THIS RANT 09/10/96
Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.
Choosing a choice compilation
It will come as no surprise to Gusworld's regular readers that I own an awful lot of 80s compilation CDs, ranging from mainstream Dino Music compilations like The New Romantics through to obscure B-side groupings like Sedated In The Eighties. You don't have to buy too many of these to realise that there's a pattern to a lot of them. In the course of numerous conversations with other 80s aficionados, I've come to the conclusion that the following are virtually compulsory inclusions on any CD which claims to cover the 1980s, especially if it focuses on the first half of the decade:
- 'Vienna' by Ultravox
- 'Tainted Love' by Soft Cell
- 'Don't You Want Me?' by The Human League
- 'Fade To Grey' by Visage
- 'Rio' by Duran Duran
- 'To Cut A Long Story Short' by Spandau Ballet
- 'Love Plus One' by Haircut 100
- 'Living On The Ceiling' by Blancmange
- 'Come On Eileen' by Dexy's Midnight Runners
As well as these ultra-ultra-common tracks, there are many others which appear with startling regularity. The end result is that by the time you've collected a dozen or so of these beasties (and an 80s-centric main collection to boot), you're lucky to find an album which has more than two tracks on it you don't already possess.
Despite this intrinsic difficulty, I did manage to pick up an 80s compilation that was worth the effort recently: retro: The Best Of The Early Eighties. Inspired by the popular Sydney nightspot of the same name and compiled by its founder, Frazer Bourke, the CD is a necessarily selective tour of early 80s musical highlights. Impressively, only two of the above-mentioned 'cliche tracks' appear ('Fade To Grey' and 'Love Plus One'). Even more impressively, there are six tracks on the CD (in a total of 20) which I don't have on CD in any other form. Those tracks are:
- 'Computer Games' by Mi-Sex: When 80s compilations feel obliged to put in an Australian band, it's normally Pseudo Echo or Real Life, so this is a fine choice.
- '8675309/Jenny' by Tommy Tutone: A classic by virtue of its appearance on Kenny Everett alone.
- 'Love And Pride' by King: Essentially one-hit wonders (yes, they had a follow-up, 'Won't You Hold My Hand Now?', but it ain't on too many compilations), but still deserving of accolades for helping to create a unique chart week in Britain in 1985 when King, Queen, Prince and Princess all featured at once.
- 'Spellbound' by Siouxsie And The Banshees: Although their success was rare outside of Britain, Siouxsie & Co still feature regularly on compilations, but their Beatles cover 'Dear Prudence' is far more common than this number.
- 'Doot Doot' by Freur: A bit of an ultra-rarity by the band that became Underworld (whose 'Underneath The Radar' from 1987 is the newest track I've ever heard played in the main area at retro).
I guess there are still minor things you could pick on the CD for: Why give Paul Weller a double dosage? Why not sub the track notes to eliminate the apostrophe errors? But then I didn't need to sew up the licensing deals and the fact that I try not to make apostrophe errors hasn't led anyone to offer me a compilation disc. Bite the bullet and buy the boy's CD.
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