So we move into 1981, a year with some repeat artists from 1980 and some suprising newcomers. For the most part, rock is well represented with some new wave tossed in for good measure. Not much else to say, let’s dive in shall we?
The year kicks off with Adam and The Ants “Kings of the Wild Frontier”, the first artist of many this year that didn’t go to #1 in the U.S.. This is a good album, although Ant’s vocal style isn’t for everyone. After that we get John Lennon and Yoko Ono “Double Fantasy”. Don’t be surprised, but the Yoko songs are mostly pure shit while the Lennon songs are pretty good. Phil Collins “Face Value” is next and it’s a classic. Adam and The Ants make a reentry and is followed by Starsound “Stars on 45” comes up and it’s forgettable. Now we get the first true huge surprise with Motorhead’s “No Sleep Till Hammersmith”. Motorhead having a #1 album? That’s mindblogging for a Yank like myself. Of course, it’s one of the greatest live albums of all time and if you don’t have it you better make tracks to wherever you get your music and grab a copy. A string of ‘blah’ follows with a comp called Disco Daze and Disco Nites, a Cliff Richards comp called “Love Songs”, and The Official BBC Album of the Royal Wedding. Things pick up again with Electric Light Orchestra’s “Time” and they’re one of those guilty pleasure bands that I like. Good album, but you might get ridiculed for liking an ELO album. Meat Loaf pops up with “Dead Ringer”, which isn’t quite as good as “Bat Out of Hell” but still a worthy addition to any collection. Genesis comes up for the second year in a row with “Abacab”, an album built on the strength of it’s singles “Abacab” and “No Reply At All” but the rest of the album is almost as good. The Police also pull a repeat with “Ghost in the Machine” and this one is a classic. No weak songs and easily the best album to hit #1 this year. Newcomers The Human League follow with “Dare”, another classic for their genre. If you are a fan of good dancey electronica with a dark side, give this one a try. Someone named Shakin’ Stevens comes in next, but I can’t find the album anywhere. I admit, I never got to hear this one, sorry. Another repeat, Queen, appears with their Greatest Hits. It’s Queen, it’s their Greatest Hits, is there much more to say? Another comp, “Chart Hits ’81” follows but once again, I couldn’t find it anywhere and thus I can’t say anything about it. One final repeat with Abba’s final album “The Visitors” which is good for ABBA and the year comes to a close.
1981 was a good year, better than 1980. Like I said, it’s mindboggling to see Motorhead top the charts when they couldn’t even break the top 50 over here. Adam Ant and Human League both had huge hits here but never topped the album charts. The Police would only have one #1 album, which we’ll get to a few years down the road.
Next we move into 1982 which has even more surprises and repeats.
Top three of 1981:
The Police – Ghost in the Machine (49/50)
Motorhead – No Sleep Till Hammersmith (48/50)
The Human League – Dare (46/50)