When I started to write about music from 1982, I didn’t expect it to be such a large body of work. Finally after seven parts before this, here is the final part. As with the other posts, this post deals with full albums or just individual songs that couldn’t be escaped, because TV and Radio played them non-stop.
Circus Animals – Cold Chisel
The mighty Chisel’s are rock royalty in Australia.
“East” was their breaking through album and “Circus Animals” proved it wasn’t a fluke. Main songwriter, Walker didn’t want to do a commercial album again, however he didn’t count on the excellent song writing from drummer Steve Prestwich, who contributed “Forever Now” and the spine-tingling “When The War Is Over”.
The working title for the album was “Tunnel Cunts”.
The first single “You Got Nothing I Want” was written by singer Jimmy Barnes. He’s angry at Elektra Records for the lack of support given to Cold Chisel in favour of an unknown LA band called Motley Crue. This grudge would hurt the solo career of Jimmy Barnes in the U.S many years later. But that didn’t stop Barnsey from working with some of the best writers in the U.S. His biggest solo career song, “Working Class Man” was written by Jonathan Cain from Journey.
You got nothing I want
You got nothing I need
The live favourite “Bow River” is up next. Guitarist Ian Moss wrote it and sings it. It’s about a sheep station in the Northern Territory. It was a B-side to one of the singles, however it’s as iconic as the singles.
I don’t wanna see this town no more
Wastin’ my days on a factory floor
First thing you know I’ll be back in Bow River again
The monotonous life of a working person. You don’t want to be at work, but you need to be, as you need money to live, money to pay off debts and keep the wheels turning in your home life.
I been working hard, twelve hours a day
And the money I saved won’t buy my youth again
That’s what the young don’t understand when they are young. Hell, I didn’t. Our youth is only short, so it’s best to enjoy it as much as possible.
Piss all my money up against the damn wall
First thing you know I’ll be back in Bow River again
Damn right, pay-day comes and by the weekend, all of the pay is gone on booze. Today, all the pay is gone on mortgage, credit cards and utilities.
Steve Prestwich (RIP) proved his song writing chops on this album. “Forever Now” is a pop classic with a big sing along chorus.
“When The War Is Over” is brilliant.
When the war is over
Got to get away
Pack my bag to no place
In no time no day
How can I go home and not get
There was a time when we paid for our albums and we didn’t own many because of it. So what we purchased we played until the songs became a part of us. Cold Chisel was such a band that people made room for in their wallets and their songs and their words are a part of us.
The J. Geils Band – Centerfold
The single came in September, 1981 but it didn’t really get traction until February 1982, so based on that fact, it is in my 1982 list. The J. Geils band never had another hit after it. Written by Seth Justman, we all know what the story of the song is. And even back in 1982, it was all about the big single.
In Australia this song was played regularly until the early nineties and then it stopped when the sounds of Seattle became popular. And 35 years later it is still relevant, because it renews it’s listeners with each generation due to the tongue in cheek lyrics.
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – I Love Rock ‘n Roll
The song is written Alan Merrill and Jake Hooker of Arrows, who released their version in 1975. And it did nothing, until 1982.
Enter Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and MTV and what we have is another big single selling a so-so album..
The video clip was a constant and as a by-product, sales of the single continued to climb. And to this day, I still haven’t heard the album the song was on.
The beat was goin’ strong, Playin’ my favorite song
This is another song that will keep on keeping forever and a day. Guitar Hero brought it back into the public conversation and Britney Spears cover of it, for better or worse brought it even further back into the conversation.
Don Henley – I Cant Stand Still
I heard this song for the first time, thirty plus years after it’s release. What a groove. I had no idea what this song is about. But thanks to Google you can research it and Don Henley was going through his separation when he wrote this song with Danny Kortchmar. And once you know the source, you understand where he is coming from in the lyrics.
And baby, I can’t stand still (while he’s holding you)
I can’t stand (while he’s kissing you)
Don Henley – Long Way Home
It’s got this Jersey Springsteen vibe happening that I dig. Like “I Can’t Stand Still”, I heard this song just recently.
There’s three sides to every story, baby
There’s yours and there’s mine and the cold, hard truth
Amen. Ain’t that the truth.
We all have our own versions of truth, and if each event was captured on film to be viewed later, all of our versions would be different to what the footage shows.
Joey Scarbury – Believe It or Not
It’s from the album “America’s Greatest Hero”. It was released in 1981, but it was still heard well into 1985. The TV show kept it in the conversation. It’s clichéd “inspirational lyrics” are just to clichéd but I guarantee you that everyone who heard the song remembers it.
The actual performer didn’t even write it. The song is written by Mike Post (music) and Stephen Geyer (lyrics).
Believe it or not I’m walking on air
I never thought I could feel so free
Flying away on a wing and a prayer, who could it be?
Believe it or not it’s just me
Queen – Hot Space
This is the album where Brian May just went missing. There is hardly any guitar on the album. It pops up in some songs here and there, but instead of it being used as a centrepiece for the songs, May holds back and decorates each song, like tinsel on a Christmas Tree.
Production wise, my ears just can’t escape the midi triggered drums in the early Eighties “mainstream” acts. It really dates the music back to a certain era.
“Under Pressure” is the one that most people would know. A co-write with David Bowie who also performs on it. The bass riff is iconic and it proved to be a hit twice, once in 1982 and again in 1990 when Vanilla Ice pinched the whole bass riff for “Ice, Ice Baby” and then claimed in court that he came up with it.
It’s the terror of knowing
What this world is about
Watching some good friends
Screaming “let me out”
I don’t know the exact meaning of the song from the bands point of view is, but the above words are truth. We know what this world is about and for a lot of us it gets too much.
Why can’t we give love that one more chance?
It’s because we get burned from it too many times. From a relationship point of view, it’s easier to be alone then to go through new relationships, making new friendships, while you are upset at the same time that some of the old friendships are lost. From a society point of view, “love” never existed. There is always hate, jealousy and envy.
Chicago – Hard To Say I’m Sorry
I had no idea who sang this song when it came out, but it was everywhere. If it sounds like a Toto song, it’s because Steve Lukather plays guitar on the song and David Paich and Steve Porcaro play synths.
Producer David Foster, who also co-wrote the song with vocalist Peter Cetera played piano on the song, while Cetera performed vocals and played bass guitar and acoustic guitar.
Everybody needs a little time away
I had to say, from each other
Cheap Trick – If You Want My Love
I dig this song. It’s the pre-chorus that hooks me in.
Written by guitarist Rick Nielsen, it’s got melodies all over it.
Lonely is only a place
You don’t know what it’s like
How cool is the line?
Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra
Boy, did Steve Miller become fab again after his Hall of Fame speech. But that was two weeks ago and today, its like it never existed.
Steve Miller wrote an infectious song and it was good enough to knock Chicago off the number 1 spot.
I want to reach out and grab ya
I got no idea what it means, but it sticks.
Keep me burnin’ for your love
With the touch of a velvet glove
Again, I got no idea why the touch had to be from a velvet glove, but it rhymes and it sticks.
A Flock of Seagulls – I Ran (So Far Away)
Even as a metal/rock head, I still dig this song. It was number 1 in Australia for a few weeks. That Chorus is just arena rock, but the feel of the song is new wave.
It was produced by Mike Howlett, who was becoming the in-demand producer for the new-wave bands. Sort of like how Tom Werman and Keith Olsen became the in-demand producers in the 80’s for hard rock bands.
A cloud appears above your head
A beam of light comes shining down on you
Shining down on you
The cloud is moving nearer still
Aurora Borealis comes in view
Using the “Northern Lights” as the lights of the departed. Well, that’s how I view the song’s lyrics.
Reached out a hand to try again
I’m floating in a beam of light with you
A beam of light with you
And I ran, I ran so far away
I just ran, I ran all night and day
John Cougar Mellencamp – American Fool
It was a huge album created under duress and record label pressures.
The record company wanted a certain Neil Diamond sounding record. After spending three months in the studio, Mellencamp had 20 songs recorded. The label A&R rep came in, heard it and hated it. Album cuts, “Jack & Diane”, “Hand To Hold On To” and “Weakest Moments” were part of these 20 songs. The label halted the project. They considered getting in a new producer. They considered dropping Mellencamp from the roster. In the end, they gave the green light for Mellencamp to write some more songs however they wanted to hear the demos before they gave the OK to record them in a studio.
The end product is Mellencamp’s commercial breakthrough. “Hurts So Good” and “Jack & Diane” are cultural songs.
“Hurts So Good” is written with childhood friend George Green.
Sometimes love don’t feel like it should
You make it hurt so good
Said in a way that wasn’t R-rated.
Up next is “Jack & Diane” that little ditty about two American kids growing up in the heartland.
Oh yeah, life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone, they walk on
And that’s right. A lot of people don’t seem to realise those High School highs and good times have never come around again. But life goes on and your sense of duty to yourself and family takes over.
Daryl Hall and John Oates – H2O
They didn’t look metal at all, but they could write songs.
“Maneater” is from their eleventh studio album and the song is written by Hall, Oates and Sara Allen.
She’s deadly, man
And she could really rip your world apart
It’s like Phil Lynott wrote the lyrics.
“At Tension” has this bass synth riff that if played on distorted guitar its heavy as. It’s written by John Oates. It’s over 6 minutes long, far removed from the pop format. You needed the album to hear this album cut.
I’d like to join the army
Don’t want to join the war
I’d take my place in line hell (hell)
We keep on marching forward
Never will retreat
Words apart from the single “Maneater”.
Duran Duran – Hungry Like the Wolf
I never gave this band a chance in the 80’s purely on their look. It was when “Come Undone” came out that I decided I needed to check em out a little bit more. So “Rio” is their second album and “Hungry Like The Wolf” is the song that launched it. There is no denying that the riff is hard rock to a tee. It was all over the TV stations in Australia.
I’m on the hunt, I’m after you
Me thinks so.
Earth, Wind & Fire – Let’s Groove
I am pretty sure the album “Raise” came out in 1981, however I haven’t heard the album. This song was all also all over the TV music stations in Australia. The single did come in 1982. I dig it, its funky and as the title states, groovy.
Let’s groove tonight
Share the spice of life
Baby, slice it right
We’re gonna groove tonight
Me thinks so.
Goanna – Spirit Of Place
“Solid Rock” is the song.
We couldn’t escape it in Australia. It kicks off with a didgeridoo intro and a brilliant guitar riff that reminds me of the “Sultans of Swing” from Dire Straits for some reason. It reached #2 in Australia and charted in the US. According to Wikipedia, the inspiration came to vocalist Shane Howard on a ten-day camping trip at Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) during 1980 where he had a “spiritual awakening” which brought “the fire in the belly” to the surface over injustices to Australia’s indigenous peoples.
They were standin’ on the shore one day, Saw the white sails in the sun
Wasn’t long before they felt the sting, white man, white law, white gun
Don’t tell me that it’s justified, ’cause somewhere, someone lied
Yeah well someone lied, someone lied, genocide
Yep, Australia’s settlement history is pretty much summed up above. And to this day, 200 plus years later, there is still a lot of debate about it.
INXS – Shabooh Shoobah
Mark Opitz produced “Circus Animals” for Cold Chisel and then moved on to “Shabooh Shoobah” from Inxs. This is the version of INXS before they topped the Billboard charts six years later. It is this album that gave INXS their major label deal in the U.S.
The closer “Don’t Change” was the song that made me a fan. It was a “hit” song without being a hit. Richie Sambora played it live, when he appeared at the Enmore Theatre.
Don’t change for you
Don’t change a thing for me
Damn right, let’s love each other for who we are.
Loverboy – Working For The Weekend
Yeah I know the album was released in 1981, but the single “Working For The Weekend” was released in January 1982 in Australia, so for me it’s a 1982 album.
Everybody’s working for the weekend
Everybody wants a new romance
Everybody’s going off the deep end
Everybody needs a second chance, oh
And like the song “Bow River” from Cold Chisel, once the weekend is over, we’ll be back at Bow River again for the Monday shift.