Music – 1980s


Aswad – whose name means ‘black’ in Arabic – formed in 1975 in West London’s Ladbroke Grove and built their early reputation on four LP’s spanning 1976’s eponymous debut to 1982’s Not Satisfied (plus singer Brinsley Forde’s spectacular performance in 1980s gritty reggae flick, Babylon). But it was the Live And Direct album, their 1983 performance at the Notting Hill(…)

Attila The Stockbroker

After graduating from the University of Kent with a degree in French, this performance poet (born John Baine on 21 October 1957) really was a stockbroker, or on the way to becoming one, before he set out on the live music circuit. Accompanied on occasion by his own mandolin backing, he regaled his audience with(…)

Au Pairs, The

Formed in Birmingham (England) in 1979, The Au Pairs matched driving, guitar-led rock to lyrics (mostly by Woods) that dissected the politics of sexual relationships. Their first single, You, came out on their own 021 label in September 1979. Their second, It’s Obvious, was released by Human Records and topped the indie charts. Human Records also issued(…)

Australian Crawl

The members of Australian Crawl all hailed from the Mount Eliza area on the Mornington Peninsular in Victoria, Australia. The band came together in 1978 after James Reyne and Simon Binks’ first band (called ‘Spliff Roach’) broke up. Australian Crawl’s accessible sound bore a particular Melbourne resonance, with its fresh and appealing combination of wry social(…)


Outside a strong cult following, Sydney band Avion’s brand of melodic, American-influenced AOR met with virtual indifference at home. RCA even issued the band’s eponymous debut album in the USA and Canada before it came out in Australia in September 1983. Singer/guitarist Randall Waller had issued two solo albums – Oasis (1978) and Midnight Fire (1980)(…)

B-52’s, The

The B-52’s formed in 1977 in Athens, Georgia. Kate Pierson had been playing in a folk protest band called The Sun Donuts while raising goats and tending her garden outside of Athens. Fred Schneider was studying forestry at the University of Georgia and working in a vegetarian restaurant called the Eldorado. Ricky Wilson and Keith(…)

Bachelors From Prague

Melbourne-based Bachelors From Prague formed in 1985 and played an infectious blend of 1940s jazz, 1950s R&B, 1970s funk and salsa. The group became the band to see while cruising the cafes and clubs of Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, in inner-city Melbourne (where vocalist Henry Maas was also the proprietor of the Black Cat Cafe). The(…)

Back To Zero

Bad Brains

Widely regarded as pioneers of the whole US hardcore movement, the four Rastafarians from Washington DC known as Bad Brains may well have been the most bad-ass group in this emerging scene but they were arguably the most culturally relevant band in America at the turn of the 80s. Surprisingly – and refreshingly – reggae-free, I Against(…)

Bad Manners

Bad Manners – a nine-piece ska band from north London – were one of the many bands to take their inspiration from The Specials and the Ska Revival movement in England in the late 70s. They quickly became the novelty favourites of the fad, through their bald, enormous-bodied front man, Buster Bloodvessel, (real name – Douglas Trendle) and his(…)

Bad Religion

Blending old-school power chords with hardcore thrash, Bad Religion formed in Woodland Hills, California, in 1980. The debut album from these SoCal brats scarcely resembled the harmony-drenched pop-punk they successfully purveyed for over two decades, laying the groundwork for California punksters like Green Day and The Offspring. Funded by a $1,000 loan from his dad,(…)

Balaam and The Angel

Bam Balams, The

Singer/songwriter Brendan Kibble formed The Bam Balams in Sydney in August 1984. The line-up of Kibble, Brad Fitzpatrick (ex-Division 4), Steve Cole and Matt Manchester recorded the singles Deliver My Love (November 1985) and No-One Else (June 1986) for the Citadel label. Both were produced by former-Radio Birdman singer Rob Younger. Kibble broke up the band at the end(…)

Bamboos, The

By the time this Perth (Australia) band’s debut LP, Rarer Than Rocking Horse Shit, was released on vinyl it was already three years old – having previously been available on cassette only. Craig Hallsworth  Guitar, vocals Greg Hitchcock  Guitar Roger Russell  Guitar Mark Gelmi  Bass Russell Hopkinson  Drums Shakir Pichler  Drums Tony Chiallella  Drums


This British female dance-pop vocal trio, comprising Siobhan Fahey, Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin, came on the scene just as MTV was becoming an influential force in the early 80s. The three friends released a single (Aie a Mwana) on the independent Demon label in 1981. Their picture was spotted in the late style bible(…)

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