1985 – Best year for music, ever?

The other day, I found myself wanting to hear some Psychedelic Furs, so I put on Mirror Moves (1984) and I tweeted about it. That led somehow to me listening to The Smiths’ Meat Is Murder (1985), which in turn led me to listen to OMD’s Crush (1985). Naturally, Listen Like Thieves (1985) by INXS and The Cure’s The Head On the Door (1985) followed. And New Order’s Low-Life (1985). And then I got curious. What other records were released in 1985? So I consulted Wikipedia and here’s the list of really great albums I singled out:

Cupid & Psyche 85
Big Lizard In My Back Yard
The Dream of the Blue Turtles
Feargal Sharkey
Hunting High and Low
Voices Carry
This Is Big Audio Dynamite
Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven
Fishbone – EP
Dream Into Action
Hounds of Love
Dead Man’s Party
Around the World In a Day
Brothers In Arms
Clan of Xymox
Easy Pieces
Flip Your Wig
I Don’t Want to Grow Up
King of Rock
Little Creatures
Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper
No Jacket Required
Oil & Gold
Play Deep
A Secret Wish
Songs from the Big Chair
Telephone Free Landslide Victory
White City

Amazing records. I believe the first quarter of those are debut albums, no less! (Someone on another forum commented on how they would have liked to have seen the band names along with the album titles. I listed them this way because this is how I saw it in Wikipedia, just the album titles, and I was surprised at how many records I knew – and loved! – just from the titles.)

As a way to somehow impossibly quantify this hypothesis, let’s take a look at year that an album was released that changed the path of popular music: 1991, the year Nirvana’s Nevermind came out.

We also got: Apocalypse 91…the Enemy Strikes Black, Achtung Baby, Badmotorfinger, Blood, Chorus, De La Soul is Dead, Don’t Try This At Home, Electric Bird Digest, Electric Landlady, Flyin’ the Flannel, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, Girlfriend, The Globe, Our Frank, The Low End Theory, Mama Said, Metallica, Mr. Bad Example, Native Son, Naughty By Nature, Niggaz4Life, Never Loved Elvis, No Pocky For Kitty, Positively Phranc, The Reality of My Surroundings, Ropin’ the Wind, Rumor and Sigh, Sailing the Seas of Cheese, Screamadelica, The Soul Cages, Trompe le Monde, Use Your Illusion I & II, Why Do Birds Sing?

Pretty good. Don’t know if I’d call it great, though.

And now, let’s look at another watershed year in music. Initially, I was going to go with 1967, the year The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released, but 1966 was the year that Revolver was released, as was the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. More records included Aftermath, Face to Face, Fifth Dimension, It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World, Otis Blue, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. Lots of jazz released in 66, though. I don’t know enough jazz to be able to recognize album titles and suggest that ’67 was a good year for jazz. I presume it might be.

I should have gone with ‘67: Sgt. Pepper, Alice’s Restaurant, Gentle on My Mind, Disraeli Gears, Magical Mystery Tour, King and Queen, John Wesley Harding, Their Satanic Majesties Request, Sounds of Silence, Strange Days, Surrealistic Pillow, The Who Sell Out, United, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

So…for me, I think 1985 was possibly the best year for music, ever. (Let’s hear it for subjective opinions!) Let me know if you have a different year you’d nominate. Or better still, let me know that you agree with me.

(Purchase the albums using the iTunes links to help support Your Older Brother’s Music Blog!)

11 thoughts on “1985 – Best year for music, ever?

  1. I've never seen this list before, but I think I have to agree! By the way, Scritti Politti's Cupid and Psyche '85 is one of my favorite albums of all time. Descendents, yes please. I love it when you blog!


  2. Everyone's gonna have their own opinion on this one….I heard something recently that the closest musical bonds are formed around age 14…anywayz, I don't think you can argue much with what came out in '73 (my junior hs year)…here's a partial of what I know and like:Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band Aerosmith Aerosmith The Six Wives of Henry VIII Rick Wakeman Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player Elton John Artificial Paradise The Guess Who Better Days Paul Butterfield's Better Days Composite Truth Mandrill GP Gram Parsons Heartbreaker Free In Concert Derek and the Dominos Live 1970 Life and Times Jim Croce Who Do We Think We Are Deep Purple Tyranny and Mutation Blue Ă–yster Cult Blueprint Rory Gallagher Billion Dollar Babies Alice Cooper In the Right Place Dr. John All Out Grin Black Caesar James Brown SoundtrackCamel Camel Dixie Chicken Little Feat ELO 2 Electric Light Raw Power The Stooges Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory Traffic Solid Air John Martyn The Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd The Captain and Me The Doobie Brothers Byrds The Byrds The New Age Canned Heat Tanx T. Rex For Your Pleasure Roxy Music Larks Tongues in Aspic King Crimson Ring Ring ABBA Houses of the Holy Led Zeppelin Atem Tangerine DreamBeck, Bogert & Appice Beck, Bogert & AppiceBe What You Want To Link Wray Birds of Fire Mahavishnu Orchestra Closing Time Tom Waits Cosmic Wheels Donovan Eat It Humble Pie Foghat Foghat aka Rock and RollGrand Hotel Procol Harum In Deep Argent Paris 1919 John CalePenguin Fleetwood Mac The Pointer Sisters Pointer Sisters Still Alive and Well Johnny Winter Tower of Power Tower of Power A Wizard, a True Star Todd Rundgren The Beatles 1962-1966 The Beatles CompilationThe Beatles 1967-1970 The Beatles CompilationBloodshot The J. Geils BandAladdin Sane David BowieCatch a Fire Bob Marley & The WailersMusic and Me Michael JacksonDesperado Eagles Red Rose Speedway Paul McCartney and Wings Diamond Girl Seals and Crofts Ooh La La Faces Thirty Seconds Over Winterland Jefferson Airplane Live There Goes Rhymin' Simon Paul SimonSpace Ritual Hawkwind Live Bachman–Turner Overdrive Bachman–Turner Overdrive Yessongs Yes LiveTubular Bells Mike OldfieldLiving in the Material World George HarrisonBananamour Kevin Ayers Frampton's Camel Peter Frampton Live Songs Leonard Cohen LiveRazamanaz Nazareth Raw Power The Stooges credited to Iggy and the StoogesYou Broke My Heart So I Busted Your Jaw Spooky Tooth The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get Joe WalshFresh Sly & the Family Stone -#10 The Guess WhoFantasy Carole King Jack the Toad Savoy BrownJesus Christ Superstar Various Artists SoundtrackLeon Live Leon Russell Live


  3. part 2…A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night Harry Nilsson and Gordon Jenkins Roger McGuinn Roger McGuinn Super Fly T.N.T. Osibisa SoundtrackA Passion Play Jethro TullHistory of the Grateful Dead, Volume One (Bear's Choice) Grateful Dead Live 1970Queen Queen Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid Bob Dylan SoundtrackMott Mott the Hoople -Foreigner Cat Stevens -Tres Hombres ZZ Top -Genesis Live Genesis LiveThe New York Dolls New York DollsWe're an American Band Grand Funk RailroadAfrican Herbsman The Wailers CompilationBerlin Lou ReedCall of the Wild Ted Nugent and The Amboy DukesCountdown to Ecstasy Steely Dan Honky Tonk Heroes Waylon JenningsMoontan Golden Earring The Sweet Sweet US-only compilation and debut10cc 10cc Innervisions Stevie Wonder (pronounced 'lÄ•h-'nĂ©rd 'skin-'nĂ©rd) Lynyrd Skynyrd -Killing Me Softly Roberta FlackLet's Get It On Marvin GayeGoats Head Soup The Rolling Stones Boulders Roy Wood Brothers and Sisters The Allman Brothers Band Deliver the Word War Hard Nose the Highway Van Morrison Leg End Henry Cow Out of Our Hands Flash Over-Nite Sensation Frank Zappa Eric Clapton's Rainbow Concert Eric Clapton LiveThe Wild, the Innocent & the E-Street Shuffle Bruce SpringsteenG.I.T.: Get It Together The Jackson 5Crazy Eyes PocoEverybody Likes Some Kind of Music Billy PrestonFaust IV Faust Sladest Slade Compilation In a Glass House Gentle Giant Sweet Freedom Uriah Heep Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Elton John These Foolish Things Bryan Ferry Selling England by the Pound Genesis Head Hunters Herbie Hancock Moondog Matinee The Band Mystery to Me Fleetwood Mac Time Fades Away Neil Young LiveWake of the Flood Grateful Dead Burnin' Bob Marley & The Wailers Hat Trick America Pin Ups David Bowie Covers albumQuadrophenia The Who The Adventures of Panama Red New Riders of the Purple Sage All American Boy Rick Derringer Ashes Are Burning Renaissance For Everyman Jackson Browne Gone Crazy Grin The Joker Steve Miller BandLaid Back Gregg Allman On the Road Traffic Live Side 3 Raspberries Spectrum Billy Cobham Stranded Roxy MusicRingo Ringo StarrAbandoned Luncheonette Hall & Oates Tattoo Rory Gallagher Mind Games John Lennon Preservation Act 1 The Kinks Brain Salad Surgery Emerson, Lake & Palmer Ass Badfinger Montrose Montrose Ferguslie Park Stealers Wheel Happy Children Osibisa Ladies Invited The J. Geils Band Loud 'n' Proud Nazareth Next The Sensational Alex Harvey Band (No Pussyfooting) Robert Fripp and Brian Eno Nutbush City Limits Ike & Tina Turner On the Third Day Electric Light Orchestra Sabbath Bloody Sabbath Black SabbathBand on the Run Paul McCartney & WingsTales from Topographic Oceans YesBachman–Turner Overdrive II Bachman–Turner OverdriveI Got a Name Jim CroceThe Ozark Mountain Daredevils Ozark Mountain DaredevilsRidin' the Storm Out REO Speedwagon


  4. I just pulled album names from Wikipedia. There's lots here to like – rap, alternative, punk, mainstream rock. And solid albums through & through, not just singles.I love C&P'85 too. Bought it digitally recently – I think it's the first time I've owned the record!


  5. Part 2, holy crap! that's a lot of records. I don't know a lot of them, but there are some stone classics in there – Band on the Run, GP, Houses of the Holy, Brain Salad Surgery, Mind Games, Tubular Bells, Catch A Fire…Yeah, 73 seems to be a solid year. :)I'll stick with 85 (my freshman/sophomore years of high school), though. 🙂


  6. Just seeing that super sweet big Blancmange-Believe You Me pic is awsome. Those are some great albums on your '85 list. Yello's Stella is still one of my favs. I guess I am not the only person who still knows/remembers some of those bands.- Michael Byer


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