Here at List of Whenever It So Happens, I've decided to condense this 17-part lookback into 1982 into just two parts. So, this list obviously must pack some punch and make up for the fact that the other 15 parts have been condensed. This list is a little heavier on the popular stuff of the era. But that doesn't mean it lacks any in its wit and wisdom. If my comments don't immediately change your life forever, be sure to contact your mom and ask for your money back. Obviously, you've been ripped off by life. Trust me, it won't be the only time.
So, let's rub our hands together and completely revise the past and make it better than it was the first time around!
25) Neil Young -- Trans: Neil Young's finest album features sensational vocoder vocals on a majority of the tracks and some much needed synth work. Having finally shed the limits of folk music and electric gee-tar, Young points to the future with style and elan. Lots of elan.
24) Led Zeppelin -- Coda: A fine, fine acid rock band from the 1970s, the Led Zeppelin broke up when their drummer died. With just a few more outtakes sitting around than the Doors, Zep put together this lovely collection that is, perhaps, best loved for "Bonzo's Montreux," a drum piece that illustrates just how nicely Mr. John Bonham played his drums.
23) Lionel Richie -- Lionel Richie: While hardcore punk and thrash metal were beginning their rise in the 1980s, so was R&B singer Lionel Richie, who had left his Commodores in the dust with a solo career that would excite the masses with its hearty love songs and its mellow touch. This may have not much excited the young people, but it worked like a good stiff drink for parents everywhere, who were, quite frankly, tired of their children harshing their mellow with their silly problems and attitudes. Children, behave!
22) Jim Carroll -- Dry Dreams: As a singer, Jim Carroll was a good lyricist. But what he lacked in vocal range, he made up for in technique and by employing a very good and efficient backing group. While Carroll is mostly known for "People Who Died," this album does not suffer for missing this particular track. In fact, it's less distracting to the album as a cohesive statement to not have any hits. Tell that to the marketing department!
21) Elton John -- Jump Up!: Bernie Taupin doesn't much like this album, but any album with a title that features an exclamation point is on the right track! There's the obligatory tribute to John Lennon, "Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)" and the look into the future with "I Am Your Robot," but most importantly, Jump Up! features Elton John wearing a fetching blue hat! Imagine the excitement over at New This Week if this came out these days! The 80s were awesome!
20) Elvis Costello -- Imperial Bedroom: Having outgrown the punk and new wave thing, Costello went about using those Gershwin chords that shouted to the world that he was a serious musician. Smarter, he hired Beatles' engineer Geoff Emerick for a thicker sound. The album, like most of Costello's catalog, has been reissued 17 times and includes over 300 bonus cuts.
19) Uriah Heep -- Abominog: The world's greatest rock 'n' roll band, Uriah Heep, dared to soldier on without keyboardist Ken Hensley, bringing back drummer Lee Kerslake to keep things relatively stable for Mick Box, the only consistent member of the group. Spelled backwards, the album title is "Gonimoba." Scramble it and it's "I Am No Gob!" That's gotta be Satanic!
18) Meat Puppets -- Meat Puppets: Had Kurt Cobain never turned the spotlight on to these gents, they might only be appreciated by an elite social club who would then feel superior to other human beings for knowing who they were/ are. But now? Even my mom knows who they are and Lady Gaga wears their clothing line.
17) Billy Squier -- Emotions In Motion: Before William Haislip Squier made the "Rock Me Tonite" video and ended the successful part of his music career, he made the Emotions In Motion album, best known for being the album after Don't Say No. The album features the ten-song format that was quite popular at the time, splitting the album perfectly in half with five songs on each "side."
16) The Who -- It's Hard: The Who were once a popular rock 'n' roll combo from the U.K., best known for releasing albums at a much slower rate than their counterparts, though they did manage two two-record collections. Though their drummer, Keith Moon, died in 1978, the group continued on with Kenney Jones and Zak Starkey. Rolling Stone magazine gave the album a Senior Discount and awarded the Who five stars for their efforts.
15) Toto -- IV: As the World's Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band, Toto really outdid themselves with this tribute to Led Zeppelin IV. A note by note recreation of the Zep classic, IV remains a favorite of radio programmers who live inside a big, beautiful bubble. Recycled air is where it's at!
14) Paul McCartney -- Tug of War: Hard to believe this album won a Grammy for Album of the Year, but likely the Academy wanted to praise a Beatle who was still living. The duet with Stevie Wonder, "Ebony and Ivory," ended racism and made the world a better place, while "The Pound Is Sinking" helped England's economy rebound in a serious way. If only McCartney would apply his skills and save the music industry. Maybe he could write "Sillier Love Songs"?
13) A Flock of Seagulls -- A Flock of Seagulls: Liverpool, England's greatest band began their long, enduring career with a fantastic debut album that continues to rejuvenate the hearts and minds of all thinking, breathing human beings everywhere.
12) Sonic Youth -- Sonic Youth: Downtown NYC used to be a gritty place to live and only the strong survived. With no Starbucks and an excess of drug addicts, New York was the place you moved to annoy your parents and declare your freedom from lawn-cutting once and for all. Replicating the sound of being mugged and living in cold-water flats, Sonic Youth made music that lacked the comforts of home and the soothing choruses of most popular music. It's alright ma, I'm only slumming.
11) Marvin Gaye -- Midnight Love: Sexual Healing? What are we talking about here? In public? Unless you're procreating, son, you shouldn't be doing such things. And not with my daughter! Now, grab your promise ring and don't give me any crap about it. Or else we'll see you in hell!
10) Misfits -- Walk Among Us: Likely the most infamous album ever recorded at Mix-O-Lydian Studios in Boonton, NJ, Walk Among Us received lucky props from the members of Metallica and suddenly old punks could make a mint selling rare 45s to young metalheads. You need this. Likely.
9) Dead Kennedys -- Plastic Surgery Disasters: That the incisive social commentary of the Dead Kennedys carved out only a specialized niche among the teen market was more a reflection of their uncompromising music and its insistence on being too fast and too abrasive for most fans of the heavy who still wanted a certain soothing consistency. Dead Kennedys fans laughed harder than most. Unless you're a literalist, then you're just completely confused by life. Probably.
8) Mission of Burma -- Vs.: Watching a documentary on MOB's reformation, they sounded even better years later when the equipment had finally been built to best reproduce their sound. Or sound engineers had learned what it was supposed to sound like. That this music sparked protest from fans of the heavy who couldn't figure out where to file it proved they were doing something that would be notable thirty years after, when there was a tiny bit more money in being right.
7) R.E.M. -- Chronic Town: Just a five-song EP, but just as big as an actual album, Chronic Town may be the greatest thing R.E.M. ever did. (OK, Fables excepted). By obscuring Michael Stipe's vocals and making them just another feature in the mix, the weirdness multiplied and allowed you to dream whatever you wanted. They were no Miracle Legion!
6) The Fall -- Hex Enduction Hour: Sort of the anti-Toto, The Fall were led by vocalist, guitarist, tapist Mark E. Smith whose idea of crooning was to stretch out the final syllable of a line until it hung in the air with a scowl. Without Smith, the left side of the radio dial might have run out of things to play. But subscribing to supply-side economics -- as in supplying enough product to keep himself financially solvent -- Smith kept the market rolling in new Fall records, which have in turn bankrupted OCD-inflicted collectors the world over (Hey Joe!). Though this one was worth shelling out the big bucks.
5) Rainbow -- Straight Between the Eyes: The great single "Stone Cold" uses every cliche it can find. "Tried to run, tried to hide," "Love was here and gone like a thief in the night," "If I was wrong, I wanna make it right," "Breaking the silence without a sound," but then is saved by the brilliant clinging to its central theme…"stone cold, ice cold, you put me in a DEEP FREEZE." Poor Ritchie Blackmore always seems to run third behind Sabbath and Zeppelin, but the Deep Purple dude plucks a serious solo here. I hear the rest of the album is pretty good, too.
4) Roxy Music -- Avalon: It's always left me miffed that fans in the U.K. can appreciate Bruce Springsteen but fans in the U.S. have trouble getting Bryan Ferry. What kind of exchange program are we running here? He's been shuttled over to "alternative" and left-of-the-dial stations where the elites all hang. You know, the kind of people who eat with silverware and have sex with their neighbors during a vibrant round of Charades. I don't think Ferry actually minded. It looked better for his resume to always be on the cutting edge than a classic rock fossil.
3) The Replacements -- Stink: Indie-rock bands didn't always have the budgets to make complete albums even if they did record everything in a day or two. March 13, 1982 was a good day for the Replacements who in eight songs in fifteen minutes proved they had great heart and a killer singer in Paul Westerberg. However, the sound of this EP is merely a blueprint for the live shows that have surfaced on bootlegs and that should -- in a sane world -- be made available commercially for the curious to finally understand what the cult already knows. But, you know what? To hell with it.
2) Kate Bush -- The Dreaming: College radio wasn't just for punks. It was for British people. The Dreaming was as good a name for what Bush was doing than anything else. She dared to dream beyond the economic landscape of America's heartland rockers and inspired women with pianos the world over.
1) The Psychedelic Furs -- Forever Now: Richard Butler could sing anything and make it sound like the edge of night. Sometimes he does. Surely, the Psychedelic Furs could've made a bigger dent on the U.S. consciousness but American radio had a duty to play all the R.E.O. Speedwagon, Foreigner, Styx and whatever-the-hell-that-was to get around to these "punk" yobs. Does anyone consider this stuff punk? Or worse, New Romantic? New Wave? Colorguard Rock?