Sunday, February 20, 2011

50 Years Of MyTunes: 1985

Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy, and the lash
--misattributed to Winston Churchill
  • The Pogue's music is so timeless that it's easy to forget that it belongs to the 1980s. Their traditional folk instrumentation reminds me so much of Scots-Irish music transplanted to America that the first time I heard them I thought I was hearing a strange hillbilly music dialect from the Old Country. Of course that's exactly backwards. So what is it that makes the Pogues so adorable? It's the storytelling I think. For example:
  • I'm A Man You Don't Meet Everyday and A Pair Of Brown Eyes. Storytelling is AWOL in most modern music. Even the raucous The Sick Bed of Cúchulainn manages to get a good story on.
  • Tim was The Replacements's last album with the original line-up. Guitarist Bob Stintson (who later drank himself to death) was given the boot. Several songs are favorites: Waitress In The Sky, Kiss Me On The Bus, but Bastards Of Young lyrics:
    God what a mess, on the ladder of success, where you take one step and miss the whole first rung... 
     A demo version of Can't Hardly Wait was recorded along with Tim but the song was tarted up and released on their next album.
  • Hüsker Dü released both Flip Your Wig and New Day Rising that year. Bob Mould explained questionable economic policy on How To Skin A Cat:
We are starting a cat ranch and taking one hundred thousand cats...
But what should we feed the cats?..
...Now get this!
We feed the rats to the cats and the cats to the rats
And get the catskins for nothing!
  • Up On The Sun by the Meat Puppets. The band took their name from industry slang for fashion model. These guys could never sing worth crap but they were great musicians. I saw them play this album at a real dive in the 4 Corners 'hood in Denver around this time.
  • Have You Ever Seen The Rain? by the Minutemen from 3-Way Tie (For Last). The Minutemen were highly influential on the punk rock scene in SoCal. Doubts?  Rent We Jam Econo: The Story Of The Minutemen and listen to the who's who of testimonials.  But not so much for me (I could never get over how anachronistically political they were -- singing anti-Vietnam war songs in the 1980s?)  But Mike Watt is an uber nice guy. I met and spoke with him twice in the 90s -- once in Zurich and then again in Fort Collins, CO a couple years later -- and he remembered!!

Singles 1985

  • Money For Nothing by Dire Straits. I didn't realize that this song actually got banned. [added: see comments]
  • Centerfield by John Fogerty. A "comeback" video and song for Fogerty after a decade long hiatus. I kind of feel for the guy because he did seem to be needlessly cut-off from the royalties of his own songs and face it -- he was the voice of CCR.
  • California Girls by David Lee Roth  OK that video is an LOL. I used do a pretty good vocal impression of David Lee Roth's high pitched squeaky "oww" which used to punctuate his songs. Roth parted ways with Van Halen in 1985. According to Wiki, by the late 1990s, Roth trained as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and worked as one for some time. A Van Halen reunion is in the works.
  • Take the Skinheads Bowling by Camper Van Beethoven Some of these guys later morphed into the band Cracker who had a minor hit in the early 90's.
  • Jockey Full Of Bourbon from Rain Dogs by Tom Waits. Jim Jarmusch made good use of that song in his 1986 film Down By Law.


  1. As a BIG Dire Straits fan, I was offended that people were offended at their use of the word, "faggot".

  2. As a BIG Dire Straits fan, I was offended that people were offended at their use of the word, "faggot".

    I was delving so deep into the avante-grunge scene then that I didn't even notice that song had any controversial lyrics. As it happened, the banning is quite recent: link, and apparently only in Canada.

  3. I LOVE that song, specifically for the part that's banned (and the Sting part).

  4. Bob Stinson was a sad story.

    I've followed Westerberg and Tommy Stinson over the years. Tommy actually releases new material once in a great while. I thought he was kind of a joke when he played with the Mats but his solo stuff isn't bad. Too bad he and Westerberg couldn't have worked out their differences.

  5. Hey Bushman! Is this your first time visiting? Welcome!

    Does Tommy still play with the guys from Guns & Roses?

  6. Hi Chickelit, thanks for the welcome. I've been a reader for some time. I really enjoy your writing style and the variety of topics you cover. Plus I usually learn a new word or two on every visit. ; )

    As far as I know, Tommy is still in the official GnR lineup. I have to confess that I don't really them closely. Something about that marriage never made much sense to me artistically. However, I suppose it made economic sense to Tommy.