Indie Hits of the Eighties – from Spizzenergi to Electronic, and Bob!!

The May edition of Mojo has arrived. I dont get the same excitement from receiving it that I did a couple of years ago, but that is probably more to do with me than the quality of Mojo, which is generally very good. It’s just that now I get more of a buzz from holding the latest issues of ‘Walking Dead’ or ‘Infinite Horizon’ in my hands.

Anyway, Mojo can still produce fantastic issues full of articles that I want to read and this month is one of them – there is a big article on The Specials and The Black Keys, both well written, informative and great photos. In the ‘Ask Fred’ section, where there is a regular section on music resources on the internet, a short piece can send you into Indie raptures. That is, if you were an Indie fan between 1980 and 1989, then you really should check this out;

it is the online version of a book that Cherry Red publishes. Compiled by the late Barry Lazell, this is an exhaustive but thoroughly enjoyable resource cataloguing the Indie hits between 1980 and 1989. To clarify, this was at a time when the Indie charts were a seperate entity, detailing the burgeoning ‘DIY’ scene that incoporated such disparate talents as The Smiths, Dead Kennedys, Toyah & Half Man Half Biscuit (and so many more). For example, here is the first and last Indie number ones of the 1980s;

Where’s Captain Kirk? – Spizzenergi

Getting Away With It – Electronic

There’s an A-Z section covering all the bands whoever had an entry in the charts, and various stats lists (artists with most weeks at no.1, longest chart runs by albums).

As a child I would read Smash Hits (my first issue had David Sylvian on the cover, posing in a raincoat with a brolly). In Smash Hits they had the Indie top 10, and the summer of 1981 had such exotic entries as ‘Neu Smell’ by Flux Of Pink Indians. I would try to impress my primary school companions with this knowledge, but they were not impressed. Maybe I can try the same trick with my work colleagues now I have this resource available online? If nothing else, it will probably jog my memory on some of the stuff I have forgtten about after I embraced Indie (from about 1986 onwards). For example, Bands like Bob;

London-based guitar-pop quartet noted for their sharp songwriting, jointly fronted by vocalist/guitarists Richard Blackborow and Simon Armstrong, along with Jem Morris (bass) and Dean Leggett (drums).
KIRSTY (Sombrero OMBRER 2) (12″ only) 17 2 11/6/88
ESMERELDA BROOKLYN (House Of Teeth HOT 003) 12 2 28/10/89


You see, I have learned something already – the only single I have by Bob is called ‘Convenience’, and it obviously never made the charts. That is an injustice that I doubt we can fix with an online petition.


Cherry Red Records

Mojo Magazine

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