Friday, March 3, 2017

UK Indie Hits: 1980-89 (Update)

Three years ago today I began counting down my 50 favorite singles from the golden age of UK indie. That was, by far, the most fun I have had during my nearly eight years of blogging, and it turned out to be, by far, the most popular series ever attempted here. In fact, chances are fairly high you found this place during that countdown. You might be interested to learn the list has been quite fluid in the three years since I first compiled it.

Sometime during 2014 I made a reverse chronological order playlist of the songs on my iPod, and I don't think a week has gone by that I haven't listened to at least a few songs from it. The many pitfalls of creating a countdown like this, in print for all eternity, is you realize from time to time you have forgotten a gem. This actually happened to me with two songs during the unveiling, but it was too late to correct the problem. I did rectify it on my iPod. Then there was the realization I had picked the wrong song from an artist. Sometimes I went with a less obvious choice because I didn't want to pick the big hit, such as "Love Will Tear Us Apart," when in my heart I knew I loved that song more than "Transmission." Then there are the earworms. Occasionally, I would get obsessed with a song and stick it in the Top 50 playlist for a while, only to see it leave again a month later. Off the top of my head, that happened with songs by the Higsons, the Woodentops, the Nivens, the Au Pairs, Carmel and at least a half dozen more.

On this anniversary, I thought I would give a peek at the list in its current form. There are seven artists that weren't on the countdown three years ago. Obviously, that means seven got the boot. There are also five bands that were on the original list but are now represented by a different song. A few of the bands moved up... a few moved down. All in all, though, about three-fourths of the list hasn't changed. A quick reminder of the rules. One song per band. Must have been a charting indie single from the '80s. Must have been from the UK. No Sugarcubes, Triffids or Minutemen, even though they were on the chart. I imagine always being a seeker of new music, but these are the songs that make that exercise laborious. There are only so many minutes in the day, and I always want to come back to this booty.

Top 50 UK Indie Hits: 1980-89

Note: Links are to new additions to the countdown. Songs in bold represent bands that were on the original countdown but are now represented by a different song.

50. Phil Wilson - Waiting for a Change
49. Primal Scream - Crystal Crescent
48. Wire - Eardrum Buzz
47. McCarthy - The Well of Loneliness
46. The Jasmine Minks - Cold Heart
45. Hurrah! - Who'd Have Thought
44. The Sea Urchins - Pristine Christine
43. The Primitives - Stop Killing Me
42. The Wake - Talk About the Past
41. The Wolfhounds - The Anti-Midas Touch (Entry Date: Nov. 1, 1986, Peak: No. 6)
40. Razorcuts - Sorry to Embarrass You
39. 14 Iced Bears - Come Get Me (May 14, 1988, No. 15)
38. The Lightning Seeds - Pure
37. Shop Assistants - Safety Net
36. The Pastels - Comin' Through
35. The Brilliant Corners - Delilah Sands
34. The Loft - Why Does the Rain
33. The Teardrop Explodes - Treason (It's Just a Story)
32. The Pale Fountains - (There's Always) Something on My Mind
31. Talulah Gosh - Talulah Gosh
30. Robert Wyatt - Shipbuilding
29. Fire Engines - Big Gold Dream
28. The Waterboys - A Girl Called Johnny
27. The Monochrome Set - The Jet Set Junta
26. The Rosehips - Room In Your Heart (May 16, 1987, No. 9)
25. The Icicle Works - Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)
24. The Popguns - Landslide (May 6, 1989, No. 20)
23. Josef K - It's Kinda Funny
22. Prefab Sprout - Lions in My Own Garden (Exit Someone)
21. Yazoo - Nobody's Diary
20. The Orchids - I've Got a Habit
19. Girls at Our Best! - Getting Nowhere Fast (April 12, 1980, No. 9)
18. The Field Mice - Sensitive
17. The Weather Prophets - Almost Prayed (June 7, 1986, No. 3)
16. Miaow - When It All Comes Down (Feb. 28, 1987, No. 5)
15. The Chesterf!elds - Completely & Utterly
14. Mighty Mighty - Throwaway
13. The Flatmates - I Could Be in Heven
12. Another Sunny Day - You Should all Be Murdered
11. Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart
10. Orange Juice - Poor Old Soul
9. Scritti Politti - Asylums in Jerusalem
8. New Order - True Faith
7. The Wedding Present - My Favourite Dress
6. The Bodines - Therese
5. Close Lobsters - Going to Heaven to See If It Rains
4. The Smiths - This Charming Man
3. The Wild Swans - Revolutionary Spirit
2. Aztec Camera - Just Like Gold
1. The June Brides – Every Conversation


JTFL said...

Genius. Reads like every mix tape I made circa mid-80's.

Iano1 said...

Nice list!

charity chic said...

I'd buy that

Misterprime said...

Hey, I've got a copy of that book! I bought it in a charity shop. The previous owner has made slightly random additions in pencil....

JC said...

What a Top 10!!!

In fact what a great list all round.

And another example of our great minds think alike/fools seldom differ stuff. Girls At Our Best debuting soon over at my place (3 months of advance posts are written as I'm heading into a crazy time at work and home)

Chris said...

Was recently listening to a compilation of 80s UK indie, from The Subway Organization label, including The Flatmates and The Chesterfields, good stuff. Now I have some more to look into from your top 50.