Where Were You In March 1982?

Top 10 Albums Released 34 Years Ago This Month


10. Thomas Dolby – The Golden Age Of Wireless

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Dolby’s debut album brought us the massive hit “She Blinded Me With Science”. Many red-blooded young men at the time were more enamored with the pneumatic attributes of the girl in the original video than they were with the song itself. But what an artifact, the album practically screams “1980s”.


9. Asia – Asia

The anticipation for this album was intense, and how could it not be? The combination of bassist John Wetton from King Crimson, guitarist Steve Howe and keyboardist Geoff Downes from Yes and drummer Carl Palmer from Emerson, Lake and Palmer seemed to promise greatness. Well it never happened. They ended up sounding more like Journey or Styx than Yes or ELP or Crimson, so at least it sold well.


8. Willie Nelson – You Were Always On My Mind

Willie’s third-best selling album of all-time, and the title track may be his best-known song ever. Willie already seemed like an old man in ’82, and here he is 34 years later, still rocking up a storm and setting a fine example for us all. The human body sure is an amazing thing sometimes.


7. Men Without Hats – Rhythm Of Youth

You couldn’t escape the new wave classic “The Safety Dance” in 1982, no matter how hard you tried. There’s no truth to the rumor that this insidious Canadian ear-worm is Canada’s alternate national anthem, although the notion of dancing safely sounds like an appropriately Canadian concern.


6. Sonic Youth – Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth’s debut album, an EP really, isn’t really so noteworthy other than the fact that it launched a legendary Rock career. The clean, distortion-free sounds here are a useful reminder that the band was born in the new wave, and that their more muscular musical palette grew and flourished on top of that early framework.


5. Spandau Ballet – Diamond

Before Spandau Ballet released gag-inducing dreck like the songs “Gold” and “True”, they were actually a pretty exciting British post-punk outfit. This particular track was always one of my favorite numbers from that era, I’d never heard anything like it at the time, from the grungy guitar when the vocal starts, to the trumpet solo, and a chant everyone can relate to.


4. Iron Maiden – The Number Of The Beast

A breakthrough album for the band, and a breakthrough for the genre too. Allmusic.com said it ranks “among the top five most essential heavy metal albums ever recorded”. At the time, several U.S. congressmen said the album should be banned for its satanic references, which seems like such a quaint notion today when politicians brag about the size of their genitalia.


3. The Jam – The Gift

This was the sixth and final album for The Jam. Just as the new wave was grabbing a foothold Stateside, the movement itself was crumbling from within. With this album, Paul Weller made a statement that the three-chord mod revival no longer interested him, and he began exploring jazz and soul-influenced sounds before forming his next band, The Style Council.


2. Talking Heads – The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads

I was a big fan of Talking Heads since I first heard them in 1977, but I wasn’t convinced of their greatness until this double live album came out. It separated their early performances as a quartet from their post-Remain In Light performances as an octet, and both sides revealed more heart and spirit in the band’s material than the original recordings ever did. Still one of the great live albums of all time, in my book.


1. Richard And Linda Thompson – Shoot Out The Lights

This one often shows up on lists of greatest albums of all time, and for good reason. After some middling success artistically and commercially with their previous work, the duo caught lightning in a bottle on this album. It is essentially the soundtrack to the dissolution of a marriage – raw, painful, even funny at times – and the pair split soon after recording it. Luckily the album recalibrated Richard Thompson’s musical direction and kick-started him towards the status he holds today, as one of the great singer-songwriters and guitar players in Rock history.

Photo: Talking Heads; Credit: By Plismo (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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4 comments to “Where Were You In March 1982?”
  1. Linda & Richard Thompson great together
    Also Fairport Convention never really given the acclimation of good English music

  2. What were you snorting in the 80’s?
    I like the broad spectrum of albums but do you really believe that “Whiter Shade of Pale” may be Willie’s best-known song ever??

    • Mike, you read it wrong. The title of the album is clearly listed as “You Were Always on My Mind”. What are YOU snorting? 🙂

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