Friday, March 28, 2008


Suzy Pepper (33) from East London asks if any other 1981 classics are missing from this compilation.

I have resisted the temptation to suggest 'Outside The Trains Don't Run On Time' by the Gang Of Four, 'Flowers Of Romance' by PiL and the monumentally magnificent 'Ceremony' by New Order since we're talking cheesy, bouncy, slick and pleasy Pop here, angst fans.

Yes, yes, I'm sure some of you older and cooler boys and girls were listening to Josef K and The Fire Engines in 1981, but it was Dexy's, Visage, 'Vienna', 'Reward', OMD and The Jam's 'Funeral Pyre' ("81 was an 'orrible year for songs" - Paul Weller) for most of the kids in my 5th form as I recall.

Me and my mate Marty certainly enjoyed a spin of 'Fade To Grey' of a Friday night spiel session, especially for the posh French bird talking bit ('Un homme dans une gare desolee' - oh yes), but this was Devon, and 'blitz kids' were thin on the ground. Some girls started listening to Duran Duran, but that was about it.

I had my mock 'O' Levels in the spring and the real deal exams in June, so I was probably up to my harris in Bismarck and the reunification of Germany, wave-cut platforms and 'keep up your bright swords for the dew will rust them' for much of the year.

By September we'd made it to the sixth form, so we could wear jeans and desert boots to school, drink Nescafe from our own mugs (because we were Young Adults) and help out with the little kids' discos. But three halves of lager did us in.

This is my original 12" single all the way from back in time.

The Human League - 'Sound Of The Crowd' (12") (1981)


  1. Josef K? Ah, Shaddup a ya face.

  2. Was that them? :)

    I had the idea to post a whole CD worth of 1981 singles but of course I couldn't find the time. BTW Paul Weller is wrong about 1981, it was generally a good singles year apart from the fact that Funeral Pyre was probably their worst single. More than made up for it with the follow-up though.

  3. 'Absolute Beginners'?? Awful. Crackin' B-side though Gromit.

  4. Aye, it was a crackin' b-side. Do you really not like Absolute Beginners?

  5. Nope. But 'Malice' and 'Bitterest Pill' were still to come, so I forgive him...

  6. I loved the League, singles were great, but felt let down by 'Dare'.
    and preferred the Visage album (what a great track 'The Dancer' is)

    Have a peep at this for more of the same..
    If the Blitz Kids are united

    My old club 'Crocs' where we used dance to 'Sound of the Crowd' is on the list.

    PS - you haven't got Spandau's Instinction in 12" have you? I'm on a buzz for the version of Chant No 1 on the flip

  7. Sorry mate I've no change on me at the moment, er...I mean, no, sorry PM.

  8. despite ridiculous factory and postcard obsessions sulley and catherall were our style icons from the start - i'd never thought it possible to wear quite that much make up. brilliant.. 81 was pretty darned fine.

  9. Dare is one of the definite top ten albums in my collection; others come and go from the list, but that remains. The only others that have stayed are ABC Lexicon Of Love, The Jam All Mod Cons, Orbital Insides and Dexys Midnight Runners Don't Stand Me Down. (Although most of the other Jam and Dexys are tied for those places!)

    Dare is just a perfect album for me; I love every moment and the sleeve is probably my favourite sleeve ever!

  10. Not forgetting the rather spooky B side... The Steps?

    Cracking post there, Dave!


  11. davy, apologies, I've only just seen this. Thanks indeed for the linky and I see your good friends DvD and Ally have popped over.
    Fantastic version of 'the sound of the crowd'. Fab!
    Suzy Pepper (33 - Ahem)

  12. Gee, that list you linked to includes some real horrors. Ottawan. Stars on 45. The fucking Birdie Song!

    But a few good ones, too. "You'll Never Know" by Hi-Gloss was just fantastic. Plus the usual suspects (Human League, Abba etc).

    Last year I did a series of songs that take me back to a particular year. I had shedloads of songs to choose from for 1980 and '82, but I struggled for 1981. But recently I sorted out my music, filed it properly, and made myself a killer collection of '70s sand '80s tracks, in chronological order, on my iPod. And there were quite a few 1981 songs I had overlooked. Though much of it is crap like Bette Davis Eyes, which is useful only for nostalgia.