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 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 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!
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.
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.
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!).