3. Don’t You Want Me by The Human League
This just edged into the top ten, pushing Love Action out, because of the story telling and the video. It was the song of Christmas, 1981. Who cared about Phil Oakey? Susan and Joanne looked like us, they were having a laugh and I wanted to be them, very badly - I tried to master that eyeliner, failing each time.
4. To Cut a Long Story Short by Spandau Ballet
Not strictly within the time line if Music Love Drugs War, but, when Spandau Ballet appeared on Top of the Pops in November 1980, it was a new dawn –the New Romantics had arrived. Woolly jumpers, socks and kilts. I had my hair cut in the long one-sided fringe – very cool. My friend got her mother to make her a mini kilt! Great song.
5. Dread Beat and Blood by Poet and the Roots
Linton Kwesi Johnston spoke to us, that’s for sure. There is something about this track that really captures a sense of the time – one of danger, Thatcher’s Britain, a darkness that we related to. Played to death then and still played to death.
6. Kings of the Wild frontier by Adam and the Ants
Adam Ant, too dangerously gorgeous to be ignored. Jaws dropped, everywhere.
7. Love Like Anthrax by The Gang of Four
We girls weren’t only interested in the likes of Adam and the Ants or The Human League. This was very serious music, listened to on the big brother’s bedroom floor. The album, Entertainment, is featured in Music Love Drugs War. It hasn’t left the stack of vinyl in our living room since back in the day.
8. Light My Fire by The Doors
Ah, Jim Morrison. I lusted after this dead rock star like only a girl of seventeen could. There was a certain irony in our fascination with the Sixties and the Vietnam war, while we did our best to avoid the violence playing out around us.
9. Runaway Boy by The Stray Cats
The Stray Cats exploded in 1981, bad boys from America, channelling the spirit of Fifties rock and roll before it was sanitised and cleaned up. That opening line, “Get kicked out for coming home at dawn, Mom and Dad curse the day you were born…” Yep, that was us! It’s a total teenage anthem.
10. Going Underground by The Jam
The Jam were on their ‘A’ game in 1981, so there was competition for this slot. It could have been Eton Rifles, but I’ve chosen Going Underground. The pace and ultimate optimism, the anger and the fashion – it’s still incredibly exciting. When Paul Weller was a genuine fashion influencer, this was a call to arms.