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What albums should every '80s fan own?



Combat-rock Take a quick look at your album and CD collection. Take your time. Dig deep through the stacks. What are you feeling? A little pride? (Asia's Alpha on vinyl!) A little shame? (What made me buy that disc by Simply Red?) Some regret that you never bought that album you had on your hands on and off for years? (Seriously, how have I forgotten to pick up the Clash's Combat Rock?)

Time to fix things, once and for all. Because we're going to attempt to do the impossible. I want to compile the 80 Albums Every '80s Fan Should Own.

And here's the best part: They don't necessarily have to be albums from the '80s. That means the Cars' debut album from '78 can make the list. So can your favorite Velvet Underground album. Even Never Been The Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols.

And ideally, you should limit the number of albums by a single band. So while you may be torn between Journey's Escape and Frontiers albums, try to narrow it down.

Nominate as many albums as you want and Sean Daly and I will pare them down to just 80. It will be much harder than it sounds. Here are five from my personal collection that I'll argue belong on the list:

STOP MAKING SENSE (Talking Heads): You don't need to own a best-of CD for David Byrne and friends. Their best work is all right here, reworked perfectly for their live concert film.

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

MOVING PICTURES (Rush): Just seven songs, but not a bad one in the bunch. A masterpiece by Canada's holy trinity.

RAISING HELL (Run DMC): 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.

REBEL YELL (Billy Idol): The title song might be the weakest cut on the album, that's how good it is. Need a dark anthem? Try the Dead Next Door.

Okay, that's a start. Keep it going. Name as many as you want. But it's time we build the ultimate collection of 80s albums every '80s fan should own.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:49pm]


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