The Ramones on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert in 1977… I remember watching this when it aired… PUNK DEFINED!! If a picture paints a thousand words, this vid paints an entire musical genre! And video did NOT kill the radio star, it underscored it (them)!!
Now this is how you turn a late ’50s blues tune into raw punk rock! Pure energy!! Their concerts were just absolutely stunning, especially when playing smaller venues (I never went to see them in a stadium…).
OK, for me this is not only one The Clash’s greatest songs, it is (IMHO) the defining masterpiece of first-generation punk (along with The Clash’s “Janie Jones”). Mick Jones is superb on this piece with his backup vocals (I especially like his “paying off the big fine,” with “fine” drawn out like that). And you expect the song to just end around 2:15 (in this live version timing), then again at 2:45. But no, it takes off again at 2:45ish with a new twist and invigoration. The studio cut on the album makes it even clearer. But this live version is raw and as real as it gets. Truly dynamic song and band!! Obviously, that’s why they’re known as “the only band that mattered.”
This is what real “punk” looked and sounded like back then. Definitely not your mainstream radio play, which sounds crazy today. And what high-school/college guy didn’t LOVE her record covers? Come on, seriously!! Saw her in San Francisco around ’81 and she killed it!! A true gem of the era!!
REM’s first release, “Radio Free Europe” (1981), which would later appear on their first LP, Murmur (1983). I remember hearing this on my college radio station that year and falling in love with the song, and also thinking, “what the hell is he even saying?” When their first album came out with the title Murmur, I had to laugh, thinking it a perfect title for this amazing band’s vibe and lyrical unintelligibility. Remember, there was no internet to look up lyrics, you just made do with whatever you could make up and piece together sometimes. I saw them a couple times in San Francisco, including their “Murmur Tour.” They were totally badass in concert back then. I remember that around 2008 or so (??) my babysitter went to see Modest Mouse and had to “sit through all these old farts listening to the opening band, REM, who sucked.” I didn’t even have a response…
A brilliant, (self-)reflective initiation into the age of music videos and what would much later turn into the era of YouTube… I remember with great excitement the highly marketed launch of MTV in 1981, and this song was perfectly chosen, and with great irony, as MTV’s debut. A slew of videos would follow, and this song encapsulates that moment when the imagination of your favorite bands and singers was often thwarted by the grim reality of their appearance in music videos that distracted from the sound and fantasy that we had in the age of pre-internet felicity. The Buggles killed it, as did MTV with this excellent choice for their debut… that was when MTV was really MTV…
Who could forget the release of this smash hit in 1983?! Annie Lennox has always been amazing and really set the standard for New Wave! This video is brilliant and their concert that year was mouth-watering. I remember very well that August night at the Kabuki Theater in San Francisco. WOW!!!!
And who could forget this fab all-girl L.A. band from the early 80s, who wrote and performed their own material? With the magnificent Belinda Carlisle on lead vocals, this group paved the way for the New Wave movement. Their debut album, Beauty and the Beat (1981), hit #1 on the Billboard 200 chart, and their poppy songs were ubiquitous in the early 80s.
Another amazing band from the 80s, another main staple to record players at college parties, a “must have” in your record collection of those days. They also gave great performances!
Yet another phenomenal band from the period, frequently playing gigs in San Francisco, and ALWAYS playing on the turntables of every college party in the early 80s. Among the most danceable and upbeat music of the time! LOVE THEM!!