Thirty songs that represent what as going on in popular music in 1981.
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Inspired by the July 11 birthdays of Suzanne Vega, Lil’ Kim, The Paragons’ John Holt, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Jeff Hanna, Peter Brown, Red Peters, Bonnie Pointer, Thurston Harris, Peter Murphy, Andrew Bird, the Murmurs’ Leisha Hailey, and Mel & Kim’s Mel Appleby; and the July 10 birthdays of Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant, Mavis Staples, Arlo Guthrie, John Whitehead and Eileen Rodgers.
Inspired by the July 9 birthdays of Jack White, Hole’s Courtney Love, Marc Almond, AC/DC’s Bon Scott, Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brook, Simple Minds’ Jim Kerr, Lee Hazlewood, Gwen Guthrie and Haysi Fantayzee’s Kate Garner.
Inspired by Cinco de Mayo and the May 5 birthdays of Adele, Monty Python’s Michael Palin, Tammy Wynette, Johnnie Taylor, Echo & the Bunnymen’s Ian McCulloch, Craig David, Chris Brown and Blind Willie McTell.
The latter half of the eighties was a great time for alternative rock music and its fans. During the years after the new wave boom but before Nirvana penetrated the mainstream, bringing a host of new rock acts with them, we would hear fresh, interesting acts on WLIR/WDRE and see them on MTV’s 120 Minutes.
In early 1988 120 Minutes aired a video from a new Irish singer named Sinéad O’Connor. The song was “Mandinka.” It grabbed me immediately. I bought her LP The Lion and the Cobra. It was (and is) great. I became obsessed. Not in a creepy stalker kind of way. I felt the need to own every note this woman released. I bought the albums, the remixes, the non-LP singles (e.g. “My Special Child”), the singles with non-LP b-sides (the UK CD single of “Success Has Made a Failure of Our Home” with its cover of “My Heart Belongs to Daddy,” the UK CD single of “This Is a Rebel Song” with its cover of “Redemption Song”), every movie soundtrack album she appeared on (Married to the Mob, In the Name of the Father) and every compilation she appeared on (Red Hot + Blue, Help, A Very Special Christmas 2). I loved her passion, her songs, her intelligence, her tenderness, her individuality and her look. She stood out from the pack.
Today Tunes du Jour celebrates the birthday of Sinéad O’Connor with a playlist inspired by her and the music of the 120 Minutes era.