Professor Mark Csele

A little shrine to eighties music

Being a member of ‘Generation-X’ my favorite music is from the 80’s, especially early 80’s. Much of this music, now called ‘retro’ and played by radio stations such as Boom 97.3 from Toronto, was considered at the time to be ‘alternative’ and played only by radio stations such as Toronto’s CFNY.

So What Make 80’s Music Distinct … Click Here To Enter the 80’s Musical Tour … a page dedicated to describing the origins and sound of the eighties from pioneers like Gary Numan to DM and New Order. Discover what really defines 80’s music and how the synthesizer became an instrument in its own right. 

The eighties were a time of transition – a break-away from the ‘corporate album rock’ of the 70’s. Just listen to some of the junk that was passed-off as music during that decade and its not hard to see how the sound of the 80’s offered such a refreshing alternative. DISCO was definetely _DEAD_ and we all just could not stomach one more song by Terry Jacks (His infamous ‘Seasons in the Sun’ made the list of the worst 50 songs of all time). Not that all seventies music was bad, there was even some decent disco (seriously ;), but it was, as a whole, a tired and uninspired decade, musically.

At the time, the list of popular bands included REM (before they became popular … remember “I am Superman”), New Order (Substance 1987: a Must-own anthology of their hits), Ministry (Everyday is Halloween), Devo (Whip It). While some lasted, the 80’s were a time characterized by one-hit-wonders never to be heard from again – most of the mid-80’s CFNY playlist. My collection of “one-hit wonders” from the period includes YAZ, Vicious Pink, Trans-X, Nik Kershaw, Stephen Tin-Tin Duffy, Sherry Kean, Tapps, and others.

Aside from the one-hit wonders there were a few ‘album’ artists of the eighties – most were successful carry-overs from the seventies (which, as I said, weren’t totally void of talent, just mostly :). My faves include Kate Bush (Hounds of Love was awesome but she had a host of goodies from the late seventies too), Pink Floyd (nothing too early, I like to be able to listen to my music without the aid of hallucinogens :), New Order (Substance 1987 still sounds good), and Depeche Mode. My rarest (and still a personal favorite) album is a 1984 CD by the German group Propaganda. I say ‘album’ and yes, some is on vinyl but other stuff is on CD

There are a host of neat compilations of 80’s music. Favorite 80’s CDs include Retro Night, the Hardest Hits Collections by SPG, CFNY’s Spririt of the Edge, as well as a number of other compilations. As well as retro, I also enjoy some new age selections (e.g. Enya), Kate Bush (some folks considered this to be new age, others rock … regardless, it was a CFNY staple), as well as some classical pieces (many Baroque), my favorite being Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” of which I have a Denon recording. An HEY, in late 2005 both Kate Bush and Enya are back! To really confuse things I’ve heard a lot of ABBA-esque samples on Madonna’s new material and Kraftwerk samples on Coldplay. We’ll likely look back at the mid-2000’s as a confused time, musically speaking.