Robert Quine/Fred Maher
  9. I Feel for You – Chaka Khan
  10. Everything She Wants – Wham!
  11. One Night in Bangkok – Murray Head
  12. Dark Streets of London – The Pogues
  13. Eighties – Killing Joke
  14. The Kick Inside of Me – Simple Minds
  15. What’s Going On – Hüsker Dü

Part 2: Our Band is Scientist Rock

  1. 17 Days – Prince & The Revolution
  2. Jungle Love – The Time
  3. The Glamorous Life – Sheila E.
  4. World Destruction – Time Zone
  5. Wire – U2
  6. Bag Lady (I Wonder) – Ebn-Ozn
  7. Talk to Me (I Can Hear You Now) – Iam Siam
  8. You’re the Best Thing – The Style Council
  9. Tenderness – General Public
  10. Dress You Up – Madonna
  11. All the Things She Gave Me – The Waterboys
  12. So. Central Rain – R.E.M.
  13. Sounds Great When You’re Dead – Robyn Hitchcock
  14. Will the Wolf Survive? – Los Lobos
  15. Such a Shame – Talk Talk
  16. Sharkey’s Day – Laurie Anderson
  17. History Lesson-Part II – Minutemen