Lesser Known Bands From The 80s That I Love

In my MP3 collection I have an odd assortment of bands in a folder called "Various Artists". In that folder is a handful of mainly 80's bands that I still enjoy listening to today. In this hub I'd like to introduce to you my "various artisst" folder with bands that include: Go West, The La's, The English Beat, The Lemonheads and Squeeze.

Go West

Go West is a English band that I didn't listen to until after their fame had risen and fallen. They are known primarily for their 1990s hit, "King of Wishful Thinking", which was featured on the Pretty Woman movie soundtrack. The duo consists of Peter Cox on drums and Richard Drummie on guitar with Peter being the primary vocalist.. My favorite song was their 1985 release, "We Close Our Eyes", which made the UK's Top 5 but failed to reach Billboard's Top 40 in the US.

"We Close Our Eyes" became an MTV video hit back in the days when MTV stood for Music Television and they actually played music videos. After Go West scored their hit "King of Wishful Thinking", the bands popularity mainly remained in the UK market. However, the band is still active today and throughout 2010 the band plans to release "3D" which is a series of three studio recorded EPs. The first of the these three was released in April, 2010.

The La's

The La's are basically a one hit wonder English band. They are listed as currently active with front man, lead singer and songwriter Lee Mavers being the only active member from the original group. The band has had several incarnations, reunions and album recording stops and starts. The band was formed in 1984 by Mike Badger who cites that its creation came to him in a dream. It was the 1990 hit "There She Goes" that put The La's on the map. Even then, a small map by US standards. Still, I really enjoy their hit song as it is so upbeat and rhythmic that you just can't help but smile while your foot taps or your head bobs to the catchy albeit brief tune.  There she goes!

English Beat

The Beat, or as they are more well known in the US, The English Beat, is another UK band from the 1980s I greatly enjoyed. Less obscure than the other bands I've listed in this hub, The English Beat formed in the late 1970s and had several UK hits that crossed over well to the US market. Its sound is a unique blend of ska, reggae, pop, punk and jazz rock. The Beat became The English Beat (which is the group I listen to) when Dave Wakeling joined the band. Wakeling is also known for his contributions to the group General Public, a band he left The English Beat for in 1983. In the past decade several reformation of the UK's The Beat and the US's The English Beat have toured both countries and the band(s) are currently celebrating their 30th anniversary.

The Lemonheads

Not all the bands I like from the 80's hail from the UK either, case in point - The Lemonheads. I guess it could be argued this band isn't an 80s band at all since their popularity was at its height in the early 90s, but why quibble? The Lemonheads are an alternative rock band which formed in 1983 and hail from Boston, Massachusetts. Formed by lead singer and guitarist Evan Dando, who is the bands only constant member. Much like The La's, The Lemonheads have had several members in various reformations; including a breakup in 1997 and a break from music until 2005. In 2006 they released their self-titled album, "The Lemonheads" and they just released "Varshons" in June of 2009. My favorite Lemonhead song is "It's a Shame about Ray" but their cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" was a success, as well. Possibly more of an early 90's band, I still consider them one of my favs from the 80s.  In the video, "It's a Shame About Ray", I'm not sure if he's playing "Ray" but Johnny Depp appears in the video.

Squeeze

Alright, back to England!  Squeeze is a UK band that formed in the late 1970s but enjoyed most of their success throughout the 1980s and early 90s.  As is common for most 80s bands, Squeeze too has reformed, probably as a result of the VH1 "where are they now" rockumentaries.  The band is associated with the formation of a sound called "new wave" and featured a different kind of sound and a variety of vocal tones and styles.  This group has had more hits and is probably the least obscure on my list of favorites here.  The Squeeze songs that stand out to me are "Black Coffee In Bed" and "Tempted".  Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford are responsible for all of Squeeze's hits, which include well over 50 songs. "Cool For Cats" is featured on Rock Band 2, although I can't play it on Hard (YET!).

Comments 11 comments

JBeadle profile image

JBeadle 6 years ago from Midwest Author

A lesser known band from the 80s I followed in 1980 was an Irish band known as U2. Although, they are no longer lesser known. Bonus video from that era below!


Joyful Pamela profile image

Joyful Pamela 6 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

What fun music! I hadn't heard of some of the groups before, but I'm glad you introduced them to me. :)


JBeadle profile image

JBeadle 6 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks for the comments Joyful Pamela. If you are truly "joyful" you'd probably like The La's "There She Goes" (if you bypassed it) - that one always brightens up my day.


giltemp1 profile image

giltemp1 6 years ago from Nashville, TN

Wasn't that in "I Marred An Axe Murderer" or something like that? With Mike Meyers, Nancy Travis and Amanda Plummer?


JBeadle profile image

JBeadle 6 years ago from Midwest Author

I think it was, giltemp1. My daughter recognized it but she thought from a movie she'd seen before. I think quite a few bands have covered it as well - like maybe The Pixies even?


music messenger profile image

music messenger 6 years ago

Good hub. The LA's are a band that very few people know about. The whole album is great. Thanks for telling more music fans about them! I voted and I have music reviews and info on my hubs. Check it out.


JBeadle profile image

JBeadle 6 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks for the comment music messenger and I certainly will check out your hubs!


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

My goodness! What a find! I love English Beat. And Squeeze -- well, I still remember the first time I heard "Pulling Mussels" on the radio, and it was ON. They came to Boston where I lived and I went over to the meet-and-greet at a local bookstore (also the concert that night). Chris Difford said to me, "You're the prettiest girl of the day." Only thing that could have made the moment even more superlative would be if the comment came from GT instead. Still, it gives me goosebumps to this day!


JBeadle profile image

JBeadle 6 years ago from Midwest Author

Well I'm glad my hub could take you back to such wonderful memories! If you are from Boston you might know and be a fan of Guster? They pop up a lot in my hubs. Thanks for the comments MM.


DaveysRecipeRead profile image

DaveysRecipeRead 5 years ago

Although it was kinda weird and unintended I think that the best "video" for English Beat's "Mirror in the Bathroom" was the Hilarious scene in John Cusack's "Point Blank" film, really captured the spirit of the times. Great hub!


Micro54961 12 months ago

Karen Lawrence And The Pinz had an excellent album out. Also The Rings had good songs out like "Opposites Attract" "Too Much Of Nothing" "I Need Strange" "Watch You Break" and more.

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