UB40 are an English reggae and pop band, formed in December 1978 in Birmingham, England. The band members began as friends who knew each other from various schools across Birmingham. The name “UB40” was selected in reference to the signing-on document issued to people claiming unemployment benefit from the UK government’s Department of Employment at the time of the band’s formation.
Title: Rat In The Kitchen
Label: Virgin Records
Rat in the Kitchen is the seventh album by UB40, released in July 1986.
In the U.K., UB40 were major stars, and this album was their sixth Top Ten hit, featuring the singles “Sing Your Own Song,” “All I Want to Do,” and “Rat in Mi Kitchen.” In the U.S., the group remained a developing act with a modest following, but they were only able to score a hit by covering a previous hit like “I Got You, Babe.” Rat in the Kitchen did nothing to change that, although it was, as usual, a tuneful collection of reggae.
UB40 consolidated their position as Britain’s foremost mainstream reggae act with an impressive run of hit singles and albums, continuing to translate traditional Jamaican styling into more chart-friendly but edgy pop. This was never so prevalent when the tuneful `Sing Our Own Song’ Top 5 hit was turned into a 7-minute closer on parent platinum-seller, RAT IN THE KITCHEN (1986), a record that also housed modest to major volleys such as `All I Want To Do’, the excellent `Rat In Mi Kitchen’ and `Watchdogs’.
1. All I Want To Do (5:29)
2. You Could Meet Somebody (4:51)
3. Tell It Like It Is (3:34)
4. The Elevator (3:23)
5. Watchdogs (4:17)
1. Rat In Mi Kitchen (6:57)
2. Looking Down At My Reflection (3:24)
3. Don’t Blame Me (3:34)
4. Sing Our Own Song (7:21)
Paul Frederic Simon (born October 13, 1941) is an American musician, singer-songwriter and actor. Simon’s musical career has spanned seven decades, with his fame and commercial success beginning as half of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, which was formed in 1964 with Art Garfunkel.
Artist: Paul Simon
Title: One Trick Pony
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Catalog# WB 56846
One-Trick Pony, Paul Simon’s fifth solo studio album, was released in 1980. It was Simon’s first album for Warner Bros. Records, and his first new studio album since 1975’s Still Crazy After All These Years.
Though it was released to coincide with the opening of the film One-Trick Pony, which Paul Simon wrote and starred in, the One-Trick Pony album is not a soundtrack, as it is sometimes categorized, at least, not exactly. If it were, it might contain the Paul Simon song “Soft Parachutes” and other non-Simon music featured in the movie. Instead, this is a studio album containing many of the movie songs, some of them in the same performances (two were cut live at the Agora Club in Cleveland). The record is not billed as a soundtrack, but a sleeve note reads, “The music on this Compact Disc was created for the Paul Simon Movie ‘One-Trick Pony.'” Anyway, if Simon was in fact writing songs for Jonah, his movie character (as seems true of songs like “Jonah,” “God Bless the Absentee,” and “Long, Long Day”), he intended that character to take a somewhat less considered lyrical viewpoint than Paul Simon generally does, but to be even more enamored of light jazz fusion than Paul Simon had been on his last album, Still Crazy After All These Years. Tasty licks abound from the fretwork of Eric Gale, Hiram Bullock, and Hugh McCracken, and the rhythm section of Steve Gadd, Tony Levin, and Richard Tee is equally in the groove. This is the closest thing to a band album Simon ever made, and it contains some of his most rhythmic and energetic singing. But it is also his most uneven album, simply because the songwriting, with the exception of the title song and the ballads “How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns” and “Nobody,” is not up to his usual standard. Maybe he was too busy writing his screenplay to polish these songs to the usual gloss. (It can’t have been than Jonah wasn’t supposed to be as talented as Paul Simon. Could it?) In any case, though the album spawned a Top Ten hit in “Late in the Evening” and may have sold more copies than the film did tickets, it remained a disappointment in both artistic and commercial terms.
1. Late In The Evening (4:02)
2. That’s The Way God Made The Movies (3:38)
3. One-Trick Pony (3:54)
4. How The Heart Approaches What It Yearns (2:49)
5. Oh, Marion (4:00)
1. Ace In The Hole (5:43)
2. Nobody (3:33)
3. Jonah (3:30)
4. God Bless The Absentee (3:15)
5. Long, Long Day (3:48)
Pat Benatar (born Patricia Mae Andrzejewski; January 10, 1953) is an American singer, songwriter, actress.
Artist: Pat Benatar
Title: Crimes Of Passion
Label: Chrysalis Records
Crimes of Passion is the second studio album by American rock singer Pat Benatar, released on August 5, 1980 by Chrysalis Records. The album is the first to feature Myron Grombacher on drums, beginning a long tenure in Benatar’s band that would last into the late-1990s.
The song “Hell Is for Children“, which was not released as an A-side single, was also a hit on album-rock stations. A live version of this song from her album Live from Earth (1983) was released as the B-side of her “Love Is a Battlefield” single three years later. The song was featured in the 1981 animated film American Pop, as well as on the soundtrack.
In 1981, Benatar won her first Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance thanks to Crimes of Passion.
The music video for the song “You Better Run” was the second music video ever aired on MTV in 1981.
With Crimes of Passion, Pat Benatar escaped the dreaded sophomore slump, thanks in no small part to the song that would become the most well-known song of her career, “Hit Me with Your Best Shot.” The rest of the album is mildly hit or miss, with a few moments of filler. Thankfully, Benatar avoids the synth-happy trends of the early ’80s and delivers a hard rocking ten-song session of power pop tempered with a few ballads for balance. And while “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” was one of her most praised moments, her version of Kate Bush‘s “Wuthering Heights” is probably one of the most underrated songs of her entire catalog.
1. Treat Me Right (3:24)
2. You Better Run (3:02)
3. Never Wanna Leave You (3:13)
4. Hit Me With Your Best Shot (2:51)
5. Hell Is For Children (4:48)
1. Little Paradise (3:32)
2. I’m Gonna Follow You (4:28)
3. Wuthering Heights (4:28)
4. Prisoner Of Love (3:05)
5. Out-A-Touch (4:16)
Stephen Lawrence “Steve” Winwood (born 12 May 1948) is an English musician whose genres include rock, blue-eyed soul, rhythm and blues, blues rock, pop rock, and jazz. Though primarily a vocalist and keyboardist and was a key member of The Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith and Go.
Artist: Steve Winwood
Title: Talking Back To The Night
Label: Island Records
Talking Back to the Night is the third solo studio album by English recording artist Steve Winwood. Released less than two years after the top 3 hit Arc of a Diver, it failed to see as much success as its predecessor, reaching #28 on the Billboard 200. “Valerie” was a minor hit in 1982. Winwood performed all of the instruments on this album. All songs written by Steve Winwood and Will Jennings.
This is Steve’s third solo album and second with Will Jennings as co songwriter. The main problem with this album is that Steve chose to go it alone instead of using a band. Many of the songs on here would come across better if he was using real players but just about everything is done with synths which gives the album a very dry feeling to me. Several of the songs would come across pretty well had he used a band-“Valerie”, “And I Go”, “While There’s A Candle Burning”, “Still In The Game” and “Help Me Angel” shows signs of being really good songs.
1. Valerie (4:03)
2. Big Girls Walk Away (3:50)
3. And I Go (4:10)
4. While There’s A Candle Burning (3:08)
5. Still In The Game (4:48)
1. It Was Happiness (4:58)
2. Help Me Angel (5:04)
3. Talking Back To The Night (5:42)
4. There’s A River (4:38)
The Brothers Johnson were an American funk, Motown and R&B band consisting of American musicians and brothers George (“Lightnin’ Licks”) and Louis E. Johnson (“Thunder Thumbs”). They achieved their greatest success from the mid-1970s to early 1980s.
Artist: The Brothers Johnson
Title: Out Of Control
Label: A&M Records
Catalog# AMLH 64965
In 1984 the brothers reunited in the recording studio. The resulting Leon Sylvers-produced LP, Out of Control, did not equal their past success, but it did garner them another R&B hit with “You Keep Me Coming Back”.
Although they were nearly a decade on from their ’70s heyday, the Brothers Johnson, with Leon Sylvers at the production helm, still managed to set a few grooves on fire among the heavy, heady crop of synthesized R&B that flooded the adult contemporary market. There’s an interesting interplay between the strong bass and vocals, supported by a smattering of guitar and a markedly slow tempo, which ensured that the single “You Keep Me Coming Back” would power into the R&B Top 20. Much of Out of Control follows through with much the same attitude, with nary a true funk-fueled jam to be found. Some of the duo’s original intent survives on “I Came Here to Party” and the title track, but such stompers are few and far between, merely filling space in between the ballads and soft soul numbers that dominate the set, leaving the smart “Dazed” to fall somewhere in between. Out of Control probably won’t thrill the socks off the brothers’ funk fans, but there are still moments that merit a closer listen. And despite the soft sonics that proliferate, the Brothers Johnson certainly proved they were worthy of their staying power, while so many of their peers fell soundly by the wayside.
1. You Keep Me Coming Back (5:14)
2. Lovers Forever (4:30)
3. Do You (3:20)
4. Let’s Try Love Again (3:26)
5. I Came Here To Party (4:01)
1. Out Of Control (4:18)
2. Save Me (4:07)
3. Tokyo (4:38)
4. Dazed (4:23)
5. It’s All Over Now (3:58)
Alastair Ian Stewart (born 5 September 1945), known professionally as Al Stewart, is a Scottish-born singer-songwriter and folk-rock musician who rose to prominence as part of the British folk revival in the 1960s and 1970s. He developed a unique style of combining folk-rock songs with delicately woven tales of characters and events from history.
Artist: Al Stewart
Title: 24 Carrots
Label: RCA Records
24 Carrots is the ninth studio album by Al Stewart, released in 1980. This was Stewart’s first album with his new band Shot in the Dark. Tracks 1-4 are co-written with Peter White. The single “Midnight Rocks” reached the top 30 on the Billboard charts in 1980, reaching #24. Two other singles were released from the album: “Mondo Sinistro” and “Paint By Numbers”.
The pun of the title of 24 Carrots — the first overt signal of humor Al Stewart has displayed in years, possibly ever — illustrates that a lot has changed since 1978’s Time Passages. The loosening of his wit is perhaps the most evident, but the most significant is the departure of producer Alan Parsons, who collaborated with Stewart on his mid-’70s triptych of masterpieces. In truth, 24 Carrots isn’t far removed from those high points, because he is indeed still writing at a remarkably consistent pace. No, this record isn’t quite at the high standard of the previous three albums, but it does have a number of brilliant moments, from the opening “Running Man” through the silly but effective “Mondo Sinistro” and the gorgeous “Midnight Rocks.” Though there are some songs that don’t quite click (something that did not happen on the aforementioned trio), overall the record coheres nicely, thanks not just to the uniform classiness of Stewart‘s songs, but to his production with Chris Desmond. Although the production does hint at the antiseptic cleanliness that sank many of his latter-day recordings, here, it is just a perfect balance of audio precision and elegant studiocraft.
1. Running Man (5:10)
2. Midnight Rocks (4:00)
3. Constantinople (4:50)
4. Merlin’s Time (2:42)
5. Mondo Sinistro (3:04)
1. Murmansk Run / Ellis Island (7:17)
2. Rocks In The Ocean (5:15)
3. Paint By Numbers (5:30)
4. Optical Illusion (3:27)
Label: ATCO Records
Catalog# ATC 50904
In 1981, Van den Berg worked with vocalist Jos Veldhuizen, bass guitarist Griff “Studly” McGrath and drummer Bico De Gooijer in a band called Teaser. This line-up did not last long, and Van den Berg then hired Bert Heerink (vocals), Dick Kemper (bass guitar), and Jos Zoomer (drums). With this line-up, Teaser recorded a demo that came to the notice of the pop–journalist Kees Baars. Baars offered to manage the group, and contracted the band at Atlantic Records in the U.S..
Their first album, Vandenberg, was recorded at the former Led Zeppelin‘s guitarist Jimmy Page‘s studio, Sol Studios, and in 1983 their first single, “Burning Heart”. reached No. 39 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 charts. Vandenberg toured the U.S. as the opening act for Ozzy Osbourne and KISS, and toured independently in Japan in 1984.
Legend has it after a failed audition with mega-group Thin Lizzy, Adrian Vandenberg went back to the drawing board and decided to start his own band. Poised with an axe to grind and several hard rock influences easily spotted from a mile away, Vandenberg and his band of gypsies were poised to take over the hard rock scene with their 1982 debut. Overall, Vandenberg is a fiery testament to Vandenberg‘s skill as a guitarist. He shreds with the best of them, taking cues from Hendrix, Page, and a little bit of Tony Iommi. Of course there are the gratuitous moments of guitar acrobatics (“Wait”) and the obligatory power ballad (“Burning Heart”) but that really doesn’t detract too much from the band’s main focus: to deliver a solid hard rock record that is easily one of the most underrated debut metal albums of the ’80s.
1. Your Love Is In Vain (4:10)
2. Back On My Feet (3:48)
3. Wait (5:05)
4. Burning Heart (4:06)
1. Ready For You (3:53)
2. Too Late (4:13)
3. Nothing To Lose (3:23)
4. Lost In A City (3:56)
5. Out In The Streets (4:04)
Daryl Hall and John Oates, often referred to as Hall & Oates, are an American musical duo from Philadelphia. Daryl Hall is generally the lead vocalist of the pairing. John Oates primarily plays electric guitar and provides backing vocals.
Artist: Daryl Hall & John Oates
Label: RCA Records
At the close of the ’70s, Hall & Oates began inching toward a sleek, modern sound, partially inspired by the thriving punk and new wave scene and partially inspired by Daryl Hall‘s solo debut, Sacred Songs, a surprising and successful collaboration with art rock legend Robert Fripp. While 1979’s X-Static found the duo sketching out this pop/soul/new wave fusion, it didn’t come into fruition until 1980’s Voices, which was their creative and commercial breakthrough. Essentially, Voices unveils the version of Hall & Oates that made them the most successful duo in pop history, the version that ruled the charts for the first half of the ’80s. During the ’70s, Hall & Oates drifted from folky singer/songwriters to blue-eyed soulmen, with the emphasis shifting on each record. On Voices, they place their pop craftsmanship front and center, and their production (assisted by engineer/mixer Neil Kernon) is clean, spacious, sleek, and stylish, clearly inspired by new wave yet melodic and polished enough for the mainstream. Thanks to the singles “Kiss on My List” and “You Make My Dreams” (and, to a lesser extent, their remake of the Righteous Brothers‘ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” and the original version of the heartbreaking ballad “Everytime You Go Away,” later popularized by Paul Young), the mainstream enthusiastically embraced Hall & Oates, and the ubiquitousness of these hits obscures the odder, edgier elements of Voices, whether it’s the rushed, paranoid “United State,” tense “Gotta Lotta Nerve (Perfect Perfect),” the superb Elvis Costello-styled “Big Kids,” the postmodern doo wop tribute “Diddy Doo Wop (I Hear the Voices),” or even John Oates‘ goofy “Africa.” Apart from the latter, these are the foundation of the album, the proof that the duo wasn’t merely a stellar singles act, but expert craftsmen as writers and record-makers. The next few albums were bigger hits, but they topped the charts on the momentum created by Voices, and it still stands as one of their great records.
1. How Does It Feel to Be Back (4:35)
2. Big Kids (3:40)
3. United State (3:08)
4. Hard to Be in Love with You (3:38)
5. Kiss on My List (4:25)
6. Gotta Lotta Nerve (Perfect Perfect) (3:37)
1. You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ (4:37)
2. You Make My Dreams (3:11)
3. Everytime You Go Away (5:23)
4. Africa (3:39)
5. Diddy Doo Wop (I Hear the Voices) (3:43)
The Alessi Brothers are an American pop rock singer-songwriter duo, best known for their 1984 hit “Savin’ the Day” and also their 1977 hit “Oh Lori”. The duo are identical twin brothers, Bill (Billy) Alessi and Bob (Bobby) Alessi (born 12 July 1953, West Hempstead, New York).
Artist: The Alessi Brothers
Label: A&M Records
Catalog# AMLH 64608
The Alessi Brothers, Billy and Bobby, never became massive household names during their heyday as pop stars, but they did manage to sell over eight million records between their initial band (Barnaby Bye) and a number of their own albums on A&M Records and Quincy Jones’ Warner Brothers imprint, Quest. The band had a number seven hit in 1977 in England with a song called “Oh Lori,” which failed to chart in the US.
Well, this self-titled vinyl album is actually their debut record, released in 1976, a year before The Paley Brothers’ brilliant pink-sleeved vinyl debut.
The comparison stops here, however, as Alessi’s music is by no means similar to the Paleys’ flamboyant power pop but rather some sort of catchy, melodic soul pop with a slight tinge of disco at times, in short a guilty pleasure.
This record is worth having if only for the angelic voices of the two brothers who can also wax poetic on a few songs.
1. Do You Feel It? (5:33)
2. You Can Have It Back (3:029
3. I Was So Sure (3:59)
4. Big Deal (Live Without You) (2:22)
5. Don’t Hold Back (3:49)
1. Too Long To Forget (3:20)
2. Sad Songs (3:43)
3. Oh, Lori (3:21)
4. Joanna (2:28)
5. Seabird (3:08)
6. Do You Feel It? — Reprise (0:43)
Title: The Final Countdown
Label: Epic Records
Catalog# EPC 26808
One of the most glorious launches in history, the title track for the thrice-platinum The Final Countdown is so bombastically brilliant, such glorious garbage, that this nuclear hair assault could only spew from the vacuous ’80s. But the full-tilt follow-up “Rock the Night” rules also: “You know it ain’t easy/Running out of thrills.” “Carrie” comes off a consummate butane ballad. Meanwhile, the rest of the disc packs so much power that Swedish superheroes Europe get away with all the processed pretension. In fact, the lofty ambition of “Danger on the Track,” “Ninja,” and “Cherokee” (each as tasty as its title) combines with heated drive and hot delivery to meld The Final Countdown into a unique portrait of propulsive prog and a worthy addition to any hard rock collection. This is the story; this is the legend told by Teutonic guitars and predictable keyboards ringing pure and hurtling through each and every convention perfectly. The quintet’s big-boy Epic inaugural, The Final Countdown deftly combines the Valhalla victory of Europe‘s heroic debut with the American poodle pomposity that devoured the band. You could live without The Final Countdown, but why?
Five singles were released from the album: “The Final Countdown“, “Love Chaser“, “Rock the Night“, “Carrie“, and “Cherokee.” The first single was responsible for launching Europe into mainstream popularity.
1. The Final Countdown (5:09)
2. Rock the Night (4:03)
3. Carrie (4:30)
4. Danger on the Track (3:45)
5. Ninja (3:46)
1. Cherokee (4:13)
2. Time Has Come (4:01)
3. Heart of Stone (3:46)
4. On the Loose (3:08)
5. Love Chaser (3:27)