This is the 1st volume of a fantastic 15 volume set released in the mid-'90s by the always wonderful Rhino Records. Contrary to the CD title, songs on this volume are from the years 1977-1979, strengthening my argument that eighties music really began around 1978 with The Cars and ended sometime around 1988 (I can't in good conscience consider Paula Abdul an eighties artist.)
- Ca Plane Pour Moi - Plastic Bertrand: A wonderful Belgian song that combines the three blues chords of punk with the bouncy bass of new wave. Released in 1977, I guess there wasn't any room for this single on the radio because it is sung mostly in French and it isn't disco. The title is best translated as "everything's going well for me" and it's a fun, happy song.
- Warm Leatherette - The Normal: The group was, of course, anything but normal. This experimentation with tape loops and a drum machine might have been considered groundbreaking at the time, but now is just grating.
- One Way Or Another - Blondie: You know this one. It's a wonderful new wave rocker about a stalker. I usually bash the Rock Hall of Fame, but they got it right when they inducted Blondie in 2006. The band was very influential and one of the first new wave bands (along with The Cars) to have Top 40 hits. This single peaked at #24.
- Hey, St. Peter - Flash & The Pan: If only this single was as great as the band name. To call this new wave is a bit of a stretch. To me, it sounds like '70s Elton John.
- Cruel To Be Kind - Nick Lowe: 3.5 minutes of hip, pure pop bliss. I loved this song in '79 and still enjoy listening to it today.
- Too Young To Date - D-Day: Amateurish power pop from an obscure Austin band that wounds a lot like The Waitresses or Toni Basil. Released in 1979, it might have been a hit in '81 or '82.
- Local Girls - Graham Parker: Parker is in the group of pop singer/songwriters that never got their due. (Also in that group: Nick Lowe and Marshall Crenshaw). Critics darlings. Hearing this single, it's hard to understand why Parker didn't find more success. Sort of a cross between Jackson Browne and Elvis Costello.
- Rock 'N' Roll High School - Ramones: Of course, this tune has stood the test of time even though it wasn't a huge hit at the time. What's funny is that I thought the Ramones were "too hard" for me as a teenager. Now they seem tame. This isn't new wave, it's just good ol' rock 'n' roll.
- My Sharona - The Knack: Maybe the first #1 new wave song. Also included on Rhino's Super Hits of the '70s: Have a Nice Day, Vol. 22. Here's what I said in that review: A great song from a great album (which I'll get to later on the blog). I like to tell people that my wife's nickname is Sharona and that the song was written about her. Apparently, the real Sharona is a real estate agent in L.A.
- Girls Talk - Dave Edmunds: A great song in the vein of Nick Lowe and Paul Carrack. This song was written by Elvis Costello, whose early albums were produced by Lowe.
- Video Killed The Radio Star - Buggles: It was love at first hearing for me and this song. Even though I've heard it thousands of times, I never skip it or change the radio channel when it comes on. Previously on this blog: versions by Erasure, Asia, and Bruce Woolley, the latter of which is the original version.
- I Do The Rock - Tim Curry: Riding the wave of his success in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Curry released 3 albums. Didn't know that? Me, either. This song sounds like it could have come from the soundtrack of Rocky Horror. It's a weak attempt to start a dance craze - how does one "do the rock"?
- Dirty Water - The Inmates: A cover of the garage band classic. This sounds like The Stones to me. What's it doing on this compilation?
- I'm A Believer - Tin Huey: a forgettable cover of Neil Diamond's song made famous by the Monkees. Again, not very new wavish, although you can hear the beginnings of what would become the Akron sound.
- Gidget Goes To Hell - Suburban Lawns: A Suburban Lawns poster is seen in the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High, hanging on the wall in the bedroom of the character Damone. That was probably the career highlight of these Devo wannabes from Long Beach.
- Money (That's What I Want) - The Flying Lizards: there's something about this quirky cover of a soul classic that I can't resist. Maybe it's the amateurish banjo-sounding synth or the vocals by the girl with an accent. In any case, it's just weird enough to be an awesome cover.
Previously revisited for the blog:
New Wave Xmas
New Wave Dance Hits