World Party – ‘Ship of Fools’.
Released in 1986, Ship Of Fools on World Party’s debut album, Private Revolution, was a surprise hit on charts around the world even reaching number four in Australia. Here in my city on Melbourne radio it seemed to hang around long enough for me to truly appreciate its honest, emotive yet preachy message. Did I mention how much I love that piano (or keyboard) melody that underscores the song? It never seem to rush ahead too quickly, almost marching along in tandem with Karl Wallinger’s vocals. While World Party didn’t set the world on fire, Ship Of Fools, with its catchy little rock environmental message, still nonetheless left an indelible impression on music in the mid 80s.
Favourite lyric: “Avarice and greed are gonna drive you over the endless sea / They will leave you drifting in the shallows or drowning in the oceans of history”.
Don Henley – ‘The Boys Of Summer’.
The Eagles are one of my all time favourite bands. Ask me to choose between band leaders Glen Frey and Don Henley as my favourite Eagle and their contribution to the Eagles success, I tend to steer towards Henley. Both Frey and Henley had relatively successful solo careers which I took great interest in. While they would arguably never reach the level of success they attained in The Eagles, they both continued to write and record some of the most memorable songs of the 80s. One of the songs I allude to is Don Henley’s The Boys Of Summer. It reached the dizzy heights of the US charts in early 1985, even winning Henley the Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for the song in 1986. Later it would become a staple of classic rock radio stations around the world in the decades that followed. Why? I think it has to do with the fact that listeners can easily relate to its nostalgic tone. Henley had an affinity for writing lyrics about things like life and of the questions we ask ourselves of our past.
Favourite lyric: “Out on the road today/ I saw deadhead sticker on a Cadillac/ A little voice inside my head said/ Don’t look back, you can never look back.”
The Rolling Stones – ‘Start Me Up’.
Rock history tells us that Start Me Up started life as a reggae song called Never Stop in 1976. Later in its development it transformed into a rock track with a new distinguishable riff played by Keith Richards but was shelved again until importantly in 1981, it morphed into the recognisable track Rolling Stone fans adore today. Its iconic riff, Bill Wyman’s thumping bass line and Jagger’s suggestive lyrics elevated this song into arguably some critics say the last great Rolling Stones song. For me personally Start Me Up was the first Rolling Stones song that made me look back at their discography with a different mindset having largely ignored them in favour of The Beatles.
Favourite lyric: “Spread out the oil, the gasoline/ I walk smooth, ride in a mean, mean machine.”