1984 in Music

1984 saw technology arrive at an infinite state of modernity, with time brought to a standstill by rock’s impending finale.

England celebrated its global apogee with spectacular constructions (Dalis Car, Depeche Mode, Simple Minds, Talk Talk) state-of-the-art productions (The Art of Noise, Band Aid, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Wham!) and astounding reintroductions (Andy Fraser, Claire Hamill, Deep Purple, Roger Hodgson).

Prosperity enlivened the UK, where style and culture were represented by the sleek (The Blow Monkeys, Everything But the Girl, The Lotus Eaters, Matt Bianco, Swans Way, The Style Council) and soulful (Alison Moyet, Black, Carmel, Helen Terry, Paul Young, Sade), lyrics and melodies were expressed through rage (The Alarm, The Cult, The Icicle Works, New Model Army, The Pogues, Zerra One) and rhythm (Bronski Beat, Dekka Danse, Fiction Factory, General Public, Howard Jones, Nik Kershaw), epicism and virtuosity were wielded through dynamics (Abel Ganz, Craft, Keats, News from Babel, Pallas, Solstice) and decibals (Airrace, Alaska, Lionheart, Strangeways, Tokyo Blade, Wildfire).

Techno beats enraptured Europe, moving minds and bodies throughout France (End of Data, Les Rita Mitsouko, Martin Dupont, Trisomie 21) Germany (Alphaville, Harold Faltermeyer, Robert Görl, Zwischenfall) Yugoslavia (Denis & Denis, Videosex, Xenia) and Italy (2+2=5, Faded Image, Monuments).

Video and stereo spawned a new American attitude that was delectably hi-tech (Al Corley, Berlin, Face to Face, Mr. Mister, Scandal) and endlessly metallic (Autograph, Icon, Ratt, Urgent, Vyper). As the mainframe shifted towards an increasingly tri-ethnic dance culture, artists like Madonna, Michael Jackson, Prince, and Sheila E. unveiled the rhythm and rapping template for all chart recordings henceforth.

Modernity brought rock to the end of its creative cycle, but there was enough inspirational surplus to keep energies flowing through the heart of the Style Decade. Befittingly, this long-anticipated year was a time of career peaks, comebacks and comeuppance. For Billy Idol and Joe Jackson; U2 and Midnight Oil; Chaka Khan and Tina Turner; Pat Benatar and Sheena Easton; Billy Squier and Rick Springfield; Don Henley and Lindsey Buckingham; Jethro Tull and King Crimson; Mike Oldfield and Patrick Moraz; Herbie Hancock and Jean-Luc Ponty; The Cure and Echo & the Bunnymen; XTC and The Stranglers; Chicago and Survivor; Rush and Utopia; and virtually everyone else in the rock-appreciating world, 1984 was the year to be hip, handsome, and happening. It was the year to be here.

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