The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Smash Hits, March 1981


9-18-08 Smash Hits – March 5 – 18, 1981


I was buying “Smash Hits” magazine from England in the early 80’s rather a lot, by now $1.75 per issue. It seemed to focus on the style of new wave music that I was interested in – and it had color photos, unlike Melody Maker or the N.M.E. I kept quite a stack of these magazines. Today I will generate a Playlist from the issue from March 5 – 18, 1981; Vol. 3 #5.


In no particular order:


VISAGE – Mind Of A Toy

ELVIS COSTELLO – From A Whisper To A Scream

HUMAN LEAGUE – Boys and Girls

DEXY’S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS – Plan B

MOTORHEAD / GIRLSCHOOL – Please Don’t Touch

FREEEZSouthern Freeez

DURAN DURAN – Planet Earth

SIMPLE MINDS – Celebrate

LENE LOVICH – New Toy

THE SPIZZLES – Risk

THE WHO – You Better You Bet

HEAVEN 17 – (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang

BOW WOW WOW – W.O.R.K.

DEPARTMENT S – Is Vic There?

DAVE STEWART & COLIN BLUNSTONE – What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted?

ORANGE JUICE – Simply Thrilled Honey

ROBERT WYATT – Stalin Wasn’t Stalling

THE PLASTICSDiamond Head

MADNESS – E.R.N.I.E.

KIM WILDE – Kids In America


Again, I’ll have to ask my GF for the Elvis Costello track! At the time, I bought Visage, Motorhead / Girlschool, Freeez, Duran Duran, Simple Minds, Spizzles, The Who, Heaven 17, Department S, Dave Stewart & Colin Blunstone, Robert Wyatt, Madness and Kim Wilde as new releases. The songs in this playlist were all featured in one way or another in this issue of Smash Hits, the British magazine.



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3 Comments:

Anonymous Jim Donato said...

Woah! Back when Nick Rhodes was in the full flower of his "I Wannabe David Sylvian" phase!

10:44 AM  
Blogger Brian Ware said...

That's a mighty fine playlist of music that is still totally relevant in my world. Considering how prolific Elvis Costello was during those years it would be hard to find an issue that didn't mention something new from him.
Other than the mid to late 60s, was there ever a block of time that produced more innovative music than the early 80s? Heady times indeed.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Jim Donato said...

Mr. Ware - I concur. The New Wave period was clearly the most fecund era of music since the equally revolutionary 63-68 period. I think of the New Wave era as a redux of the values of the 60s pre-hippy era; only with new technology. I think Tom Petty (?!) nailed it when he said "The 80s were not as good as the 60s, but better than the 70s." Of course, there were a ton of new postmodern ideas infusing pop in the New Wave era that had no 60s analog to make it all worth while.

5:48 AM  

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