The Best of … Mix Project (Starting with the Best of 1980)
You can file this one under “Watching the Bucs game has bored me to tears and when I’m bored I make mixes so why not write about it.” I’m putting together a “Best of” mix for each year of the rock and roll era, starting in my musical wheelhouse of the 1980s. Much like the “Awesome Mix” series, I’m limiting myself to what would have fit on a standard, 60-minute Maxell audio tape, if for no other reason than to give myself some parameters to work within. The only other limitations are: 1) the song has to have been released in the year (lots of songs that ended up on the Billboard Top 100 for a year were actually released in the year previous) and 2) the song has to be available on Spotify (which in this case eliminated “Let My Love Open the Door” by Pete Townsend.)
With those rules in place, I present to you the first in the series, the Best of 1980, which was a surprisingly thin year for music. When the decade is over I’ll narrow them down to one best of the 80s mix. (These are in no particular order other than how I think they sound best together on a tape.)
Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division
This one is 1980s equivalent of a first ballot Hall of Famer. Safe to assume it will find a home on the best of the decade mix.
Once in a Lifetime – Talking Heads
Everybody bust out your giant, over-sized David Byrne suits and dance.
When You Were Mine – Prince
Prince has so many great songs it is ridiculous. This is the first of many appearances he’ll make this decade.
Private Idaho – The B-52s
The last song to make the list, but a personal favorite.
High Fidelity – Elvis Costello & the Attractions
One of my favorite Elvis Costello tunes. Gave its name to a great book and a pretty decent movie as well.
The Magnificent Seven – The Clash
Sandinista! was the last great Clash album, so doubt we’ll see Joe and the lads again until the 70s.
Don’t Stand So Close to Me – The Police
Not even my favorite song off Zenyatta Mondatta, but it’s an undeniably great tune.
Pulling Mussels From a Shell – Squeeze
Squeeze’s music hasn’t aged well, but this one is solid enough.
Generals and Majors – XTC
There was a reason this one made The Awesome Mix Vol 5. It’s pretty, well, um, awesome.
Out of Control – U2
My favorite of the early U2 songs still to this day.
Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think) – The Specials
Always room for some Specials on an early 80s mix.
The Tide Is High – Blondie
Was a tossup between this and Rapture for Blondie’s entry here, but Tide wins out for not having a lame rap coda.
Turn It On Again – Genesis
I’m not a huge Genesis fan, but I had to acknowledge this one.
Oh Yeah – Roxy Music
Roxy Music is one of the giants of this era. Not the last time you’ll see them.
Mirror in the Bathroom – The English Beat
Or just The Beat everywhere outside of the U.S. Whatever you call them, this is a great song.
Here’s the Spotify playlist for your listening/subscribing pleasure:
So there you go. 15 songs clocking in at just under 60 minutes. Apologies to Devo’s Freedom of Choice and Antmusic by Adam and the Ants for just missing the cut.
Which one of you favorites did I miss?