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80 must-own albums for '80s fans, part 4: Roxy Music to ZZ Top



RoxyMusic_Avalon The official Stuck in the '80s list of 80 Albums Every '80s Fan Should Own concludes with the fourth and final today. (Click here to read part 1 and part 2 and part 3)

As mentioned previously, I followed certain rules for the list:No band has more than a single album on the list. No soundtracks were considered. No live albums were considered. No greatest-hits CDs are included.

Today's list: I own (or once owned) 11 of the 20 albums in today's list. The one that gets the most play? Probably the Violent Femmes. The one I'm not sure I ever need to hear again Steve Winwood's disc. Overzealous FM radio jocks took care of that.

I'd like to thank the dozens of Stuck in the '80s fans who helped nominate the albums you see listed (20 at a time, alphabetically by band name) over these last four days. Any omissions or mistakes are my own.


ROXY MUSIC: AVALON (1981): The band's only platinum record in the U.S. Oddly enough, the album's biggest single -- More Than This -- was a Top 10 hit in many countries, but a flop in the U.S.

RUN-D.M.C.: RAISING HELL (1986): It's Tricky, My Adidas, Walk This Way. Up until this album, rap and hip hop was a fad. Afterward, it was a fact of life.

RUSH: MOVING PICTURES (1981): Just seven songs, but not a bad one in the bunch. A masterpiece by Canada's holy trinity. [Listen to our Rush podcast]

SCORPIONS: LOVE AT FIRST STING (1984): Has both an epic metal song -- Rock You Like a Hurricane -- and a signature power ballad -- Still Loving You. [Listen to our Klaus Meine interview]

SIMPLE MINDS: ONCE UPON A TIME (1985): Don't You (Forget About Me), which appeared on The Breakfast Club soundtrack and had become a No.1 hit, was left off the album at the band's request.

THE SMITHS: THE QUEEN IS DEAD (1986): Hard to pick just one Smiths album. This one (named from a a chapter of the novel Last Exit to Brooklyn) narrowly beats Meat is Murder. [Listen to our Smiths podcast]

SQUEEZE: EAST SIDE STORY (1981): Imagine how even greater it'd be had they followed their initial concept: a double album with one side produced by Elvis Costello, a second by Dave Edmunds, a third by Nick Lowe and the fourth by Paul McCartney.

STEVE WINWOOD: BACK IN THE HIGH LIFE (1986): Higher Love won the Grammy Award for record of the year.

STING: THE DREAM OF THE BLUE TURTLES (1985): Released only a year after The Police had unofficially broken up. [Listen to our Sting vs. Police podcast]

STYX: PARADISE THEATER (1981): Became the band's only No. 1 album in the U.S., but it was also their fourth consecutive multi-platinum album (The Grand Illusion, Pieces of Eight, Cornerstone). [Listen to our Chuck Panozzo interview]

TALKING HEADS: REMAIN IN LIGHT (1980): Since I can't pick Stop Making Sense (concert albums are verboten!), this Brian Eno-produced masterpiece will have to do. One critic called it "scary, funny music to which you can dance and think, think and dance, dance and think, ad infinitum."

TEARS FOR FEARS: SONGS FROM THE BIG CHAIR (1985): Featured a string of hit singles, including Mothers Talk, Shout, Everybody Wants to Rule the World and Head Over Heels.

THOMAS DOLBY: THE GOLDEN AGE OF WIRELESS (1982): Songs included Airwaves, Commercial Breakup and Radio Silence. You think Dolby had a radio fetish? [Listen to our Thomas Dolby interview]

THOMPSON TWINS: INTO THE GAP (1984): In addition to having maybe the best love song in the decade on it (Hold Me Now), it featured Doctor! Doctor!, You Take Me Up, Sister of Mercy and The Gap.

TINA TURNER: PRIVATE DANCER (1984): Her best-selling album both in the U.S. and internationally, with the help and contributions of Jeff Beck, David Bowie, Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh.

U2: THE JOSHUA TREE (1987): The toughest decision of all, picking this album over War and Unforgettable Fire. Ranked No. 26 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

VAN HALEN: 1984 (1984): The final album featuring singer David Lee Roth -- and the first album where we realized Eddie Van Halen was a classically trained piano player.

VIOLENT FEMMES: VIOLENT FEMMES (1983): I'm pretty sure they gave this album to all incoming college freshman in the '80s as part of their orientation. And knowing the lyrics to Blister in the Sun and Add It Up were requirements for graduation.

XTC: SKYLARKING (1986): A "life-in-a-day" semi-concept album heavily influenced by The Beatles, The Beach Boys and The Kinks.

ZZ TOP: ELIMINATOR (1983): Were the videos actually better than the songs? (Does it matter?) Ranked No. 396 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Okay, there's the list. What did we miss on? What did we forget? Leave a comment.

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 27, 2010 11:39am]


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