This week's Throwback Tracks starts with our own little tribute to Prince, and then wanders around in English 1980s dance and pop a little bit, just to try and make us feel a little bit better.
The Guys From do not hold the rights to any of these songs, it is more our hope to expose our readers to new (*cough*) and different retro music, or re-expose them to things they may have forgotten about.
At the top of each section, will be the song name, followed by the artists' name linked to their website (if possible), so you can fall down the rabbit hole, finding and supporting what you dig.
Look. There's really no easy way to be able to talk about one of the most innovative, impressive, and musically talented artists of all time--especially because Prince himself was notoriously picky about where his music is...so there's not a whole lot of YouTube or Apple Music available of his work (outside of some grainy, or bad live footage of concerts that haven't been taken down yet)...that's really what prevented me from wanting to do a full out Prince list this week. Instead, I thought it would just be nice to to really take a second and consider the 40 years of music he gave us:
Funk, Rock and Roll, Pop, New Wave, R&B--this was a man who could play anything...literally anything...there is no real easy way to talk about his music because of just how insanely diverse it is. He released 39 albums, he made the Batman soundtrack, he directed 3 films...Prince was an artist unlike any other, and the like of which we will never see again.
My personal favorite song of his is "Let's Go Crazy", but there are just so damn many to choose from to make a list--seriously just grab an album and listen to it, it's good (I guarantee there is one song you'll love on it)...what many people seem to forget is that he was also an incredible songwriter for other artists, with songs for Madonna, Alicia Keys, Celine DIon, Stevie Nicks...
Oh, and did I mention that he did what is still, in my opinion, the Greatest Super Bowl Halftime Show EVER?
Prince Rogers Nelson, thank you. For absolutely everything.
Rest in Peace sir.
AHHHHHHHHH I can't not put a Prince song up HE WAS TOO GOOD:
Let's Go Crazy - Prince and the Revolution
Enjoy this while you can, it will probably be pulled down fast...This is from a concert in 1985.
You'll just have to fill in the "oh no, let's go"s' with the crowd, because again, this is a live version and you can't really hear them.
Your Love - The Outfield
"Your Love" by Manchester/London's The Outfield is one of those 1980s rock songs that I completely forget about all the time, then I hear it and realize that I know almost all of the words, and enjoy myself while singing along...and then apparently repeat the cycle completely. The song was the hit single off of their 1985 debut album Play Deep, and they toured extensively off of it with Journey and Starship.
The Outfield, Journey and Starship may be the most 1980s tour I can imagine.
The strangest thing about The Outfield, to me at least, is the fact that they were a British band that never saw mainstream success at home, but were quite commercially successful in the United States--Play Deep was a certified triple-platinum album, and reached the Top 10 (with this track itself reaching as high as #6).
Always On My Mind (Single Version) - Pet Shop Boys
Sure, the epic 9 minute version is pretty great to, but at the end of the day, the ~4 minute cut of "Always On My Mind" is just one of those purely awesome 1980s tracks that everybody knows. What's fascinating to me is that "Always On My Mind" is one of those songs which is just so well constructed lyrically that no matter who seems to cover it (and this Pet Shop Boys version from 1987 is, indeed, a cover), it works.
The original was an American Country Music song, originally recorded by Gwen McCrae and Brenda Lee in 1972, however there are versions by Elvis Presley, John Wesley Ryles and a Grammy winning turn by Willie Nelson, however my favorite is obviously the Pet Shop Boys version.
They originally performed the song on ITV (in the UK) on Love Me Tender, a tribute to Elvis to mark the tenth anniversary of his death, and was so well received (for obvious reasons) that they then released it as a single, which ended up topping the UK charts for a month, and cresting at #4 in the US.
Really, I'm just in it for the excellent synth layering and orchestration, the great vocals (it's Pet Shop Boys after all), and the dancing.
Just Like Heaven - The Cure
I can't say I'm the biggest fan of British new wave/alt-rock band The Cure, but there's something about "Just Like Heaven" that always worked for me. Off of their 1987 album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, "Just Like Heaven" proved to be their American breakthrough (even though the band had had 10 Top 40 Hits in the UK before this song), and it probably is the most well known Cure song from the casual music fan.
It may be my favorite of their tracks because even lead singer Robert Smith has stated that it is one of the bands' strongest songs and "it's the best pop song The Cure have ever done" in an interview with Blender, and it's hard to argue with that--it is very much an accessible song, which is something you cannot say for chunks of The Cure's music...
A Little Respect - Erasure
Wrapping up this weeks look at 1980s pop is Erasure's "A Little Respect" off of their third album (second in the United States) The Innocents. "A Little Respect" was their 10th single overall, and was a moderate success, breaking into Top 10s and 20s in several countries.
I fell like Erasure is one of those synth-pop groups that get forgotten about a bit, but you have to admit that "A Little Respect" is extremely catchy--this is one of the songs that I almost always think of when people ask me what my favorite 80s pop songs are.
It's been covered a few times, most notably by Wheetus (remember them? I'm sorry.....), and Audio Playground, but really, the original is still, by far, the best as there's just something so...I mean, it's essentially a ballad, with an amazingly pure dance rhythm (especially considering it's synth and more synth).
See you again next week with 5 more Throwback Tracks and the first ever Throwback Tracks playlist!