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Rare 1980's MP3 of the Week

I've been involved in music for all of my life. I have a great love of rare, alternative "new wave" type of music. Some people call it synthpop. You know, those songs that you have heard in movies and so on, you don't know the artist or the name of the song...but it's such a great song! I grew up listening to radio station CFNY, and dedicated a fair bit of my life to this kind of music.

Read the story of my career as a professional club DJ.

This is the reason why I had put up this page. I've seen other people do similar things, particularly the excellent Blake's Rare Recording of the Week. However, the other pages never seem to post the music that I would have myself selected. Couple this with the fact that I own well in excess of 2,000 records and CD's, much of which is extremely rare and hard to find. It's a real shame that this music ends up sitting on my shelves, not being played. This was my solution.

Once a week, I would post a rare track of my choosing in MP3 format, as well as a track that was posted two years ago. UNTIL, that is, the wonderful RIAA clamped down and shut down this and virtually every other site like it. Never mind that the majority of the music we were posting wasn't even available to buy anywhere, and was essentially "lost."

In any case, I leave these comments I wrote as a record of what I did post, in hopes it will one day help someone find what they are looking for. Enjoy.

Click to see: Current tracks - All 2000 tracks - All 2001 tracks - All 2002 tracks - Complete track listing


July 1, 2004

It's been almost a year since I updated this page, and I now have a good reason to.

XRV CD CreditsColorado synthpop group The Dignity of Labour has released their first single since being signed to A Different Drum Records, called XRV. If you like most of the music I posted on this page over the past few years, I can pretty well guarantee you're going to like The Dignity of Labour.

What's really special about this CD single is that track number 8, the Domination Mix of XRV, is a remix that *I* did for the CD. And I am most pleased to read a review of the CD by Jason Baker at synthpop.net, who gave the CD 4 1/2 stars. Jason writes:

"The really impressive mix closes out the single. The Domination mix is a 9 minute juggernaut. Just a classic, unforgettable extended mix."

This is exactly the idea I had in mind when I did this mix, so I am extremely pleased with what he got from it.

XRV is the precursor to TDOL's first album for A Different Drum. You can buy it online now as well as download free MP3's of XRV and XRV - Nevarakka Mix, so I encourage you all to support today's synthpop and purchase a really great CD. I promise you'll like it!

June 30, 2003

Well, it looks like this is it. The RIAA is cracking down, and even those of us who are posting just a few songs long forgotten, songs that are completely unavailable anymore, are being shut down. They sent threatening letters to my file hosting service, which immediately shut down my MP3 site. They then sent cease and desist letters to me. I simply don't have the resources to fight or argue, so it would appear that the MP3 portion of my MP3 site is finished. I don't know if I will continue featuring artists, but I will at least finish out my Scary Thieves second part.

I appreciate the kind words of all of the hundreds of wonderful people I have met through posting these songs throughout the past few years. Thanks to Blake, who got me into this in the first place, and to Simon, who has turned me on to UK music from the 80's I had never even heard of. It's been fun!

June 23, 2003

Scary Thieves

June 16, 2003

Giant Steps: Another Lover (Extended Mix)
A-Ha: Take On Me (Extended Mix)

Giant Steps

Dammit.

I had picked this song to post earlier this week, and on Friday I saw that Simon over at Torchomatic had featured the SAME song this week. Normally, this would cause me to go pull a different record, record it and feature it instead. However, this week I'm going to go ahead and stick with mine - basically because Simon featured the LP version, and I'm featuring the 12" extended mix - which is fairly different from the LP version.

Listening to this version, you could swear it was Scritti Politti - the keyboards and vocals are VERY similar - and in fact, the first time I heard this, that's exactly who I thought it was. I finally figured out who it was, and this track became a staple in my clubs - especially PM Toronto, because the video I had of this song actually used this extended version, which was not very common. It was always a fight to play 4 minute videos, and when you got a great 7 minute extended version video, it got played a lot. :)

So have a listen to Simon's LP version, then download the extended version here. Enjoy!

A-Ha

This 12" single took me so long to find, I actually gave up, deciding that it just didn't exist. More on this track and the group behind it here.

You Can Purchase A-Ha albums online here!

June 9, 2003

Siouxsie and the Banshees: Cities in Dust (Extended Eruption Mix)
Man 2 Man Meet Man Parrish: Male Stripper (12" Mix)

Siouxsie and the Banshees

Sigh. Business travel is encroaching upon my ability to post every week. I hope things will settle down shortly, and I can return to my weekly posting schedule.

Formed in 1976, Siouxsie and the Banshees recorded and toured for twenty years, finally calling it a day in 1996. Siouxsie Sioux, Budgie and Steve Severin produced some of the most popular alternative "goth" music of the 1980's. This track, along with "Dazzle" are my two favorite Siouxsie tracks - and this one in particular has a special memory for me.

After the split in 1996, Siouxsie and Budgie reformed their previous partnership effort "The Creatures", while Steve Severin produced solo work.

Much more can be read about Siouxsie and the Banshees on this site.

Man 2 Man Meet Man Parrish

More on this track and the group behind it here.

You can purchase Siouxsie and the Banshees albums online here!
Purchase Man Parrish albums online here!

May 26, 2003

Frankie Goes To Hollywood: Welcome to the Pleasuredome (Pleasurefix Mix)
Frankie Goes To Hollywood: Welcome to the Pleasuredome (Brothers In Rhythm Rollercoaster Mix)
Elton John: I Don't Wanna Go On With You Like That (Shep Pettibone Mix)

Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Nothing succeeds like excess, and Frankie's numerous overlong remixes are a prime example. And because I missed last week (travelling, sorry), I'm going to feature two overlong remixes of Pleasuredome - the second one being over 14 minutes long! My apologies to the dial-ups amongst you.

Elton John

Not what you'd normally hear on this page, but the remix is just so fantastic, it deserves to be heard. It's got a pounding bassline that is just made for subwoofers. More on this track and the group behind it here.

You can purchase Frankie Goes to Hollywood albums online here!
Purchase Elton John albums online here!

May 12, 2003

Frankie Goes To Hollywood: Two Tribes (Carnage Mix)
Images in Vogue: So Careful

Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Basically producer Trevor Horn, Holly Johnson and Paul Rutherford, Liverpool-based FGTH started with demos of Relax and Two Tribes, which were rejected by both Arista and Phonogram. It wasn't until the demos were played on BBC Radio 1 and heard by head of Zang Tumb Tuum Trevor Horn that the Frankies came into being. Horn took the admittedly bad raw studio recordings of Relax and spent five weeks and over $100,000 to create the sound he wanted.

Relax was released in in October 1983 and made its way up and down the charts, eventually landing FGTH an appearance on Top of the Pops. However, it wasn't until Radio One DJ Mike Read happened to read the back cover of the track. Without pausing for thought, Read took the record off halfway through, declaring that it was "overtly obscene" On January 10th 1984, the record was banned by the BBC. Of course, it soared instantly to number 1, where it remained for five weeks.

By the beginning of May Relax was sliding out of the Top 30 but the release of Two Tribes in May of 1984 kept them in the charts. Accompanied by a brilliant video clip directed by famous duo Godley and Creme, the video depicts Reagan and Tchernenko fighting a bloody no-rule match in a small arena while being watched (and later on joined) by the rest of the world. FGTH are the camera crew who film the happening; Holly provides the commentary. In its first two days Two Tribes sold 500,000 copies and entered the charts at No. 1.

The BBC, not wanting to repeat the error they had made with Relax, played it to death. For the next nine weeks Frankie were on Top Of The Pops as the nation's No.1 act, and by mid-July the recovery of Relax in the charts was such that they held the first two positions, something unheard of since The Beatles had done it in January 1968 with Hello, Goodbye and Magical Mystery Tour

Images in Vogue

A fantastic Canadian group that should have gone further, but whose members formed some very influential groups. They have actually reformed and are playing live dates right now! More on this track and the group behind it here.

You can purchase Frankie Goes to Hollywood albums online here!
Purchase Images In Vogue albums online here!

May 5, 2003

Level 42: Hot Water (Extended)
Images in Vogue: Rescue Me

Level 42

Back to our second Level 42 track. I picked this week's track because it was not one of their top-40 hits, but gives a really great feel for the jazz background of Level 42 - while tight and perfect in terms of the music and programming, it still has a loose "jazz" feel. A great song!

Images in Vogue

A fantastic Canadian group that should have gone further, but whose members formed some very influential groups. They have actually reformed and are playing live dates right now! More on this track and the group behind it here.

You can purchase Level 42 albums online here!
Purchase Images In Vogue albums online here!

April 28, 2003

The Damned: Grimly Fiendish (The Bad Trip Mix)
China Crisis: Working With Fire and Steel (12 Inch Mix)

Wow, I've really screwed up this week. Not only am I posting a day late, I managed to post the wrong song. I had originally intended to feature my second Level 42 song this week, but completely forgot until after I had already posted this week's track from The Damned. So we'll get back to Level 42 again next week. My apologies to all the Level 42 fanatics out there (and judging by the amount of email last week's posting generated, there are a lot of you!).

The Damned

Formed in 1976 by drummer Chris Millar (aka Rat Scabies), bassist Ray Burns (aka Captain Sensible), guitarist Brian James (also the creator of Lords of the New Church) and vocalist David Vanian, The Damned continues to release albums today. Originally featuring Chrissie Hynde (later of The Pretenders), The Damned played live for the first time in 1976 supporting the Sex Pistols. In 1982 Captain Sensible released a single of "Happy Talk" b/w "Wot?" (which I will feature later this year) which became a number one hit in England, securing the Captain's future solo career. In 1985 the group released their first album without the Captain, "Phantasmagoria", from which this week's track is taken.

China Crisis

A great group without a huge breakout single, but with a body of work that more than makes up for it. More on this track and the group behind it here.

You can purchase Damned albums online here!
You can purchase China Crisis albums online here!

April 21, 2003

Level 42: Running In The Family (Dave O'Remix)
Blue Peter: Don't Walk Past

Level 42

I don't know why I've left it this long before featuring Level 42. Long one of my favorite 80's groups, Level 42 emerged originally as a jazz-funk band, deciding that they would try their hand at some top-40 radio-accessible songs, with huge success. When their bass player left, drummer Mark King learned to play bass, and became the lead singer. What resulted was a string of hits from some very talented people.

I picked this remix because I like the way the remixer left bare the lead synth, instead of leaving it layered behind like on the original mix. Keyboardist Mike Lindup is one of the most talented musicians I know of, and having had the opportunity to meet him, a very nice guy to boot. We'll do another Level 42 track next week as well.

Blue Peter

I saw this group play my high school! More on this track and the group behind it here.

You can purchase Level 42 albums online here!

April 14, 2003

Bauhaus: Ziggy Stardust
The Pukka Orchestra: Cherry Beach Express

Bauhaus

A Bowie song, but a version that Bowie himself admits is superior to his own. Without a doubt my favorite Bauhaus song (Bela Lugosi's Dead coming a close second). Unfortunately, yet another one where the 12" version (b/w "Kick In The Eye" - almost a double-A side, really) is identical to the album version.

Pukka Orchestra

One of my all-time favorite Canadian (Toronto-area) groups. More on this track and the group behind it here.

You can purchase Bauhaus albums online here!

April 7, 2003

Depeche Mode: Policy of Truth (Capitol Mix)
Nik Kershaw: The Riddle

oops. Sorry about missing last week, folks. Let's call it the end result of a 36 hour workday, a red-eye flight home, and the flu, all at the same time.

Depeche Mode

Second in our Depeche Mode remix feature. There isn't a really clever hook in this remix like there was in last week's remix, I just think it's a very well-done remix overall, while keeping the original song intact. Nothing annoys me more with today's "remixes" of songs than when the "remix" consists of some idiot's drum machine and synth lines, with a few random samples thrown in from the original song. This remix is obviously not one of these. :)

Nik Kershaw

While known only for a few minor hits over this side of the pond, Nik was a genuine top-40 phenomenon in the UK. More on this track here.

You can purchase Depeche Mode albums online here!
You can purchase Nik Kershaw albums online here!

March 24, 2003

Depeche Mode: Enjoy The Silence (Future Mix)
Midge Ure: After a Fashion

Depeche Mode

I know I like to find some rare music from time to time, and it is one of my greatest joys to introduce "new" music to people who either didn't hear it the first time around, or simply weren't around for that time. In doing so I sometimes miss some obvious groups such as this week's feature - which also happens to be one of, it not my favorite group of all time. And this week we feature what I consider to be the greatest song they ever produced, with a bit of a tweak. There have been a kazillion remixes of this song. What caught me about this remix is the turntable artistry and funk-ified beat throughout. Enjoy!

Midge Ure

Scottish Ultravox wizard Midge Ure produced a great amount of music on his own, including this week's track. More on this track here.

You can purchase Depeche Mode albums online here!
You can purchase Midge Ure albums online here!

March 17, 2003

Howard Jones: What Is Love (New Extended Version)
The Glove: Perfect Murder

Howard Jones

I have no idea why I haven't featured Howard Jones before. Perhaps it was his dominance of synth-based top-40 radio in the 1980's, but I grew away from Howard. It was when someone requested a Howard Jones track that I pulled out some of the 12" singles I have of his, and realized how much I had missed him. So here is a pretty great remix of What Is Love, by request.

The Glove

I have been just waiting for this track to come back up. It's a Cure side project, and the atmospherics throughout it make it one of my favorites. More on this track here.

You can purchase Howard Jones albums online here!
You can purchase Cure albums online here!

March 10, 2003

Nik Kershaw: Don Quixote
Martin Gore: In a Matter of Speaking

Nik Kershaw

I've had Nik Kershaw featured once before, this time I'm fulfilling yet another request. Nik had a string of hits in the 1980's, some of which were contained to the UK, but quite a few that made their way over here, if not only on alternative radio. Nik continues to work and tour today.

Martin Gore

The Depeche Mode writer/producer/keyboardist from his solo album "Counterfeit". More on this track here.

You can purchase Nik Kershaw albums online here!
You can purchase the Martin Gore "Counterfeit" album online here!

March 3, 2003

Tee Vee Toons: Jane Get Me Off This Crazy Thing (Late Night Dance Mix)
Saga: Don't Be Late (Chapter III)

Tee Vee Toons

I've actually had a few requests for this song, it grew out of an unknown song ID from the (who woulda guessed) unknown song ID page on my SpiritOfRadio web site. Technically the proper name of the "group" of this week's song is "Tee Vee Toons presents Television's Greatest Hits". This emerged from a series of novelty albums released containing the original theme songs from various TV shows, primarily from the 50's, 60's and 70's. Some bright person decided it would be a good idea to get a drum machine, some backing synths, a sampler, and create a song containing a bunch of snippets from these theme songs, with a base of the Jetson's song. For some reason it became a hit, and it was remixed into a 12" version, which you see here today.

Saga

More classic Saga this week. I had a difficult time picking just two Saga songs - if you like what you've heard, I recommend buying their early albums, you won't be disappointed. More on this track here.

You can purchase Tee Vee Toons albums online here!
You can purchase Saga albums online here!

February 24, 2003

The System: The Pleasure Seekers
Saga: Wind Him Up
Tom Robinson: Listen to the Radio: Atmospherics (Live in East Berlin, 1982)

First off: You wouldn't believe the howls of derision I received in email for not posting the live Tom Robinson track last week. So if you absolutely must hear the "Live in Germany" version of last week's Tom Robinson song, I've posted it this week for you. :)

The System

Another request this week from a very underrated group. Having become known with the more laid-back and funky 1982 dance club hit "You Are In My System", this track is from the 1985 album of the same name. This track made it into proper 80's lore by appearing on an episode of Miami Vice. The System had one more minor with with "Don't Disturb This Groove" in 1987.  

The System was David Frank (keyboards) and Mic Murphy (vocals). Moving on from their own music, they were in high demand producing for many well-known singers and groups, and did soundtrack work as well, notably Beverly Hills Cop and Coming To America.

Saga

The last time I featured Saga in 2001, I had an absolutely huge response. I still prefer their older material - the use of synth throughout is simply brilliant. More on this track here.

You can purchase Saga albums online here!
You can purchase Tom Robinson albums online here!

February 17, 2003

Ministry: Over The Shoulder (12 Inch Mix)
Tom Robinson: Listen to the Radio: Atmospherics (12 inch version)

Ministry

By request this week, this is another early Ministry track. I mentioned Al Jourgensen's hatred of his early work back when I featured Work for Love back in 2001. I actually quite like this song, you can hear some of the industrial influences sneaking in that would dominate Ministry's later work.

Tom Robinson

I absolutely love this track. I almost decided to post the 7 minute version that appeared on the B-side, but...even some songs can be overdone. :) More on this track here.

You can purchase Ministry albums online here!
You can purchase Tom Robinson albums online here!

February 10, 2003

Colourbox: The Moon Is Blue
SSQ: Walkman On

Before I start this week, I'd like to thank Simon from Torchomatic for an update on the Big Supreme. I've added his update to the entry for that track. You should check out Simon's weekly MP3 site as well, at http://www.eighties-mp3.co.uk 

Colourbox

Colourbox was formed in 1982 by brothers Steven and Martyn Young. Working extensively with electronics, sampling and production, they released their double album "Colourbox" in 1985, which spawned a few minor hits, including this week's track.

It wasn't until they reformed in 1987 in a collaboration with AR Kane, Chris Mackintosh and Dave Dorrell, calling themselves M/A/R/R/S, that they became famous, with their worldwide smash "Pump Up The Volume."

SSQ

SSQ was the original incarnation of Stacey Q. More on this track here.

You can purchase Colourbox albums online here!
You can purchase SSQ/Stacey Q albums online here!

February 3, 2003

Matt Bianco: More Than I Can Bear
The Big Supreme: Don't Walk (12 Inch Mix)

Matt Bianco

Not all of the tracks on the first Matt Bianco album featured Basia on vocals - as in this track. I had a real hard time figuring out which would be the third and last Matt Bianco track - and decided this relaxing tune would be it. Enjoy!

Next week we start into my list of requests.

The Big Supreme

I don't have much information on this track, but what I do know can be seen here.

You can purchase Matt Bianco albums online here!

January 27, 2003

Matt Bianco: Whose Side Are You On
Freeez: IOU (12 Inch Mix)

Matt Bianco

Week two of Matt Bianco, this time  we feature the title track from their first album. The smooth vocals of Basia positively glow in this song - I could listen to it endlessly.

We finish with Matt Bianco next week!

Freeez

Most people know this song, but not a lot of people know who it is. More on this track here.

You can purchase Matt Bianco albums online here!
You can purchase Freeez albums online here!

January 20, 2003

Matt Bianco: Sneaking Out the Back Door
Platinum Blonde: Crying Over You (Radical Mix)

Matt Bianco

I was absolutely torn over which Matt Bianco track to feature - being that I love pretty well everything Matt Bianco has ever produced. So I've decided to feature them over the next few weeks. This track is from their 1984 debut album "Whose Side Are You On" - it being (what I think) their best. 

Matt Bianco was formed in 1982 by Danny White, Mark Reilly and Kito Poncioni, along with vocalist Basia (yes, that Basia). This lineup produced their debut album in 1984, after which the lineup changed. Basia and Danny left and produced material under Basia's name (producing the wonderful album "Time and Tide"), Matt Bianco continued on as Mark Fisher and Mark Reilly.

More on Matt Bianco next week!

Platinum Blonde

From the huge Canadian 80's act, a strange (but not bad) 12" mix - of a top 40 song! More on this track here.

You can purchase Matt Bianco albums online here!
You can purchase Platinum Blonde albums online here!

January 13, 2003

A Flock of Seagulls: Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) (Long Version)
Art of Noise: Beatbox (12 inch Version)

Welcome back! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season!

A Flock of Seagulls

Liverpool's A Flock of Seagulls, named from the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull, consisted of Mike Score (vocals, keyboards), his brother Ali (drums), Paul Reynolds (guitar), and Frank Maudsley (bass). Being that Score and Maudsley were hairdressers, Score decided to do a wild "waterfall" hairdo for their first video, "I Ran". MTV latched onto this video and put it into heavy rotation, so much so that the term "Flock of Seagulls" has become a vernacular term for a wild hair style.

This week's track was their first real hit - I was originally intending to feature "Space Age Love Song" from the same album, however found that the 12" single of that song annoyingly contains the exact same version as appears on the album. Why did record companies do that sort of thing? Nothing annoyed me more than paying $7 for a 12" single of a track, expecting a wonderful extended version, only to find it was the exact same version as I already had on the album!

ahem.

So anyway, I decided to go with the 12" of "Wishing", which is indeed a "long version" at just over 9 minutes.

Art of Noise

More on this track here.

You can purchase A Flock of Seagull albums online here!
You can purchase Art of Noise albums online here!

Click to see: Current tracks - All 2000 tracks - All 2001 tracks - All 2002 tracks - Complete track listing

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