1983


Title: Just Got Lucky

Artist: JoBoxers

Album: Like Gangbusters

Year Released: 1983

What It Is: A friggin’ catchy ear-worm, that’s what it is. It’s pop pap, for sure, but you can hum it, sing it in the shower, use it many circumstances. Snag a line drive behind your back? Just got lucky! Get to second base with a girl at summer camp? Just got lucky! Find $20 in a snow bank? Just got lucky! Have the Supreme Court stop a recount and declare you winner of an election? Just got lucky!

Riffage / Hookage: Now, the bass line is neat, but dang that’s a hook and a half, isn’t it? Write one of the catchiest songs of 1983? Just got lucky!

Cowbell?: No. I think we’re lucky there’s no cowbell.

Words Of Wisdom: “Your technique it leaves me weak
My heart knows it’s the beat I seek”

Mixology Report: Yes, for friends who remember the 80’s and for enemies that you want to infect!

Top Five Genius Results: The Flirts – Jukebox (Don’t Put Another Dime)
Heaven 17 – Let Me Go
Icicle Works – Whisper To A Scream (Birds Fly)
Classix Nouveau – Guilty
Red Rockers – China

Welcome to one-hit 80’s land!

For The Good Of The Order: In 1981, 4/5 of the band were the last incarnation of Subway Sect. In 1982, they met singer Dig Wayne. In 1983, they were stars. In 1984, they were forgotten. In 1985, they released album #2. In 1986, they were history. That’s the way it goes in the pop world.

Here’s the video that everyone my age saw 91,000 on MTV:

And lest you think they just wore those hats in the video:

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Hey, I’m just in a rockin’ mood, OK?

Title: Straight Through The Heart

Artist: Dio

Album: Holy Diver

Year Released: 1983

What It Is: What it is? It’s DIO, man! DIO! Oh, come on. You know! The group led by the really short egocentric dude (Ronnie James Dio, hence the name of the band) that sang with Rainbow, Sabbath and formed his own group AND came up with the rock-and-roll devil horn symbol (I think). You know, the guy on the VH-1 Metal documentaries. Yeah, him!

Riffage / Hookage: Viv Campbell! Hell yeah!

Cowbell?: Vinny Appice (yo!) slams the skins with aplomb, but sticks to the basics.

Words Of Wisdom: Hanging from the cobwebs in you mind
It looks like a long, long way to fall
No one ever told me life was kind
I guess I never heard it, never heard it all

Living in a world of make believe
I can hide behind what’s real
But wearing your emotions on your sleeve
And they all know what you feel

Well, lyrics ain’t Dio’s strong suit. But he can blast ’em out like nobody’s biz.

Mixology Report: If you can’t fit Dio into a mix, then…you suck! (Heh…)

Top Five Genius Results: Lady Evil – Black Sabbath (of course)
Metal Gods – Judas Priest
Still Life -Iron Maiden
No Bone Movies – Ozzy
Back For More – Ratt

A good selection of deep cut early 80’s REAL metal!

For The Good Of The Order: Dio got back together with Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Appice to form the band Heaven & Hell, and as you can tell, it’s basically the Dio-era Sabbath reborn. Rock, on, you old man! (He’s 67!)

Here’s a classic clip of Dio being Dio.

Title: Sample & Hold

Artist: Neil Young

Album: Trans

Year Released: 1983

What It Is: The ‘single’ or ‘radio’ track from Neil’s computer / vocoder experiment. Slagged big-time when it was released, it actually is quite a rockin’ track and has some neat imagery about dating androids in the future.

Riffage / Hookage: The vocoder is the ‘hook’ and Neil lets loose some classic ugly proto-grunge guitars.

Cowbell?: Computers computers everywhere.

Words Of Wisdom: “Sample and Hold
Hair: Blonde
Eyes: Blue
Weight: 110
Disposition: Even
Mood Code: Rotary Adjustable”

Oh, if only my spouse and kidlets had rotary adjustable mood codes…

Mixology Report: Now, this one may be a tough because I don’t think it works and plays well with others, unless in a very specific environment. Otherwise it could overwhelm. You know, like zebra mussels or kudzu.

Top Five Genius Results:“E-Music” – Neu
“Flying On The Ground Is Wrong” – Buffalo Springfield
“When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky” – Bob Dylan
“Hiroshima Mon Amour” – Ultravox
“The Light Pours Out On Me” – Magazine

I think this song bamboozled Genius.

For The Good Of The Order: Actually, Trans is a pretty solid record. It was Neil just being odd with the vocoders. The songs are pretty top notch, though, especially when it was revealed that the computer-ish songs were designed as a way to perhaps communicate with his son. It certainly is a better record than most of his 2000’s output, and better than most all of his Geffen output, and heck better than a few of his earlier releases too. (Hawks & Doves – I’m looking at you.)

Here’s a clip (non-imbeddible, dang) of Neil doing his thing live with some friends…like Nils Lofgren, Bruce Palmer, etc.

Title: Owner Of A Lonely Heart

Artist: Yes

Album: 90125

Year Released: 1983

What It Is: The centerpiece Yes’ comeback shot complete with a legitimate hit single (something that eluded them (probably by choice) back in the day). Of course, the reason for the hit status was all of the production trickery by Trevor (ZING! Budadumadumdum) Horn. No, that’s not it…it’s….its’….

Riffage / Hookage: THE RIFF! Trevor Rabin creates one of the best riffs in rock history and Chris Squire picks up on it and runs with it through the song. Rabin’s weird guitar solo is cool too. But man, that riff. That RIFF! Oh, you know what I’m talkin’ ’bout, Willis. Dah-dahdah-dahdah. Dah-dahdah-dahdah-duhduh. Rabin should go into the R&R HOF just FOR this riff. I’m writin’ my congressman…

Cowbell?: Who cares? THE RIFF! (Oh, but Horn adds quite a few percussiony thing-a-ma-bobs throughout his madcap production.)

Words Of Wisdom: “Move yourself
You always live your life
Never thinking of the future
Prove yourself
You are the move you make
Take your chances win or lose

See yourself
You are the steps you take
You and you – and thats the only way

Shake – shake yourself
You’re every move you make
So the story goes”

Jon Anderson goes all Stuart Smalley on us.

Mixology Report: Especially for us old farts from the 80’s!

For The Good Of The Order: I am not shocked, nor stunned, by Steve Howe’s slagging of this song. Of course, Howe was busy twaddling around in Asia at this time (and making some piss-poor records while he was at it, except for a couple of songs on their first one). He really didn’t like playing with Rabin when they ‘joined up’. Of course, it’s because Rabin does have a pop sensibility and doesn’t like to split songs into 9 different disjointed pieces punctured by a meandering solo. Or something. Or other. (Mind you, I like me some early Yes too, but this band is FULL of megalomaniacal pricks, Howe being one of them…)

And now the video. The actor playing the poor chump should have gotten triple scale, especially for washing his face with maggots. I couldn’t find the first version, where you see the band, and they stop the song and then go to this version. At any rate, it’s an early MTV classic.

Title: Say What You Will

Artist: Fastway

Album: Fastway

Year Released: 1983

What It Is: Led Zep-cloning via Fast Eddie Clark. When he ditched Lemmy and Motorhead he formed his own group, which featured grizzled Humble Pie veteran drummer Jerry Shirley, young Robert Plant doppleganger Dave King, and UFO’s Pete “I Left The Band In A Huff So I’m Not Credited On The Album” Way on bass. It was a promising riff-tastic start for the group, and even today still smokes your speakers. It softened Motorhead’s pounding enough to be mainstream hard rock, but otherwise did not compromise.

Riffage / Hookage: Oh, the riff is so so so good. Of course, Fast Eddie was good for a riff or 29 on Motorhead records, so that’s no surprise.

Cowbell?: No, but Shirley knows how and when to pound the skins.

Words Of Wisdom: The words don’t matter with a riff this good.

Mixology Report: Great for getting someone’s rock on!

For The Good Of The Order:After Fastway floundered (their second album was…well…atrocious, and it only got worse from there) King laid low and then re-emerged in the late 90’s as the head honcho in Flogging Molly. Fastway also has some weird connections. You can connect Fastway to Ultravox through Motorhead and Thin Lizzy (Midge Ure played guitar on some Lizzy tours) and Alfie Angus replaced Way on bass for a bit (a tour or two) right after he left…THE FIXX!

The video was such a typical 80’s hard rock / metal video. For some reason, on You Tube you had to go download it but it’s a .wmv file so I can’t. Ah, well, here’s the tune…

Title:Witeman Country

Artist: Mutabaruka

Album:Check It!

Year Released: 1983

What It Is: Reggae poet Mutabaruka’s track about injustice of his fellow Jamaicans in the UK.

Riffage / Hookage: While Mutabaruka is a very serious person who speaks from the heart about the plight of his people and culture, he still knows to make sure the song has a great hook so you can sing along to it.

Cowbell?: No, just good reggae percussion, mon.

Words Of Wisdom: “If you wite alright

If you brown stick aroun

If black get back

Or ya betta attack”

Mixology Report:While some may be shocked at dub toasting, and the lyrical content, the hook is strong and the song is fierce.

For The Good Of The Order:I have to credit my buddy Moose for this find. Back when we were roomies, he remembered Mutabaruka from his days at Kenyon College, and had it, I believe.

Here’s a live clip of the song. I think he’d be a heck of a performer live, and he’s still around, I believe!