A-ha - the biggest selling band in Norweigan history!
Some consider this band's popularity was attributable to MTV's heavy rotation of the ground-breaking music video for "Take on Me". This might have "forced" radio stations to play it as listeners kept requesting the song....and rightly so. The song, the video and the band were all great.
Just taking a listing to the band's debut album ("Hunting High and Low") you'd realise that this album has some really good music and each track can stand on it's own.
Classic Tracks: Take on Me, The Sun Always Shines on TV, Train of Thought
39. The English Beat
Great musical diversity....this band's spin-offs includes the likes of "General Public", "The Specials", "Big Audio Dynamite" and the "Fine Young Cannibals"
Fellow ska-ers fused various genres such as punk, reggae, jazz and funk to produce the unique reggae-influenced sound of early ska. The band was called "The Beat" in the U.K. and "The English Beat" in the USA for legal reasons. The band were major players of early modern rock radio stations such as KROQ in LA and WLIR.
The early fusion of reggae and rock showed a greater ethnic-diversity in sound with this band, whose roots were born out of the economic times back in the UK in the late 70's.
Following their break up the spin offs of The English Beat had some major successess - two of the lead singers formed "General Public" who had a major hit with "Tenderness", and Andy Cox and David Steele formed the "Fine Young Cannibals" with Roland Cox - talk about talent - Yeah baby!
Classic Tracks: Save It For Later, Mirror in the Bathroom
38. Gary Numan
The song "Cars" is synonomous with Gary and "new wave" music. The song hit in 1979, and was an international hit. Gary fused electronics, punk, pop and dance into one of the most popular singles of all time...."Cars".
This song has had many re-incarnations over the decades, but none sound as good as the original.
Gary managed to take the work of electronic/synth-pop pioneers Kreftwerk and make electronic music heavy, edgy and with a whole lot of attitude, that has influenced many genres.
Classic Tracks: Cars, Our Friends Electric, Change Your Mind
37. Dead or Alive
Dead or Alive - androgeny, new-wavers and craze frontman!
DOA are best known for their #1 U.K. single "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) and the androgenous look of frontman Pete Burns.
The band is considered a one hit wonder in the US with "Spin" peaking at #11 just short of the Top 10, despite a strong album and music on "Youthquake" (one of my personal favorites from the 80's). The band also scored Top 20 a few years later with "Brand New Lover".
Pete Burns was often compared to Boy George of Culture Club - another band as part of that bender/gender theme in the 80's. I remember reading somewhere that Pete was married for 27 years to his lovely wife before getting a divorce and partnering with someone of the same sex - but I can't seem to recall where.
Pete has also had his share of disasters - he has got to be one of the worst plastic surgery cases I have seen - he did sue his surgeon and won. In addition Pete has also appeared on the UK version of Celebrity Big Brother which did revive his career for a short space of time.
Classic Tracks: You Spin Me Round (Like A Record), Brand New Lover, In Too Deep.
36. Men at Work
Men at Work - bringing Aussie work ethics to new wave!
The 1st of two Aussie bands in the countdown, Men At Work's debut album "Business As Usual" gave the band two #1 singles - "Who Can It Be Now?" and "Down Under".
Down Under is one of those catchy pop sounds, where the lyrics are odd and you can't help but to hum or sing along - and of course it introduced us to Vegimite.
Classic Tracks: Who Can It Be Now?, Down Under, Overkill.
35. Missing Persons
An ex-playboy bunny and a guitarist in Duran Duran who's naturally endowed - now that's a band!
I first saw the band on Solid Gold and fell in love with the lead singer - former Playboy bunny Dale Bozzio, who wore that sexy bra top that was made of plastic and was half clear plastic exposing her "maracas" if you know what I mean.
The band quickly became one of my faves with two solid songs - "Destination Unknown" and "Words". The band was heavily played on KROQ and became quite popular on the concert circuit and MTV.
Warren Cuccurullo (the band's guitarist) at some point had joined Duran Duran - apparantly he is well endowed and they have made a mould of his appendage for ..... well you know what!
Classic Tracks: Words, Destination Unknown, Walking in LA
34. Culture Club
Boy George - boy were you fun!
The band was named due to the diversity of the band members....Black, White, Christian, Jew and we can add now Gay or Straight. The band's music was as diverse as the backgrounds of the band's members - from the reggae influenced "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me", to the poppy catchy sounds of "Time" to the Latin flavour of "Ill Tumble 4U", to the soul infectious sound on "Church of the Poison Mind" to the beautiful pop melody on "Karma Chameleon".....well you get my point.
Boy George dared the establishment of straight vs gay and pop vs art when he bendered/gendered - a style which is reminiscent of many new wave bands of this era e.g. The Eurythmics.
The band had a string of Top 10's (six in a row) and their music and style is definitive of the 80's.
Classic Tracks: Do You Really Want to Hurt Me, Time, I'll Tumble 4U.
33. Big Country
Scottish patriots - great blend of rock and Scottish folk!
The Grammy nominations for "Best New Artist" in 1984 was pure new wave. Th line-up included:
Men Without Hats
Culture Club (winner)
Big Country hailed from and were patriotic to Scotland. They did not seem to hide their heavy Scottish accent when they delivered on "In A Big Country" and "Fields of Fire" and their music is heavily influenced by traditional Scottish folk. In fact the band also had that signature sound whereby the guitar was tuned to sound like the Scottish bag-pipe!
Despite a strong following and a couple of strong, critically acclaimed albums, the band is considered a one-hit wonder.
The lead singer Stuart Adamson died in 2001 at the age of 43.
Classic Tracks: In A Big Country, Fields of Fire, Wonderland
Yaz has got to have one of the most successful dance tracks ever, with "Situation"!
Get your dancing shoes on, because it's time for "Move On" and "Situation" - two all-time dance, new wave classics from the early 80's. The band was called "Yazoo" in the U.K. and "Yaz" in the US.
The synth-intro to Situation is unmistakable, thanks to Vince Clark and that soulful deep diva voice of Alison Moyet just meshes this track to perfection. This is one of the all-time dance classics and it has been remixed year-after-year into it's many incarnations.
The duo broke up in the early 80's after leaving their mark on synth-pop and dance music. Alison Moyet had a successful solo run and Vince Clark (formerly from Depeche Mode) joined the likes of Erasure (both of whom are in the Top 50).
Classic tracks: Situation, Move On, The Other Side of Love.
31. Pet Shop Boys
Super new-wave/dance/electronic duo!
PSP merged dance and electronica and are considered one of the most successful synth-pop bands of all time.
West End Girls was the band's breakthrough single internationally, and with the cool, laid back rap of a suttle English accent, this song became the second (as far as I know) single with a rap segment to hit #1 (the 1st was Rapture by Blondie).
The band continued to have success throughout the 80's and 90's, and the band still continues to tour today and have a substantial fan base.
Classic Tracks: West End Girls, Opportunities, Love Comes Quickly.
Anyways peeps - come back for Part 3 soon!