David Bowie/Mick Jagger – Dancing in the Street 7” (1985)
It’s not a patch on the Martha and the Vandellas version, but that version didn’t have the absolutely awesome music video that this one did, ha ha. Man, I’m so glad they made that thing. Not ‘cause it’s shit, because I don’t think it’s shit. Well, it’d be shit if two fuckos without the massive amount of charisma that Bowie and Jagger had did it. Imagine me and Alex Lloyd miming to this song – steaming pile of shit, right? But Bowie and Jagger? Fucken works. Half the time Bowie can’t even mime the words correctly – makes it even better. Check out some of the Stones filmclips – Jagger doesn’t even remember what he sung when he’s miming half the time. And I don’t care! He just has to shake his skinny arse and that’s enough. I love watching them try to out-do each other in this – Bowie does some kinda splits…Jagger does some kinda splits, ha ha. What about the bit where Jagger stops dancing, bends down, picks up a can of drink, takes a swig…and then puts the fucking thing carefully back down on the ground – while Bowie keeps dancing – ha ha, what the fuck?! Who does that?! More importantly – who could get away with that? Not to mention the clothes. Did I mention that I love this music video, ha ha. The ‘silent’ version that someone posted on youtube is fucken hilarious and just makes me love the original video even more.
Men At Work – Business As Usual (1981)
Shit the early 80s were a good time for Australian music. How’s this record, with no less than 3 absolute classics! The combination of memorable hooks and a wry sense of humour is what made all three hits on this so good. My favourite is ‘Be Good Johnny’, with it’s chattering intro guitar than goes right into that bloody excellent main riff and then more chattering guitar in the chorus. “Are you gunna play football this year, John?” “Nuh.” I love the way Colin Hay says “Nuh” – pretty Aussie sounding for a bloke from Scotland, ha ha. His voice is a real highlight – a bit like Sting’s but with more warmth and less shriek about it. I know it’s been played to death, but fucken hell ‘Down Under’ is a good song – it’s amazing how many pop songs in the early 80s had a reggae vibe – there’s quite a bit all over this record, not just on this song. And can I just say that the lawsuit against Men At Work in regards to Down Under, in my opinion, was fucking bogus and an indication of how rotten some aspects of the music industry can be. Anyway… all the music videos from this album are killer pieces of celluloid goodness, full of personality and humorous asides. The great thing about this album is how uncomplicated it is – uncluttered and clear, but still with so many memorable bits. I suppose it just full of great songwriting. The next album ‘Cargo’ had a few great songs on it, but I don’t know what happened by the third album – I guess they split up, it was that average. Colin Hay still has a great voice to this day, though, I must say.
Kix – Blow My Fuse (1988)
Produced by Tom Werman. This was the first Kix album I got back in 88 and I loved it at the time, but in reality, although there’s no totally shit songs on it, there are only 4 or 5 really outstanding ones. It was, however, a gateway to purchasing their previous 3 albums, the first two remaining some of my favourite albums of all time. Those first 2 albums had a power pop/hard rock/new wave crossover thing going on that was friggen outstanding – I definitely recommend those albums. By this album all of the new wave-ish elements were gone and you’re left with a straight ahead hard rock thing. Still, singer Steve Whiteman has loads of personality and the AC/DC-style riffing of this album has definitely aged a lot better than some of the other bands from 1988. When I got this I had been teaching myself guitar for a few months after realising that it was going to be hard for a drummer to write any songs. One of my first songs, if you could call them that, was pretty much a rip of ‘She Dropped Me The Bomb’ from this album. I think I called it ‘Contagious’ or ‘It’s Contagious’ or something like that, with lyrics dealing with how partying and ‘having a real good time’ was ‘yeah, it’s contagious’, ha ha, all those things that I had absolutely no clue about, being a 15-year-old loser in a country town. There was absolutely no chance of me ever ‘having a real good time’ in those days. Thank fuck I had music. I used to wonder how other kids got by without the refuge of total immersion in heavy metal back then. I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but how good’s music!? Seems so frivolous, yet so important at the same time. Anyway, Kix rule, but it’s the first two albums you want to check out before this one.
Budgie – Nightflight (1981)
I s’pose most Budgie fans would say that their best years were behind them by 1981, but yeah, you guessed it – I disagree. This is the second last album they would release and is my second favourite of theirs, only surpassed by their last album, ‘Deliver Us From Evil’ the following year. They release the best two albums of their career (in my opinion) and then they stopped releasing albums (until one in 2006) – madness. This album marks a switch to a more melodic approach with some killer hard rock tunes. There’s a semi-ballad on here called ‘Apparatus’ – horrible name for a song – and I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but it’s a ballad that I absolutely love. I feel dirty just saying that. Bloody ballads, pfft. Ha ha. ‘Keeping A Rendezvous’ is catchy as hell, ‘Superstar’ is rockin’ – the whole album’s great. Killer artwork by usual Iron Maiden artist, Derek Riggs – one of my favourite covers of all time. I put Budgie in that rare category of bands that released one of their best albums at the end of their career along with Thin Lizzy who released the excellent Thunder & Lightning as their last album. Good to go out with a bang, I guess, but makes me wish Budgie (and Thin Lizzy) released just one or two more in the early to mid-80s as I think they were really onto something in those last couple of years.
Written by Karl Mautner.
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