my awesome 80s mix tapes

Remember mix tapes? Sure you do, cassette tape technology isn’t completely dead yet. Like so many of those who grew up through the 70s and 80s, I made quite a few mix tapes.

I started making mix tapes (I usually refer to them as compilation tapes) while in my second year of art school, 1984/85. A fellow student, Tim, then in his first year, introduced me to the concept of making a cassette tape filled with your favorite music. Since then I’ve made more than a hundred tapes with some way cool music.

At first, I would simply number them, but later I’d come up with titles for the tapes. Titles such as: “Uganda, what?”; “Much Too Much Eric Clapton” (featuring not a single song by Clapton); “Public Highway, Baby”; and, my favorite title, “A Constant Bombardment of Frenzied, Heathen Discord”. I took that title for a pamphlet I found somewhere. The pamphlet was put out by a couple Evangelist Christian brothers warning of the dangers of rock ‘n’ roll.

Sometime in 1994, while watching some late night TV, I saw a commercial advertising a CD series called “Awesome 80s”. The ad featured a couple of dudes all 80s’d out, speaking of the virtues of all the awesome 80s music. Awesome?

The collection these two dorks were hawking was as mainstream as anything could be. While in art school, I discovered truly awesome music. I was into the indie scene. Punk, post-punk, ska, new wave, etc. The TV collection consisted of Journey, Lisa Lisa & the whatever the hell they were called, Kim Carnes, Air Supply, Foreigner, blah, blah, blah, yuck!

“How lame!” I thought to myself. (The picture above pretty much demonstrates how lousy it was, although I'm not sure it is the actual CD that I saw offered.) So, I got right to work putting together my own “Awesome 80s” compilation tape series. Initially, I did two 110 minute long cassettes back in 1994, then, just this year; I did two more 90 minutes cassettes worth of music.

I had rules that I followed in choosing what artists and which of their songs to include. The first rule is obvious – all songs had to have been released in the 80s. Second, only one song per artist could be included. However, if a performer was part of a band and also released solo material in the 80s, one song could be included from each (e.g. Peter Murphy & Bauhaus). Or if one band became another band and both released music in the 80s (e.g. XTC & The Dukes of Stratosphear). The third rule was – all songs must be cool. A couple songs may be considered mainstream, but they are still good enough to be included.

If you are the kind of person who thinks the TV version of “Awesome 80s” sounds good, you probably won’t know most of the songs I put in my four volume set.

I will list each volume’s songlist without further comment. Rest assured, though, each song is great and worthy of a listen. Worthy of a thousand listens!!

Volume I

‘Eighties’ - Killing Joke
‘I Will Dare’ - The Replacements
‘To Hell with Poverty’ - Gang of Four
‘Death of a European’ – The Three Johns
‘In Between Days’ – The Cure
‘Spinning Round’ – Red Lorry Yellow Lorry
‘Apeman Hop’ – Ramones
‘This Damn Nation’ – The Godfathers
‘She’s In Parties’ – Bauhaus
‘Alice’s House’ – The Psychedelic Furs
‘Rise’ – Public Image Ltd.
‘One Day in Your Life’ – 54-40
‘Give Me Back My Man’ – The B-52’s
‘Uncertain Smile’ – The The
‘Come To Milton Keyes’ – The Style Council
‘Into My Hands’ – The Church
‘So. Central Rain’ – REM
‘Smooth Operator’ – Sade
‘Respectable Street’ – XTC
‘Like Wow, Wipe Out’ – Hoodoo Gurus
‘How Soon Is Now’ – The Smiths
‘Cities in Dust’ – Siouxsie & the Banshees
‘Ahead’ – Wire
‘Through Being Cool’ – Devo
‘Vamos’ – Pixies
‘Newest Industry’ – Husker Du
‘Jordan, MN’ – Big Black
‘Envoye’ – The Young Gods
‘Those Who Move’ – Naked Raygun
‘No Time to Cry’ – Sisters of Mercy

Volume II

‘Once in a Lifetime’ – Talking Heads
‘Telephone Operator’ – Pete Shelley
‘Driving the Dynamite Truck’ – Breaking Circus
‘The High Road’ – The Feelies
‘Rescue’ – Echo & the Bunnymen
‘Mandinka’ – Sinead O’Connor
‘Swamp Thing’ – The Chameleons UK
‘Ceremony’ – New Order
‘Never Before, Never Again’ – The dB’s
‘Wild Blue Yonder’ – The Screaming Blue Messiahs
‘Message of Love’ – The Pretenders
‘Precious’ – The Jam
‘Cruiser’s Creek’ – The Fall
‘Marlene on the Wall’ – Suzanne Vega
‘Ivo’ – Cocteau Twins
‘Another Bubble’ – Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians
‘A Song from Under the Floorboards’ – Magazine
‘Big Decision’ – That Petrol Emotion
‘Marimba’ – Red Guitars
‘A Pagan Place’ – The Waterboys
‘Say Goodbye’ – Hunters & Collectors
‘Love is the Law’ – The Suburbs
‘Snake Dance’ – The March Violets
‘Emmarita’ – The Whole Lotta Loves
‘Let’s Get Married’ – The Celibate Rifles
‘Here Comes the Rain’ – The Cult
‘Independence Day’ – Urban Guerrillas

Volume III

‘Final Solution’ – Peter Murphy
‘Canary in a Coalmine’ – The Police
‘24’ – Game Theory
‘Scorpio Rising’ – 10,000 Maniacs
‘Free Yourself’ – The Untouchables
‘True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes’ – Red Hot Chili Peppers
‘Garbageman’ – The Cramps
‘Let’s See the Sun’ – The Fleshtones
‘We’re So Cool’ – Au Pairs
‘Nothing Means Nothing Anymore’ – The Alley Cats
‘Games without Frontiers’ – Peter Gabriel
‘E = mc2 ’ – Big Audio Dynamite
‘What Do You Know?’ – Buzzcocks
‘Here Comes the Rain Again’ – Eurythmics
‘Gone Daddy Gone’ – The Violent Femmes
‘Units’ – Man-Sized Action
‘Beatle Boots’ – Love Tractor
‘Above It Now’ – Figures
‘Motorcrash’ – The Sugarcubes
‘Go!’ – Tones on Tail
‘Everything Counts’ – Depeche Mode
‘Sour Grapes’ – The Descendents
‘Police on My Back’ – The Clash
‘Shut Out the Light’ – Steve Diggle
‘Insanely Jealous’ – The Soft Boys
‘Cloudbusting’ – Kate Bush

Volume IV

‘Well, Well, Well’ – The Woodentops
‘The Metro’ – Berlin
’Jean’s Not Happening’ – The Pale Fountains
‘Carpathia Girl’ – Laughing Stock
‘Party at Ground Zero’ – Fishbone
‘Sensoria’ – Cabaret Voltaire
‘Ball of Confusion’ – Love & Rockets
‘Let My Love Open the Door’ – Pete Townshend
‘Love Kills’ – Joe Strummer
‘Levitation’ – The Mighty Mofos
‘Certain Things are Likely’ – KTP
‘Poplife’ – Prince & the Revolution
‘Ashes to Ashes’ – David Bowie
‘World Destruction’ – Time Zone
‘Nemesis’ – Shreikback
‘(Kind of) True’ – Golden Palominos
‘Date with a Vampyre’ – The Screaming Tribesmen
‘Some Candy Talking’ – The Jesus & Mary Chain
‘Just for the Moment’ – Get Smart
‘TV Party!’ – Black Flag

That’s more than one hundred kick ass, crazy good songs. Certainly better than most of the stuff you could get in that TV offer. A lot of these songs can be found on iTunes. Look for them. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Perfection... you must of had a great collection of songs to make and blend those tapes!

    Great nostlagia trip... shame the music isn't as good as it was back then... there's still plenty of good stuff out there, but you have to dig harder!

    Loved so many of your musical choices!