Guest Post: Rabz’ Radio Show March 2022: New Wave 1978-1985

Cats – it had to happen – my favourite musical genre, featuring many of my favourite ever bands.

By 1978, after Punk’s initial incendiary impact had waned, it was clear that “the Seventies” as we knew them, were over. Disco and various ponderous excruciating MOR dinosaurs had been condemned to the musical dustbin of history. In the UK, a socio-cultural revolution was underway. Punk had inspired a plethora of new youth cults, each featuring their own fashions and music.

A massive mod revival was also underway, which would eventually see a three-piece from Woking become the UK’s most popular band, until the frontman, songwriter and lead guitarist, Paul Weller, decided to wind it up. Their mantle was quickly grabbed by a four piece from Manchester, featuring a mop headed Rickenbacker enthusiast and one of the most flamboyant and vainglorious figures in rock history.

But, back to those youth cults – as well as Punks they included Rude Boys, New Romantics, Goths, Industrialists (whose origins were Germanic) and regrettably, Skinheads. Psychedelia would also undergo a mini-revival from the early eighties on.

Parallel to these movements were the many bands (and the odd solo performer) that emerged from Punk around ’76-’77, which were not necessarily aligned to any particular youth movement. They included the likes of the Stranglers, the Clash, The Damned, the Buzzcocks, Joy Division/New Order, Human League/Heaven 17, PIL, UK Squeeze, Elvis Costello, Simple Minds and XTC. The latter are two of my favourite bands of all time. The groundbreaking bands at that time were not necessarily from the UK either – think the likes of Talking Heads, Devo and Blondie, for example. Here in Oz, we had the likes of Split Enz and the Models.

As the seventies morphed into the eighties, “New Wave” as a genre began to feature prominently in the hit parades in the Anglosphere. There are so many bands that were around from about 1981 onwards who could lay claim to being classified (incorrectly or otherwise) as part of this “New Wave”, that there’s no point in trying to even list them.

Anyway, enough rabbiting on (and barely scratching the surface) from me. Here’s two of my favourite tracks from that magical era:

XTC: This is Pop

Simple Minds: The American

Enjoy, people! Please post freely, especially those who remember the era as vividly as I do.

130 thoughts on “Guest Post: Rabz’ Radio Show March 2022: New Wave 1978-1985”

  1. Good choice, Calli. I came home from tennis way back when i was living with my grandparents, and i saw my grandmother watching an ABC special on Simple Minds (no, not the Four Corners reporters) and she said “you should listen to this band, they’re really good!”

    They must’ve been good to break through four decades of modern music she wouldn’t listen to.


    Report comment

    2
  2. XTC.
    Early days, raw and brilliant. Was a tragedy they stopped touring. Their later stuff was whimsical with flashes of peerless pop. Their Dukes of Stratosphear psychedelic albums were magnificent.


    Report comment

  3. This just sneaks in the timeframe: Style Council – Walls Come Tumbling Down.

    I love this for a few reasons:
    Great song,
    The video is shot in Poland four years before the “walls came tumbling down” on the Polish Commies.
    It was filmed in a jazz club where the Style Council were unknown.
    Check out the name of the car in the ad at the 1:53 mark LOL.
    The lyrics are almost pitch perfect for the end of a commie regime … except for the second last verse which is anti-capitalism and Brit government. Pretty ironic for the cold war period.


    Report comment

    4
  4. Thanks, jupes – Paul Wallee – one of my favourite artists of all time, but very prone to the phenomenon known as “Soap Boxing”. 🙁


    Report comment

    1
  5. Duran Duran was synonymous with new wave, but Girls on Film gets the gong not only as their best song for their innovative takes on guitar, but one of the most memorable film clips of their generation.


    Report comment

    3
  6. Rabz says:
    March 5, 2022 at 7:59 pm

    Too many teardrops, to be crying …

    96 Tears …

    Interview with the leader of the Mysterians …

    “So tell us Mr Mark, or may I call you Question? About your name ….” 🙂


    Report comment

    2
  7. I’m not surprised that Simple Minds has dominated this thread.

    While a bit late to the party, they’ve aged better than any other new wave band. I took a little bit of turning, but Promise Me a Miracle won me over and they just got better from there.


    Report comment

  8. Wow you all are off and running. I’ll have to catch up. (My excuse is I’ve been off deporting a rat, which as you know is one of my eccentricities.)

    For new wave I can’t go past Malcolm McLaren, so here we are:

    Buffalo Gals (1982)

    (I’d link the version of McLaren’s own channel but the audio is terrible, this one is better.)


    Report comment

    1
  9. The best new wave album was Elvis Costello’s ‘This Year’s Model.’

    Prove me wrong.

    I even saw him perform it – note for note but with added aggression – in 1979 with The Attractions.

    Great band.


    Report comment

    4
  10. Sons and Fascination is an awesome album

    In my top five, easily Squire. The bizarre thing is that it was combined with “sister feelings call” – another legendary agglomeration of songs.

    I have vinyl and CD copies of this marriage of convenience.


    Report comment

    1
  11. This one is slightly out of the time range, but the band is pure new wave. I choose it because I just had a very young brushtail sitting on my left foot. That’s a first. She was newly roaming around the Cafe by herself without mum. She got a bit of bread for dinner.

    Roam (B-52s, 1990)


    Report comment

  12. The first New Wave band was probably Rich Kids, formed by Glenn Matlock in 1977 after he left the Sex Pistols.

    I used to have their eponymous first single on vinyl, which charted and got them on Top of the Pops.


    Report comment

  13. Surely this is something you would prefer to forget rather than draw attention to. Some sort of long hidden skeleton in the family closet. My recollection of most of the cultural artifacts that you fondly remember is that they were best known for terrorising passengers on British Rail on their way to “football” matches.


    Report comment

  14. Beery – his entire career (if it could be dignified with such a term) has consisted of unrepentant pillaging.

    Hadn’t listened to the madam butterfly song since about 1980 until tonight. It is seriously magnifique.


    Report comment

    1
  15. the cultural artifacts that you fondly remember is that they were best known for terrorising passengers on British Rail on their way to “football” matches

    Thanks for that, Squire Kelly. Life is what you make of it.

    We have no future in British Steel, if that’s any consolation.


    Report comment

    1
  16. Went off to find something which fits with my very furry evening. Tried the Flying Lizards’ Money and Summertime Blues, but they are boring. So here’s Wall of Voodoo:

    Mexican Radio (1982)


    Report comment

    1
  17. This is a quintessential Aussie song

    LOL – you cannot see those dirty, illiterate, hi-viz toxic masculinity personages* voting for the labore pardee anytime within the next century.

    Hawkey would be unmoved in his grave, having sold them out decades ago.

    *As perceived by anyone “employed” by the ALPBC.


    Report comment

  18. Rabzsays:
    March 5, 2022 at 9:55 pm
    This is a quintessential Aussie song

    LOL – you cannot see those dirty, illiterate, hi-viz toxic masculinity personages* voting for the labore pardee anytime within the next century.

    Hawkey would be unmoved in his grave, having sold them out decades ago.

    *As perceived by anyone “employed” by the ALPBC.

    I much prefer them to the pap pop of so many down under bands. I’m more of a Joy Division or Gaye Bykers on Acid person.


    Report comment

  19. The woild has a way of looking at peoples

    One of the most out of it songs in human history. Fits nicely within the window as well.

    Imagine Peta Crudkin and Fatso Murray hearing this – they would be very outraged.

    “Communist garbage”

    “Yeah, play that to the unemployed steel workers in Bathurst and they’ll take to you with a stale bread roll, I tells ya!” (much canned laughter ensues)

    The braindead lamestream meeja. Just when you think they couldn’t get any more ridiculous, it’s “hold my non gender specific alcoholic beverage” time … 😕


    Report comment

    1
  20. jupessays:
    March 5, 2022 at 10:13 pm
    Age of Consent – New Order live

    One of the comments is a cracker: “most bands make it look so easy , i love the way New Order make it look difficult.” LOL true.

    The studio version is

    They wrote that album, Power, Corruption and Lies, with many acid trips. The lyrics are nonsense. The music is good.


    Report comment

    1
  21. Deathwish – The Police

    That’s a good track, haven’t heard it before. I have a lot of time for Sting. This one seems to fit our current time well, which is pretty amazing if you think about it.

    Russians (1985)


    Report comment

    1
  22. Bluddee hell, peoples – I’m not having it. Paul Walleee was quite possibly the greatest English rock ‘n’ roll personage ever – on a par with Pavel McCartney and Jonathon Lenin. The songs speak for themselves.

    That’s entertainment
    Start
    Eton Rifles
    Going Underground
    Funeral Pyre
    Absolute beginners
    Town called Malice
    Precious
    The bitterest pill

    Not to mention his typically unsubtle blundering into the world of intimate personal relationships as essayed in the epic Stanley Road.


    Report comment

    1
  23. very gay, very early 80s, very Sydney

    Yes.

    Took me a while to find this one in the dusty attics of my brain. Starstruck, 1982, with the luminous Jo Kennedy.


    Report comment

    1
  24. Hey Roger, Another Girl, Another Planet, is one of my all time favourites, but I reckon it’s punk rather then New Wave… but whatever. It’s a great little song, about heroin addiction apparently.

    Good to see so many Simple Minds fans on here, shat all over U2 IMO. Saw Simple Minds at the ANU Refectory in 1983, INXS was back up from memory.

    The Stranglers were a strange band in some ways, had some great punk and new wave songs, were schmalz originally I think, but jumped on the trend and did exceptionally well. Nuclear Device was about Bjelke-Petersen, and Peaches was crude, Hanging Around is a classic, and Golden Brown is magnificent.


    Report comment

    2
  25. Rabzsays:
    March 5, 2022 at 10:57 pm
    Bluddee hell, peoples – I’m not having it. Paul Walleee was quite possibly the greatest English rock ‘n’ roll personage ever – on a par with Pavel McCartney and Jonathon Lenin. The songs speak for themselves.

    That’s entertainment
    Start
    Eton Rifles
    Going Underground
    Funeral Pyre
    Absolute beginners
    Town called Malice
    Precious
    The bitterest pill

    Not to mention his typically unsubtle blundering into the world of intimate personal relationships as essayed in the epic Stanley Road.

    Very much under rated. Excellent lyricist.


    Report comment

    2
  26. Sorry Rabz, I know you’re a big Paul Weller fan, but his stuff never really grabbed me.

    I’m more of a big Robert Smith fan… outstanding talent. Went from Siouxsie and the Banshees through the gothic phase and an incredibly brilliant pop phase. And all good stuff!


    Report comment

    1
  27. shat all over U2 IMO

    Pete – the second side of “Sparkle in the Rain” contains songs that seem to feature Bozo performing guest vocals – here we go: The kick inside of me

    The second side of Sparkle in the Rain being an epic journey that I would encourage all Cats to embark on. 🙂


    Report comment

  28. Sorry Rabz, I know you’re a big Paul Weller fan, but his stuff never really grabbed me.
    I’m more of a big Robert Smith fan…

    Me too. Never really like Paul Weller for no especial reason I can think off.

    Pete – bloody hell – the Cure – how could I have forgotten them?

    Seconded! Lullaby (1989) Magnificent.


    Report comment

  29. Talking of Pete Shelley… what about Howard Devoto who was with him in The Buzzcocks, and later formed the fantastic Magazine.
    Two other bands that stand out for me are the original Ultravox (definitely pre-Vienna) and the NZ band Mi-Sex, named for one of the former’s songs.
    Ultravox songs like “Dangerous Rhythm”, “My Sex”, “The Wild, the Beautiful, and the Damned”, and the excellent punk classic “Young Savage”.


    Report comment

    1
  30. Easily done Rabz.
    I’m late to this but just think of Aus music in the eighties not mentioned;The Go Betweens, The Scientists, The Birthday Party, Crime and the City Solution, Flowers and the superb Triffids, the best of the lot.
    I took a wrong turn
    Off on an unmarked track.
    I’ll try to be on time next time squire.


    Report comment

    1
  31. Missed this night’s debauchery. So I’ll talk to myself. Hope New Order got a run, too young to appreciate Joy Division, but loved New Order, also Sumner and Marrs Electronic are often over looked.
    As are The The who are another quality post punk, new wave band. Sure everyone would’ve heard Infected.
    Good stuff Rabz. Maybe do a regular music post like Wolfmans at the movies.


    Report comment

    1
  32. Maybe do a regular music post like Wolfmans at the movies.

    Hazza – they are, last night’s was the third – first Saturday night of each month.

    Coves – look up last month’s radio show, the theme of which was “Ozzie Classics”. The Triffids get several honourable mentions.


    Report comment

  33. The Beer Whisperer:
    March 5, 2022 at 8:17 pm
    Duran Duran was synonymous with new wave, but Girls on Film gets the gong not only as their best song for their innovative takes on guitar, but one of the most memorable film clips of their generation.

    I concur. Best film clip ever.


    Report comment

  34. I concur. Best film clip ever.

    Ahem….
    1
    &
    2 (go about 2:30 for the start of the song, this was the number one reason to set your VCR to Tape Rage back in the day.
    The ending is unusual.


    Report comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.