Feb 09

Popular ’81

FT + Popular/78 comments • 3,375 views

I give every song on Popular a mark out of 10 – these polls are your chance to nominate which YOU would have given 6 or more to. Pick as many as you feel qualify! My highest mark this year went to “Ghost Town”, my lowest to “Woman”.

Which of these Number Ones of 1981 would YOU have given 6 or more to?

View Results

Poll closes: No Expiry

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And by all means leave comments on the year in general!


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  1. 51
    punctum on 23 Sep 2010 #

    Meanwhile 1982 was a great year, no question, but more about consolidation. It seems to me most of its biggest names and greatest moments had first made a footprint, and maybe their greatest records, in ’81. Apart from Toto Cuelo. But I’d love to stand corrected.

    Bit late coming in on this but I didn’t comment at the time. I’m going to be a stickler and say that the period July 1981-June 1982 was the peak year; everyone at their best, unbelievable new entries every week, a joy to live through.

    As far as 1982 on its own is concerned I scribbled this commentary some while back but am always happy to link it. Not sure that I absolutely agree with all of it now but it was written in the space of one lunch hour (it’s there somewhere on ILM in real time) and it alerted a certain female resident of Toronto to my existence… :-)

  2. 52
    vinylscot on 23 Sep 2010 #

    Absolutely brilliant piece on 1982 Marcello. I was horrified to find that I agreed with you on about 95% of the entries, including some of the more “off the wall” comments.

    Did you carry out this exercise for any other years – or just 82 because of its obvious importnace/”specialness”?

  3. 53
    punctum on 23 Sep 2010 #

    I just thought it would be a nice thing to do since back then there wasn’t too much in terms of writing about this period to be found online (or elsewhere for that matter).

    I’ve done some other “year” exercises:

    1985: http://nopunctum.blogspot.com/2004_01_22_archive.html

    1969: http://nopunctum.blogspot.com/2004_04_07_archive.html

    …and I started an epic 1974 trek here but never got around to finishing it and only some of the entries that I did are on the blog (there are others in draft form which I’m happy to reprint if there’s a demand):

    (in truth much of what I would have written here is likely to turn up on TPL or has already turned up on Popular)

    All of these come with the caveat that the opinions expressed do not necessarily concur with the author’s opinions in 2010; in some cases my views have quite dramatically reversed.

  4. 54
    lonepilgrim on 23 Sep 2010 #

    I enjoyed that too Marcello – Phil Collins and Bob Fripp as the ‘Tory Improvisors’ made me smile

  5. 55
    punctum on 23 Sep 2010 #

    Why are my comments being held in moderation?

  6. 56
    punctum on 23 Sep 2010 #

    Ah thanks for sorting that out.

  7. 57

    The spam filter gets hinky when non-registered posts have a lot of links in them. But I don’t know why the second one was held, unless the filter had decided you must be a wrong’un, because the first post had four links! Sorry about that.

    It’s not strictly speaking moderation — admin really only look in it when we’re asked to. (Because the amount of span being caught is huge…)

  8. 58
    Billy Smart on 23 Sep 2010 #

    The most dramatic Punctum reversal must be ‘The Power of Love’!

    I’ve always really wanted to read the promised Alan Price piece – Jarrow Song is a tremendous Billy favourite, but I couldn’t quite predict what the Punctum position would be on that. If I remember back to when you were writing the 1974 pieces, it was the prospect of writing thousands of words about the Goodies that caused you to abandon the project, but that would have been great, too.

  9. 59
    punctum on 24 Sep 2010 #

    Yes, for some reason I just couldn’t get going on Tim, Graeme and Bill. Did three or four paragraphs then thought: why I am doing this? It was probably exhaustion more than anything else and the whole exercise was plodding along more slowly than I would have liked (whereas TPL is proceeding VERY slowly but I don’t mind that since I’m learning about things I haven’t heard before or at least not for a long time – there’s a greater purpose to it).

    I wrote the bare bones of an Alan Price piece and do intend to get back to that; thankfully the wonder of K-Tel may re-kickstart me in this respect since he does turn up on at least one of their chart-topping compilations.

    There is also a completed 60,000 word entry on Lena Zavaroni which will most likely never see the light of day, partly because it overlaps with Andrew O’Hagan’s novel Personality and partly because it cuts a little too sharply to the bone about my younger days.

  10. 60
    punctum on 17 Feb 2013 #

    TPL opens its 1981 account with the big one.

  11. 61
    punctum on 23 Feb 2013 #

    TPL update.

  12. 62
    punctum on 24 Feb 2013 #

    TPL reviews the worst number one album so far.

  13. 63
    Tom on 24 Feb 2013 #

    A whole album of it? Mercy!

  14. 64
    Cumbrian on 25 Feb 2013 #

    Why wasn’t the Stars on 45 album called Stars on 33? Was there “brand value” in the name?

  15. 65
    punctum on 25 Feb 2013 #

    In some territories (including, I think, the USSR) it was called simply Stars On 45 Long Play Album (plain white cover with typewriter font, presumably to make it look like a bootleg). But no, playing it at 45 rpm doesn’t make it sound any better.

  16. 66
    Cumbrian on 25 Feb 2013 #

    Gets it finished more quickly though right?

  17. 67
    punctum on 25 Feb 2013 #

    There is that in its favour, yes.

  18. 68
    punctum on 26 Feb 2013 #

    TPL on the antidote to Stars On 45.

  19. 69
    swanstep on 2 Mar 2013 #

    Just stumbled across a nifty live cover by Royksopp of one of 1981′s best B-sides, Depeche Mode’s Ice Machine. Enjoy!

  20. 70
    punctum on 3 Mar 2013 #

    TPL goes disco, and hence New Pop.

  21. 71
    punctum on 6 Mar 2013 #

    TPL does Cliff critical justice.

  22. 72
    punctum on 10 Mar 2013 #

    The TPL post I think a lot of people have been waiting for: http://nobilliards.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/the-official-bbc-album-of-royal-wedding_10.html

  23. 73
    Jimmy the Swede on 12 Mar 2013 #

    Marcello – This is an exceptional piece of writing, and naturaly as a fellow Villager I appreciate the Green Dome analagy. Very well done. Got me thinking to when Brenda finally gloves one. I reckon she should be taken straight down to address the Fall Out Committee:

    “I, I, I – I, I, I – I, I, I…”

    Now hear the word of the Lord!

  24. 74
    Mark G on 12 Mar 2013 #

    “One, one, one, one ….”

  25. 75
    punctum on 13 Mar 2013 #

    TPL reaches its 250th entry.

  26. 76
    anto on 14 Mar 2013 #

    re: 75 Brilliant blog. Congratulations.

  27. 77
    punctum on 17 Mar 2013 #

    TPL on Meat Loaf.

  28. 78
    punctum on 19 Mar 2013 #

    TPL on Genesis again innit.

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