THERE are some songs that swiftly drags me back down memory lane. I’ve selected 12 tracks from the 70s and 80s that do just that …
Squeeze: Up the junction – 1979. It was only a few years ago that I really listened to the lyrics and the penny dropped: a sad story of regrets in this song. This is a track that reminds me of the days when Man about the house and George and Mildred were huge hits on television. Memories of going to smoke-filled pubs also come flooding back. I love this song.
Aztec Camera: Somewhere in my heart – 1987. The start of this song makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Once in while, when asked to explain why a track draws you in, you just have to shrug your shoulders and say don’t know. I love this track but don’t ask me why.
John Holt: Morning of my life – 1973. Being a child of Jamaican parents, I grew up in a household listening to Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff and Desmond Deckker. This track, even though it’s a cover song, brings me back to after Sunday school in the 70s. The track has a spiritual feel to it and Holt’s voice is delightful.
Althia and Donna: Uptown top ranking – 1977. A real catchy tune by the Jamacian duo. I’d walk like a rudeboy whilst shrieking out ‘ouuu‘. This is one cool tune and dem yardgal no how fi chat lyrics.
Madness: Our house – 1982. This reminds me of Sunday evenings back in the early eighties: getting shoes polished ready for school the next day and frantically getting my homework finished. Afterwards I’d play board games on the living room floor with my brothers and sister.
Cliff Richard: Wired for sound – 1981. I’d just started secondary school and was on a steep learning curve: having to wear school uniform, learning how to tie a necktie and school discipline. This track made me feel like storming out of school, throwing off the blazer and tie and start dancing.
Buggles: Video killed a radio star – 1980. When I first heard this I thought it was weird. I still think it’s weird but there’s also something wonderful about it to a point of genius. In music they talk about tracks that grow on you, this one was certainly a grower for me.
Human League: Don’t you want me – 1981. When this song comes on you can guarantee that people will join in at the chorus. In addition the the chorus, You were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar is such a memorable and iconic line in the music world.
The Selecter: Missing Words – 1980. I was torn between this track and On my Radio. This was a time when Ska music was kicking with the likes of Bad Manners and The Specials were also making waves in the charts. Pauline Black’s voice is unmistakable and it draws you into Selecter’s world.
The Style Council: Walls come tumbling down – 1985. What a voice Weller has! It’s one of those tracks where you want to grab a pretend mic and belt out the lyrics lights go out, walls come tumbling down. The combination of Weller and Dee C. Lee on this political track is amazing. Style Council at their best.
Madonna: Into the groove – 1985. I just had to add this track. She’d had a string of hits and then came out with this gem. It was the August of ’85 when me and my mum did the painful journey from London to Manchester on the National Express coach. Visiting family in Manchester meant lots of late nights playing dominos and hearing this tune.
Blondie: Rapture – 1981. Debbie Harry is cool. This track was unexpected and blew my mind. It’s also the track that got me into rap music. I liked Atomic and The tide is high but when she started rapping on this track I was like wow!
The fact is I could easily stretch to 20 songs and then 30; 40 and then 50. The days when I’d simutaneously hit play and record on the cassette recorder and record top 40 songs off the radio are unforgetable times.
Loving the 70s and 80s vibe? Click on front cover below to get the rundown of my latest retro book, Section N Underpass