From sweet and smooth classics, to new names, to old names with new music...the focus here, is to shine a little light on some damn fine music.

I'll find it. You can listen, review, or tell me I wouldn't know good music if it kicked me in the ass. I personally don't give a shit.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Big Hair, Big Music, Big Videos: Twisted Mixtape 80's Part 1

It's Tuesday, time for the first part of the 80's edition of Jen's Twisted Mixtape. A very interesting decade musically. Some of it was really good, some of it was really bad. The bad part has continued ever since.

When I started thinking about music defining this era, I immediately came up with seventeen songs. After thinking a little while longer, I was up to twenty-seven. Needless to say, I breaking the rules again this week. Picking only five songs is just not in the realm of possibility. The only question is how many over the allotment will I go.

Two songs on my list are related in a way. The first is the title track of an album which redefined the career path of a veteran performer. It was influenced largely by the music of Africa and employed many musicians from South Africa, which was still under the rule of Apartheid during its final days. The album was Graceland and the artist is Paul Simon. He took some flack for that, but if you have the opportunity to see the fascinating PBS documentary about the making of Graceland, most of it is explained. Graceland is still on my regular playlist. I could have chosen several songs off the album, but for its place in history, I'll pick the title song.


In South Africa in 1985, there was an entertainment area within a city called Sun City. While it proclaimed itself to be an interracial resort, it was a sham where the wealthy gambled, while the poor outside the walls lived in squalor. Steve Van Zandt of the E Street Band created a group formed by well known artists, where they would spread the word about this stronghold of Apartheid and create a boycott for performers to play there. The video for the song was a virtual who's who of the music industry.

"Sun City"

Let's lighten the mood just a bit. There was this song about a girl and a phone number. It was everywhere, it's still everywhere. C'mon let's sing along.


With some very recognizable opening notes, this song gets new life every spring. Catchy and perfectly evoking the feeling all of us baseball freaks get every opening day. Mr. Fogerty, if you please.


It was the 80's, London was calling, but the Clash song which always made my day went like this:
"As soon as the sharif was
Outta their hair
The jet pilots wailed"

"Rock the Casbah"

Extra song #1. While it wasn't one of my favorites, there was no denying the importance of the song or the album from which it came. The album was Thriller, the song was...

"Billie Jean"

Because I like to push the envelope, I'm going with seven songs this week. And I might do it next week too. So shut up. In 1980, John Lennon came back to the music scene, along with Yoko and created Double Fantasy. Nowhere could you find a more self-defining song than the one Lennon wrote for what sadly would be his last album.

"Watching the Wheels"

So that's Part 1. Jen, I apologize for being a rude guest and highlighting seven songs, but as Eric Burdon sang, "It's my life and I'll do what I want." Hope you invite me back next week.

Jen Kehl


  1. This list is awesome Kat. Awesome, you know I don't mind that you broke the rules, it was almost impossible not to! I am truly amazed at how great the music has been to listen to all over again. Rock the Casbah has some really strong memories for me, a feeling, not a moment. It's really so odd to listen again. I too still have Graceland in rotation. Amazing.
    BTW I completely agree with the fact that the music basically went downhill from there... that's why I begrudgingly am giving 90's 2 lists but 00's only one. They can suck it.

    1. Thanks for only having one in the 00's. It's so sad there's so little there. Even the 90's for me will be a stretch, though I'm sure after I think about it a while, it will come into focus. I haven't had a chance to check out everyone else's yet. Hopefully, I will do that tomorrow as I'm enjoying the 4th.

  2. I will agree with (one of) the predominant themes radio sucks with increasing efficacy. The corporatizing of the airwaves is really discouraging. The best indication of how bad(I perceive it) is that the new fun to have, while listening to the dinosaur-rock stations is keeping track of how times you can hear the same sone on 'different' radio stations... at the same moment. damn! (It used to be a game of how many times you could hear the same artist, but that got too common.)
    There remains one musical bright spot: college radio. Everyone should support their local college stations.

    1. Yes, and lucky for me, I have a couple of great college/indie stations around here. Also, online you can listen to stuff from all over the world... though some of it is as bad as what we have. It is interesting to hear the influences. That exercise you wrote about finding the same song/artist on different stations... sounds like a drinking game if ever I heard one.

  3. An awesome list Kat... A "statement" list, if you will.

    Really enjoyed the entire 7+ minutes of Sun City. That "phone number" is etched in our brains. The "moves" of MJ are just sick. And John Lennon: Totally down. I've got him as well.

    Thanks for sharing your list, Slu

    1. Thanks Slu, yeah, I enjoyed watching Sun City again as well. Totlly swamped for a day or two, but I'll get to yours. Glad you stopped by.

  4. Damn, Kat! Not one miss in the bunch - and a fair number I wouldn't have even thought of - perfect list, dear, perfect!

  5. thanks t, I appreciate that. this is the last decade where there are too many choices, from here on end we'll be scratching out heads trying to come up with five. Happy 4th, enjoy the sleepover.

  6. interesting choices Kath,80s was the last decade before music&radio went south(shame).We had Pink Floyd,(saw them do the wall in 80 at nassau mausoleum),jethro tull(my all time fave),moody blues(why are they not in rock hall of fame),ACDC,Queen&Bowie,Heart,Journey,Survivor(ha Kath),Asia,TP,Dire Straits,ZZ Top,OZZY,Scorpions,Yes,Heart,Styx,U2,Genesis,Aerosmith,Dio just to name a few.cant wait for your part 2

  7. It's hard cutting out some very good artists/songs includiing some of the above. One or two may make the list though.